If you had no fear, what is possible for you?

A huge Women on Fire welcome to hundreds of new readers who’ve joined the Spark! after I met you at the Thirty-One Gifts national conferences.

In the past two weeks, I spoke to thousands of women at arenas in Denver and Columbus, Ohio about how to create and build a strong, loving, supportive community that serves you throughout your life, similar to what we have at Women on Fire.

My dream has always been to provide as many women as possible with inspiration, strategies and support so we can all have our dreams.

Photos at Thirty-One Gifts conferences in Denver and Columbus by Meredith Schoenberger

Speaking to large groups is one of the best ways to share what you’ve learned in order to benefit many others.

But for me to present in front of large groups, I had to overcome one major obstacle:  a phobia to speak in public!

Some of you will find that hard to believe — and my mother, in particular, because I spoke my first word at five months and according to those who love me, I’ve never stopped talking!

Years ago as a press secretary, I spoke on behalf of public officials and could easily and fluidly speak in public.  Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a fear blanketed me, causing me to panic to talk with more than a handful of people at a time.

(I always wondered and thought it curious that my phobia started around the time I went from talking for others to standing on my own and speaking my own beliefs?)

I want to tell you how I overcame this debilitating phobia in case you face any similar kind of fear that prevents you from sharing your gifts with the world and living life full out.

But first I want to introduce you to the dynamic, inspiring woman who founded Thirty-One Gifts.  Cindy Monroe is a role model for us all in following her own dreams — to design beautiful, useful bags, totes and purses and provide women the opportunity to sell them and own their own businesses.

She started her dream in her basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee only 10 years ago, as a 29-year-old mom of two little kids.

Today, Thirty-One Gifts, now headquartered in Columbus, is the 17th largest direct-selling company in the world!

You will be hearing much more about Cindy, and directly from her in the future, when I interview her this fall for the Women on Fire monthly membership program.

Before I share how I overcame my fear to talk to thousands in an arena, I want to answer the number one question I was asked these past weeks.

How does it feel to walk on stage and go before thousands of women!?


Standing back stage in the darkness, preparing to slip through the curtain, I could feel the enorous energy from the massive crowd pulse up through my feet and into my body. The energy and music simply carried me on to the stage.

The minute I stepped into the bank of lights, I was riveted by the warmth and excitement from the audience. As Alicia Keys would say: I had my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds once I heard our theme song Girl On Fire being played. It was exhiliarating!

I could literally sense thousands of women’s good will and eagerness to listen and learn. A good thing to always remember: your audience wants you to succeed!

Grateful to have Women on Fire Andrea Dowding, Brit Eaton and Tandi Musuraca in the audience cheering me on!

And, no one was more surprised about my being comfortable on stage than me!

Only a few years ago, my mind would go blank if I had to speak to more than a few people. And, that led me to worry I would pass out …or worse, throw up. (It never happened, by the way, but it sure felt like it could.)

So, how did I overcome this fear and stand on stage before thousands?

Here are five key factors that helped me to go from fearful to fearless:

1) Having a purpose bigger and more powerful than your fear – I feel so passionate about Women on Fire and the community that we have created that my strong desire to help other women led me to burst through my fear.

Given the choice of caving in to my fear and forgoing my dream to share Women on Fire with thousands or facing my fear and working through it, I knew my choice!

The thought of women not having the encouragement and sisterhood they deserve –  because I was too scared to stand in front of them — was way worse for me than my fear.

Women on Fire book 2 co-author Carrie Saba spoke of this, too, in her chapter on  overcoming her fear of heights.  It was more important to be a role model and enjoy family activities with her daughters than to give in to her phobia of heights.

(Wait until you hear what Carrie did to overcome her fear! You can read all about it in her chapter “Scaling New Heights.”)

2) Practice, practice, practice – A few years ago, in the throes of my worst fears, my talented husband Rob Berkley hatched a plan for me. He took dozens of little yellow Post-Its, drew smiling faces on each one, and stuck them all over our 10-foot sliding glass doors.

They became my “audience!”  I gave my talks over and over to the happy, sticky Post-It people. I did this until what I had to say became a natural extension of who I was!

Whatever might scare you is often vanquished when you practice in a safe environment the behavior you wish to have instead.

3) Seeking professional help – To calm my nerves for one particular speech, I engaged a professional therapist who works with energy.

