Episode #46: “Igniting your Greatness” An interview with Coach Dena Patton

On today’s podcast, we are speaking with business coach and speaker Dena Patton about accountability, growth, and greatness. Russ and Mika both used Dena Patton as a business coach (at the same time) in different ways. But what they both can attest to, is how Dena’s work goes far beyond building a business. In this...

Russ and Mika both used Dena Patton as a business coach (at the same time) in different ways. But what they both can attest to, is how Dena’s work goes far beyond building a business.

In this episode, we’ll hear about what coaching really is, how Russ & Mika met Dena, and how to find the right coach for your needs.

Dena talks about identifying your limitations and “igniting your greatness,” whether that means building a million dollar business, growing and hiring new employees, or just being your best self for the ones you love.



In this episode, you will learn:

• How does business coaching affect other areas of your life?
• Why a good coach won’t tell you what to do?
• Who is the ideal client for business coaching?
• How love languages can change business communication


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 #41: How to Speak the Languages of Love
Vanessa Shaw, coach
Dan Martell, coach
Picklecon 2019

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



Paige Perry: Hello, everyone.

Mika Perry: Welcome to-

Paige Perry: Welcome to …

Mika Perry: Good to be home.

Paige Perry: Good to be home.

Mika Perry: Good job.

Russ Perry: I’m Russ Perry.

Mika Perry: And 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 host, Russ Perry.

Mika Perry: And I am the other host, Mika Perry.

Russ Perry: I always say co-host.

Mika Perry: You do.

Russ Perry: I was kind of rushing the intro there. But today we have another episode with our guest, Dena Patton. Dena is a coach, a speaker and author. And actually at one point was me and Mika’s business coach, at the same time.

Mika Perry: You may have heard us speak of Dena before in past episodes, especially when we talk about our growth as business owners, entrepreneurs and also just growing in life, which we love to share on here. She is a wonderful person now has become a friend of ours. And when we decided we would bring some interviews on to the podcast, like you mentioned Russ, people that have impacted our lives but also have expertise to share with the listener.

Russ Perry: Right. Dena is one of those people where she’s, I feel like she’s always kind of in like a teaching mode. You could have a conversation just about anything and like the weather and she’s like, but that weather would have been something … And I’ll get emails from her randomly encouraging me. She’s just an amazing woman and has done some amazing things. In addition to being a coach, she also has her own nonprofit 501(C)(3) called girl’s role, which was something that connected with us because it’s about empowering young teenage girls, and helping them through the challenges that they face.

Mika Perry: Yeah, so it’s the girl’s role foundation. And we’ve been involved in growing that, you know, helping her spread the word of the work that she does there. And we’ve attended workshops that she’s had for young teens and their moms. It is just awesome because she really empowers them and also to go after their dreams and in many ways in like entrepreneurial spirit as well.

Russ Perry: So Mika, how about you introduce Dina with actually a testimonial you gave for Dina from her website.

Mika Perry: So this is something I wrote during my coaching relationship with her. And this is on her website. So here we go. I never knew I needed a coach until I met Dina as a total type A, I thought I had everything under control. Wrong. Dina has a talent for pulling out aspects of yourself and your past that you never knew or paid attention to. And expertly guides you to use that information to make impactful changes in your life. In just a few sessions, Dina has transformed the way I protect my roles as a wife, mother, entrepreneur and woman.
We realized I was winning, but winning in all the wrong games. The successes I have already experienced both at home and in my business by following her lead. In particular, shifting my focus from perfection to excellence has been incredible. A true weight lifted off my shoulders. She listens deeply cares greatly and serves her purpose with grace. I am truly grateful for Dina’s guidance and look forward to the fun and greatness ahead. Thanks, Dena.

Russ Perry: Well, good to be home family. It’s my pleasure to introduce Dena Patton. Hi Dena, welcome to the HQ of all things good to be home.

Dena: Thank you for having me. I can’t believe that I’m standing here with-

Russ Perry: It’s like a reunion.

Dena: Two of my favorite people in the world.

Russ Perry: Well, thank you. I’m really excited. I’m excited for this episode, I’m excited to sort of go down memory lane. If you will, there is a funny story of how we first got connected. But without a doubt in continuing the interview process here. We are looking and inviting people who’ve had a big impact in our lives. And you hold the unique distinction of being both me and Mika’s everything coach. I would say business coach, but it’s like life coach, therapist coach, personal coach, business coach, all those kinds of things. So I’m really pumped up. And we’ve all been on a long journey together. And I do think that you were instrumental and a lot you mean, both of our businesses.

Mika Perry: You’re definitely more than just a business coach, for me, for sure. You’re a mom, coach, and you are a mom yourself. And I really love the fact that you, on the surface, yes, probably business, but there’s just so much more that you did for us. And like Russ said, you have had a huge impact in both of our lives. First from the beginning. But since then, as well just continuously been a support for us. And the building that we’re sitting in, we just I give you a little tour of the office here, the design pickle office, but thank you.
But you had a part in creating that and I hope as a coach, you can see the effect that your work has. So the intent today is to bring that value that you provided for us here to the listener, as someone with expertise, with experience with a personal story and a personal connection to us and how you’ve helped us. So sharing all those here today with those listening.

Russ Perry: Dina, I’m going to start and I have a funny story I want to tell about how we met you. But before we get they’re quick question, yes. What’s coaching?

Dena: Coaching, in short, is taking someone to a level that they never knew was possible. And helping people get out of their own way. I work like you both said is a lot with mindset. But in business, I coach business owners and leaders. But sometimes it’s not the business that’s in their way. It might be a rough marriage, or it’s something they’re not taking care of their health or spiritually, they’re broken or whatnot. So I you know, after 17 years of coaching, you kind of coach the whole person, so that they can get to be the powerful leader in their business.
So you have to identify that. But for me, coaching is just all about partnering with someone, that confidential, safe place that people can win and fail and trip and go to the next level.

Russ Perry: Okay, now for my story. How I met you? Yes, because it’s really funny. And actually, I will never forget your sales speech to me, and working together. And my journey into coaching was that of slight desperation, not with you specifically, but just in general. And I didn’t know what I was going to do. 2014, I was unemployed. I was like, figuring out my life at this point, and in positive way. Like I had, I moved on from agencies. And I was like, well, I’m just going to go to like this event. And colleague of ours, Vanessa Shah in town, and she’s a coach as well. And she’s having this event, and you were one of the speakers.
And first thing to know is that I thought I’d walked into a women’s event. And technically it wasn’t a women’s event, but it was like all women, Vanessa’s husband is the, and maybe one other guy.

Dena: Yes.

Russ Perry: But whatever. I grew up with all women, I live with all women. So I was like in my element and it was a great experience. But I vividly remember you coming on the stage, and presenting your content. And I was motivated to talk to you for Mika. I was like, Oh, this Mika should get a coach, not me. And so-

Mika Perry: I don’t think I knew that.

Dena: Oh, yes.

Mika Perry: Really?

Dena: Oh, yes over lunch.

Mika Perry: So he was hunting for me?

Dena: Yes. You have to work with my wife.

Russ Perry: I don’t have any problems, but my wife does. So she needs a coach. So I go to meet you during lunch, and we’re talking, and I don’t know, the exact conversation. But there was one line, I’ll never forget. And it closed the deal for me working with you. And it was, well, Russ, I primarily work with women. But sometimes I work with really smart men. And I was like, I’m a smart man. Like we should work together, then I hired you first. And we then work together first. And to your point earlier, I thought I was hiring a business coach, period. I was like, I need a business coach, I need a business help.

Mika Perry: At that point had you worked with a business coach before?

Russ Perry: No, the only form of coaching I had done was like in the EO accelerator program. And it wasn’t even one on one coaching. It’s just like general knowledge transfer. Listen to the speaker. They tell you some stuff, you know, group setting kind of stuff I never worked. I’d never worked with a coach one on one not even in like fitness or anything that I really can think about at this point.

Mika Perry: High school like teams maybe was the, wouldn’t be the last time.

Russ Perry: Not even, but I’m talking one on one coaching.

Dena: One on one. Like group mentoring, like general.

Russ Perry: Yeah. So we dove into it. And I don’t think we talked about business for like the first six months. I feel like it was like my dad, my feelings, Mika, my relationships or mindset edit, but it worked. So that’s my story of how we first got connected.

Mika Perry: Now is that, was that intentional, that you bring that out first, when you work with clients?

Dena: Only when they need it.

Russ Perry: Only when they’re messed up.

Dena: Only when they’re trying to build a business on top of a whole bunch of situations that are unstable. So I looked back in our homework, the homework that I send to the notes and the homework after every session. And so I kind of reminisced and looked up your homework, and-

Mika Perry: From how long ago?

Dena: From four years ago from this week. But I looked throughout the year that we were coaching, and it was. I mean, it was probably 60%, mindset, personal, spiritual and 40% the business. There was all, and I could see that in our homework, even. You know, it was this, this, this, which were personal or spiritual. And then it was two pieces of the business.
But you know, this is the thing. As a coach going on my 18th year, you can hear what people need. And sometimes they don’t know what they don’t know, which is the key point of coaches. Is a good coach can really hear the underlying thing that needs to be created or solidified or completed or whatever worked on before you go to that level. You couldn’t be the CEO that you were in the beginning, or you are now without some of those core pieces being handled.

Russ Perry: Right.

Dena: So-

Russ Perry: How do you find out? I mean, is it a spidey sense? Like, what do you, how do you know what people don’t know?

Dena: So it definitely is something learned over the years. I wasn’t as good as I am now in the first 10 years. But you get this, you can hear what people don’t say. There’s an underlining that you can hear. But also, through questions, through the hard questions that I ask how you answer, you can tell a lot. And so you know, you were handling, closing the agency, you were handling being unemployed, you were handling this huge, big multimillion dollar business that you want to dive into. But you had some dad stuff, I’m no therapist, but I do know-

Russ Perry: I disagree. I think you’re fantastic therapist. Like we got through some real stuff.

Dena: No, absolutely. That’s what I was going to say is I’m not a therapist, but we can handle some big personal issues that are in the way. Like, if you were running this business, as your dad, there was some habits there, that were not who you are. And that’s what I call you. I call you to your greatness and your biggest best self, and the things that are in the way. Old patterns from childhood, we look at that, and you go, Oh, my gosh, I never saw that.
So there’s, coaching is very distinct from counseling and I don’t ever want to frame myself as a counselor. But I can see the big issues and we can unpack it, so you can see it be responsible, and transform it. That’s what coaching is all about.

Mika Perry: What I really loved about having a coach and what I tell other people when they ask about coaching is that it is different from therapy, and counseling. We’ve had counseling before. We’ve had therapist before, before we worked with you. But what I felt and not to discount therapy and counseling, because that is huge. But what I like and is distinct about coaching is that there’s a forward looking. You’re looking forward, you’re not ruminating in the past. So I loved how you recognized the importance of your past. But it was a very distinct conscious move to okay, great. We identify that, but how can we use this going forward?

Dena: Yes.

Russ Perry: And I remember, I just want to talking about my coaching experience more, how great it was. So it actually made it into my books entrepreneur, one of the breakthrough moments that we had is you’ve actually linking up past present and future in one fell swoop. And it was this Pepsi machine that I had, and I had literally lugged this thing around forever. And it was this big metal 1970s Pepsi machine. And at this point, I actually had a storage unit at our apartment complex that only had the Pepsi machine in it.

Mika Perry: A vending machine.

