I have the most wonderful conversation to share with you today on The Thought Leadership Podcast.
In today’s episode, I’m talking with Debbie Phillips, the founder of Women on Fire® and a pioneer in the field of executive and life coaching.
Debbie has spent 30+ years helping women connect with what they really want for their lives and then take the steps to make those dreams real. In today’s episode you’ll get to hear how it all started with a pretty amazing career, which included touring around with presidential candidates who also happened to be astronauts among other cool things, and how this brought her to coaching before coaching was even a thing.
Debbie will also be sharing gems around visioning and goal setting, and I’ll talk with her about how you can tap into what you REALLY want in your life, as well as how best to create a vision and goals that actually work.
This is the perfect episode as you begin to plan for your new year with 2020 vision, so I hope you’ll tune in!
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- Hear Debbie Phillips share how her coaching career began before coaching was even really a thing
- How Debbie came to found Women on Fire and what happened when she began to get intentional about her coaching business
- Hear how her live events kicked off with tea party gatherings
- Be inspired to tap into what you really want for your own life and business
- How to be successful as a coach by following your heart
- Learn how best to create a vision and goals that actually work
Debbie Phillips Founder, Women on Fire®
Debbie Phillips is the inspiring founder of Women on Fire® and a pioneer in the field of executive and life coaching. She is also an author, speaker and producer known for herwork in transforming women’s lives. Her gift is her ability to see and nurture the strengths, gifts and talents of the women she works with.
Her credits include the book Women on Fire: 20 Inspiring Women Share Their Life Secrets (and Save You Years of Struggle!) Volume 1 and Women on Fire: 21 Inspiring Women Share Their Life Secrets (and Save You Years of Struggle!) Volume 2.
In 1995, Debbie created a service for leaders and women in transition that previously didn’t exist but that she had wished for earlier in her career. Executive and life coaching were all but unheard of in professional circles at the time, and she was among the first trained coaches in the world.
After several years of coaching individuals and teams, in 2003 she founded Women on Fire®. It is a membership community for women that features gatherings, retreats and coaching circles – as well as expert interviews, broadcasts and coaching support to extend the outreach of inspiration, strategies and support for women’s successes. Debbie also created and co-developed Vision Day®, a strategic planning day that has helped thousands of people live the lives they’ve dreamed of.
Prior to becoming a coach, she was a reporter for the Columbus (Ohio) Citizen-Journal; a deputy press secretary to former U.S. Senator John Glenn during his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination; press secretary to former Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste; and executive-in-charge of U.S. Health Productions Company, which featured the internationally syndicated television health and lifestyle show “Life Choices.”
Debbie has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
She considers, however, her greatest education to be the pain, joy and growth from the ups and downs of life, love and loss. She lives with her big white cat, Wilber, on Martha’s Vineyard and in Naples, FL.
Listen to the Full Episode:
- Learn more about Debbie's work and Women on Fire here: https://www.womenonfire.com
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Full Episode Transcript:
Michelle: 00:08 Welcome to the Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you're on a mission to make a difference in the world with your message, you are in the right place. I'm Michelle Barry Franco and I'm thrilled that you're here.
Michelle: 00:24 Hello, hello. My beautiful Thought Leadership friends. I have the most wonderful conversation to share with you today. I got to talk with Debbie Phillips of Women on Fire. Debbie started Women on Fire back in early two thousands, 2003 I think it was, and it's just so amazing to hear her story inspiring you get to hear her rooftop message so we have a really good rich conversation. I'm so grateful I get to have these conversations with thought leaders out in the world who've done such cool things. You're going to hear Debbie's story and how it started with an already pretty amazing career, which includes touring around with presidential candidates who also happened to be astronauts and many other cool things and really how that brought her to coaching before coaching was even a thing. So you'll get to hear all of those details and learn some gems around visioning and goal setting.
Michelle: 01:20 Before we dive in to this conversation, I want to ask you please with prayer hands and an overflowing heart of gratitude, if you would head over to your favorite listening app and give us a rating and review. Those just really help us be found in the whole world, the sea of podcasts and I know that this podcast is different. It's different than the other public speaking and thought leadership podcasts and I would just so love it if it got discovered along with some of the other great ones, but got discovered so that the message that's at the heart of this podcast that you were made for this, that you have everything you need right now within you, that people could get that message while they're getting all the other tricks and strategies too. So if you could do that, I would so appreciate it.
Michelle: 02:10 The other thing is you are invited and welcome into the Thought Leadership School community. We have a free Facebook group. We'd love to have you there. We share inspiration tools, tips, strategies, conversations, all of that inside that group. And if you just go to thethoughtleadershipschool.com/Facebook, you'll be taken right to that page and you can request to join and we will excitedly invite you in. So with all of that said, thank you so much for doing that review and excited to have you join us in the community. I'm really looking forward to sharing this conversation with Debbie Phillips with you. I'm going to tell you a little bit more about her background because it's so inspiring and cool. Debbie is an author, speaker and a producer who is known for her work transforming women's lives. Her gift is her ability to see and nurture the strengths, gifts, and talents of the women she works with.
Michelle: 03:07 And I can say this is absolutely true as part of the women on fire community, as someone who's gotten to have some really beautiful one on one conversations with Debbie, you're going to feel this as you listen to her. So she is the author of the book, women on fire, 20 inspiring women, share their life secrets and save you years of struggle. Volume one and her second book. Women on fire, 21 inspiring women, share their life secrets and save you years of struggle. Volume two so you can go get those books that are out there. It was all the way back in 1995 when Debbie created, you'll hear this story, but she created her coaching practice basically, but there wasn't a name for it, so it's a very fun story. She's been working with people directly on visioning and goal planning and all of that since then.
Michelle: 03:54 She started Women on Fire as a circle, as a community in 2003 and it's takes many forms and there are many ways that women gather within the community, but what I love about you hearing from Debbie is that you can hear that she has let her passion and her heart guide so many of the experiments. She doesn't use that word, that's me using that word that have turned into really cool offerings and ways of serving her community. She co-created and co-developed vision day, which is a strategic planning day that has helped thousands of people live the lives they've dreamed of. So prior to becoming a coach who was a reporter for the Columbus, Ohio Citizen Journal, she was a deputy press secretary to former U.S. Senator John Glenn. During his quest for the democratic presidential nomination. She was press secretary to former Ohio governor Richard F Celeste and executive in charge of us health productions company, which featured internationally syndicated television, health and lifestyle show life choices.
Michelle: 05:02 She's done these very cool things that set her up in her career. She also, as she describes spent time just walking around with, I think she calls it her hair on fire, which is what inspired her to take time off and then create her coaching service before there was such a thing. She lives in Naples, Florida, and on Martha's Vineyard and I'm just excited for you to get to hear her story and to get these gems around visioning and goal setting because, while I love those processes, I have struggled with them. So she gave me some insight that I am absolutely carrying with me into my planning season, which starts right about now toward the end of November, beginning of December. You may be listening to this later. Always a good time for some planning. But I know that this is a time that many of us are thinking about planning.
Michelle: 05:51 Okay. So without further description and ado, here's my, with Debbie Phillips of Women on Fire. Debbie Phillips, I am just delighted beyond description to have you here with me today. I've been so inspired by you and the community of women that you've gathered for years since I joined. I don't even know how many years ago, but it's quite a few years at this point and I just feel so lucky to be a part of women on fire and excited that there might be one or two people who haven't heard of women on fire that we'll get to join the group. So thank you so much for being here.
Debbie: 06:29 Oh Michelle, thank you so much. I love having you as part of Women on Fire.
Michelle: 06:36 True, true. So first I recently had the delightful experience of getting to hear more of your story, like where all this started, your background. While I heard pieces of it before, there was just something so cool about, you started way back before coaching was even known. So would you just tell that story for the benefit of everyone listening?