It was a remarkable and brief experience over the phone. The result was that I could  imagine the entire stage filled with generations of my ancestors with their hands on my shoulders in support.  After that, almost magically, I was never again afraid to speak to a crowd — even thousands.

If you are interested in this work, I am happy to share Dr. Dale Schusterman’s information and his work with Family Constellation therapy.

There are several forms of Emotional Freedom Techniques, often referred to as EFT, to explore to help remove blocks and fears. I highly recommend! There is no need to suffer.

4) Inch by inch – After learning to speak comfortably in front of a dozen people, I branched to 20. Then I spoke to 40, 80, 100, 250 and 350.  While speaking to thousands is only slightly different, because of the complexities and technical aspects of the stage, speaking in an arena for me now felt like a natural progression — with just a few more people;-)

We talk here often about taking one, small step at a time — over and over — to get to your dream. And that’s what happened for me. Over a decade, I approached public speaking from super scaredy-pants to absolutely loving it!

Celebrating back stage afterward in Columbus with my Women on Fire sisters whose love and support were invaluable: Brit Eaton, my best friend Jan Allen, me!, Kacy Cook, Tandi Musuraca and Andrea Dowding

5) Surrounding yourself with whatever support you need – The love, support and belief in me from my Women on Fire sister made the ultimate difference in being able to speak with ease, comfort and joy!

I simply put out a call for support on our private Women on Fire members’ page and instantaneously I was held up, encouraged and cheered on.  I could not have done it without my sisters.  I would not have wanted to do it without my sisters!  Thank you all so much for being there for me.

With you at my back, I knew I could fly!

Now that I’ve no longer allowed fear to control my life to publicly speak, I can’t even begin to tell you how many wonderful things have come to me.  Perhaps you are here and part of this amazing circle now because of you met me at a speaking engagement!

My hope for you is simple.  If you have any fear in your life right now that holds you back from having your dream, just know there isn’t anything together we can’t solve. Step-by-step. Strategy-by-strategy.

If you have an inspiring story like Carrie Saba’s about overcoming a fear, please share on below in the comments so we can all learn from you and celebrate your success.

Thank you for being part of this amazing, fearless community!

Much love,

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Monthly Membership Sneak Peek August 2014

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 entrepreneur, author, life coach and activist Zhena Muzyka.

Sound Cloud Monthly Sneak Peek August 2014  copy

Zhena is the founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Company, which is a thriving, purpose-driven, fair-trade, multi-million dollar brand. She just published her first book, Life by the Cup: Ingredients for a Purpose-Filled Life of Bottomless Happiness and Limitless Success, and Mark Wahlberg is one of the executive producers crafting a TV series based on Zhena’s life. She is the true definition of a Woman on Fire!

Simply press PLAY on the image below to listen to a brief audio clip (2:13) of this inspirational and heartfelt interview.

In the full interview, you’ll discover:

  • How, as a 24-year-old single mother with very little money and a critically ill child, Zhena transformed her life and made her dreams happen
  • A powerful practice that will help you set stronger goals
  • Ways to protect your dream while bringing it into existence
  • How to breakthrough the “old school” business model to see more success
  • Steps to help you move toward more heart-centered work

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

If you aren’t yet a member and would like to receive the full interview with Zhena Muzyka, along with:

  • 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 online forum, where you can connect and feel the support of our amazing community
  • Personalized coaching materials each month
  • And many more benefits

I invite you to join us TODAY!

Click here to register to receive August’s monthly membership package.  Registration to receive the interview with Zhena Muzyka ends on Monday, July 28, 2014. You have only three days left!

Don’t miss out on this brilliant interview, with tips and inspiration that will help you nurture your dreams into existence!


In the arms of an angel

We talk a lot about angels here.

At Women on Fire, we are angels to each other as we walk this path toward our dreams – or on the journey to figure out our dreams.

And this week I got to meet an angel whose work and music has inspired my own life’s path and miracles.  Many of you have told me you love her too!

Canadian singer, songwriter Sarah McLachlan is an original Woman on Fire.

When her passion to fully share her music was thwarted, she found another way to make her dreams happen. And she chose other women to help her do it!

In the 1990s, Sarah became frustrated with concert promoters and radio stations that refused to feature two female musicians in a row.  (I shudder to think of the “logic” behind that!?)

Outraged and empowered, she set out to change the disparity by highlighting and promoting her musical sisterhood.

