Episode #49: Are you Coachable? Another conversation with Coach Dena Patton

On today’s podcast, we are speaking with Coach Dena Patton again!  About accountability, coachability, and knowing when to give up being right. As she told us in her first episode on the show, finding a coach that fits your needs is the first step. But what comes next? In this second episode, Dena tells us...

As she told us in her first episode on the show, finding a coach that fits your needs is the first step. But what comes next? In this second episode, Dena tells us what it means to be “coachable.”

To be coached she says is to be vulnerable, open and humble. It’s giving up being right and being willing to do the work.

In this episode, you will learn:

• How to be open to coaching
• Smallness vs greatness
• The duality of being a student and an expert
• Bringing greatness to all aspects of your life (not just business


Mentioned in this episode:
Russ Perry on Instagram
Mika Perry on Instagram
The Sober Entrepreneur by Russ Perry
The Russ Perry Show
Dena Patton
Dena Patton on Facebook
“The Greatness Game” by Dena Patton on Amazon
Girls Rule Foundation
GTBH Episode #28: Understanding the “Core Four”

Do you have questions, comments or suggestions for this show? Send us an email at!



Russ Perry: I’m Russ Perry.

Mika Perry: And I’m Mika Perry and you’re listening to Good To Be Home.

Russ Perry: Good to be home is a weekly exploration of entrepreneurship, family, marriage, sobriety, and how we balance our business and life.

Mika Perry: From our family to yours. Thanks for joining us and welcome to our home.

Russ Perry: Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode of Good To Be Home. I’m your cohost Russ Perry.

Mika Perry: And I am your other cohost Mika Perry.

Russ Perry: We’re really happy to have you all here today and today is actually a first for the Good To Be Home podcasts, it is a repeat interview. If you didn’t catch our interview with Dena Patton, we’re having her back on the episode today. She is a coach, she was both me and Mika’s business coach and you can go to to hear our first interview with Dena where we really just talked about her and our relationship with her.

Mika Perry: She also shared the importance of coaching and we also gave our experience in working with a coach and what benefits there are to that. So the idea of that episode was to really encourage you, the listener, if you’ve been thinking about getting a coach, there are multiple reasons why that is a good idea.

Russ Perry: Do it-

Mika Perry: Do it, yeah, we are all about it and as Dina mentioned in that episode, a coach doesn’t have to be a business coach, it can be a money coach, a fitness coach, a marriage coach, so many different ways that you can be coached. So we had a great response with that episode and we really hope that you’ll take a minute to go back and listen to that interview.

Russ Perry: Right, and if you didn’t, you also get to find out who was the better client, me or Mika. I bet you can guess who that was. Now today we’re going to actually let Dina be the expert. We wanted to invite her back so that she can coach us and teach us on a couple of areas that she knows just a ton on and has been teaching really the world on, first part of it is actually a conversation on coachability because it’s not just enough to know information, you actually have to be able to act upon it and to be humble enough and vulnerable enough to be willing to change. And then for the second part, we have a lesson on-

Mika Perry: Smallness versus greatness. So in her leadership training, she coaches a lot on greatness training, that is kind of how she coins it. And it’s stepping out of agreement with smallness and stepping into your greatness. And I can’t wait for you to listen to how she explains this and how it applies to everyone, everyone. And at the end that you are going to hear a really powerful application of being in greatness and how she’s actually used it in her life as well.

Russ Perry: Well, let’s get into it. We’d like to welcome back to the podcast Dena Patton. Welcome back to the show.

Dena Patton: Thank you for having me.

Russ Perry: You are now the first person ever to be on twice.

Dena Patton: I’m so excited.

Russ Perry: We are too.

Dena Patton: So awesome.

Russ Perry: So the reason we wanted you to come back to [inaudible] is last time we had a really great conversation just about our history together. For those of you who have not heard that episode, you can listen at, but Dena was a business coach and a life coach and kind of an everything coach for me and Mika for a good amount of time and earlier in my career with design pickle, before design pickle, and then really that taking off and then when Mika was doing her professional organizing. And so that last episode was just like fun, get to know you, we talked a lot about what it means to have a coach, why you want a coach, your philosophies around it.
But we wanted to invite you back for a coaching session and we… There’s going to be two parts to this, something that we are interested in learning more about, and then we really wanted you to teach us and the listeners about a concept that you repeated, actually you referenced it quite a bit in the last episode but this smallness versus greatness concept, so that’s going to be part two. Part one though is going to be the understanding of the term coachability. So this again was also something you mentioned, I wrote it down, but to be successful with a coach, you have to be coachable and I don’t think that’s talked about very often in this whole conversation and probably is the reason why you’ve fired clients in the past. So why don’t we dive into that, what that is, how people could, I guess assess or know if they’re coachable or not, and then eventually we’ll get to you dropping some… dropping the mic on smallness versus greatness.

Dena Patton: Awesome.

Russ Perry: All right. Take it away, coachability,

Dena Patton: Coachability. So I think the biggest thing that I look for as a coach, even in the consultation I can hear ti, is are you coachable? Let’s just kind of unpack that is I would say that that is when you’re being uncoachable, you’re being right, you’re more committed to being right than you are being open. At the heart of why someone is not coachable is they have an addiction to being right and that’s how they fight too. When they fight, they fight to be right, not to necessarily get to an answer, right? Or get to a compromise. So people who have a deep need to be right are often not coachable. But what’s under that is why people want to be right is they don’t want to be wrong or they don’t want to be open because they don’t want to be vulnerable. So vulnerability is essentially when you hire a coach, it doesn’t matter who it is, a money coach, a marriage coach, a business coach, you are saying, I don’t have all the answers, I need to get some support, some accountability, I need to be open and vulnerable to other people’s ideas. And there are people on this planet that would not do that, although they deeply want it and need it, but they can’t get there because they won’t go to that level of being open and vulnerable.

