Your WHY is Your WAY to Success

To be successful in both business and life, often the key is below the surface and we need to discover it to open the door on all that we desire.

“What’s your passion—your why?”

This is a question I ask women often. And it’s one of the most difficult questions for us to slow down and honestly think about and allow ourselves to answer. We hem and haw a bit, attempting to put into words what our calling is, where our passion lies … where it went.

It takes some serious digging to get in there and reconnect to what it is we love to do after so many years of putting others first; putting ourselves, our career, our passion, and desires on the back burner.

At an early age, we’re often taught (and rewarded) for putting others’ needs first and setting ours aside … we’re such a “good girl” for being so nice, being modest, for not being “selfish”, and not rocking the boat (read more about the Inner Good Girl here). We receive praise for doing things “the way we’re supposed to;” the way we’re expected to and not make waves. We become very good at doing for others and putting ourselves—our wants—after everyone else has been taken care of.

When I ask what it is that lights these women up—what fills THEIR bucket—a veil of judgement and lack of self-worth gets in the way of them connecting to what exactly that is. Judgement about what they feel they deserve, or the permission to want what they want.

As a coach, I find it necessary to have someone continually keep our wants, our desires, our values, in clear view … to always refer us back to our foundational Essence, our Self, in order to help us when we get stuck or lose our way.

My coach recently asked me to write down my “WHY” of what I do … the “Essence” of the work I do with my clients. She had me to do this assignment to become even more deeply committed to my work … to fan the flame of desire within my soul. Even though I’m extremely connected to my WHY, this was still a difficult and VERY thought-provoking assignment to put down on paper.

Slowing down and deeply connecting to my “Essence”—to my WHY—has been a nourishing experience. The women I chose to share this with have told me this is a powerful piece and it should be shared.

Mind chatter and vulnerability be damned … here is my Essence.

My wish is that it helps you truly connect to yours.

My Essence

To teach women

That we are, in fact, enough …

  • Good enough
  • Smart enough
  • Sexy enough
  • Soft enough
  • Strong enough
  • Disciplined enough
  • Driven enough


And that we aren’t …

  • Too strong
  • Too outspoken
  • Too powerful
  • Too smart
  • Too loud
  • Too quiet
  • Too sexy
  • Too “vanilla”
  • Too driven
  • Too big
  • Too small
  • Too … much


Do we really want to pretend to be someone we’re not in order to be liked, loved, accepted? To be (or appear to be) successful? Do we honestly want to spend our precious time and emotional energy on being someone we’re not in order to avoid possible criticism, perceived embarrassment, or any multitude of stories we tell ourselves could potentially happen?

Is it really worth living our lives according to what others expect of us, just in case our self-limiting beliefs may, by chance, be true? And, let’s be honest, they never are.

When we show up as someone else and pretend to be someone we are not, it’s not only exhausting, but how can we ever fully define, claim, and reach our dreams when it’s not actually “us” defining and acting on them?

When we release the self-imposed way we need to show up in order to not be evicted from our tribe, avoiding failure at ALL costs, and we let go of the mind chatter that does not—I repeat, DOES NOT—serve us in becoming the woman we intended to be, we can then embrace our authentic Self with love, compassion, and kickass mofo gusto.


From here, from THIS SPACE, is where we stop giving away our power, our voice, our truth, our worth … We stop leaving so much on the table, financially AND emotionally, and start living a life true to ourselves and not what others expect of us.

THIS, from this space, is when we are fully capable of creating the life we want as a woman, mother, partner, friend, entrepreneur. Intentionally. Confidently. And WITHOUT apology.

My Mission is to create a safe space for women entrepreneurs to show up, step up, and own their beliefs, their voice, their power, their worth … their truth in order to create the life they want as a woman and a business owner. It all feeds upon each other, it’s all exponential. Either way you go.

When we choose to shine our light brightly, people can choose to be illuminated by it, or be in its shadow … but let’s be clear here, it is a choice.

My clients WANT accountability; in fact, they crave it. They tell me time and time again, it’s the Tough Love With Love piece that drew them to me. They desperately want a safe non-judgmental space for us to “look at their shit” so they can finally own their story, change their beliefs, begin trusting in themselves (again), and start consistently growing their business.

They want me to hold the line for them so they can step up … over and over again; pushing further each time.

When we have someone who believes in us, our capacity to believe in ourselves expands.

