All right, welcome to this episode of The joyful scaling podcast. Ladies you know I love introducing you to women who are on mission to serve and empower other women. And today I’m doing exactly that. Meet Natalia and Melissa Italia. Williams is the owner and founder of charisma beauty hair and makeup studio here in South Carolina in Greenville. And she is super passionate about encouraging female entrepreneurs along their journey. Like herself. She sees the rise of women launching businesses as a huge shift in the workforce. Many have walked through great challenges to reach success. I want you also to meet Melissa Melissa Fossett. After years of homeschooling and teaching in both the private and public sectors. She’s founded her own tutoring business called creative minds tutoring in in 2020, and together an Italian and Melissa have co founded a beautiful organization. It’s called Fire heart and soul women of resiliency. And it’s to bring inspiration and empowerment to female entrepreneurs through the power of story, community and support. Welcome Natalia and Melissa to the show. Thank you, Judy.
Thank you for having us on.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a podcast with three of us instead of two. So this is kind of this is makes it a little bit more difficult to make sure we but let’s start with Italian. Tell us about how does the backstory of Fireheart soul if you would? Um, well, Melissa, quite simply, one night we went and we had a girls night just had some dinner. And we were just talking and talking about things that we felt called to in our life. And we knew women specifically was something that we both felt called to. And we talked about how we’re seeing this shift, as you mentioned in the workforce was women rising up and starting businesses. And it was born over a dinner one night. We actually, we were collaborating with some of the servers that the place we were in. And we were all just talking about us as women and how amazingly powerful resilient we are. And that’s how this came to be. And I share that story. And people are like, what you plan that one night? And I’m like, Yeah, just one night. And then the I think it was a day or two later, later, excuse me, Melissa, you can correct me on this. Um, we were tagged in something on Facebook, and it had like, resiliency in it. And I literally was like, on my phone, I set straight up in my bed. And I’m like, That’s it. That’s the tagline of resiliency. And so that’s how it came to be. That is awesome. You know, I have to say, this idea of one idea coming to you, like, like that. I mean, it’s a God thing, and it can change everything. And, you know, the woman I just interviewed in that episode dropped today. She got an idea through the pandemic, and she built an entire new couple of businesses from it. So believe me, yeah, when God’s involved it can it can happen just like that. So Melissa, tell us more about that. Like, like, what? This this, this idea of, you know, resiliency is so powerful. Talk to me about the importance of story as it relates to the events that that that you’re going to be putting on?
Yes. So being a teacher, I love stories, and I find that kids and a lot of times, adults even really react to a story. And so talking with Natalia and several other women in our area through networking events, and just getting to know people, the more that we would share, hey, here’s what I’ve been through. And here’s what I’ve created with my life out of those trials and challenges. More women with feel inspired and empowered and not alone. Like, oh my gosh, she went through that I went through that too. And it’s so inspiring to see where you’re at now. So being able to be even a tangible presence to a lot of women have, you know, yeah, here’s my story. And here I am standing in front of you saying, you know, I could do this, you can do this too. I want to encourage you, let me help you. And it’s just something we find is really needed in the world today, especially here in Greenville. You know, women are rising up and we’re taking the opportunities to explore For us our creativity and, you know, dive into those passions and things we’ve always wanted to do. So there’s something very powerful when women come together and share those stories. And again, there’s that sense of, hey, I’m not alone. And I can do this too. And
yeah, I I see that too. I mean, I feel like the women that I work with, they’re like, you know, six figures, or almost six figure entrepreneurial women, a lot of come from corporate or from professional backgrounds, and then they start out on their own. And it’s amazing to me how, through all their experience and their education, and yet there’s, there’s always there, this element of imposter syndrome. Like, I know, she did it. But I don’t know if I can. And we all you know, I’m not for you to speak to that to tell you. I mean, I’ll admit that I struggle, a bit with imposter syndrome a heck of a lot less today than even a year ago. But I think it’s I think we’re all a work in progress here in that regard. preach. I mean, yeah, I still struggle with it myself. Um, and like you, that’s an area of continued growth. And I think when you share that, I think Melissa and I were at an event one time, and we were talking, I can’t remember who we were talking to. And we just opened up about that, that that feeling you have like, oh, my gosh, what in the world are you doing? You don’t know enough? You can’t do that. Or you don’t? You’re not qualified enough? We’re experienced enough. Annette, what are you thinking, and those sabotaging thoughts, and we were talking to somebody, and it was just me, because we brought that out? And the person opened up and said, You know what, I struggled with those things, too. You know, I think they even said they asked their significant other, and are we gonna be okay? And it’s real, it’s real. And it needs to be talked about, because we all struggle with it in some form, or fashion. And when you’re able to speak into that, and be transparent and vulnerable, it really ignites. Okay, you know, what, you know, I think there’s an element of being Superwoman sometimes. And when they can see that you’re human. And you have that it really just helps. And then, you know, it just opens up for more people to share in that
Yeah, absolutely. For sure. I just wanted to add, before I turn to Melissa, and see what you think about this whole self sabotage, self deprecating type thing that we women are so darn good at. I do think that, for whatever reason, like it just seems easier to look at others and have so much faith and hope and expectation for them. And then all we see when we look in the mirror is you know, for me, the wrinkles, the chin, the you know, it’s like, why is that like? Like, I often go to God and I say, Lord, You made your daughter’s to be strong and powerful. So why are the flaws? The first thing we know? See? So what do you think about that? Melissa, do you ever do you struggle with this as well?