She co-founded the successful Lilith Fair, a touring music festival, to shine the light exclusively on female solo artists and female-led bands.

In its initial three years of concerts throughout North America, Lilith Fair advanced the popularity of women’s music to new heights – and raised more than $10 million for women’s charities.

And while Lilith Fair is no longer, Sarah McLachlan, now 46 and a mom of two daughters, is back and stronger than ever touring the United States and Canada this summer.

A couple of nights ago, I had the great fortune to meet her before her concert in Bangor, Maine.  As I approached her, wanting to be proper I reached out to shake her hand.  She laughed, opened her arms wide, smiled that beautiful smile of hers, and informed me: “I am a hugger.”

That she was.  And for a moment there, I am pretty sure I was in the arms of an angel!

Every day I hear stories of how you are helping each other. How you lift up each other and support one another. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for our sisterhood of angels — and keep the stories coming.

Just as Sarah discovered in her career, and we know here, joining forces with other women is one of the best strategies to get to your goals and dreams. Who can you reach out to this week?

As inspiration, I thought you might enjoy the lyrics and video to one of Sarah’s best-loved songs.  It’s a reminder that we are in this together.  And that a big hug and a loving arm goes a long way to provide comfort on the journey.

Spend all your time waiting
for that second chance
for a break that would make it okay
there’s always some reason
to feel not good enough
and it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
oh beautiful release
memories seep from my veins
let me be empty
and weightless and maybe
I’ll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the angel
fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you fear
you are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
you’re in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line
and everywhere you turn
there’s vultures and thieves at your back
and the storm keeps on twisting
you keep on building the lies
that you make up for all that you lack
it don’t make no difference
escaping one last time
it’s easier to believe in this sweet madness oh
this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees

In the arms of the angel
fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you fear
you are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
you’re in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here
you’re in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort here.

Have a great week, angels!

I’ll see a number of you this week in Columbus, Ohio when I speak to 14,000 women (angels;-) about the power of building community at 31 Gifts national conference at Nationwide Arena.

(Next week in The Spark! I’ll share how I overcame my phobia to speak to more than a handful of people!)


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Links That Light Us Up

39th Edition

Hello, Women on Fire!

Hope you had a fantastic week! Here are some finds from across the Web to keep you company this weekend. :)

Best for Your Budget — Looking to spruce up your walls without spending a fortune? Check this out!

21 Places to buy affordable art- Jessica ProbusBuzzFeed

Best Two-Minute Test — Are you up to this two-minute relaxation challenge?

Do nothing for 2 min.


Best No-Cook Sides — No need to turn on your stove for these delicious summer sides.

10 no cook sides from Real SimpleReal Simple


Best Beautiful Print — These prints are absolutely breathtaking and whimsical. Take a look here!

Love LimzyLoveLimzy


Best Background Noise — There is something about the sound of rain that is instantly relaxing. Now you never have to wait for a thunderstorm again!

Rainy Mood soundtrackRainymood.com


Best Location Locator — Are you living in your geographic home? Find out here.

What US City should you actually Live In Jessica MisenerBuzzFeed

Best Bubbles on the Go — Never again worry about spills or stains while you’re away from home.

Scrubba- portable washing machineScrubba

Best Potluck Parties — These menus will have you eager to invite everyone you know — and then some! — for a big summer soirée.

19 Big summer food party ideas by Christine ByrneBuzzFeed

Hope these links light up your weekend, and we look forward to hearing about what’s lighting you up on the Internet lately.


The Women on Fire team

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July’s Book To Live By

This month’s Books To Live By selection highlights the theme for our July membership programTravel Tips for More Fun and Less Stress.

Travel consultant and blogger Carol Margolis offers fantastic strategies for planning your next family vacation, work trip or fabulous getaway.

Our July selection is….

Business Travel Success: How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive & Travel with Confidence by Carol Margolis

With summer in full swing, I thought you might appreciate one of my favorite on-the-road resources: Carol Margolis. She has been featured by national media including Good Morning America andThe Wall Street Journal, and Business Travel Success is a collection of her best tried-and-true tips.

As much as I love to travel, sometimes it can be a bit stressful, specifically while I’m packing, at the airport, or even sometimes after I’ve arrived at my destination. This book continually calms me with ingenious suggestions that make almost every aspect of traveling easier, from booking and planning to safety concerns and money-saving secrets.

