Find Your Purpose + Reinvent Yourself: Q+A with Marshawn Evans Daniels

Today, I’m so excited to introduce you to Marshawn Evans Daniels with our Q+A interview straight from the Productivity Paradox podcast!

Marshawn’s not only a good friend of mine, but she’s also a reinvention strategist and a life coach who mentors women around the world to live bolder. She’s a former sports attorney, a Miss America finalist, and a competitor on The Apprentice. She left a high-powered law firm and turned her passion for people into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Marshawn is passionate about purpose, futurist thinking, entrepreneurship, and traveling the globe with her husband, Jack. She has a brand new book coming out called Believe Bigger, and I cannot tell you how amazing this book is.

This is one of the books I brought with me on my whitespace vacation because I wanted to have time and space to take it all in and I’m so glad I did… so let’s dive into it!

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Q:  In Believe Bigger, you share your journey to understanding your purpose… and you absolutely do not hold back. You’re so unafraid to show the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. I feel that you appreciate the process we go through as we work to understand our purpose. Can you touch on the story you share in your book?

A: The story opens up with me finding out six days before my wedding that my prince charming, my then fiance was cheating on me.

Now when I say six days before my wedding, I’m talking the dress or dresses, ’cause I had more than one, was paid for, the venue paid for, the minister was not only ready to come in, he’d been doing our pre-marital counseling from out of town and all of my guests had their tickets paid for. A lot of things were non-refundable. Their hotel rooms were booked. We had a cake tasting that same day that I found out, a meeting with the host hotel and this wasn’t something that was on my radar, so it was devastating.

And so, I go through the shock of all of that… it’s even a bit racy to a certain extent of what it was like when I confronted him. These are things I never really wanted to talk about. I am used to talking about strategy, about how to be successful, about branding, about putting your best foot forward. I never thought that this would be my reality or my story, and so when it became my story I was really ashamed of it. I wanted to open up with getting to the heart of what it feels like to be at rock bottom and not dance around it – and it was probably the hardest thing that I’ve done.

I remember sitting down to write the book and just crying for at least an hour, sitting in my living room and in one of the chairs that I never sit in.  I just said, “God… How do I start this?”

I already had the book deal. I couldn’t find the first words. And then it came to me, because I finally thought I had found someone who saw me. So it opens up right in the middle – in what I call a split rock season – being where you don’t want to be.

 

Q:  I love that you’ve brought it to light and I feel like it really helped you uncover what you call the purpose map. So, can you tell me a little about what that purpose map is?

A: I had a very successful sports agency career at the time, representing pro athletes in the NFL and the NBA, and that’s what I was doing when all of this was happening. But I started feeling like it was time for a shift, time for a change. Kind of like that agitation, and I didn’t understand why because everything was great.

My business was growing, and I still felt like it was time to pull back. I’m good at a lot of things –  I can perform at the highest levels. I love trophies, titles, awards and winning – I’m a competitor. That’s why I was on the Apprentice, that’s why I was a Miss America finalist but this was different, this was so different. So, I started winding all of that down because my fiance at the time said, “I’ll just take care of you. I’ll help.” He said, “You need to take a break. You’ve been going, you’ve never stopped before.”

And what woman doesn’t want to hear that? He had bought me this luxury vehicle and so when I found out, and I knew this wedding was not going to happen, I had a moment where I felt like I was handling a matter for a client. I didn’t have a backup plan. I had just closed down my business. I had referred all of my professional athlete clients to other representation, and now I didn’t know how I’d pay my bills and I felt shame and embarrassment.

It was through this process of reinvention and self-discovery, of taking quiet time, spiritual development and personal development, that I realized I had some other gifts and talents and desires.

I started having this inclination to work with women, which was odd for me because I had worked with the fellas. I was used to being a head male mentor, worked with professional athletes and I was comfortable in that space.

What I found is that me being comfortable was blocking something that was a greater calling, which was working with women.

A lot of times our purpose and path are hidden within a place of pain. One of the central premises to how I found this purpose map is that, when we embrace disruption, that’s how we step into a higher destiny.

So, it was in that place that I didn’t want to go that I found a voice that helps other women come out of a place of difficulty, but also possibility.

 

Q: We get stuck in that shift of something’s wrong but we don’t know what. So, tell me a little bit about the beliefs and behaviors that limit us.

A: So there are five stages in the purpose process. The first is discovery. These are the do’s and don’ts of life. And we are ingrained with his belief system. We adopt what I call “the rules,” which tell us who we can be, what we should do, what we shouldn’t do.

This is where we as women learn people pleasing, protocol, the right way to be and who not to be, what to do to be accepted and approved, our definitions of what’s beautiful, of what’s worthy, etc.. So, this is where we’re really formed and fashioned but I also believe this is where we learn to shrink. We learn how to not color outside of the lines.

So, this is where a lot of self-esteem wounding happens for all of us, as women but we don’t recognize it because no one talks to us about really conditioning our minds from a possibility standpoint. We’re really conditioned from a risk avoidance standpoint, and we don’t want to be rejected. That’s the first stage or mountain – and I talk about each of the five, but for me, the money mountain and being successful was a big one.

These masks we put on are our belief systems… that we feel like we are what we do.

For example, if you’re a mom, that’s one aspect of who you are, but there is something greater to every woman that is beyond what requires another person, such as a spouse or your children.

Because what happens when the man leaves? What happens when the children go off to school? What happens when the job ends? What happens when your friends just fall apart? Who are you as a woman in spite of all of that?

 

Q: Why is it so hard for us to ask for what we want and what we really deserve?

A: There are two voices that I talk about in Believe Bigger, and I introduce them in Chapter 3: Stinkin’, Shrinkin’, Thinkin’.

The first voice is called ‘little me’, and that is the voice of fear, of worry, hesitation and self-doubt. Little me has a very clear goal and objective, which is to keep you small and feeling stuck.

Future me, on the other hand, is the voice of possibility, faith, action and future. Future me swallows little me like a vitamin and eats it for breakfast. So, future me is wholly obsessed with your progress, advancing you forward out of difficulty and into your destiny. With future me, the thing is we are risk managers as opposed to risk engagers and everything in our society teaches us to play it safe.

Believing bigger is being intentional to rewrite that… and I always say that we are trying to decide between which voice we’re hearing and which voice we’re acting on. It’s not our belief that solely creates our future, it’s our decisions. Our decisions create our destiny.

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We discussed even MORE over on my Productivity Paradox podcast, and if you liked what Marshawn was talking about here, I know you’ll love that episode! We’ve got Part 2 coming next week – Tuesday, March 13!

To get that episode, and each episode sent right to your inbox each week, just sign up here for my podcast newsletter! I send downloads and actionable productivity advice… plus, I’ll have something extra special coming your way in the next month as we gear up for our 2018-2019 Academic Year Planner Launch in April!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton