The hidden magic in your struggles

You may be new to Women on Fire or you may have been a part of this ever-expanding circle for years.

I am super happy and excited to start off 2015 with you!

Women on Fire exists to celebrate or discover what you’re “on fire” about, and to provide inspiration, strategies and support to bring you more of what you want into your life.

The Spark! is your home for ideas, inspiration, and strategies — and to feel cherished and supported.  Because you are!

(In addition, our monthly membership was created to super-size your experience here. See the P.S. below for a special surprise for you if you’re not yet an official member.)

Today our topic focuses on how to turn what’s been a big challenge in your life into one of your greatest gifts to the world.  Your real gifts – your true purpose — are often hidden in shame or embarrassment or fear of being found out.

The irony is that it is often our pain that shapes us and makes us so very special – and can help us to help change life for others.

Take these women, for example:

Oprah is famous for sharing her great struggles (poverty, teen pregnancy, unstable home life, sexual abuse) and for transforming her turmoil into the fuel that propelled her career to greatness and beyond anyone’s imagination.

And it is true, too, for a dynamic and inspiring woman I interviewed last week — ABC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo. You may have seen her on Good Morning America or in her last job at MSNBC.

Mara has written Thinspired, a brand-new book about her success in standing up to a nearly life-long food addiction battle to lose 90 pounds.  Even if you don’t have weight to lose, you will be empowered in whatever struggle you might face by how Mara persevered to overcome her demons and become the very best version of herself.

Her life’s great challenge with weight has now become her gift to the world.

Mara’s bingeing and food addiction was at least partially set into motion by a well-intentioned relative who insisted on monitoring and regularly weighing in Mara when she was a little girl.

To confuse matters, when this precious little girl lost weight at her weekly weigh-ins, her reward was a sweet treat such as ice cream!

In our interview, Mara shared how ashamed she was for her eating habits – and also her joy at the freedom of now saying the truth of her life.  And while her book has just been published, I believe she will help, inspire and influence many more people by revealing her greatest challenge than she ever would have in keeping silent even though she has a high-profile job on network television.

So, how is it for you? How can you turn your greatest challenges into your great strengths, as Oprah and Mara have done? Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are you aware of the secrets you keep hidden?
  • Have you overcome, worked through, healed from your challenges?
  • If you told your story, who might benefit?
  • If you die with your story inside of you, is that OK with you?
  • What potential is locked inside of you, hiding, waiting for you to welcome it into the world?

To get clear about your obstacles, past and present, write down all of the challenges that have shaped your life. Then, make a plan to bring them positively into your life.  What do you have to lose? My guess is you have everything to gain.

Have a fantastic week ahead and I am so thrilled to be on this road with you to living your most fulfilled and inspired life!

Love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. If you’re not yet an official member of Women on Fire, you are invited to join our monthly membership program where you’ll receive the interview with Mara Schiavocampo in your February membership package.

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January’s Book To Live By

This month’s Books To Live By selection is the perfect read to help kick start your personal and professional success in the new year.

From author, speaker and master Eastern philosophy teacher Deepak Chopra comes one of the most timeless spiritual guides to success.

Our January selection is….

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Deepak Chopra.

Whether you have been following Chopra for years or are brand new to his teachings, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success is a must-read if you are looking to cultivate abundance of all kinds in your life.

This book is truly a spiritual masterpiece, composed of tips and strategies to help you accept the present, let go of what can’t be controlled, and invite more success into your everyday life. Chopra guides you to identify and discard fear-based thought patterns and outlines more positive and effective ways to think things through.

Chopra’s guidance is simple and profound yet intimate and universal all at once. This book is nothing short of life changing, and I want to thank our featured guest in this month’s Women on Fire membership interview, Terri Cole, for the wonderful suggestion.

Here’s to your success in 2015!

With lots of love~

Debbie Signature

P.S. Speaking of kick-starting your success in 2015, did you know that registration for our annual Women on Fire retreat is officially open? I can’t think of a better way to invest in yourself and in your dreams this year. Spend an entire weekend reconnecting with your passion and reigniting your spark and leave with an action plan to make your big dream come true. 🙂 Seats are going fast, so be sure to register today!

