The Disruption Podcast

Debbie was recently featured on The Disruption Podcast! 

Topics ranged from the value of community, how to feel confident when you aren’t supported by the people around you, and why the five people you keep closest should be the most influential in your life.

Key points:

– What it means to follow your intuition

– What disrupting feels like in your body

– The pivotal moment that made Debbie start her massive career switch

– The importance of the people you surround yourself with

– The negative feedback Debbie got when she first started coaching

– What Debbies coaching business looked like in the beginning and how it evolved

– Finding and living in your purpose

– Learning how to take a compliment as a women

– The importance of creating a community

Listen now: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-disruption-podcast/id1664550528?i=1000616814747

She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Beth Bryce

Name: Beth Bryce

City: Saginaw, Michigan

Women on Fire Member No.: 00079

Member since: Dec. 19, 2011

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

I’m a motivational career coach, writer and founder of Girls2Women Coaching, a coaching firm specializing in career transitions. I have coached hundreds of women on boldly pursuing their life’s work.

I’m passionate about helping women define a fulfilling career path for their authentic self to obtain personal growth, whole-hearted success and financial independence. I’m having an absolute blast coaching women one-on-one, and facilitating career master classes, mastermind groups and retreats. It took me a while, but I finally figured out my calling in life. Now I help others do the same.

I’m blessed to have a home next door to my best friend, my mother, Colleen, in the same neighborhood where I grew up in Michigan. She is a wonderful grandma to my five-year old Jack Russell terrier, Willy. We are tired of the brutal Michigan winters, though, and Willy is too. We have many friends and family out west waiting for us with open arms. Oh, the places we may go!

What are you “on fire” about?

I just completed a six-month retreat facilitator program with the Sedona Women’s Institute and will be working collaboratively with the founder, Karen Ely, to deliver retreats to women all around the world. In addition, I’m launching my own inaugural women’s retreat, Daring Circle Ranch, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 19.

Women on Fire member Susan Perry will also be facilitating a yoga session for us, in addition to equestrian and life coach Lynn Clifford. Women are coming from Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana and Florida.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

Member Sue Adams invited me to a 2011 Women on Fire Tea in Alpena, Michigan, hosted by Mary Ellen Jones and founder Debbie Phillips. I met so many inspiring women that I would have never otherwise crossed paths with.

An editor and publisher I met at the tea motivated me to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Since the tea, I’ve written inspirational articles for Women 2 Women Michigan magazine, co-authored a chapter in Women on Fire, Vol. 2, and recently landed my own column, “Career Moxie,” in Great Lakes Business. It was well worth the four-hour drive during a blizzard to attend the tea!

What one thing are you the most proud of?

Co-founding a Girls on the Run program in my county. GOTR is a national afterschool program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident, using a fun curriculum that creatively integrates running. We started with six girls in one elementary school; today we are in 25 schools serving well over 400 at-risk girls.

What is your big dream?

To create and deliver women’s adventure retreats in destination spots and online mastermind groups that support and guide women searching for a life and career of deeper meaning.

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

What other people say and think about you is none of your business. Listen to your heart and follow your dreams rather than what others think you should or should not do.

Where do you find inspiration?

It is deeply inspiring to me to bear witness to my client’s dreams of a better tomorrow for themselves, their families and communities. I then get to share their success stories with others.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

I am the queen of Post-It Self-Stick Wall Pads. My office walls are lined with monthly, quarterly and annual plans for my health, business, finances, relationships and trips. I am serious about the direction I’m headed in, and having maps to get there and stay on track is a must.

How do you pick yourself up after a bad day?

After a really dark day, I pull out note cards and write to people I adore, letting them know why I’m grateful for them. Just knowing they will get a loving surprise in their mailbox melts my sadness.

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

Mary Oliver’s poetry has been a powerful force in my life. In particular, her poem “The Journey” has helped me through many difficult decisions. Upon resigning from past positions, I have read this poem aloud at my farewell lunches. Co-workers either tear up or need an explanation. It says, above all else, face your fears and be true to you.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

There was a moment at the 2015 Women on Fire Retreat when we were sharing our big dream and Debbie Phillips asked, “What is one small step you can take toward your dream?” My women’s retreat had been on my vision board since 2012!

In that moment, I thought to just give it a name, and Daring Circle Ranch immediately came to my mind. Giving my dream a name gave it life. From that one small step, I started building momentum, and now it’s all coming true this May.

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

Walking away from a lucrative 20-year career in accounting to pursue my dream of career coaching was my biggest challenge.

My chapter, “I’m Marrying Me,” in Women on Fire, Vol. 2, recounts my yearlong journey in which I created my own Eat, Pray, Love adventure to face my fears and become unstuck. Two years later, I created a mastermind group based on my 12-step process to help others on their own transformative journeys.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

“Do or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda

QUICK-RESPONSE ANSWERS:

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is… It is life changing to connect with phenomenal women at live events.

Favorite go-to self-care strategy… Disappearing into the woods to bike 40 miles. Afterward, all is right in my world.

I dream of visiting… Italy for an entire month, enjoying fabulous food and wine with my mother and our new, sexy Italian friends.

I would love to have lunch with… Diane Keaton! I can imagine arriving flamboyantly dressed to gush about our devilish escapades. Count me in, sister!

I’m always up for… Collaborating with women to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

I have a soft spot for… People who are underestimated, either by themselves or others. Countless times I’ve witnessed that, through motivational coaching, when their confidence grows, opportunities flow.