Russ Perry: What blocks people from that?

Dena Patton: Well, I think pain from the past. I mean, if you’ve been… think of yourself, of where you’ve had pain, then we create walls and go, “Oh well I’m not going to do that again.” There’s all kinds of coping mechanisms that we do so that we don’t experience that pain again. And so maybe that coach or that authority person, it might’ve been a baseball coach or your father or whatnot, and that relationship was abusive or it was unhealthy or it was dysfunctional or it was painful and you’re like, boom, I’m not doing that again, right? And you just write anybody off that’s authority or coaching, I’m just giving you one example, but at the heart of someone not being coachable, they’re very, on the surface, they’re addicted to being right and it’s their way, their way, but at the bottom is their-

Mika Perry: Inability.

Russ Perry: Inability to be open and be vulnerable.

Mika Perry: I love that you identify that it’s not just being right, but there’s a layer to that.

Dena Patton: Always under it, always.

Russ Perry: Wait, so you’re telling me, [crosstalk] let’s rewind here because this to me like I was raised by all women, we often joke I’m like have a more… talk about emotions a lot more than Mika does [inaudible] but vulnerability is ingrained in my DNA with things. People will hire and pay you money, but not be willing to dive into that part of their conversations?

Dena Patton: Yes. So there’s people who hire coaches who have no plans on actually being coachable. They do it for looking good because they like the idea of having a coach, but they actually don’t know that there’s a beingness that goes along with hiring a coach. It’s not just, I’m going to hire this coach and they are a magic pill and this person’s going to do magic in my life. No, no, no, no, no, no. I can only do so much that you’re open to. Why you both got so much from coaching is because you were both open to it and you did the work. There’s a ton of people who don’t want to do the work.

Russ Perry: Right, yeah, I see that too. I’ve launched into real small niche of specific coaching with clients, a lot of people who I’m connected with inside of the businesses that I run, and there’s actually a do the work phrase, they actually add an F in there, T-T-F-W, but the reality is we see it all the time is people want these big outcomes for their lives, but they’re unwilling to wake up early. It’s like there’s very, very large correlation between doing small things and taking counsel, taking advice, taking whatever it is and acting upon that and the outcomes you achieve. Like if you do it, high likelihood you’re going to get where you want to go, if you fight it or argue or tell me why it’s not going to work, well then you know chances of you getting what you want are fairly low.

Dena Patton: Yeah. And the key piece of being right is not… there’s two kind of prongs to it, is people are right about their way, whatever system or structure way that they want to do things and they’re stuck in that. But then they’re also right about their smallness beliefs. They’re like, I can’t become a million dollar CEO because blank, blank, blank, I’m mother told me all the smallness beliefs are there, so and they don’t even see how right they’re being about their limitations, which I call smallness beliefs. So it’s like, okay, how long do you want to be right about your smallness belief? Because come back to me, when you’re willing to be coachable around that, because that’s where people get the mindset stuckness and they’re not coachable. But the better coach you are, the more… You don’t even attract… I don’t even attract people who aren’t coachable. Literally I just fired a client, it’s the first time in three years I had to do that. On the surface she was coaching, but she wasn’t doing the work. But I had to gracefully and lovingly say, “This doesn’t work.”

Russ Perry: What would you recommend to someone who’s like, oh my gosh, I am not coachable. I see the pattern, thank you Good To Be Home podcast, you’ve given me the clarity, I want to change. Where do they start?

Dena Patton: They start by that awareness, just going, whoa, yeah, I’m really being right around this. Look at how you do one thing is how you do everything. So you’re right in your business and then you’re right in your marriage, how is it being married to you because you’re always right? Right? You’re being right everywhere. It’s an addiction, it’s a behavior you have everywhere. So the first step is that awareness of like, whoa. We all have those. I mean, if you rewound me 20 years ago, I had my marketing company in New York City and I was right. I mean I had systems, I had my way, I was running it my way and I had a stroke and I got really clear, I was like, maybe, I don’t know, just maybe there’s other ways to run a business that’s easier and that’s well ran business that’s more automated and I don’t have to work so hard. But I had to hire a coach to figure that out. So there’s consequences to being right.
So I think the awareness is first, second, be willing to change the game. Just awareness isn’t enough, you have to say, “I’m at the end of myself here. I’m sick of being right here and I’m willing to be coachable.” And whether that looks like a paid coach or it’s a mentor, maybe there’s a colleague of yours that does this thing really well, go and say, “Will you mentor me in this one area?” Maybe it’s just for a couple of hours. So it doesn’t always look like hiring a coach or being in a program, but even reading a book sometimes can open, what you want to do is open a new way of thinking instead of your closed way.

Russ Perry: Yeah. I just, I mean we talked about in the last episode together of our… I just attended an event. I didn’t really have an angle for the event, I wasn’t trying to find a coach, I wasn’t trying to find a business plan, I was just like, I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I’m just going to go to the camel backend and see what I learn. That’s great, I mean-

Dena Patton: But that’s being open, that’s a perfect example of, you know what? I know I need more education around my business, I’m going to put myself at an event.

Mika Perry: Perfect, so it’s openness also wanting to learn, probably?

Dena Patton: Yes, willingness to learn.

Mika Perry: Willingness to learn.

Dena Patton: Willingness to apply new ways.

Mika Perry: Would you say pride also?

Dena Patton: You have to put pride aside. Even in… when I look at your Instagram, looking at your drawers, you inspired me to rework my entire office, I mean my office is a beautiful, always been a pretty space, but it’s like functionally beautiful because of Mika, that’s how you inspired my life. But even just your picture of like a closet or a drawer, it just opens people’s mind of like, oh, whoa, my junk drawer doesn’t have to look like this, it can look like that. Just that awareness and then that knowing and then they break it down, okay, what do I need to buy? The containers or the labels, boom, open, apply.

