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Dana Wilde: “Stepping into your celebrity”

When you give people a new way to look at the world, then you stand out. In the Train Your Brain sandbox, we call it, “stepping into your celebrity.” This means to clearly define who you are in the world, including your governing philosophies. After you’re clear, then to share your ideas with others. When […]

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When you give people a new way to look at the world, then you stand out. In the Train Your Brain sandbox, we call it, “stepping into your celebrity.” This means to clearly define who you are in the world, including your governing philosophies. After you’re clear, then to share your ideas with others. When you have clarity on who you are, and you are introducing new paradigms to the world, then you find others who are ready to make that leap with you. So in addition to helping you stand out, you end up creating a business where you get to hang out with a lot of people who are just like you, and that’s fun!


As part of our series about how to become known as a thought leader in your industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dana Wilde, the bestselling author of Train Your Brain. Dana Wilde is an expert brain trainer for coaches, authors, energy practitioners, and entrepreneurs in the personal transformation niches. She teaches mission-driven entrepreneurs how to intentionally and systematically change their thoughts, so they get better outcomes. After growing her own business from zero to a million dollars a year in under 19 months, Dana demonstrates that “Happiness is Practical.” With over 100,000 followers in 87 countries, Dana is the number one bestselling author of Train Your Brain and featured in the movies, The Abundance Factor, The Truth About Prosperity, and Dream Big. Fascinated by neuroscience and the power of the mind, she affects lives daily on The Mind Aware Show. On this top 50 iTunes marketing podcast, she reveals how to get clients, grow a following, and create consist income by becoming an influencer, and how to how to think wealthier, happier thoughts.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Dana! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

In high school, personal development and psychology fascinated me. I read everything from “I’m Okay You’re Okay” to “Psycho-Cybernetics.” I passionately wanted to understand the nature of “reality.” After high school, I went into a corporate cubicle job. One of the advantages of that job was a forty-hour training course on how the brain worked. It revealed how our thoughts form our outcomes. I was hooked.

I quit the job and started a whole new grand adventure. I wrote my first book and became a published author at age twenty-three. I lived out of a backpack and traveled across Asia for the better part of a decade. And when I returned, I started my first business. I grew that business to the million-dollar level in nineteen months. Understanding how my brain worked, made my life limitless.

Can you briefly share with our readers why you are an authority about the topic of thought leadership?

It still feels weird to call myself an “authority” on anything. But I have spent the last thirty years studying how the brain works and implementing my findings in my own life. For almost twenty years, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs. My primary focus has been to train them on how to think in more proactive ways.

We’re now at a precipice in our culture. People are starting to understand that having a positive mindset is essential to a quality life. But no one is telling them “how” to have a positive mindset in a practical, day-to-day way. The study of “happiness” used to be for Harvard researchers only. I am able to bridge the gap between research and the everyday person. I’m not a Harvard graduate. I only have a high school diploma! I want to show the average person that it is possible to use their brains to create better outcomes.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I can share a simple little story that illustrates the power of the mind. My first million-dollar business was a direct sales business. When I started it, I knew absolutely nothing about building a business. I mean, ZERO. But I got a little phrase stuck in my head. That phrase was, “This is the fastest-growing team in the history of the company.”

With direct sales, you have other people join you in the business. You build a team of people selling the same products, and I kept thinking that phrase over and over again. “This is the fastest-growing team in the history of the company.” I must have “thought” that phrase 10,000 times, maybe more. And sure enough, nineteen months later, we were selling a million dollars a year. We had shattered the previous company record. But the funny thing is that I was doing everything else in my business the “wrong” way by conventional standards. Except for that one little phrase.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This question is a little bit of a challenge, partly because I never think of anything as a mistake. I always feel like everything is “forward motion” and that things are working out for me. So I don’t classify outcomes as mistakes, and I don’t dwell on them. This habit also means I also don’t commit those outcomes to my long-term memory! So I know I’ve made a ton of “mistakes” and continue to make them every day, but I don’t focus on them or remember them. In other words, I take the lesson and move on.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? How is a thought leader different than an influencer?

In my definition, a thought leader is someone who questions what we are culturally programmed to accept as “truth.” It’s a person who shifts the paradigm and can explain it in a way that other people can understand. A “typical” leader may be able to motivate you by their enthusiasm. Or they may motivate you by their strength or some other character trait. But a thought leader will cause you to have a new awareness or understanding that you didn’t have before. They will spark that “aha” moment. A thought leader will spark your thinking, and an influencer will spark you into action. Sometimes experts are one or the other, and sometimes they are both.

Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader. Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?

When you give people a new way to look at the world, then you stand out. In the Train Your Brain sandbox, we call it, “stepping into your celebrity.” This means to clearly define who you are in the world, including your governing philosophies. After you’re clear, then to share your ideas with others. When you have clarity on who you are, and you are introducing new paradigms to the world, then you find others who are ready to make that leap with you. So in addition to helping you stand out, you end up creating a business where you get to hang out with a lot of people who are just like you, and that’s fun!

Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?

Let’s talk about what it means to “think outside of the box.” If you take a look at your particular industry or niche, you will see that often there are “themes” or standard ideas that run through the niche. Most often, in any specific niche, people are regurgitating the same concepts to each other. When you can identify what everyone else is doing, then you can do something completely different. Go in the opposite direction. When you do that, you have an opportunity for accelerated growth. When everyone else is “zigging,” if you’re the only one who is “zagging,” then you capture ALL that audience.

Ok. Now that we have that behind us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about how to eventually become a thought leader. Can you share 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry. Please tell us a story or example (ideally from your own experience) for each.