My biggest guilty pleasure is… Unplugging from technology for the weekend and also twice a year for an entire week. If you listen closely, you can actually hear your soul whisper.

My favorite pig-out food… We celebrate every major accomplishment and special event at my favorite pizzeria in Flint, Michigan. That’s a lot of pizza, and yet, it will never be enough.

The top three songs on my iPod right now are… “Fallinlove2nite” by Prince, “Soar” by Christina Aguilera and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem (Detroit, baby!).

I’m still afraid of… running out of time. I still have much to do helping others realize their life’s work.

I believe in… people’s capacity to achieve anything they can possibly imagine.

I wish I had… found the courage to leave my 20-year accounting career earlier because I was reborn the day I connected my purpose and passion to career coaching.

I’m counting down the days until… May 19th for my inaugural women’s retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The best thing I ever did was… when I packed my bags at 21 years old and left my small town in Michigan to start a new life in South Florida on my own.

To learn more about Beth, visit www.bethbryce.com or www.daringcircleranch.com. You also can follow her on Twitter at @bethbryce and Facebook at /bethkbryce.

 

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Kathi Wright

Katherine (Kathi) Wright

Port Charlotte, Florida

Women on Fire Member: #00386

Member since: 2014

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

From the time I was born, my life has been about change. My father was in the U.S. Air Force, so we moved frequently. It was a terrific way to grow up because we lived among and experienced many different cultures.

I am currently in marketing and communications for a very large company. My husband, Pete, and I live on the southwest coast of Florida with two nutty dogs. Pete is a writer and my best friend. We have a peaceful life that includes a nightly dog walk peppered with very diverse conversations ranging from astronomy to climate change to personality analysis.

What are you “on fire” about?

I am on fire about contributing what I know and what I do to a company that has core values that are complementary to my own. I have learned that my viewpoint is typically different from that of my corporate America colleagues, and that has been a struggle for me until recently.

The guidance I have gathered through Women on Fire has re-sparked my optimism that there is a place for me and what I can offer. I am being patient and present, building upon my skills and self-care so that when the Universe says, “Here it is,” I will recognize it and be ready mentally and physically to go for it with all of the gusto of a child.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I was introduced through Sophfronia Scott. I saw all that she posted about Women on Fire and became intrigued. I hold her in such high regard that I knew it must be an amazing organization if she was a part of it. I was right.

What one thing are you the most proud of?

I am proud of my open mind. It allows me to truly listen to others so I can better see the world through their eyes. It makes me dream so big that when people say I’m not being realistic, I can realize that their visions of reality do not have to be the same as mine. And it drives me to be infinitely curious, asking questions and looking deeper into things beyond the apparent.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?  

An actress and an astronaut. I knew I could be both.

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

Think deeply about what you want, ask a bunch of questions of a lot of different people so you understand what the risk is, and then go for it.

Where do you find inspiration?

Nature. When I do my dog walks and go on runs, I can be frozen in place by a cardinal or the way the sun’s rays cut through at sunrise.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

I keep two to-do lists, one for work and one for me, with the three most important things I need to do each day. It helps keep me from being distracted.

How do you pick yourself up after a bad day?

I take a walk around my garden. It’s amazing how soothing a conversation with a rosebush or a tomato plant can be!

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

Linda Neff inspires me. There is something about her energy that is both gentle and powerful. She may be the most courageous woman I have ever been around. She is fearless and generous and has helped me find that gutsy woman inside of myself.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

At the Chicago Women on Fire Retreat, there was one moment that I realized how very, very important it was that I be 100 percent present and truly listening to the women around me and the retreat speakers. Fortunately, that moment came during the VIP party on the first day. The retreat had, and continues to have, an impact on my life.

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

I suffered four miscarriages and a divorce within a four-year period. I ran and ran and ran. The physical exhaustion forced me to let out the pain and emotions so I could grieve and heal. I remember times when I would crumple into sobs on the running path. When I was done with that mini-breakdown, I would get up and start running again. I completed four marathons, which helped soothe the hits on my self-esteem.

When you reflect on your life so far, what comes to your mind?

For a lot of my life, I was busy trying to get somewhere else, but recently I realized that I am exactly where I should be.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, Pete.

How do you cheer on others?

I encourage them to be authentic. I let them know that it’s OK to feel down during the lulls, but to celebrate during the peaks. Through both, the people who truly love them will be there.

QUICK-RESPONSE ANSWERS:

I’m picky when it comes to… who I spend my time with.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is… how Debbie leads and provides a safe give-and-take environment.

Favorite go-to self-care strategy… I exercise almost every day and really enjoy that day of rest.

I dream of visiting… the Mount Everest base camp.

I can’t wait to return to… Paris.

I’m getting better at… realizing my self-worth.

I still need to work on… realizing my self-worth.

I have a soft spot for… my dogs.

I could spend hours… hiking or walking in nature — beach, mountain trail, anywhere outside.

I believe in… the power of good people.

I never forget to celebrate… the sunset.

My biggest pet peeve is… when people litter.

The best thing I ever did was… to forgive myself for not being able to have a child.

Kathi Wright is looking forward to seeing you at this year’s Women on Fire Retreat in Nashville, April 7–9. You can reach her to say hello at kathiwright4@gmail.com.

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…

Rosi Amador

Rosi Amador

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Women on Fire Member: #00209

Member since: September 2013

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

I’m originally from Puerto Rico. My parents were New Yorican (that’s a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent) and Argentine performers who instilled in me their love of music and the spoken word. They raised me bilingually and biculturally.

My nuclear family consists of my husband Brian Amador and 19-year old twin daughters, Alisa and Sonia. Brian is a composer and Spanish guitarist, as well as a bilingual voice actor.

Alisa is now a sophomore at Bates College, where she is majoring in gender studies and minoring in dance. She also tours as singer-songwriter. Sonia is a creative artist with a passion for textiles, fashion, miniature sculpture and collage. Her specialty is creating unique, amazing crocheted wearables.

For 31 years, my husband and I have recorded albums and toured nationally and internationally with the Latin band we co-founded, Sol y Canto (solycanto.com; facebook.com/solycanto), a socially conscious Latin roots music ensemble that joyfully performs for adult, children and family audiences.

In 2010, I launched Amador Bilingual Voiceovers (www.amadorbilingualvoiceovers.com), and I’m now a successful full-time English/Spanish voice actor. I spend most of my days recording commercials, documentaries, children’s audio books and educational narrations from my private studio in Cambridge, Mass., as do Brian and, when they’re available, our daughters.

From my private broadcast-quality home studio and sometimes when I’m on the road, I record in both my native Spanish and English, using my voice to inspire, motivate, educate and inform the exponentially growing global Hispanic market and the general market.

My clients include PBS, Mattress Firm, OXFAM, Disney, L’Oreal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Comcast, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Lonely Planet, Expedia, and the Smithsonian.

What are you “on fire” about?

After many years of trying to make a sustainable living as a creative, I have created a diverse career that allows me to use my natural gifts through both spoken word and song and that affords me the opportunity to travel, rest and play with those I love.

I can honestly say that now, at the age of 56, I am finally approaching the fullness of my power and my fullest potential! This career has also provided me with the opportunity to shape my desired work/life balance and model for my daughters what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur who is in charge of her life.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?

I met Debbie in the 1990s when Brian and I performed in a small musical venue in Martha’s Vineyard. We were seated at the same table and she had no idea we were about to perform. We became friends instantly and stayed in touch.

She even brought her godchildren to see us perform once in Ohio, and she has always been incredibly supportive and helpful from day one. Brian and I were lucky enough to do a couples’ Vision Day with Debbie and her incredible Rob in 2007, and I discovered my superpowers big time!

What one thing are you the most proud of?

My tenacity in claiming my voice and power as an adult! By choosing love and connection, I overcame childhood traumas, educated myself and went about creating and identifying the circles of support I’ve needed so that I could then also help my family and career to thrive.

I chose to live very differently from how I was raised, which took a great deal of courage and self-belief that I didn’t think possible. I have finally created a sustainable life that revolves around meaningful work that allows me to prioritize my physical and spiritual well-being, including connection, rest and play with those I love.

What is your big dream?

The big dreams that I am passionately achieving: to continue singing for fun and performing my cherished Latin music and to become the premier English/Spanish bilingual voiceover service provider worldwide — a business which, with ease and flow, contributes mightily to my financial, personal, and spiritual abundance; and which, with ease, joy and play, enables me to use my multitude of gifts to amplify my values and improve the human condition worldwide.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?  

A singer.

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

I believe that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes — empathy — allows you to feel compassion and naturally gives way to kindness toward others and even yourself, which is often a lot harder. When we give, we get so much more back. This is something that I know to be true.

Where do you find inspiration?

I am a self-proclaimed inspiration sponge and TED Talk junkie; however, my most powerful inspiration comes mostly from other women. Apart from our own Debbie, whom I consider a cherished life mentor, I have learned so much from Kristine Oller, a superb coach for creatives, and my voiceover colleague, Amy Snively, the founder of a yearly voiceover gathering with a generous mission. In addition, I consider Brené Brown and Oprah to be role models in living an authentic life.

All these women have provided guidance that has been fundamental to the way I live my life and run my businesses.

On a day-to-day basis, I am also deeply grateful for the inspiration and camaraderie provided by my voiceover colleagues all over the country. I created a Mastermind group three years ago with eight outstanding, seasoned voice talents with whom I’m honored to be in a support group.

An incredibly powerful source of reciprocal inspiration comes to me from my “accountabilibuddy” Liz De Nesnera, also a female bilingual voice talent. We meet via FaceTime several times a week to build more accountability into our businesses and to encourage one another to live joyful, sustainable lives.

Finally, my daughters inspire me! They are not yet 20 yet they are so wise, kind and giving. Performing with my daughter Alisa and watching her bloom as a singer-songwriter is one of my greatest joys, and watching Sonia create amazing artistic wearable crafts and come into her own is another.

Name a woman who has influenced your life and tell what you learned from her.

I have not one but two very close beautiful women friends in my life who are in their 80s and are a huge source of support and inspiration. I speak with my beloved Marie Jo Miera and Sondra Sperber regularly by phone, Skype or in person when possible, even though neither of them lives nearby.

They’re both creative, strong, spiritual women who are fully engaged in their personal development, showering love on their families and friends and powerfully using their creativity and love to make the world a better place.

These two women came into my life after I lost my mother, and they model for me how to live a positive life, always learning, appreciating life, looking for joy and inspiration outside as well as within.

No matter what obstacles present themselves, Jo and Sondra always find a way to overcome it with grace and wisdom and luckily for me, they share all this with me on a regular basis. I feel so blessed to have my personal “wisdom council” and to be the object of their profound love.

When you reflect on your life so far, what comes to your mind?