Margolis even addresses how to care for your family’s needs while you are on the road. As a mother who has been traveling for work over the last 25 years, she understands how to keep things up and running while away from home.

What I love most about Business Travel Success is that, contrary to its title, it is just as helpful in planning your next vacation as it is for those work trips.

I hope you are in the midst of planning your next vacation or are busy filling your bucket list with beautiful places around the globe. Before you take off, be sure to grab your own copy of Business Travel Success to ensure your best trip yet! :)

 With lots of love ~


She’s a Woman on Fire! Meet Cari Vollmer

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… – See more at: http://www.debbiephillips.com/2014/01/22/shes-a-woman-on-fire-meet-carmencita-whonder/#sthash.d0qbe5aG.dpuf
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… – See more at: http://www.debbiephillips.com/2014/01/22/shes-a-woman-on-fire-meet-carmencita-whonder/#sthash.d0qbe5aG.dpuf
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… – See more at: http://www.debbiephillips.com/2014/01/22/shes-a-woman-on-fire-meet-carmencita-whonder/#sthash.d0qbe5aG.dpuf

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…


Cari Vollmer

Minneapolis, Minn.

WOF member: #00110

Member since:  March 11, 2012

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

My husband, Pete, and I are business owners, and we’re passionate about what we do. Right now we’re talking about how to make this chapter of our life our most intentional so far, including implementing a daily practice where we start the day together to set our intentions and keep our vision alive. We both feel the power in finally putting our marriage, our dreams and ourselves first. We’re excited.

We are a blended family, which means I’ve had children in my life from the day we got married almost 25 years ago. This fall will be the first time we’ll have an “empty nest.” Pete and I are looking forward to this new time, while of course still enjoying our girls so much. My stepdaughter Meghann, a veterinarian, is married and has a little boy, Jackson, who calls me either CC or Grandma, both of which I respond to with enthusiasm!

Another big focus right now is holding an intentional and loving space for our other daughter, Kasie, as she graduates from high school and starts her new life as a college student and athlete. I know every mother who has gone through this transition understands what this means — the emotional roller-coaster of joy and fears. all of it. We’re oh so proud of Kasie and her many accomplishments, including earning a full-ride athletic scholarship to a college where she will also get to pursue her passion for wildlife biology.

Last fall I finally accepted the fact that my life — our lives — were changing, and it wasn’t helping to hold it at arm’s length. Interestingly enough, as soon as I affirmed the transition, I started getting a lot of clarity regarding my next steps as a woman and businesswoman. I knew deep down that this is my time to claim my dreams in an even bigger and bolder way.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

I originally heard about Women on Fire through my friend Laurie Forster. Laurie and I were in the same mastermind group, and she nudged me to get to know her coach, Debbie Phillips. I started following Debbie and Women on Fire on Facebook, and it wasn’t long before I was a complete FAN! I’m so happy I listened to that nudge Laurie gave me!

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

In this order: (1) Debbie and her intentional and loving leadership, (2) the sisterhood, and (3) retreats, monthly calls and interview CDs.

What is your favorite part of the day?

I have a few different favorite parts to my day.  I love both when I’m the only one home, and I can feel what I need to feel and hear what I need to hear. I love that quiet space. And I love when the rest of my family is home and how crazy it can get with them and our two dogs, a terrier mix named Choxie and a golden retriever named Finnegan, and our cat, Isabelle.

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

A few years ago a client told me about The Power of Awareness by Neville Goddard. I bought it immediately and proceeded to highlight many passages. I return to it over and over and over again.

Name one thing you’re proudest of.

I’m proudest of taking the journey to know who I am. I now feel everything stems from that understanding, and I’m so much more comfortable in the world as a result. I also trust my intuition now more than ever. It’s not always easy to do so because there’s so much noise in the world. I suppose that’s why I like my house when it’s quiet. I like to feel what I’m feeling, and if I get too busy I can’t do that.

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

When people first meet me, they are always surprised by how tall I am — 6-foot-3! It might also be surprising to know that I was adopted.

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

That would totally depend on my mood in that moment. I might like to go for a long walk — either by myself or with a friend — buy some flowers for my office and kitchen, meet friends for lunch or dinner, get a massage, and either try a new recipe for dinner or find a new restaurant in the city.

What is your favorite city in the world?