Russ Perry: Yeah, a vending soda machine. And in our call, you had said, Russ, you’re so focused on doing things differently than your parents and your dad and this, that. That has been like you’ve attracted that. And now chronologically were years after the affair, were years after those stuff, but we’re still talking about this. It’s still not, it’s still kind of fresh, but just not we’re not through it completely. And you’re like, you know, you’re focusing on not doing this but then you’re focusing on it, period.
Even if you’re wanting to be opposite, and it’s kind of have is this law of attraction. And it was like, Oh, my gosh, I’m literally carrying around this burden with me in the form of this vending machine and it’s sitting out there. And after our call, I think I was not at the house. But I came back I went to the front desk of the property management company, the office, and I was like, here’s the keys. I’m not paying for this anymore. There’s actually a really nice vending machine and you can just have it, you can sell it, it’s yours. I’m done. And I just got rid of it.
Like didn’t even sell it, didn’t even do anything. But it was like that past connection was a weight holding me back from the future. And you know, that was just one, that was just a regular conversation. It was crazy. Like, I still remember it to this day. And dad, if you ever listen to this, sorry about your vending machine, I totally get away.

Dena: But see, that’s the thing is I’m looking at what is limiting you. Your thoughts, your leadership, your creativity, and linking it to, I’m trying to hear where that limitation is. And once I hear it or see it, I go, boom, now we have that association of where that limitation is coming from. And we can get rid of it, we can transform it, we can delete it. So that was only one. I mean, you had so many were and you know, coaching, you hear me a lot is what game are you playing?
You were playing the game called, I don’t want to be my childhood or I don’t want to be this or I don’t want to be that. Like that’s not a game worth playing. You want to play the game called million dollar CEO making a huge difference in the world. Let’s play that game. Game changing.
So we got a look at what games we’re playing. And if they’re saying I don’t want to be my mom, or I don’t want to be this, like, that’s not a game, you’re going to win. You can’t, one you can’t win a negative and I don’t want to be. That’s like pulling up to McDonald’s and saying I don’t want big mac and I don’t want a shake and I don’t want, but like that wouldn’t go well.

Russ Perry: They’re like, come on-

Dena: Come on, what do you want? It’s the same thing. You got clarity moves the train. And you know, when you’re playing big games in your life, I don’t care if it’s money or your marriage or your business, you got to know what games you are playing and be intentional around them.

Russ Perry: Right. And bringing it back to the whole concept of coaching. The crazy thing about this, and I said this earlier, we were chit chatting. For listeners, coaching is actually a really bizarre business model. Because if you find a good coach, they will listen. They will answer, ask you questions, you’ll answer these questions. You’ll provide all the ideas. And then they say, Okay, do that. And you’re like I’m paying you all of this money, and you’re just asking questions, tell me what to do. And they won’t actually tell you what to do. And you get frustrated, but then you come up with the ideas. And you’re like, this is crazy, but then it works.
So like, explain that. Like because you know what I mean? Like it’s, and a good coach, for the record. A good coach doesn’t tell you what to do. They might kind of give you some clarity bullet points, but they’re digging and digging and digging. So what’s that all about?

Dena: Yeah, asking hard questions, is one thing, if we knew how to do it, we’d never come to the end of ourselves. We come to the end of ourselves, because we don’t know what to ask ourselves. The next big move, whether it’s in your financials or in your marriage or in your business. It’s all about strategy and navigating that journey quickly with clarity. And I think the power of a coach is asking really good questions. And it’s more of a mirror and a guidance.
And this is the thing. When you derail yourself, they’re there to get you back on track with velocity. Most people, you ask any CEO that didn’t have a coach somewhere along their journey, and they got derailed. They were derailed for months or maybe even years. When you have a coach, you’re not derailed more than a week or two. So it’s not just to guide you in the good times and help you with that high level partnership and that reflection, like you said, to ask those good questions. But when you do make a bad decision or something doesn’t go right, you can get straight back on track quickly and with velocity.

Mika Perry: I think that’s a really great point because I think maybe the mental image of a coach is like, all right, go getter. Let’s go. What are your goals? What are your targets, let’s work towards that, without recognizing that you’re going to fall out of that. You’re going to have bad days, weeks, months. And I would agree that when you do have those setbacks, having a coach there to tell you a little bit more of what to do, because at that point, you don’t have the answers that was huge. And I think that’s a huge quality of coaching. That’s very valuable.

Dena: Yes. And I think to your point about direction, as a business coach, probably 80% of it is asking those hard questions. And the guidance and the listening, the gold is in the listening, so you can know what question to ask next. It’s in the listening that I can hear. This is where they’re going, or this is where they’re starting to get derail. You can hear all of it, then you can strategically ask the question that gets them back on track, right? So it’s the questions.
But probably 20%, for me, is doing this, right? Is the let’s do this, let’s do that. There’s some business owners that I’m helping them literally structure, their keynote speech, or their next marketing strategy or their next hire. I have three employees right now that are all in like team building. Building, they’re hiring their teams. When you’re an entrepreneur, and you’ve never hired before, oh my gosh, the amount of mistakes that you can do in the people realm.
So it’s really important to give some really tangible tips in the, don’t do this, do this, in hiring just from the job description, and how you onboard them and how you train them. So there are pieces where I’m actually telling them what to do. But I would say you know, a third, and the other is-

Russ Perry: And it’s derived from all of those previous question-

Dena: Yes absolutely-

Russ Perry: Conversations. You’re not just like, Hey, here’s your list of things to do today.

Dena: Yeah, so what do you think the biggest coachable moments-

Russ Perry: Oh, I’m getting. I’m getting coached right now. She did just turn on question mode.

Dena: What do you think the biggest coachable moments for you like, remember a breakthrough or a coachable moment where, I asked you to do something or be something.

