Turn down the volume on the external noise and turn up the volume on the voice in your heart.
~Heather Hansen O’Neill
We hold this space as an opportunity to showcase those people we encounter now and then who simply show up every day with a radiant, uplifting spirit coupled with a genuine willingness to give back. That said, as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of this award-winning global media digest and CEO/ReImaginator for 360° Nation, I was delighted to have the opportunity to get better acquainted with Heather Hansen O’Neill, President of From Fear to Fire. —with a mission to celebrate the stories of all humans and open up the world of human resilience, triumph, and everyday experiences to their readers and storytellers.
Who is Heather Hansen O’Neill?
Excellent question– I’ll let you know when I figure it out. LOL Actually, that’s part of what I love about this journey. In never feeling like I have fully become, it opens me to perpetual growth and improvement. My eyes are open, my heart is curious, my body supports my desire for adventure, and my mind is always looking for people to learn from and share with. I am grateful.
We’d like to hear about your professional journey up to now, and the wisdom gained / lessons learned along the way, including any pivots/course changes.
When a mentor suggested I start my own business 25 years ago, I was thrilled at the prospect of paving my own path. I quickly learned that an easier and more enjoyable way to ‘pave your own path’ is to connect with others who are further on the journey that can show you the way. I’ve learned a great deal and my business has morphed numerous times. In the beginning, it ramped up rather quickly thanks to a great market and this incredible mentor of mine. I was traveling all over the world, helping companies to increase sales and enhance their customer service. Then when I wanted to start my family, I decided the best way to continue to serve the executive clients I had grown to appreciate, was to go back and get a coaching certification. I started coaching the execs on how to implement the strategies I had been training their people.
But as often happens with business coaching, people open up about their personal and human challenges. I found a common thread in the level of discontent so many ‘successful’ people had at a deeper level. That’s when I wrote my first book, Find Your Fire, and began my journey into learning about human behavior and behavioral change. I’ve since written two additional books, with my most recent Where’s the Office? coauthored with the talented Will Lewis. After two TEDx talks, and a transition into keynote speaking around the globe, I still have this fascination with people, and with the power of humanity. My current quest is to help leaders understand the key role they play in making a deep and meaningful difference in the world.
Tell us about Fear to Fire, and the inspiration behind it.
My business includes various platforms and ways of providing inspirational and educational content. The podcast with the same name- From Fear to Fire began several years (and almost 200 episodes) ago. My intention was to give people hope. To help them see that they are not alone and that there are strategies and tools they can take from others who have gone before them. In interviews with experts, authors, scientists, thought leaders, athletes, and the human next door who overcame an incredible challenge and deserves to have their voice heard…the stories provide the lessons the listeners need to hear.
What’s unique about your business, and who is your ideal audience/participant?
I specialize in human behavior so technically any human being is able to find value. But I currently work most often with leaders, in particular sales leaders, who are fascinated by the correlation between doing good and contributing to humanity and how it ultimately enhances employee engagement, customer loyalty, and profit.
When did you launch Fear to Fire, and what’s been your biggest challenge so far?
As a driver, my biggest challenge has been to be open to the opportunities that are meant to happen.
Any noteworthy surprises or ‘A-ha’ Moments along the way?
One of my biggest business ‘a-ha’ moments is that you don’t have to be perfect/famous/extraordinary _____ (fill in the perception you have of whatever you may feel lacking) to have a voice or make a difference in the world. I gave up this erroneous idea years ago. It was an unachievable ideal. I’m human. And my clients are drawn to me BECAUSE I’m human. Because I’m on the same journey they are. Because they connect to who I am and my desire to do the right thing DESPITE my imperfections. When I accepted myself as I am, it opened me to be able to appreciate the light and humanness of others. And that deep connection is really what business is all about. It’s just people helping people.
What distinguishes your business from others in the same/or similar profession?
Energy and intention to serve. There are many incredible speakers in the world. More thought leaders today than ever now that we’ve moved from the Industrial Age to the Knowledge Era. It’s all about energy and connection.
What’s the next big thing and/or greatest challenge for Fear to Fire?
I’m in a legacy phase and much of what I do is about how to leave the world better in some capacity than how I found it. I have a big vision project I’m excited to be working on that will tie together everything I’ve created to date to connect and serve more people. But in actuality, it’s the individual moments each day to be present and generate joy that make the real difference. Because it’s happening right now. All around. Creating ripple effects we may never even know.
As an experienced leader and entrepreneur, what’s non-negotiable for you?
Being kind and conscious of my words and following through on promises.
How can our global audience learn more about you and Fear to Fire?
BONUS QUESTION: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m an adventure junkie who used to ‘grand jete’ and ‘pirouette’ for a living.