She’s A Woman on Fire! Meet Dana Frost

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other.  She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Dana Frost- She's a Woman on Fire

Dana Frost

Wilmette (Chicago), Illinois

Member: #00138

Member since: August 21, 2012

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work. What are you “on fire” about?

I was born, raised and educated in Missouri, and I was the first member of my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. I’m a Midwesterner with a gypsy heart. Although I crave experiencing new countries, cultures and adventures, I appreciate being grounded to a place with people-centered values.

I’ve been married for almost 25 years. We have five children, ages 14, 16, 17, 19 and almost 22. The two youngest children were adopted 11 years ago while we were living in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Prior to moving abroad, we lived in Minneapolis, where I was a social worker. There were adoption pioneers in Minnesota championing “open” adoptions and adopting unwanted, mix-raced children within the United States, which was not popular at the time. Social justice, racial equality and concern for children being left behind in the system were the motivating factors. We were inspired to consider adoption — until I got pregnant with baby No. 3, and we shelved our dream.

We moved abroad and witnessed many homeless children and overcrowded orphanages through our work with the American Society of Sao Paulo. Slowly we became inspired to reconsider adoption and took the leap. My husband met our son, Bruno, at the orphanage Lar Girassol and declared him his son. Synchronistically, he became our child, along with his biological sister, Esther.

After the adoptions, I hired a life coach to help me with the overwhelming transition. It was a powerful and empowering process that led me to seek coaching certification for myself. I started my practice in Sao Paulo, and after one year decided to complete master life coach training through my coaching organization, Martha Beck Inc. Like my clients, I was making major life-changing decisions, and I wanted the highest level of training and professional accountability available to me.

I’ve continued with my work as a master life coach, specializing in stress-related coaching, release of trauma and life-transition crossroads. I am also an aromatherapist and have signature essential oil products sold under my brand, Capim Santo Alchemy, and I craft personal blends.

Currently, I’m most on fire about being open to what’s next for me professionally and personally. I spent the last 18 months learning how to rest deeply in my quest to alleviate fatigue. I worked minimally and napped almost every day. Now I’m ready and set to go for what will transpire as I dream, listen and purposefully plan what’s next.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

In 2009, I returned to the United States after living abroad for 10 years. My coaching mentor, Michele Woodward, introduced me to Debbie Phillips just before the 2010 Chicago Women on Fire retreat. Debbie invited me to come as a guest. I was only able to attend one day, but I left with my “love tank” full due to the dynamics of support, encouragement and passion present during the day. The women were open and engaging, and I was hooked.

What’s your favorite component of the Women on Fire membership?

I love the totality of the organization, but if I had to state something specifically it would be the one-to-one connections I’ve made through the teas and retreats. I love maintaining those connections through social media.

What is your favorite part of the day?

Early morning before the rest of the house is awake, you’ll find me outside with coffee and the birds.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend to other Women on Fire?

I’m rereading When Everything Changes, Change Everything by Neale Donald Walsch.

What is one thing you are most proud of?

It is definitely seeing my oldest daughters blossom as they become young adults. One of our parenting goals was to enter a friendship with our children as they enter adulthood. I’m living that right now, and it’s super sweet and rewarding.

If you had an unexpected free day, how would you spend it?

I would follow my joy, which might be different, depending upon the time of year. Weather permitting, I likely would be outside hiking or on my paddleboard. I would probably find my way to a fun restaurant or coffee shop and enjoy time with friends or a book.

What is your favorite city in the world?

Only one? I like different cities for different reasons, but I’ll talk about Sao Paulo, Brazil, because I have a Brazilian heart, and I lived there for eight years. It’s a complicated cement jungle, but underneath the traffic and pollution you’ll find the most amazing people, culture, music and food. It’s a city that requires the practice of peace in the midst of chaos and crime. It seems counterintuitive in light of the gorgeous cities I’ve visited, but I fell in love.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

At the retreat in Naples, Florida, last year, I was in the small group with Mary Canty Merrill when she made the connection with the woman who saved her life years earlier. It was a powerful moment, laced with love and awe.

Name another Woman on Fire who has inspired you and tell why.

Linda Neff continually inspires me in her quest to use her voice for others. I love seeing her smiling face each day profiling nonprofit organizations. Everything Linda does exudes love and joy.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced and how did you overcome it?

In 2003, we adopted two children while we were living in Sao Paulo: Bruno, who was five years old, and Esther, who was three. We already had three biological daughters who were 11, 9 and 7 at the time. Although I was a licensed social worker, there’s no knowledge like real-life experience. I had no idea the impact — for better or worse — that bringing home abandoned children would have on our family. I believe adoption is a lifelong journey and that each life and family dynamic is unique. It’s an organic process that does not have cookie-cutter solutions.