Inspiration from Ms. O to Start Your Week

Hello from Miami and American Airlines Arena!

The weather was overcast and rainy, but that did not stop Ms. Oprah Winfreyfrom bringing the sunshine to nearly 10,000 women (and quite a few men) last weekend on the Miami leg of her The Life You Want tour.

I was fortunate enough to go, and I am thrilled to share some of the wisdom and inspiration from Oprah and her “trailblazers” — Deepak Chopra, Rob Bell, Elizabeth Gilbert and Iyanla Vanzant.

Several Women on Fire have attended the tour when it was in earlier cities, and you can read what they took away during Oprah’s live event on the blog.

Gayle King, Oprah’s best friend as well as editor of O Magazine and co-host of CBSThis Morning, shared her gracious presence all weekend.

She and I had a nice little chat about …what else? Women on Fire!  She truly is a fireball and I know many of you love her too.

Oprah got the show rolling with her brand of inspiration and wisdom, first sharing her personal story of her life and then introducing her special guests.

The energy and excitement — and the party that Oprah and her team created — will stay for a long time to come!

Here are some of the highlights from the speakers I thought you might enjoy.

From world renowed author and spiritual leader Dr. Deepak Chopra:

  • You cannot connect with spirit if you let the voices of the world drown you out.
  • See the world as a reflection of your inner state and shift from fear to love.
  • Multi-tasking is the only thing that gets worse with practice. If you’re fully present, you’ll have all the time to do what you need to do.
  • When your intention is aligned with your purpose there is flow.

He told the audience he meditates for two hours every single day. He led a brief meditation that was heavenly.

He answered an audience member’s question: What if you fall asleep during meditation?

“If you fall asleep while meditating, it means you need more sleep. The body is wonderful in that way!”

I know many of you have done the Oprah and Deepak 21-day Meditation Challenge.I highly recommend it as a way to learn meditation, which we all know has incredible physical and emotional benefits to stay calm and focused. (And you don’t have to make it a two-hour commitment!)

From best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love about her midlife journey to discover herself:

  • ‘I’m leaving’ were the two most dangerous words I ever said.
  • Don’t do what I did, do what I asked. What is my place in the world?
  • Some people we must love from a safe distance.
  •  We can be the heroes of our own lives. We just need to BEGIN!!
  •  What have you come here to do with your choices?
  •  If you want to have real transformation, it is never painless or easy.
  •  It’s better to live your destiny imperfectly, than to live someone else’s perfectly!

From pastor and best-selling author of Love Wins Rob Bell:

  • May you embrace this miraculous nature of life. It all matters.
  • Every point of the universe is actually the center of the universe.
  • We often rush through the very things that have the most power to transform us.
  • Do you believe in miracles? That’s not the question. It’s all a miracle, isn’t it?
  • You can say YES to this moment and experience a joy that cannot be put into words.

From the indomitable author and speaker Iyanla Vanzant, host of OWN Network’s show Fix My Life!:

  • Life always tell you the truth …your job is to recognize it and accept it
  • Courage is the strength to do something before you’re forced to.
  • When you’re birthing something, you need someone to hold your hand. But be careful what you grab onto.
  • The life you want is on the other side of the labor pains it takes to birth it. Don’t get stuck in the pain.
  • How not to be drained helping others? I don’t help anyone. Help is the tool of the ego. When you’re focused on “helping,” when they succeed, they forget you; if they fail , you beat yourself up.
  • You get to choose who you are in relationship to other people.

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And from the amazing Ms. Oprah herself:

  • You can only help people to the capacity they can accept your help.
  • Spend no time messing in other people’s territory. You have no power there. Your kids. Your husband. Your friends. You can only control your own territory!
  • Your purpose has already happened. The question is: are you living it and being it on purpose?
  • You become — not what you want — but what you believe.
  • Life sends you a message in a whisper; then a pebble when it’s a problem; then a brick when it’s a crisis and a brick wall when it’s a disaster!
  • It’s not about fame. It’s about stepping into the call of your life and the expression that is uniquely you. When you leave this Earth, you want to have blown it out, the highest, purest expression of yourself!

