Breaking the fear of success

Back in January/February, I had the opportunity to spend a long weekend in NYC. It was awesome.

But…when I found out the address of the hotel, I felt so unworthy. As I was walking there, I passed over all of the fancy streets that you hear about in every movie about high-end NY. Park Avenue. Madison Avenue. And here was little old Deneen walking these streets, rubbing elbows with the rich.

Yesterday, I arrived at the airport to head on an unexpected adventure to FL, I went to the counter to get my seat assignment. I got asked if I want an aisle or a window, answered, and that was that.

When I looked at my boarding pass, I was in group A. Considering the ticket was purchased less than 24 hours before the flight, I raised my eyebrows, smiled, and thought nothing of it.

When I got on the plane, I got to my seat and thought, wow, this plane has loads of leg room! Turns out, I got put in an upgraded seat at no extra charge. Look at me being all fancy and whatnot.

Why do I tell you these things?

You see, something I struggle with, and I believe one of my biggest obstacles to success, is feeling like I’m worthy of success, of fancy hotels, of nice seats on an airplane with WiFi and leg room.

Growing up, wealthy people were out of reach. They were looked upon with suspicion and scorn…as if they made their money off the hard work of others, not their own grit and determination.

I know entrepreneurs. I identify as one, even though I’ve yet to launch. I see the 18 hour days, the weight of responsibility, the incessant training, learning and coaching. I see the tens of thousands of dollars spent to earn the “money earned on the hard work of others.”

Every time I think I’ve broken through this wall, I trip over bricks I use to rebuild it. I mean…if I could use these bricks to build a wall around the US, we’d have extra secure borders!

Mindset work is a daily necessity…like water, food, sleep. Pencil it into your schedule…see your obstacles and use them as blocks to build your platform instead of to keep you caged in.

The good news is that you never arrive. There’s always work to be done. The bad news is that you never arrive. There’s always work to be done.

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Growing up, I always identified as smart. Ok…if I’m honest, that’s what I still identify with. Why? Well, it started with the voices that I allowed to shape my identity. For me, fun always equated with stupid (yes, super judgmental, I know) so I always prefer to be intense over fun.

Something else that I’ve always identified with is being an over-thinker. (I’m a real barrel of fun, right?) This morning, as I was trying desperately to grab 10 minutes of sleep, the word gratitude popped into my head. I visited my BFF Pinterest and found this.

To be fully present, one must practice gratitude. I realized that I was not feeling grateful…at all. A few weeks ago, I was told that I’m living the life that others would die to live. Instead of appreciating that truth, I found myself triggered. (Seriously…why do people put up with me? 🤦‍♀️) I’ve carried that trigger with me, shooting myself and others with it.

So…to recap…I refuse to let loose and have fun because it feels stupid. I overthink. Everything. And I’m ungrateful. I mean…that sleepless night really came in handy.

I decided to lock up the intense, not fun, overthinking, ungrateful Deneen in a dark room with no food or water for the weekend.

Truth be told, I am fun and I do like to have fun. And that doesn’t make me stupid. It makes me a pleasure to be around.

I am actually grateful. Extremely grateful. I appreciate everything that I have and that I’m given/afforded. In moments of high stress, I forget that and honestly, I am so angry and self-loathing that I forget it. (That’s material for another blog…or a series of blogs.)

As for the over-thinking, meditation, journaling and devotions help with that. Like a depressed person whose medicine is working, I stopped taking the necessary precautions…so I have my journal at the ready for the weekend.

Why am I completely oversharing? Because I refuse to only share my highlight reel. I know I’m not the only one who deals with these things. If you’re reading this, and any of this resonates with you, know it’s easily changed.

Instead of rolling around like a pig in its own shit like I’ve been for a couple of weeks, look within. Instead of beating yourself and the ones you love, take a step back and be willing to look the truth in the face and do the work.

Finally…forgive yourself for being an asshole. It happens to the best of us. And ask forgiveness from those to whom you were an asshole.

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Writing is my release. It is the way that I work through what’s raging in my head, in my life in a way that is productive instead of falling prey to self-destruction.

It is something I do for ME. It is the way that I get my story out to the world in an understandable way when the spoken word fails me.

Right now…storms are raging on every side of me. Normally I’d look to some wine, or food, or a dozen other things to numb the anxiety, the angst, the million other emotions that I’m experiencing.

But…with all of the work I’ve done this year, I know that is is not healthy or productive.

Instead of feeling like a victim, which *was* a default for much of my life, I’m taking a step back and figuring out how I invited this chaos, this season in my life.