I haven’t visited nearly enough to know for sure, but right now I’d say Minneapolis, Chicago and New York, in no particular order.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

There have been so many! This year at the Women on Fire Retreat in Naples I had a big aha moment when I heard the panel discussing the importance of having sponsors — other people who take an active interest in your success and open doors for you. I’ve had many mentors and some of them have been sponsor-like. But when I heard Tandi Musuraca talking about sponsors, I realized that I could be asking for sponsors to show up in my life. And a few already have! I loved that moment! Thank you again, Tandi!

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

Well, I LOVE my Women on Fire cleanse sisters. (I wonder if they realize that this is what I call them!) Last year I participated in the first Women on Fire 21-day cleanse. I was so nervous! I didn’t know if I could possibly do the full 21 days. But Debbie and Amy Marzluff offered such amazing support and guidance as well as the connection to the other women who participated. I did it and I loved it!

What’s your big dream?

My dreams are to live my happiest and healthiest life, surrounded by people I love and who love me. I want to be true to myself, and to continue making a positive impact in the world. This year, I’ve committed to specializing in one particular aspect of all those that I’ve offered to clients over the years and that is to share my Identify Your Brilliance work with as many souls as possible. I really can’t think of better work than helping others discover who they are.

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

I have to list three, but they’re all connected. :)

  • Know who you are.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Value who you are.

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

My mom, Kay, was a businesswoman and ran our family restaurant for 20 years. She was the toughest boss I ever had. She taught me a lot about how to have a great work ethic and take care of customers, and how NOT to put up with bad behavior. She was gracious and had a deep inner strength. When I was looking for my first job after moving to Minneapolis, she gave me the best job-hunting advice I’ve ever heard: Make them feel like they couldn’t possibly live without you. I took her advice and was hired on the spot! I lost her 15 years ago, and I miss her every day. She was great.

My friend Beth is one of the best women I know. She’s taught me a lot about love, trusting my instincts, having good boundaries, and how to handle difficult situations. I’ve always loved the sparkle in her eyes and how easily she laughs.

Debbie Phillips came into my life at a time when I was feeling a bit disenchanted by the coaching and Internet marketing world. Deep down, I could sense a lack of authenticity, even when some of my coaches and teachers were preaching it. Very often, something felt off to me; things weren’t adding up. I’ve always been so grateful to Laurie Forster for introducing me to Debbie because I think she’s such a great model for having a true open-armed, authentic, loving embrace, and she’s taught me over and over again that when you’re aligned with love great things happen. I believe WOF has helped me be much more comfortable with who I am.

Who cheers you on?

I’m blessed to have many people who cheer me on — friends, colleagues, clients, my husband, and my daughters. One time, when I was nervous about speaking to a roomful of people, Kasie sent me a text message that said, “You’ll do great. You’re Cari Vollmer!” I loved that so much and deeply appreciated her cheerleading. I will treasure those words forever!

What is your favorite “pig out” food? 

Oh, my! Lately, it’s been a scoop of Häagen-Dazs Sea Salt Caramel Gelato. Good thing I’m starting that cleanse again soon!

What song is on your iPod right now?

Happy by Pharrell Williams, and then a mish-mash of many of my daughter’s songs. She keeps me current, but please don’t ask me for performer or song names. I’m not good at retaining that info.

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

Without question my mom’s illness and passing was my biggest challenge. I went through that period before I had really dug deep into my own being, so going through that left me feeling very lost and without any sense of direction; however, it was also the beginning of the life I have today. It’s sometimes hard to consider that time as a blessing, but what rose from it certainly has been.

What are your go-to self-care strategies?

Quiet time. Deep breathing. A clean house. Fresh flowers. Clear space. Massages. Heart-to-heart conversations with great friends.

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

Blessed and awake.

More about Cari …

Cari Vollmer, founder of PassionIntoProfit.com, helps businesswomen worldwide create their sweet lives and purpose-filled businesses by helping them awaken, identify and honor their brilliance so they can infuse their lives and businesses with the best of who they really are. She fiercely supports women in trusting their gut instincts, while helping them create purposeful and strategic plans for business growth and living well.

You are welcome to say hello to her at Cari@passionintoprofit.com.


She’s A Woman On Fire! is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

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Just when your journey seems impossible…

Thank you for my wonderful birthday wishes last week. I felt very loved and cared about!


And my birthday dream came true. Rob bought me a new hammock! Then he sneaked up on me in the backyard and caught me in action lounging. ;-)

The best part of my birthday week though had nothing to do with my birthday.  My best gift last week was learning that the wishes and dreams of several Women on Fire had come true!