Russ Perry: Go it. Okay, so that’s great, I mean coachability is probably a journey as well. I think I got into, admittedly this past year I sort of fell off the coaching wagon, I really wasn’t working with anyone or anybody in a model where I had previously gotten such great results working with coaches and just… I mentioned this before, but just recently I hired a new coach, I’m in a program actually with a friend of the company me and [inaudible] [Chris Ronsio] he’s in the same group as well, but the reason I joined was I got rid of my ego that I knew what I was doing and said, “You know what? There are far bigger businesses doing way more complex things that I don’t even have a clue of what’s going on, I need to go deep diving into some knowledge.” And I had to humble myself.
I mean this is, I’m talking in the last 30 days, I had to go through this process. I think coachability is something you have to always be checking because you could have a streak that you’re the best coach person ever and then all of a sudden you get a little momentum, you get a little success and you’re like, I got it, all right, see you later. And that could be dangerous because you’re back then into that I’m right, I know what I’m doing, and maybe at the game that you’re currently playing, but what about the next level? What about where you want to go?

Mika Perry: Yeah. Because if you’re coaching is working, then you should be growing and then experiencing new challenges.

Dena Patton: That’s right.

Mika Perry: And so you will run into those old habits of blockage.

Russ Perry: Just that, like the next level of it, the next version.

Mika Perry: Yeah, you have to keep unlocking-

Dena Patton: New level, new devil, right? There’s a new level, every time you go to a new level in your life, in your business, there’s a new devil, there’s a new challenge there, so you never run out. But what you’re really speaking to is what I call the duality of being a student and being an expert. I’m always an expert in my space, but I’m always a student. I put myself at conferences, at training, coaching all the time and I am always growing as a coach. So I think that the moment you go, I’m good, I’m really good I don’t need any more teaching, any more training, any more accountability, you have stopped learning, and I think that’s, to me it’s the beginning of now your downward.

Russ Perry: Right, well that’s a great segue to go into student mode. So Dena, you have really spearhead, and you own this phrase, this term greatness versus smallness. It’s one of the core platforms that you coach from, you’ve been interweaving it throughout all our conversations, but I would really want you to just teach us, teach me and Mika, give us a coaching lesson on what this concept is, how you can be aware of it, how you can use it, and of course, whatever other amazing gold nuggets you want to throw in there.

Dena Patton: Awesome. So what I realized very early on in coaching is so much of it is mindset. We stop ourselves all the time from, it doesn’t matter if it’s, I’ve got to hire a nanny to I have to hire my first employees to growing a business from this revenue to 10 times the revenue, it doesn’t matter what challenge, or losing 30 pounds is really, it’s all mindset. So there systems and structures and knowledge of the doingness, but the beingness has to be addressed. So I have researched greatness and greatness mindset for about 20 years and I kind of, I didn’t kind of, I created a methodology to simplify it so I could teach it. Even when I have like 15 minutes on a stage, I can, speak to it, right? Really, before that, it was only in my one on one clients over a time. But what I realized is it was the heart of everything, that’s where everybody got big breakthroughs and I had to dial it down so I can get it into speeches because it’s the most requested speech. And I dialed it down to my book, writing a book is getting your knowledge into a book.
So the concept is this, is that we were all born with two voices, we have the smallness voice and the greatness voice and the smallness voice is rooted in the negative beliefs that we have aggregated over our life, right? And the whole job of smallness is to keep us small, safe and scared and in our comfort zone. So if you think of all your possibilities, right? All of that, your comfort zone is like one teeny little circle of that, and that’s where smallness wants to keep you. So it will do anything to keep you there. On the opposite, greatness is all about the rest of you at your highest potential, you at your greatest self. And there’s really rarely in our parenting, I mean, no one walks around with this knowledge unless you’re trained in it. As parents, we get stuck in the day to day homework, dinner, managing the house, getting showers and planning the next vacation.
Sometimes we aren’t training our kids and their mindset and especially they hit that middle school, woo, it gets hard, right? And do they have the mindset to come against all the pulls and the distractions and the bullying and the… he’s better or she’s better, she’s prettier. So they start to get pulled in their mindset and if they are not trained in it, they can really go south, right? It can get really spiraled, which is why our self harm and our suicides are out of control.
So what we want to do is we have these two voices, greatness is all about empowering you, smallness is all about disempowering you. And greatness knows your highest potential and is trying to work you to that place, but it’s against the smallness voice that is showing up in your head all the time saying, “You’re not enough. Who are you to get that promotion? Who are you to start a business? Who are you to sell the business? Who are you to be an expert?” Right? But this is the key, there’s two keys, is to know that that is the job of smallness, that’s the job. Is to feed you those disempowering, fearful messages, and it is our choice which one to listen to.

Mika Perry: Hey guys, we wanted to quickly send a personal invitation to you for an upcoming event we have here in Scottsdale.

Russ Perry: It’s called PICKLECON obviously inspired by the name of my graphic design company, but this is the conference for creative entrepreneurs. Me and Mika are assembling our top influencers, folks that have influenced us, entrepreneurs, business owners, people just getting started in their business for two and a half days here in Scottsdale.

Mika Perry: So there are a few reasons why we think you should attend. One, if you haven’t been to Scottsdale, this is your chance and we will be offering multiple sessions of coaching and personal development and you’re going to hear from some amazing entrepreneurs on their personal journey and have a ton of takeaways for you to take home with you.