Their defenses have gotten so effective over the years that few can peer in and see the “voice,” the mind chatter, that rules these women. But it does, and with an iron fist … it can be brutal and extremely debilitating.

They keep it well hidden underneath shame, safe from view, safe from judgement, and safe from criticism. Vulnerability is not an option.

Our work together gently and compassionately exposes the mind chatter for what it is (bullshit), releasing the white knuckled grip it’s had on these women for years so they can finally own the powerful beautiful Self they are.

This, THIS is my WHY ….

And with full transparency here, I speak from experience and stand alongside these women.

For many years the repetitive mind chatter that went on in my head had me “being” someone I simply was not in order to keep the peace, to silence myself and “take it” in order to diffuse anger, avoid criticism, or avoid being found out as a fraud; that I did, in fact, not know what the hell I was doing every moment of the day or every step I took in my business.

Playing small, quieting my voice, silencing my desires, and disconnecting from my dreams … all because of the stories that were playing in my head … that NEVER, EVER played out the way I told them to myself.

There were many times throughout the years I would discover myself being busy, oh so damn busy, creating something big “over here” but not actually doing the scary work of putting myself out there, sharing my gifts, my intelligence, my strengths, OR (especially) my weaknesses … as I mentioned, vulnerability WAS NOT an option. Smoke and mirrors baby, smoke and mirrors ….

Each time I discovered myself doing this I would take note. It was uncomfortable, yet I would label and notice my actions, what it was that had triggered me, and what it was that supported me. This simple tip right here, label and notice, has been immensely helpful along my journey of figuring out who the hell I am, my Essence.

Take the veil of judgement out of things and it’s amazing what you can discover.

And the relief. Ohhh, the relief. To show up fully, intentionally and to live authentically, now HERE, from this space is where your Essence will be found.

Go ahead, make a cup of tea, pour a glass of wine, close the door, put a Do Not Disturb sign up, put your phone on mute … grab a note book and pen, and get comfortable.

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me … it’s who’s going to stop me” Ayn Rand

So, what is your Essence—your why?

If time and resources were of no concern, what would you do? Who would you be?

Who are you being when you’re lit up, joyful, and fulfilled?

What do you need to let go of to bring more of this into your life?

What one step could you take today to connect to your Essence—your Why?

I’d love to hear your comments. Are you ready to stop giving away your power, your voice, your truth, your worth and stop leaving so much on the table, financially AND emotionally? Click Here to apply for a complimentary Clarity Consultation with me …let’s get you intentionally moving towards the life and business of your dreams, now!

Does Your Inner Good Girl Have You Hiding In Your Business, Instead of Thriving?

Many of us are familiar with our Inner Critic, (I share more about that here ) but did you know that often, right alongside her is an Inner Good Girl and she can wreak just as much, if not more, havoc?

Meet GG. She’s my Inner Good Girl, and, damn, she gets a hold of my ankles with a white knuckled grip more often than I’d care to admit.

Our Inner Good Girl, our GG (some may even call her the Inner Bitch) can get us all twisted up doing things that we don’t necessarily want to do or need to do … things that don’t bring us closer to the life we want as business owners.

Yet, for some reason we so often feel we “should” say yes to what’s asked of us … feeling the pressure to be a good mom, loving wife, competent business owner, attentive friend, and active community member (oh, and making it all look easy). Should-ing all over our Self, may I say, is never a good way to get ahead. Trust me.

AND, let’s admit it, it can be exhausting carrying around the weight of it all.

Our Good Girl usually starts when we’re younger, when following the rules kept us in the good graces of those in authority … we got really good at figuring out what the authority figures (parents, teachers, bosses) in our life wanted then. We adapted. We accommodated. In turn, we’d receive praise, a pat on the head, a gold star, or maybe even avoidance of someone’s anger.

A perfect example of how the Inner Good Girl can affect the way we show up in our business is found in one of my former clients, Sofia (though not her real name, she did give the green light for me to share her story so other women may benefit from her insights). Sofia was dealing with a Hulk of a Good Girl as she worked on growing her business and stepping into the limelight.

Sofia is a driven thirty-something entrepreneur. She’s in business with two other people—both men with resumes that clearly convey their experience.

Now, Sophia is an amazingly brilliant young woman who wanted to be a Rebel and a Revolutionary in her field … she had the education, commitment, drive, and intelligence to be exactly those things, and more. Yet, there was something that kept her from doing what it took to harness this power.

