Dancing to Your Heartbeat

The following is an excerpt from Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Women:


To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep stepping.

Chinese Proverb

Deborah Lysholm

“Deborah Lysholm, a dancer, prayed she could outrun the bullets as her husband chased her outside on a blustery April night in 1992 aiming a rifle at her. After 23 years of a terror filled marriage, she knew she had to leave him–no matter how much she feared and believed his threats that he would find her and kill her. Instead of becoming a statistic, she summoned unbelievable courage to start a new life for herself and her college-aged daughter, Kristen.”

excerpt from Deborah’s book Dancing To My Heartbeat

Dance has been an integral part of my life since childhood, and with each passing year, became increasingly instrumental in defining who I am. Striving for a career in dance, more specifically building a performing arts center, was my main focus.

Since things from the heart speak loudest to me, I wanted and needed a career that summon absolute zeal.

My dream flourished when my daughter and I opened our own performing arts center, Heartbeat Studios January 1998. I came alive at that moment because a new life was truly beginning for both of us. Making a living doing what I love to do is simply exhilarating!

In January 2013, Heartbeat celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. [Some] Milestones in those years include:

  • Being selected as the only dance studio to travel to London to represent the United States at the 400th anniversary celebration of settlers sailing from Kent, England to Jamestown, Virginia.
  • Developing a successful dance/movement program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD.
  • Maturing to a full-fledged performing arts center offering classes to 300-plus students each year in dance (ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern, break dance, flamenco, dance line), acting and singing.

If a woman asked me for advice about achieving success, I’d say:

  • Define what success is to you. Pull the curtain back to see what success will look like. … Always do your homework to ensure every step or decision you make is done with eyes wide open. Embrace what you do, not only with pride, but with undying passion. Love the ride.
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions or seek a mentor. Talk to many people and filter out what you know will be useful to your endeavor.
  • Being fearless and having the ability to dream big will set things in motion.
  • Be a good listener, even more than a good talker because the more information you take in, the more you will be prepared to pursue your goal.

Key to Success:

Not only have a clear vision of where you are headed, but also the humility to acknowledge there is no end to the “achieving success” process because the journey might take you in directions you never thought possible.


For more information about Deborah:


Facebook author page, Deborah Lysholm



by, Colleen Szot

This is an excerpt from Unlocking The Secrets of Successful Women (story collector, Joan Kennedy)


“I knew I would be a writer from an early age, and I sold my first article for a dollar at the age of nine. Throughout my adolescence and well into my twenties, I wrote articles for a host of well-known publications: Scholastic, Teen, Highlights, later Redbook, Esquire, Ladies Home Journal. I discovered if I researched and wrote an article with no timeframe attached to it, any newspaper would jump on it, rather than have a reporter do all the legwork. Plus by selling to newspapers around the country, I kept the copyright and the byline and could sell the same article several times over. I wrote stories about the first Christmas tree, the tradition on Christmas cards, the History of St. Patrick’s Day, why fireworks and the Fourth of July are so closely related and many, many more.


I went on to write thirty to forty TV scripts for The Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family, One Day at a Time, and Rhoda. But of those thirty plus TV scripts, I only sold seven or eight. If Redbook rejected an article I had submitted, dozens of other publications would accept my story. But with TV, you simply can’t take a script for All in the Family and re-write it for MASH.

I discovered advertising –or, rather, it discovered me. I was freelancing at a radio station when they asked me to do a public Service Announcement for an anti-drug campaign, which, meant I wouldn’t get paid.I said sure. I did, and coined the phrase, “Don’t be a dope about dope,” which became, “Why do you think they call it dope?” It was parodied on Saturday Night Live, and LL Cool J wrote a song titled, “Why Do You Think They Call it Dope?” You never know where an opportunity can lead.

I went on to work for some top agencies in Chicago. I994, I decided to open my own freelance company. I returned to TV and decided to specialize in Direct Response, creating one-or two minute TV spots featuring an 800#. I was blessed to cut my teeth with the Iconic Nordic Track brand. I have written four George Foreman Grill Shows, countless more for Sleep Number bed, Oreck, AARP, Sharper Image, Tony Robbins, Sony Pictures and many, many more. I wrote the first-ever infomercial for Deepak Chopra, and other shows for Olivia Newton John, Joan Lunden, Kathy Lee Gifford, Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul), and a dozen more celebrities.

The lesson here is to never pass up an opportunity. If you’re an up-and comer, take on occasional spec work, ask for copies of the published or broadcast work, and always, always ask for written testimonials. I have dozens on my website, and even some on my client reel.

Think of writing as something to help you earn a living. Research what free-lance writers are charging on an hourly or per-project basis, and build your professional portfolio to showcase your (paid) talents.

Let’s say you love decorating or touring houses. Did you know you can get paid for writing up creative house descriptions for real estate companies? Are you a foodie or just someone who enjoys gourmet food? Get paid for writing restaurant menus or reviews – enjoy some of the best meals in your town. Are you spiritual? Many ministers and pastors pay for someone to write their sermons, or a column in the church newspaper. There’s also a growing market in writing blogs. Many CEOs, artists, speakers, and other people, simply don’t have the time to write their own blog, so they give a freelance writer a list of topics and pay to have them penned.

What are you passionate about? Find it, follow it and do it, and you’ll never regret it.

The key to success: Success to me was and is doing something I love to do and get paid.

For more information on Colleen, visit:

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/liviacristinalc/3402221680/”>Lívia Cristina</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;


From Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Women: “Everybody builds a dream in their lifetime. You’re either going to build your dream, or somebody else’s. So build your own” – Christopher LaBrec I spent a year interviewing and getting to know … Continue reading


This post is excerpted from Joan Kennedy’s Positive Support Letter 1996:

There is a Native American fable about a youth who took an egg from an eagle’s nest and put it in a chicken yard. The egg hatched and the eagle grew up among the chickens, pecking in the ground for food just as they did, scratching in the dust as he watched the others do.

One day he looked up and saw an eagle flying high above him.

He felt his wings tremble and said to one of the chickens, “I wish I could do that.”

“Don’t be a fool,” the chicken said. “Only an eagle can fly so high.”

Feeling ashamed of his longing, the eagle went back to scratching in the dirt — never again to question what he believed to be his assigned place on earth.


What if the eagle had refused to allow someone else to define his potential? Suppose he had sensed his uniqueness, broke free, opened his powerful wings, and soared into the heavens?

Ask yourself the question: “Do I allow others to define my potential, or determine what is possible for me?”

When we put limitations on ourselves, we don’t allow ourselves into the boundless realm of creative thought, where we can envision a wonderful experience, a better job, a larger income. Our pattern of thought binds us to lives of limitation and mediocrity.

Before any real change can take place in your life, you need to search within yourself, become aware of who you are and of what is possible. You will never know who you really are until you deal with the person you think you are.

It’s all a matter of perception.

It’s an accepted fact that the limitations we feel, the goals we set for ourselves, our whole approach to life, is strongly influenced by the image we have of ourselves. And so, before you can take your rightful place, you must alter the perception you have of yourself because anything you deeply believe in, is your truth.

To change yourself or your conditions, change your beliefs about them. You can begin to acquire a high self-image when you accept your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Creating a new self-image will release your talents and abilities. With a high regard for yourself, not only will you feel more confident, but you will feel free to be yourself…and to express yourself totally.

In Gary Zukav’s book on the subject of new physics, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, he says,

“Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.”

We need to always be aware of what we believe to be true, because through our beliefs, our reality is formed.

Remember, the moment you alter your perception of yourself and your future, both you and your future begin to change.

P.S. “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” –Thomas A. Edison


Are You Talking To Me?

By: Joan Kennedy

The ancient philosopher Epectetus said,

“Man is troubled not by things, but by the view he takes of them.”

So, what have you been telling yourself today? Have you fretted about your future, nagged yourself about your past, have you chided yourself for making a mistake, the wrong decision, or have you praised and supported yourself?

If you don’t remember what you said to yourself today, you’re not alone. There are things we say to ourselves that we are not even aware , because this self-talk is so familiar to us.

But, it’s exactly this programming that limits our success and our ability to change. Our inner dialogue can immobilize us.

Listening is the first step toward changing it.

The greatest discovery we can make is to learn of the wisdom and power that dwells within us, it enables us to overcome problems and achieve more in life. We are all equipped with the necessary elements, qualities and potential to make our lives the one we truly want to live.