Through my 40s, I struggled with self-image. I worked hard to get off the dieting cycle of my adolescence and college years. As an on-stage performer, I always felt the pressure to look “great,” a.k.a., “thin.”

I was lucky to find a local therapist who specializes in body dysmorphia. With my wonderful husband’s blessing, I worked with her for nearly three years when I could scarcely afford it and was able to find self-compassion and befriend myself once again.

This changed my life and is what I modeled for my daughters. In tandem with this, it took me years to recover from being a workaholic and finally come to see that a more balanced life, where physical and emotional well-being, rest and play are prioritized.

Finally, I am so grateful to have been blessed with an incredible life partner in my husband, Brian, as he’s a wildly supportive business partner and loving husband and father.

Who cheers you on?

My “wisdom council” — Jo and Sondra, mentioned above, and my daughters, Sonia and Alisa. One of my daughters gave me a gratitude journal and recommended that I journal daily, like her! They both help me look and feel great when I dress up by offering their opinions.

And of course, I’m also cheered on by my closest girlfriends, my Women on Fire sisters, and my loving and supportive husband, Brian. People tell me my optimism and positive energy are infectious. That brings me incredible joy! I believe it’s because I surround myself with positive people; therefore, I attract them and boldly reach out any time to create connection.

How do you cheer on others?

I love cheering others on. It’s one of my superpowers! I’m great at helping my friends look at their lives objectively, to figure out what the priorities are and how to shave away at the negative energy and activities that impede any forward motion.

In my studio and office, I continually have interns and assistants and enjoy mentoring them immensely. They always give more than 100 percent during their time with me, and I have remained friends with so many of them because they know I believe in them and their gifts.

The biggest area in which I cheer others on is my voiceover colleague circles. Little did I know when I walked into a voiceover career — one that by its very contemporary definition requires that you spend many solitary hours in front of a microphone in a home studio — what an amazingly supportive community exists among colleagues! By attending a voiceover conference and meeting in person, Brian and I instantly became part of a whole new supportive family.

I consider it my responsibility and honor to pay it forward as often as I can, sharing what others have generously shared with me. For this reason I’ve created several voiceover colleague support groups both in person and online via video conferences.

In addition, I frequently organize and/or host gatherings, particularly of women, and I ask them to talk about what they’re on fire about (sound familiar?). I ask them to share any obstacles and ask for support. I am also part of a Latina women’s group that meets several times a year in the Boston area, and typically host that community gathering once a year.

FURTHER INSPIRATION FROM ROSI:

I couldn’t live without… my sweet husband’s extraordinary gourmet cooking, walks with my doggie, time with my twin daughters and my two peaceful weeks each year on Martha’s Vineyard, which I jealously guard.

I’m picky when it comes to…. how I spend my time and give away my life energy. In my personal and professional lives I look for positive people who value and inspire me.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire monthly membership is… Debbie’s presence and the programs she’s created for us, from the monthly live chat master classes and monthly interviews to the support and love offered by our private Facebook page, where we can safely be vulnerable, sharing our losses and triumphs, receiving and offering genuine support.

Favorite go-to self-care strategy… my daily meditation + journaling ritual.

I dream of visiting… New Zealand, Portugal, Brazil, The Canary Islands. I can’t wait to return to France, Spain and hopefully Switzerland next summer, to sing and visit with friends!

I’m getting better at… asking for what I’m worth. After many years, I have learned to actually turn down clients who pay me less than I’m worth.

I still need to work on… time-management strategies that permit me to be more proactive in my business and not feel as tied to my abundant work email.

I’m always up for… an evening of listening to live music I love, from Latin to jazz and world music, or work by an innovative singer-songwriter.

I’m still afraid of… the fact that Brian and I got an extremely late start on saving for retirement. We’ll be working for a long while so we plan to continue focusing on health and wellness so that we can be happy, productive and inspiring into our 80s and 90s!

I could spend hours… watching TED Talks. So inspiring!

I believe in… love, kindness, generosity, compassion, empathy and boundaries to maintain my sanity.

The best thing I ever did was… to seek out a wonderful therapist. She helped me to rebuild and love my life!

More about Rosi Amador…

In 1981, she fulfilled her parents’ dream to do what they could not. She earned a college degree from Bryn Mawr College. You can learn more and be in touch with Rosi at rosi@amadorbilingualvoiceovers.com

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She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

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…

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Andrea Dowding

Dresden, Ohio

Women on Fire Member: #00004

Member since November 2011

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

My husband, Dave, and I are empty nesters for the first time in our 19 years of marriage and our collective 44 years of raising kids … his, hers and ours! August marked was the first time in 27 years that I didn’t have to fill out the never-ending and dreaded “back to school” forms and fees. We are loving finding our new normal.

I am an executive director of sales field learning and development at Thirty-One Gifts, the 28th largest direct selling company in the world. I work with an amazing CEO, Cindy Monroe, and an amazing staff that celebrates and supports a sales field of over 90,000 women.

What are you “on fire” about? 

Taking back my health, one walk-run, one bike ride, and one lap in the pool at a time. I am a four-year survivor of carcinoid cancer, and 2015 is the first year that I have been surgery- and treatment-free. I believe that every woman — no matter her size, shape or circumstance — can begin to reclaim her heath!

I am launching a closed Facebook group called Powerful … Not Perfect to encourage women to journey with me, just as they are, starting right where they are. It is such a relief to show up willing rather than to stay behind waiting.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

Rob Berkley! Rob was my amazing executive coach, and I met Debbie during Vision Days, first in Naples, Florida, and then in Martha’s Vineyard for a group Vision Day. Debbie and I talked one morning over breakfast at the Harbor View Hotel in Martha’s Vineyard, and she shared her incredible vision for Women on Fire.

I knew instantly that this was the kind of support and community so many women needed and would benefit from. After I received my executive coaching certification, I worked with Debbie and offered Women on Fire teas and the first Women on Fire  coaching groups in the Columbus, Ohio, area.

What one thing are you the most proud of?

In August, I rode in Pelotonia — the bike tour that raises funds for cancer research at the Ohio State University — and am happy to say I crushed every goal, riding 50 miles in four hours or less, with only one stop, and raising $4,000.

In April, I didn’t even own a bike in April, and I was scared to put my goal out there publicly. I wasn’t sure that I had it in me to do it. It felt good to start from ground zero with my training and then to meet or beat every goal.

I highly recommend setting a big — maybe even scary — goal. It moves you forward to another place. 

What is your big dream?

I think my dream is now unfolding, four years into my journey back from being so sick. My dream manifested into helping women (especially those over age 50) try new adventures, maybe for the first time working to take back their health and possibly their life!

Along the way, there has been lots of fun, lots of encouragement, lots of laughter and much celebration! It doesn’t have to be perfect to be powerful!

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

A doctor or a writer. That ambition may have merely manifested in a different way than I imagined. I love to see healing occur and hear the stories that come from the journey toward wholeness and full potential.

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

Be adventurous and explore with curiosity and confidence, fully embracing and owning your journey along the way. We have a hand-carved mirror in our home that says it this way, “Go out for adventure and come home for love.”

Where do you find inspiration?

In the stories and success of others.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

I have learned to manage my energy rather than my time, and it has made all the difference.

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

Amy Marzluff is someone I greatly admire. She is wonderfully talented at her craft and continually meets women right where they are and lifts them. She has a passion and a drive to help women in their health journey, but does it in such a way that makes them feel safe, educated and empowered with new information and always, always celebrated.

Amy is a lifelong learner, which I admire, and generous in heart and spirit in sharing her expertise and wisdom. I love her dearly.

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

My divorce and the events that led up to it. I wrote about it in the first Women on Fire book. I had so much work to do on myself to recover and heal. I had to silence the negative voices and find my own, which was really tricky with young children and all the stress that came with a corporate job as a single mother.

I really had to learn to do things on my own terms, which wasn’t easy, and I wasn’t always successful at it. The biggest lessons learned were to celebrate my strengths, admit my mistakes, be quick to forgive myself and others, and be open to any repair work that needed to happen along the way.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, my children and my family and a handful of friends. I am very grateful and blessed to have a wonderful community within my close circle of family and friends.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

It is from a speech called “The Man in the Arena” by Teddy Roosevelt, which hung in my father’s office until he died. Now it hangs in mine.

     “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

QUICK-RESPONSE ANSWERS:

I always have room for…

kids and grandkids!

I’m picky when it comes to…

hanging pictures.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is…

hearing other women’s stories.

My favorite go-to self-care strategy…

silence in nature.

I dream of visiting…

Greece and Italy.

I can’t wait to return to…

Hilton Head and New York.

I’m getting better at…

saying yes to me first.

I still need to work on…

putting big dreams in the forefront.

I would love to have lunch with…

my mom, all of my daughters, and my sisters and their daughters. What fun!! I can hear the laughter now!

I’m always up for…

a bike ride.

I have a soft spot for…

teenagers and young women starting their careers. I think in that order (smile).

I have no sympathy for…

self pity.

The top three songs on my iPod right now are…

I could spend hours…

swimming.

I believe in…

new beginnings.

I never forget to celebrate…

a goal or dream realized! I love to celebrate that journey!

I don’t leave the house without…

my confidence and compassion.

I never developed a taste for…

okra.

I’m always on the lookout for…

a new, wonderful, BIG idea.

My biggest pet peeve is…

the phrases “I am so jealous” and “you are so lucky.”

The best thing I ever did…

was giving birth and being a mother to my incredible children

More about Andrea Dowding …

In addition to her work with Thirty-One Gifts, Andrea is a leader in the innovative field of executive and life coaching. She specializes in coaching and supporting professional women and top leaders in the $34 billion industry of U.S. Direct Sales.

She is an accomplished keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, whose insights and life strategies were highlighted in the chapter she wrote for Women on Fire, Vol. 1.

Andrea formerly served as the vice president of sales and executive director of product innovation for The Longaberger Company as it grew to be a billion-dollar direct-selling business. She developed and oversaw the new product lines and was co-inventor on 27 products that received U.S. patents.

Andrea resides in Dresden, Ohio, with her husband and one of their six daughters.

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The 5 most-often questions you ask me… Answered!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

If you’re anything like me right now, you’re eagerly tidying up 2014 to bring on the holidays and 2015.

(And I hope you’re having a little fun doing it as my colleague Meredith Schoenberger …uh, I mean Santa Claus … and I did last week during the Women on Fire Holiday Live Chat!)

Before we say goodbye to the year, I want to share with you the five questions I am most frequently asked.

These questions come to me all year long either in emails or private conversations or in public talks or forums.  Some are personal; some are serious; all are asked with love and genuine curiosity.

1. Debbie, you’re so positive. You’re so perky. Are you ever in a bad mood?

Hahaha! I was tempted to invite my husband answer this question. 😉

Born on June 25, I am a Cancer, a Moon Child, so I wax and wane with the moon.

When I was a little girl, my mother would exclaim of my flair for being emotionally up or down (sometimes every other minute), “you’re sooooo dramatic and moody!”

I wish I knew then what I know now.  I would have flung myself across the floor and implored of her, “But, Mom, I am a Cancer, trying to express myself, and I am being mysteriously controlled by the moon!!”

I AM a positive person, and I see the glass half full, but that doesn’t keep me on occasion from being cranky, sad, angry or depressed about something upsetting.

Fortunately, after years of therapy and personal development, and at a stage in my life where I am happy, content and deeply fulfilled by my marriage, work, friends, family and colleagues, I have strategies to cope with the times I’m less than my happy self.

Chiefly, I stop the action and ask myself what is really at the core of my upset or mood. Self-awareness is key to living your dreams — and peace of mind.

No one can stay perky 100% of the time. Including me. (I am tempted though to ask Katie Couric how she does it?!)

2. Do you believe every person has a (fill in the blank) gift/spark/passion/purpose?

Yes, I do!

I’ve talked with and coached thousands of women over the years, and unless someone was profoundly and clinically depressed, I have always seen a spark inside of every single person.

She may not feel it.  She may not even believe it’s “in there.”  But it is.

Best-selling author Deepak Chopra once said that the single greatest job a parent must do for their child is to help them find their gift, their purpose, their passion.

Some of us are lucky and know it early on.  Others of us spend our lives seeking it.

But yes, your passion is in there and it is our parents’ jobs to help us find and nurture it when we are young. And, if we haven’t found it by the time we’re adults, we must make it our quest.

And age is no barrier to finding, embracing, and manifesting your gifts.

3. I’m not on fire.  How can I get in touch with my passion – and how will I know when I find it?

Do you remember a time you were “on fire” in your life? If so, that’s what finding your passion feels like.  You are utterly absorbed.  It doesn’t feel like work.  You’d do it for free.  It feels right.

Here are two quick ways to find your passion:

Slow down and listen to yourself.  Read. Explore. Allow yourself to feel. Go for joy, whether it’s volunteering at an animal shelter, baking a great pie, or skiing down a mountainside.  Whatever brings you joy, do more of it!

Ask others you trust what they see are your gifts, strengths and talents?  Often, those closest to you, including children, know what you are special and gifted at doing – even if you aren’t sure.

Why should you put in the effort to find your passion?  You will spend the rest of your life way happier and more fulfilled!

4. Don’t you get tired listening to people’s problems all the time?

Although I no longer have a one-on-one coaching practice (I’m too busy running Women on Fire!), I have coached women for nearly two decades.  I consider it an honor when people share with me their deepest dreams, desires, pain and disappointments.

A great coach (therapist, teacher, parent, friend) remains separate from the person who entrusts them with their heart and soul.

The truth is I am actually enlivened when I get to share in women’s lives as they search for, discover, struggle and go for their dreams – bumps and all!

I have never been tired by the gift of listening to someone genuinely and authentically share her journey.

What is tiring — and why I suspect I get this question — is because we all know someone who is a help-rejecting complainer.

These are people who have no intention of a better life although they claim otherwise. They live to complain, throw up roadblocks, make excuses, tell you why it won’t work, and in general, stay stuck and miserable. No matter what you do to help!

That’s tiring. It’s not the Women on Fire way of living so you don’t have to worry about that here!

And, while I’ve placed it as the fifth question, the question I am asked MORE than any other is …

5. What about Men on Fire?

The fact that this question is on so many women’s (and men’s) minds tells me there is a crying need for a way for men to connect as we do here at Women on Fire.

Because I hear this question so often, I’ve wondered about it myself.  And I believe that Women on Fire receive so much joy and connection from this community that they want it for their husbands, boyfriends, partners, sons and male friends, too.

Many of you know my husband Rob Berkley is an extraordinary executive coach who works with a lot of men.  So I know from his work, too, that there is great need.

I believe in the future there will be a “Women on Fire” for men to gather in ways that suit their particular needs just as we’ve done here.

In the meantime, the greatest gift we can give the men in our lives is to be our full and radiant, confident and loving selves.  It’s inspiring for men and women alike to see a woman go for it!

Thank you for your questions.  I’m always happy to answer whatever is on your mind.

Thank you so much, too, for being a part of this ever-growing circle of thousands of women dedicated to being your best.

I’ll be back next week for the final SPARK! of the year.

Then, together we’ll welcome a new year and a fresh start to making your dreams come true.  What is it you want to be telling me a year from now about your life? 🙂

Love,

Debbie Signature

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December’s Book To Live By

This month’s Books To Live By selection is nothing short of confectionary perfection and a “must have” for your kitchen!

From world-renowned pastry chef and award-winning New York City bakery owner Dominique Ansel comes a delicious inside look at some of his most celebrated recipes.

Our December selection is….

Dominique Ansel The Secret Recipes Book To Live By Women on Fire

Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes.

It’s no secret that I’m a BIG fan of the sweets and treats that Dominique Ansel creates, and his new cookbook is no exception. This book is a true masterpiece, focusing as much on the inspiration behind his creations as on the delectable pastry recipes.

I found it nearly impossible to flip through without wanting to dust off my baking supplies, and the gorgeous photography by Thomas Schauer is itself almost good enough to eat. You’ll relish the Chocolate Pecan Cookies, the gluten-free (yes, gluten-free recipes too!) Christmas Morning Cereal, the Frozen S’mores, and of course, the famous Cronut™!

