Making Life Better With Elisa Schmitz: Finding a Mentor Who Inspires You to "Become the Fire" by Ann Marie Patitucci
In the spring of 2015, I was living in northern New York but preparing to move to Richmond, Virginia, with my family. I had two young children, a dog, a full-time job and a part-time writing life. I received an email from Elisa Schmitz.
Elisa had read my writing somewhere and wondered if I would be interested in writing for 30Second Mom (now 30Seconds). I already worried there weren’t enough hours in the day, but I was intrigued and did some homework on Elisa and her company. I loved everything I read, about Elisa’s career, the content and mission of her current company, and more. It all seemed right up my alley. I loved the fact that I could write as much or as little as I liked. I had a feeling this was one of those things I’d be glad I said yes to.
Over seven years later, I am indeed glad I said yes. Writing for 30Seconds has been a wonderful experience for me. I’ve been able to write on a diverse array of topics, express my feelings about issues I care deeply about, interview veterans and military families, share treasured family recipes and even write about my children. I’m grateful to Elisa for affording me the opportunity to tell so many meaningful stories at 30Seconds.
I’ve gained a lot more, too. Throughout these past seven years, I’ve loved collaborating with Elisa and Donna John, and getting to know the diverse and wonderful members of the 30Seconds community. I love collaborating with Elisa, learning from her and bouncing ideas around with her. After a few years of working together remotely, with Elisa in Chicago and me in New York and then Virginia, we finally met in real life at Elisa’s home. Being together in person felt like meeting up with an old friend.
I look to Elisa as a mentor in myriad ways. Among the many things I admire most about Elisa are her: fierce passion, entrepreneurial spirit, writing, sage advice and ability to see challenges as opportunities. I was so excited when she told me she was writing a book. I just knew Elisa could “make life better,” by sharing her own story and helping others to learn from her experience and carve their own paths.
The lessons in Become the Fire are universal; they can be applied to one’s personal or professional life, regardless of their career goals. I think we can all find inspiration in its pages. Here is my official review of Elisa’s book. I hope you’ll read it and feel empowered to become the fire.
Become the Fire is not your typical career guidebook. Elisa Schmitz, founder of 30Seconds.com, shares how she transformed the chaos and challenges of her life into business and personal success – and how we can, too. Reading her story is like reading a novel about a strong character who succeeds against all odds, one you find yourself rooting for. Schmitz discusses how we can learn from her story, how we can use our unique skills and our “otherness” to our advantage. She weaves her story throughout the book, giving the reader “sparks” (moments of reflection) and “blazes” (affirmations) along the way. These additions make the book feel more interactive, almost as if the reader is having a conversation with the author.
In addition, Schmitz interviews and shares advice from some of the world’s top female leaders, who she calls "flames." As I read the book, I kept thinking “empowered women empower women.” That’s what Schmitz does with this book, and that’s what the other diverse and successful women do with their advice; they’re empowering us all to “become the fire.” This book would make a great gift – for a college student, a small business owner, your dreamer friend or yourself.
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