Debbie: 06:59 Yes. So I ended up in, became a coach before it was a career. And so this is an example of doing what you love and then even if it's not a career, if you're doing what you love, sometimes it turns into a career. And I was fortunate enough that it did. And so I actually started out my real career, my early career as a newspaper reporter. And then I was a press secretary to a presidential candidate who was Senator John Glenn, the astronaut and he ran for president. I traveled with him and watched the entire 1984 presidential race unfold, which was such an education. Then the third part of my career, I ran a television production company and it had a television show called life choices. It was about taking charge of your life in your health. So I did those things before I was 40 wow.
Debbie: 07:55 Oh. I always felt Michelle, that nobody sent me the memo like how do I know how to balance my life? Because all I did was feel like my hair was on fire all the time in my career. And it was hard. I started doing for other people what I wish somebody would do for me. That is how are you healthy during a high-powered career or a big life. Then, it was six months later, I found out that there was actually a profession coming online called Coaching.
Michelle: 08:28 Well, how did you even know to do that? Was it like you were, man, I'm so harried and exhausted. Then other people would say that to you too and you were like, Oh, let me help you with that while you're still experiencing it.
Debbie: 08:41 Yes. That's informally what happened. Then I was taking a break and two different people asked me to come to work for them and they wanted me to do very specific things and I said, well, I'll come to work for you, but you know, I don't want to be a full time employee. I want to come to work with you and I'll help you. But what I did was I really just coached them and they loved it, but we didn't even know it was called. It's nothing. Then it was funny, once I did find out about six months after I was doing this work that I loved because I was really helping these people. One of them was a woman who was running a law firm and the other guy was running an investment banking firm. Both of them were like, this is, I love the days you come, you know?
Debbie: 09:23 I just feel so clear after you leave. It was because I was doing for them what I had wished somebody would have gotten from me. You just made it up. You're like, I would want this and I would want this or I could love it, you know? I listened to them and we could plan strategies for how they were going to handle whatever issues were coming up for them. I did find out that there was this profession called Coaching. Of course, I began to talk about it and tell people, you know, I am a coach and badge and Michelle, no one, there was no such thing. I would say this to people and they would look at me and they would smile and I would explain to them and they would either respond in one of two ways.
Debbie: 10:05 They would say, well, why would somebody need that? You should be able to do that for yourself. Or they say, Oh wow, I never knew you were involved in sports and I'd be like, Oh my gosh, I can't slay this at all. It's always, Oh, I was so exaggerated, didn't you? If I remember right, like a friend or someone sent you an article and said, is this what you're doing as yes. So my best friend actually sent me the article and she woke me up at six 30 in the morning. She goes, Oh my gosh, you got to go get Newsweek. There's an article and it's about what you do and it has a name and everything. And I go, what's it called? Life and Executive Coaching. I'm like, oh my God, that's exactly what I'm doing. And the funny part was the article was about a man named Thomas Leonard, who is considered the father of modern day coaching, sadly has since died.
Debbie: 10:55 This is back in the days where I got his phone number called him up. He answered the phone. That probably would never happen these days. Hey, no. I said, oh, I read that article about you in Newsweek and I'm coaching and I have a whole bunch of clients. He said, well, would you love to come to New York. I've trained a bunch of coaches and we're having a weekend workshop. We love to include you. So I became part of that group and became part of the first set of trained coaches in the world. Amazing. When I was sitting there that day that I went to Thomas Leonard's workshop and I met all the people he had trained, he trained about 12 people. I said, oh, these are my people, my people, these are the people who aren't like, wait, shouldn't you be able to do that for yourself?
Debbie: 11:41 Oh I know, I know. Isn't it amazing how, and it's so great. I see how things have changed. And that day or that weekend with Thomas Leonard, I remember I was crying to him cause I'm going out there many people, there were probably like 60 people total of the whole thing. I had a lot of time to interact with him personally and I was whining and I said, I just can't explain this to anybody. It was so cute. I'll never forget, he put his hand on my shoulder and he said, Debbie, I just want to tell you in three to five years people will not be asking what's a coach? They will be asking, who's your coach? Uh, I love it and it gives me chills. It isn't that great. I know, I know. Is that a great story? I remember going in my head, I hope so. And he was right because, and so when I speak to crowds now, if it's, you know, like let's say it's 300 people, I'll say, who in this room has never heard of a life or executive coach? Invariably I'll get maybe one or two people. Wow. Yes.