Dominque Ansel: The Secret Recipes would make the perfect gift for dessert lovers and for anyone who likes to get creative in the kitchen! Food Network claims this book “brings bakery magic into your home kitchen,” and I couldn’t agree more!

Here’s to having a little more magic this winter with some help from Dominique Ansel!

The overnight success of the Cronut. NOT!

There’s something you need to know that happens on the way from the spark of your dream – to the success you deeply desire.

It usually takes a loooooong time.  And it’s a lot of work.

That’s me standing at the end of a queue for a Cronut®.  More in a minute about Cronuts and its creator Dominique Ansel — and why on earth I’d stand in line for an hour for …well, basically a fancy donut.

But first …

Overnight success to achieve your dream is as rare as winning the lottery – even though instant achievement is what we wish for and want to believe is possible!

The expectation that overnight success should come quickly keeps way too many people from eventually seeing their dreams come true.  They get frustrated and quit before the miracle happens.

“Anything worth a dime (or damn, depending on his audience!) is worth working hard for,” said Woody Hayes, the late Ohio State University football coach.

Last weekend, in New York City, I came upon two hard-working men who could appear to be “overnight successes” and each inspired the heck out of me!

Both of them put in years and years of hard work before their brilliant business ideas “popped” and they now experience the taste of big success.

First is stationery and gift designer R. Nichols, or Nic, as he’s called.

He worked for many years at Abercrombie & Fitch before launching a product design business in his parents’ basement!

I first learned about Nichols’ exquisite work from Women on Fire member Laura Tiberi who introduced me to his sophisticated, whimsical designs, including his famous “Grati-Pad.”

He knocked on door after door to place his work in specialty stores across the country and at Gump’s, Barneys, Bloomingdales, Neiman-Marcus and others.

Overnight success?  Nope.

It’s 14 years later since he was in the basement, so to speak!

He never gave up.  Along the way, and I’m sure he’d say he’s still “on his way,” he illustrated the cover and chapter headings for the New York Times’ best-selling bookFrench Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano.

Nichols lives by this: “No matter what I am doing, I always strive to maintain my mission – which is to create joy, if only in small ways.”

Gracious, warm and welcoming, he is a whirl of enthusiasm who keeps his eye on the next beautiful design he plans to create — as more and more people fall in love with his work.

And then there’s Dominique Ansel.  The fact that I stood in line for an hour with dozens of others (as had thousands of others in the past months) to purchase my limit of two Cronuts tells you the man’s dream has come true.

He’s no overnight success either.  This French pastry chef who started cooking at age 12 slaved away in kitchens for decades before opening his own little bakery in 2011 in Soho.

He kept his pastry case filled with gorgeous, creative, delicious treats.

And then …

He and his team took months to perfect a donut-croissant hybrid that became the Cronut — and started a pastry revolution!

Ansel had no idea this particular pastry would become a success. He went to bed one night, thinking he’d just added another pastry to his repertoire. Only to wake the next day and discover people stood in line for his handmade Cronuts!

Dominique Ansel is a bakery so special now that it has a doorman/security guard to kindly and gently keep the crowd from spinning out of control while they wait in long lines for their sugary treats!

On the day we were there, even the famous Roots drummer, DJ and music producer QuestLove patiently waited in line for his Cronuts, over the shoulder of Women on Fire member Holly Getty.

Still, Ansel knows that being the best at what he does “is a lifetime commitment” and there is no such thing as “overnight success.”

Years ago, I remember listening to an interview with singer Gloria Estefan after she’d won her first Grammy Award.  The interviewer referenced her “overnight success,” and she quickly interrupted him.

“I’ve been working in clubs until 3AM for a decade. My success is not overnight.”

R. Nichols’ success wasn’t either.  Nor was Dominique Ansel’s. You may be one of the lucky ones to win the instant success lottery.

Regardless, your success is a journey, not a destination.

Women on Fire is here to help you stay on the road during the uncertain and tough times, and then celebrate you when people line up at your door for your version of  “Cronuts.” 🙂

Have a delicious week!

Women on Fire monthly members, I’ll see you on the Live Chat this Tuesday, November 11 at 8PM Eastern where I’ll talk about The Power of Intention — 7 Ways to Capture and Create What You Desire.

Love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Great news for Columbus, Ohio-area Women on Fire! You are invited to a Holiday Tea led by Andrea Dowding and co-hosted by Tricia Simpson on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at the Cambridge Tea House from 4:30 to 7:30pm. Only 10 seats remain — and they will sell out fast! Don’t miss out on this very special opportunity to connect and celebrate with your Women on Fire sisters this Holiday season. Register here!

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A simple skill that can make a big difference for you

How’d you spend your extra hour last night!?

The wind and rain and a few snow flurries whooshed through the woods all night and day here on Martha’s Vineyard.  I took full advantage of that extra hour and stayed under the covers, occasionally peeking out the bedroom window at incredible autumn beauty!

Welcome to you – and to hundreds of you who are new this week to The Spark!

Women on Fire came into existence more than a decade ago with the belief that if you have access to inspiration, strategies and support, you can greatly increase your ability to live your dreams and make a difference in the world.

Our topic today focuses on an important strategy for your success — having the awareness and skills to respond.

Responding is a simple skill and essential behavior for effective communication, that if not practiced can lead to upset, conflict and diminished success.

Years ago, when I coached women one-on-one, responding was often one of the first skills I would work on with leaders to help them achieve.

