May Book to Live By

The Perfectionist Guide to Losing Control

by Katherine Morgan Schafler

This book is an invitation to challenge the way you look at perfectionism. As psychotherapist and former on-site therapist at Google, Katherine Morgan Schafler explains we’ve been looking at perfectionism all wrong. You don’t have to stop being a perfectionist to be healthy. After a quiz to determine which type of perfectionist you are, you’ll go on to learn how to make your perfectionism work for you, not against you. Brimming with humor, empathy, and depth, this book is a love letter to the ambitious, high achieving, and full-of-life women who dare to want more without feeling greedy or ungrateful.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Women on Fire is committed to offering strategies for you to be your best self, but ultimately it is your decision to choose resources that work for you. This book recommendation is not medical advice.

3 Ways To Ease Your Grief

On any given day, loss can sneak up on you and grief takes over.  And what do you do when that happens?

In this week’s video, I discuss how grief can feel like an internal car accident. You may look fine on the outside. But inside you may feel as though you’ve broken your arms and legs.

If that had actually happened, you’d be in a hospital resting, healing and receiving medical attention. The same must occur if you’re grieving. You must take exquisite care of yourself and find the care and support you need to heal.

Recently, in one week, I lost two very wise women in my circle of inspiring friends, Trudy Taylor, 92 and Olga Hirschhorn, 95.

Nancy Aronie, the brilliant writer and Chilmark Writing Workshop founder, reminds us, “when you find a woman in your life who is just a few years older than you and has experience, it’s life-changing. You want to grab every bit of wisdom from her.”

That’s how I strongly I felt about Trudy and Olga. They were life-changers. I soaked up every bit of their wisdom, knowledge, and humor. And now that they are gone, the void hurts. I tear up at even the mention of their names.

This is not the first time I’ve lost someone precious to me in my life. And I imagined you’ve had your share of losses, too.

With each loss, we face a new grieving process we must lean into.

From experience, here are three strategies that have helped me and my coaching clients:

I hope you’ve found even just one of these strategies helpful as you heal from any of your own losses.

“Joy shared is doubled; grief shared is halved” is sweet relief that you may find comfort here in sharing your own road to healing from grief.

Love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. If you are in the New York City area, BookTheWriter is hosting a Women on Fire evening and workshop, 7:30-9:30PM Tuesday, November 3 for 20 women at a private home. Cost is $40. Only a few seats remain. Check out details and registration here. I hope to see you there!

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Who is the CEO of your life?

When you think about someone being a CEO, what comes to mind?

And how does that apply to you?

In a quick survey, here’s what women in my life said a CEO is responsible for:

  • ˜ Is in charge of the direction
  • ˜ Holds the vision, values and goals
  • ˜ Knows how and what to delegate
  • ˜ Builds and sustains a great team
  • ˜ Holds the ultimate responsibility and is where the buck stops
  • ˜ Leads everyone through good times and bad
  • ˜ Is the one in charge who doesn’t give up when others do
  • ˜ Has tough skin to receive criticism and either ignores it or uses it for growth
  • ˜ Figures out complex issues
  • ˜ Knows when to take charge and when to let go

Unless you are currently the CEO of a company, you may not think of yourself as a Chief Executive Officer.

But I urge you to carefully read each statement above, and I think you may look at being CEO a little differently.

No matter your job or your position, at the very least, you are the CEO of your life and your family’s life!

In today’s video, I ask three questions that will help you to see how well you are doing at being the CEO of your life.

Use your answers to the questions in the video as a starting point to begin taking charge of your life in a way you might not have done before.

With this new knowledge and power, what is one change you’re going to make this week?

However you decide to fully express your CEO capabilities, we are here to cheer you on!

Now…about that private jet 😉

Love,

Debbie Signature

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Who celebrates you?

Even though it’s not officially fall, today marks the day most of us say goodbye to summer.

And it’s also a special day here because it’s my husband Rob’s birthday. And I’m dying to show you his surprise!

He’s an amazing photographer and I thought he deserved a cake that was “picture perfect.”

The cake was so much fun and gave us so much joy (not to mention that it was delicious with gluten-free vanilla layers filled with chocolate ganache and vanilla mousse!)

The inspiring cake made me think of the many converations I’ve had with women who’ve discounted their tremendous creative gifts.

  • I just like to bake. There’s no money in that.
  • It’s what I do. Nothing special.
  • No one would be interested in what I have to offer; anyone can do that.

I don’t personally know the woman on Martha’s Vineyard — Cakes By Liz — who designed and made Rob’s unique cake. But I hope she knows that by sharing her gift with the world it created a ripple effect of joy and delight for us!

So the next time you choose to discount or ignore that thing that you love and do so well — please remember your gift, strength or talent means the world to the people waiting for it.

OK, today’s SPARK!  is about finding your “people” — or your tribe. What is the result for you when you answer these three simple questions?

 

Keep the quality of the people in your life high and notice the difference.

Last week I laughed at a post I saw on Facebook that illustrated the point of surrounding yourself with the best people.

