You Can Steer the Course of Your Dream!

My colleague, Amy, drove thirty minutes to and from work using the same daily route for eight years. One morning Amy arrived at work to the realization that the entire drive had been a blur. She had not even remembered the school bus driver helping third graders climb onto her bus.

For two years, Amy would be giddy over coffee as she described her obligatory stop and enjoyment over watching the elderly woman climb down the steps of her bus to greet the children and help them up as only a grandmother could do. The intergenerational exchange provided great meaning to Amy. However, on this morning, the normally beautiful scenery and the school bus full of children had escaped her.

I described the phenomena as inertia; a resistance to change that was begging to happen. Amy had been complaining that her job had become monotonous and now even the drive to work that had always provided solace to her was a boring blur. Were these simply coincidences or signs of something awakening in her life? The confluence of these events did get Amy’s attention.

It turns out that she had been harboring a passion to become a massage therapist and open a spa, but she had not pursued the dream because her parents had cautioned that she could not earn a living massaging people. Nevertheless, three years later, Amy obtained her license, and with an investment from her father, opened her business. She is loving it and steering the course of her dream.

What is keeping you from your dream? Join me tonight at 6:30 to learn how to Take the Wheel of Your Dream with Christy Demetrakis, Empowered Speaker. Follow the link: hhtp://

My very best to you,


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The Art of Manifesting Emergent Leadership


Dear friends,

While being a practicing midwife in Liberia West Africa, I discovered my life’s call. It is to be a catalyst in bringing forth an alternate future in personal and organizational life. My journey has connected me to amazing women with similar passion. The following story illustrates the remarkable capacity to manifest what we want.

In February 2012, Nancy Fritsche Eagan invite seven women to dinner at her home. Eileen Cooper Reed and I were visiting New York from Cincinnati to attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. I was gathering material for a book and Eileen was working with me. Nancy invited Dr. Lucia Alcantara, a friend and colleague of hers as well.

Something extraordinary happened that evening. As each woman recounted her story, the conversation went deeper and deeper. Both the immediate intimacy and the authenticity were quite remarkable. After dinner, the other three women went their ways, but these four stayed much later continuing to add, refine and divulge more and more of their stories. By the end of the evening, we had woven a tapestry of skill, personality, education and experience that portended a formidable benefit to each other and the communities we serve. There was unanimous acknowledgement amongst us that there was a unique body of work to be developed.

Despite the distance between us, the individual businesses and lives we lead, we determined to explore and create products and services that would assist individuals, organizations and communities to transform themselves. When we aptly coined the work as “creating alternative futures,” I realized my call to do this work began decades ago in Liberia.  The midwife metaphor and several other concepts were vetted in numerous conversations. Yet, none fit our collective idea of guiding change and transformation more effectively than midwifery. Naming oneself is a significant event, and we chose to name ourselves Doula (midwife) Designs.

Storytelling as well as other narrative threads is central to this work and as such compelled us to tell you our story. This is only the beginning. We invite you to join us in hosting delicious spaces where people craft their passions and practices as we share them with those of you who have the awareness of the need or desire to transform.

To join us in Cincinnati, log on to:

My best to you, Diane

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What Are You Called To Do In 2014?

 Layla Alkhafaji

When I met Layla at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, I was initially struck by her confident humility. After my interview with her, I was convinced that committed women not only have the capacity to change the world, but that the world is longing for the difference that only women can make. Layla is an activist who is making an impact in the movement to eradicate violence against women.

Layla didn’t understand the call that was on her life when she and her college friends openly opposed Saddam Hussein and his oppressive regime in Iraq. Just days after graduating college and only 23 years old, Layla was arrested, tortured, convicted of anti-government activity, and sentenced to life in prison. She served a ten-year sentence until the fall of Kuwait, and then fled to Canada.

After the fall of Saddam’s regime, Layla returned to her family in Iraq, and now she travels the world advocating for the end of violence against women. It is a cause to which she is committed and believes is her purpose. When I asked if she holds bitterness about those lost ten years, she offered the following.

  1. “I found a pinhole in the concrete wall of my cell. I looked at that hole everyday and envisioned a different world–places, people, and situations–on the other side. At first, I thought I was entertaining myself, however, I quickly realized that I was envisioning my future.
  2. Now, when I see girls graduating from college at the age I was when I was arrested, I sometimes cry at the freedom with which they speak their voice, something I did not have. I know that I am called to open more doors for girls and women to have a voice, and I am committed to ending violence against women worldwide.”   

What are you called to do in 2014?

Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!







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Seasons Greetings!

Thank you!!