Here are two recent emails I received that reveal what happens when we fail to respond:

Dear Debbie,

My boss never tells me I’m doing a good job.  Even though my performance reviews are always stellar, I’d like to hear throughout the year when I do a good job.

It makes me nervous and it’s so stressful to have to wait until my annual review to learn whether I’m on track.  I don’t want to seem too needy by asking for an occasional compliment.

I’ve started to look elsewhere for a job, but I really love the work I do and don’t want to leave. Any thoughts?

Love, Cathy

And this one:

Hi Debbie,

My husband and I see a couple we enjoy a lot.  But they both have the same quirk.

Sometimes when we’re invited to their house, they don’t even look up and greet us after we’ve come in.  Other times, I might share something personal or exciting or important and they don’t comment – or they’ll change the subject.

Other than that, we have fun with them and would like to continue our friendship. Is there anything we should say or do?  I’m sure we have our own quirks that bug them!

Thanks, Liz

The issue both Cathy and Liz are frustrated by is a lack of response from people who are important to them.

Most likely, if Cathy’s boss or Liz’s friends knew how much their behavior hurt them, they’d be shocked.

People don’t respond for a variety of reasons. In my two decades as a life and executive coach, I’ve observed that most people who don’t respond simply never learned the skills and are unaware that they aren’t responding.

What non-responders don’t realize is that by failing to react, they can leave others feeling wronged, confused, embarrassed, shut down or unimportant.

We talk here often about how changing other people’s behavior is difficult, and usually nearly impossible! So the best place to start here is with ourselves.

In this instance, being a great communicator, vital in today’s Information Age and connection economy, starts with you becoming aware of how well you respond.

Check out your skills in the nine-point quiz below. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 as never and 10 as always, how would you rate your ability to “respond?”

1)   When I notice someone doing something positive or good, I almost always acknowledge it.

2)   When I am distracted, and someone speaks to me or arrives in the room, (this includes your kids!), I apologize and inform them I’m distracted and not focused on them right now.

3)   In conversation, I am aware of when I change the subject, and why.

4)   I make sure people feel heard and celebrated, if appropriate, when they are sharing important news.

5)   If I don’t know what to say in response to someone, I at least acknowledge them. (i.e., Wow, I see you’re excited about that, etc.)

6)   If I truly have no words in response to someone, and I sense they are needing one, I ask permission to think about it and get back to them.

7)   When someone gives me a compliment, I thank them and tell them how their compliment made me feel.

8)   If someone has crossed a boundary with me, I tell them clearly and directly without being confrontational, allowing the moment to pass, or shutting down. (i.e., “It’s not OK with me”…”that doesn’t work for me,” etc.)

9)   I believe there is plenty in this world for me, and I easily and enthusiastically honor the achievements and successes of people I care about.

Cathy and Liz, I see you are disappointed by the lack of response from your boss and your friends.

Make sure that you become the outstanding communicators and exemplary role models in “responding” that you are wishing for from them.

For Cathy, it is perfectly appropriate to approach your boss multiple times a year and ask: “I am eager to stay on track, will you please tell me one thing I’m doing well so I continue to do that?”

For Liz, when your friends fail to respond to your achievements or news, you might say: “There aren’t very many places I can celebrate my success and I feel safe in our friendship to share. Are you OK cheering me on?”

And, when they don’t greet you with enthusiasm when you arrive at their home, you might ask: “Should we come back at another time?”

Or, you could throw your arms around them, take their faces in your hands, and say “HELLO, I’ve missed you and I’m so happy to see you!!!”  If that doesn’t work, you might need new friends 😉

Keep us posted on how things work out for you.

As for you, which of the “responding” skills in the quiz do you need to work on?  What support do you need to make it happen?  Good luck and feel free to share onthe blog.

Have a wonderful week and I’ll see you next week!

Love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Women on Fire monthly members, I’m thrilled to announce you will receive in your mailbox this week an extraordinary interview with Thirty-One Gifts FounderCindy Monroe!

At 29 and with two small children, Cindy started a business in her basement. Eleven years later, that business now has more than 1,500 employees and 100,000 sales consultants. You are going to love hearing just how Cindy did it!

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Links That Light Us Up

 40th Edition

Hello, wonderful Women on Fire!

We are back with another round of links for you to browse your way into the weekend! 🙂

Links That Light Us UP 41st edition via Women on Fire

Best Travel Hack — There is nothing better than cheap plane tickets.

15 Ways to land Cheap Plane Tickets via Michelle Swift

Best Goodie Without Guilt — This recipe speaks for itself.

keylimepie-tall-nssl_0NoshandNourish.com

Best IKEA Overhaul — Just in case you ever find yourself running around in circles at an Ikea! 🙂

Ikea Hacks from LiveSimply By AnnieLiveSimplyByAnnie.com

Best Writing Resources — This is an amazing collection of tools, apps and sites that can help you take your writing to the next level.

Screenshot 2014-07-24 09.41.34LifeHack.org

 

Best Swim Spots — Mother Nature will amaze you in this list of swimming holes across America.

Travel and Leisure- Americas best swimming holesTravelandLeisure.com

 Best LOL — 25 husbands who must be stopped!

Screenshot 2014-07-24 09.41.04BuzzFeed

Best Dance Montage EVER — Just press play! 🙂

 Best Way to Beat Procrastination — Bookmark today and you can read tomorrow (wink wink)!

Getting Over Procrastination by Maria Konnikova image Martin Parr:Magnum

 

We hope these links light up the end of your week! Let us know if you have any fun finds from across the Web! 🙂

xox

The Women on Fire Team

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