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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Who said you can’t make a career of paper dolls?

I learn all the good stuff I know from other Women on Fire.

Lunch with wise Women on Fire — Anne Gallagher and Olga Hirschhorn

A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with the amazing and irrepressible art maven Olga Hirschhorn.  She was bubbling over with enthusiasm about an art exhibit she’d just seen that featured elaborate clothing made of paper.

Olga is 93 and one of the wise women in my life. So I always listen to her, and mentally made note to go see what I imagined as a “paper doll” exhibit by artist Isabelle de Borchgrave.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Strategies to help you follow your dreams- womenonfire.com

Of course, I kept meaning to go but life got busy. Then another Women on Fire member Debbie Cook brought the exhibit’s brochure to breakfast this weekend because she was so over-the-moon about the paper clothing.

I immediately hopped myself over the The Baker Museum in Naples, Florida and caught the exhibit on its last day.

And I’m glad I did because I so want you to see what Olga and Debbie were enthusiastic about — and now I am too.

(Of course, I know not to take pictures in a museum. But I ignored that because everyone else had their iPhones out; so yes, Mom, when everyone else jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge, I do too!)

Mostly though, I eagerly shot photos because I wanted you to see this incredible work of art.  Dozens of intricate, elaborate, historic costumes, shoes and handbags — sculpted of paper!!

But here’s really why I think you would love Isabelle de Borchgrave’s work.

In a brief video that accompanied the exhibit, the artist, 67, from Belgium described the passion she feels for her work.  It began with her first toy — a ball of paper.

Fascinated with paper, she spent her life cutting, painting, folding, molding, crimping, cropping paper.

When she became an adult, still in love with paper, she was roundly criticized that paper, paint, scissors a career did not make. And there was no way to make money from such “child’s play.”

And her comeback to all those negative Norberts who dissed career choice in paper?  “What they didn’t understand was that paper is a means of bringing dreams alive.”

And, oh, what beauty, history and dreams she has given life to!

In my euphoria of being surrounded by her work, I imagined myself wearing the exquisite paper clothing. I wanted to jump into her dresses and kimonos. I wanted to paint, cut and stencil!

I love that one woman’s dream could create a chain reaction for another woman’s  dreams.

What is the dream you want to bring alive?

Do you ever let other people step on your dreams — or do you do that yourself — because it “appears” to be impractical or impossible to make money?

As it had affected Olga and Debbie, I ended up dazzled and inspired by Isabelle de Borchgrave’s art — and empowered by how she ignored the naysayers and owned her dream.

We must take charge of our dreams. It’s the only way they can happen.

Here’s to what may seem impossible ~

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