Russ Perry: Oh, absolutely. I remember specifically, I was huddled in the storage closet of my consulting companies, because I would do my coaching calls during my lunch break. And I was in like, this spare office with all of these boxes and things kind of like hiding. Like if your kid and you’re doing something you shouldn’t be and you’re like, hiding. Like, I don’t know what you did bad, but whatever. And it was really this decision to quit the consulting jobs. So I’d close my agency prior to us working together, but then I was still augmenting the revenue and DP was starting to grow.

Mika Perry: Design pickle?

Russ Perry: Yeah design pickle, sorry, I know. For all our new listeners out there, you can check out And then but it was just like, I got to make this move. Like if I’m looking at myself at the time now, like hindsight, going back and like time travel and watching, how ridiculous was the scene? I’m trying to be the CEO, like, hiding in this closet having a call with my business coach whose like, Russ, you got to do this. You’re not going to grow unless you actually make this happen. But you were very, you were allowing me to come to the decision. You actually didn’t say you need to quit this and that, but it’s like, what would the million dollar CEO do? I’d say gosh, Dina you’re right. He wouldn’t be hiding in the closet talking.

Dena: It’s my favorite question.

Russ Perry: I literally came out of the closet. And you know, not that moment. But actually, within the next week or two, wound down that engagement, and wound down the rest of them over the … And I think by June or July of the first year of 2015. I was then yeah, fully employed by the startup design pickle.

Dena: I think the question one was, what would a million dollar CEO do? And then the second question was, when are you going to give your notice? I don’t tell you, when you’re going to give your notice. I mean, you could have said two months, I think you said two weeks?

Russ Perry: The commitment.

Dena: Yeah.

Russ Perry: The-

Dena: When were you going to commit. And I think it was two or three weeks, and then you’re done, and you jumped.

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 are 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: Party of one, now back to the podcast. So let’s talk about accountability for a second, because that’s something that we didn’t really chat about beforehand. But I think now that I think about it, I love committing things to others because I don’t know. Like I don’t want to let them down. I like just some like, it’s why when we commit to someone else do we do it. But when we have the same idea, and we just think about it, it’s so much harder?

Mika Perry: Yeah, is that like a personality trait for some or is it more generally? Like that’s just a mode that works really well?

Dena: Yeah, I think that part of hiring a coach is you are accountable to them for sure. It’s a part of a trait of that. But I think it is a personal characteristic. I think there’s people who hate being accountable, and hate being responsible. And you can look at the results of their life. It reflects it. People who really enjoy being accountable and responsible to me their greatness is in the world in big ways. Because greatness in short, is you’re responsible to your greatness being out in the world.
So accountability is a huge part of coaching. In fact, I just fired a client, she was with me two months, and just was not accountable for her, like came every call she was late. And two she was not doing any of her homework. So there just was no accountability. To me, that shows me that she’s not serious.

Russ Perry: Wait, you’re not to say names but was it one of my referrals?

Dena: No.

Russ Perry: Okay.

Dena: No.

Mika Perry: So you mentioned different kinds of clients, obviously, don’t give names or anything. But who are some of the people that you coach? What are their roles, maybe kind of give like avatars-

Russ Perry: Right. Like, who’s an ideal client?

Dena: Yeah. So my … I mean, if I look at all nine of my clients right now, they are all CEOs of businesses that are between 100,000 and 5 million, that’s my client, for the most part. I do get some leaders who are not, who don’t own the business, but they’re high up level leader celebrity playing a big game. And for me, the person who I coach is they’re attracted to me, is why I’m attracted to them. Is they’re playing big games in the world, whether they’re at the beginning of that, middle, or at the top. You’re at the top, there’s just as much responsibility and accountability at the top than it was in the journey. It’s not like you get to the top, and you’re like, Oh, it’s all good. It’s cherry pie, no.
You now have all these teams, all these employees, all this responsibility. That in itself, just to keep someone at that level of high performance and clarity is hard. When you’re at the top of your game. I mean, look at athletes that are at the top of their games, sometimes they have more coaches at the top of their game that they did in the journey to get there.

Mika Perry: Because maintaining that spot.

Dena: Maintaining that level of high performance and clarity and leadership and greatness is sometimes hard.

Mika Perry: So it sounds like there’s two time points specifically, I mean, throughout any journey in entrepreneurship or life. But just as much applicable to get coaching at the very beginning, when you’re thinking and that idea is there. You’re trying, and you’re on your own as much as when you’ve reached that, and then stay there yeah.

Russ Perry: So what are the signs, then you need a coach? Like what’s going on-

Mika Perry: Yeah that’s a good question.

Russ Perry: What’s going on in your life, where you’re like, ding, ding, ding?

Dena: Well, if I looked at all nine of my clients, in fact, just a couple that I had this morning, before I got here. They come in for one thing, just like the two of you. It’s like I need help in this area, or I’m growing my business in this area. But once you start unpacking the whole package, you see, whoa, we have a whole area over here, that’s disempowered, or that’s broken. So you know, I have one business, it’s scaling, and doing well on like marketing and sales, but she can’t get our team to together.
Just like keep hiring the wrong people and that people problem is huge when you’re growing a business. Employee number four, and five and six. So I think the place they’re in is either they know they need a coach, because there’s an area or two that they really need strategic accountability, and a partnership to sounding board and that whole game. And then there’s people who kind of know, like, maybe they’re listening to this, and they know friends that have had coaches, and it’s a good idea, but they’re not really know how would I use one?

Mika Perry: Do you ever run in like, it could be like, it’s so Oh, that’s like a glamorous thing, and you know, maybe I’m not worthy of a coach, or I’m not there yet. Or, like it’s a little too inaccessible, some people think like they wouldn’t.

