Tag Archives: Inspiration

From Slow Road To Burnout To Energized & Motivated; My Hour With Liz Murray

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You know, those of us who are doing okay in life…not fabulous, yet not worrying where our next meal is coming from, or how we’re going to keep a roof over our heads–literally, are at risk. We’re at risk for going through the motions…doing what we’re supposed to do…looking good on the outside. But so often we’re crying out inside. Not so much so that we would ask for help, or so as you’d notice, but just enough that we need someone, somewhere, to give us a reason to keep on moving forward, to keep reaching for a better life, to make something beautiful and meaningful in this world with so much sadness…so much ugliness. And today, I, Lisa Casas, aka, “WittyBizGal” got that reason. 

I work with a small nonprofit here in town. We work diligently to give women in our community a hand up. The hand up part is very important because, although we address their immediate needs, our overarching mission is to help them help themselves toward independence–financial and otherwise. About a month ago we held a planning meeting to discuss the upcoming graduation ceremony for our Independence Program. As of that date, there was no keynote speaker, and we were kicking around ideas. Since I’d been thinking about her since last year’s graduation, I suggested Liz Murray, best known for the Lifetime movie made about her life, “Homeless to Harvard”. The graduation committee liked the idea and ran with it, which led to today…

Liz Murray ate lunch with us, then rose to speak inspiring, motivational words to our graduates, first through sharing her harrowing tale of a childhood with drug addicted parents, not enough food to eat, and no external encouragement for her to end up any better off than her role models, who sadly eventually died of AIDS. Then came the truly important part–how she turned that little spark inside of her, that spark we all retain no matter how old we get or how jaded we become, into a flame which carried her through the Harvard intake interview and New York Times Scholarship interview on the same day, both of which she almost, almost blew off. 

And today, with my more or less ordinary life that nobody would ever consider making a movie about,  and my little blog that I think only my friends, family, and probably a few frenemies I’ve collected over the years read, Liz’s words helped me find that spark in myself again. At just the point where I had begun to ask myself, “Why bother?”, I remember why…Among other reasons, the world needs people who believe in themselves, and believe in their own dreams. Because it’s catchy! 

First, believe in yourself, then go out there and motivate somebody else to do the same! 

If you’d like to see Liz Murray’s Lifetime movie, go here: Homeless To Harvard; The Liz Murray Story 

To purchase Liz’s autobiography, published in 2010, click here: Breaking Night 

To book Liz Murray to be a speaker at your next event, try this link: Liz Murray 

If you’d like to follow Liz on Twitter, this is her account: Follow Liz On Twitter 

I’m about 1/3 of the way through Breaking Night myself, so stay tuned for a book review on that! 

Until next time…

 

 

 

5 #Winners & 5 Truths About #Winning

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In March, I began a journey of discovery. Like the rest of America, and probably the rest of the free world that follows celebrity related pop culture, I watched in awe and a certain degree of disgust as actor Charlie Sheen flitted around television and the internet (now the country) claiming he was a warlock, and telling the world that he was a winner who was #winning, and the rest of us were trolls. As this circus act unfolded, I began to think about the concept of winning….who was winning, what it meant to win, and, now that the word had been defiled to an extent, what was the future of winning in general. I knew only one thing for sure about winning-Charlie Sheen wasn’t doing it. He was having some sort of career and personal life destroying breakdown, but winning? Er, no…

Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I realized that I am lucky to know a lot of awesome people…most of whom are just more or less living regular lives, some of whom have attained some notoriety, but all are most definitely Authentic Winners in life, unlike our friend Charlie. So, I thought wouldn’t it be cool to interview them and feature them in my new blog because they are the sort of people who actually are worthy of admiration for the things they are doing, at least a few moments in the spotlight, and millions of Twitter followers. I also wanted to explore this whole concept of winning for myself, so that I could define specifically what a winner does, how a winner acts, and how a winner conducts the life that they’ve been given.

Just to recap, over the last several weeks, I talked to the following authentic winners:

Scoliosis Awareness Advocate, Kerrie Bassow

Knit Creation Artist, Sharmon Cate Hardin

Renowned Miniature Clothing Artist, Jon Coffelt

Professional Photographer, Phil Hunt

And last but certainly not least,

Author and Motivational Speaker, Mary Foley

Each of these winners is vastly different from one another, which was purposeful on my part, because I believe that winners can come from all walks of life, and certainly don’t have to follow some set template for winning. I thoroughly enjoyed my “E-terviews” with each and every one of these individuals! They were all interesting, engaging, giving, and so very gracious. Without exception, each of them thanked me several times for featuring them in my blog. Imagine that! Trust me, readers, the pleasure was all mine, to have the opportunity to get a peek inside the lives and winning life strategies of true blue, authentic winners!

Despite their surface differences, by the time I had completed and posted all five of the E-terviews, I noticed a few common characteristics in the lives of each of these winners—traits and activities which, in the end, informed and further shaped my own concept of winning….

1) Winners aren’t afraid to be themselves and take their own paths in life. Each of my E-terviewees had some interest or another that was uniquely theirs—not someone else’s plan for them. They were brave enough to figure out who they were, what really interested them, what they wanted out of life, and they went for it!

2) Inevitably, each of my featured winners incorporated a strong desire to help others into their individual life path. In other words, there was not one winner on my list who had a totally self centered motivation for doing what they were doing. Each of these people are exceptional because they used their talents and their vision for good, to ultimately leave the world better than they found it.

3) Each and every one of the people I interviewed met with obstacles in life. What made them different, however, was that they each immediately set out to figure out innovative ways to either obliterate or find a pathway around the obstacles. They were not easily discouraged from achieving their goals and dreams.

4) Each winner I spoke with was literally brimming with self confidence, self assurance, and an unwillingness to let other people discourage them. In other words, it appears that a necessary ingredient for winning in life is to believe in yourself. This is not to be confused with narcissistic overconfidence, such as that which Mr. Sheen is exhibiting right now. Self confidence married with a humble, kind nature makes a winner.

5) And finally, winners are never afraid to evaluate the direction they have taken in order to regroup and even reverse course as needed, or to evaluate themselves to undertake reinvention of self. Winners purposely evolve over time, and if something isn’t working, the winner recognizes it, and acts accordingly to move forward to win another day!

I learned a lot from talking to real live Authentic Winners and finding out what makes them tick. If you already read the 5 E-terviews I posted with Kerrie, Sharmon, Jon, Phil, and Mary, then thanks! If not, I’d encourage you to take the time to click the links above and get to know these folks a little better. After all, every budding winner could use a little inspiration from some great role models!

Until next time…

A WittyBizGal Authentic Winner E-terview; Author and Motivational Speaker Mary Foley

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I met Mary Foley a few months ago when she traveled here to Florida to deliver the keynote speech for my organization’s Independence Program graduation ceremony. Our purpose is to empower women in our community to work toward their own independence—financial, and otherwise. Many of our graduates had fought tough battles over the nine months they were with us in order to reach that amazing day when they could stand up assert to all of us in the audience that they had made impressive strides, and were well on their way to being strong, independent women who were now prepared to support themselves and give back to the community.

These gals deserved something special—or should I say someone really special, and Mary Foley did not disappoint! She made the graduates and all of us in the audience laugh and cry and feel great about being women. Then she inspired each of us to look inside and first figure out what we (not our mothers, our husbands, our sisters, or our kids) wanted out of this life we’ve been given—and told us to go out there and get it!

So, for this fifth and final in my series of Authentic Winner E-terviews, I am so honored that Mary graciously agreed to share with us a little bit about who she is, what she found out that she wanted out of life, and how she got it. I know you’ll love Mary Foley as much as I do, and will be inspired to get out there and live your own dreams, whether you’re a man or a woman.

WBG: Mary, you jumpstarted your career at a little company called America Online, back when it really was little. What was the one most important thing you learned during your time at AOL about being a successful working woman?

Mary Foley: When I was 23 years old with a newly earned industrial engineering degree, the only thing I knew was what I didn’t want for my career. I didn’t want to be an engineer!  I truly wished that someone would have waved a magic wand to tell me what I should do, where I should direct myself. There wasn’t anyone. It was up to me to decide, so I decided to move to a metropolitan area with lots of jobs and get started in something, anything, to pay the bills. From there, I could evaluate and make more choices.