What is it in me that feels like I deserve to be treated the way I’m allowing myself to be treated? Because now I know that it is my choice.

What is it in me that won’t step up to be a leader? Because that’s my choice.

What is it in me that doesn’t think I’m worth the level of income that I desire? Because I’m choosing to play small.

You see, there is an immense amount of power in personal responsibility.

It is time to practice what I preach. You see, I can’t teach people if I’m not willing to do what needs to be done in my own life.

People are watching you, even if they don’t comment or “like” what they see. People have been watching me start and stop like a broken down VW Beetle for a long time.

A friend told me recently that I’m going to get really hurt. The truth is the season of wallowing in hurt has passed. I spent nearly 43 years there. What a depressing party that was.

Every single thing meant to hold me back is now a stepping stone I’m going to use to build a staircase to the platform I’ve always been meant to take. That is my superpower.

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A lesson about sharks

There are people in the world who are truly zealous for your success. They will feed into your life in a way that is meaningful, as you do into theirs.

Then there are people who act like they want you to be successful because they have something to gain…an ego boost for themselves.

Both people are sent into your life to teach you something…a lesson about life.

If you are someone who falls into the first category, because you genuinely love people and know that the more people you help, ultimately the better the whole world is…you will likely fall prey to someone in the second category.

There’s a choice to be had, a lesson to be learned.

Here’s my advice.

Do not fall into a victim mentality. You had some indication along the way that this person’s energy was off. Red flags were flying on their bike when they rode up…but you had some unmet need that they met. You ultimately chose to be in relationship with this person.

Learn, learn, learn. No matter their plan, this person has knowledge they want to bestow upon you to make themselves feel valuable, to feed into their own ego. Take the knowledge they are giving. Eat the meat and spit out the bones. But for goodness sake, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Learning is a lifelong process. Learn the lesson. Absorb the information.

Do not become hardened. This one is a difficult lesson. Probably the most difficult. When you’re hurt by someone you trust, it’s a gut punch. It is natural to recoil, to not allow others in. But…if you learned from the person’s bad behavior, and you are honest with yourself about ignoring signs that trouble was ahead, then you’re in a position of power…and you needn’t be afraid.

Don’t feel bad for the narcissist. People who attempt to victimize others, or who are natural predators have a cunning way of trying to make themselves appear to be a victim. Know that they are choosing their own crazy…they thrive not in order but in chaos. You can’t change that person. You can’t help them enough because enough is never enough.

Forgive yourself…and the other person. Learn the lesson and move on. Not forgiving someone shackles them to you. Not forgiving yourself is like peeling a scab off a wound every day and wondering why you keep bleeding. Love yourself enough to forgive yourself.

You are valuable.

You are enough.

You deserve people to surround you who want what’s best for you.

You are only a victim if you choose to be…no matter what happens to you.

I believe in you.

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Michael Fomkin Talks Models, Miami and Madrid

Well, I’ve officially been a podcaster for about a month.

Last night, I got the chance to interview the co-founder of VIP Ignite, Michael Fomkin. His story is really inspirational. His start in entrepreneurship was owning an Italian restaurant. Now he is co-founder of one of the biggest talent management companies in the world that is about to go international.

Over the last 12 years, Michael is personally responsible for 93,600 success stories of people in the entertainment industry. The best part…the process is free. His goal is to help people love their best lives…and closing in on 100K people, I’d say he’s well on his way!

If you want to hear our flagship interview, you can check out the VIP Ignite Podcast here.

Let me know what you think!

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We all have core values…whether we define them more not. One of my core values is that I will always welcome challenges and change.

Recently, I was given an opportunity to host a podcast. About the entertainment industry.


Someone who honestly…is not a student of entertainment.

Business? Makes sense.

Mindset? For beginners and those who find it challenging. Definitely.

Football? Baseball? Yup.

Fashion? 🙄

Acting? Well…I feel like I deserve an Academy Award for pretending to be an extrovert daily…but I’m more of a “makes the posters for the play” kinda gal.

Music? I appreciate it but I’m still emotionally scarred from being kick out of choir in 8th grade.

But…you see…when I went to college, I studied English because it was harder to me than science and math.

Who am I to say no to a challenge? For an opportunity I’ve been asking to be given for 2 years?

With this challenge comes not only responsibility but change.

You see…it’s time for me to start looking the part. That never occurred to me.

I can’t walk around with messy hair, bags under my eyes and tell people that I represent this company.

Just like you can’t have someone with jacked up teeth working the front desk of a dental office.

