The Big Idea
Look for the next opportunity to engage risk as opposed to managing risk.
Questions I Answer
- How I do recover when everything has shifted?
- How do I find my purpose?
- What can I do to live true to my purpose?
- Why is it hard to ask for what I want?
Actions to Take
- Assess and reflect on what your ‘little me’ and ‘future me’ is telling you. Are you playing it safe and following what society expects… keeping you from pursuing your passions and purpose?
- What opportunities are before you that allow you to engage in risk instead of always avoiding it?
Key Topics in the Show
A major event in Marshawn’s life that shifted her path, and how she gained control of her situation.
How she dealt with shame and embarrassment through the process of personal development.
The Purpose Map: the 5 Mountains, or stages, we climb as women that are barriers to confidence and our calling.
Why it’s so hard for us to ask for what we want and what we deserve.
Resources and Links
- Related Episodes: Part 2 of our interview.
- Learn more about Marshawn Evans Daniels and her new book, Believe Bigger.
Welcome to Productivity Paradox from inkWELL Press. A podcast focused on finding success and happiness through the power of productivity. Each season, Tanya focuses on specific strategies to help you discover your own priorities and purpose. Season five is all about investing in you. You can also join Tanya for more interaction and support in her free Facebook group at inkwellpress.com/group. And now, here’s your host, Tanya Dalton.
Tanya Dalton: Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton owner of inkWELL Press. And this is episode
- Today’s episode is brought to you by the liveWELL Method,
and I’ll be sharing more about that course later on in the show.
But first, I am excited to introduce you to Marshawn Evans
Daniels. Marshawn is an amazing woman. She’s a good friend of
mine but she is 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 white space vacation because I wanted to have time and space to really take it all in and I’m so glad I did. I love this book so much, that I’m actually going to be giving
away a copy of it and I’ll be sharing details about that later on in
the show. But first, let’s go ahead and get started talking with
Marshawn. Marshawn, I am so excited to have you here on the
show today, thank you so much for coming.
Marshawn Evans Daniels: Thank you for having me. I’m a huge fan of the show and you know I’m a huge fan of you.
Tanya: Well, you’re sweet to say that because I am a huge fan of you and I am so excited about this book. I love that in your book 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 well, the downright ugly. I feel that your
openness is really going to help others understand and
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appreciate the process we go through as we work to understand our purpose. Can you tell our listeners … Just touch a little bit
about the story you share in the book.
Marshawn: Sure. Well, so the story opens up with me finding out six days before my wedding that my prince charming, my then fiancee
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 is 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 are
non-refundable. Their hotel rooms were booked. We had a cake
testing that same day that I found out, a meeting with the host
hotel and so this wasn’t something that was on my radar of
course, not that it is on anyone’s radar but I do think sometimes
we do get signs and I hadn’t really perceived that this would be
my reality so it was devastating.
And so, I go through the shock of all of that, even just the, it’s kind of, I would say it’s kind of a little bit racy to a certain extent
of what was it like when I confronted him and these are things
that 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 and 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 and so 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 remember sitting down to write the book or trying to sit 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. You know
how you have those pieces of furniture in your house that you just don’t use and so I was sitting in the chair that I really probably
hadn’t sat in, in three years that we’d lived here and I just said,
“God, what … How do I start this?”
I already had the book deal. I already said this is what I’m gonna write about but I couldn’t find the first words and then it came to me and because I was like, I finally thought I found someone who saw me and it didn’t work and then all of a sudden I opened my
eyes, my face is an ugly cry, no one else is home but that’s how I
©Productivity Paradox Page 2 of 13
started the book. I finally saw someone … Met someone who saw me and that’s kind of how it opens up. It opens up right in the
middle in what I call a split rock season, being where you don’t
Tanya: And it’s such a powerful story because we all have those moments in our lives where things that aren’t even in our control but we feel so much shame for them and we feel like we wanna
hide them away. So, 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?
Marshawn: Sure. So, I’m so glad you asked because that makes me happy. So, every time … When I still talk about calling my wedding off,
finding out my fiancee was cheating on me and then it wasn’t just one person, it was multiple people. You know I’m a lawyer by
trade so when I am trusting, I’m not digging but when I am at
high alert, there’s no stone left unturned, which was also more
Tanya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Marshawn: So, through the process of trying to rebuild my life, I will say one thing about how I got to the point of creating this purpose map. I was trying to figure out one, how would I get here? I had this very successful sport’s agency 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. I have this great
relationship, I’m about to be a bonus mom to three children, I
have a book that was out at the time called Skirts in the
Boardroom, I had been on the Apprentice, I have this sexy career in professional sports.
My first client was the highest paid defensive end in the NFL, he had just signed a $62 million seven year deal and that just opened up a world. My business was growing and then I felt still like it was time to pull back, and I was like, “Maybe it’s because it’s time for
me to become a mom.” And I had wanted that so much. You
know this because you have children but I didn’t have any
children and to experience bathing the baby girl at night time and having … They called me Mimi but when they would post and all
of that they would have me their bonus mom and that just put
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everything in perspective where, yeah, I had been very successful and a super high achiever and to have this, I was like, “Oh, this is
what I really was built for.”
I’m good at a lot of things, I can perform at the highest of high levels. I love trophies, titles, awards and winning by far, I’m a
competitor. That’s why I was on the Apprentice, that’s my I was a Miss America but this was different, this was so different. So, I
started winding all of that down because my fiancee at the time
says, “Well, 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 everything … When I found out
and I knew that this wedding was not going to happen and a lot
of people say it was very brave to call it off so close to but I say it was grace. So, I had a moment where I felt like I was handling a
matter for a client but when I called everything off I didn’t have a back up plan ’cause I had just closed down my business, I had
referred all of my professional athlete clients to other
representation and now I don’t know how I’m gonna pay my bills and I felt, when you talk about shame and embarrassment, I was
like, “How did I … I’m a Georgetown graduate lawyer, I’m admitted to practice before the Supreme Court and now I don’t know how to pay my bills now?” So, it was through this process of
reinvention and self discovery of taking quiet time, spiritual
development, personal development, that I realized I had some
other gifts and talents and desires.
I started having this inclination to start working with women, which was odd for me because I had worked with the fellas. I was used to being head male mentor, worked with professional
athletes, I have two brothers, eight male cousins and I was
comfortable in that space and what I found is that me being
comfortable there was blocking something that was a greater
calling, which was working with women and I, now, had just found out that my fiancee was cheating on me with another woman so
the idea of working with women wasn’t at the top of my to do list. Tanya: Right. Understandably.
Marshawn: So, understandably, and then I talk in the book about some other things that a lot of women probably listening go through as well, which is having difficult relationships in the workplace. So, what I
©Productivity Paradox Page 4 of 13
discovered though is that a lot times our purpose and our path is hidden within a place of pain and one of the central premises to
how I found this purpose map but also what I want us to
understand as women that are ambitious and trying to balance it all and figure it all out is that, when we embrace disruption, that’s the way that we step into a higher destiny. So, it was in that place that I didn’t want to go that I found, wow, I actually have a voice
that helps other women come out of a place of difficulty but also possibility.
I was able to use my background in branding in getting endorsement deals with Rolls Royce and Tiffany and Nike and my own clients like Ernst and Young, Delta Airlines, Home Depot. I
was always really good at getting high end sponsorships and
partnerships and contracts and so I realized I had a transferrable skill set, although it wasn’t athletes in building their brands
anymore. Now it’s working with women to help them to really find their confidence and their dreams and their path into maybe what they didn’t even know they were made for. So, I wanted to kind of give that context because I didn’t just wake up with this purpose
map, I wrestled my way through it and when I looked back I
found that there were five stages that I went through.
Five stages that every person on the planet is supposed to go through that now I call the purpose map but most people will
never make it out of stage two. So, I’m gonna pause right there
because I know that was a longer answer than you were looking
for but I can share with you the first time that I drew it was on the back of a napkin for a woman who was a C suite executive at
Home Depot. I mean, senior level, super duper senior level and we were at a cocktail reception for Delta Airlines and she told me she was feeling kind of in this middle space, in this gap space and so I drew it on a napkin and that was the first time that I got to share
it with somebody.
Tanya: Well, I love what you said there about this gap and you talk about how you were already starting to notice some shifts in your life
and that’s one of the things you talk about. As we’re shifting out
of the comfort zone to what you call the growth zone, it’s really
uncomfortable and I cannot begin to tell you how much this
resonated with me. It was like you were talking about my own
path to arriving to my purpose because in the book you say that you’ll find that what was once stable is now shaky and people
©Productivity Paradox Page 5 of 13
that you trust let you down. Sometimes very deeply. So
something big is disrupting your normal patterns and your life
gets flipped upside down and you think, “What’s wrong with
Tanya: All of this, all of this happened to me. Obviously, I’m on a different path than what you were doing but it was amazing to see this
similarity in our lives and this disruption that we were feeling.
Tanya: And I feel like a lot of times these beliefs and behaviors that we have, they limit us and they keep us from making it through that
shift. 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.
Marshawn: Sure. Well, the way that you know that a shift is happening is you take the word shift and you take the F out. And when things start falling apart, that’s when you know what an awakening is
happening and so there’s five stages in this purpose process. The first is discovery. These are the do’s and don’t’s of life where 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, of what’s smart, of what’s acceptable, both
religiously, personally, culturally, in terms of our family dynamics. 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. For me, I used to get in trouble a lot, I was
labeled a problem child in school.
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, we don’t want to be rejected. We don’t want to stand out too much. So, the first stage is discovery and the rules and
that really guides the beliefs that we have about ourselves. Stage two talent is where we pick the lane. We ask the question, who
©Productivity Paradox Page 6 of 13
did I decide to be? And this is where we climb one of five
mountains as women. And I talk about each of the five but for me the money mountain and being successful was a big one. I
became a success at it because after being labeled a problem
child earlier in life I was like, “Well, I can get positive approval if I
look good, if I win, if I’m impressive.” And that became an idol,
addictive for me.
So, that also becomes a belief system that gets ingrained to us, are these masks we put on, that we feel like we are what we do,
we are a mom. That’s one aspect of who you are but there is
something greater to every women that is beyond what requires another person, for example, 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?
Tanya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Marshawn: The talent stage is important because we learn things that give us depth but because we’re taught to retire as opposed to reinvent, we think that, that’s it and we feel empty or we feel awkward
when shift, absent the F, is happening we feel awkward.
Marshawn: If we were taught as young girls that one day we will be called to lead, which we haven’t been taught because that has not been
the belief system of what we’re designed for. One day we’ll be
called to lead, one day everything that you’re going through will
come together in such a way that it will be time for you to shift.
We wouldn’t be so alone or feel out of alignment, we would feel
like, wait a minute, this is where I’m supposed to be, this is a
stretch, this is my season of the growth zone and yeah, it might
be hard but I’m gonna learn some lessons because I understand
that there is something greater than who I am as a woman. I have a voice and now maybe this is the time for me to find it. So, in the shift, this is where we’re rewriting in this third stage of the gap, it
should become a shift, it can become a purgatory, where we just loop forever and say stuck and this is where I believe most
women are right now.
©Productivity Paradox Page 7 of 13
What I love about what you do with Productivity is it really gives us a way to overcome overwhelm. I remember the first time you
and I met and I talked a little bit about overwhelming you said,
“Overwhelm essentially means you don’t know where to start.”
And I’ve held onto that. It’s such a golden nugget because the
thing about moving forward into our destiny and higher levels of fulfillment and significance is that we’ve got to be willing to leave success behind. And our success brain is what has created the
overwhelm to begin with. We’re trying to do too much, we’re
trying to live up to false standards, we’re trying to still handle all
the people pleasing, the rule making and not live too far outside
of the lines, which is what creates the overwhelm that’s keeping
us up to begin with and blocking us out of our future.
Tanya: You are talking my language here, I love it.
Marshawn: Honey, you … When you said that to me, “You don’t know where to start,” that actually helped me, Tanya, as I was writing what is
the way out of this gap in stage three, where you’re asking the
question, so what’s happening to me? And the way out is to get a bigger vision than what you’ve been through and where you are
and that’s gonna be scary, it’s gonna freak you out because it’s
going to be so different than you’ve been and what you’ve done. It’s not gonna maybe match your degree. I always say your
degree and your destiny may have nothing to do with each other because in talent, that’s our decided identity, that’s what we
decided to do. But what if it’s not what we were born to do?
