The Time I Walked Across Hot Coals: Vulnerability as Your Super Power

Have you ever felt like you were walking across hot coals in life? Determined to succeed, willing yourself to go onward. All the while saying to yourself, “WHAT AM I DOING?!”

I know the feeling well because I ACTUALLY WALKED ACROSS HOT COALS.

And it didn’t go so well…



A number of years ago I attended a Tony Robbins workshop where, you guessed it, we were presented with the opportunity to test our confidence by walking across a glowing bed of hot coals. A few of us put our hands up and moments later I found myself staring down at what could just be an all around bad idea.

My first tentative steps were encouraging-- I was confident! I believed myself! But after a few moments I could hear the soles of my feet hissing like bacon on a hot griddle. At about two thirds of the way through the coals I collapsed onto safe ground with my feet in the air. Poof. Confidence gone.


A good friend of mine came running over and attempted to get me to my feet. When it was clear that wasn’t in the cards he ran into the hotel and retrieved a luggage cart, on which I was ferried (feet in the air) to the hospital.



Some moments we feel powerful, confident, invincible! Other times we have to explain to a nurse that we have been walking over hot coals at a self empowerment workshop. Did the experience leave me feeling vulnerable? Yes! But a number of years ago I had the word “courage” tattooed in Japanese on my hip. The antidote to vulnerability is bucket loads of courage. I had my own workshop to conduct the next day and nothing, not sore feet or a bruised ego, would stop me. I am happy to report that I presented my full program in trainers. (Fashion took a backseat to comfort that day!)

For the longest time I avoided telling this story because it left me feeling silly. Which is silly in itself because one of the things I teach at Women of Worth is that vulnerability is key to self development. How can we grow and learn if we are not vulnerable sometimes? In fact, if you spend most of your time avoiding conditions that make you feel vulnerable, how will you ever enjoy a new class? Take on a challenge at work? Decide to move to a different city?

In my next blog I’ll be talking  about how we can become more comfortable with vulnerability in our day to day lives and use it as a catalyst for personal growth!

For more information on Women of Worth’s programs and services, please visit!


A Well Choreographed Dance

There is something so fascinating about watching a professional ballet company. Movements that would be impossible for you or I are executed flawlessly under the balance, direction and devoted skill of artists who spend endless hours honing their craft. It never fails to leave me wondering how I might be able to take my own performance to a new level.


Because at Women of Worth, a good day at work has the feel of a well choreographed dance.


Prior to meeting with our clients we spend a great deal of time getting to know them. What is it that they hope to learn? What professional challenges are they facing? What goals do they aspire to achieve? As we collect this essential data I get a real sense of my audience as a group. What venue would be beneficial for our gathering? Would a restful natural setting be best for this group? Yes. Let’s have a good view of the outdoors. I start to select the objects that would best suit the personalities of the group. Journals, pens, photos, colours even. Inspirational quotes are chosen with care to match the personalities and goals of my new friends.


Setting the stage for our work.


Once on site we begin to set up our space, careful to make a well lit circle so that we can all see each other and it’s easy to communicate. We all belong here, we are all welcome here, we are all safe here. Every topic we cover will be something a member of the group has requested we visit. Every decision about our future actions will be co created from within this space.

Recently we had the honour of facilitating with a lovely group of engineers, designers, project managers and Head Office Personnel at John Holland. Although each industry we work with may have different attributes, naturally many of the core concepts remain the same:

Who am I in all of this? Who are we in all of this?

Specifically, what is it that I have to bring to the table? How can I take my performance to the next level?

It is our absolute pleasure to choose each and every aspect of our workshop in precise detail to make everyone feel comfortable and inspired for this journey. Because it is in this choosing that we are communicating that yes, you matter. What you do matters and how you go about it matters. We are modelling that by being true to yourself you’ll find it easier to be open with others.

And that a good day at work is a group performance starring a diverse cast of characters. When unified in their vision it's quite a show!

Together with my dear friend and colleague Christine Mahoney, WOW has found its place in several countries, touching thousands of women in all strata of society. Dynamic Exchange is pleased to be delivering this program to John Hollands on behalf of Systemix.

Exploring Inclusiveness at University of Southern California

I don’t know what kind of a sign it is when you’re getting ready to leave for California and your plane is struck by lightning, but I chose to interpret it as a good one. Much better than a cup of coffee, Melbourne sent me off with a jolt of energy from the heavens! My destination? The University of Southern California and specifically, their superbly talented finance team. I had been fortunate to meet the Chief Financial Officer of USC sometime before at a Toronto Corporate Conference. He had mentioned that he’d love to have me come to the U.S. to meet with his team. The day had finally come and I was off to an electrifying start, so to speak!  

California, here I come! The beautiful Terranea Resort was the site of our workshop.

California, here I come! The beautiful Terranea Resort was the site of our workshop.

Feels Like Home To Me

Nothing could have prepared me for the beauty that awaited when I arrived at the university campus. There are certain places in the world where you just feel comfortable. Maybe the town you grew up in or your Aunt’s house on a summer holiday. Never did I expect a campus to feel as welcoming as home, and yet it did. The sun on my face felt like home. The people around me felt like home. And as if tossing an extra bonus, I learned that I would be co facilitating our workshop with a dear friend I had met in Cincinnati -- Charles Holmes. Charles and I had always wanted to work together and after agreeing our philosophies for group development were very similar, we set the intention that someday we would. Without knowing any of this, the Chief Financial Officer of USC had determined that we should partner and brought him in as well. What a wonderful turn of events!

Meeting the Dream Team

Prior to my departure both Charles and l had taken the time to reach out to each member of the finance team and learned a bit about the group dynamic-- this was an amazing collection of individuals. What interested me most was that they already had many common goals. Despite being interviewed separately, they resoundingly expressed the same desire. They were pretty much saying, “Let’s find out more about ourselves and each other.” I could not have been more thrilled with that discovery. Furthermore, they were all conscious of the desire to elevate their team performance and were very aware that their roles within the university had lasting impact on students, faculty and yes...the world!  What more could you ask for in a group? They were like the dream team!


As we settled in for the workshop at the beautiful Terranea Resort, I began to think about one of the key reasons I had been so eager to visit the University of Southern California. It was something in the USC President’s speech on the subject of inclusiveness:

“If we lose our inclusive spirit we lose ourselves.”

What a timely message. Here I was, wandering around a big university, yet I felt at home. How does that happen? It happens through the sincere willingness of others to offer a warm welcome to a stranger. I had been welcomed with a spirit of inclusiveness.


We all need to be part of a community. Whether it’s your neighborhood, your corporation or your finance team, communities are pathways to human happiness. And it just so happens you can’t just create strategies for economic growth without taking into account the needs of colleagues, faculty and students. Cultivating a warm, inclusive environment is a top priority. And here I was with a group who wanted to deepen and strengthen that skill-- wow.

I am so grateful to have had the experience of working with such a lovely and talented group at University of Southern California. Not long after our workshop I received a lovely message: 

"Thank you for providing our leadership team at USC a glimpse into a world where the scope of what can be created is limitless. Thank you for allowing us to imagine that we all have the ability to manifest everything and that our life can be the end result our highest dreaming, our highest intent!"

I’d like to thank USC for their spirit of inclusiveness and will certainly be thinking of how I felt in their care the next time I welcome a newcomer to my group.