In order to overcome the challenge of adoption, the first thing I needed to learn and practice was the keeping and care of me. This has been a long journey and, just when I think I’ve cracked the code, I see deeper levels that need care. I’m still learning and overcoming the challenges that appear regularly.

What is something that we might be surprised to learn about you?

In 2011, I took myself to the emergency room because I cut my finger pitting an avocado. While I was there, I discovered a heart problem that required a pacemaker. My case is an anomaly in the field of electrophysiology.

If you had the opportunity to teach a child one strategy that would help to guide her life, what would that be?

Practice breath awareness and meditation.

Name three women who have influenced your life and tell what you’ve learned from each.

Mother Teresa was a big influence on me during my early adult years. She said, “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person,” and “See, really see, those who are unseen by the powers that be and do little things with great love.” She inspired the values I practice today. I had the opportunity to work with the Sisters of Charity in Calcutta in 1994.

Martha Beck is the founder of the coaching organization where I was trained. She is a Harvard-educated sociologist and best-selling author in the self-help coaching genre. Her coaching was the catalyst that dramatically shifted my life perspective. She introduced me to modern neuroscience research on brain development and function. The foundational coaching tool, The Body Compass, transformed the way I make decisions and experience life.

Byron Katie is another modern-day sage whose work has been imprinted on my life. I use her famous four questions, called “The Work,” on a weekly, if not daily, basis. The Work has provided the framework to loosen myself from painful stories and beliefs that my ego wants to hold onto.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, my daughters and a chorus of virtual friends and colleagues, including the Women on Fire community.

What is your favorite “pig out” food?

Right now, it’s potato chips and dip.

What are the top three songs on your iPod right now?

Dirt by Florida Georgia Line, Tip It on Back by Dierks Bentley, and American Kids by Kenny Chesney.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

I use a combination of the following on a daily basis: proper hydration, fuel (nutrition), rest, movement, meditation, breathing practices and mental cleanses.

When you reflect on your life so far, what are the first words that come to mind?

Seeker and adventure.

More about Dana Frost…

Dana’s coaching alchemy transforms emotional baggage and trapped thinking into freedom, heals the heart and unveils the possibilities in any situation. She helps clients mine their mind, body, soul, emotion and energy wisdom to lead lives from their core strengths, values and intuition. Dana is an intuitive and spiritually insightful coach who uses Martha Beck coaching strategies and tools, aromatherapy, breath awareness and meditation, Resonance Repatterning®, HeartMath® and spiritual insight. She is a Master Certified Martha Beck Life Coach and the creator of Capim Santo Alchemy signature essential oil aromatherapy. You are welcome to say hello to her at danafrost@me.com.

The She’s a Woman on Fire! feature is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

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How-To Crush What Holds You Back

Happy Monday!

A few days ago I spent a day-plus in New York City with three icons of the entrepreneurial world:  Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Some of you know them or one or two of them; or maybe you’ve never heard of any of them.

If you, like me, have a big dream and want to be better and do better in this world, each one of these inspiring men is worth knowing and listening to.

Each has gone through the fire – the fire of doubt, loss, embarrassment, mistakes, fear, failure, unknowing — and each one uniquely blazed a trail that transformed their own dreams into success.

After my colleague Sebastian Kaupert and I spent time with these men, I walked away from Business Is Personal remarkably filled and inspired and I couldn’t wait to share with you some of their wisdom.

The bottom line is that we allow so many things to stand in our way and hold us back from our success. If the lives of these men are proof, it’s time to “crush” what holds us back and get on with it!

But first, let me briefly introduce them…

Seth Godin is a world-class thought leader on marketing, and author of a popular and very useful blog as well as 17 books, many best-selling, including Tribes,Linchpin and All Marketers Are Liars (Story-Tellers). I’ve written about Seth in pastSparks!

Gary Vee, as he is nicknamed, is a 38-year-old entrepreneur and podcast host, best known for growing his parents’ wine business from $3 million to a $50 million enterprise. He’s authored several books including my favorite Why Now Is The Time To Crush It. Today he owns VaynerMedia with more than 400 employees in three locations.

I knew the least about Dave Ramsey and I ended up riveted by his life, work, warmth and wisdom.  He hosts the 3rd most popular radio show in the United States, on 546 stations, with 10 million listeners.

After becoming a millionaire from scratch and then going bankrupt, Dave applied new ideas to his life for getting and staying out of debt.