What if there’s something greater? And so, I’ll just go through
these last two quickly. In stage 4, we’re supposed to move into
the gift stage, which is where we learn our voice and our gifts and our super powers because I believe every woman is called to lead and to have influence and to have impact and that none of us is
It’s not that some of us are called and some of us aren’t. It’s not whether we are, it’s just where are we supposed to have
influence? Whose lives are we supposed to change? And each of us can do that because we all have a story and we all have a story because we all have struggles. We all have struggles because we have breath and life in our being. So, because of that you can
share your wisdom and your strategy. So, with inkWELL Press,
what you’ve done is you’ve taken everything that you learned in
the talent stage.
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You were able to rewrite the rules because there was probably not much that encourages women to go into entrepreneurship
anyway so you had to rewrite some rules about where you belong and to close major contracts … I love walking in to major stores
and seeing your products on the shelf and knowing I shared a
room with her. But I’m looking at the by-product of you going
through the gap, going through this, wait, where am I? What am I doing? Why are things changing? But finding that you had a gift for graphic design and you weren’t trained in that, you taught
Tanya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Marshawn: And to now move into influence where you’re teaching other women like us how to make a difference in every area of our life.
How to be more effective. That means, where do we start? And
so, that’s what we’re supposed to be to end up in stage five,
which is influence and leaving a legacy and for entrepreneurs I
talk more about a financial legacy as well but having influence is
possible for us because we have a voice and every story matters. I didn’t think my story mattered and who wanted to hear my talk
about this. So, hearing the feedback from you about how you
maybe highlighted a page or two …
Tanya: I highlighted a lot of pages in this book. I mean, this poor book is so dog-eared and underlined, it’s … Really, so many parts of it
resonated with me.
Marshawn: Thank you. Well, the belief system is a process and so to believe bigger means to believe beyond what you’ve been through and
what you’ve been trained to believe. It means that you’ve got to
rewrite and this is why we’re in the gap, the reason why things are falling apart, the reason why … And you know, I can’t always
explain things exactly and we may just never know. We have to
get comfortable with mystery. When we lose the job, when a
friend betrays us, when we lose a loved one, I can’t explain a tit
for tat, here’s exactly why this happened and that’s the wrong
question to ask. The better question is, where am I now being
led? What does all pf this mean? Because it didn’t happen to me, it happened for me because of something though that’s within
- And I, just like you, found other things that I didn’t know I
was good at. I was a lawyer working at a big law firm, I didn’t
©Productivity Paradox Page 9 of 13
know I was a brander, that I had the ability to do branding and I
was really a teacher at heart.
I didn’t know that I would be teaching wealth building to women and how to speak and get sponsorships and how to overcome
their fears. I didn’t know I’d be holding grown women in my arms just in tears about realizing that they mattered. I didn’t know that when I was working with athletes. So, we don’t know what’s on
the other side of our shift but we do need to know that there is
something that we’re supposed to do and that’s what I want
women to take away from this. I want you to leave and know and be able to more clearly articulate your purpose and understand
that you have a story and you have strategies that you can share with others.
Tanya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.
Marshawn: But I also want them to believe beyond the little voices that have been hijacking their confidence.
Tanya: Yeah and this ties in a lot with what we talked about earlier this season about how bread crumbs are so important for telling our
story. And I wanna touch a little bit more on why we don’t think
we deserve what we deserve in just a minute. First, I wanna take a quick word from our sponsor.
This episode is brought to you by inkWELL Press and the return of my online course The liveWELL Method. I launched this course for the first time last fall and the results from our students have
been amazing. Many of them have already made significant
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understand your own unique priorities and purpose. But let’s be
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That’s why my new and improved course, The liveWELL Method 2.0 begins with understanding your own foundation. What are the things you wanna pursue? The things you wanna focus on and the things that matter most. I redesigned a series of exercises to
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©Productivity Paradox Page 10 of 13
calls, we work together to understand what’s important to you.
And then we begin to build your own productivity system around that foundation to create a life with intention. Sound like
something you’re interested in? Head over to inkwellpress.com/ course for more info. I’m keeping this course limited so
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Okay, Marshawn, so, I wanna talk to you a little bit. We talked about the rules and how we think that’s what defines who we are but a lot of times they’re not even true. Why is it so hard for us to ask for what we want and what we really deserve?
Marshawn: Well, there’s two voices that I talk about in Believe Bigger, introduce them in chapter three and that chapter’s titled, Stinkin’, Shrinkin’, Thinkin’.