There are still two more live Oprah weekends with tickets available in Seattle and San Jose.  If you get the opportunity to go, one thing I know for sure: if you are a Woman on Fire, you will be inspired!

Wishing you a beautiful and successful Oprah-kind-of week ~

Love,

Debbie Signature

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Service for Jane Juergens

The funeral for Women on Fire member Jane Juergens was held today in Westerville, Ohio. The following remarks were made by Jan Allen during the service.

It was evident on Wednesday night, at the candlelight vigil, how many circles of love Jane Juergens occupied. First and foremost, her family – Andy’s words so eloquent, powerful, uplifting – funny and serious, just like Jane. Her lifelong friends. The people she came to know through her sons. The Westerville community. Her friends from dance and Pilates.

The people she knew professionally, who had become more than colleagues in and around the workplace.  And women she came to know through Women on Fire, the organization founded and led by my best friend, Debbie Phillips, of which Jane was such an integral part.  Women on Fire exists to support women to live their dreams.

That is where I first began to know Jane.  Then, she reached out to join my 2012 coaching group called Life, Ignited.  We connected immediately – a quality that Jane brought to every interaction – and she diligently began to work on her dream of having her own HR consultancy, and becoming a coach herself.

In our very first conversation, she got very clear about where she wanted to go and how and then moved with deliberation and speed to prepare.  Andy described her the other night as fearless.

I can’t recall how many times I said to myself, after hearing all that Jane had done in the last month to grow, learn, get certified, prepare to create new products and to launch her business, “wow, this woman has courage.”  And she was also saucy and so funny – we laughed out loud through half of that first, long coaching conversation.

One of our organizing tasks at the beginning of the group was to choose our personal “themes” for the year – something to guide each of our paths and help us focus.  A great exercise developed by my friend Debbie, a theme gives you an easy way to make decisions about where to invest your time and energy.

So I fully expected Jane’s theme to be about building her new business.  As she had said in a note to me and I quote her here: “I want to make the world a better place one manager at a time. I feel very fortunate and would like to help bring out the best in others.”

But she surprised me completely in this email about her choice:

I worked on my theme for over a month and had trouble making it truly resonate.  Last Wednesday morning I abandoned it altogether and replaced it with “inspire and be inspired.” In my Pilates class that same evening, Julie Wilkes, my instructor, friend and motivational guru announced that she had launched her first app – the “happy life app.” It has four tabs and the first one is “inspire me.” I knew at that moment that I’d made the perfect theme choice and I’ve been blessed by many opportunities to give and receive inspiration in the last few days.”

This, too, was pure Jane.  Choosing as her theme who she was  – so inspiring with her high-voltage smile, her always open arms, her unrelenting optimism, and always, always, her care and concern for the other – and pushing to be even more of that.

She definitely inspired us in life.  One of the notes that Debbie received after Jane’s death was from Brigid McClain who attended our Women on Fire Tea just a month ago, here in Columbus.  She and Jane had never met but sat next to each other that evening.

Dear Debbie,

I read this last night right after you posted it and I am still sick to my stomach…I felt so privileged to sit between Jane and Kacy at the tea. Their smiles were like sitting between two 150-watt bulbs! I had not met Jane before and we immediately connected. She was so upbeat and supportive when I told her snippets of my story. She told me one of the wonderful things about working for herself was now being able to take walks and run during the day and she felt so blessed…

As you mentioned, she also told me she was so incredibly happy at this point. Even though she was so busy she found time to call my daughter and give her ideas on how to find a business mentor. She just spoke with her last Friday evening! My daughter is so upset…I just can’t quit thinking about her boys. I hope they realize how proud she was of them and how happy she was at this point in her life…it is devastating and a senseless loss of someone so dedicated to bringing out the best someone has to offer…

And this from Debbie:

Jane was the very epitome of a Woman on Fire.  She was a charter member of our organization — she was member #00025 — and quickly became a role model for other women and a rising star because she arrived possessing those special qualities we cherish — she cheered on and supported others in their dreams; she never stopped learning and growing; she was brave and bold; she was loving and caring; and she went for her dreams!

Her influence in our worldwide community was strong enough that while we held a candlelight vigil here in Columbus last week, her light shone brightly across the Internet. Her Women on Fire sisters across the country and from as far away as New Zealand and Africa posted on Facebook tributes to her and photos of their own candlelight vigils in honor of her. It was a magnificent show of love for our Jane.

Jane will be remembered forever for her bright, shining light … an original Woman on Fire.

But it is evident from all the notes, Facebook posts and conversations, that Jane is also inspiring us – friends and strangers alike – even in death.  I know I have found myself in this last week, choosing those opportunities to “be with” those I love and care about, instead of just getting my next task done. As sad as I feel, I appreciate the world more, and the small precious moments of each day.  That’s because of you, Jane and who you remind us to be.

The last time I saw her was the Friday before last Sunday, at an early morning breakfast event I was co-hosting, with our guest speaker, a biophysicist from Wake Forest, here to talk about energy medicine.

As our mutual friend Jessika Ferm, who also attended, said to me in the last few days, Jane was radiant that day and indeed, she lit up this room as she lit up every room into which she walked. And she proudly gave me her new business card for her business PeopleGen, with the beautiful tagline “Bringing your talent to light.”

It is so tempting to dwell on Jane’s death, and the manner of it.  But to do that would be to dishonor her.  She died once; we should not have her dying over and over in our minds.  That would be a distraction from remembering her in life and the real lessons she taught us, among them:

  • Love your family and hold them close, very close.  Matt and Andy, she loved you dearly and spoke of you often, as she did her mom and dad.
  • Love and adore your friends and help them and be helped by them, as she was by her best friends Barbara and Marc, and so many others in her circles of love.
  • Live every day to the fullest.
  • Never stop growing.
  • Never stop moving, literally and figuratively, and never, ever stop dancing.
  • Inspire and be inspired.

Jane, we will never forget you.

In memory of Jane Juergens

We cherish each woman in our Women on Fire community so much so that the loss of even one of us affects us all.

Last night one of our beloved members Jane Juergens of Columbus, Ohio was killed tragically. She was in a park — most likely out for a run — and she was stabbed to death by a 16-year-old assailant.

Those of us who knew her well are devastated. She has been a loving, caring, uplifting presence at our retreats and teas, on our members’ Live Chats, and in Jan Allen’s Women on Fire coaching group Life, Ignited.

Photo by Heather Stone

Bright and shining Jane at a Women on Fire event pictured here with Jen Madson

And ignite her life, she did. Jane served as inspiration to us for her bold and courageous move in the past year to leave a solid, steady job to follow her dream and open her own human resources firm.

Photo by Heather Stone

With Jane at last year’s Women on Fire Retreat in Chicago

I had just been with Jane in Columbus on September 26 at a Women on Fire tea at the Cambridge House and several of you were there as well. That night, she was joyful and happy and so proud of the changes that she’d made and the success she was enjoying. She lit up the entire room that night!

Photo by Heather Stone

Having fun in Chicago in 2012, Jane is second from the left.

While Jane was friends with so many, I want to especially send love and wrap my arms around the Women on Fire in her coaching group led by Jan — Laura Tiberi, Mary Jo Hudson, Keena Smith and Nicole Lovett. These women lovingly nurtured and cheered each other on and I can’t imagine how hard it is to lose a member of your precious group.

Photo by Heather Stone

Jane with some her Women on Fire sisters is at the top of the picture

Personally, Jane was a radiant spirit in my life. Always coming from her heart. Living her best intentions. She recently went out of her way to re-connect me to Pam Smith Lucas, the daughter of my father’s best friend, whom I hadn’t seen since I was a child.

That’s just how she was. There to help. There to encourage. There to make life better for everyone.

Photo by Heather Stone

Jane getting a Women on Fire book signed for one of her friends

Ironically, last night, as Jane was no doubt fighting for her life, I received a note from a dear friend comforting me on the recent death of my brother. In part, she wrote:

It’s hard to comprehend when life takes unforeseen turns. Life always hangs on this very fragile string, which can just snap at any moment. It’s precious, so very precious and I am so sorry about your loss.

