February 11, 2012
By AMANDA LOVIZA VICKERY Glasgow Daily Times
Cave City – Donna Tyson’s enthusiasm for life is apparent with every word she speaks. A motivational speaker for the last 25 years, Tyson travels around the country sharing her story and encouraging others to find joy in their lives.
On Thursday, Tyson will be the keynote speaker at T.J. Samson Women’s Health and Wellness Conference at the Cave City Convention Center.
“I promise, anyone who feels the least bit down or out of balance, if they need just a fresh shot of energy, will love the day,” Tyson said.
Tyson has been a single mother since her three children were under the age of 10, and she started out as an employment specialist. After a few years in the business, Tyson branched off to start her own temporary employment agency, which became very successful.
Tyson calls herself a “driven entrepreneur,” and said that it wasn’t long before people were asking her how she did it, building a business and balancing a career with raising three children.
“I started sharing the things I believe in and so that’s how the speaking started,” Tyson said. “(Now) I do something I love every day.”
Her speaking career has grown over time. Tyson has spoken to as many as 20,000 people at a time, she said, although she prefers crowds small enough that she can see the reactions of her listeners and “feel the synergy.”
She has spoken in front of the FBI, CIA, hospitals, human resources groups, business professionals, schools and more. The more she shares from her own experiences, Tyson said, the more she connects with people.
“In the beginning, I shared the truth from the people I studied,” Tyson said. “But when I started sharing my story, that’s when the flow started.”
Anytime someone is doing what they truly love, a flow develops and the professional success and the joy come naturally, Tyson said. What a person does should not only feed their soul, but touch others’ lives as well. Lighting a spark in her audience and making connections with her listeners is what she likes about her job.
“You get to connect heart to heart,” Tyson said. “You see people come in who are weary or hurt or tired or hardened, and you get to see the spark light again. What a wonderful gift to see that.”
Seeing life as a gift is a big part of why Tyson finds so much joy in her own life.
“You never know what God’s got in store,” Tyson said, but each person should take every day as a gift from God.
Tyson’s faith is a tremendous influence on her life and her speaking, she said, but it’s not about man-made religion or denominations. It’s about knowing what you believe in.
“I’m a very spiritual person,” Tyson said. “I know where I draw my strength from.”
Finding a balance with every aspect of life is very important, especially for women, Tyson said, and she will talk about that while she addresses renewing the spirit and taking care of oneself at the women’s conference. Women are naturally caretakers, but in taking care of others they forget to find joy within themselves.
“Reclaim your joy,” Tyson said. “We are caretakers by nature. We want to take care of everyone, but you can’t give out what you don’t have inside. You need to refill your heart and your mind with things that remind you of God, of the good in life, and love. Then you have something to give out.”
Taking responsibility for one’s own joy is a very important concept to Tyson. She doesn’t expect her listeners to look to someone else to give them joy.
“It’s not anybody else’s job to keep you happy or healthy or spiritual,” she said.
Tyson’s writing is regularly featured in magazines and newspapers, and she hosts a weekly radio show called “Rivers of Faith.” She has written a devotional book and also a children’s book entitled, “The Red Bow,” which teaches self-esteem for young girls. The children’s book has taken off far more than she expected, Tyson said, but “it’s a fabulous book,” in her words.
Tyson wrote the children’s book while living by the beach in South Carolina and running a coffee shop several years ago, but while she loved the beach life, Tyson moved home to Virginia to be near her family as she gained two grandchildren. She gets to spend the time playing and loving on her grandchildren that she missed while being so busy as a single mom with her own kids, Tyson said. She is fully enjoying the “new chapter” in her life.
“I thank God every day for the gift of life,” Tyson said.
It will be good to revisit Kentucky next week, Tyson said, and she is looking forward to making new connections at the women’s conference in Glasgow. After her talk during the conference lunch, she will be available throughout the rest of the day to talk to conference attendees.
“It will be entertaining and informative and inspiring. That’s my goal,” Tyson said.