Sunday, January 4, 2009

"Laughter is Healing," Australian Speaker's Approach to Self-Improvement

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a humorous lady from down under, Nancy Wylde. Nancy Wylde is author of the book "Ticket to Freedom: A Self-Empowerment Guide for Women" (2008) and a motivational speaker.

Attendees to her seminars are in for a surprise because at Nancy's seminars, the focus is on them. She doesn't bombard them with what she wants to talk about; rather she customizes her seminars to the individual interests of the participants.

When I asked Nancy about her speaking style, she replied:

I usually have a topic to follow and then am open for some questions. Once again, I don't feel I have all the answers. I prefer if I am not viewed as one who "knows it all" because quite frankly I don't. Each of us is unique. What works for one person does not always work for another.

I had an elderly woman of 95 years ask me how she can gain financial independence from her husband. This was a rather awkward question because I wondered, "Why would you want to be independent now?" However this was important to her and I answered to the best of my ability, offering her some suggestions (as practical and realistic as they could be given her maturity).

Few seminar speakers have the ability to think on their feet and to respond with sensitivity to the needs of the participants instead of making the seminar about the speaker. At Nancy's seminars, you control the content to learn what you need to learn.

I love sharing personal experiences most women can relate to. I speak to my audiences as if they were sitting next to me over a cup of tea. I use logic and laughter as I talk to women about how to get a hands- on approach toward positive reinvention. I offer practical, realistic strategies that any woman can use in her life, regardless of her circumstances that will aid her toward self improvement, personal goals and growth.

Nancy currently offers seminars around Sydney, Australia. To learn about her speaking schedule or to get on her email list in case she broadens her market or offers seminars online, please visit her website.

At faMiss Women (pronounced "famous"), we are always interested in who the role models for successful women were and who influenced them. I asked Nancy about the influential people in her life. She offered some writers for us all to encounter plus an endearing comment about her grandfather.

I have been inspired by the writings of Stuart Wylde, Florence Shinn, Catherine Ponder, Frederick Bailes, Napoleon Hill, Dr Deepak Chopra, Dr Wayne Dyer, Louise L Hay, Eckhart Tolle, just to name a few of my favourite authors and motivational speakers.

My grandfather who is 95 years young now and who just celebrated his 70th Wedding Anniversary with my grandmother last week has been a strong influence in my life.

From as young as I could remember he appeared to be worry free and took everything in his stride. He was not an ambitious man, but he was an excellent provider for his family. He was not interested in acquiring too many things in life as he was content with little. He still likes boiling his water in a pot on the stove as opposed to using the many electric kettles his grandchildren have given him over the years (and has stored them away somewhere).

He cannot understand why we all rush around so much when it is far easier to sit and listen to music on the veranda overlooking his garden.
He has time to tell you stories of the days he spend in the concentration camps ( two years) and how he found a way to survive the horrors and tragedies he lived through and saw during those two years. He found beauty in the German people and realised they too were victims of the horrible war. He did not see any man as his enemy. He did not shoot to kill while on the firing line, because he had no quarrel with his fellow man, regardless of his colour, culture, religious or political view.

He is a simple man and quite simply, someone whom I have admired all my life.

Sometimes it is helpful to have a motto or an affirmation, or quote to keep before us so that if we start to become distracted from our goals, we can regain our focus. Do you have a motto that is meaningful to you?

I live by several motto's. Not by one or two. It's difficult to pick just one as they are all important to me.

"Fear stops us from growing, loving, learning, having fun, living in the moment and noticing the beauty in all things and all people. Let go of fear and live!"

"We are responsible for our own lives. And even if we are not necessarily responsible for our circumstances, we are still responsible for the attitude we choose."

"Empowerment is knowing that you are directing and co-creating your future reality." ( I think this is my favourite)

Several female writers and artists also take to gardening, ranching, or farming. Edith Wharton studied French and Italian gardens, using their influence to create large, stunning gardens in her homes (for lovely pictures, visit The Mount website, Edith's home in Lenox, Massachusetts.)

Beatrix Potter was an avid gardener who managed to keep Peter Rabbit, Mopsy, and the rest of the bunch at bay. Contemporary, Barbara Kingsolver underwent a "eat local" experiment for a year; growing most of her own food (this interesting journey is told in the book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.")

Even Georgia O'Keeffe grew her own vegetables in her New Mexico home. Nancy Wylde is in league with these other ladies. I asked her about her family's organic farm.

My parents and I bought a farm some 22 years ago and slowly began farming. It was quite unintentional that we turned organic, however due to the growing awareness of the dangerous pesticides in our produce and hormones in our meats, we began to move in this area. As we became more and more conscious of how these poisons affect our bodies we began researching into how we can produce fresh fruit and vegetables and free range livestock without the use of such toxins.

This was primarily to aid us, our family and our extended families. As well, we cater to our friends. We don't sell to the public, but we have more than enough family and friends who are happy to come and pick when our fruits and vegetables are in season. If they don't mind the hard work that comes with picking, we don't mind giving it away!

My father has a water business (Alkalife Water) and he is the sole distributor for the Western Sydney Region (this is a huge region!). His customers love calling out to the farm to pick up their orders as they also get the benefit of taking a walk in the farm and taking some fresh organic produce home for a small fee. My parents are generous and usually ask a small fee to cover their costs.

Caring for the farm is empowering because knowledge is empowering!

We can no longer sit on the fence and hope that someone else will fix our problems. We can take back some of our power by becoming actively involved on some level. I can still remember when it was announced that "Soon our fruits and vegetables will be genetically modified." We thought we would be powerless and that we would be at the mercy of the growers who controlled this. This is all part of the competition; the bigger, and shinier and prettier the produce, the better the price.

We are a culture (especially in Western cultures), where appearances are everything. If you take a peach or plum that is grown on my farm and compare it in size and 'appearance' to that of a peach or plum that has been genetically modified and has had tons of pesticide sprayed onto it, it is significantly smaller and less appealing. However, the difference is both in the taste (you would be surprised at how different an organic cucumber or tomato tastes compared to one that isn't organic!), size and appearance. You see, we are so socially conditioned that 'looks are everything'.

Even if we cannot grow our own organic veggies, we can support those that do by buying it. And yes it is far more expensive. The answer to that is that we need to learn to consume less. We are large consumers of everything! Ignorance is expensive- it can cost us our health. Become aware of what our bodies need, what is good for it, what is not good for it - this is empowering.

In your book, Ticket to Freedom, you describe many adverse situations that you've overcome with considerable grace and humor. How do you encourage yourself when you experience new obstacles?

Self-encouragement is not easy. I just look at what I need to do NOW, this moment. I look at what I CAN do as opposed to what I CAN'T do.

If I am empowered to fix something, I will. If it is something I have absolutely no control over then I choose not to worry. I choose to find the humour in all things as opposed to sadness. Laughter is healing.

I have come from having everything to nothing (living in a tin- shack with 3 children - and a very squeaky clean tin- shack at that with flower gardens, hanging pots and a happy environment for my children!).

It was only today that I took my children out for Christmas Eve lunch at our local golf country club ( where my son-in-law and son play golf) and they commented on how proud they were of the home I provided for them when they were small during the many years I was a single mother. Have I got great kids or what!?!

I made it a home to the best of my ability and within those tin walls that were sweltering in summer and freezing in winter, there were the sounds of children's laughter while mum told funny stories to her children and we watched funny movies together. I had to have a sense of humour. I just didn't know I had any other choice!

Of course the tin shack is still there, and serves as a reminder of the happy times we shared together in spite of our hardships.

What would you say to someone who is experiencing disappointment after disappointment?

Find beauty in something, anything! Learn about the power of gratitude and how important it is to count one's blessings. Disappointment is usually a result of not attaining something we desire or the result of others not responding the way we had hoped. Don't make this important and certainly not an issue and something to worry about. Once we remove this expectation from others, we find we are no longer disappointed.

Nancy's book, Ticket to Freedom: A Self-Empowerment Guide for Women, is a quick read full of humor, insight, and inspiration. To pick up a copy of her book, or learn more about Nancy Wylde, please visit her website:

Allison Frederick believes that Role Modeling is one of the most effective ways to launch a program, improve a product, and personally achieve a higher level of success and goals.


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I’ve heard about Nancy Wylde seminars from my friend. She really loved it. I’ve also read her book: "Ticket to Freedom: A self-Empowerment Guide Women". I really enjoyed it. My friend always recommends me to go to her seminars. The problem is that I don’t have much time for that. I hope that I’ll have time soon, and I try it. I think these seminars are really helpful for woman. Thank you for this post. I loved reading it.

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Duane Smith said...

Women are truly empowered by public speaking.

My name is Duane Smith. I am a public speaking professor, and speech coach at Los Angeles Valley College. Not only do strong minority women make up the majority of our campus (60% female – 40% male), but I am blessed with not only a brilliant wife, Fleur, but four wonderful daughters, Sierra 6, Skylar 5, Savannah 3, and Scarlet 2! Women’s issues are of great importance to me.

During my undergraduate studies I was awarded a scholarship to Northern Arizona University for public speaking. While competing nationally and internationally for NAU, my two most successful speeches were focused on two of the greatest atrocities being faced by women still to this day. In 1994, while competing at the International Forensics Association (IFA) International Public Speaking Championship Tournament held in Munich Germany, I was awarded first place for persuasive speaking. I spoke about, “The Need to Officially Recognize Rape as a War Crime.” And in 1995, at the Interstate Oratory (U.S. National Championship Tournament for Persuasive Speaking), I placed 7th in the nation for a speech about a little known at the time disease called “HPV: Human Papillomavirus.” The speech was later published by the IFA.

Now as a father of four future women, I am even more vested in women’s issues, which is why your organization caught my attention.

I am a tenured, full time college professor. And I coach one of the most successful college speech teams in the United States. In 2008, my national championship claiming team’s roster mirrored the school’s gender stats with 6 young women, and 4 young men. I am also the CEO and founder of Empowering Speech. Additionally, I have over a decade of experience teaching public speaking to English-as-a-second-language-speakers. My history, services, and testimonies can be viewed at I am always looking for new challenges and opportunities to serve where there is a need.

Duane Smith