Michelle: 12:37 I bet that has not always been the case. Right. If you've been doing that survey across the years, how interesting to probably just watch the crowd. When was that that you went to that training?
Debbie: 12:48 I did 96.
Michelle: 12:50 Wow. 96, I can picture you asking that question in a crowd and 96 in a crowd in 97 you know, and like each time having fewer and fewer hands go up,
Debbie: 13:00 That's exactly what happened. Yeah. I remember being places where, you know, it would be like, Oh wow, cool. Half of the room has heard of this.
Michelle: 13:08 Yeah. So you had started, you had inadvertently but happily started this coaching business and then got the name for it and became more directly intentional about building a coaching practice, knowing what it was. And then did you just then continue to do one on one coaching for a long period of time? And when did women on fire come into the mix? Which definitely has coaching in its roots and feel, but it's different.
Debbie: 13:36 Well, it's a great example for any coaches who are listening or following your heart as you, if you're a coach, who are the people you love coaching? Who are you there for? Who is your perfect client? Who can you really serve? I always knew it was women. I started out when I ended up with a full coaching practice. So that's usually, you know, for most people, between 1620 individual clients, I had 80% were men and 20% were women. When I had that awareness that I really wanted to coach women, I switched that around within a few months actually, which is pretty amazing. But again, I set the goal, I want it to be 80% women and 20% men and made a plan and how I was going to do that. So that shifted my coaching practice. When that happened, did that for a few years, had really incredible women, or they were either running companies, politicians, actresses, some really fascinating women.
Debbie: 14:42 Whenever they were going through something, they were getting divorced or the kids were leaving home or they were taking care of their elderly parents, they would feel like they were the only person in the world. We all get that. We've all been there. When you're going through these life transitions, it feels so lonely. So from that, you know, each week I would talk to these women and of course from time to time I would connect them, but one-on-one, not as a group. Then I said, I want to do something for women as a group. So in 2003 I brought together all of my clients and from that moment on in 2003 they were like, can we keep doing this? So it just grew and grew and grew. So that's how
Michelle: 15:26 It exploded. Tell me technically what happened. Like I'm picturing you have this 16 to 20 clients, 80% of them being women, and you just said like, you know what, I've all these amazing women I meet with, let's all gather and have a meal or well, how did you first start?
Debbie: 15:43 We want to know. It actually was very different from that. So I've had the great fortune of having the most amazing partner who was an executive coach as well, Rob my husband. At that point we invited everybody in our coaching community to an event. It was half men, half women, we called it Women on Fire. There were, at the first event, I think there were between 50 and 70 people there again, half men, half women, and we held it in a theater and the men were equally inspired around it being called Women on Fire. It was the coolest thing. Yeah, I know. It was pretty amazing. That is so cool. The evening was so jubilant, it was just wonderful. So after that night, super, super successful, I said to my husband, I said, you know, that was so great, but here's the thing, I really just want to do this for women and I want it to be more intimate and smaller even though everything about this event tonight was magical.
Debbie: 16:50 My husband, who was so awesome, said, why don't you do tea parties? Then he goes, you love tea parties, why don't you do tea parties? And I'm like, brilliant. So again, I, uh, the next event was a group of maybe 17 cause the sweet spot for a tea party was between 15 and 19 people. That launched 10 years in New York City of doing tea parties and bringing all kinds of women together for the purpose of creating safety so they could share what was in their heart and you know, dream of a bigger life.
Michelle: 17:31 Were these current clients or some current clients and then their colleagues and friends and how did you do pricing for this? Like was it like an event price?
