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“I started the Rise Movement to help people to rise up into their fullest expression” With Danette May

When we rise in our self-love, we impact the whole planet. When we rise up in our voice and our truth, we give others permission to do the same. I believe if every person loved themselves fully, we would not be dealing with wars, pollution, cruelty,


I am leading currently a movement called The Rise Movement. This movement is all about rising up into your fullest expression. When we rise in our self-love, we impact the whole planet. When we rise up in our voice and our truth, we give others permission to do the same. I believe if every person loved themselves fully, we would not be dealing with wars, pollution, cruelty, or separation. A lack of self-love is our biggest global calamity.


I had the pleasure to interview Danette May. Danette is a leading health expert, founder of Mindful Health, LLC and The Rise movement and author of The Rise: An Unforgettable Journey of Self-Love, Forgiveness, and Transformation (October 23, 2018, Hay House Inc). She’s a world-renowned motivational speaker, #1 best-selling author of seven health and women empowerment books, former celebrity fitness trainer, wife and mother.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

When I started Mindful Health six years ago. I was a single mother with $47 to my name. I was sleeping on the floor and I had tin foil holding up my TV antenna. I didn’t have much, but I had the most important thing — a dream and a deep sense of why. I knew I wanted to help every single person love themselves more and step into their fullest expression of self-love. I met my business partner and we started this business with a deep dream to transform lives. We focused on the three pillars of healing: healing foods, healing movement, and a healing mindset, and that has been at the core of every single thing we have done since. In the five years of doing business, we recently hit #48 in the Inc 500 for fastest growing companies. We have over 60 full time employees and have transformed over 1 million lives with our online health programs and Superfood product, Cacao Bliss.

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

We started our company using Facebook as an avenue to collect emails by offering a free recipe. In the first two years, we were shut down from Facebook twice, but we didn’t give up. We got very creative and found our way back on social media. Fast forward four years into the business, we were doing so well on Facebook that we were invited to Facebook headquarters so they could figure out how we were using their social media platform so successfully. They ended up partnering with us on future programs. To me, this is a true testament that shows that you should never stop, even when you get knocked down.

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?

We have made many mistakes, but I like to look at them as growth opportunities. At the beginning, when it was just my business partner (who is also my husband) and I, we weren’t nearly as effective at working together. He was driving our business plans like a micromanager and I was not tolerating it. We sat down and had an all-day discussion, and came to the conclusion that my business partner would never tell me how to do my portion of the business. He decided, in his words, “I wouldn’t say anything about what she should or shouldn’t do.” He still believes this was the smartest decision he has ever made. Our business began to flourish once he let up control.

How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?

We have a virtual team of 60 full-time employees. We live all around the world in different time zones, speaking a variety of different languages. We use Slack as our main hub and come together daily for our daily scrum, where we share what our goals and tasks are for the day. We also hold weekly team meetings to keep us all efficient and connected to the larger goal and “why” of the team.

What is the top challenge when managing global teams in different geographical locations? Can you give an example or story?

I believe one of the top challenges over time zones and continents is language. For half of our global employees, English is a second language. Some cultures, such as that of our employees based in the Philippines, really value customer service and will go above and beyond — and maybe even a little overboard — in answering questions, while other cultures are more direct in their communication, coming off as cold. Understanding culture is huge for us so we don’t take offense and understand where every employee is coming from.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Seek out what each individual’s zone of genius is. Some employees are in the wrong position. They may be a cultural fit but would thrive somewhere else in the organization. Be aware of character and culture first and from there, ensure each employee is in their zone of genius.

We use this adage: Hire slow, fire fast.

Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers.” What are your thoughts on retaining talent today?

Fortunately, we don’t have very many people quit. Retaining talent, in my mind, is not hard if you are driving from the “why.” Everyone wants to feel significant. Most people want to use their talents for good in the world. If your company is built on that, you will keep top talent.

Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team” (Please share a story or example for each, ideally an example from your experience).

1. What motivates each person. This is similar to the 5 love languages. Ensure you are speaking the love language of the individual. Do they like validation, do they need acts of service, or do they prefer words of affirmation to feel valued? Some of our employees are not motivated by monetary compensation raises. They would much rather receive a handwritten letter of appreciation. Understand this and you will meet each person where their heart is.

2. Hire for culture first, then talent. This makes management ten times easier. Most CEOs say that management is their least favorite thing to do, but if you hire culture fits, it makes it easier on you and the whole team.

3. Set up values that the organization holds onto. Share these values with the team often. Live the values as an owner. Our team values are honesty, ownership, growth, and integrity.

4. Open Communication. I love this quote: “Your success is measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have.” It’s important to be open, honest, and willing to communicate.

5. Always know your “why.” Why are you in business, why do you do what you do? When a team drives from the deeper why, it creates clarity and purpose.

You are a person of great 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.

I am leading currently a movement called The Rise Movement. This movement is all about rising up into your fullest expression. When we rise in our self-love, we impact the whole planet. When we rise up in our voice and our truth, we give others permission to do the same. I believe if every person loved themselves fully, we would not be dealing with wars, pollution, cruelty, or separation. A lack of self-love is our biggest global calamity.

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

One of my favorite quotes: “The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he is always doing both.” — Zen Philosophy

This is relevant to my life as it reminds me to stay in my heart. To do what I love.

Originally published at medium.com

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