Those are now my words to you, as I light a candle in honor of our darling Jane.

On behalf of our entire community, we send our love and prayers to Jane’s immediate family, which includes her mother and two sons.

Please know in the coming weeks and months we will find ways to celebrate and honor Jane and to keep her beautiful spirit alive — and you all will be a part of that.

You are invited to share anything you’d like to say about Jane here.

Photo by Heather Stone

With love to you, dear Jane, forever and always.

May you rest in peace ~

 

My visit with Oprah, Part Two

Hello and welcome back!

Thank you for your great comments about Day One.

So, Brene.

Sweet, adorable, brilliant, funny, vulnerability researcher Dr. Brene Brown.

The woman who has coined “whole-heartedness is a revolution.”

The woman who has studied the questions:  what makes us vulnerable? How do we experience shame?

No wonder Oprah wanted her to be a guest on not one, but two, Life Classes, which will air on OWN Network September 22 and 29.  She’s a brainy academic with a sensitive school-girl’s heart.  And she’s hilarious.

Her path wasn’t straight and narrow.  She was 29 when she received her bachelor’s degree. She dropped out of college, hitchhiked through Europe and waited tables before finding a career that suited her.  And a career in vulnerability was the furthest thing from her mind.  “Our family motto is ‘lock and load.'”

Many of you are already in love with her.  You were captivated by her TEDx Talk video on vulnerability – or her second TED Talk appearance on shame.  Or, maybe it was her voice in her best-selling books The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly that spoke to you as though she were your best friend.

The wisdom in her books and videos underscore and celebrate many of our Women on Fire aspirations – such as asking for help, connecting with others in a soul-satisfying way and cultivating a “tough mind” but leading with a “tender heart.” It was wonderful to see these principles alive on stage in this magnificent woman.

What was she like in person?

My first encounter with her was when she came out on the set with Oprah and the taping began.  They had rehearsed earlier in the day.  Still, their discussions were funny, fresh and spontaneous.

OprahBreneOnStage

Here are some of Brene’s gems:

  • When you can’t ask for help without judging yourself, then every time you offer help to someone else you are judging them.  Judgment is all about our own worthiness.
  • We judge in areas where we aren’t comfortable ourselves. Parenting (and how we parent) is a judgment minefield.
  • You can’t love with a closed heart – and you can’t be seen if you are “armored up.”
  • You can’t do anything brave if you’re wearing the strait-jacket of what will people think?
  • We never feel more alive than when we are being brave and there is nothing more brave than feeling vulnerable.

Myths of vulnerability:

  • Vulnerability is weakness
  • “I don’t do vulnerability”
  • Vulnerability is letting it all out hang out
  • We can go it alone

Some powerful thoughts from Brene for you:

  • Only share vulnerability with those who have earned the right.
  • Be aware of healthy striving vs. perfectionism. Healthy striving is an internal process. Perfectionism is driven by what will people think.
  • If perfectionism is driving, shame is always riding shotgun, and fear is the backseat driver.
  • When failure is not an option, innovation is not an option.
  • Every single one of us struggles with shame.  But shame cannot survive being spoken.
  • Know your triggers around shame. What makes you feel unworthy? Your weight? Your clothes? Your education?
  • The antidote to shame is empathy. You can help others by letting them know: you’re enough. I hear you. You go, girl. It’s OK, you can do it.

After the tapings, we all headed upstairs into Oprah’s private space at Harpo.

In Oprah’s living room, Brene, 47, who grew up the oldest of four children in San Antonio, Texas, greeted her mother and her much younger twin sisters Barrett and Ashley. And, of course, Oprah.

OprahBreneShakingHands

She then approached my row of friends in the studio audience — Jodi Salata, Amy Shanahan and Kim Zizic — and thanked us, saying she looked out at us during the tapings and could feel our support!

Then we chatted about Women on Fire and she mentioned she was delighted that Meredith Schoenberger (from Women on Fire!) had asked a video question during the show.

She could not have been sweeter or friendlier.

And, if I have to sum up the presence of Brene Brown?

