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.


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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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Super goal winners

While the rest of the country is snacking on Doritos and watching the Super Bowl, I’m propped up in my bed with furry Wilber stretched alongside me.  I’d much rather talk to you than watch football.

Honestly, I do not even know how the game is played.  And that is probably shameful given that I attended The Ohio State University during the years of football’s famous coach Woody Hayes and two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin.

I am much more excited that my colleague Daren Stinson, who loves the Ravens, is over-the-moon they’re in the Super Bowl. And I’m thrilled there are several Women on Fire in the stands in New Orleans, including Women on Fire Book 2 co-author Kim Davis.

Woman on Fire Kim Davis is in the house … at the Super Bowl!

But, for me, the only way I can relate to the excitement people have for sports is to equate it with how crazy happy I feel when Women on Fire set their goals for the dreams they so want — and it all comes true!

So, congratulations to the Super Bowl winner and all their fans, and here are a few Women on Fire members who are my personal Super Goal winners:

Kira Karmazin and I celebrating her big success in going for her dream

Kira Karmazin of Atlanta and I enjoyed a long and luxurious lunch in Naples, Florida this weekend.  I could have talked forever to this inspiring apparel-industry executive, who while working a full-time job and raising daughter Grace, created and launched her dream-come-true clothing line.

Her fashion-forward, exquisite yoga wear company KiraGrace was recently featured by Hoda and Kathie Lee on NBC’s Today Show!

Emily Neal of Nashville set a big goal to spend a semester abroad during her sophomore year at Vanderbilt University — and voila, she’s is now in Copenhagen! Check out her exciting adventures — attending Denmark’s Fashion Week —  in her new blog.

Nothing will stop this powerful threesome– Laurel Hodory, Amy Marzluff and Carrie Saba

Carrie Saba, Amy Marzluff and Laurel Hodory, from Columbus, Ohio — all three amazing coaches and teachers — took a weekend getaway and winter hike to create their own Vision Day experience and set their dreams.  I can only imagine what we’ll see from each of them this year. Carrie and Laurel are  co-authors in Women on Fire Book 2 and you’ll be able to read their empowering stories later this year.

As a little girl, Nellie Partow of New York City sketched designs in her notebook and dreamed of being a fashion designer.   Today, with a dozen collections to her credit, she was recently nominated for the fashion industry’s Rising Star Award.  And now Vogue Magazine is recognizing her supreme talent. Way to go for your dreams, Nellie!

Carmencita Whonder of Washington, DC is set to announce her years-in-the-making business — Of Whonder — a line of plus-size yoga wear. Stay tuned when details are revealed in New York City on February 13!

Congratulations to Ellen Wingard of Chilmark, Massachusetts, who this week becomes the chair of the board of World Pulse.  An author and transformational leader, Ellen has nearly 30 years of experience in leadership coaching.

Those of you who met her at the recent Women on Fire Retreat in Chicago will remember her powerful presence and goal to advance and promote the social and economic empowerment of women in the world.  She is well on her way!

Congratulations to each of you.  It is a joy to watch you set your goals and dreams and go for it!

If you have milestones in your dreams to share, please keep me posted on how your goals are transforming your life.


“Live bold” and see what happens!

Such a sweet and bittersweet day today. Father’s Day.

Bittersweet for those of us whose fathers have died or from whom we are estranged.  Since my precious Dad’s death in 2004, I notice I still turn on my heels any time I stumble upon the “Father’s Day card” display.

It hurts that he’s gone even though I can always feel him “up there” helping me!

This was the last photo I ever took of my father, only weeks before his sudden death, playing with my nephew Tyler. My entrepreneurial Dad turned this box into a toy and stuck his grandson in it for much merry-making!

But it is sweet to celebrate all those wonderful Dads out there today and I know so many extraordinary ones.

And, to see all of the lovely tributes to Dads, living or not, on Facebook.

One in particular — written by Women in Fire member Kay Raypholtz of Pioneer, Ohio — I wanted to share with you for its love and honesty.

To capture the full picture — not a sugar-coating — of a loved one who has died is a powerful way to learn and truly honor them.  Kay has done that beautifully with Life on the Edge: Tribute to my Father.

We also have several Father’s Day birthdays today: Kitty Munger and Jody Poth, both of Columbus, Ohio; and Maureen Hanlon Wheeler, of Burlington, Vermont.  If yours is also today, please forgive me and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

OK, so here we go …

The day Misty gave me my cherished “LIVE BOLD” t-shirt!

The picture above is a favorite of mine, taken last fall in Austin, Texas with Woman on Fire Misty Gibbs.  I love meeting Women on Fire wherever I go!

Misty has enjoyed success locally in Texas with her Empower Lounge.  And, she has been feverishly working on a concept and funding for a national Empower Lounge that would expand online support for women everywhere.

She is my kind of woman!  She is determined to make it happen and continuously works away on this enormous project.

Years ago when I attended Ohio State University, its famous, feisty football coach Woody Hayes repeatedly reminded us students: “nothing that comes easy is worth a dime” — or “worth a damn,” depending on his audience!

I know so many of you are stepping up and working toward your dreams, too — and it’s a lot of work.  And, it’s not easy.

That’s why we’re here together.  To remind each other to be bold … to keep going … to take steps that are powerful, out-of-the-ordinary, maybe even a little crazy!

As our friend Stedman Graham told us when he spoke at our Women on Fire Retreat a couple of years ago: “you are not in the 98% of the people getting up, going to work, coming home, watching TV, going to bed. You are in the 2% making a difference in the world and sometimes you gotta be bold!”

And, it was Goethe who said: “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

So how do we be bold?  What does it mean to live boldly?

Here are 5 strategies you might use to find your way to being more bold:

1) Ask yourself what you wish you had the nerve to do even though it feels too big. Then, get a plan together and some support — and do it!

2) Pretend you are an actress and imagine how she would play you in all your fullness and success.

3) Who is the wisest person you know? Invite him or her to lunch and ask for help, advice and counsel.

4) Take risks. Loosen up about making mistakes. (As long as it doesn’t put your family in major jeopardy.) Learn from your mistakes and you’ll move further faster.

5) Make an unconventional move. When I began my coaching practice in 1995, I worked with all of my clients in person. Thomas Leonard, the founder of CoachU and modern-day coaching, told me “you can never have a sustainable business if you coach everyone in person.”

I thought he was nuts. I was scared, but I decided to test it. I lost one client. I gained many more and built a super successful, thriving practice coaching over the telephone and it sustained me for years. At the time, a bold and unconventional move that paid off!

So, I hope you are inspired to try something bold this week.  And, I hope you will let me know how it works out for you!

Wishing you a week of bold steps ~