Every single day I hear from women who are struggling yet moving forward.  Struggling to discover their passion. Struggling to achieve dreams that seem out-of-reach. Struggling to stay brave and strong until they succeed.

The good news last week from Women on Fire members Mary Landberg, Michelle Tenzyk and Eva Tenuto is that no matter the obstacles on your journey, you can make your dreams happen.

They are role models who started out at ground zero — with only a thought, an idea, a dream — and now it’s real.

If you haven’t met them yet, let me introduce you!

The book I took with me to the hammock is Mary Landberg’s new Enduring Love – Inspiring Stories of Love and Wisdom at The End of Life.

Mary is a hospice nurse and photographer who took pictures of families holding hands, often on the final day of their loved one’s life.

These powerful photos are accompanied by the family’s beautiful and tender stories.

When Mary first came to Women on Fire a little over a year ago, her book was on the drawing board. She sacrificed and went out on a limb financially. She balanced her hospice shifts with getting the book done and did most of the planning and marketing herself. She created a fundraising campaign.

She took in love and support here to keep her going — and she kept going.

I’m sure there were plenty of scary moments. But she never gave up — and the miracle happened.

Now, with her book published, she is on her way to an even bigger dream.  Her ultimate passion is to speak to groups “to ease the fear of death, define the purpose of life as shared with me by the dying, and inspire people to live fully while they are alive!”

Finishing her book led to this:

Mary’s caption for this photo: “This is what I am meant to do.”

Yes, it is, beautiful Mary. Thank you for bringing your gifts to the world.

Next on the dream-to-come-true circuit is Michelle Tenzyk.  Here is a photo of us at a Women on Fire gathering in New York a couple of weeks ago.

At the Women on Fire retreat in Naples last winter, Michelle, a long-time corporate executive who now owns her own business, imagined starting a movement to help corporate women.

Last week, she launched The Truth Behind Our Titles (tm) and her first event — an evening in New York City on October 1 to support corporate women to find strength, resilience and hope in their lives.

She’s been cheered on by many Women on Fire sisters and has enlisted the collaboration of Kelley Black, a charter Women on Fire member, co-author in the first Women on Fire book and former corporate executive who will be one of the event’s guest speakers.

If you are struggling in a corporate environment and wish for more support, understanding and a path, grab your seat now to Michelle’s inspiring event.

Way to go, Michelle!

And, then we have Eva Tenuto, the founder and executive director of the nonprofit TMI Project. Double good news for Eva!

Here is a video of her doing the very thing she empowers others to do — to tell the truth of their lives.

Ever grateful, Eva says, “I get to witness all of these people tell their truth, release their shame, and become more of who they are.”

Producing “living room shows” since she was 5, Eva today creates forums for many who would not have a voice at all — incarcerated boys, imprisoned women, people with mental illness. Her own struggle with clinical depression and her journey in recovery from addiction and mental illness is often the subject of her own talks.

Good news #1: Eva’s local YWCA selected the TMI Project as the 2014 Organization of the Year!

Eva Tenuto gets married! (Photo by Emily Tenuto)

Good news #2: This past weekend Eva married her long-time girlfriend Julie in a beautiful ceremony in New York. Best wishes to the newlyweds. You are so deserving of your many dreams coming true, Eva!

There are many more of you whose dreams are blossoming. Please feel free to share on the blog your good news.  It is the best way we can inspire each other to know what is possible! A rising tide lifts all boats…

OK, back to the hammock for me. How are you spending your upcoming holiday week? Have a sparkly one!


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Our special guest interview for July is…

Here’s  a sneak peek of what’s to come in your monthly Women on Fire membership package for July!

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 author and travel expert Carol Margolis.

Carol is the founder of the popular travel blogs SmartWomenTravelers.com andPearlsofTravelWisdom.com. She is also the author of Business Travel Success: How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive & Travel with Confidence and has been featured on Good Morning America, The New York Times, and Conde Nast Traveler, just to name a few.

Simply press PLAY on the image below to listen to a brief audio clip (2:47) of this fun and informative interview.

In the full interview, you’ll learn:

  • The essentials for planning any vacation
  • How to deal with travel mishaps
  • Packing tips that will save you time and energy
  • How to minimize your vacation costs
  • What items you should never leave on a trip without
  • Top technology apps to help travel run smoothly
  • Locations that absolutely should be on your bucket list
  • And much, much more!