He then began to share what he learned with others who needed hope and strategies. Today his inspiring programs are responsible for helping millions of people to get out of debt and to become financially solvent.

“If you help enough people, you’ll never have to worry about money,” Dave told us.

I’d like to condense the time I was so fortunate to have with these men into a few nuggets that I think you might find helpful and enjoy as you pursue your own big dreams:

From Seth Godin:

  •  There are a lot of ups and downs on the path to making something.
  •  The point is not the ending; the point is the journey.
  •  If you’re not willing to not be perfect, you won’t make magic.
  •  There’s a reason you have toxic people in your life. If you’re willing to give up that thing you’re getting from them, you’ll do better.
  •  Human beings are good at connecting with other human beings. Connection is coming back!  Together, we are all smarter than any of us.
  •  There is a huge difference between being ready and being prepared. You’ll never be ready (for whatever endeavor you’re embarking upon) but you can be prepared (by being in the right mindset and learning).
  •  Is the work you’re doing worth living in the tension for a while? Most people cannot live with the tension.  But the tension is what gets you to the art.
  •  Show up with passion to make it work!

From Gary Vaynerchuk:

  • How do I get through tough times? Happily. When you stop caring about what other people think, it gets easier.
  •  Who do you want to be? The person who calls when there is a problem – or the person who is called to solve the problem?
  •  I stay in my own swim lane. I know what I’m good at and I know what I’m bad at.
  •  The second you’re looking backwards, you’re finished. Pick a focus and don’t look back.
  •  Invest in yourself — take every dollar you need to live and all other dollars to bet on yourself.
  •  I am so uninterested in spending time with negative people. I just don’t.
  •  White wine is better at room temperature!

From Dave Ramsey:

  • People matter.  You have to think and believe people matter.  When we have friends who are transactional, we run the other way.
  • Don’t ever treat your customers as units of revenue.  Vendors are people; treat them like family.
  •  I want to know how someone’s been crushed in life; not where someone went to college.
  • It’s said that your income is the average of your 10 closest friends.
  •  People are sick of people who are inauthentic. Be who you is! Don’t be the squirrel who can’t make up his mind.
  •  Be obsessively, compulsively pre-occupied with the needs of others. Money will come to those who serve.
  • Higher calling matters. Why you are doing the business you’re doing matters more than what you’re doing. Operate from your soul.
  •  Being generous is the hallmark of people who are successful.

I hope you found even just one piece of gold in their wisdom to guide your week!  Have a great one.

I’ll see Women on Fire monthly members on Tuesday night for our Live Chat!  The topic will be “Understanding Conflict — And Ways To Resolve It To Live in Peace and Harmony.”

If you’re not yet a member, it’s never too late to join our ever-growing circle of inspiration, strategies and support.  Thank you for being here!

Love,

Links That Light Us Up

45th Edition

Women on Fire’s latest link roundup, full of festive fall-themed fun!

44th edition Links That Light Us Up

Best 48-hour DIY — Have a free weekend coming up and a room that needs some love? Check this out!

7 Home Improvement Projects You Can Do In Just  weekend via BabbleBabble

Best Organic Beauty Buys — Let your beauty routine go au naturel!

meow-meow-tweet

Best Fright Flicks — Scary movie fan? Here’s a roundup of every single scary movie that will be playing on television for the month of October.

The Shining- Every Scary Movie on TV this October

Best Fall Foliage — Planning a trip this fall? Check out the top 12 spots to behold the changing leaves.

Mike Norton Via ShutterstockFodors

Best Fall Recipe Roundup — These 25 recipes will have you busy until winter (because you will, without a doubt, want to make them all.)

25 Favorite Fall Recipes via Half Baked HarvestHalf Baked Harvest

Best Furry Costume — That would be a Pomeranian Spiced Latte, and that’s just the beginning.

Pomeranian Spiced Latte via BuzzfeedBuzzFeed

Best Introduction — Do you have trouble introducing yourself, your business and your passion? Never struggle to find the right words again.

Alexandra Franzen- How to explain what you doAlexandra Franzen

xo

The Women on Fire team

P.S. Did you catch our last Links That Light Us Up?

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October’s Book To Live By

This month’s Books To Live By selection highlights the featured guest and theme for our October monthly members’ Club package: Behind-the-Scenes of a Successful Writer’s Life with Sheila Weller.

From journalist and New York Times best-selling author Sheila Wellercomes an inside look at three of the best-known women in TV news and how they navigated and shaped the front lines of broadcast journalism.

Our October selection is….