Tanya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Marshawn: And we are … So, the two voices, one, little me, is the voice of fear, it’s the voice of worry, hesitation and self doubt and little me has a very clear goal and objective, which is to keep you small, to keep you hesitating and to keep you stuck. Future me, on the
other side, is the voice of possibility, faith and action and 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. And so 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. And so the more messaging we have about what we’re not, who we’re not and these messages become these inner tapes, these
inner stories that we have and they sound so real, they actually
sound rational and I call ’em to rationalize something as to the
reason why you shouldn’t do it is to tell yourself rational lies.
Tanya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Marshawn: It doesn’t mean that’s not a truth to it. So, one lie that little me might be whispering is, “You can’t do this because you don’t have a degree.” Okay, well, you may not have the degree so that’s a
rational thing, it’s actually a true statement but it doesn’t mean … I should say this, it’s factual but it’s not true. It’s factual that you
may not have a degree but it’s not true that, that has to stop you. ©Productivity Paradox Page 11 of 13
Tanya: And that’s the lawyer in you talking right there but I really like that. It’s factual but it’s not true. I love that.
Marshawn: Yes. And the phrase, “Where there’s a will, there is a way,” the thing that little me does is, is it squashes our will by making us
think that we’re not enough, that we don’t matter, that we’re
insignificant and it’s a lack mindset versus a possibility mindset
and believing bigger is being intentional to rewrite that and I
always say, if we were trying to decide between what voice am I
hearing and what voice am I acting on because it’s not our belief solely that create our future, it’s our decisions. Our decisions
create our destiny’s.
Tanya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Marshawn: It’s what will we decide? And we will decide what we believe in and we will believe what we’re hearing. So, when you hear the
voice that speaks in cans versus the one that speaks in can’t’s.
The one that speaks in can’t’s is always little me. Future me will
never tell you that you’re incapable, that you can’t do something, that this is too much or impossible for you. Future me may say no but only because future me has something else for you to say yes to.
Tanya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Marshawn: And that’s very important to distinguish is that some no’s need to be yes’s but we need to operate with a yes mindset as opposed
to a no mindset. Look for the next opportunity to be stretched.
Look for the next opportunity to engage risk as opposed to
manage risk. We have to stop becoming risk avoiders and to
become action takers that are willing to be stretched and
uncomfortable, go through this growth zone so we can get to the glory zone. So, we have it because we’ve been taught it and
we’ve also been taught it by a lot of women. A lot of women have been the ones who told us to play it safe and to not upset the
cart. I was actually told by a former agent that I had, that the
message I wanted to write … ‘Cause I wanted to write something like this years ago and maybe I was ahead of my time but she
said, “The women will be too broken and the message will be too big for them to receive it.”
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Marshawn: And I was like, “What?”
Tanya: Ugh. So defeating.
Marshawn: But then I’ve heard it in women in leadership so often so if those were supposed to be my guides and my mentors and they’re
telling me that I’m thinking too big and I’m getting this from the
women who are supposed to be developing me, we’ve all be
shoulded on and we’ve all gotten faulty bad programming as well.
Tanya: Absolutely. We have all been shoulded on. Shoulda done this, shoulda done that. I love that. Here’s what I’d love to do
Marshawn because I feel like there’s so much more for us to talk
about because I wanna get into what’s happening after that gap. So, I’d love to have you back next week so we can continue
talking about this. I think the book is so powerful you have to
have two episodes. Are you good with that?
Marshawn: I am for it. Let’s do it.
Tanya: All right. That sounds great.
Didn’t I tell you Marshawn was amazing? I’m thrilled that she’s coming back next week. In the meantime though, I believe in this book so strongly. I believe that this book has the possibility to
really change your life that I want to host a giveaway. I’m gonna
buy the book myself. This is not something Marshawn has asked
me to do, I wanna buy the book for one of my listeners. So, I’m
gonna host a giveaway over on my personal Instagram account,
which is @Tanyadalton_official. Look for the picture of
Marshawn’s book and I’ll be sharing details on there. Next week
we’ll be continuing our conversation with Marshawn. She has even more pearls of wisdom to share. I cannot wait for you to listen in. So, until next time happy planning.
Thank for listening to Productivity Paradox from inkWELL Press. To join Tanya’s free group, simply go to inkwellpress.com/group.