Episode 04 - Danny J: New Beginnings, Creating Revenue,
And The Art Of Finding Money
Photo Credit: @The_Brandographer
NEW BEGINNINGS with speaker and podcast host Danny J. Let this episode inspire you to be brave when it comes to new beginnings, getting out of debt, becoming more resourceful and creating a life on your terms. Danny J proves that there is hope and a bright future after divorce, losing income and being diagnosed with a terrible health condition.
Mindfulness and Financial Health expert Danny J is committed to helping women find their TRUE issues. She’s not afraid to talk about what others don’t want to talk about.
Danny J tells her personal story of living through paralysis at age twenty-two, surviving bankruptcy, living in an RV, and demonstrating the power of finding her new beginning.
3:30 - Danny J talks about living out of a suitcase, losing her business and starting over.
6:30 - Danny J talks about her “Find Your Money Project.”
9:10 - Jill and Danny discuss the importance of creating a financial overview.
13:50 - Jill and Danny talk about how they both wound up living in an RV.
21:30 - taking personal responsibility and becoming the person you want to be.
24:00 - At age twenty-two Danny J was paralyzed due to a bacterial infection while performing at Sea World.
Follow Jill on Instagram: @_modelsdoeat
Follow the show on Twitter and send us questions: @_lifedonebetter
Hosted by: Jill de Jong
Guest: Danny J
Produced by: Mike Thomas
Theme Music by: Chris Porter
Sound Engineer: Michael Kennedy
Content here and in this podcast is for informational purposes only. It does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment by your health provider. Always seek a licensed physician or professional provider for health related questions and issues.
From Curtco Media…
Jill de Jong 00:09
Life Done Better. This podcast is produced for all the unicorns who strive to create a life on their own terms, don't take life too seriously, and are on a mission to make a positive impact in this world. In this show, we're getting real about daily struggles and obstacles and how to best navigate through difficult times and challenges in life. So you can make better decisions for yourself and feel healthy, confident and aligned. Feel less alone and more connected. We're in this together. From my heart to yours. Welcome to Life Done Better. I'm your host, Jill de Jong. And today I'm talking to Danny J. Danny J is an award winning entrepreneur, speaker, podcast host and storyteller. As the former founder of the sweaty Betty',s an online fitness community, Danny J discovered the most effective method for capturing attention and increasing revenue, sharing personal and brand stories. Danny J now teaches innovative brands and influencers to close more sales, become better leaders, and blow up their brands with the irresistible power of sharing. She also helps 1000s of families become financially free in her signature course, Master Your Money. I'm super interested to talk to Danny J about new beginnings and rebuilding yourself. You'll be amazed when you hear what Danny went through, and how she rebuilt her life over and over again. Welcome to the show, Danny, Jay.
Danny J 01:48
Thank you so much for having me. It’s always so funny to hear your bio, you're like, yeah, that's me. I always feel like it sounds better than it really, you really are, right? isn't really. All right. Great.
Jill de Jong 01:57
Great, it's, you know, it's an accumulation of things that you do, and you take the highlights, right. And then yeah, that's really truly why I invited you because you have so much to share. And I'm sure you don't talk and think about it daily, about how you're real and how I mean, you know, you know, obviously you share stories daily. But sometimes we're just amazed when we look back and in retrospect, like, wow, that's a lot. That's cool. Wow, I learned that too.
Danny J 02:23
I'm so excited to get into this because we chatted the other day. And we have so many similar background stories. So I'm really pumped to see where this goes.
Jill de Jong 02:28
Oh, I know. Let’s share the three things that we have in common. We both enjoyed a career in the fitness industry. Two, we both lived in an RV. And I don't know many women that have lived in an RV, like not just for like a week, but you'd lived in an RV for a year, right?
Danny J 02:45
Jill de Jong 02:46
I lived in RV for two years. And so I think that's quite remarkable. And you really truly enjoyed it. Right? That's what you wanted to do?
Danny J 02:52
Oh my gosh, I loved it. I was after we got off, I was telling my boyfriend. I'm like she lived in an RV too.
Jill de Jong 02:58
I know, I do want to like talk more about that, how we did that, why we chose to do that and what it meant in our lives. And number three, we were both married for a decade and our husbands cheated on us. Good topics for new beginnings, because we both like have changed careers many times a new partner new financial situation, we both had it all and lost it all and everywhere in between. And then yeah, a lot of moving around. So I think we are queens of the new beginnings. And and so during this time of quarantine, so what have you been up to then? What have you lost and what have you gained during this time?
Danny J 03:35
Yeah, gosh, quarantine is so interesting. And you know, like, I love all of those things living in the RV, starting over for marriage, I started to just joke that maybe that's my whole path in life is just to start over again. And it's interesting because the last couple years, I've been a speaker and I've been living out of a suitcase for two years, I have not have any stable home. I was in LA from right after my marriage ended. So from about mid 2016 to 2018 I ended up getting a speaking gig that kept me going three months, and then another one kept me six months. And then suddenly I'm speaking and traveling a lot. And so it turns into, you know, three months turns into two years suddenly, and I was starting to really get restless of the travel and I loved it. I mean, I will say I feel like this is the one time in my life I could do it. You know, I was single, I didn't have anything holding me back. And at the same time I was really missing having some kind of roots like friendships and you know, having to look forward to like maybe game night on Fridays with friends or something like that.
Jill de Jong 4:35
Danny J 4:35
And so early 2020 I really wanted to just stay in one place. I started dating someone we kind of met where we were both traveling and hitting the same places at the same time, which was ironic. And I said I just wanna be at a place for a month. That's all I asked, just one month. And so we got this Airbnb from March 1 to 31st. And I was gonna have to leave for a speaking gig and come back and I did actually have speaking gigs after that April, May and the irony was that they ended up getting canceled, we started quarantine, and all of the speaking gigs that I had got cut off. So suddenly, that's part of what I do for a living part of my income. And that was, yeah, that was all taken away. So I did lose a big part of my business by not being able to travel and speak. But I saw a lot of people pivoting and taking their conferences online. So I was still able to do some online conferences, and at the same time, help other people build some courses and businesses.
Jill de Jong 05:31
So, this has been a nice, like time to ground and to grow and to educate yourself. And to really rise to the next level.
Danny J 05:38
You know, I found myself saying yes to almost everything, saying yes to going to parties, events, networking, and getting distracted from my goals. And because I wasn't allowed to say yes to any networking parties and events, it made me focus on what I'm really trying to work on.
Jill de Jong 05:54
It's a really good time to reset. And what I really enjoyed, you shared on social media, was find the Find Your Money project, I was just laughing because I thought it was just so funny. Because like, yes, there's always resourceful ways to find money, if it's like, you know, memberships that you cancel, or you know, so you know, you don't actually spend more than you need to, or if you actually find money as in being resourceful to offering a service that you've never offered before. Can you explain that a little bit, because I think a lot of people that are listening, would love to have more income, they've lost income, they may have lost their jobs, like, what are some, like, interesting and good ideas to start with?
Danny J 06:32
Yeah, so it's called Find the Money Project. And I actually started this in 2015. Because after the economy crashed in 2008, it didn't really hit me until 2010. And so my ex husband and I had a home, we ended up we were in Las Vegas, and the housing market really got hit there, we ended up foreclosing on our home filing bankruptcy moving in with some friends. I mean, I was like, I don't know how to make money now, because I was a personal trainer. And when people are struggling, they are going to cut, you know luxuries. And so I wasn't getting, I didn't have a lot of clients, losing money. And I was just so desperate. I was Googling, like, how to make money, how to win a car. I mean, I was online all day, just like crying, looking for jobs, applying for anything, feeling like nobody was hiring. And I really felt like the answer to all my money problems was just make more money. If I just made more, or if the economy hadn't crashed, then I would be fine. And I realized very quickly that that was not true. And what happened after I started to learn these principles was I ended up paying off my student loans. I had $18,000 left in 69 days. And prior to that I had been carrying this balance for seven years. When I paid that off in 69 days, we only had my husband had a new job for a salary of 35,000 a year. So it wasn't like we just came into a ton of money. It was I learned how to use the money that I had and shift my perspective and be resourceful. And people always think that we're, it's lack of resources, that we just need more money, we need more people to know we need something. And it's not lack of resources. It's a lack of resourcefulness. And I realized that there were a lot of things right in front of my face that I could have been doing that I wasn't doing. And I was overlooking. And so some of those small things, I have people go through Find the Money Project, and it's a seven day challenge. And most people who do that challenge, find an average of $1,800 to $2,200.
Jill de Jong 08:20
Wow, that's incredible.
Danny J 08:22
Sometimes I have people come to me and go, Danny, this is great. But I just need to make more. And I'm like if you can't do these small things, the big things aren't going to come. And so ultimately, the principle is being faithful with what you have. And if you are making $2,000 a month and you're spending 2500 You're not really being faithful with that 2000 you have. And so one of the things I have people do, just like as a trainer, if I was starting with a new client, I’d have them get on the scale, take their measurements. So the same thing is finances. I had to print out your bank statements, take highlighters on like food, gas, target runs wherever your money is going. And when we're swiping our debit card, we think that we know but until you actually look at it on paper and you're like taking the highlighter you forget and you miss stuff.
Jill de Jong 09:08
It's a very vulnerable place to like show your finances actually have to run through numb, you know, all the time you were swiping, you're like, did I really buy that? Oh god. Again, you're overspending on things you don't even want to acknowledge. But once you have that those statements printed out and once you are, you know really committed to look, it's powerful, right? You're like, do I really need this? Do I really need to spend that money on that? Creating that overview is super, super important to be really honest about it.
Danny J 09:38
Until you really face it and look at it, those small things end up being really really big things and they are the things that can really diminish your finances. It’s a lot of these small things that we just kind of gloss over and don't pay attention. And it's kind of subconscious. You know, Amazon purchases.
Jill de Jong 09:54
Starbucks, just five bucks a day.
Danny J 9:55
Food is a huge, huge one. So the first one I have people do is look at everything. And the second big thing that people really love and hate is I make it a requirement to, I call it eat all the thing. So you're not allowed to go shopping until you eat what's in your home and in your cabinets, because most people kind of like our closet will go in a closet, and it’s full of clothes, and we have nothing to wear. And we do the same thing with our food, we open the fridge open, the cabinet is full of stuff, but we don't want to eat it. And I'm like, no, you will eat every single thing until it's gone. And then go shopping. And when you do this, you become way more mindful of what you buy, you're like that was so gross, you're not going to buy it again. If you bought it, that means that one time you want it, you bought, it means at one time you wanted to eat it. So I’m like, I’m making you eat it, and then you're way more mindful.
Jill de Jong 10:40
Well, and and you learn to be resourceful, too, because every time like, you know, my boyfriend opens the fridge, he's like, oh, we've got nothing, you know, to eat. I’m like, there's five meals in this fridge, what are you talking about, we don't need to go shopping for two days or three. I mean, really, and he's just like, well, that's what you know, that's what you're good at. But I just don't see it, you just whip something up again. And it's delicious. I think it's really important to be so resourceful with these little things in life. And even with the closet, like cleaning out the closet, I've moved so many times in my life, big moves, small moves, overseas, across the country, back and forth. I mean, it's, you know, like, I've minimized my closet. And I feel like every single piece of clothing has a purpose, or it's going out of the door.
Danny J 11:26
Well, it's so great, because right now in Master Your Money, I'm doing a module on your environment, and one of the modules is on your clothing. And I tell people, you need to get rid of anything that doesn't make you feel good. If it doesn't fit. If it's two sizes too big and you're afraid you're gonna gain weight you’ll need them again, or it's small, and you're just hoping you can lose weight, get into again, get rid of it, because you can always buy a size if you actually lose the weight or gain. And I think we we like punish ourselves for not being in that size anymore. And we want to wear it or we're so worried. And it's like, get rid of all that stuff. Because it just carries an energy that you're constantly just beating yourself up somehow in your mind. And I think that the energy creates more abundance and allows you to have more abundance, and it creates more space. This was kind of a principle we had to do in the RV because there's no space for stuff. So we had a rule of if we brought in anything new, we had to get rid of two things. And it didn't have to be a match. So if I bought a new pair of shoes, I didn't have to get rid of two pairs of shoes. But I'd have to get rid of something and appliance and a shirt or but it was just there wasn't enough to let keep bringing stuff in. We had to clear stuff out. So again, I had to be mindful if I want this, what am I willing to get rid of to make space for it? And if there was nothing I want to get rid of, then I'm like, nope, I, you know, I need to I need to decide which one I want more. I really think we are rewarded when we take action sometimes, for so many people starting over. Feels like a punishment for like, this isn't fair, like COVID-19 happened. And you know, everything was going great. And now this is unfair that I have to start from scratch. A new beginning is actually an opportunity to become somebody new, become something you want to be. And so that new beginning can feel jarring. It can feel scary, it can feel like I didn't have a plan for this. And at the same time you have this opportunity to create something brand new and open to the possibilities of things being way more beautiful and amazing than you ever imagined.
Jill de Jong 13:17
Danny J Let's take a quick break and we'll be right back.
[Ad Break] 13:27
Jill de Jong 13:50
We're back. We're here with Danny J. We both lived in an RV it was definitely always a dream to to go cross country once in my life but it was came at a time that we were financially getting sucked dry. Like you we weren't hit like right away at 2008. But more like 2010 the European clients were starting to book me less. We had a couple of houses, cars, motorcycles very abundant life until you know what they say it's like the difference between someone who has it all and something someone that has nothing is literally three months because you you know you can go through your saving so quickly when the money is not coming in and and you have a lot of expenses so you feel like you're losing everything. But maybe because you're losing everything you make decisions more from your heart because you're not scared anymore. You're like okay, well we're losing it all, so what are we going to do now? Let's do something fun. And we sold our motorcycles, sold our cars, and then bought an RV we still didn't have exactly enough money. We had to borrow money to get the RV in the end and it was a fantastic, like one of the best trips of my life, six weeks going from, you know one state to the next. So we drove from LA to the the through Texas to the Keys, Florida, and then up to New York with at the end of the very trip. And I think this is important. And that's why I'm sharing it. We've never been without food we've never been without, you know, like a roof above our head. And at the very end of the trip, I got a call from my agent in Germany. And they said, Jill, you got booked on this job. And this is the amount of money you're getting. I'm like what, like out of nowhere, I hadn’t worked with them in the longest time. And it was the exact amount that we owed the person that lent us the money for the RV the remaining amount and I could not believe it. I was over the moon happy I was like, thank you. Thank You, God, universe, this is a such a powerful feeling as in I have done exactly what I wanted to do. This is a dream come true. So I think it's an important thing to share like to, you know, when you make when there's a new beginning, and you can make something great out of it. But you got to be resourceful. And you got to ask yourself, what do I really, really truly want.
Danny J 16:07
Because you could have had that opinion, you could have been like, wow, the economy sucks. And my dream was to be a model and an actress. And this isn't fair to me. And I will say that I felt like that at the beginning. And when we first lost our home in Las Vegas, we ended up moving to Texas and we got this apartment $600 A month apartment. And it was a one bedroom. So we had been in a you know, three bedroom home three car garage, had three cars and a motorcycle, have you know, we had all the things. And I remember when we first walked into the apartment, I walked into the empty apartment and I looked around. And I was like, wow, this is all we have. And like I was just in tears. And I felt like we just lost everything. And I was really disgusted and disappointed with myself. And I felt like I was never going to come out of it. And during those two years in that apartment, that was when I started to shift and learn the money stuff and get everything right. And then we chose to move into the RV. And it was such a different scenario. So we moved from I want to say that part of six or 700 square feet. And then we moved into an RV that was two or 300 square feet. And I remember walking into that RV looking around and going oh my gosh, we have so much stuff. And I was like how can you have the same scenario walking into 700 square feet saying this is all we have to walking into 300 square feet saying we have so much. And it was just simply a perspective shift and realizing that I had everything I needed. Like you said I always had been cared for. I always had a roof over my head, I always had food. And I had to learn to trust and trust the universe and trust that, you know, a new beginning is actually an opportunity to become somebody new, become something you want to be. I used to love back to school, like my favorite time was beginning of school, my mom would let us buy five outfits without one new outfit every day of the week. And especially going into a new grade level, right? Like going into middle school and going into high school because then there'll be new people that didn't know me. And I thought I could just recreate myself, I could be somebody new, I could have a new style. Like I was dressed like a skater last year, I could dress like a preppy this year. I could try on I could try on different identities. And so I feel like when we start over, we get to choose a new identity. And that, you know, when my husband and I split, I had the identity of being married and being us and being we and I was faced with what do I want.
Jill de Jong 18:22
New beginnings can be really, really tough. That can be a lot of tears can be a lot of resistance. But once you start like lifting the resistant and say, okay, this is really scary. And I don't know where it is going. But I trust this is for the better. Show me how like, show me why. And you know if it was a beautiful conversation I had with someone that I would have never met before, or if I had was steered into a new direction into my career. And I did start a whole new career. And you know, like when I talk to my ex, like he doesn't even know this new Jill, right? Because he has never seen me in that role. And he's never seen me speak the way I speak because there's so much room for me now. Like I remember, you know that my friends even said like, you're like a whole new person. I'm like, yeah, like and I'm really like this version of me.
Danny J 19:08
I love that I I'm just nodding my head like crazy because I’m just like yes, me too. Me too. There are so many there's so many things. I mean, I'm definitely a completely different person and having asking those questions like what do I want? Where do I want to go? What kind of things are feel good to me? And for a lot of times, the answer was I don't know. I don't know. I was like panicking. And then it was like, let's try this. Let's you know, like you get curious. And I think where it comes down to us being really upset and the resistance comes from not acknowledging what is when we are arguing with reality, then we're upset. So the facts are, I'm not married anymore. So instead of sitting there going like I wish I was I wish this didn't happen. Well it did happen. So now I have to decide what am I going to do with that? And so once I got out of the place of wishing it didn't happen, wishing things were different because they weren't different. I you know, I have this new reality. Same thing with the economy. It happened, I can't go back and just keep being angry that we lost our home and we had to get rid of everything. Now you're going okay, what is what's happening now? And how can I live with and thrive in what is the new reality? How can I create it to be something that I enjoy versus trying to cling to the past on something I miss, because the past is gone.
Jill de Jong 20:24
So the similarity in our stories really are clearing the energy and getting rid of the junk, right? Really thinking of life as okay, you know, we're not always getting what we want. And we don't always know how things evolve. But if we can trust, I mean, it's really trusting and take responsibility of cleaning up any residue negative energy, if it's jealousy, if it's insecurity, if it's anger, resentment, if we can look at in the eyes and really, truly understand why it is and then release that energy, so much room is created. And that invites what you want to attract. Because when people say, I want to be listened to more, I want to be loved more, I want to have more money. And so like all these things that I want, want want. Okay, but what do you give? Do you match that energy? Like, it doesn't mean that you have, you know, if you want to be listened to? Do you listen? If you want to feel appreciated, do you show your appreciation daily? Yeah, I think the clearing of the energy is so important, even though it's not something you can see. But it's something you can feel.
Danny J 21:31
Yeah, you made two really great points. One is the trust. Right after I found out about my husband's affair, I have a good friend who's a hypnotherapist, and I was just crying all night. And I just couldn’t, I was so anxious. I couldn't eat for a week. And so I called her up and I said, I just need you to help me do something. And so we did this session. And what came up for me was just three words, trust, trust, trust. And it was like, what am I trusting? You know, some people have faith that they're hanging on to like, you know, a god that they believe in, for some it’s the universe, but ultimately, too, you have to trust yourself like trust, you will be able to figure it out, trust that something will come along, and you'll have new information that when information comes, you can make a good decision. And trusting yourself is huge. And it's a practice, it can be scary, especially if something was out of your control. Or maybe you felt like, how did I not see this coming? I was blindsided. How can I trust my own gut if I somehow missed this affair happening in front of my face. And I think that trust is a practice, but it's huge. And the second is taking responsibility, taking responsibility for whatever comes at you. We can all play the victim, we can all choose to be in that victim place, but then you don't get anywhere out of that, you know, saying that I'm a victim of the circumstances, we can all feel sorry for you. But then what, you know, victims only get so far and some people will get stuck in identifying as the victim. And I think for a moment that can feel good. But ultimately, if you want to move on, you have to let go of that victimized idea and take back power. And by taking back power, you have to take responsibility. Second part of that, which was kind of what you said, as well is like becoming the person you want to be. I remember thinking I don't want to be a bitter divorced woman. If I don't want to be that I'm going to have to take responsibility and try to be the kind of person I do want to be, which is loving and open and kind and be available to fall in love again, not push everyone away because, I, you know, want to say all men are cheaters or all men are terrible, because that's not the case. So I think you know, those three things really can help you move forward, but it does take awareness, and it does take practice. It does take some time.
Jill de Jong 23:41
Absolutely. And I think we get a lot of practice in this life. Because it's not not gonna be you know, a first breakup, or the first time without money. I actually want to go back to that one thing that you said when we we talked a few days ago, you were talking about a time in your life that you worked at SeaWorld and I think at something happened when you were working at SeaWorld, and you were doing backflips, or what were you doing?
Danny J 24:05
I had just graduated college. And so you know, with my fresh degree, I ran off and joined the circus. So you know, I, I was a gymnast growing up, and I lived in Las Vegas. So there's performers, Cirque du Soleil and those kind of things. So I was a gymnastics coach and I had met some people who were involved in all the circus life. So I started doing aerial acrobatics and like some conventions and things in Vegas found out about an audition for SeaWorld, and I auditioned for an acrobatic job and I got it and I was like, you know, my degree was in physical education. I realized I did not want to be a teacher I loved coaching and then acrobatics was so fun and so I thought I'm gonna have to take this job. So I got a job in a show called Cirque De La Mer. It is not with the dolphin is strictly an acrobatic show, but it is in Mission Bay and the acrobatics we do this climb up these poles and we jump into the water we swim to the island, and we do our show like falling into the water there. So that water is very contaminated, which I did not know until after. San Diego, Mission Bay, it's really close to Tijuana and there's lots of sewage that's been dumped in there. And I guess, pretty well known that it's very contaminated. And I ended up waking up one morning, and I fell out of bed. And I just felt like my leg was asleep. And I was like, oh, this is, you know, this is weird, went back to bed. And within a few hours, it just became this excruciating pain. So I had a trainer come over, she was oh, you have sciatica. I was like, okay, this is painful stuff. But whatever. Well, long story short, within like 12 hours, I was unable to walk at all. And I was in so much pain. I had a boyfriend at the time, he came over and the door was locked, and I couldn't go open the door. And so I had to army crawl to the door, like reach up to the handle. And he just saw me on the ground. He's like, whoa, we got to take you to the hospital. So into the hospital, they sent me home, they did X rays, like everything was fine. And gave me pain medicine. That wasn't touching it. And so he goes, I don't know what to do with you, I'm sending you home to your parents. So he got me on a plane, we put me in a wheelchair, couldn't walk, got me on a plane, my mom picked me up from the wheelchair took me straight to the hospital. And I ended up staying there for a month. And what happened when we got there was I found out that I had 104 Fever. And they said, well, if you have a fever that high, that means there's something else going on. Like it's not sciatica, that's not going to give you a fever. And so within about three days, I had a doctor come in, and she said, Danny, you're not going to be able to be an acrobat anymore. And we're not sure you're going to walk again. And you're lucky to be alive. All I heard was I can't be an acrobat and I couldn't go to work. And I was like, no, you need to call my boss I'm supposed to perform on Saturday, you know, I was just in such denial. And so what happened was I got a bacterial infection that got in my bloodstream, gram negative bacteria, which is basically sepsis. And it lodged into my sacroiliac joint and cut off all the motor neurons and nerve to my legs. And so I ended up being in the hospital for over a month. And I thought, well, once the bacteria is gone, I'll be able to walk and that just was not the case, the damage was done to my legs and to my nerves. And it took about a year or so learn to walk again.
Jill de Jong 27:12
Danny J 27:14
Devastating in general. But then when you are your whole identity again, is wrapped around being a an acrobat, a gymnast, physical education, and you can't physically do anything. I was depressed. I was suicidal. I remember thinking, Well, I wish I just I wish it just did kill me. Because now what am I good for. And I remember having the thought like, I don't want to be a handicapped person. Like that was where my brain was like, I can't live like this. I'm not going to be in a wheelchair. And what snapped me out of it. And this was a pretty big smack in the face. One of my good friends was 19 had just got diagnosed with cancer. And I was out of the hospital, she came to visit me at my home. And I had a walker and I went to open the door. And she just looked at me and she was like, oh my god, Danny, I'm so sorry. I can't believe this happened to you. It's so unfair. And I remember her saying It's so unfair. And I was like, wait, you know, I knew she had cancer. And it was terminal. Like she had liver cancer, colon cancer, like it was had spread all over her body. And she was saying to me that it was unfair. And I was, I remember she left and I felt like such a jerk. Like, I'm complaining wishing that I was going to die. And here Kelly is who is going to die and she's feeling bad for me. And so I made a conscious shift. I was like, wow, I need to be grateful. And I need to be grateful that I'm alive. And you know, I had also been really upset because I had to live with my parents because I was like, super independent, I moved out on my 18th birthday, like I'm out of here. I've never coming back. So I've been living with my parents, I'm mad, I can't walk, I'm mad, I'm mad at the world. This wasn't my fault. You know, all of that. And I was like, wow, you know, at least I have somewhere to go, I could be home, I could be paralyzed and homeless. And at least I have a chance to live, you know, I can't walk. But at least I have that. And so I started asking my mom to drive me to the gym, and I was able to just slightly move my right leg so I can just barely move it. So I had the walker, I could lean on the walker with my arms, move my right leg a little and then just like drag to the left. So I was kind of able to move that way. And I'd sit on the recumbent bike and just just push my legs around. And I just knew I didn't want to get my muscles atrophied. So I just would do that for hours. I wrote affirmations on these little like white cards and put them up on the front of the bike to say like, I can walk easily and effortlessly. I'm healthy and well and things like that, which, you know, sometimes affirmations feels like a lie because if you saw me I was not walking easily and effortlessly. But I felt like if I could just get myself to believe that it's possible, then maybe I can get my body to start to move in that direction. And within a year I was walking without any detectable limp.
Jill de Jong 29:56
That's incredible. Incredible. And so did you, did you feel any difference like daily or weekly or it was it like after a certain amount of time you went like, you know, made a big leap?
Danny J 30:07
No, it was so slow. I felt so slow. I remember, you know, the first time I climbed up the stairs. So my parents had a two story house and I had to stay there. And there was a day where I'm like, I'm going to try the stairs. And of course, the railings, I'm just mostly using my arms and I'm getting up, I got to the top of the stairs. And I felt like this immediately, immediate rush of just feeling so proud of myself like I did it. And then, you know, I don't know why our brains do this. And then all of a sudden, I was mad at myself, because I was like, wow, three months ago, I could run or, you know, however, many months ago, I could run three miles. And now all it's a big deal to make it up the stairs. But I would say probably, you know, between four and six months, things started to progress, you know, easier, and I started getting more endurance.
Jill de Jong 30:52
I'm so proud of you, you know, that young Danny that already decided then that she was going to not let it let it destroy her. Looking back, like at the younger Danny, what would you have told her?
Danny J 31:05
If you can be open to and trust that there's bigger things I would have just told my younger self to like, there's bigger things coming for you don't like this. Don't worry about it. I wouldn't have spent so much time crying about the things I thought I lost because I had so much more to gain that I had no idea that was coming.
Jill de Jong 31:22
I love that you say that. So I think that's a beautiful end of this podcast interview. I could talk to you for another hour. So I thank you so much, Danny J. You are wonderful. I do feel like you know, we live a very similar life. I think it’s wonderful to connect with you. And I hope the listeners enjoyed the magical feeling that we created here. So thank you again, I so appreciate you.
Danny J 31:45
Thank you so much for having me on the show. I appreciate it.
Jill de Jong 31:51
Hey, it's Jill. The one thing we cannot buy more of is time. Time is precious. And I am so grateful that you chose to spend time listening to my podcast. There's a lot more I'd like to share with you. So don't forget to subscribe to Life Done Better on your favorite podcast app and stay in touch. If you have a question or a topic you want to hear discussed on the show. shoot me a message on Twitter @_LifeDoneBetter. We all deal with a lot in our lives and it's freeing to talk about it openly. From my heart to yours. Thanks for listening.
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