 

The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour — and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News by Sheila Weller.

Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with people closest to the three newscasters, author Sheila Weller has pieced together enthralling profiles of these media trailblazers and how they came to pave the way for women in TV news for years to come.

Inside these pages, you’ll get an exclusive and intimate look at the extraordinary odds, prejudices and personalities that these women were up against, on and off the screen.

Each woman’s journey captures so much of what many of us have gone through in our careers, no matter what the industry.

Sheila is the ultimate storyteller and The News Sorority reveals Diane, Katie and Christiane as you’ve never seen them before.  You’ll find many of the strategies they used in going for their dreams applicable to your own life.

We loved Sheila’s last best-selling book Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell,  Carly Simon — And the Journey of a Generation.

The News Sorority is equally as powerful and fascinating. Enjoy reading and let me know what you think!

Love,

P.S. Are you in our Women on Fire monthly members’ club? If not, I invite you to join us today!  You will automatically be entered to win a signed copy of The News Sorority during our inspiring live video coaching call and chat for members-only on Tuesday, October 14.

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Members’ Club October 2014 Sneak Peek

Each month, our founder, Debbie Phillips, interviews an inspiring expert for monthly members. If you’re not yet a member, please be our guest and listen in today for free to a clip of Debbie’s upcoming candid interview with journalist and New York Times bestselling author, Sheila Weller.

Sheila is a brilliant writer whose work has been published in some of today’s major magazines including Vanity Fair, New York magazine, Rolling Stone, and many more. She has authored seven books, including her latest, The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour — and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News. And she’s giving Women on Fire members the inside scoop on what she discovered about these amazing women!

Simply press PLAY on the image below to listen to a brief audio clip (2:50) of this exciting and juicy interview.

In the full interview package, you’ll discover key insights inspired by Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Christiane Amanpour:

  • Turning your pain into your purpose
  • Strategies to help you stand up for what’s right in the face of authority
  • The No. 1 way to stay grounded during chaotic times
  • Embracing your personality without apologizing for it

All that plus an intimate look at some of the most beloved women in news!

If you are already a monthly member, enjoy this sneak preview. You’ll receive the full interview package in your mailbox in early October.

If you aren’t yet a member and would like to receive the full interview with Sheila Weller, I invite you to join us TODAY! You will also receive:

  • An invitation to our popular monthly live video coaching call/chat with Debbie Phillips, in which you have a chance to receive personalized coaching on whatever you are struggling with
  • Access to our private, members-only Facebook group, where you can connect and feel the support of our amazing community
  • Personalized coaching materials each month
  • Plus many more benefits!

Click here to register to receive October’s monthly membership package.  Registration to receive the interview with Sheila Weller ends on Saturday, September 27, 2014. You have only 48 hours left!

Don’t miss out on this entertaining interview that will absolutely capture your heart!

P.S. Register by Saturday, September 27, and you will receive a FREE, red leather Women on Fire journal to keep your dreams in!

6 Ways To Regain Your Energy and Rediscover You!

Happy first day of autumn 2014 to you!

 

To usher in this first day of the new season, my husband Rob Berkley took this fall-popping-out-of-summer photo in our neighborhood on Martha’s Vineyard.  Doesn’t it just inspire you to think of days ahead with fire pits, friends and s’mores?!

Feel free to share your photos of the season’s changes in your neighborhood on our Women on Fire Facebook page.

Our topic today is about getting on the path to living your best, most authentic and passionate life — when you’re not quite feeling it yet.

I receive dozens of emails daily from Spark! readers across the country and beyond. This is a sampling from a number of you this past week:

  • How do I find me?
  • How do I tap into the potential and strengths that I know I have, but they’ve been buried so long I can’t access them?
  • Where is my inspiration hiding?
  • Why can’t I just do what’s in my heart and get out of my own way?
  • I know my spark is in there! I look forward to this community helping me to find it.

We all understand the longing, the wondering, the frustration of wanting to line up with our gifts and talents — and our sparks — and not being able to get there. I’ve been there myself.

Years ago, before I became a life and executive coach and founded Women on Fire, there were days-on-end when I felt drained, worn out, uninspired and struggling just to make it through each day.  I did not know how to find me.  I only knew I wanted to be out of pain trying to figure it out.

Fortunately, you’ve landed in the right community, and there are answers and strategies (all I’ve used myself!) that can get you going today — and to help you find “you”!

So, if you are struggling to tap into your energy and find “you,” try on a few of these:

1) Rule out the physical – If your energy is low or if you can’t stay focused or committed to your dreams, you might consider talking with your doctor first to rule out a medical or mental health issue.

