In this episode I’m sharing a little bit about myself. I’m going to talk about who am I, why should you care, and how in the world did I get to this point where I have become a certified life coach helping people navigate the emotional roller coaster of entrepreneurship?
My business, and by extension the Your Excellent You podcast, came to be because 3 parts of my life converged together.
I’m an entrepreneur, I’m an architect and I’m a life coach. And the way each of these influence what I have to say is, well, rather unusual.
Let’s begin at the beginning.
I started my first real business at age 10. While most of the kids in my neighborhood would set up a lemonade stand on a nice, sunny day, I was doing something a little different. See, I am a 3rd generation entrepreneur.
It all starts with my grandfather, who was the oldest son of immigrant parents. He was a serial entrepreneur – filled with ideas and opening a wide variety of businesses. He opened a putt putt golf course, he opened a games & sundries store in a beach town in New Jersey, and when I was a child he and my parents owned and operated a Disney themed ice cream store in Orlando, Florida.
He passed this along to my Dad who always seemed to have a side business. Most notably he sold baseball cards at baseball shows on the weekends. In the summers, I would be right there with him, selling packs of Topps to excited kids my age and politely declining to negotiate on the Mickey Mantle Rookie card my Dad had on display.
At age 10, my Dad helped me start my own business. He ordered a variety of women’s fashion earrings from a company at wholesale prices. They came with a fancy display stand that you could set on a table and spin around. When we would have a garage sale, I would sell those earrings for $1 and make a profit. But we didn’t have garage sales every weekend so I would go on Saturday mornings to see who in my neighborhood was having a garage sale that day. Then I would make them an offer they couldn’t refuse. If they would sell my earrings at their garage sale, I would split the profit with them. It was my first business and I was hooked!
Fast forward to today and I now have an online e-commerce business that I’ve run for over a decade. It’s been profitable from the beginning and it’s taught me so much about entrepreneurship. Things such as building websites, developing a brand, implementing SEO, understanding Google Analytics, running Facebook Ads, marketing strategies for launches, forming a corporation, finding mentors, hiring team members, and so on….all of these were foreign concepts to me when I opened that business in 2009. I made a lot of mistakes along the way and I’ve learned a lot of tough lessons. But I also accomplished a lot and achieved some amazing results. With the help of an amazing team, I run this business part time today.
The other part of my life that I bring to this podcast and my coaching practice is my education and professional experience as an Architect. I’m a goals and accountability coach for entrepreneurs and it’s the skills I developed as an Architect that I rely on the most. Architects by nature, take an idea and make it tangible. Entrepreneurs do the same thing. As entrepreneurs we take the ideas and visions from our mind, and create something that will impact others in a real way.
Architecture in both practice and education are project focused. Projects are exactly like goals. You work consistently towards a tangible outcome at the end.
I was fortunate to spend most of my Architecture career to working for one of the top International architecture firms in the world. One of the benefits for working in corporate architecture, besides the amazing projects, is that they have a very systemized process to complete projects. The role of the Architecture firm is to design the project for the client then communicate their designs to the contractor, through architectural drawings so they can build the project. This is over-simplified but I don’t want to go off the rails. This process can take years to complete. Along the way, there were always mini-deadlines. There were many reasons for the deadlines, some were regulatory – many weren’t, but what they did was allow the team to narrow our focus. We always knew what we were working towards, where we were in the process, and how it served the big picture goal. Essentially, they were smart goals. Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely. And they all served to bring us closer to the big picture goal.
This is where I really learned the importance of working in small, focused sprints. It’s the strategy I use with my clients who are trying to create big results in their business. It’s how I launched this podcast in 30 days working an average of 1 hour a day. My mini deadlines were daily, with each one bringing me closer to the big goal.
SELF DEVELOPMENT & LIFE COACHING
This brings me to the last part, which brings the other two together. That is my decision to become a life coach. And this is where my story gets a little more personal.