I am so honored that you have supported me by buying my books, reading my blogs, and attending my workshops and seminars. I pray that you have a joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

My gift to you is this favorite quote:

The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created–created first in mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are not found but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.” John Schaar

My love to you,




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Disappointment Just May Be a Gift

Dawn, a Fortune 500 consultant, was one of three people leading a corporate restructuring. It was to be modeled as a butterfly: one wing the people; the other the clients. In the middle were the operational services that enabled the organization to do its work.

Dawn expected the president to name her the head of support services. However, the day before the big reveal, the president told Dawn that he would be taking support services and she would lead the people wing.

Dawn had no vision for the division she was given and a huge disappointment set in. She tried to do it anyway, and that put her in the back seat of her dream to lead the implementation of this cool organizational model.

Dawn’s moment of clarity happened when she tried to shrink to fit into the role, and realized that she could never fit. She was unsuccessful and fell into poor health.

Shortly after being pushed out, she joined a company whose work and approach were aligned with her own. It was then that she realized how much of her dream and herself she had given away.

Dawn celebrates the wisdom of getting into the driver’s seat of her dream with these thoughts.

  1. Gift. This disappointment was a tremendous gift. Now, when an opportunity presents itself, I ask, “Does it excite me? Is it aligned with who I am, my purpose, and how I want to use my gifts?” If yes, then, I take the work. If not, then I evaluate whether what I could get from the work justifies the personal toll it may take on my physical and spiritual health.
  2. Walk away. When I am offered a leadership role, if it is not my work, I don’t do it.

For the past decade, I have been in business with a business partner whom I trust. I help people use their best gifts and talents. When I am doing work that allows me to see the mighty oak in the acorn, I am riding in the front seat of my dream.

To read more personal stories of women taking the wheel of their dream, visit Are You Riding in the Back Seat of Your Own Dream?


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Don’t Let Dissuaders Keep You from Your Dream!

Has anyone tried to dissuade you from pursuing your dream? Here are just a few dissuading arguments: 1) it is time for you to grow up and be responsible, 2) if it were such a good idea, someone would have done it already, 3) you should have done that when you were younger, 4) you shouldn’t push yourself so hard, and 5) you could mess up your life if it does not work out.

The next time someone tries to dissuade you from your dream, consider the Greek meaning of dissuade–to cause someone to lose heart or to deprive someone of the will to persist toward something–and then remember the following story by Jenny Laster of Cincinnati, OH.

The reality is that so many of us have been beat down and laughed at for having dreams that we have learned to shut off that most creative and wonderful part of being ourselves. We have learned–experience has taught us–that dreams only come true in fables. We have been taught to believe that dreams come true for the lucky, but not for most of us.

I am proof that dreams do come true. For years, I thought and dreamed about getting my Ph.D. and then, the dissuaders stepped forth. My dissuaders told me I was too old; my career was complete, so why bother. My dissuaders even told me that I would be out-of-place and out of step. The funny thing was all of the dissuaders were in my brain. I discussed my decision to get my Ph.D. with my sister; I told her I worried about being seventy-three at graduation. My sister’s response was, “Guess what? You’re going to be seventy-three whether you graduate or not.” At the age of sixty-nine, I enrolled in a Ph.D. program. After the first semester, I suffered the loss of my sister and decided I didn’t need to continue. The Associate Dean convinced me to become a part-time student and stay with the program. I am now seventh-three and have completed my classwork. This summer I will take my comprehensive exam. The next step will be writing my dissertation. My expected date of graduation is October 2014 (note I said expected, not hoped for or maybe). I will be seventy-four. Don’t listen to dissuaders. I have learned that self-doubt is one of the biggest killers of dreams.

What has been most astounding as I have lived my dream has been the number of women, both young and old, who have told me that I have encouraged them to go back to school and to live out their dream. This is my legacy: not what I did, but what I have encouraged other women to do.

Read the rest of Jenny’s story in the foreword of Are You Riding in the Back Seat of Your Dream?

Subscribe to this blog and share your story of silencing dissuaders in pursuit of your dream.

My very best to you, Diane


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Take the Wheel!

I am excited about the release of my e-book, Are You Riding in the Back Seat of Your Own Dream?  As the title suggests, the book addresses the challenges women face when we sideline our dreams in deference to the myriad things we perceive to be more important.

In this book you will read first-hand accounts of successful women from diverse backgrounds and careers and tap the wisdom and experience they developed while realizing their dreams.  My dream is that as you bear witness to the stories in the book, you will find inspiration to pursue your own dream, and I want to hear about it!  Get the book, subscribe to this blog, and get started on one of the best endeavors you will ever accomplish…your own dream!

My very best to you, Diane

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