I’ve seen many women spring to life after being treated for health problems they didn’t know existed as well as women who discovered they needed to address depression or anxiety.

Once you’re given a clean bill of health, here are some strategies to consider next.

2) Get very quiet and become very mindful – Mindfulness studies show there is great benefit physically, mentally and emotionally to quieting your mind.  Just a few minutes a day, sitting in peace and silence, focusing on your breath and intention and letting go of judgment can help you to find your center — and yourself.

Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hahn and Mindfulness For Beginners: Reclaiming The Present Moment — And Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn are practical and powerful books to help guide you into a mindfulness practice.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it,” says another of my favorite mindfulness teachers, Sharon Salzberg.

3) Ask for help – Ask people you know, love and trust to affirm what’s special and unique about you. Ask them what contributions you make; what your special gifts are. And when they tell you, believe them!

Knowing we are not alone in our quest to find ourselves can rekindle our sparks and put us in touch with who we truly are.

4) Write in your journal every day and read inspiration – Before I get out of bed each day, I write down at least five things I’m grateful for and read one passage of inspiration selectly randomly from any number of books on my bedside table.

It will start off your day positively and help you stay on track throughout the day.

What is your favorite uplifting book? If you need a list of inspiring books, here is one from Goodreads.

5) Find one thing that gives you joy – Make a list of activities you loved as a young girl. Select one and “make a date” to revisit an interest or hobby you once loved.

I’ve seen women return to their love to dance, horseback ride, knit, ice-skate, hike — and in doing so she tapped into a “spark” — and that led to other sparks!

6) Turn your pain into purpose — I just finished Sheila Weller’s latest book, The News Sorority, the life stories of newswoman Katie Couric, Diane Sawyerand Christiane Amanpour.

Each of them is a great example of turning personal pain into something bigger than herself:

Diane Sawyer’s father drove off of a bridge to his death when she was 23, and it spurred her to do her best to make him proud. Katie Couric’s husband died of colon cancer at 32, leaving her with two small girls. Fight cancer led her to raise millions of dollars and prevent thousands of deaths.

Christiane Amanpour’s family lost their home, possessions and more during the Iranian Revolution; it spurred her to become a courageous reporter in war-torn countries.

So what is the pain in your life? Can you turn it inside out and find the spark that will lead you to accessing your passion?

Wait until you see how it worked out for this Woman on Fire — JW BootheJas found her “spark” from her pain — and here she is being honored by Oprah!

Love,

 

P.S. Thank you to WTNH-TV in New Haven, Connecticut –and especially host Jocelyn Maminta and producer Meghan Yost for inviting me to share How To Live Your Life on Fire!

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Meet Michelle Tenzyk

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other.  She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

She's a Woman on Fire! Michelle Tenzyk

Michelle Tenzyk

Peekskill, New York

Member: #00183

Member since: June 25, 2013


Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work. What are you “on fire” about?

I am a very proud 51 years old and love sharing my age. I realize that I’m in the best half of my life, with fewer worries about what others think and able to be myself most, if not all, of the time. My husband, Joe, and I just moved from New York City to Peekskill, N.Y., which is in Northern Westchester County, about 50 minutes outside of New York City.

It is somewhat like coming home for us, as we were both raised in Westchester County, Joe in Yonkers and me in Valhalla. We have glorious views of the Hudson River from every floor of our new home, offering true serenity 24/7.

Joe and I were married in April 2012, and he is the love of my life. I waited a very long 15 years to find him after I went through a tough, heartwrenching divorce in 1997. I looked far and wide, long and hard, before. finally, my Joe came along. He was so worth the wait and the effort — and it was effort!

After we were married a year, I had a realization that, although I had been quite content as a single woman, I had been missing that deep connection with a partner of being loved unconditionally. I hadn’t known it was missing because I didn’t have it. But now that I do, I am I so deeply satisfied. Truly.

I run my own boutique consulting firm, East Tenth Group, providing strategic human resources consulting, leadership development and executive coaching services to middle-market businesses across the United States. I absolutely love it, and the business has more than doubled in size this past year.

I’m on fire about the movement I founded: The Truth Behind Our Titles™, which empowers women to share their professional journeys, including the challenges. Our inaugural event will be in New York City on Oct. 1.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

I connected to Women on Fire through the amazing Cari Vollmer, whom I knew through Rochelle Togo-Figa and her coaching work. Cari posted something on Facebook about the organization, and I decided to take a “look-see.” I’m rather skeptical about women’s groups, but I bought the first Women on Fire book and read it cover to cover.