This wisdom and power will bring you more love, more success, more money, more confidence, more happiness and more peace of mind.

But it can also bring you more fialure, more frustration, more fear and more self-doubt.

It only waits for you to tell it what to do.

Here’s the good part, the experts tell us this Power is so subject to our suggestions that in affirmations we have a tool of extraordinary power, we can raise our self image, thereby raising our potential–we can literally change the course of our lives by changing our inner dialogue.

Change what’s happening inside, to create a whole new world for yourself outside.



If you missed the talk and book signing at the Marsh, here’s the first in a series of video clips from that wonderful night.

Our first clip features Nadia Giordana speaking on reinventing her own new chapters. Click on Nadia’s name to see more about her work.


By Joan Kennedy

We’ve all had inspired moments when we clearly see how we can do certain things, but we don’t believe in ourselves or in our ideas enough to make them a reality.

Then, sooner or later, someone else comes along with no more ability or background and does the very thing we had envisioned for ourselves.

One of our main problems is our fear of criticism.

Fear of criticism can bring on a lack of initiative and a lack of ambition, not to mention an inferiority complex! That fear creates a whopping feeling of self-doubt.

Fear  of  criticism is one of the most damaging emotions we can encounter in the pursuit of  our dreams.

On the other hand, when we actually have approval we gain confidence and this strengthens our belief in ourselves. How many dreams perish because we don’t get the needed approval?

The approval of others makes us feel good and seems to validate our decisions and abilities. We get caught up in pleasing because of our dependence on positive feedback.

Conversely, many people never set high goals because they anticipate what friends and relatives will say:

“You don’t have the background.”

“It’s been done.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“It won’t work.”

When you start thinking that other people just may be right, you start making adjustments in your plans. The more people you talk to, the more adjustments you make.

You will never please everyone. So why try?

It takes courage to break away from negative thinking of those around us and to proceed despite the negative opinions of others.

An enormous amount of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. When you have faith in yourself, your abilities and talents, you can pursue your dreams. But as soon as you start doubting , you’ll experience set-backs and problems.

There are three important points that will help you in the pursuit of your dreams:

  • Know and have confidence in your own talents and potential
  • Attempt the seemingly impossible – Dare
  • Persist courageously in the face of obstacles

Remember, no one has better ideas for your life than you do!

What will you dare to do in the next week?

Keys to Success

One of our success stories, Diane Keyes, shares her best keys to success. We are thrilled to have her as a guest blogger today – LAUNCH DAY!

Today’s Key to Success
By Diane Keyes – Award-Winning Author

communicationIn the new millennium, hard work is no longer the guarantee of success it was in the 20th century. Why? Today most business relies on the effective exchange of information—not physical effort.  And the single most important factor in the delivery of information is trust. People do business with those they like and trust. After all, if you can’t trust the source of information to tell you honestly what you need to know, what good is the information?

Today the key to success is relationship. How do you build relationships? The word “networking” instills fear and loathing in the hearts of many entrepreneurs because it conjures up evenings spent in activities no more meaningful than a game of musical chairs, where the last person standing without a business connection is out—out of luck, out of opportunity, and out of business. However, real networking is about something much different. The people who like networking and make it work for them and their business are not hooking up for an evening, they are on their way to forming lasting relationships, authentic friendships.

As a stager, I see realtors come and go, those who are only interested in the listing they can sign today, as well as those whose loyalty and excellence ensures their clients will return every time they move to a new home. One of the realtors who has used my staging service consistently for over twenty years called to say, “Diane, today is a red-letter day. This makes the fourth time I have sold this house in twenty-five years. You and I have created such a good relationship with the sellers each time the house has come up for sale every owner has chosen us.”

What are our secrets to creating long-lasting relationships?

  • Become a great listener.  Nothing is more crucial than understanding your clients and their needs.  Your ability to actively listen and reflect your client’s interests and desires will become your most important key to success.  Google “active listening” for more information.
  • Always put the customer’s needs ahead of your desire for profit. Once clients know you have their interests at heart—their trust in you will help them weather any business storms that may come along.      
  • Keep every promise you make. If you create honest expectations and consistently deliver, your clients will have every reason to remain loyal to you AND recommend you to others which is the KEY to great success.
About Diane:
diane keyesDiane is an award-winning author, home stager and inspirational success story. You can learn more about her at: