Living the Life I was Born to Live – An Entrepreneur’s Journey

We welcome our guest Dena Patrice this week

I used to be afraid of sharing my story. I was afraid of being venerable, judged or ridiculed. I was afraid of being seen. I was embarrassed, ashamed and hurt.

I grew up believing that if you excelled in school, went to college, got a good job, got married and had a family, then, you would have a pretty good life.

So, I did that. I graduated at the top of my class in accounting for undergrad and finance for graduate school. I was recruited by some of the leading firms in the country. I got the “good job.” Soon afterwards, I got married and had a child. Then…life happened.

The company site that I worked for shut down and I was laid off. I became a stay-at-home mom. My marriage ended, and I exhausted my savings. I had a small child to raise. I was devastated, hurt and embarrassed.

Have you ever had “life happen” to you?

I thought I did everything right. I thought I followed the “formula for success.” I was financially responsible. I saved money for the down payment on the house we built when I got married at 25 years old. I did not have student loans. My parents told me that if I kept the investment they started for me, then I would be a millionaire by the time I was 35. My family poured what they had into me (as if I was the one who would thrive).

Everything I thought I wanted was gone. My idea of a pretty good life no longer existed. I realized I bought into a version of who I should be and what I should have. I was unaware of being sold into society’s version of having a pretty good life.

I was living an idea what my life should be, not the one I was born to live. 

The Turnaround

One day, I was on the floor in tears, not knowing what to do. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know what I wanted.

I was embarrassed because I was well trained in the accounting and financial markets and making my employers wealthy. I was afraid and uncertain about everything. I felt helpless for several years. No one knew what I was really going through. I hit rock bottom when I used change from my child’s piggy bank to buy groceries.

In my mind, I was done with living this way.

Shortly thereafter, I received a call from a graduate school classmate who thought I was a perfect fit for a corporate role in one of the leading global financial institutions. I didn’t want to go back into a corporate environment. I was burnt out from my previous role.

I blamed my previous job for the failure of my marriage since I worked late nights and weekends (even though I secretly enjoyed the challenging work). I blamed my job for my joblessness and for running out of money. I was resentful for having to make a decision to leave the joy of raising my child as stay-at-home mom.

However, I knew I had to do something. So, I did. I got another “good job.” I knew it wasn’t for me. I still felt lost. I longed for something that would set my soul free. And I remembered how much I enjoyed social work when I was in college.

The Power of One Conversation

I stumbled across the website of a woman who taught money coaching. It related to the psychology of money.

I called her. She answered the phone. For the first time in my life, I told my story to someone I didn’t know. I was seen, heard and understood. I was accepted. My pain was acknowledged.

She knew what I was going through because aspects of my journey reflected hers and she was on the other side of it. She showed me a way through my circumstances. She became my first coach, mentor and trainer in this relatively new field.

Everything in My Life Changed

I discovered my money issues were rooted in my pain and unconscious beliefs. The shame, blame, disappointment and fear of loss blocked the flow of money in my life.

Within a relatively short period of time, I paid off all my unsecured debt (that piled up when I wasn’t working). I met the man of my dreams and I bought my first investment property.

I wanted others to experience making these kinds of changes in their life. I began to receive clients who wanted money coaching, life coaching and relationship coaching. I realized I needed more training as a coach and I went to back to become certified in all areas.

I was a “parallelprenuer” for over 10 years. I coached my clients in my practice (early in the morning, during lunch breaks, evenings and weekends) and worked full time for an employer. It was hard. I wanted to give up. There were many starts and stops along the way.

However, I knew there was purpose in my pain. I had the opportunity to figure out what worked and what didn’t. I had to learn new skills as an entrepreneur.

My coaching practice went through several niches until I discovered “my sweet spot.” I used to coach in many areas until I noticed most of my clients were women who owned their own businesses. I realized everything I went through helps me to truly serve them in all areas of their life and business.

My journey has become a source of inspiration. I’m grateful for all of it.

While my family and friends have been a rock solid foundation of support, my mastermind group has been there every step of the way. We’ve had highs, lows and everything together. We keep each other motivated and lift each other up.

Today, I’m living my new story:

I have a blended family of 8 with my handsome other half, Ty. When I include the two of us, we’re rolling 10 deep. We created “date day” during the week, just for fun. We spend our day our way…with family and friends while doing what we love – serving others.

Success is inevitable. Never give up.


Business Development on Demand with Dena Patrice provides coaching, training and mentoring for entrepreneurs. Contact Dena and Learn, Lead & Succeed in your business.