It said: “I’d rather have four quarters than 100 pennies.”  To which, one very funny Woman on Fire wrote: “I’d rather have 100 quarters.” Agreed!

I wish you always to be surrounded by many great people who uplift you.  Have a fantastic week and keep me posted on you!

Love,

Debbie Signature

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How to turn your bad day around FAST!

The other day I woke up cranky.

(I know … hard for you to believe because I truly am patient and easy going …but then there are those days 😉

Even after I reviewed the shadowy fragments of my dreams for clues, I still had no understanding why I’d gotten up on the “wrong side of the bed.”  And, my day went downhill from there.

The cat bit me. I ran late to my first appointment. The dryer died.

And, life continued to slide off course until I pulled myself together (I am a coach with tips and strategies after all!) and took a few minutes to do these quick strategies in this brief (2:53) video:

Can you believe how simple?

In short order, my day turned around. It seemed almost magical that using these easy strategies could make such a difference, but it did.

If you ever find yourself a cranky, hot mess, I hope you’ll try them out. And let me know how it works out for you. I’m betting you’ll feel less stressed and miserable — and much more like yourself again.

Have a great week!

And stayed tuned: we have a BIG surprise coming soon for you! 🙂

Love,

Debbie Signature

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April’s Inner Circle Sneak Peek w/ Neat Method co-founders

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come in your Women on Fire Inner Circle members package for April!

Do you feel like you’re drowning in clutter that has piled up over the year?

Are you ready to simplify and streamline your space to set you and your family up for more success?

Or maybe you find yourself dreading the thought of spring-cleaning and aren’t even sure where to begin.

If you answered YES to even one of the questions above, this upcoming interview with two of our favorite organizing experts is for you! You’ll discover how to easily bring more organization, efficiency and stylish structure into your home from the best in the business.

Each month, our founder, Debbie Phillips, interviews an inspiring trailblazer and expert for our members. If you’re not yet a member of our inner circle, please be our guest and listen in today for free to a clip of Debbie’s latest interview with Molly Graves and Ashley Murphy, Neat Method co-founders, professional organizers and new moms.

Press PLAY on the video below to listen to a brief audio clip (2:10) of this refreshing and motivating interview.

 

In the full interview package, you’ll discover:

  • The No. 1 way to tackle spaces that cause you stress
  • A fail-safe method for keeping your home clean
  • How to organize your kitchen for health and convenience
  • Why creating a daily schedule will transform your home
  • How to help loved ones to let go of keepsakes

All that plus you’ll discover how to stay on top of daily tidying up without feeling like you’re constantly cleaning.

If you are already a member of our Women on Fire inner circle, enjoy this sneak preview. You’ll receive the full monthly care package in your mailbox in early April.

If you aren’t yet a member and would like to receive the full interview with Molly Graves and Ashley Murphy, I invite you to join us today! You will also receive:

  • An invitation to our popular monthly live video master class and chat with Debbie Phillips, in which you can receive personalized coaching on whatever you are struggling with
  • Access to our private, members-only Facebook group, where you can connect and feel the active support of our amazing community
  • Personalized coaching materials each month to help you track your progress
  • Plus many more benefits and fun each month

Click here to register to receive April’s membership package. Registration to receive the interview with Molly and Ashley ends on Sunday, March 29. You have less than 48 hours left!

Don’t miss out on this truly helpful and encouraging interview, full of inspiration for your home and easy-to-implement strategies that will help you spring-clean all of your clutter away!

Best,

Meredith

P.S. Receive a free Women on Fire mug when you register today (3/27)!

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Do you pinch yourself off?

In the first two decades of my varied career – as a newspaper reporter, Governor’s press secretary and television company executive – I operated in public but never really stood alone with my own desires, views and opinions.

After I became a coach in 1995, an awareness crept upon me.

If I didn’t stand up publicly for what I truly believed in, no matter how much I talked about it behind the scenes, I would never be able to fulfill my own burning desire to help enough women to live lives they dream of.

By standing in the shadows, and feeling more comfortable being the voice for someone else or staying silent about my beliefs, I had essentially pinched myself off from my big dream.

When I look back now, I kept quiet to stay safe and free of criticism. I did this even with my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote posted on my desk:

Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you’ll be criticized anyway.

Today, over and over I observe the ways, big and small, women pinch themselves off from what they say they want.

So today, I invite you to look at yourself to see if any of these questions applies to you; and decide if you are closing yourself off from the abundance that is naturally flowing to you.

You may discover that you are limiting yourself without realizing it.

1) Do you put yourself and your needs last?
For instance, are your college daughter’s soccer games more important to attend than going back to college to get that degree you’ve promised yourself?

Do you put off your dreams until your husband, partner, kids get situated, graduate from school, find jobs, etc.?

Are you always there for your friends or family yet burn with resentment that you have not made progress on what you most want?

Our culture mistakenly has labeled us “selfish” when we put ourselves first. But what might happen if you didn’t put yourself last?

2) Do you feel unworthy or undeserving of your greatest dreams and desires?