Sophia was constantly busying herself with lots of work but, more often than not, it wasn’t the work that would move her closer to Rebel and Revolutionary status. In fact, it kept her back. Again, she had all she needed to step into these roles and OWN them. Lock. Stock. And Barrel.


She knew she needed to make space in her life for her creativity to surface. For her Revolutionary ideas to come to her. For the book she had in her to be written. For the software she wanted to create, and for that Rebel to show up and kick butt.

Sophia knew this, yet she kept herself chained to her desk only allowing herself to close her computer and step away from it to be creative once she had finished the work she deemed as more important to check off her list. This led her to feel agitated, frustrated, limited, and certainly didn’t do the relationship with her husband any good either … it was a vicious cycle. Hard to show up and be a Revolutionary when you’re tired, frustrated, and feeling limited.

When Sophia and I first met, she described this amazing business she wanted to build with her partners, as well as an image of the woman she wanted to be in this business. At first glance, it looked like Self-Doubt, the voice of the Inner Critic, was the beast she needed to tame. Yet, as we started to work together and got clear on what she wanted her business and lifestyle to be—how she wanted to show up in the world, it became so obvious that she was actually HIDING behind  her Good Girl.

Together through coaching, we uncovered that Sophia was brought up being told:

  • Good Girls don’t speak up.
  • Good Girls don’t call attention to themselves.
  • Good Girls don’t boast, flirt, or make waves
  • Good girls perceive what others need and adapt to it.

WOW. Sofia’s Inner Good Girl had her all tangled up, holding her back from stepping into the powerful and bold woman she is … one that would most certainly be a Rebel, a Revolutionary, and easily create that life she wanted as a business woman that she so often dreamed of.

How could this vibrant, intelligent, driven, entrepreneur be a Rebel and Revolutionary when she was told it wasn’t “pretty” or acceptable to be so? Literally, it wasn’t pretty. WE CANNOT ATTRACT TO US THAT WHICH WE DISLIKE.

Once the sirens went off for Sophia and her inner light turned on, she started to see that each time she got stuck, she was busying herself with things that looked important but didn’t move her closer to her goals because she was being a Good Girl: not speaking up and not calling attention to her brilliance.

She was able to see what was going on for her when she quieted her Self, and is now able to lean into this bigger space instead of hiding within her Good Girl.

And did I mention, she’s a Rebel, a Revolutionary, and well on her way to her dream?

So, where might your GG be showing up and sabotaging your dream? Take a few moments to ask yourself these questions and journal what surfaces. And, when you’ve explored enough, please reach out to me here, Lisa@LisaDanforth.com, so we can quiet that GG and step boldly toward that dream.


Where is your Inner Good Girl getting you tangled up and bogged down?


What are some of her beliefs that no longer serve you? What new beliefs could you replace them with?


What do you need to let go of to start moving past your Inner Good Girl?


What’s the first step you could take that would that would move you past your GG and closer to your dreams?


I’d love to hear your comments. And if you’re ready to move past your Inner Good Girl and start doing what it takes to create the business and lifestyle you want, Click Here to apply for a complimentary Clarity Consultation with me …let’s get you intentionally moving towards the life you want as a business owner, now!

Get More Business By Understanding Your Inner Critic

The “Inner Critic” voice that lives inside and gets louder, often as we come closer to our dreams, can either hinder us or help us grow our business. In my work as a coach, I’ve often come up against my own inner critic and help other women entrepreneurs understand theirs so they can move closer to making their entrepreneurial dreams come true.

I recently spoke with a woman entrepreneur about her desire to grow her business so she could quit her day job and focus on her dream of being a full-time entrepreneur. Her day job consumes much of her energy and time, provides little fulfillment, and doesn’t move her closer to her dreams.

To help her along the process of getting from where she is to her dream, I asked her where she wanted her business to be before she could confidently move into being a full-time entrepreneur. With her answer, she was super clear on what her income needed to be, how many events she would need to host to generate that income, and how many calls she needed to make to book those events on her calendar. Clarity around what she needed to do to grow her business was not her issue but there was something just under the surface of her clarity that was … her inner critic.

As she described her business and what creating this business and lifestyle she dreamed of would give her, she became instantly connected to her “Why.” She realized her dream of building her business was not only for herself, but for the women she would serve. She was grounded, focused, and downright joyful as she envisioned and talked about her life as a full-time entrepreneur, doing what she loves every single day AND making amazing money. It was obvious that her big “Why” lit her up, filled her bucket, and fed her soul.