Oh, definitely. I mean, we are here. And we started this not by any means, because we have it all figured out or perfect? Or I mean, we struggle every day. I mean, there’s times that I’ll get up. And what in the world are you doing? You can’t run a business. What are you thinking? And yes, it’s something a little bit universal among women, I think, where we just there’s so much expectation on us and we’re nurturers by heart. We want to take care of everyone and everything else. And a lot of times at the expense of ourselves. And so yeah, we definitely don’t have it all together. And we struggle but that’s also just that powerful part of story. And resiliency is look, I’m still working on this. I still struggle every day, but I’m getting up and I’m doing it and I’m, you know, making these things happen and being able to come around each other and support each other and that be like, Hey, you’re doing great. It’s okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to struggle, because that’s what makes us human.
Yeah, that is so right. And I think that our struggles that we’ve gone through and overcome by God’s grace, those struggles really become our strength. Because I know for me, I go closer to the Lord when I have a struggle. I get more empathetic and compassionate to others when I go through stuff. And you know, I love this. I love that word resiliency. But guess what, ladies? If we didn’t have the struggle, ladies listening, if we didn’t have the struggle, then there’d be no need to be resilient because we would just always be awesome, right? Yes, yes, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. So I would love it if you ladies wouldn’t mind sharing your personal story of overcoming? Would you mind? Natalia? Yeah, that would be such an encouragement, I’m sure. Well, um, I mean, there’s been significant things that have happened over the course of 40, almost 42 years of walking on this planet. But there was something very specific that I experienced in the last couple of years. And I have a chronic illness. And I didn’t know I had a chronic illness and the chronic illness just showed up one night, we had no idea what it was. It took many, many months. To get a correct diagnosis, we went on a roller coaster. In that time, I was bedridden for about nine months. I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t do very basic things that I was used to doing. My husband had to carry me from room to room, I had people coming into my home, to clean and to bring meals. And it was a very it was a very humbling experience for me. I was a woman who could get up and get stuff done. Just like that, you know, have my quiet time in the morning, and go out, run three miles, come back, cook breakfast, do two loads of laundry before my husband get out of the bed, and then get out the door. Go to Yeah, I was that woman and I wasn’t that woman anymore. And it was a it was a very dark, intense time for me. And there was a lot of things that happen. And obviously, I’m doing a lot better. Hallelujah. Doing. I’m very thankful for that God was very gracious to me in that dark place. And I bargained with him a bit. Um, get me out of this bed, and I’ll run. I’ll run I’ll live. Like, I’m not gonna wake up tomorrow, because there were many times God that I thought I wasn’t gonna open my eyes when I would close them. And you know, it was a lot of things. I was sleep deprived. I lost 100 pounds. Yeah, it was a very, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. But and I’m still walking through treatment with it, because it’s invisible. Um, but I think had I not walked through it, I wouldn’t have had the perspective shifts that I have. And like you mentioned earlier, empathy and compassion, excuse me, empathy and compassion for people because you can’t see my illness. And it a lot of times I look good. And on. On that day, I can tell you, Judy, if I take a picture, I know exactly how I was feeling that day. And just being able to, to relate to people more going through that because you know, we’re, nobody on this planet is immune to stuff like that happen to them. We just never know. And it’s been a journey. And I’m very thankful to be walking again into the mobile again,
Praise Jesus. Wow. I mean, and just what we were talking about, like, I look at you, you look whole, you look healthy, you look beautiful. Obviously, you’re a woman of great strength. And yet, you have gone through some real muck and mire as I like to say, and you know, but you’ve overcome that. I mean, you are, you are here in strength and gratitude to the Lord and you’re doing the things you know, you have this business. And now you teamed up with Melissa, to do this to pour into more women to build them up. I mean, it’s just a testimony to who the Lord is in your life and how you are stepping in to say, Lord, I don’t know what I can do, but you’re calling me to this. So I’m going to step up and do it. So Rob, ah, it’s just a really. So thank you for sharing that. Melissa, would you care to share us you know, a little bit about your, your story and maybe a challenge that you’ve overcome?