When it was subtly suggested to me that I up my “put together” game…I had two choices.

I could be super sensitive and take it personally.


I could understand that, if this is what I truly want, I have to look, dress and act the part.

I love getting my hair done. That’s no secret. But the makeup, clothes and shoes part? That part gives me hives.

And I’m absolutely certain that in a year, I’ll look back on this blog and laugh.

But today…I have to own who I am. Not who I want to be…because I already have everything inside of me that I need to be who I desire to be.

I am that woman already. I just have to step into her. She is me and I am her.

So…now…I just need to find a makeup artist to teach me how to do the things I never really learned.

And a personal stylist who will get me permanently banned from Old Navy 😭😭 and teach me how to shop in nice stores without sweating.

I have to own who I am.

On tonight’s podcast, my guest talked about how acting kept bumping into her when she was running away.

What keeps bumping into me while I try hiding in a dental office is that I am an influencer of influencers. And to do that, I need to not only change my mindset…but I need to change the way I see myself and present myself.

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Time is invaluable

So…today is my Oma’s birthday.

I miss her…her voice, her soft skin, her stories…

I wish that I would’ve taken the time to appreciate her more…and to *know* her better.

She was a beautiful woman. Everyone who was blessed to know her would tell you how kind, how giving, how funny she was.

You know what else she was?

She was brave.

She left Germany when she met a handsome GI who swept her off her feet…and moved to the US. Around the time of WWII.

A German.

Moved the the US.

In the shadow of WWII.

Let that sink in for a second.

She was strong.

Her husband was in the military and moved. A lot. She had 4 kids.

I can barely take care of my plant…which I need to water today 🤪😜

She was so bloody smart. I honestly didn’t see that until later. She was a cook…and she could do calculations like a boss. She could figure out in her head things I can’t with a calculator.

I know we loved each other, and I was the oldest grandchild…but distance…and my flippant youth…

I have few regrets in life. I truly believe that every thing I’ve experienced has made me the woman I am today.

My sole regret is not driving up the Northeast extension more frequently to see my Oma and my Opa.

Today, as I reflect on how much I miss my Oma on her birthday, I want you to glean one thing.

Time is your most valuable resource. Don’t waste it on people who take you for granted. Spend it generously on people that you love.

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Life is funny.

Ok…maybe more like a psychotic roller coaster.

One day, years ago, a friend convinced me that I should overcome my fear of roller coasters, and proceeded to convince me to get on Nitro at Six Flags.

Y’all…I’m still emotionally scarred.

The ascent was really cool…a good 30 seconds of my life.

The next 2 hours (in my mind) were so terrifying that I literally cried. For the rest of the day.

Needless to say…that’s an irrational fear I’m willing to live with.

Why am I talking about roller coasters?

Well…I find life is that way.

As a matter of fact, the last 36 hours have been like that roller coaster ride.

I have agreed to do a podcast. I get to interview people in the entertainment industry. There is so much to learn…and the more I learn, the more intrigued I become. Last night was the first official show. I was petrified…but after a few minutes I kind of found my groove. Our show time was very late…and after an early morning, I was knackered but high on adrenaline and couldn’t sleep.

Then this morning I took my dad for a minor procedure.

But…my emotions were outta control.

My dad’s been my guy for 42.75 years. (Yeah…I’m that nerd.) Seeing him vulnerable…yeah

He made out well…his doctor is great…has a similar personality to me…so I knew he was in great hands.

But…my emotions, yo…

I got him home and came home and CRASHED. HARD.

Last night was like the ascent on that roller coaster…and today…well…was like the other part.

Being a woman, being an adult child, being an empath…I’m quite susceptible to acute highs and lows.

What I’m learning, on the daily, is that I have to control what I can. And I have to allow myself to lean into my emotions…the good, the bad and the ugly.

Last night I leaned into the high of doing something that scared me. And today I leaned into emotions I’m not quite sure how to quantify.

So…now I prepare for another day…time to get some good sleep, wake up tomorrow and make the day fantastic.

Because…THAT is my choice.

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Faith and trust

There are seasons in which it’s easy to share, and then there are seasons wherein I go into turtle mode.

Today, I know I need to share. As a matter of fact, I know I need to share more. Even though it seems like I wear my heart on my sleeve, I really don’t.

Shocking, I know.

Because, when I write consistently, I seem like an over-sharer.

The past few weeks have been rough. Family stuff. Heart stuff. Life stuff.

The main theme that I’ve been facing is faith and trust in God.

You see…He gave me a vision for my life a long time ago. And I haven’t been living that purpose. For well over a decade, nearly every decision I’ve made has been out of fear.