Yet, when I asked her what she felt was getting in the way of creating this amazing business, she said when she sat down to make phone calls inviting women to book events with her, she “didn’t want to be pushy” and, therefore, didn’t always pick up the phone. She told herself she would “do it tomorrow” and we all know how that goes.

Self-Doubt, the “voice” of our Inner Critic, takes many forms

I know this well, in myself and in my clients, the weight of not wanting to be “pushy” and wanting to “do the right thing” is heavy and exhausting. She, as many of us, knew she had a gift to share but was doubting herself and getting stuck in the mind chatter. The doubt was her inner critic and by listening to it and believing it, she was not taking the action she needed (phone calls) to grow her business.

Why is it that when we have dreams and goals in our life, it’s so easy to let the mind clutter get in the way of us doing the things that move us closer to them? We often busy ourselves with many other “tasks” that keep us busy, but not necessarily moving us closer to the business and lifestyle we want for ourselves. We feel stuck, unmotivated, and, ultimately, too exhausted to get the right things done.

Self-Doubt, the “voice” of our Inner Critic, takes many forms and comes from people and places in our past. It can be so loud at times that it drowns out our dreams, desires, and our commitment to ourselves. It often shows up as fear of embarrassment, humiliation, rejection, criticism, or being abandoned by our “tribe.” It comes from a place of safety. It’s our hardwiring to stay physically safe (fight, flight, or freeze).

Listening to our Inner Critic isn’t the problem … making decisions from this voice is.

The problem with self-doubt in our businesses is it keeps us “stuck” and fearful of putting ourselves out there … so we end up playing small and wondering why we aren’t doing better in our business, career, or life, in general.

Our Inner Critic can motivate us at times … pushing us to be diligent workers, dotting our Is and crossing our Ts, but it can’t motivate us to be a game changer. That takes some risk.

The trick to moving beyond the Inner Critic voice that keeps us stuck is to first notice and then label when we hear these repetitive thoughts telling us we can’t or shouldn’t do something. It’s key that we move beyond the message to not do something because we’ll embarrass ourself. The secret is to listen, acknowledge it with “Ah, that’s the voice of my Inner Critic talking, not me.”

Then we take the step forward, do the thing that’s keeping us stuck, and step that much closer to our dream.

I’m writing to you today in spite of my own Inner Critic who told me, “You’re not a good writer and you don’t have anything new or inspiring to share … it’s all been told.” I noticed, I listened, I labeled it. I recognized that it was keeping me from my dream. My dream of connecting with you and serving you in my business as a coach. So, I took the step anyway and wrote this post.

I’d love for you to do the same. Explore your own Inner Critic:

•  What does your Inner Critic say? Write down some of its most frequently voiced beliefs.


•  How does it most often show up for you? Perfectionism? Procrastination? Avoidance? Another certification, class, degree?


*What is it costing you (physically, emotionally, and financially) to make decisions from this space?


* On a scale of 1-10 how committed are you to sharing your dream?


When we share there is an accountability piece that helps keep us motivated and moving closer to our dreams. Who will you share your dream, your vision with?


I’d love to hear your comments. And if you’re ready to notice, listen, label, and step beyond your Inner Critic, book a complimentary 50-minute Clarity Call with me and let’s get started creating the Business and Lifestyle you’ve been dreaming of!

Fear Regret More Than Failure

If you live your life from the perspective of fear, you don’t dare to push your boundaries. You stay with comfortable. Most people want more but their fear stops them from going for it. They don’t want to look stupid, or fail or make a fool of themselves.

But if we would take the perspective of a friend going for a raise, starting a new business, or taking their business to the next level, we would have so much more tenacity and compassion for other people. ‘They were driven’, we say. But when it comes to ourselves, that fear often keeps us boxed in.

Fear is Temporary 5.7.16Not doing the things you really want to do keeps you small. Not being who you really are, keeps you trapped. Doing, being and having more stays at arm’s length when you are staying small. Regret can come in many different forms – but regretting that you didn’t push your boundaries is one of the biggest regrets people have when they reach old age.

I had a children’s clothing company that I owned and operated for eight years. I started it from scratch. In the beginning, it was fun, exciting and great to build and learn new things. I was hiring reps, getting international sales as far as Japan, and across the U.S. But over time, the tail was wagging the dog and I needed to expand or cut back or sell or close.