Yes. So I grew up in a home that was very religious, and very much about women. Pretty much were just meant to be wife, even, you know, be a wife and mother and raise the kids and all that. And so I always had this idea of that’s what I was going to do with my life. And just really growing up and going through the process of that it was actually really a cold, very cold like and very oppressive So I found myself, you know, kind of leaving that and getting into a marriage that was very much that way as well, with just the oppression and, you know, making women small and insignificant. And I’m pretty much went through just a horrible divorce and found myself being a single mom, and forced to figure out what I was going to do with my life and how I was gonna provide for my kids. And so I decided to go back to school, I realized that there was so much more to me than, you know, being part of a system that kept women small. And that, you know, I had gifts and passions and talents that I really wanted to use and express. And you can’t do that when someone’s trying to control you and manipulate a situation. And so I literally feel like I got out with my life. And I went back to school, and I finished my degree as a single mom raising two boys and started this business. And it’s just been incredible to watch the doors that have opened for me. How Yeah, God really stepped in and allowed me to tap into all of my potential and my passion and teach and start this business and help other women along the way. So there’s Yes,
it’s just so good. I mean, thank you so much for sharing that ladies. I mean, these are just two. Here’s what I know, every lady out there has been through hell in some way or another, either as a little girl with some sort of trauma, abuse, disease, some sort of something. And or when you get involved in relationships with men, I have not had good luck in that regard. I mean, I have made stupid mistakes. My first husband beat me up on my wedding night. You know, and it’s so funny, because you don’t see that, you know, people just like I look at an Italian I look at, I look at you, Melissa. And I’m just like, wow, these ladies have it together. So so ladies listening, I want you to understand if right now, as you’re listening, I’m sure your heart is moved by the stories you’ve just heard. But I also want you to be gracious to yourself, that if you are right now listening, and you’re saying, Yeah, they did, but I can’t. Or you see, you feel like this mountain is in front of you, and you just can’t get through it, get around it, get past it, just understand that you are not alone. And that this is exactly why I do what I do in my work. And in this podcast. This is exactly why I’m gonna Ditalion Melissa do what they do. We all need to come together and love each other. And that’s what exactly, you know, fire heart and soul is all about which I love. But also it’s like when we get right down to the human. This of us as women. It’s like, I I don’t care, like what country you’re from, or what religion you are, or what any differences are. It’s like, I love you. I love you, girl. I love you, sister. And this like so if anyone’s listening right now I’m crying your eyes out because you just feeling so at the pit? Can I just tell you? I know I’ve been there. And I would suspect Italian and Melissa have been to and you know if we can do it, so can you and just reach out. And that is so hard as let’s talk on that for just a second ladies because I know when I was a single mom. And even before then going through a horrible marriage, which ended in divorce when I had my three boys. I would like wallow in my pity, you know, and I had neighbors around me but I felt like oh, I don’t want to impose upon them because I felt like that would be selfish. So Natalia, what would you say to a woman out there who says I’d love to plug in? But I don’t know if I’d fit in I don’t know. It’s kind of selfish for me to impose upon somebody else. It’s that’s the Superwoman complex. That really truly is what that is. I’ll just speak into that. I was that way. I didn’t want to ask for help because I was very functional. But that voice that speaks to you, they can but I can’t. That’s not who you are. You are a divine expression of love. Every single woman human being on this planet is a divine expression of love and you have purpose on this planet and connected allowing yourself to be vulnerable. And it’s okay. It’s okay. It’s it’s the whole premise behind fire heart and soul is to create a safe space. So you can say, girl, I don’t got it all together. I don’t have it all together, and I’m not gonna pretend like I do. And it’s okay. And I think a lot of times is women. I mean, you both were single women are single moms. Okay. There’s so many titles in that alone, that you both filled in that point. And there’s probably there was probably an independence that you developed. But we we need that help. We need that help. I’ll use a biblical reference, for example, when they crossed over the Red Sea. And Moses couldn’t hold both his hands up. That’s a great example. Yeah. He couldn’t hold both his hands up. It was Aaron. And Joshua, I believe. Yeah, I think so. Yeah, they had to hold his hands up because he was tired. Right? That’s a perfect example. Let us be the people that hold your hands up. So you can keep going forward? That’s powerful. Yeah, when we come together, you know, to is greater than just one plus one, like, like, just the whole energy of that. So you guys have the official launch? An event is coming up?
Pretty soon. Melissa, tell us about that. Where, when? And what can we expect inside?
Yes. So our launch of this official group is Wednesday, January 26 2022, it will be in downtown Greenville, South Carolina at the Commerce Club. So we get this beautiful view of the City of Greenville, and Natalia and I will actually be tag teaming as the first speakers for that event. So women come they’re going to have food drinks, just a safe place to come hang out and hear our stories and make connections being encouraged. And I think it’s funny because neither Natalia or I consider ourselves public speakers. But it’s definitely something that we feel called to. And so it’s a big step outside of our comfort zones, to say, All right, we’ve got this calling, and we want to encourage these other women. And so we’re really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great evening event. Everybody is welcome. We want it to be a safe place. Again, regardless of your religious background. How any affiliation, everyone is welcome. It’s, we’re not excluding anybody. So
that is so great. And that is a beautiful venue as well. That is a beautiful venue. I will I’m just curious. And I mean, it’s just just my curiosity. Do you see this ever being anything virtual like anybody? Because I have listeners from literally all over the world? I mean, from from Australia, to China, to Africa to Europe. I mean, we’re Alaska. You know, I know, I know, your I know, your local kind of, sort of to me now. I’m just curious, like, when you dream about where this is going? Do you see this going? Virtual?
Yeah, absolutely. We already talked about a podcast and eventually and, you know, looking into how we can make that all happen. This will be a monthly event going forward. So you know, we start in January, and then every month there’ll be a different guest speaker that is sharing her story. And yeah, we’ve we’ve got big plans and dreams for this to go. You know, no limits really.
That is awesome. And we’re gonna make sure to have links for you to find out more in the shownotes I can’t believe that half hour has gone way too quick, Natalia, I want each of you to have an opportunity to if there’s anything on your heart that we didn’t yet have an opportunity to discuss that you just feel led to put out there. Please do share. Um, just you know, ladies, you’re not alone. You’re not alone. And maybe there’s not a fire heart and soul in your city yet. There you go yet, yet. Maybe that hasn’t come yet. But you know, you have a hope you have a good tribe around you that will speak life into you and walk you through those dark waters and through that time and keep telling you how amazing you are. Because that’s what you are. You’re amazing. There was no mistakes made when you came into this world and people need to know you’re here. That’s right. That’s right. I love that, you know the name of this podcast used to be she is extraordinary. And the she wasn’t me. The she is every single one of my listeners. And I still maintain that. It’s just that I kind of pivoted to be more business esque, as opposed to more broad. So that’s the reason for the name switch. But I love that yes, every woman is extraordinary, because she is divinely made by the Lord. Right. Beautiful, Melissa, any anything on your heart you care to share before we wrap up today?
Yeah, I would say I know from personal experience, reaching out and asking for help is very difficult, because we have this idea that it shump somehow shows that we’re weak minded, and nothing could be further from the truth. When you reach out, you’re actually showing incredible strength and courage to receive this love and support other people can give you so whatever that looks like, reach out, ask for help ask for support. We’re here. And I would say to any woman, it does not matter where you’ve come from, or where you’ve been, you have incredible worth and value. And like Metalia said, You are meant to be here.
Wow, I love that. I love that. Thank you so much as you were talking I was like, I want us to trade in our guilt, our shame, or regret our self loathing. I mean sometimes I can just hate myself. I mean it’s horrible people would never want you to really Yeah, I’m you know, a human being, let’s let’s trade all that negative crap, which is a lie of the enemy. None of that’s true. That’s just that’s a lie. And trade that in for the truth of who you are in Christ that you know, trade, trade all that for the powerful, bold, courageous person that you are and and that powerful woman that you were made to be. And I you know, if you’ve listened to the podcast at all, you know, that my whole mantra in life or in or business is when we finally say bye bye to the fear of the doubt the insecurity and we surrender it all to Christ and we say, Ah, I’m going to lay it at your feet, Lord. Now I’m going to accept and receive who I am in you. That is when we step into our God given purpose and use those gifts that He gave for us for that very reason. And I see that in both of you, Natalia and Melissa, thank you so much for sharing those gifts. And and look forward to meeting you one day real soon. So thank you so much. Yes,
Thank you. Alright, ladies, thank you for listening. If you haven’t yet subscribed, please make sure to do so. And if you wouldn’t mind taking a moment and leaving a rating review. We would love that as well. Thank you for listening and we will see you next time.