Debbie: 17:42 Yeah, it was an event price. If you think about it, because you know when I started it, it was women would come to this three hour tea. They'd almost always, as it got going, half of the women had been there before and then half of the women had never been there and you see, and you've probably noticed on the Women on Fire page, people are always saying bring back the teeth. And we just happened to find an amazing place in Gramercy Park. It's no longer there. And it was funny, I was like, I need to become a super millionaire so that I can find this building ever happened. Of course eventually 10 years into it, the thing happened that we could no longer tease there anyway, it was magical for 10 years and it really built the basis of the Women on Fire organization and community.
Michelle: 18:29 Yeah. So they happened initially and these live gatherings and then would some of those people who were new to the Women on Fire community join something like I'm thinking about, especially for people who are listening, but actually I'm super curious too, like how did this make up your business model or support your business model at the time?
Debbie: 18:50 Yeah, totally did. So I loved it. Women would bring their friends or colleagues or, or sisters or mothers and we all, or we had a mother, daughter, sister, auntie, niece, T. You know where you would break ready. So cute because there are Women on Fire members who are in their 20s but of course I think of them as 16 because they came to the T or 14 because they were a little girls practically. Now they're young adult women who are in their careers and they belong to Women on Fire. So it's very exciting to see them now flourish. Women on Fire though, he's been a part of their life. Isn't that neat?
Michelle: 19:29 Right. It's really cool. So did you also have, because the way I know it most, you know, my experience of it is an online community and then events that have happened, not necessarily every year, but I know I went to one and it was wonderful to be live and in person with all of these amazing, it's a really remarkable community. So I would just love to hear, because I'm in a number of, and have been in and out of a number of online communities and Women on Fire is remarkably supportive and warm. It really does feel like a nonjudgmental space. And a lot of places say that, but do not actually end up there.
Debbie: 20:09 Right. Well thank you and that's right. Women will say to me all the time, they'll say, you know, I did this or that, but it wasn't like women on fire. And I always say to them, that's right. And that's why you're in that other groups spread that because you know what it feels like to be safe. You know what it feels like to be, you know, to be received in a nonjudgmental way. You know what it's like to be cheered on, you know, for what you're doing. Go spread that because it's a skill that we aren't necessarily taught. Those skills are the underpinning of Women on Fire. One the reasons it's such a beautiful connective, loving, supportive, powerful community.
Michelle: 20:52 What's the magic like? Do you have, I have some ideas, but I'm wondering if you know what you're doing differently that creates that?
Debbie: 21:02 Well, it's the safety factor of everybody counts. Everybody's important. It doesn't matter whether you're a stay at home mom or you're running a company, everybody is treated with equal love and respect. I think that's part of the magic and you know, it's interesting, it's positive, but it's also authentic. I mean, we don't shy away from talking the hard stuff. And I think that there's safety when it's not just all one way. We make room in this space for everyone and everything and women are very respectful because they appreciate that when it's their turn for a struggle or they need support, they appreciate that everyone is allotted the same respect. There's not a hierarchy where it's like, oh, you're three levels above me, which is something that we tend to do in society, which is painful and hard. Yeah. Yeah. What do you think, because you know, and I, I get so much from Women on Fire members because you know, I'm very close to it, but I learned.
Michelle: 22:11 Yeah, I think what you were just talking about is what I notice and that is that your vulnerability and your regular connection in a very real way. From the beginning when you'd be going to breakfast with Rob and you're like, oh, we're in the car going to breakfast. I mean there was just so many different moments that you were like, come into our world, but it didn't feel like, come look at us. It was like, look, we're here. We want to share this with you. We're wondering this about you were thinking about you and we were just talking about this. So there's like a sense of community that's not that helpful for me to say that you seem to be just carrying with you. You feel like it's that this is your community and so you want to connect in at these times. Of course the vulnerability as you know, over this last year and a half where you were literally so connected with the community and you know, sharing the whole process of Rob's illness and all of that.
Debbie: 23:11 Yeah. Well first of all, thank you so much and you know, we should tell anybody listening who, who does not know is that Rob was in the high, certainly in the height of his career, he was such a rock behind Women on Fire as a champion of my work, obviously I've already mentioned that and he became ill and with gastric cancer, which is the same thing that Mr. Rogers died from and Rob died December 17, 2018 and we felt strongly because we did feel like we felt we were all on this journey together and it as hard as it was sometimes, it was also a blessing to have Women on Fire. I mean, I started Women on Fire, so women had a safe place to be themselves. I never thought that I would be the one who had a safe place to be vulnerable in the hardest, scariest time of my life. I have both, you know, enjoyed and then greatly benefited by having a community that is so loving and Women on Fire, really loved me through Rob's death. It is dying in his death. To this day, you know, as I grieve, I feel the force field of Women on Fire behind me. Yeah. Side me.
Michelle: 24:29 So I feel like this is a good time to ask you about, you know, cause I feel a rooftop message in here. Like there's something underneath this. What's interesting that I noticed when I get to work with a lot of Thought Leaders and people who've done cool things, not all of them as many cool things as you have, but definitely out there on a mission. What's interesting is it's kind of hard for us, those of us who are out there doing this work to articulate the specialness or the magic because you just bring it right. Often, it's, it's driven by what I call a rooftop message or maybe more than one rooftop message. If it's okay with you, can I take you through the exercise?
Michelle: 25:17 So please do. Okay. All right. So I'm going to ask you to close your eyes. Anybody who is listening, obviously if you're driving, keep your eyes open and you could do this later. So close your eyes and I want you to imagine that you're in this little town and in this town, the streets are full of people. There's people everywhere and they're all talking to each other. They're turning to each other and saying, oh, I'm so frustrated by this. Why is it like, why can't I change this? Why is everything I'm trying not working? What am I going to do about this? I can't keep on with it going this way and there's chaos everywhere and you're standing among them and you try to talk to a few people near you. But because there's so much chaos, they can't really hear you. They're not paying attention. So you look off to the right and you see this little building and against the building, there's a ladder and it leads up to a reasonably flat roof. So you walk over to that ladder, you climb to the top of that roof, you cup your hands around your mouth and you say, listen to me, beautiful people. Here is what you need to know to make your lives better.
Debbie: 26:31 You say, well, believe it or not, this happens to me a lot.
Michelle: 26:42 That's right.
Debbie: 26:43 Yes. I am constantly saying, what is it you want to do with your life? Create a plan. You can do it. All you have to do is create a plan. So the idea is like, take charge of your life. You can do it. You just need a plan. I love it. I love it. I have to tell you, it probably happens to me at least once a day. I'm talking to somebody and there'll be blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I'll go, well, what do you want? They'll look at me like I'm from Mars. It all seems so simple, right?
Michelle: 27:20 I know and you know that I'm intrigued by the vision day process and I know that you and Rob created these vision days really based on that message, right? Wanting to give people the full space and support to know what they want because it's shockingly difficult to answer that question as someone down on the streets going, oh wait, what?
Debbie: 27:43 What do I want? So tell us about that. Well so vision day was created as part of our coaching program. To tell you how it actually got started. I was sitting in a meeting in my last corporate job and I was doing another vision retreat. I was planning for it and I had done that in every profession I'd had as a reporter, as a press secretary. And now as a corporate executive, I was planning a retreat and I was like, why don't we do this for our lives? Our lives are more important than any company, any campaign, anything that's outside of our personal life. I remember so clear it was like five or survive this place. I'm going to start a thing where you know, where you get a strategic plan for your life. I met Rob shortly after that and told him about my idea that I thought people should have a strategic plan for their life and how to do that.
Debbie: 28:35 He and I crafted a plan for how we could help people get to the plan for their life and we have been doing that since 1998 we were just babies. Yeah. Really inspiring. It's inspiring to work with people to help them to get their plan, but you know, anybody can do it. Meaning you can get going with a couple little tips. Michelle, this is what I say to people at the very least set one personal goal and one professional goal for yourself and have a theme for your year. Those three things alone will make a difference. Most people, 99% of people are just drifting with the wind. They just go from year to year without really having a plan, without knowing where am I going, what do I really want to do? And so, vision day has helped literally thousands of people figure out where am I going, why am I on this earth and what do I really want to do? Because when you have a plan and you have it written down, you can make it happen. Believe it or not.
Michelle: 29:49 Yeah. Well, what do you say to people, because this must come up. I know it comes up for me. I've done lots of plans. I've done a lot of beginning of the year, you know, new journal, new, beautiful. I have a few on order now. I love them all. Michelle Obama journal just came today. Oh wait. Yeah. She has a journal. I go with her comic book. It's called Becoming, it's a journal. Yeah. Now there's another one that I'm going to be filtering and so there's a little bit of me, even though every year I get excited for the time of year where I'm going to do my planning and set my vision and all of that. There's a part of me that over the years has seen that it often doesn't go the way I think it's going to. So what do you say to that?
Debbie: 30:36 Yeah, well part of when you have goals, it's really important to review them. So obviously super important to write your goals down. All of us know there's huge statistics that people who write their goals down have a much greater chance of succeeding. And then a little trick to answer your question here is you have to make a date with yourself. And this is what we always say to people who kind of vision day make a decision. When are you going to review what you've said you want to do? Are you going to do it weekly? Are you going to do it monthly? It doesn't matter. It just matters that you review it because once we get a goal down and if we don't meet it, then we usually give up the way I work and that Rob and I have always worked. You review your goals so you can tweak them so you can change them. So you can V no, I had one that's coming to mind where I said I am going to walk five days a week, 10,000 steps.
Michelle: 31:37 Steps that? I don't know. I've never had that goal.
Debbie: 31:44 The recommended doses walking 10,000 steps every day or something. I very, very quickly changed that to 4,000 steps a day. I did that in my first month. I'm like, this is impossible. If you make goals that are impossible, you have to break them down into tinier ones. We often say to ourselves, Whoa, I set that goal. Oh, but I'm not meeting it. So then we don't want to think about it or we discarded or we forget about it. So the trick is to go back in, promise yourself either with a coach, with a buddy, or if you're disciplined enough to review it at a time that you tell yourself and re write them. Make sure they're working for you. Don't hesitate. Changing them.
Michelle: 32:25 Yeah, I really like that. I'm feeling some hope in that
Debbie: 32:32 I know that that's all you need to do. You're going to be fun, you're going to do it. It's just you might have to do it a different way from what you set out to do. Some will take two and three years, you know? We're like, okay, this is what we want to do, but we're moving toward it and it just takes longer. It's consistency's really important to get a process that you follow and make it consistent. Be gentle with yourself, have fun with it, and you'll be so surprised what you accomplish.
Michelle: 33:06 Well, I just find that very inspiring and really, I have to say like, it's probably one of my, I love the end of the year, I do the planning and there's a part of my brain that says this is all just for fun. I honestly have largely not taken myself very seriously. Not that I ever think that's the greatest idea, but you know, like thought, okay, this is really going to happen, but I love this idea of yes, setting the vision and then checking in and going, oh, is this working and where do we need to tweak it? Those tweaks are, you don't have to give yourself a whole new identity, which I think is a little bit of what you hear out there in the goal setting world. Like, Hey, you just persist. Then what has happened for me, and I've heard about this with a number of people in my life, lions and personal, where they're like, well then I must just be a person who doesn't reach goals. I know I've thought that to myself many times. And I hear other people say it too. Oh, I must not be successful at, you know, reaching my goals.
Debbie: 34:04 Right? So when that happens, you literally just, you have to have a conversation with yourself and ask yourself, because a lot of times these thoughts come up because we're trying to protect ourselves from disappointment. So we have to ask ourselves, do I really want to do this goal? Again, these are like nesting, you know, there's a nesting dolls. When you talk about goals then nesting in there is they need to be written, they need to be positive, they need to be measurable and they need to be checked for negative side effects. Because a lot of times we set a goal and there's actually a negative side effect, but we don't know it. Then that can trip us up and when we find ourselves thinking about like, oh, I'm just a person who doesn't make my goals, there's a negative belief or a negative side effect, there's something else going on there. That's where a coach can be enormously helpful to help you talk that through because you know, and you do want to check, like on a scale of one to 10 how much do I really, really want this goal? Sometimes you go, you know what? I really don't care about this goal. And then I would say, well then discard it. Only have goals that you really want.