Russ Perry: Right now, if you’ve been to entrepreneur business conferences, you know they can get pretty big and gnarly and this is not one of those conferences. It’s small, it’s intimate and it’s going to be a lot of fun. If you’ve never been to a conference, this is your chance to get started. I’m telling you, you will walk away clear and inspired for what you want to accomplish in 2019.

Mika Perry: So it doesn’t matter if you have a small business, big business, what type of business you have, you are all welcome to join us for these three days of intense awesome learning and growth.

Russ Perry: Early bird ended, but we’re extending a special offer for Good To Be Home listeners. You can use the code, “Good To Be Home,” and get our discounted early bird pricing, which is going to be the best pricing we’ve offered this entire time. Just head over to and use the code, “Good To Be Home,” when you buy your ticket.

Mika Perry: We really, really hope to see you there.

Russ Perry: Part one, now back to the podcast. I would even add with smallness is there is a probably some biological evolutionary tie into just keeping you as safe as… the safest possible place you can so you don’t get eaten by the saber tooth tiger.

Dena Patton: For sure it is that function.

Russ Perry: Just don’t risk anything, be where you’re at. It’s not necessarily an evil negative voice, but just like-

Dena Patton: Safety, safety, safety.

Russ Perry: Stay here, this is cool, you’re too busy for that, you can’t do that, stay here.

Dena Patton: So one the point that you have the power to choose which one to listen to, but there’s a second part that is very, very subtle, and that is your agreement with the smallness messages. So if it feed you a certain message that it knows, that derails you and disempowers you and it just deflates you, right? So these smallness messages, it feed you these messages and then you go back into that little comfort zone, that smallness, oh yeah, who am I to build that million dollar business? Who am I to be an expert and inspire other people? And we get right back into that comfort zone, safety, safety, safety. So the two things that battle this is us being aware of which voice to listen to and not agreeing with that smallness voice. The moment we agree with that smallness voice, we lose our power. The moment we come out of agreement with that smallness, we gain our power back. So when I can hear someone agreeing with their smallness, I can call them on it and say, “Oh, that,” you guys know my humor.

Mika Perry: You’ve done it with us, yeah.

Dena Patton: Yeah. Oh, that’s fabulous.

Russ Perry: Can you give us an example.

Dena Patton: Yeah, so there’s… the best examples is there’s five main smallness messaging that I’ve boiled it down to five. So it’s P-D-F-O-D, P is for perfection, D is for doubt, F is for fear, O is for overwhelm and D is for distraction. So when you think about that, think about your to do list and your dreams and you being on your journey of greatness and your business and your life. Think of, just yesterday, think about the messages that are coming into you, is it distraction like squirrel, squirrel, squirrel, squirrel, squirrel, all day long? Or is it perfection? Oh, I can’t put this marketing out, it’s not perfect, I can’t do this book, it’s not perfect. I’m not going to be a speaker, I’m going to work on it for four years because it’s not perfect. Do you see what I’m saying?

Russ Perry: I like how you look at me for distraction and look at Mika for perfection.

Mika Perry: She’s pointing at me for perfection.

Dena Patton: I know your smallness, that’s the greatest thing about knowing your-

Mika Perry: So yours is distraction?

Russ Perry: Oh, come on yeah.

Dena Patton: All day long.

Russ Perry: Totally.

Dena Patton: Once you work with people, you know their smallness beliefs and you can call them on it like that. But isn’t that the power you just go, oh, that, nope, distraction is not going to get to me today, you can know better, do better.

Mika Perry: Yeah. And I mean right now just applying it to what we’re going through, not going through, but things we have in our lives, on our plate, like I have something that I want to do, and the limiting belief, what is actually physically limiting me from doing the actions is perfection.

Russ Perry: What is it?

Mika Perry: I don’t want to share that.

Russ Perry: Why not? Why not put it up there?

Mika Perry: Well it’s I want to take my organizing just from inspiration to education in an online space so that the things that I’m sharing just casually right now through-

Russ Perry: Congratulation, that was the announcement.

Mika Perry: Thanks thank you. Okay, but I’ve been working on it and it’s challenging because I see the vision in my head of what I want it to be in the way it sounds, in the way it looks and I know, and I think that’s served me really well in creating good content that resonates with people like it makes sense and connects with a lot of people, but that’s hard work because I’m taking that vision in my head and making it real. And because this is something I’ve never done and it means a lot to me and it’s totally new, it’s pushing that deadline back. I would have had it done by now, but it’s not because I’m like, oh, but I need to have this and this and this and this.

Russ Perry: When is it going to be done?

Mika Perry: Okay, you know what, you’ll be proud of me.

Dena Patton: When will that deadline be?

Mika Perry: You will be proud of me. So I’m going to share on this in a different podcast episode, but I took kind of like a grand gesture leave this past weekend where I had time to myself to work on that, but also just clear my head. And in that, one of the things I did, because I had no distraction, I wasn’t fearful, I was in a really comfortable, safe place. I opened up and I did this work that I was fearful and putting it off because it wasn’t perfect, I didn’t know what to do and I knew what to do, but it was holding me back and I pounded it out in under an hour when I let all that flow.

Dena Patton: Flow.

Russ Perry: Like weeks or months of-

Mika Perry: Yeah, total flow.

Dena Patton: I call that flow. When you give up all the smallness beliefs and you’re stopped by all of that, and you just say, “I’m not agreeing with any of that and I just own what I’m creating.” You just step into flow and it just comes right? Isn’t it magical?

Mika Perry: Yeah. And I didn’t intend on like, I’m going to flow now, at all, but it was by making conscious choices of being open and willing. So on this retreat I was at, I did group meditation and even that you come with a judgment, but it turned out it wasn’t what I expected. And then I read some books that I came to with some judgment and that opened my eyes. And then just being alone and not having the flurry of life around you really helped. So I set myself up for that and then it just flowed. So it was awesome.