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

If you aren’t yet a member and would like to receive the full interview with Carol Margolis, along with:

  • An invitation to our popular monthly live video coaching call/chat with Debbie Phillips
  • Access to our supportive and private online forum
  • Personalized coaching materials
  • And many more benefits

I invite you to join us TODAY!

Click here to register to receive July’s monthly membership package.  Registration to receive the interview with Carol Margolis ends on June 28, 2014. You only have 48 hours left.

Sound Cloud Monthly Sneak Peek July 2014  without play

Don’t miss out on this brilliant interview, with tips and inspiration that will take your travel plans to the next level!

P.S. Please feel free to share this clip with another woman in your life who you know might enjoy and feel supported by the benefits of Women on Fire membership. :)

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Where are you between the struggle and the dream?

Welcome new readers of The Spark!

Whether we’ve just met or I’ve known you for a long time, the question I’m always curious to learn is: what are you “on fire” about and what are you struggling with?

Your answer almost always lies somewhere between the wanting and the having — the struggle and the achievement — of your dream.

Women on Fire members celebrating and supporting each other in New York City last week (Photos by Meredith Schoenberger)

Discovering your passion and being supported on your path to your dream is the very reason I created Women on Fire more than a decade ago.

(There is no other community in the world quite like this one, which I know makes it rather difficult to explain to others, right?! You almost have to experience being cheered on by Women on Fire in person to understand the full impact of support ;-)

So, how do you go from uncertainty, or a hint of an idea, to living a life rich in living your dreams and making a difference in the world?

Inch by inch. Step by step. Bird by bird, as writer Anne Lamott told us so powerfully in her best-selling book.

Above, I’m pictured with Deirdre Martin of Plainfield, New Jersey. Dee is well on the way to making her dream come true. She’s in that sweet spot on the journey. She continues to work a regular job while growing her dream and building her company, Assisting Virtually.

She works on it. Every single day. Step by step.

And, here’s Heike Vogel of New York City, one of our co-authors in the latest Women on Fire book.  She made the courageous move from working for a large law firm to having it her way — starting her own law firm!  She, too, works at building her dream. Every day. Case by case.

Have Dee and Heike fully achieved their biggest dreams and desires? Probably not — yet. But they are well on their way.

When you are clear about what you want and make small achievements day-by-day, steady progress takes you from idea to reality.

Where are you on the scale from struggling mightily to achieving your ultimate goal?

Here are five strategies to help you get from where you are to where you want to go:

5 Strategies to go from wher eoyu are to where you want to be- Women on Fire

1) Clarity – First, you must be clear about what you want. If you don’t know or aren’t sure, ask people you love and trust to tell you what you are great at doing. What you do naturally is often the biggest hint at what your gifts are.

And, in discovering and embracing your gifts, you are most likely to find your passion.

A mentor of mine, author Barbara Sher reminds us: “you must go after your wish. As soon as you start to pursue your dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning.”

Clarity with a side order of focus also helps. I hear from a lot of women who tell me they want “to reach all the women in the world” with their project or idea. That is wonderful. Except when you start out so broadly, you can topple over before you get started.

How about reaching out to one woman with what you have to offer — and start the ball rolling that way? :-)

2) Inspiration – “If you stay true to who you are, the world will embrace you,” the late Maya Angelou said. That quote alone can pick up my spirits when I doubt myself.

Keeping yourself in close reach of inspiration — whatever form inspiration means for  you — is a very important aspect of reaching your goals. You need daily inspiration to keep yourself lit up and energized.

3) Strategies – It’s not enough to simply will your dreams into existence. You need practical, step-by-step “know-how” and “how-tos” to get where you are going.

Think of strategies as your GPS for getting where you want to go. Of course, I believe the powerful, tried-and-true strategies you learn at Women on Fire are the best! Still, you can find useful strategies from many different resources:

  • Wisdom from someone who has accomplished what you dream of
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Popular culture
  • Online forums
  • Coaches with expertise in your area of interest

4) Support – Support is a essential and the framework for you to move from struggle toward what you deeply desire.

The pictures you see sprinkled here are of Women on Fire members coming together to cheer each other on, to be in each other’s company to share the excitement of the journey. With support, you will feel your tank filled and your spirit enlivened.

5) Perserverance – If you have a great idea and are passionate about it, don’t give up! Perseverance is the secret of all triumphs.

