August 14, 2019 by Speakers' Spotlight
Three Questions with Debbie Travis: On Finding the Courage to Change
Debbie Travis sits at the centre of a small business empire that has made her a beloved television icon and household name around the world. Her popular TV shows have aired in more than 80 countries, her weekly syndicated newspaper column draws more than six million readers, she’s published 10 bestselling books sold worldwide, and her branded product line covers everything from home décor to wine.
In 2018, Debbie published her latest bestselling book Design Your New Chapter, an inspiring roadmap for change. She draws on her own experiences, sharing the tough – and sometimes hilarious – lessons she’s learned along the way, to help others who may find themselves standing at a crossroads asking “what next for me?”
We sat down with Debbie to talk about how she finds the inspiration and courage to try something new, and what her next chapter may be.
You’ve had a multi-faceted career where you’ve reinvented yourself from television star to bestselling author to running your own production company and a boutique hotel in Tuscany. Where do you find your inspiration and courage to try something new?
From everyone around me. From being engaged with other people. It’s about listening for opportunity, where people are going, the climate we live in, different generations and what’s important to them. I travel a lot and I think that has inspired me as well.
I have an attitude of, if it doesn’t work, try something else. We’re naturally worried and skeptical about new things, but fear is bigger, it runs deeper – it’s paying your mortgage or having a sick child. When it comes to a new opportunity, it’s a choice. People are afraid because they can’t control everything, if you have a sick child you can care for them but it’s in the hands of doctor. But if something is in your hands, you can plan for it. It can be nerve wracking but it’s not real fear. Courage is something you have to put into perspective. It’s good to be worried, it makes you do it right. You just have to put it in perspective and the terrifying bits reduce.
What advice would you give someone who may want to make a change in their life, but is hesitant about starting that new chapter? Or have no idea where to even begin?
One of the things I talk about in my book is about making lists. So often when people talk about things, there’s the big buts. I say make a list of the things you are terrified about when it comes to a new opportunity – it can be a quite a long list – and then make a list of the things you are sure about. The list of what can go wrong can be overwhelming, so you have to look at it and slowly break it down to what’s a real worry vs. an excuse. If it’s “I have to walk the dog on Wednesdays”, that’s just an excuse, but if your parents are elderly, you have young kids, etc. then maybe it’s not a good time now but you can come back to it five years from now. Maybe that dream will change and evolve over time, but it will stick with you. I had a dream abut Tuscany years ago. It wasn’t the right time then, but I kept it alive, and here we are.
I interviewed lots of people for my book. One woman was a publisher who wanted to open her own interior design store. She had no money to make that leap of faith all at once, but she worked on it in the evenings. She saved, she planned and one day she could leave her job. I always believe there is a way to do it, there will always be time, money, family working against you, but if you really work on it, there is a way.
When you have a dream, look at how other people in that same genre as you have accomplished it. How did they do it? Reach out to them. I really do believe that if you reach out to people, you’ll be surprised at how many want to help. Successful people like to share their stories on how they became successful, learn from them.
What’s the next chapter for Debbie Travis?
To go more into special events at our Tuscany home. We host girls getaways right now, and from the very first one, it was a big success. We recently hosted a BMW classic car rally and it was really exciting to see all these million dollar classic cars rolling down our driveway. I’d like to expand on this and do more special events, like for corporations who are planning an offsite for their top employees. We could make it a trip of a lifetime, that’s what we’re good at.
I’m also working on another book. I’ve already started it and it will come out in 2021. It’s the next level of designing your own chapter. I’m currently knee-deep in writing, which I find quite hard, but also exciting.
A sought-after speaker, Debbie Travis’ innate ability to connect has made her an inspiration for people everywhere. She speaks to her trailblazing career and entrepreneurial success, and motivates her audiences to find their own personal joy.
Interested in learning more about Debbie and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.