I learned a lot of lessons during my AOL career, but the biggest one I learned is that you are in charge of your career. You are ultimately the only one responsible for your career (and life for that matter). And the first hurdle to success is between your ears. You have to determine where you want to take your career. There’s no waiting for someone to tell you, there’s no pre-determined path. So, learn all you can from mentors. Utilize all the career development opportunities that are offered by your employer and otherwise. But, the final direction and decisions regarding your career are up to you.

WBG: These days you travel all around the country teaching women how to “increase their sanity, confidence, and fun” and talk to women about women’s issues on your “Girlfriend We Gotta Talk” radio show when you’re back home in Virginia. I bet you’ve learned a lot about women! What are three things we all have in common, no matter what our walk of life, income level, or educational & career background?

Mary Foley: We are so much more alike than we are different!  We all want to feel good about who we are, we all want to feel confident in being able to handle life, and there’s not a woman yet that I’ve met that doesn’t want to laugh more often and more easily. The good news is that since so many women want the same thing, we can share what works and be there to support one another!

WBG: Who is the most interesting guest you’ve ever interviewed and featured on your radio show, and why?

Mary Foley: We’ve had so many great guests that it’s hard to pick just one.  However, a person who jumps to mind as exceptional is Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, featured speaker on The Secret, and transformational expert. She’s so good that she is one of the very few guests we’ve had on our show twice!  What makes her stand out is that she so effectively pierces through emotional and mental clutter with her straightforward concepts and poignant stories. The research findings she shared about being “happy for no reason” or experiencing “love for no reason” spoke to my head and her real stories spoke to my heart. I even got unexpectedly choked up on-air, which is very unusual for me!  I won’t forget that anytime soon…

WBG: If I decided to branch out and start a WittyBizGal cosmetics company, I would want to include a nail color line. I want to name 3 nail polishes; one for you, one for your mother, and one for your radio co-host. What would I call those three polishes, and what colors would they be?

Mary Foley: I would say I have 3 fabulous colors that I’ve already created that are perfect for you!

  • “Perfection is SOOO Over-rated” is my cappuccino nail color that I like wearing myself that’s a perfect reminder for my driver personality to just chill.
  • “Little Miss Smarty Pants” is a fun medium purple color that was created to honor my mom who would teasingly use the phrase to describe me and my sisters. I always smile when I say this nail color name!
  • “Laughter is My Face Lift” perfectly describes my friend and “Girlfriend We Gotta Talk!” radio show co-host Susie Galvez.  We share lots of laughs, even when we’re talking about serious subjects. And, the fact that she’s a beauty expert just tops it off!

Good luck on your WittyBizCal cosmetics line! ;D

WBG: Your book, Live Like Your Nail Color, along with its related speaking engagements and parties has been wildly popular and successful in getting busy women like me to sit down and think about who we really are & what we want out of life, all while taking a much needed break while our nail color dries. Can you give us a hint about what we can expect next from Mary Foley?

Mary Foley: Given these challenging times, women want more ideas on creating sanity for their lives and confidence for their careers. So, I’m redesigning my website maryfoley.com and creating a Facebook page to share more ideas to help. In addition, I’ve created some new live, in-person programs including about thriving on change and tapping into the secrets of successful women. I look forward to a continued conversation – we’re all in this together!

WBG: Mary, I couldn’t have said it better myself! And I think I can speak for women everywhere when I say that with an advocate like you on our side, our potential for #AuthenticWinning will know no limits! Thanks for allowing us a little peek inside Mary Foley’s World. 🙂

Mary’s Latest Book, Live Like Your Nail Color, is Available on Amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/eyOFu2

To Plan Your Very Own “Live Like Your Nail Color” Party, or to Arrange for Mary Foley to Speak at Your Next Event, Please Visit Her Professional Website at: www.maryfoley.com

To Listen to Recorded Full Radio Broadcasts of Girlfriends Mary Foley & Susie Galvez, Visit Girlfriend We Gotta Talk’s Website: http://www.girlfriendwegottatalk.com/

To Follow Mary on Twitter: @BodaciousMary