For most of my life, and in many ways still, I have been someone who had the skill to manage my emotions. I use the word manage but in truth, it was more of exerting control over them. I would stuff down unpleasant emotions and allow the positive ones to be felt and expressed. I see so many people who do this. As a recovering emotions-stuffer, I recognize it instantly.
Then about 5 years ago, a wellness coach I was working with, her name is Heather K. Jones, she suggested that I read the book You Can Heal Your Heart by Louise Hay. It sounded a little touchy-feely for me but I had paid her a lot of money to be my coach so I was willing to read it. This book literally changed the trajectory of my life because it introduced me to the concept of self-development at a personal, soul level. Before this, my self-development experience consisted of reading books about increasing productivity or achieving success. I had never taken the time to turn inward and see how I was using success and accomplishment to prop up my feelings of worthiness. Like so many people, and so many entrepreneurs, I was heavily reliant on external proof that I was acceptable, good enough, and worthy. Louise’s book made me look into myself and see if I thought I was acceptable, good enough, and worthy. This sent me on a self development that eventually led me to my mentor, Brooke Castillo.
I started listening to Brooke’s podcast, The Life Coach School podcast, and it immediately resonated with me. She has a gift for taking self-development concepts and making them practical. I devoured every single episode and applied the concepts to my life.
Then one day life presented me with an opportunity to discover if the process Brooke suggests to manage thoughts and emotions in a healthy way actually works. My husband, who is healthy and normal, became suddenly ill with a hidden medical condition. This condition came on suddenly and powerfully. It showed up weeks after we had relocated to a new city, leaving behind my family and friends and any social support that I had. In an instant, I became a full-time caregiver. This was while I was trying to help my kids transition to their new home and schools. Any thoughts I had about finding new freelance architecture clients went out the window. Running my online business was shoved into the margins of my day.
The burden to keep everything together fell on me and I felt it. I turned to this concept Brooke teaches called the Model. I’ll talk about what that is and how it works in future episodes. It’s a way to understand, process, and manage your thoughts and emotions. I leaned on it heavily during those years that my husband was ill. The #1 comment I heard from others during that time was “Wow, you are so strong. I don’t know how you’re handling all of this.” And the truth is, I had learned how to allow all of the fear, all of the worry, all of the negative thoughts and emotions to come. I allowed them and I processed them. I could talk for an hour about the concepts that I used and applied and were invaluable for me but I don’t want this episode to get really long so I’ll save that for another day.
In time, my husband healed and was able to fully function again. It’s nothing short of a miracle and I realize that I am blessed to be able to tell you this. Then, as my husband was healing, my Dad’s terminal cancer had spread and he was no longer able to live independently. He moved into our home where I cared for him until he passed. I am honored to have been his caregiver, along with my sister, in those last months of his life. Again, I was prepared emotionally and mentally and was able to experience the full range of emotions and not drown in my sorrow.
This was the point in my life when I realized that life coaching worked. I thought of all of the men and women who are trying to get through life without understanding how to navigate their circumstances and emotions on their own. It’s like trying to drive from New York City to Los Angeles without a map. So I decided to leave architecture and become a certified life coach. After some research, I signed up with the Life Coach School and the rest, as they say, is history.
That is my story. That’s how I arrived at this point. Today, I coach entrepreneur women on how to set and achieve goals in a way that allows them to have balance in their life. I teach them how to understand themselves at a deep level so they can see how they are limiting themselves. I help them recover quickly and easily when business, and life, doesn’t go as planned. My life experiences as an entrepreneur, an architect and my own self-development journey all come together in my coaching practice and this podcast.
I’ve been on an amazing journey and I’m honored that I get to share it here with you. That’s it for now, I’ll be back next week to help you step into the next best version of yourself.
Danielle's message is spot on with achieving goals. Not only does she practice what she preaches, but she's your guide to help YOU achieve the best version of yourself! A must listen!
Grow a biz & feel good! Danielle is really skilled at bringing both the actionable steps plus the mindset work so we can feel good as we grow our businesses while being present for our families. I look forward to listening every week!