I dog-eared a number of the stories, especially Kelley Black’s. I then went to the Feminist.com event in New York that Debbie sponsored and to the June 2013 tea at Lady Mendl’s. I have never looked back! I love it!

What’s your favorite component of the Women on Fire membership? 

I love meeting women who are on a similar journey to mine, women who are seeking to better themselves and live a full, joyous life. It makes me not feel so alone, especially when we openly share some of our hardships and struggles on the Facebook page. We can get real and vulnerable without shame. That’s where I am in my life and that is whom I want to surround myself with. And then there is Debbie! Simply put, perfection!

What is your favorite part of the day?

I’m not sure I have one. On weekends, it is late morning when I’m having my first cup of coffee with my husband after I sleep in. My full energy tends to kick in during the mid to late afternoon.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend to other Women on Fire?

I loved Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Her grit, determination and willingness dumbfounded me.

What is one thing you’re most proud of? 

I have a number of things I am proud of. I will start with saying that I was at the bedside of my mother and my father when they died. As difficult as it was, I have a sense of peace that I was able to show up and be there during that sacred, beautiful time in our lives when one of us moved on to the great unknown. Our very own Mary Landberg captures this time beautifully in her book, Enduring Love.

Right now, I am most proud of founding the movement The Truth Behind Our Titles™: Strength, Resilience and Hope for the Professional Journey. I had been thinking about this for almost 10 years, but was too scared or uncertain about how to tell my story. I wanted to do something in the corporate sector that would be useful and helpful, not just tell my story for the sensationalism.

Now I am doing it. The inaugural event is Oct. 1 at the 3 West Club in New York City, and we are garnering such great attention. I believe in this with all my heart. There is so much work to be done in the corporate and professional setting to help us comfortably live more fully integrated lives.

I’m most proud that I’m doing it with another Woman on Fire, Kelley Black — once again showing that this might not be happening without Women on Fire! I am deeply honored and grateful for all of the support I am receiving.

If you had an unexpected free day, how would you spend it?    

Going to the beach, lounging by the pool, lazing around. I am a very lazy person.

What is your favorite city in the world?

It is a tossup between New York City and Paris.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.  

I have two. When I went to the Women on Fire tea in June 2013, I didn’t think that any of the authors of the book would be there. Common sense eludes me at times! So when we went around the table and Kelley Black — whom I was dying to meet — spoke, I almost knocked over other women to get to her. For me, it was divine.

My second special experience was bringing Ginny, my best friend of 48 years, to the Women on Fire Retreat last February in Naples. Priceless!

What’s your big dream?

That our movement, The Truth Behind Our Titles™, helps corporate and professional individuals know their truth. I want the walls of shame and fear about sharing our adversities and challenges in the corporate setting to come down. I want high achieving women and men to feel empowered, through our collective experiences, to find strength and resilience for their professional journeys.

I truly hope and pray this movement becomes a global calling. I am humbled by the response we are receiving already and would be honored to help even one person.

If you had the opportunity to teach a child one strategy that would help to guide her life, what would that be? 

Never be afraid to ask for help in everything and anything you need to or want to do. I find that, as we get older, we tend to not want to ask for help. We wear self-sufficiency as a badge of honor, and while it has its advantages, it can hold us back from further learning, growth and development. It’s impossible to know how to do everything and be wise in all things. Asking for help grows us exponentially.

What is something that we might be surprised to learn about you?

I was a pianist from age eight through my late 20s — and quite a good one. I played competitively all through high school, and my undergrad degree is in music. Oh, and I was class clown in grammar school and high school and know how to do some of the best pranks. Yep.

Name three women who have influenced your life, and tell what you’ve learned from each.

My mother, Jeannette Tenzyk, who died from Alzheimer’s in 2006, taught me every possible thing — how to cook, bake, clean, sew, crochet, knit, needlepoint, garden, always say thank you, wear slips, take good care of my skin, and be lovely to strangers and the elderly. Most important, she taught me to be kind and help others as much as possible.

Ginny Escobedo, my best friend since we were three years old, exudes love, loyalty, faith and friendship. She shows me how to never give up, to always have faith, even when it is the darkest of days, and to maintain a long friendship by tending it with love, laughter, honesty and joy.

Sheree Stomberg was my first female boss when I worked at Swiss Bank early in my career. She had just been promoted to the divisional head of the technology group. She set the standard for me of a highly accomplished female leader. She was smart, fearless, fair and incredibly successful. I always remember wanting to be like her as I advanced in my career.

Who cheers you on?