With inspiring Woman on Fire Teri Goetz at the NYC gathering

Any and all of these strategies can help you to move from wanting your dream to actually making it happen!  Let me know what kind of inspiration, strategies and support you’ve found work best for you.

Have a great week ahead! It’s my birthday this week so I’m taking off a few days to celebrate and enjoy a little rest and relaxation. :-)


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6 kinds of support that can change everything!

If you’re super busy right now, all you have to do is read the quote below and you’ll know how to make your dreams happen:

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  Helen Keller

6 Kinds of Support That Can Change Everything- WomenonFire.com
Women on Fire (and two amazing Men on Fire!) gathered on Martha’s Vineyard a week ago for group Vision Day and supported each other’s dreams and aspirations. (Photo by Shawn Jones)

Helen Keller was right. Whatever great mountain you are attempting to scale, you can’t do it alone. Today I’ll share a few observations about going on your journey with others — and why it matters.

But first …

We have hundreds of first-time readers this week after you “liked” our Women on Fire Facebook fan page. Welcome! (If you’re a long-time reader and haven’t yet “liked” our page, we hope you will go to Facebook now!:-)

Women on Fire is a community like no other. We will cheer you on and inspire you to go for your dreams, and we’ll listen and support you when life feels hard.

So, last weekend …

It was such a magnificent two days with Women on Fire sharing and supporting each other that it was hard to say goodbye!

After everyone left, plans in hand for their futures, I sat in our living room on Martha’s Vineyard; the energy still vibrated from the weekend’s activities.

The magic of the group being together was like jet fuel to each person’s dreams lifting off.  Being together made a difference.

Women on Fire Stephanie Dalfonzo and Sheryl Snyder — making their visions and dreams happen! (Photos by Rob Berkley)

And while we always love it when you come to work with us at Vision Day, you also can create your own circle of support for taking the next steps in your life.

One way to do that is to invite several caring, trusted people to come together. Create a plan and set a time for each person to share their biggest dream and the obstacles standing in their way.

Here’s why it’s important to work in a community and the kinds of support best provided in a group:

1) Your best thinking is magnified. When you have other smart people who have your best interests at heart, asking you thoughtful questions and showing an interest in you and your desires, your potential and your success expands.

Rochelle Togo-Figa and Laura Tiberi supporting each other’s dreams and goals

2) The collective energy of a group is like an electrical jolt to your system. As one weekend participant said, “my engine had been idling and now I feel like I’m in drive!”

3) Resources. You need a bookkeeper? A book agent? A software system to run your business? Make any request for a resource in your group, and it’s likely someone will have an answer, a contact, an idea, a resource for you. And better yet most of the resources will have been vetted for you ahead of time so you have a better chance of success.

4) Comfort. Life is complex. When the going is tough and you have your “lady gang” with you, as Woman on Fire Meredith Schoenberger calls it, you will feel relief and comfort knowing you will be supported and helped along your path by many people.

Dyana Robenalt and Carole Murko motivating each other with a pinky swear!

5) Motivation. Sharing your dreams makes them real. When you say them out loud and create strategies to make them happen, you feel motivated to take the next steps. There is nothing like being accountable to others who you care for to motivate  you toward success.

Jenifer Madson, Woman on Fire member and author of numerous books, including her latest Head To Heart, said she was motivated to write her first book because she had told a group of Women on Fire she was going to do it! So she “darn well better do it.”  And she did — again and again!

6) Laughter.  I once read, “sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing always feels better.”  When you have a team behind you to laugh with, and struggle of going it alone fades, your load will lighten. Laughing alone just doesn’t quite have the same effect.

“There is little success where there is little laughter,” said Andrew Carnegie.

Those are just a few of the many reasons to join forces with others to achieve your dreams. Plus, when you give of yourself and help others succeed with their dreams, you take your mind off of your own issues — and that can be enormously rewarding and freeing.

As you move forward, you are invited to join us for our next 10-member group Vision Day on October 10-11, 2014 on Martha’s Vineyard.  (Contact Daren@womenonfire.com for details.)

Or, bring your own circle together. Going it alone is just too hard.

Which will it be for you?

Have a great week!


P.S. I will see monthly members on the LIVE CHAT this Tuesday night! Topic: Less Struggle, More Success: 7 Ways To Simplify Your Life.

If you’re not yet a member, no worries! You can join today and participate in our popular, monthly coaching chat.

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