By Carolyn Campbell, MA, CPPC

One of the most curious moments this year came when I was working in a prison in Africa and noticed three women had on the same T-shirt. On the front it said, “Are you a Diva?”

“Are you kidding me?” I thought. “Diva? These women are in the pits of hell.”

When one of the women turned around, I saw the back of the shirt: “Be a DivaPreneur!” It made me laugh. “Really? Here? In an African prison?”

Curious, I asked one of the women about it. It turns out the business department of one of the most prestigious universities in South Africa had offered a class on entrepreneurship to women inmates. AMAZING! I thought how cool it was to be giving tools to help these women employ themselves in a country where jobs are scarce. Quite progressive, if you ask me.

That day, staring at their T-shirts, I couldn’t help but think, “All women should be DivaPreneurs.” (And, yes, all men “DivoPreneurs.”)

The challenge is that too many people think of a Diva as a negative thing, often using the term as a real insult.

The word comes from the Italian noun “diva,” meaning a female deity. It actually describes a woman of outstanding talent. I love this! Because I believe that it’s time for us to allow ourselves to stand out and be seen and respected for our talent.

So, when I got back from Africa, I brought this concept to my Women Business Owners group. The group is filled with doctors, therapists, writers, consultants, and creators—women who are carving out their own paths in the world. I asked them to think about the word D.I.V.A. as an acronym and fill in a word for each letter.

I was amazed how different each acronym was. One woman wrote “Divinely Inspired Vixen of Audaciousness.” Ah, and so she is! Someone else’s was “Determined Instigator of Vision In Action.” True to form, that’s exactly what she does. Each set of words matched the most potent power of that person—and precisely what she seeks to create in her business.

In a culture that misconstrues what Divas really are, here’s what I believe: The true Diva is someone who holds on to the integrity of who she is. She no longer strives to be the person others want her to be. I call it the ULTIMATE SELF-HONOR. There is a liberation that occurs when you begin to just BE—trusting your Self, owning your gifts, and letting your boldness come through in whatever way it will.

As the business owners started to talk about how these qualities could show up more in their lives, the next stage of Diva-dom occurred. They shared how their Divas wanted to let go of the constraints of living small and start being in their power.

One woman started laughing as she realized just how ludicrous it was to place such limitations on her own possibility. She suddenly “got” just how amazing her work was. Another woman sighed, seeing how much she had been restricted by her perceptions of how others might judge her. One by one, they relaxed—yes, relaxed—right into their most potent way of being.

They saw that if they just allowed their “D.I.V.A.” to lead, their lives and businesses would actually be more easeful and vibrant!

So as this year comes to a close and you begin to think forward, take a moment and write your own D.I.V.A. acronym:

Now, think about these questions:

  • How much of your D.I.V.A is leading your life?
  • How much of your D.I.V.A. is leading your business?
  • In what ways would she like to show up more?
  • What beliefs do you need to let go of so that she can?

And if you really stepped into your D.I.V.A., how might you begin to step into your life and your business in a new way?


Carolyn S. Campbell has been working with visionary entrepreneurs and progressive Fortune 500 companies for more than 15 years. A sought-after international speaker and coach for such companies as Umpqua Bank, Regence Life and Health, SBA, and the Arts & Culture Council, Carolyn is the author of Beyond Marketing! How To Create an Unstoppable Following and the forthcoming Beyond Leadership: 21 Secrets to Passion, People & Profit.

If you are ready to build a strong following or to lead with impact, I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at 503-493-9497 or visit