My dad was my biggest cheerleader. Even though he died in September 2011, I still believe he is cheering me on. My husband, Joe, constantly gives me encouragement, as do Ginny, Maria, Elizabeth, Jen Brooks, Julie, Barbara, Kathleen and Giuliana.

What is your favorite “pig out” food?

French fries.

What are the top three songs on your iPod right now?

“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Ain’t It Fun by Paramore, and “Love Runs Out” by One Republic.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced and how did you overcome it?

In 2009 I broke up with someone who wasn’t one of my better choices as a boyfriend. After the breakup, he chose to harass me to the point of endangering my life, horrifically vandalizing my car and other terrible things. I had him arrested and pursued prosecuting the case for more than 18 months because I knew what was true.

I found out what it was like to be a victim and go through the court system, how it is the victim who is put on trial more than the person who commits the crime. I sought out victim counseling to keep my sanity and saw it through. He finally pled guilty after 18 long months of my fearing for my life.

I had a restraining order for more than three years. I always believe in the truth and will do almost anything to find it or prove it. This was by far one of the most difficult things I have gone through because of the embarrassment and shame I felt for getting myself into the mess in the first place.

But I stuck it out to the end. I realized that so many victims might not have the internal or external resources I had to get through it. I completely understood why so many drop their cases — and, hence, why we see so many women get killed. It really just saddens me.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

A day at the spa!

When you reflect on your life so far, what is the first word or two that comes to mind?

Survivor

More about Michelle Tenzyk…

Michelle Tenzyk serves as the president of East Tenth Group. She has more than 25 years of experience in human resources and maximizing leaders’ capabilities across multiple industries. East Tenth Group is fiercely committed to helping leaders and their businesses thrive in today’s complex environment. They partner with small- to middle-market businesses that need strategic leadership and human capital insights, perspective and experience to grow and sustain their efforts. You can find Michelle’s posts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (@michelletenzyk). You are welcome to say hello to her at michelle@easttenthgroup.com.

 

She’s a Woman on Fire! is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

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The 3 Most Common Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

This week on a Connecticut television show I share the mistakes women can make that prevent them from living a life “on fire” and the formula that helps to keep you strong and flourishing!


With Jocelyn Maminta, host of Connecticut
Style
 on WTNH in New Haven.

Many of you know those mistakes and the ways to help you live your life to the fullest, but I thought it might be a good time for a refresher!

Because everything in television time is very brief, I narrowed down the three mistakes women can make to keep them from being successful:

Common Mistake Women Make

1) Women fail to cheer on the successes of other women. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has said, “I think there is a special place in Hell for women who don’t support other women.” We agree!

When we cheer on each other, it inspires “a rising tide to lifts all boats.”

2) We fail to ask for help and take everything on ourselves.  Often becoming martyrs in the process.

Enough said!

3) We compare ourselves to others.  We often look at what other women have and do and then we feel less than.  I’m here to say that there will always be women smarter, wealthier, thinner, best dressed and with better behaved children, so we need to STOP comparing ourselves to anyone other than our own goals, dreams and desires.  And measure against that!

So here is our Women on Fire F.I.R.E. formula to focus on living the life you truly want:

F — Friends — Surround yourself with positive, uplifting women (hey, you’re here so I know you’re doing that!) who will cheer you on and support you. Minimize your contact with “friends” who mock you, ignore your successes, and are negative, toxic and draining.

I — Inspiration — Find a way each and every day to inspire yourself.  I keep a stack of books filled with inspiration on my bedside table. I open up to any passage in any of the books and am guaranteed to find a way to start my day out on a positive note!

R — Resources — You need the best resources when you’re going after your dreams to save yourself time and money. The best sources are often friends, family and colleagues who are willing to provide you with their own tried-and-true resources and contacts.

E — Easy — If going for your dreams feels hard (and that is different from sometimes feeling challenged as you pursue your dreams) or if you can’t stay focused on what you want, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your dreams and goals.  You may face tough times when pursuing your vision, but it should feel natural and easy that it is the right thing.

So there you have it.  You can tune in tomorrow at 12:30PM on WTNH-TV and watch the broadcast — or you can take this formula and get to work on living the life you truly want!

Have a great week and I’ll see Women on Fire monthly members on this week’s LIVE CHAT where we’ll discuss Creating A Strong Finish to 2014 and other topics!

Love,

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September’s Book To Live By

It’s back-to-school season and this month’s Books To Live By selection highlights the astonishing truth behind a well-loved history lesson.

This fall, I invite you to explore how one of the most famous and cherished American icons came to be. It’s Lady Liberty as you’ve never known her!

