What You Need to Know: Investing In Yourself with Marshawn Evans Daniels

I’ve been loving all the amazing feedback from many of you who listened to Part 1 and now Part 2 of my interview with Marshawn Evans Daniels on the Productivity Paradox podcast! I think we can all relate to the stories and experiences Marshawn shared – we all go through some rough times – It’s all about how we pick ourselves back up and where we go from there!

Marshawn is a great friend, so I was thrilled to have her on the podcast. She’s a reinvention strategist, life coach, author and speaker, and she’s touched so many lives as she works directly with women and finding true purpose.

I want to jump right into Part 2 of our Q+A, but first I want to recommend checking out Marshawn’s new book, Believe Bigger. I was so inspired and interested while reading this while on vacation a few weeks back! I

actually think it will be so beneficial to you as you find YOUR purpose and passion – it may just change your life, and Marshawn’s known to have an effect like that on people!

Now, let’s get started with the Q+A… we’re starting with something really relatable – the five success mountains.


Q: You talked earlier about how success is addictive, and achievement was your drug. We all have these addictions that we try to define ourselves by, and you call those the five success mountains. Could you explain a little bit about these five success mountains?

A:  The five success mountains are these areas that we choose to dedicate our life to.

The first mountain is the Motherhood mountain. This is something that we as women are physiologically built for. The thing is, though, what happens when the kiddos leave? Who are you as a woman? And I just believe there’s something between a woman and God that is just uniquely for her, that has nothing to do with other people.

The second one is Marriage is the same thing where we’re taught about Prince Charming. As little girls that’s what the rules teach us. That one day someone’s going to come and sweep us off our feet. And that’s what we’re supposed to aspire to and then when we have it and it doesn’t work out, or when we have it and we have a great marriage sometimes we can lose ourselves in the identity of being a wife.

Number three is Money. This one is defined by work, your career, building a legacy of some sort. And in this mountain we really find our value and our worth in our work; perhaps the titles that we earn, or the check that we make, and awards. And this one has always been my Achilles’s Heel because, again, I was able to utilize the ability to be successful to get great attention.

“We have to believe bigger, so we can live bolder.” – Marshawn Evans Daniels

And then, mountain number 4 is the Mending mountain. This is tied to our inner Ms. Fixer. This is the part of us as women, as we try to be all things to all people. And we find validation in solving other problems. This is where our martyr syndrome comes from and being stretched, trying to be self-sacrificing for the sake of saving others. There’s an identity part that feels good about helping people. There’s nothing wrong with that until we’re doing it for the purpose of validation. We can lose ourselves in being “the fixer,” as well.

And then finally, mountain five is Making a difference. It is amazing to be a giver. It is amazing to change other people’s lives, but when giving becomes part of the way we form our identity, or the act of serving becomes our identity then it’s really no different than greed. And this a hard one for people to wrap their minds around. Because I do believe that giving is a part of all of our lives. But the thing is, “You are not your gift. You are not your activity. You’re not your success. You’re not your failures. You’re not your children. And you’re not your spouse.” And realizing the question is, “Well, how am I really designed and made?” is just really life changing.



Q: You talk about, with the gap and shifting from our comfort zones, that there’s this gap between our talents and our gifts. Can you touch on that? What’s the difference between talents and gifts?

A: Your talents are what you’ve been trained to do – What you’ve studied and what you’ve learned. There’s a lot of things that we’re great at, but some of it we’re great at because we’ve trained for it. Doesn’t mean we were born to do it, but anything that we focus on we can improve.

I look at being a lawyer as being something that I was naturally inclined to do; or so I thought, because I had the gift of gab. I used to get in trouble for speaking too much in elementary school.

Everyone would say, “You would be a great lawyer, because you like to argue.” And then I saw Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show and that’s where I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. Because of the image that I saw and because of feedback that I had. That became a decision I made at 13-years-old. That developed what I did for the next 10 years.

Now, my gifts were also hidden in there. I realized that speaking and communication were gifts for me. And also, I looked back and I could see I used to brand when I was in elementary school. I used to create flyers for teaching and for my dad’s computer company.

That’s one of the reasons why I wrote “Believe Bigger.” I want us to be able to take a look back over our lives and see where our gifts tried to speak up. Our gifts are what we were built to do and they impact other people’s lives and improve the lives of others.


Q: I want to ask you, how do we invest in ourselves to move from that comfort zone to living in our purpose?

A: I think the first thing is, you’ve got to get a bigger vision than what you’ve known. And give yourself permission to dream, give yourself permission to believe. It’s something that we’re actually scared to do, because we don’t want to be disappointed.

What I had to learn is that anything I ever wanted in life, I had to commit to. And whatever you commit to is what is going to continue.

There’s this passage in the Bible that I absolutely love that says, “Where your treasure is, your heart is also.” That’s really your commitment. When I got a bigger vision of … I didn’t have a choice to get this bigger vision, because I had to figure out how to pay my bills.



This Q+A post is just a snapshot of our interview on the podcast – so if you’re liking what you’re reading, I know you’ll love the full interview! Listen on iTunes or Stitcher – it’s a quick 30 minutes!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton