Life wouldn’t be life without challenges. The lowest valleys in life are mixed between the highest peaks. Appreciating life’s good and not-so-good events builds character and helps reveal the truest essence of the soul. A person demonstrating the ability to define her life on her terms and the willingness to release the label of victim, or remain cemented in the past is Dani Johnson, a multimillionaire, who was once a homeless woman.
Dani’s childhood was difficult and filled with extreme hardships. Abuse was a standard part of childhood: verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Her parents were drug addicts, and no surprise, Dani’s world spiraled out of control, in part due to her own drug addiction. She was homeless, living a meaningless life. Suicide flashed as the sole option for her life since she was six years old. She believed her life would be about lies, stealing, beatings, and hate; her greatest hate, was the hate she felt for herself. As a young adult, she believed her life had no future; nothing would or could ever change. She was living the life she had lived all of her life; stuck in the past. Not conscious that this was the choice she had made and supported, but none-the-less, looking backward, never believing in a future. She wasted a tremendous amount of personal energy hating her parents and the manner in which she had been raised.
Living in Hawaii, she was 21 years old, partying at the beach with friends on Christmas Eve, 1990. She was high on cocaine and drunk. . After months of extreme drug and alcohol use, following this latest party she awakened the next morning and surrendered. Her life sucked; it was that simple. Suicide was the answer. Walking into the ocean to end the pain, she dived underneath a wave. As she waited under the wave for her life to end, to her surprise, near the last moment, her life changed….forever.
Unknown to her at that moment, she wasn’t surrendering her life; she surrendered her choice to define her life by her past. Guilt comes from past actions or situations, whereas fear is a force born by future events which may or may not happen. Living in the present is living from the soul.
Dani heard a voice telling her to pick up her mat and walk away. Fully defeated and finding life had no appeal, she still chose to listen to this voice, without questioning why. She gathered her mat and walked to her car, which was also her home. Opposing voices occupied her thoughts. One voice focused on the disastrous choices she made to create her life to this point and the newer voice told her tried to convince her there was a better life she could choose to create and live. She knew the older voice and this time instead of listening to it, decided to follow the new voice of ideas in her mind.
Contemplating how to leave her past life, forget about blaming her parents for her childhood and current lifestyle, she was lost trying to figure out how to turn her life around. Without an answer, she went to sleep this evening, again, in her car. The following morning she looked at all her life’s possession piled in the car. An old weight loss program she had purchased a long time ago, and only used for a month caught her eye. She had the crazy thought she could try and sell the weight loss program and as quickly as the thought came, she dismissed it. Accepting that she had only been a cocktail waitress, schlepping a weight loss program was an even lower employment option. Contemplating her options, Dani accepted that her choices up to this point had not provided a decent life, so possibly selling a weight loss program couldn’t be any worse that what she’d already experienced.
She found the manufacturer’s phone number on the box and called to find out how she could sell this product in Hawaii. She would have to have licensing and money to get the product. Determined she was not going to live life as a homeless addict, she became persistent within herself to find a way to see this idea through.
While creating a flyer, in her own handwriting, she realized she needed a way for potential customers to contact her. She found a local company that could provide voice mail service. To her surprise, the cost was $15 a month and they gave her a number on the spot and asked that she mail a check for their fee. She finished her less than professional flyer, hung it in the local Post Office and waited.
She was consumed with the possible idea that maybe this could change her life. She wasn’t wallowing in the woes of her past existence and wasn’t living ahead of the moment on what exactly she would do if this didn’t work, she stayed present and focused on what she had chosen to try and change her life today.
Anxious, but without expecting any reply to her flyer, she called her voice mail. To her surprise there were 25 messages waiting for her. She ended up with 40 checks from total strangers; a staggering $4,000 for her first month’s sales. She called the manufacturer to place and order and was asked for the address to mail the product. Her ability to be resourceful continued. She convinced her local liquor store to allow her to use their address for the shipment.
Fast forward, Dani made a quarter of a million dollars her first year selling the weight loss program. She went on to become a millionaire the second year and opened 18 weight loss centers around the country.
In the years since, Dani Johnson she became a multimillionaire many times over, owns five companies with her business partner and husband, is a best-selling author, internationally sought-after speaker and radio show host.
Dani identifies with people in abusive situations. She has a driving force to use her businesses to give back to those in need. Dani, with her family, work throughout the year to build homes, feed and clothe homeless children, rescue children from sex trafficking, and educate kids. She is on a personal mission to give away a million dollars a month to provide food, clothing and shelter for children around the world.
Dani did turn her life around. The first step for change was to forgo living in the past, and identifying or living with a label that expresses who you were. The past never changes; for some the future may never arrive. What is real and true, the soul lives in the present. The present is indeed a present.
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