This interview is part of the Chasing Dreams interview series. I've interviewed a variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have chosen a different path in life in order to go after his or her dream career. Have an entrepreneur in mind you'd like to learn more about? Let me know! Today's interview is with Dr. Danielle Dowling, my mentor and an all-around inspiration. She motivates and inspires women all over the world in matters of life, love + business. Read on to learn about her journey to where she is today and the struggles she's faced becoming a life coach. She also shares invaluable tips for anyone dreaming of following the same path (or any entrepreneurial path).
At what point did you know you wanted to follow this career path? How did you know this was the right direction?
When I turned 30 I began considering legacy and contribution. When I was 80 years old I wanted to be able to look back on my life and feel like I made a significant difference, for the good, in peoples lives. I deeply desire for others to feel good in their skin; empowered and hopeful.
And when I can help another feel this way I experience true aliveness.
What are the biggest struggles you've faced while trying to achieve your dreams?
Not getting caught up in comparison has been THE biggest struggle. There are a plethora of talented, bright women out there doing exactly what I do and it can be not only daunting by intimidating if I let it. I really call on my spiritual practice to keep my head clear and my heart open when it comes to competition and comparison. I try to celebrate everyone's success and trust that if it exists for them then it exists for me as well. There is enough business and innovation to go around!
Owning your own business can be tough on the body and mind, between long days, instability and really putting yourself out there to reach your goals. How do you stay healthy? Do you have any rituals that help you stay centered?
I have a “feel good formula,” that I try to live by more often than not. The formula consists a few things that I have discovered if I do on a regular basis allows me to stay mostly well centered, calm and joyful. It includes: 15 minutes of silence in the morning to sit at my window with a cup of coffee and breathe into the day; a green juice or cold pressed juice 4x a week, a 1 hour workout comprised of cardio and weights 4x a week, restorative yoga on Sundays and most nights in bed with lights off by 10 pm. And of course tons of hugs from my honey! ;-)
Speaking of putting yourself out there, overcoming rejection is a big part of chasing dreams. How do you bounce back?
I have a huge faith that Universe is always working on my (and all of our) behalfs and so fundamentally I believe that everything that happens in my life happens for my benefit. If I don’t get the client, the article feature, the call back, the acknowledgement etc….even though I might be disappointed I assume that for whatever reason it is simply not the right timing or match. I am usually “shown” later on why it was not and are grateful things have worked out they way they have.
Rejection can be a good thing. It clears your plate for all sorts of groovy, better fitting opportunities to show up.
Whenever I get rejected I say, “Ok, well...good. Now there is more room for the right thing to show up.”
What do you do when you're having an off day- maybe feeling down, struggling with self-doubt, or just unmotivated?
I begin by just noticing that I am “off” and that it’s OK. Sometimes we have “off” and unmotivated days….such is life. I don’t think we need, nor is it healthy, to force ourselves to be ‘on top of the world’ so-to-speak at all times. Not every day will be charged with high energy confidence and productivity nor should it be.
If I am feeling down I will first consult my “feel good formula” list for help. For me a 30 minute workout can often times make all the difference in my mood….I will head into a workout feeling sluggish, unmotivated or just blue and as I gently ease my way into a jog I can begin to feel my mood lift a bit. Even if I don’t feel 100% better, I go to bed that night knowing that I was kind to myself by engaging in a healthy activity.
What is one misconception people have about you and/or your profession?
That it’s been easy, and I just arrived here overnight.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Small daily actions add up to huge accomplishments. Success rests on your daily routine.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a life coach?
I highly recommend keeping a full time day job or a solid part time job while building your business. I kept a full time job up until one year ago. I earned both my masters and my doctorate by attending graduate school at night and working during the day. In my free moments and during lunch hours I would work on my blog and social media presence. It was truly my day job that provided the seed money for my growing business and the money to pay my grad school bills! It was not easy but I am thanking myself over and over again when I look at my bank account for keeping the job as long as I did. I could easily be $100K in debt, and I am not.
Pay attention to your intuition. When you start to get a lot of competing advice ask yourself: 'What is true for me?"
Never underestimate the importance of social media and diversification with social media. You don't want to have your entire audience belong to one platform. It doesn't matter if you have 250K fans on Twitter they don't really belong to you. They belong to Twitter and if twitter changes their engagement platform and you can't reach that audience with out paying for it (kind of like Facebook...) then you're screwed. The only audience you own is your email sign up list---have one.
When do you feel the most inspired, alive and the most like YOU?
When I am out in nature, doing yoga or coaching.
What people, books, music, etc. inspire you?
Marianne Williamson, Caroline Myss, Brene Brown, A Course in Miracles, The New Earth, Jazz, pop music, classical music, meditation music. I love to color! I know that sounds so crazy, but I love to grab a box of crayons and a coloring book and just zone out. Oh, and 1000x over my clients! They are amazing, brave, inspiring souls and I learn just as much from them as they hopefully do from me. They seriously bring tears to my eyes.
Describe your favorite moment or accomplishment in your career so far.
The day my first client hired me and the fact that I tripled my revenue last year.
What’s the most exciting thing going on in your life right now?
I am launching a 1 Day Intensive for my coaching clients, a book called Soul Sessions this fall and a group class early spring 2015.
Oh! And how can I forget----I'm getting married on November 7th of this year. Yay!
Dr. Danielle Dowling is a life coach and psychologist. She's an intuitive strategist working with women leaders who are ready to stop compromising on the things that matter most — self-realization, soulful companionship and accessing innate power. Her goal is to motivate women to live inspiring lives; to help them experience a life better lived and to help women achieve their dreams whatever they may be. Connect with Danielle on Twitter and Pinterest. Ready to step up your game? Hire her. You won't regret it.
Have questions for Danielle about becoming a life coach? Ask her in the comments!