I spent last week in the company of author and motivating force Esther Hicks of Abraham-Hicks, author of 10 books including Ask and It Is Given: Learning To Manifest Your Desires. Esther captured the notion of feeling “unworthy” better than anyone.

“Unworthy people are people with plenty of negative emotions and they are willing to put up with them,” she said.

We all know that you get what you believe and what you are focused on. So when your self-talk and beliefs are negative, it sets off a chain that conspires against creating your own success.

“Care more about what you feel at the earliest stage and don’t let yourself collapse toward the negative emotion,” she advises.

3) Do you march up to the line with your dream or goal and then pull back?

Fear will stop you in your tracks.

(And, just so you won’t think I’m perfect 😉 …
It took me years, step-by-step, day-in-and-day-out through every scary fear that showed up to follow my heart and to live my dream.  And it was worth every gremlin☺ )

The good news is that you are a Woman on Fire! And there is no better community in the world to surround you with the inspiration, strategies and support to keep you going and help you push through your fear.

If you are a monthly member, you have the private Facebook page where support is unparalleled! And you also have the Women on Fire fan page with more than 65,000 women to cheer you on.

Fear, and fear of failure in particular, keeps many women from even trying.

4) Do you ignore the need to invest in yourself?

Does your money trickle away and leave you with nothing to show for it?

Whether you budget $30, $300, $3,000 or $30,000 a year for your personal and professional growth, investing in yourself is key to your success.

You must expand your competency and relevancy by bolstering your skills, abilities and awarenesses throughout your life!  When was the last time you invested in yourself?  What did you do — and what was the result?

5) Do you avoid making a plan to get where you want to go?

Studies show that people who write down their goals and plans have a significantly greater chance of being successful than those who don’t.

What are you waiting for? Even a simple journal entry with your annual plan and goals will keep you focused and on track.

Knowing what you want can keep you from missing opportunities that will support your dreams.

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you are likely pinching yourself off, holding your back from sharing your great gifts with the world.

What might happen if you became aware the very next time that you were holding yourself back – and moved forward anyway?

Here’s to your success.  I know once you’re aware of how you pinch yourself off, you can do anything!

Love,

Debbie Signature

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Announcing our special SURPRISE Women on Fire retreat speaker!

Our biggest and best event of the year – the 2015 Women on Fire Retreat – will be held in Chicago, April 23-25, and we have a surprise for you!

We are thrilled and proud to announce that Sheri Salata, president of the Oprah Winfrey Network and Harpo Studios, will be our guest speaker on Saturday, April 25. Sheri is one of the most accomplished and prominent professionals in television today.  And, at the same time she is one of the kindest, most caring and genuine women I’ve met. You will LOVE her!
She first joined Harpo Studios in 1995 and served as executive producer of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” from September 2006 through its finale in 2011.
She only occasionally speaks outside of her industry, so it is a special honor to have her on our Women on Fire stage.During her session, you will learn about her life and work, her ups and downs, and you’ll be able to ask her your questions!As a Woman on Fire, you are invited to attend this amazing weekend retreat, which will be filled with inspiration, strategies and support and much, much more.  Please check out all the details for this nurturning and uplifting weekend here.

There are are only 21 seats remaining, so please grab your seat now. When all seats are taken, there will be no more available and the Retreat will be SOLD OUT. We keep these events small and intimate so that you can have the best experience possible.

If you have already registered, good for you, and you are in for a major treat to hear Sheri in person!

You also will walk away from our weekend together refreshed, re-energized and re-inspired after meeting other like-hearted Women on Fire and learning from roles models such as Sheri.

To register now, please go here.  Or contact Dianne@womenonfire.com

Thank you for being a part of this incredible community of women who lift each other up to live the lives we dream of.

Love,
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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,

 Debbie Signature

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!

Member’s Club September 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 master coach, entrepreneur and author Rob Berkley.

Along with being Debbie’s husband, Rob is a master certified coach who has spent more than two decades as one of the leading executive coaches in the country, with clients that include McKinsey, Harvard Business School and many of today’s leading entrepreneurs. Rob is a true genius in not only guiding the goals, dreams and visions of others, but also in organization and time-management. His strategies have the power to transform for good the relationship you have with your to-do list!

Simply press PLAY on the video below to listen to a brief audio clip (2:36) of this motivating and transformational interview.

In the full interview, you’ll discover:

  • The best and easiest productivity tool to increase your efficiency exponentially
  • How to set yourself up for success before your day begins
  • Ways to manage your time when your to-do list is overwhelming
  • Strategies to create the optimal environment for productivity
  • The fastest way to clean up your most draining relationships
  • And TONS more

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

If you aren’t yet a member and would like to receive the full interview with Rob Berkley, 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 online forum, where you can connect and feel the support of our amazing community
  • Personalized coaching materials each month
  • And many more benefits

Click here to register to receive September’s monthly membership package.  Registration to receive the interview with Rob Berkley ends on Friday, August 29, 2014. You have only 48 hours left!

Don’t miss out on this genius interview that will have you sailing back-to-school with less stress and more time!

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