Very real, very loving, and walking her walk to be vulnerable.

DebbieBrene

In the end of her life, how does she want to be remembered?

“That I contributed more than I criticized.”

Tomorrow:  My Visit To Oprah’s, Part Three – What is it like at Harpo studios? Who really runs the operation? And answers to your questions!

 

Ask Debbie Anything: “How can I grow as an individual in my relationship, while strengthening the bond with my partner?

Are you in a relationship? Do you fear that you aren’t making enough time for your own personal growth? Are you looking for ways to strengthen the relationship you have with yourself, and the one you have with your partner?

Discover How To:

* Invest in yourself as an individual

* Strengthen the relationship you have with yourself

* Spice up your relationship with your partner

* Create time and space for your relationship to grow

Hear what Debbie has to say in less than 3 minutes…

What do you to do grow as an individual? How do you keep the spark alive in your relationship?

Want to ask Debbie anything? Email your questions to meredith(at)womenonfire(dot)com.
P.S. Do you know what your highest expression of love is in this world? Find out with last week’s Ask Debbie Anything.

April Book Of The Month

This month’s Book To Live By features a book that highlights our April theme — Your Health and Wellbeing.


Women on Fire’s April 2013 choice

Good Medicine: A Return to Common Sense (Amazon link) by Carol L. Roberts M.D. is our selection.

Dr. Roberts is an intregrative medicine physican — and she is my personal doctor.

She started her career as an ear, nose and throat surgeon for a decade, followed by another seven years in emergency medicine.

By then, she realized that no one was teaching people how to take care of themselves, so that became her mission!

Do you know which health practices you need to take care of yourself?

After nearly 20 years in a holistic practice, Dr. Roberts has put all of her wisdom and know-how in a book for you to easily understand and enjoy.

I urge you to consider picking up a copy — or two to share with a loved one — so you can learn the latest in what you need to be your healthiest.

I hope you find Good Medicine: A Return to Common Sense as helpful as I have.  Wishing your happiest, healthiest life!

Is It Luck?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

This special March holiday always reminds me of lucky charms, leprechauns and four-leaf clovers — and, of course, the luck o’ the Irish.

But with all due respect to my Irish heritage, I don’t believe luck rules my life at all.

You wouldn’t know that though from the number of “magical” lucky objects I keep!

When I was a little girl, I would lie on the ground for hours searching for four-leaf clovers. Thinking that if I found one, my life would be forever “lucky.” (I never found one, but I never stopped believing that some day I would!)

Even today, I carry a lucky charm in my wallet — a facsimile of a $1,000,000 bill; it was the single thing I asked for from my Dad’s wallet after he died.

The imitation bill is the most precious item in my purse. It keeps me close to my Dad and reminds me of the possibility I might see a $1,000,000 windfall some day!

But I don’t believe my wishes and dreams, successes and achievements — or yours — are simply random.  That they are only luck.

No, I believe the positive, uplifting, I-can-do-anything feeling that I get from walking around with that $1,000,000 bill in my pocket is what will make my dreams come true.

Yesterday a friend was talking to me about his friend who won the lottery — twice!  He kept referring to it as “dumb luck.”  I don’t think so.

I believe, and studies show, that people make their own good or bad fortunes.  Those who carry lucky charms and expect good things to happen are actually “luckier.”  They set themselves up to receive their dreams.

How are you setting up yourself to believe what you want is possible? Do you believe you are in charge of your own good fortune? I’d love to hear.

And, I would love to share with you a handful of women in our community whose dreams and goals are coming true — and I am sure each would tell you there is no such thing as “dumb luck” in making it happen!

They are all on their paths to fulfill their purposes, dreams and goals, as I know you are, too.

I know you will enjoy learning about them:

Trudy Dujardin of Norwalk, CT and her team at Dujardin Design recently completed a full-scale renovation on one of Nantucket Island’s beloved hideaways, the Union Street Inn.  The inn is consistently rated as the “best boutique hotel on the Cape and Islands.” (You will hear from Trudy in May when she is featured on our membership CD talking about creating your own healthy, sacred space!)