Michelle: 35:22 Yeah, that's just so good. I know that a lot of people listening have, you know, what feel like sometimes big goals that a lot of people around them don't understand. You know, wanting to get on stages, wanting to be recognized, leaders in their, there's a lot of people around them in many, many cases who don't get it, don't get what they're doing or misunderstand their intentions. I think it's so helpful to have that. I love that nesting dolls your description of the elements of good goals and that flexibility.
Debbie: 35:56 Yes and the other thing too is a lot of times I've done so many vision days over the years, you know, people will come and, and they'll say, um, I want to be on television. Okay, well that's a very, very, very big goal actually. Usually or often. That's also the power of a coach is to help that person really break it down, break it down, break it down. Yes. Maybe in three years you can have your own television show. Of course in the state you can have a TV job you want, but you know sometimes goals are so big and like you said, other people don't really understand it, but when we break it down into its elements, everyone who does something big starts with that first step. Every one, every single thing that's ever been done is because somebody took that first step. So we always have to reverse engineer, okay, yes you want to do that big thing, but let's take it back to whatever those very first steps are so you can be on your way.
Michelle: 36:54 Yeah, I love that. I can feel like that, you know, excited kind of energy in me. It makes me want to go buy another journal.
Speaker 4: 37:03 Surely like if I get the right journal I'll be able to do this. That's awesome. Yeah, exactly. Well, I knew this was going to be wonderful
Michelle: 37:15 It was. Thank you so much for being here with me and with us, Debbie, and sharing your insights. I'm just giddy thinking of the women who will find their way to women on fire and really delighted for everyone who's listening, who got gems. I know for their visioning, for their goal setting and just got to experience your story, which is so cool. I know there's so much more to that story. I wish we could have heard, but maybe we'll just have you on again.
Debbie: 37:42 Oh well thank you so much. You're really inspiring yourself and so thank you very, very much. This is very fun for me and thank you so much for being part of Women on Fire because it is women like you that make it so special. So thank you.
Michelle: 37:57 No thank you. I could have had that conversation for so much longer. I had about five, six, 10 more questions in various forums that I wanted to ask her. I hope you got gems from that conversation that will serve your planning, your visioning, and really thinking about what's possible for you in establishing your own Thought Leadership and possibly your leadership of a community. You know, a community and a mission. They weave together beautifully. Right? So I don't know if you think about the way that you serve your mission as a community, but I wonder if there's even pieces that, whether or not you gather all your people in one room or one Facebook group or not. I think there's something beautiful in the way she talks about creating connection and community that can serve all of us who want to make a big difference in the world with our message and our work.
Michelle: 38:51 So again, so, so glad you're here today. As I record, this is the day before Thanksgiving and I'm just thinking so much about you and how appreciative I am that you being here gives me the opportunity to bring on amazing guests and have the kind of conversations that enrich my life so much. I hope these conversations enrich your life even half as much as they do mine because you being here is what allows me to continue to do this. So thank you so much. Here's the thing, my friend, you were made for this and that call, you feel that call that keeps bringing you back to this conversation that keeps making you get out there with this message, even if it feels hard or uncertain, that call is the only sign you need. That's how I know that you were made for this. I know that because you know that. Now, get out there. Keep sharing that message. Make your big plans, create the biggest vision you can imagine, and put those goals into action and refine them the way Debbie talks about them, and I can't wait to see you out there. I'm cheering you on all the time and I will be here excitedly with you next week. Take it.
Speaker 1: 40:04 Okay.
Michelle: 40:06 Thanks so much for being here with me on the Thought Leadership School Podcast. If you want specific and actionable guidance on how to become a recognized leader in your industry, you can download a free copy of my book Beyond Applause. Make a Meaningful Difference Through Transformational Speaking at speaksoitmatters.com\free book.
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