Oh sure. The first thing I would recommend is to commit to your emotional alignment and self-care. One of the practices I put into play is to wait to get out of bed in the morning for 60–120 seconds. During that time, I say things to myself, like “I’m so happy to have another day. Today is going to be a great day. I am pure positive energy in human form.” and any other sentences that get me fired up to start the day. If I can’t think of anything, then I just say one positive word over and over again. Like, “Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.” or “Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy.”

The idea is to decide that feeling good is the single most important thing I can do to achieve success. When you feel good, you show up in the world as your best self. You feel like taking action. You like people better, and they like you better too. You open up the creative pathways in your brain, and you get access to better ideas.

So throughout the day, check-in with yourself on an emotional level. What do you need to do to be emotionally aligned? Sometimes it’s taking a walk. Sometimes it’s taking a nap. Sometimes it’s dancing around for a few minutes.

Next, decide to be a proactive thinker. Stay aware throughout your day. What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Be willing to adjust throughout the day so you can feel as good as you can feel in any given moment.

Intentionally think thoughts that feel good. And also ask yourself, “What if this weren’t true?”

I decided at a very young age that I didn’t want to have a “billboard mind.” What I mean is that I wanted to think for myself. Advertisers pay a lot of money to inundate us with ideas. Most of the people in the culture accept these ideas without question. Even in high school, I can remember saying to people, “I don’t want Maybelline to own my mind. I want to own my own mind.”

We live in a world where most people care about the car they drive, the clothes they wear, and the food they eat. I want people to care about the thoughts they think.

Third, take action from a “feel good” place. If you are feeling frustrated, stressed, or overwhelmed, this is NOT the time to take action in your business. At those times, you have one job and one job only, and that “job” is to do what you can to feel better.

I have to bust myself on this principle all the time. I may be working under a deadline, and I sometimes mistakenly think, “I need to kick it down and work longer.” Wrong. Luckily, I usually catch myself with this thinking, get up, stretch, refresh, and start again.

I like to call it “Intentional Action.” Feel good first, then take action. When you make feeling good your number one priority, then when you sit down to work, you’re in the zone. You work less because everything you touch turns to gold.

Fourth, know your audience. If you want to be a thought leader, then who would you like to influence? Where are they on their journey right now? Who do you want to play with? If you can gain clarity on who you want in your “sandbox,” then it becomes easier to attract those people.

Finally, the fifth one is to have fun along the way. I love the quote from Emma Goldman, where she says, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

When you are having fun, you are not only going to attract people, but you are also going to have a better life.

As humans, we sometimes tend to focus on our mistakes, and I would recommend doing the opposite of that. Give yourself a break. Take it easy. Embrace your imperfection and know that you are doing just fine. Relax and have more fun along the way.

In your opinion, who is an example of someone who has that has done a fantastic job as a thought leader? Which specific things have impressed you about that person? What lessons can we learn from this person’s approach.

I am a big fan of Abraham-Hicks. I first wrote Train Your Brain in 2003. Then I discovered Abraham-Hicks in 2005, and Esther Hicks’ work has influenced my own work and my life. You will be hard-pressed to find a thought leader who is more consistent and has more clarity. Also, I love that they aren’t doing what others might call “traditional marketing.” Esther just keeps showing up and speaking “the truth,” and her audience continues to grow. Their growth over the last few decades is proof that when you are clear on your message and are willing to speak it consistently, then your audience will find you.

I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?

I think each person should decide for themselves which terms resonate for them. Don’t listen to what anyone else is saying. Some people love the title, “guru,” and that’s great for them, but it doesn’t resonate with me. I like thought leader, but of course, I’m sure I like it because I love anything having to do with thought! I also know for me, it was a significant turning point in my business to “claim” my expertise and own that I was sharing ideas that were off the beaten path. Whatever term you use, it’s the willingness to “step into your celebrity” that makes you a leader of any kind.

What advice would you give to other leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

Everything I’ve talked about today starts with awareness. Brain scientists estimate that we are living in an “unconscious” state of mind 95–99% of the day. This means we’re on “automatic pilot.” And that’s okay. Automatic pilot can serve us too. But if you can bring your awareness to the present moment, even 1% longer every day, then you are going to experience radical changes.

I named my company, “The Mind Aware” and not “The Mind Happy.” Most of us think that we’d like to be happy every minute of every day, but when you’re more aware, then you’re already half of the way there. When you’re aware, you know what to do to take care of yourself in any given moment.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Haha. Okay, no pressure. I would love for people to understand the power of thought. Thought drives our emotions. Thought creates. Thought helps the world to evolve to new and exciting places. Every single thing in the history of our evolution as a species started with thought. We are conscious, thinking human beings. We can focus and direct our thoughts at any given moment if we so choose. I know for sure that if I can help people to become “better thinkers,” then anything else they want to do with their life is within reach.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I am not sure who said it, but I once heard, “When you are certain of the outcome, then it’s easy to have infinite patience.” I love this quote because it speaks to clarity. For me, to have clarity is one of the ultimate feelings I can experience — even more than joy or love on any given day. When you feel absolutely sure of the direction your headed, then you’re not in a rush. You’re just enjoying the unfolding of your own life.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Outside of Esther Hicks who I just mentioned, then I’d love to have a chat with Jim Carrey. He is someone who is continually exploring the leading edge of thought, and I’d love to compare notes.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

While I have a presence on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest, Most often, I’m on Facebook. You can find me on The Mind Aware Facebook Page, or the Facebook Group called “Train Your Brain with Dana Wilde.”

Thank you so much for your insights. This was very insightful and meaningful.

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