Dena: Yeah, and I think in business coaching, for me, I coach people to build businesses, so that they can then share their greatness through their businesses becomes a platform for their greatness. You don’t need a business to share your greatness in the world. I’m all about igniting greatness. So whether it’s through your charitable things, or your PTA, or wherever your roles are in life, you can share your greatness. But I think anybody can have a coach, depending on the area of life, that you really want to be empowered and responsible and great in.
If you’re struggling with money, go get a money coach. You’re in massive amounts of debt, and you’re spinning around your money. You can’t coach yourself, because you come to the end of yourself. You’re doing it how you think you should be doing it. Really, you should be going out and getting a money coach, it makes all the difference.

Russ Perry: Right. There’s I mean to paraphrase, and I’ll even make up. I think it was Einstein who said this. You know, the mindset that created the problems can’t solve the problems. So you’re in a situation that you’re growing, you’re expanding and then you hit a roadblock. It’s not that you don’t have the capacity to create it. It’s just you don’t know how. I mean, it can really come down to a knowledge skill set. You said, awareness, you know, seeing the things that aren’t normally seen, and it’s much easier for someone cold. I don’t even know you, let’s chat. Oh, you’re having this problem, what did you think about this? Oh, my gosh, you’re a genius. I never thought about that which that’s often for me.
Like I love the coaching relationships because I can move pretty quickly and stuff. And it will be the simplest conversation that, I even I hired a new coach recently who’s a successful startup founder and sold companies and works with software companies and his name’s Dan Martell. And Dan, I did a one on one session with him and he, it was so great. I don’t remember it.
But he basically said one thing, and my exact words were, Dan, like, you’ve earned this month fee. And it wasn’t like some crazy complicated thing. But it was like some his thing he said, that triggered three more dominoes of an action now that I needed to take. And it was like, aha, that’s it.

Dena: Yes.

Russ Perry: But had I never had that call, had that conversation, that one thing that’s just right there within grasp would have never come into my awareness.

Dena: Yes. Well, I think that and what you’re speaking to is, there’s really two realms. There’s the knowing, like, you know how to lose 10 pounds. Let’s say just simple thing that lets, you know how to lose 10 pounds. But knowing there’s no power actually in knowing that it’s all inaction, right? So why are you paralyzed in the actual things that are going to make it happen? The action, because communication without action is just another conversation and talk is cheap, really.
But when you take like you just said, simple coaching tips, or a story that he told you that then boom, creates action now you get power. It’s all about the action. So there’s that. There’s the, I know what to do, but I don’t have the accountability, or the push to actually get into action. And then there’s the second realm of you don’t know, you don’t know. I mean, you don’t even know, right, what to do, or what to ask or whatnot. So those are the two realms that really coaches work in.

Mika Perry: I would say for me, both are very applicable. I knew what I needed to do. But I needed the accountability. I work really well with accountability, whether it’s in-

Dena: You did all your homework.

Mika Perry: I showed up on time. I did my homework. To not show up with homework gives me fear. So there was fear. It’s like I need to show up for this coach that I’m paying for on a week by week basis. But then also, there was so much I didn’t know because it was my first time running a business. So it’s both you really stepped in and helped me in both ways.
So it was really exhilarating to feel that I already knew things. And I just needed that push to the see the results. But then was also very educating to know the things I didn’t know that Russ was telling me to do, but I wouldn’t listen because he’s my husband.

Russ Perry: Like specifically Google Calendar.

Dena: Yes, so.

Russ Perry: Dina you said, you will not work with Mika unless she used online calendar.

Mika Perry: I was all about a paper planner. And it’s so funny, because now you know, on Instagram, and I’d get questions. A lot of times when I show my computer, and it has like a calendar, what do you use? And I’m like Google Calendar, it’s the best thing.

Russ Perry: But Russ has been years-

Dena: High five.

Mika Perry: Forever had been telling me to get on a digital calendar. And I said, that’s no, there’s no way I need the tangible paper. And I think a lot of people can relate to this. But then I think on call like to, you said you absolutely need to get on Google Calendar. And I said, Okay.

Russ Perry: Gosh, so let’s talk about Mika a little bit more.

Dena: Okay.

Russ Perry: You coached us both at the same time, I don’t know how many husband wife, simultaneous teams you’ve coached. But what was that like for you?

Dena: You know, I’ve coached a lot of husband and wives in the 17 years, but they’ve always worked in the same business. So I was coaching them often together, or the conversations were even if one missed call, it was still the same strategy, the same conversations, were building the business together. So I think you guys were the first that two separate businesses, two separate people. One I had to draw the real line between all three of us of what we discussed me and Russ it’s confidential. If you guys share what you’re being coached in, then that’s fine.
So you have to have those boundaries of protecting that the conversations and what we’re doing so that you really have that safe space. But I think it was magical, and it was awesome, because you were both in, new ventures, you were growing, I think as a couple in your own thing. And so it was, you know, you’re two of my favorite people. I just loved you both were very coachable for the most part, and you were that ideal client who showed up, coachable, doing the work, willing to be open. And you know, both in your personal life and in your business life.

Russ Perry: Who was the better?

Dena: Oh, Russ you’re so bad no.

Russ Perry: Why not?

Mika Perry: Because it’s me.

Russ Perry: All right, I think, I actually would probably guess for Mika.