Dena Patton: So great.

Mika Perry: I still have a lot of work to do.

Dena Patton: Yeah, of course.

Mika Perry: Of course, so-

Russ Perry: I won’t believe it, I won’t press the launch date.

Mika Perry: But I will say that it’s written down.

Dena Patton: Yeah. But I think what you’re pointing to is that P, P-D-F-O-D, that P, I can’t tell you how many people get what I call tangled up in their smallness, tangled up in your smallness is perfection. And you could be writing a book for four years, you could be creating a course for five years because it’s you’re tangled up in the smallness of it. And it goes back to vulnerability. What I can say is at the heart of it is, of course we want great work in the world, but what I would challenge you in is be willing to launch and course correct. Especially, I think women get a little bit more tangled in perfection than men because we want it all perfect draft one. It’s like let that go, that’s so disempowering. Do your best and then be willing to course correct as you go. My speeches today are drastically different than nine years ago. You can’t, I mean who you are as a CEO is drastically different than three years ago. We should be getting better and better, but don’t get tangled up in that smallness perfection and it paralyzes us.

Russ Perry: Right, because the 80% good thing, 80% complete, 80% of what you want thing in the marketplace is impacting far greater people than the 90% thing you never launched. And that’s always like I always have to remind myself of that after I’m… remind my teams of that, like until we put it out there, we have zero impact except for stress and worry on ourselves. When we put it out there, we launch it, we promote it, we publish it or whatever the thing we do it, we now have released that from our own energetic gravitational well and now we can actually see what works, what doesn’t, and the next better version comes so much faster. You can get to that better version, you can’t get to the best version of it without actually putting it out there for it.

Dena Patton: Yeah, the ability to be willing to course correct is I think a huge leadership skill that, again, it goes back to that vulnerability. Let’s get it out there because our greatness is all about sharing it with others. It’s not for us. Once you have ignited your greatness and owned it, it’s now okay, what are the platforms I’m going to share it with in the world? It’s all about impact. So your this new venture is not about you, it’s about impacting others. And when we launch a venture, a businesses, a speech, a book, whatever it is, it’s all about that impact. And you’re going to know, oh, these are the parts that work and these are the parts that don’t work. And you’ll keep evolving it better, better, better, and that’s the journey of greatness and not getting tangled in the smallness of perfection. And guess what? Nobody wants perfection. Really, people want authenticity, they don’t want perfection.

Russ Perry: So I feel like smallness, the acronym, what was the acronym again?

Dena Patton: P-D-F-O-D.

Russ Perry: And that is perfection-

Mika Perry: Fear, overwhelm.

Russ Perry: Oh, are you testing me?

Dena Patton: Yeah.

Russ Perry: [crosstalk] Distraction.

Mika Perry: Overwhelm, fear.

Dena Patton: Fear, there you go.

Russ Perry: Okay, but really crystallize greatness for us because I think… like what is greatness? How would you define that?

Dena Patton: Yeah. So greatness is that voice that knows your greatest self. It knows why you are on this planet. And its whole job is to pull you towards that and it’s our resistance of it that gets in the way. We say no, no, I can’t. I mean I remember when I was called to this work, I mean I had a million reasons why I would never be a great coach, and it’s really those reasons that make me a great coach, but I didn’t see that. So your greatness, you can trust your greatness. It is that inner voice that knows why you’re on this planet. And what I can say is you don’t have to quit your job to find it, it’s not this journey, it’s an inner journey, not an outer journey, and it’s an ownership. I remember the first time we were coaching in that million dollar CEO, right? I was coaching you on, you need to be, I mean, I think your revenues were like $5,000 a month, and it’s like, okay, what would a million dollar CEO do? What would your greatness do? Those are two questions that make you think differently, get your smallness out of the way.
Really, this journey for me is helping people identify their smallness and then get it out of the way so you can just flow in your greatness. You do that, you’re going to have the biggest impact on the world that you want in your own special way. Don’t compare yourself to other people’s journey.

Russ Perry: So I think as I’m hearing it, I get it, I understand it, but I worry that some listeners will remain stuck in smallness because they don’t know what their greatness is. It’s not like there’s some electronic billboard outside that’s like, good morning Russ, your greatness is to create a graphic design company, go forth. So how do you know, what do you do? How do you, or if you don’t know what is the first step to finding out?

Dena Patton: Read my book.

Russ Perry: Okay, good plug, I-

Dena Patton: Let’s go there, The Greatness Game. So there are smallness games, you’re playing either smallness games in your life or greatness games. Greatness is a way of being, it’s not an external destination, right? So again, your greatness is you at your highest, greatest self. That’s the person on your shoulder, right? Your highest, greatest self. It’s not a title, it’s not graphic designer or CEO, it’s not titles. It’s you as a human being and it’s a place to think, lead and live. If I say, “Are you living from your greatness? Are you living from their smallness?” It should be pretty clear.

Mika Perry: So it’s not have you achieved greatness? I love that you made distinction for many because I agree with you Russ that some, a lot of our listeners are stay at home moms, or a lot of them are not business owners and don’t have that product or that business that they’re launching, but they have greatness in them, everyone does.

Dena Patton: Everyone does.

Mika Perry: But I think it can be hard when you don’t have something like that that outwardly shows you’ve achieved quote unquote greatness. So I love that you’ve made that distinction of that it’s not a destination, but it’s a way of being that no matter what you do-

Dena Patton: All your roles-

Mika Perry: Yeah, all your roles.