Did I really want to stay in this business? I needed to make a decision to stay or grow. Growing meant investing more money and getting a facility. The business had momentum and it became my persona. I was the woman with the clothing line. But it wasn’t hugely successful and that fear of not being hugely successful kept me in it. As opposed to moving on, it came to the point where I dreaded each day and felt I was just slogging through. Finally, I knew it needed to be closed or I needed to sell it. I did wind up selling it to one of my employees.

Now, I own a catering company. Again, it at some level defines me and there’s an expectation that I should stay in it because I’m really good at it. I am faced with the same problem, but this time I’m wiser. I don’t want to stay in it until I’m unhappy. And so I’ve made the decision to move on, to go for what excites me, even though I’m fearful of what’s on the other side of this choice.

I want to be great at something. Personal coaching excites me and I’m going to jump in without a net. I’ve chosen a date to step out of catering, and I’m moving forward with my coaching practice in my spare moments and it feels good. I like change. Staying present with myself enhances my clarity of purpose.

I chose to fear regret more than failure, and it’s working for me.

The Sage & The Saboteur

How Do you Define Yourself?

We act consistent with who we believe we are.  For example, if you are an Olympic athlete you do everything possible to stay consistent with that identity…you live into that belief.  You get up in the morning, you train, you eat healthy, you spend time with like-minded people, you believe and act as if an Olympic athlete.  It becomes your persona.

We also act consistent with who we believe we are even if that belief is not true.  Someone who believes they aren’t smart enough or capable enough often lives into that belief as well.  They tend to not stretch themselves or push beyond their own self-limiting thoughts… they live into who they believe they are and stay safely within the restraints they’ve defined for themselves.

Our perceptions are our realities.

What we believe to be true, is true for us.

There are two sides to this, just as there are two sides to ourselves. The Sage and the Saboteur. Some beliefs encourage and support us to reach great heights, and others keep us staying safe and playing small.

The Saboteur

Whether you think you can 7.20.16Our Saboteur is our ‘Inner Critic’ or ‘Negative Self Talk’.  It has all the reasons why we shouldn’t push beyond our comfort zone or stretch our ideas of what could be so.  It tells us why what we want is stupid, selfish, or even dangerous.  It keeps us ‘safely’ boxed in.  We all have a saboteur, or two.

Our Sage is our ‘Inner Authority’, our ‘Wisdom’.  It’s the voice that says Yes to our goals and desires.  It moves us out of inaction into positive action, allowing us to feel capable and worthy and living into the best expression of ourselves, unapologetically.

The thing with the Sage and Saboteur is that they are both self-fulfilling prophecies.

It’s important not to ignore the Saboteur though, even if we may want to. Our saboteur is there to keep us safe. It has knowledge to share and shows us where the pitfalls may be so we can navigate around them.

As we become more aware of the lens in which we see and live our lives, it becomes easier to tease apart our story of what our beliefs are and where they come from.  As my Shihan says to his students, ‘Watch the movie, don’t be in the movie’.  When we are ‘in’ the movie we rarely see the full view of what is going on around us making it difficult, or nearly impossible, to be nimble and adjust where necessary.

Saying to your Self, ‘That’s the way I’ve always been, That’s the way my parents are, OR That’s the way I’ve always done things’, is your Saboteur.  It’s keeping you staying safe and playing small.

The Sage

The Sage says ‘Yes you can, you have unlimited potential’ and helps create a belief for us to live into that potential.  Having belief in ourselves helps clear away the mind clutter that creates inaction, it moves us through fear and makes way for greater self-confidence.

What really matters? What is your story?

How are you interpreting your life? How are you staying safe and playing small?  Do you feel there must be more but lack clarity on what it is you truly want?

Are you willing to stay boxed in because you’re afraid to look Fear in the face? The Saboteur is active.

Are you feeling open, at ease and capable? This is your Sage.

The Saboteur says = Feel Fear – It’s better to be playing safe and staying small…. pain of the known is often so much more comfortable than the pain of the unknown.

The Sage says = Feel Freedom – Step into your power.  You are smart enough, you are capable, Go for it. Carpe diem.

Use your Sage to knock down the walls of your Saboteur.

Change your perspective, Change your reality.  Would you like to learn how? Send me an email, I’d love to chat with you about it.

I work with clients who are ready to shift their mindset to what’s possible when they Engage Their Sage and Silence Their Saboteur.

Email me at Lisa@LisaDanforth.com to schedule a Free 40 minute ‘Stop Playing Small Laser Coaching Session’, or for upcoming Workshops and Speaking Events.