Mika Perry: Well, Dina you asked earlier, what was like that big moment when you turn the table on us and asked, where we got clarity with you? What was that aha moment? Russ, we talked about yours. But I wanted to share mine because I think it’s important for those listening in ways that you helped me. And there was several, like, as Russ was sharing his I was trying to think, and I was like there’s so many. They just kept popping up, and it’s amazing that after all these years are popping up. But I would say there are a few.
One is you helped me unpack a lot of being a step mom, remember working on that? And that wasn’t something I realized. And so you brought that out from me on the struggles I had with that. And now it’s been amazing because I have shared that story that struggle here on the podcast. And I’ve had step moms reach out that are like, I’ve never heard of anyone talk about this. Now I don’t feel bad about it. Like I was crying about it, because it was so hard. And it’s a very unique pressure and pain in that role. That really you don’t understand unless you’re in it, or you’ve coached a lot of yes through it. I’m sure.
But in that you said, we were talking about how I was coming up against like a roadblock of loving medics. It was hard for a variety of reasons. And you were telling me just the importance of love, not only just for your daughter, your stepdaughter but for a girl. And that if you don’t provide love for her, she’ll go look for it elsewhere. And I remember we would do our calls a lot on the road, I would be driving like I’d be going to a client. I said, okay, we have like an hour so let’s talk.
And I remember I was on Tatum road. I even remember when you’re telling me that. I was driving southern Tatum and you were telling me all the reasons what would happen if I didn’t provide her the love. That she will look for it somewhere else bad. In men, in maybe addictions, somewhere if you don’t fill her and I was like … And you said you have a responsibility. So that is a combination of you bringing it out of me, but also telling me and letting me know, because I wasn’t, I’ve never been a step parent before. I didn’t have step parents either. My parents are still married. So to know that is what could happen if I didn’t provide it now. So it’s like, all right, Mika likes stepping at this. You were, like stop messing around. You know, that was huge.

Dena: Wow. I love hearing that.

Russ Perry: What was another one?

Mika Perry: As far as business, gosh, there’s so many I was overcome with just that memory of you telling me that. But I would say from a business perspective, being afraid of sales and marketing was a big aha for me to know that you don’t need to be afraid of that. I think a lot of entrepreneurs and stepping into that. It’s like, oh, but I’m not good at sales and marketing. And what you did for me is that you brought out actually the love languages. We recently did an episode. If you haven’t listened to that listener here, go back and listen to that episode on love languages. But Dina you-

Russ Perry: What’s the URL?

Mika Perry: Oh,, if you want to go back. But if you’re on iTunes, you can go back and listen there too. But you had brought in love languages, and you utilize mine in a business setting. Now I could then funnel my sales and marketing through my strength of a love language, and that was gifts. And so you helped me come up with a marketing plan that was much more personal.

Russ Perry: Oh, yeah, I remember this campaign.

Mika Perry: And we’ve talked about that in another episode on marketing. Yeah. We did an episode just on marketing, and we talked about how we both actually marketed through food and the gift of food. So I went in did the cupcake-

Dena: Yes, the cupcakes, the branded.

Mika Perry: The branded cupcakes campaign we called it Yes. And it was just show up at these places-

Dena: Yeah, ideal client.

Mika Perry: Ideal clients are where their eyes are. I went straight to like editors at magazines. And like, that would have been so scary for me to just think of it as a sale or a hitch. But then because I was funneling it through a strength of mine, I was like, Oh-

Dena: It changed the game.

Mika Perry: It changed the game.

Dena: Yes. Did you notice what I brought you today? A gift.

Mika Perry: Yes, yeah.

Dena: Because it’s your love language.

Mika Perry: I know.

Dena: I know.

Mika Perry: Thank you.

Dena: You love people and their love language and it completely, you know, and you can do that in, I used to the love language. And then I actually certified in true colors International. It’s similar but in the business side of things. But when you are, you have employees or clients, and you know their love language, and you know their color, it changes the game, because you can train them in their color or in their love language. It just changes how you communicate, how you connect, because if you have an employee, you’re just not connecting with it. I mean, you’re just on two planets, it’s because you’re not utilizing their love language, and you’re not utilizing their color.
And so it changes the communication, and the connection completely cuts conflict out of your workplace. So I utilize those two, when I do corporate training and group training. Not just my one on one clients. It changes the game because people walk around, we walk around in our own love language, in our own color. And then we wonder why we have all these conflicts going on. It’s like well, that person, whether it’s your spouse, or your CEO, or your employee or your client, they’re the opposite. So you’re treating them and talking to them in your love language and your color, versus their love language and their color.
But I want to note something on sales and marketing that just, if you’re a business owner, and you’re listening, I just have a very short little distinction of sales and marketing, that makes it a little bit more friendly. And that is that marketing is an attraction conversation. Sales is a conversion conversation. You’ve got to know the difference and not be afraid of them. Your business, you’re in business, whatever you do, because you’re trying to share your greatness through your business. You are brilliant at what you do.
But if you do not become empowered around your sales and marketing, you will fail. You’ve got to shift from disempowered around the people who hide of like, I hate sales, ooh, sales. So I get that. I mean, there’s a lot of slimy people out there in sales. But when you’re trained right, in marketing and sales, you start to see that it’s the access to the people that you’re meant to serve. I am meant to serve certain people on this planet. I am not meant to serve a whole bunch of people. Not everybody is my client, no way.
You have champagne, wine, beer, and no way clients. So just not being afraid of those sales and marketing, be empowered around it. It is where your business scales and grows, and you can make the revenue, and the difference that you’re meant to be.

Mika Perry: And you mentioned revenue now and as you were talking, I was thinking about numbers. That’s another thing you know. You’re not a money coach, Dina, but you helped me in the phrase, know your numbers. I’m someone that’s fearful in some ways of knowing numbers, because it’s the truth. It’s a thermometer like a barometer, I guess of where you’re at.

Dena: It’s like a judgment.

Mika Perry: Yeah, it is. Yeah and sometimes, I think we’ve talked about before in episodes, you’re the one that like, knows numbers and you like to save and exactly, whereas every single penny going, where I’m a little bit more fluid in that. I think it’ll be fine and Russ loves that.

Russ Perry: Oh, my gosh.

Mika Perry: Loves it. But really, you helped me see numbers. Don’t forget the numbers.

Dena: Don’t forget the numbers look at the numbers.

Mika Perry: And that helped me in transitioning out of that business in that role and in professional organizing as that company. Because when we looked at the numbers for me, in my situation, and in my goals, it just didn’t pan out. It just didn’t click.

Russ Perry: Yeah, you were challenged to continue.

Mika Perry: Yeah, and maybe in a different time of my life or different situation. It would have but that it didn’t. And that it was okay to say [crosstalk]. Yeah, but that doesn’t mean you need to step away completely from that role or service or you know, that you’re meant to do.

Russ Perry: I want to drop us a little soundbite that one of my other, I’ve lot of coaches. So Dina you’re the OG coach. But if you’re not marketing or advertising, you don’t believe in your service or product?

Dena: Correct.

Russ Perry: And that’s like, comes back to what you say it’s like, you’re meant to work with these people. It’s almost like your mission to or your ministry to do that. And so like, if there are listeners out there who have a product or service, but they’re not paying for advertising, they’re not doing things to tell people about it.

Dena: That’s right.

Russ Perry: You got to ask yourself, what don’t you believe. And that could be again, a very good reason to find a coach is because they can help analyze and put some perspective to it. But sometimes we’re just fearful of rejection or we are fearful of the platform’s themselves. Let me tell you, they make it very easy for to spend money on advertising platforms. But at the end of the day, if you’re not actively doing that, there’s some obstacle that you should think about why that is.
Dina question, probably our listeners we have a large contingency of basically fans of Mika that listen to our podcast. I think there’s a smaller contingency for me. But there are a lot of entrepreneurial minds. There’s a lot of people who run businesses of all definitions, whether that’s a family business or their family as a business kind of things. We found you, through the grace of God kind of circumstantially. I mean, it was meant to be, if you look in hindsight. But how do you find a coach A?, How do you pick a coach that’s right for you B?

Dena: So most coaches work over the phone or zoom. So it’s don’t get limited by-

Russ Perry: What’s a zoom?

Dena: Zoom is a video, like Skype.

Russ Perry: Got it.

Dena: So you don’t have to look like in your area. Don’t be limited by Oh, I have to find a coach that is in my same city. I always say get a referral first. I mean, I would not go on to Google. I mean, there’re thousands of coaches. Okay, let’s start there. Dime a dozen. You want to be clear in the areas you want coaching? Because there’s, coaching is very niche. I mean, there are, do I need a coach in sales and marketing and money? Yes, because it’s part of the eight areas of business. But there are also very powerful just money coaches, right? Marriage coaches, parenting coaches-

Russ Perry: Breathing coaches.

Dena: Right.

Russ Perry: Like there are coaches that help you breathe.

Dena: Yes.

Mika Perry: Meditation coach?

Dena: Yeah, meditation. So anything that you want to go to the next level, or you’re disempowered, and you want to be empowered around. So you have to know the thing that you want to be coached in and then ask your network first, Hey, I’m looking for a coach that does this. See if they get referrals first. And then from there, you can search. But you want to look at, you always want to have a consultation. Number one, because you want to listen to their tone, their way, their energy, see if it’s a fit. And also look at their reputation.
Their website should have, I mean, they should have testimonials. You could even ask for, I have a couple people who said, I want to talk to three past clients. Don’t be afraid to do your homework, you’re going to pay a coach a lot of money. So do your homework, ask good questions and clarity. I think clarity is a really big part of what you want out of the coach. That coach, if they’re good, they’re going to find other things like we talked about.
But I always want, I want to go back to that, because I always want to deliver on the thing that people come for, right? But I want to give them more. It’s like, Oh, I got yes, I got queue. I’ve doubled my revenue with Dina. But, man, I got these three breakthroughs too. So you want people who can deliver on the thing that you want those breakthroughs in.

Russ Perry: Since working together. And for the record, you are and still really the only coach, I refer people to.

Dena: I love that.

Russ Perry: With the exception of either, warrior program, which is a different style of stuff. [inaudible] my own programs. But the thing that I’ve always looked for over the years is someone who’s on the same path you’re on just further down the road. Because it’s not about sitting down and Dina, you just making up a bunch of stuff, and telling people just whatever comes to mind. When you’re coaching in marketing and sales systems, you actually run a marketing and sales system for your own business.

Dena: Right.

Mika Perry: Well, even before that, before you’re a coach, you know you have-

Russ Perry: An agency like you did stuff. Like when you coached me on my first, keynote style presentation, you’ve given lots of presentation. So like that’s like that you’ve been there and I will say at times, you will either get to the level of your coach or surpass them in certain areas. Like Design Pickle grew beyond the levels that we were at and that’s okay, too. Like coaching is not a marriage.

Dena: No.

Russ Perry: Coaching could be, I’ve had a coach for-

Dena: Three months.

Russ Perry: Three phone calls and that’s fine. And I’ve got the value out of it.

Dena: That’s right.

Russ Perry: I think but the key is like, do they have the real experience of what you’re looking for? That’s to me how you get away from the snake oil coaches who took just some online course and call themself a life coach. But they’re in their parents house still, not married and they’re like, 23 years old.

Mika Perry: Nothing wrong with that but to be a coach … I’ve seen memes on there that there was one last night I saw. And you know, the letter board? That people write on and they write funny things. I see that all over Instagram now. And it was like, it’s 11:59pm and I just ate two bowls of fruit loops. Anyone looking for a life coach? I’m available. But it’s recognized that Okay, there are a lot of people out there claiming are saying that they can be a coach, but you really have to do your homework. And I really appreciate the parameters you just gave the listener of what to look for.
And I would say, for me, and anyone listening that’s interested from a more personal side. For me, the fact that you are a mother, and how old is [Arley] now?

Dena: 11.

Mika Perry: So to know that you had a daughter that was older than my daughter was really helpful, because you were able to give personal experience and perspective and what worked for you as a mother. And that was so valuable for me. So you delivered on doubling tripling my revenue but here I am left with the nuggets of gold on parenting and motherhood.

Dena: Well, and this is the thing. We are an entrepreneur, that is one role. We are mothers, we are wives, we are husbands. We are care taking, maybe Ill parents. We sit on boards of charities, there’s all these different roles, right? So being an entrepreneur is only one role. And home life is a real foundation for us as entrepreneurs. If your marriage is really rough, or parenting right now, like you just can’t, like you’re just losing, right? I mean, there’re those moments where you just lose your power in parenting, you just are starting to spin.
Well, that is going to affect your business. So sometimes it’s just a little system or two that you’re missing in your parenting. How to manage it all you know, [inaudible] when I’m coaching moms who are also CEOs. Managing getting the home life managed. How to manage the kids schedules and get a nanny or babysitter at certain times. Being strategic.

Mika Perry: And not have guilt around?

Dena: And not have guilt. So there’re times I don’t believe in let nannies raise our kids. But there’re times where you have to have a support team. It’s about a support in your home life, just like you do in your business. So those are the little things that as you build your business, that was disempowered, or it’s just not that little system wasn’t created. I say one of the little stories around home life. I think if you’re a mom, you know the struggles when you have a little girl. They start, maybe boys too, but you start to struggle with what they’re wearing in the morning. Like they get six or seven and they start wanting to choose what they want to wear. And there’s this power struggle every morning-

Mika Perry: Or three-

Dena: Or three, yes.

Russ Perry: Page will wake up in the middle of night. I didn’t pick out my outfit. Get out of bed, hang out her outfit and get back in bed.

Dena: Yes. There’s a whole outfit thing around girls. That can really do well your morning, right? So I look for where is my client getting derailed or disempowered. And then we go to work on it right? And so Ali was just starting to have like these power struggles every morning. And I was like, where there’s chaos and there is no system. I was like bing there’s no system for this getting morning. So what did I do? Her love language is quality time and gifts. So I came home, you know those things that you hang in a closet like their cubby hole, like for sweaters or something? So I came-

Mika Perry: Monday through Friday?

Dena: Yes. I came home with a little cubby gifts, right? And I was like, what we’re going to create is a little mommy daughter time, every Sunday night. We’re going to lay out your outfits and we’re going to put it Monday through Friday in the cubbies. She was like, Oh, my God this is awesome. What I was solving was the tantrums in the morning. But for her I did it in her love language. So it landed for her and I solved it and I got my mornings back.

Russ Perry: Because it’s pre-approved by her.

Dena: Right.

Russ Perry: She picked it out, you collaborate.

Dena: There you go.

Russ Perry: I love it.

Dena: So those are the just the little I mean, it’s just you don’t know, you don’t know.

Russ Perry: Love it.

Mika Perry: So Dina I have a question. We know you as a coach, you’re successful speaker, side known, you know you’re, also run a successful nonprofit, for empowering girls. But also you have, you’re a mom, you’re a wife, you’re a business owner, and you must struggle too. And so what are some challenges in being a business coach that you have? That almost maybe you have to coach yourself through-

Dena: Oh, I coach myself all the time.

Mika Perry: You do?

Dena: Oh, yeah. All the time. I’d say what would I say in a situation. But I always have a coach. Coaches should always have a coach. But I mean, in the day in the life of me, I do have everything structured. Structure is where freedom is. So I have my coaching calls. But I also have three hours a day that I work in my nonprofit, the girls roll Foundation, but I’m really big on boundaries. I am a wife and I am a mother. That’s why I only work with nine people at a time. And then I have a waiting list. And so when I hit that nine, I say I’m sorry, I’m not taking any clients right now I have a waiting list.
I have to hold that boundary, because I had a stroke at 27. Remember? It was because I had no, I didn’t know that we have permission to say I don’t work with you. Or not just because you want to pay me, doesn’t mean that I say yes to you. So I decline actually more clients than I take on. One because they’re not a fit in one reason or another. Or I see that they’re not coachable. But two I only work with nine people at a time. So I can keep my boundaries as a wife and a mother. I’m a coach to my daughter’s volleyball team.
My faith is important to me, my church life. But I’ve been taking care of my dad who was ill for two years. You got to make some room in your life for the other things. You can’t let your business consume you. So I could have 10 more clients, right? And I could scale like I’ve never scaled my business into like online courses and that whole big. Maybe I’m not saying I will never, but I’m saying just you know, at this time, my daughter is still young, that wife role and that mother role is really important. So I got to squeeze it all in between eight and five, and time blocking, being accountable to myself and my word and my schedule, and pray a lot. I pray a lot.

Mika Perry: Well, you’re an incredible example to her.

Dena: Thank you.

Russ Perry: Dena, I just want to say thank you. You impacted our lives. That’s the prerequisite for being at this table to talking at the interview is we only wanted to interview people that have really impacted us. And so Mika and I, you’re kind of like, not to be too blasphemous. But we quote Dena, we reflect, scripture, like what Dena said, or this or that.

Dena: I love that.

Russ Perry: Because you really impacted us. So thank you for that and thank you for being a part of our lives. Where can people find what you’re doing? What’s the best place for them to learn more about you, what you’re doing and all of that?

Dena: Well, my website is the best place to find me, my services, my book, the Greatness Game is on there. You can’t afford a coach, or you’re just not ready for a coach or maybe I’m not even a fit. My book $10 can change your life. I recommend the Greatness Game, my book. So that’s all found on my website, and I’m on Facebook, Dena Patton.

Russ Perry: Awesome. Well, we’ll link to all of that in the show notes. Thank you, Dena.

Dena: You’re welcome. Thank you.

Russ Perry: Mika you really did, you were the best client for sure. At everyone else listening thanks for joining us today. You can again, always get past episodes and the show notes at our website

Mika Perry: And if you got something out of this interview from this episode, let us know with a rating or review we’d love that. And Dena, thank you so much for being here. We really enjoyed having you here in the studio.

Dena: Thank you so much.

Mika Perry: All right. Bye, guys.

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.