A few weeks ago, I got a a few gut punches that left me speechless and broken.

One of the punches would have made others shout, “I knew it. Fuck YOU!”

I didn’t.

Why not?

Because whenever I start packing my emotional bags, God asks me, “But Deneen, do you trust me?”

Every time He asks me that, I know that there is going to be a struggle involved.

Now, do not misconstrue what I’m saying about God. I know that God is good. I know that God has my best intentions at heart.

The scripture upon which I’ve been anchored as of late is Ecclesiastes 3:11: God makes everything beautiful in His time.

The way that God has always worked in my life, when He asks if I trust Him, is an event, a season that is hard…a season in which strength is forged in me, despite me feeling like I can’t breathe or step another step.

So, tonight, as I heard God ask me if I trust Him, every cell in my body wants to scream HELL NO I DON’T! PLEASE STOP! I’M NOT AS STRONG AS YOU THINK I AM. I AM A DELICATE FLOWER DAMMIT.

But…that’s not me. I am a strong fucker who refuses to cry uncle.

I can’t tell Him no, because deep inside of me, I know that there are people who need to hear the story that will come from this season.

I know that there is evil that will be called to account if I stay the course.

I know that by being faithful, people will be inspired.

I have to be honest…and take responsibility for all of this. I am responsible for my reaction to everything that I’ve gone through.

It has been my choice to implode instead of sharing my way through it. Pride is an ugly, isolating thing.

It has been my choice to allow my happiness to be attached to circumstances instead of standing on the knowledge that the joy of the Lord is my strength.

It was my choice to stew in my yucky emotions instead of journaling it out, looking at my soul and working through things.

It was my choice to eat and drink to numb myself instead of leaning into the emotions and seeing them for what they are.

It was my choice to play the role of victim (in my own mind) when I knew what my situation truly was.

It is my choice to stay the course even though it may be painful at times.

When you take responsibility for your life, for your decisions, for what you allow in your life, then you are in control. Can it stop the storms from brewing around you? Nope. But it IS the difference between dancing in the rain and jumping in puddles and being wet and miserable.

So…how have YOU been?

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I can’t run from myself…

There’s nowhere to hide.

For years, I was convinced that if I kept it moving, eventually things would be different.


As if miraculously, all of the baggage I was carrying around would be lost by the airline, and I’d be…happy.

When I realized my baggage was attached to me, I tried to numb the ache.




Netflix binge watching.

One day I woke up hungover, tired, at my heaviest, feeling physically terrible.

And the baggage was still by my side.

Finally, I started going through the baggage.

Deep hurts.


False beliefs.

Family stories.

As I unpack the baggage, I don’t feel the compulsion to run anymore.

I know who I am. And I like who I am. I’m finally at a point in my life where I have nothing to hide.

I walk in integrity. I do what’s right by everyone who crossed my path.

I am exactly who I’m meant to be. I embrace my wacky laugh, my personality that goes from silly to intense to cerebral on a dime.

I freely tell people what God shows me about them…because I can’t hold it in any longer.

You see…all of me is what God has for me to give the world. And I’m not ashamed of that.

So, I share my successes, my failures, my insecurities and my sweaty selfies…not because I’m a narcissist but because I have felt alone in those things…and I know that there is someone out there who needs to know she’s not alone.

I make it my mission to build women up. I know what it’s like to want someone by your side, to *see* you, yet hear crickets.

Right now…my life is in a really interesting place. I’ve been on a trust journey for a few years. I see the light at the end of what has been a very tumultuous journey.

I think.

No matter what transpires, I rest in knowing that all will be as it is meant to be.

The purpose of this journey…it’s been for me to unpack the bags.

It’s been for me to go from being a caterpillar, to being trapped in a cocoon, to transforming into a butterfly.

I’ve earned these wings…and I refuse to be ashamed of them.

I am not too much.

I am not too loud.

I am not too smart.

I am not too fucking much of anything.

I am exactly who God meant me to be at this very moment.

You know what? So. Are. You.

If you do nothing else I tell you for the rest of your life…if you only get one takeaway from all of my blogs, please get this.

Stop running from yourself. There’s nowhere to hide. Embrace who you are and be that person.

I love you.

No go and have a great day!

Listen to this. Hear the words. Own it.

Posted in "the conversation", calling, dreams, emotions, empathy, encouragement, entrepreneur, entrepreneurlife, faith, goals/vision/plans, God moment, grace, heart work, Introspection, iwasmade4this, mindset, ministry, raw, real life | Leave a comment