We had the good fortune of connecting with Dannie De Novo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dannie, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
From most people’s perspective, I had a good life, but inside I knew better.
It was the end of a long, hard day, and I was mindlessly stirring a pot on the stove lamenting my life. My eight-month-old sat on the floor of the kitchen with her play bowls and spoons desperately trying to get mom’s attention. She managed to do so when she picked up one bowl and spoon and began mimicking my movements. She looked up at me with her big brown eyes as if to say, “Look! I’m just like Mommy!”
I beamed back at her and nodded. “Yes, just like Mommy!” I cried out. I bent down to pick her up but instead got knocked to the floor with a crushing wave of nausea. I thought I was going to pass out. Suddenly, I became acutely aware that my daughter was learning how to become a miserable and depressed and lifeless woman just like her mother by watching her mother act that way every day. That was not something I could live with, and so knowing that my behavior was what she would follow, I set out to change my behavior for the sake of my daughter.
The best and most impactful thing I have done and continue to do for my child is to lead by example. I know my daughter could care less what I have to say, but she certainly is watching my every move.
You can’t be the parent who does nothing but sits at the kitchen table and tells your kids to go after their dreams and then be confused or frustrated when they can’t or won’t go after what they really want in life. You can’t tell your kids to relax or stress less when you are running around full of anxiety. You can’t expect your children to live out productive and happy lives when, deep down, you are miserable and unfulfilled. We think we are good at hiding our pain, but our children know the truth and they adopt that truth as their own.
Once I knew my daughter was watching, I set out on a mission to learn how to be a happy person so I could show those skills to my daughter. I began studying to learn everything I could about how to become a happy, fulfilled, mindful, successful, loving, and vivacious person so that I could teach my daughter how to do the same. My book Get in a Good Mood and Stay There is a compilation of the ideas, exercises, practices, and mindset techniques I tried out and ultimately adopted to go from living in a numbed-out, tired, and listless state to living as a happy human being.
It wasn’t an easy path. I ended up leaving a safe profession as a lawyer. I got divorced. I lost a lot of so-called friends. Family members told me I was crazy. I often felt confused; however, I knew in my heart it was the path I had to follow.
Once I got immersed in personal development and personal growth, I looked around and saw so many souls struggling with the same issues. It soon became clear that I should not only be teaching my daughter all of the amazing things I had learned and implemented, but that I should also be teaching others who needed a little help with their own journeys toward happiness, love, and healing. I now share my techniques and experiences with others as a happiness coach, tv expert, international bestselling author, and as a speaker.
Do you want to really help your kids? Go after your own dreams. Try new things. Let your kids see you fall down and get back up. Yes, it’s scary as hell to be a leader, but look who is watching and following behind you.
I work on my happiness every day. I show my baby girl what it means to take care of oneself by taking care of myself. I show her what it means to be brave by forcing myself outside of my comfort zone regularly. I demonstrate how to set boundaries for herself by setting boundaries in my own relationships. I let her see me take chances, and yes, I let her watch me fail, but more importantly, I talk to her about my mistakes and then show her what it means to try again.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think what sets me apart is that I am not afraid to show people who I really am and I am accepting of who others really are. This has helped my coaching tremendously and also allowed me to help others break down the constructs that hold them back from accepting themselves, keep them from being happy, and stop them from living the life they were meant to live.
Additionally, I am a reader of energy, which is an amazing gift but has required a lot of my focus. Identifying my own skills, talents, and gifts and then utilizing them correctly in my coaching, speaking, and writing have been my biggest challenges.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I cannot take my eyes off of the ocean. It takes my breath away every time. I have been known to sit down in the sand for meditation before the sun comes up and not move until the sun is ready to set. To me, there is no better experience.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am very grateful to so many people in my life. Looking back, I know that I have had a lot of help throughout my life, but there has been one person who has been cheering me on since I was five years old, and that is my brother Steve. He has not always understood everything I was doing, but he has always supported me—no matter what. And, quite frankly, there has not been another person in my life who has done that. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.