Dena Patton: In your caretaking, I just had a conversation with someone who’s caretaking his wife, who has Parkinson’s. My father just died of Parkinson’s, I lived that journey for two years. Who I was being with my dad was greatness, okay? We’re not talking business, we’re talking a way of being. I could’ve gotten tangled up in the smallness of it, of the anger of it and the motion of it and all of that, but for me, every day that I saw him, I was like, I’m just going to pour my greatness, not just him, but the hospice team and the nurses, like I’m going to show up in my greatness. That’s a perfect example of it’s, a beingness and I was kidding with him and giving him a life that most people don’t when people are dying. They get into victim, they get into a whole bunch of ways of being that are not really empowering, and I just thought I’m going to bring greatness to this little world. My father was a mover and shaking entrepreneur his whole life, and at 72 he got Parkinson’s and within two years he passed. And it took his legs, his eyes and his voice.
And so for me, my whole game, I looked at this and said it, “Am I going to live and lead from my smallness in this as his caretaker and as his whole…” I was his whole world, “Or I’m going to bring my greatness to him?” And so you can bring it to your parenting. Bring greatness to your marriage, bring greatness to your employees. How you do one thing is how you do everything. So it’s a way of being and everybody has it in them. But this is what I want to bring on the planet. I mean, this is why I’m on the planet is people don’t have access to it. So they’re like, I get the concept, I know it, but I don’t necessarily know how to crush my smallness and start listening to my greatness. A small little coaching tip that has worked for people is almost act like their radio dials. So your smallness has a radio dial that you’re listening to and greatness. Every time you hear that disempowering-

Russ Perry: Static.

Dena Patton: Yes, voice, you turn it down, turn it down, turn it down.

Mika Perry: No, louder than static, well I guess it is like static but sometimes it’s very sharp.

Dena Patton: Sometimes it’s super loud, like yelling at you. Especially when you start to dream really big and there’s a huge gap like here you are today and this is your big dream, there’s a huge gap, that smallness can get in there and go, “Who do you think you are?” All those messages. So turn it down. So one of the biggest practices I can say is turn it down 10 times a day, 10 times, 10 times, 10 times and start turning up that greatness voice, start listening to, what does my greatness have to say? And you start thinking differently listening to that voice, that one tip can start just bringing that awareness and that distinction to it.

Russ Perry: One thing that I’m thinking of because there is a very kind of spiritual light versus dark vibe of lightness or smallness and greatness and I think of though scientifically darkness is when there is no light, they’re just the absence of it, but it’s a passive state. To light up a room or anything, you have to be active about it, you have to power it, turn on a switch, be there, it’s conscious you’re doing it. And I can think back of my moments of greatest smallness, the most times I’m in smallness is when I’m just in that passive reactive state whereas greatness is that proactive action state where you’re choosing it, it’s not going to magically happen, it has to be an action for it with that.

Dena Patton: And that’s why, let’s just look at real life versions, I mean, this happens every day, it’s, oh gosh, you’ve got a medical bill for $5,000, whoa, you weren’t expecting, or you’re a business owner and your competitor just did something really sexy and juicy and boom, you’re triggered in disempowerment and smallness and you get tangled up. How do you get yourself out of those and back on track moving your train? That ability to coach yourself, I mean, sometimes you don’t need a coach for that, you can coach yourself if you know that little structure, what I just told you, aware, you see yourself tangled up in fear or an overwhelm and you can call yourself on it, you can say, “Wow, I’m in the smallness belief,” right? And you can identify it, you can start crushing it, which is I no longer agree with it.
See when we agree with that smallness statement that says, “See I told you you can’t build $1 million, they’re going to crush you.” There’s that voice, and then the moment you agree with it and go, oh yeah, now I’m totally panicked, you have to go back and you come out what I call come out of agreement with that smallness. You can’t just get over it because once that agreement, once you’ve agreed with that smallness, you’re tangled. It’s come out of agreement with that. This year is a big year for me, I’m starting to speak at arenas and large conferences and TED Talk, that’s a whole nother level of speaking. I feel like it was all been practice which we used to coach on. Your whole past is practice and for this now what’s coming up that it’s not [crosstalk]

Russ Perry: Say that again because I was actually Dena has said something that I’ve always said it’s like, I’ll let you repeat it, your past is-

Dena Patton: All practice. It’s all practice. So you want to… I look at my past, all the good, all the failures, everything, and say thank you, thank you for all these lessons and all of this experience because it has trained me to get ready for what’s next. For me, I’m all about impact and igniting people’s greatness, I’ve got to find stages whether it’s podcasts, conferences, retreats, my thing is unleashed, get around the world and unleash people in their greatness because this is a thing. Once you have access to your greatness, you’re unlimited. You can do anything and be anything. Like I said, it’s not a title or a business, right? But you can be anything, whether it’s your father or your mother, your children, your community, your charitable things, go and be a rock star to the charity that you love, they need your greatness.

Russ Perry: Dena how was taking care of your father for two years and having him pass away? What was that practice for? Because I imagine that was so trying and now you’re on the other side of it, what is the insight you have?

Dena Patton: Yeah. So he just passed away a couple months ago and in the reflection of that, really there’s been two lessons, one in business and one in personal, is when my mom passed away 10 years ago, I took care of her and I didn’t do the best job, I definitely got tangled up in my smallness in that because I was losing my mom. She was so young and I was pregnant with her only granddaughter. So I was living in all these stories of oh my gosh, she’s never going to meet her granddaughter and all of this and so I was not in a greatness game with her and I had moments. With my dad, I made a conscious choice that I was going to be great with him and I was going to be greatness to the whole team and just his whole journey in the face of something really hard. So when you have that kind of discipline of being great in the face of hard things, you go to a whole nother level of greatness. And that skillset I’ve been able to bring to everything in my life, every role, to my nonprofit, to my clients. It was the ability to fire this client, like you just get that I can be great and graceful and bold in the face of hard things.

Russ Perry: Right, like let’s just say like firing a client, probably a lot easier to do than watching your dad pass.

Dena Patton: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

Russ Perry: That’s like firing a client is like easy street.

Dena Patton: It is.

Russ Perry: Comparatively.

Dena Patton: Comparatively, but it’s the same skillset. A platinum client is a nice client for me, I don’t want to… and it’s just hard, I don’t ever want to let a client down. So you have to go through that like, oh gosh, they’re going to be disappointed, they’re going to be mad at you or whatever. So one, I grew in my greatness of I can be great and graceful in the face of something really hard and I’m going to bring that in every role of my life. Two, it was my biggest revenue year last year. And this is something that I think you and I talked about is the juggling of it all, being… I’m a stay at home mom with two national businesses is what I say, I manage everything with my daughter, writing the book and speaking and two businesses, it’s a lot, and then you add, oh yeah, taking care of your dying father. I had to learn how to juggle it all and keep my businesses and revenue going. And that ability of self discipline, I didn’t think I had that level, and I did.
And it was a really those moments where you just sit back and you’re just proud of yourself. You’re like, oh my gosh, it’s so huge to go through something so hard, but keep your revenue going as a business owner and not lose your sanity. But that’s what coaching does, it’s I’m coaching a client through a really hard divorce, sometimes as a CEO you’re building your business and you’re going through something hard a divorce, disease, death. So in those moments, a coach or even a friend or a ministry can help you not lose it.

Mika Perry: Yeah. We haven’t talked a lot about grief and loss on this podcast primarily just because Russ and I haven’t personally, I know it will happen obviously as a course of life, but I’m glad that you shared insight on that and I love that you brought up things that I found really helpful in our coaching was discipline and also integrity, I never really isolated those. I just naturally assumed I have integrity. Of course I’m disciplined, but it’s all kind of in the sphere of like, I’m going to do the right thing. I’m a good person, I’m going to do the right thing, but I think it’s really easy to step out of integrity when you are tangled up in smallness, even though you are a good person. It’s not about that, and same with discipline too. Do you have any, I don’t want to say tips, but any suggestions on how to strengthen your, especially discipline? Because I think we’ve talked and shared about a lot of good ideas or strategies through this podcast, other work that we’ve done, but without discipline it’ll go away. What are your thoughts on discipline and what can you share on that?

Dena Patton: I think it’s one of the key skillsets for success, you have to hold yourself. As a coach, I’m not responsible for someone’s integrity and discipline. I teach it and I help hold them accountable, but they are responsible for it. And it’s in between calls where your life and your business happens, so an a little example, and I think you guys both know the story is many years ago I was breaking my emotional eating habit of every time I was bored or excited, I would go to the refrigerator and it was just this habit of emotional eating. And I put a sign in my refrigerator for a year that said, “What you are hungry for is not in here.” And it called me, it was just that visual that I needed to call myself, it’s like having a little coach in your refrigerator that says, “Are you eating because you’re hungry or you’re eating because you’re bored?” And so I got what I’m hungry for is to change the world and to ignite people on their greatness. And I got that I was an emotional eater, that I just ate not because I was hungry.
So that was, sometimes we need a little system or a little reminder or some kind of existence system to hold us to certain disciplines. But I think self discipline, again, it starts with that awareness going, oh, I’m an 80 percenter, I do everything 80% I do the laundry 80% I do my checkbook 80% I do my numbers 80%, everything is at 80%. I want to be disciplined that I do everything 100%, that’s changing the game. You’ve got to have awareness and then you got to see, oh, this is the old game, this is the new game.

Russ Perry: One of the past episodes we’ve had is a system of habits that I use and slowly Mika is adopting it, [inaudible] it’s a habit based system, but really what it does and why I like when people do it and what it did for me is it builds discipline, meditating daily, doing fitness daily, doing these habits like that is how you build discipline, it’s through habit creation of that.

Dena Patton: How you do those daily things build discipline to then because you have that skillset built, then you can apply it to other things, bigger things, business things. Just watch how you do everything, you’ll see where you are slacking or lacking or don’t know. And working on ourself it’s such a fun journey, when you get open and really just like wow, I’m ready to change the game, whatever area, it really becomes a fun game. You can make it as fun as possible. It doesn’t have to, I hate significant coaches, and I mean I can get hard, I’m a no sugar sugar coach, but I try not to get significant and make things fun. And I think that’s the same thing with discipline, make it fun.

Russ Perry: Enjoy the journey.

Mika Perry: Yeah. In my thing that I’m working on or launching and when… You can hear it.

Russ Perry: The online course that shall not be named.

Mika Perry: Oh gosh, it’s already named. But I talk about systems and I think you mentioned systems earlier and that’s a freeing thing, but a lot of the mindset around systems is that it’s limiting. And I’ve shared about morning routines and night routines and there’s a lot of interest on that, which is awesome, but question is I don’t get up in the morning earlier, I don’t like to, and that’s where it’s like you got to bring in discipline, think of it… It’s going to be hard. You’re going to do a lot of things you don’t want to do that’s uncomfortable, but as we’ve mentioned a lot is like that’s the comfort, you want that. Find that uncomfort because that’s-

Dena Patton: Out of your comfort zone. So greatness exists out of your comfort zone. Smallness is all about your comfort zone. So when smallness feed… You’re on this journey, right, of I want to lose 20 pounds or I want to organize my house or I want to build $1 million business, whatever that goal is, and you’re moving the train towards that goal, that smallness is going to come in, feed you those either P-D-F-O-D, disempowering messages, and one of them is going to stick because you agree, you’re like, oh yeah, I do have to have it perfect. And you go back into the comfort zone and stay small and scared, but it’s out of the comfort zone where your life really explodes and being willing to be out of your comfort zone.
People literally structure their entire life to be in their comfort zone. I mean, if you really, really look at it, that’s what we’re kind of bred to do that. And it’s the people who are saying, I’m willing to be vulnerable, I’m willing to course correct, I’m willing to be wrong. Let me tell you, when I started the nonprofit that I started, sometimes we don’t even know what we’re starting. Okay, we start with an idea or a brilliance or a course or whatever, and it builds. I did not know I was going to create a 501 (c) (3). It was just this like little passion project that I kind of did around town, I had no idea how to run a nonprofit. I’ve been in the for profit space for 24 years, so it was immediately put me into a spin of smallness because I didn’t know how to run an a 501 (c) (3). There was all these legalities and all of that.

Mika Perry: What’s your out of the five, the one that sticks for you?

Dena Patton: Doubt. I immediately get tangled in, I don’t know how to do this. And then if we stay there, it just gets deeper and deeper and deeper. And then there’s more evidence because you don’t know what you’re doing and you make mistakes, right? Versus standing in your greatness saying, “Okay, I don’t know how to run this, let’s get some mentors, let’s take some classes, let’s get a coach, let’s get a board that has a lot of experience.” So yes, I knew what I didn’t know, but instead of getting tangled in the smallness of doubt, doubt, doubt, doubt, doubt, doubt at which only creates more panic and bad decisions, I said, “No, I’m going to stay in an empowered state, stay in my greatness. How do I build this from my greatness and be willing to course correct?” And what I can tell you in the last five years from programs to how I run my board to how I fundraise, I mean, I’m a completely different organization because I’ve learned and I’m willing to make mistakes and even public mistakes like, oh, that program didn’t work, we’re going to do this instead. People are very forgiving and they get that sometimes things don’t work. So I think we have to give ourselves grace to say, “I’m going to launch this course as a beta and we’re going to figure out the pieces.”

Russ Perry: I love it. And I love how greatness isn’t having the plan, it’s just been willing to move forward in the mindset that is value driven, that you are doing what you’re designed to do. So Dena, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for our micro coaching lesson to our listeners, I know that you guys have heard Dena before, if you listen to the podcast, but this was a different format for us to just get some of her wisdom and her expertise. Actually I want to ask you question or tell a story, it’s kind of like I feel like I feel like your dad’s spirit has been here talking with us and we’ve talked about him in that journey, is there one final greatness story of something that you learned from your dad that you could share with us to kind of close this out and honor him because he’s had an impact and just to sort of immortalized that for us?

Dena Patton: Gosh, there are so many, but what I can say is in the last few months he lost his voice, the disease paralyzed his eye muscles and his throat muscles and his leg muscles. And this is a man who was 6′ 2″, Greek, look like Burt Reynolds with a deep radio voice. And I’m an entrepreneur because of him. And he would call me every day when I lived in New York for nine years with my marketing company, he would call me every day, “How are you doing? What are you working on?” And sometimes it was just two minutes, just checking. And so he was always that support for me. And so in his journey in this last two years, I was there almost every day for him. And we got down to the final week, and ironically, I had a fundraiser for my nonprofit on this Friday night and they called me and I was just wrapping up the event and they said, “We think this is it. You’ve got to come right now. We think he’s going.” And so I went to his bedside and I said… I just acknowledged him and I just thanked him for the greatness that he gave me in my life and that I get to share.
And he can’t say anything but you can see his facial expressions and I said, grandma and grandpa, they’re his parents, I said, “They have a party waiting for you in heaven,” and I said… he always teased me about being over at the top, which you all know, I am. And I own that, right? Especially my events, I want everything over the top, I want it beautiful. And I said, “I have one request,” I said, “When it’s my time to go to heaven, you have to throw me a totally over the top party.” And he looked at me and he mouthed, “Okay.” And it was just this sweetest little moment that he just… it was just that completion moment of greatness. And he actually held on for a couple more days. And what I realized, when people are holding on in that death time, that they’re incomplete about something. And I was racking my brain about what could he… who do I need to call? And I started just calling his brother, his girlfriend, I mean just anybody that I… two best friends and I said, “It’s time he’s transitioning and he can’t talk but I’m going to hold the phone and I want you to just complete with them.”
And it was just this… I could have never done that in my smallness because you’re too wrapped up in it. But I knew that I had to do that for him, I had to get myself out of the way. So I held it up, call after call after call and after the last one he passed away.

Russ Perry: Oh, thank you for sharing that with us.

Mika Perry: Wow, Dena, thank you.

Russ Perry: Well, Dina, once again, thanks for coming back on the podcast and everyone can find you on, I mean, best place is your website?

Dena Patton: Yes,

Russ Perry: Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.

Dena Patton: Welcome.

Russ Perry: Thank you for teaching us, thank you for encouraging everyone to live in their greatness.

Mika Perry: Yeah. Thank you for teaching the audience here and being such a light of greatness. You really are fully present in that being and it’s [crosstalk].

Russ Perry: So everyone else, thanks for being here with us this week. You can catch the notes, links to Dena’s site and check out her book as well. Just go to our website,

Mika Perry: If you enjoyed this episode, if it meant something to you, we’d love to hear from you, send us an email @hello you can also leave us a review.

Russ Perry: Yeah. And share it with someone who may be… This message is definitely a powerful one, so if there’s someone in your life who you feel like needs a boost, he needs to hear what Dena is talking about, then share it, that’s the best way to spread it. So thank you so much everyone, and we’ll see you next week.

Mika Perry: Bye.

Russ Perry: Thanks for listening to this episode of Good To Be Home.

Mika Perry: And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes and give us a rating.

Russ Perry: See you next time.