I think this next Rising Woman will always be one of my favorite people on the planet. She is just so REAL. If you follow her online, you get the same woman in person. There is no pretending, no facade. She shares so much of herself online and she isn't afraid to tell it like it is. On the same token she can make you laugh with her wit and sass. She helps women in so many different ways and I'm so happy to have her share some of her story here...
Who are you and what do you do for a living?
My name is Danny-J (the J stands for Johnson) I am a professional speaker and lifestyle expert and I create programs and solutions for women that help them upgrade their finances, relationships and fitness.
What is your story?
Which part? LOL. I have many stories and probably each one could be a separate book, but I was a very depressed and suicidal teen who got pregnant at the age of 15. I ended up placing my daughter for adoption because I didn't want her to have to live the way I was living. Her birth made me get my act together and I ended up graduating high school early, going to college and earning my bachelors and masters degrees. In between my two degrees, I ended up paralyzed from a bacterial infection and this is what led me to fitness. I spent a lot of time in the gym rehabbing myself. Ultimately, I found that my best gifts were in helping others see the potential in themselves and after my passion for fitness waned a bit, I realized it wasn't about fitness, it was about the results that people would see in their life. Now I love to help people see results in all areas of their lives.
What have you overcome to get where you are today?
I I had to overcome self-doubt, body image issues, the feelings that I didn't belong here (on this planet or in this life) depression and anxiety, and ultimately I had to forgive myself and start to trust in a bigger plan.
What has been your greatest struggle in life?
My greatest struggle was and still is my negative beliefs, self-talk, and judgement. I am so much better than I used to be, but I have realized that my own thoughts and my negative talk have been the single barrier to any lack of results or success that I have been looking for.
Did you ever feel like giving up? When you felt like giving up, what did you do?
Ha!! uhmmmm yes, multiple times a day, everyday for the last 25 years and now at least once a day! LOL it's hard! Life is hard! Showing up is hard! But the one time that I DISTINCTLY remember REALLY getting ready to quit... I sat in a parking lot crying and thinking about just getting a job at Starbucks... it was around 9pm... and my phone notification went off, and I saw an email. The email was about two pages long from a woman whose name I didn't recognize. She said she had been following me for a long time and that my posts and emails and programs helped save her life. She said that I wouldn't recognize her because she would never comment, but that she had been watching. It was that moment that I realized I couldn't quit. I bawled again, but this time in gratitude and also just realizing that THIS was the reason I was compelled to share my struggles, my story, and my truth every day.
What are some of the tools and resources you have used to work through and overcome those struggles? (books, counselors, workshops, programs, coaches, etc.)
Everything you can probably think of! I was in counseling from age 15 to 21. I started listening to personal development "tapes" when I was 9 years old. My mom would make my brother and I do affirmations when we were 3 until about 12. I have gone to amazing workshops, done a lot of forgiveness work, I've done some really good and deep stuff in hypnotherapy sessions. Right now I am working with a coach and I think that probably for the rest of my life, I'll be working with coaches or therapists, because there is always something that can be dug up or improved.
What are your gifts and how did you discover them?
I think my gifts are connecting with people. I discovered that mostly when I started personal training. I realized that a client would come into the office and be so nervous, and I was able to quickly make them laugh and open up. People trust me with some of their deepest secrets and pains and I don't take that lightly.
Who in life do you rely on when you're struggling? Who keeps you uplifted and on your path?
When I'm struggling it depends. I have such a solid group of women friends that I can call on. Or I will reach out to someone who I know who has maybe been through something similar and seek counsel.
Tell us about your tribe and the importance of having one.
My squad I like to call them ;) LOL I actually feel like I have a few tribes and some people cross over into the others. I used to have a hard time relying on others, reaching out, sharing my vulnerabilities. I was always the one that people came to. I've learned in the past few years that connection is everything and you don't get out of this life without having some shit happen to you. The problem is that most of us feel like we are the only one. Having a tribe that gets you, gets what you're about, and what you've been through just gives you comfort in knowing you're not alone. They also push you, help you grow and challenge you to look at your own BS.
What do you want other women to know who are feeling lost, and/or experiencing their own tragedy and/or struggles?
This too shall pass. I recently have gone through a year of three different tragedies and losses and none of them were expected and all of them hurt deeply. My friends allowed me and reminded me that it was ok to grieve, to be sad, to mourn and scream and to feel all the feelings, to allow the feelings and not to judge them. I think we have to be ok with life being messy for a bit and also knowing that you won't "get over it" in one fell swoop. You might just realize you only cried once today! Progress! Then maybe a few months go by and out of the blue, for no apparent reason, you break down again... that is ok too! It is part of the process. Definitely seek counsel and friends who can hold space for you.
What is some advice you would give to women who are healing?
Be gentle with yourself. Don't judge it. Don't judge things for not happening faster. They will in their time. Also find ways to laugh! When I was going through one of my biggest challenges, I spent so many hours crying I decided I was exhausted, so I turned on Youtube and started watching stand-up comedy every night. It gave me at least a small mental break and I truly believe laughter is the best medicine.
To learn more about Danny, to have some fun and be inspired, be sure to find her on her social media places. If you would like some mantras that can help you get through blocks or struggles, please go to Danny's website and download her little workbook and print it out! http://dannyj.com
Thank you again, Danny, for being part of the Rising Woman Project! Love you, girl! xoxo