Our Women on Fire intern, Emily Neal of Greenville, SC and a sophomore at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, continues her semester abroad and her travels through Europe. Her latest blog post on Paris particularly touched our hearts and we thought it would speak to yours as well.

Jenifer Madson of Erie, CO enjoyed a super successful re-release of her book, published by Conari Press, called  “Living the Promises.”  It’s a must-read, daily inspiration book to add to your list!

We also congratulate Beth Kloesener of Saginaw, MI on her exciting new role as the Director of  Career Services for Northwood University. She has been working on landing this position for the past year and couldn’t be more excited to live her true purpose, which is to help students find theirs.

Kris Carlson of San Francisco, has been invited to speak at the TEDx Greenbrook School event on April 11. Kris, with her late husband Richard Carlson, is the genius and an author behind the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” book series.We couldn’t be more excited for her huge opportunity and we look forward to getting to watch the talk on video.

Have a wonderful week ahead and I’ll see many of you at the teas this week in New York City and Columbus, Ohio!

Believing in you and all that you bring to the world ~

The secrets to making it happen!

Thank you for your notes and comments after I wrote last week about the importance of writing a goodbye letter when you leave a job.

Some of you asked whether the same process can be applied to a relationship break-up, or to walk away from toxic people, or for other transitions such as graduating from college or finding yourself in an empty nest.

Yes, yes and yes!

Just tailor the prompt questions to the situation you choose to release.  And, congratulations to all of you who wrote your goodbye letters. (And to the many who sent me yours, I loved reading them!!)

You should find it easier now to move on — and toward new dreams or goals you really want.


With Carmencita Whonder at the launch in New York City of her exquisite, fashion-forward, plus-size clothing line Of Whonder.

Speaking of moving toward what you really want, I want to introduce you to a Woman on Fire member who launched her inspired dream of what she really wanted last week — after only 14 months from vision to reality.  And, all while she was working a full-time job as a lobbyist!

I could not be prouder for Carmencita Whonder of Washington, DC who really rocked it in New York City last Wednesday when she unveiled at a preview party her plus-size line of luxury ready-to-wear clothing.

In honor of her family’s name and Jamaican heritage, she named her company Of Whonder.   She grew up in “a culture that truly celebrates women’s bodies, shapely bodies, the most feminine silhouettes.”

Carmencita noticed a need, an underserved market for the majority of women in this country:  62% of women wear size 14 or larger.


With Carmencita on stage in the background, note her stylish designs for sizes 12-24.

Purchasing top-of-the-line jewelry, handbags and shoes is no problem for plus-size women, yet it is nearly impossible to buy exquisitely designed, luxurious, contemporary clothing that fits well in larger sizes.

Carmencita is out to change all that!  And how did she make it happen?

Here are her secrets that you can use to launch your dream, too.

1)  Vision.  She experienced a need. She took seriously what she noticed was lacking in her own life, and she talked with lots of other women who saw the need, too.

In Carmencita’s own words, here is how she developed Of Whonder from dream to reality:

I was very clear about my vision and got clearer and clearer about it  the more I worked on it.  It was a process and the more I learned, the more I honed my vision. 

2) Goals and next steps.

I created a plan and a goal and set out to achieve it.   It was no easy task, but I just took one day at a time and got my family and friends on board to help (including Woman on Fire style consultant and fabric expert Holly Getty) and hired freelance consultants from the fashion industry to help me get closer and closer to my goal.

3) Persistent action.

I persistently took action every day.  One thing that I learned in this process and a quality I have really come to respect about myself is my ability to stay positive and nimble.  Things were always changing and many challenges arose.  Knowing that I can’t always control what others do, I focused on how to respond positively to roadblocks, setbacks, and I prayed daily.

This is just the beginning for Carmencita and her dream to serve and inspire the lives of so many women.

Her clothes will be available next month through her website.

And, you will be able to tell Oprah that you heard about this amazing Woman on Fire here first!  (How perfect that Of Whonder and Ms. Winfrey share the same initials! 🙂

What about your own dreams?  What is missing in your life?  How might you transform that into your own dream? Know that you can always share your hopes and plans and receive support in the comment section below.