Our September selection is….

Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build The Statue of Liberty by Elizabeth Mitchell.

Before I share a sneak peek of this enchanting book, I have a little quiz.

True or False:

  1. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French.
  2. The face of this beloved sculpture is of a woman.
  3. The Statue of Liberty was created to stand as a symbol for freedom.

If you answered true to any of the above, you (and me too!) have been misinformed!

From extensive research and original letters, author Elizabeth Mitchell has pieced together one of history’s most overlooked entrepreneurial success stories, allowing her also to refute the blindly accepted explanation of how the Statue of Liberty made her way to America.

This book takes you back to the 1800s where you follow the dreams and determination of a young French sculptor, inventor and entrepreneur Frederic Auguste Bartholdi who stopped at nothing to see his vision through.

He needed commissions and had a dream to build the world’s largest sculpture at the headwaters of the Nile River. When Egypt turned down his project idea, he set his sights on America.

Liberty’s Torch reads far more like an adventure than a history lesson. It will leave you marveling at how our beloved Statue of Liberty came to be!

A great read and lesson for your entire family, especially if you have school-aged kids, I strongly recommend Liberty’s Torch!

 With lots of love ~

 

 

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Guest Post: How To Manage Life In Transition

I hope you will enjoy this guest post from Women on Fire member Dyana Robenalt of Stockbridge, MA. I found it inspiring and uplifting and I thought you might, too. I’ll be back next week! xo Debbie

Switching Hands: How to Manage Life in Transition
By Dyana Robenalt

When I was 13, my mother died.

Within days, I was plucked from her and my stepfather’s loving home. This began a lifetime of planned and unplanned transitions.

Resiliency became my invisible middle name.

Being in a transition can feel scary. Imagine switching hands from your dominant side to your other one. Being open to this adaptation created a huge awareness for me.

My ex-husband and I used to periodically switch sides of the bed just to keep ourselves open to the concept of change.

Fear ruled many of my transitions and often took the form of crises. Witnessing 9/11 created a string of devastating transitions and luckily, many earth angels and soul guides helped me to overcome my serious pain.

I am currently in one of the more radical shifts I’ve experienced in years. While I tried to plan it, there are still many unknown elements creating the mystique and excitement I crave after years of knowing that virtuous “rewards” often come at the end of seemingly difficult times.

This one has BIG potential and I’m ready! Learning to trust the process and flow like the rising and falling of tides, no matter what, has taken years of practice.

Letting go and letting God run the show is still challenging. I keep my favorite saying from Wayne Dyer handy to help with this:

Over time my thinking shifted from:
Forget
Everything
And
Run

to

Feeling
Excited
And
Ready!

For the past ten years, I’ve focused on taking responsibility for mistakes I made. I adjusted the sails and redesigned my outlook. This translated to patience and understanding that I am always where I am supposed to be at the time – an ongoing reminder.

Humility has become the new badge of honor I seek, and living with a strong moral compass as my foundation has helped me to navigate even the most turbulent waters. We’re all connected and we never know the pain someone else is in or has endured.

It makes sense to always be kind and realize that we’re all just trying to make it through the day. Last year, keeping a gratitude jar did wonders for me. The act of writing down one thing I was grateful for every day created a revolutionary shift in my positivity!

Here are a few other practices and reminders I try to do daily for smooth transitions:

  • Believe something great is about to happen
  • Pick “winners”
  • Be open yet expect nothing
  • Seek higher guidance
  • Always be the first to say hello
  • Keep favorite books handy. Read new inspiring ones
  • Listen more than talk (My hardest!)
  • Catch and “flick” negative thoughts away with my hand
  • Be willing to try new things
  • Keep 3-4 months of savings on hand!
  • Do random acts of kindness, volunteer or help someone
  • Meditate, be in nature, be still
  • Do the WORK

Transitions allow me to reflect and plan how I will react differently next time. Every minute and every day provide opportunities to start over. Learning to “switch hands” in transitions no matter when they come, or how long they last, has given me more peace, freedom and happiness!

More about Dyana Robenalt~

Dyana is a Western Massachusetts Master Gardener (recently transferred from Rutgers) with over 40 years of experience and a major foodie and spititual being. She provides garden coaching and estate management services. She has served on the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Advisory Council for the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program and is a NJ Learns Fellow graduate from the Cloud Institute for Sustainability.

Her experience also includes former careers in hospitality and teaching in private independent schools. She recently relocated to the Berkshires and can be reached at dyana@dyanarobenalt.com. You can follow her on Twitter @greengardenlady.