We had the good fortune of connecting with Dawn Gaden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dawn, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking risk moves me out of my comfort zone. I tend to be someone who wants to continue to grow and evolve my life to be more fulfilling every day. That takes moving past fear, the unknown, and doing things differently. One of the biggest risks I had ever taken was starting my own company. To be honest, it was decisions I made leading up to that. Starting my own business, doing what I love, that really wasn’t that difficult. Getting there, on the other hand, developing the vision of myself, of who I needed to be, to love my business – serve in a big way – that journey was full of risk. It really began back in 2007.
Let me paint you the picture.
Here I am belly down in the grass, in front of me lie two little boys, brown eyes beaming, blonde hair shining in the summer sun. Our eyes meet in excitement and our gaze returns to the earth as we search for bugs. This was the life! This was my typical day. I felt like I did it right. Completed my graduate work, working part time as a licensed counselor so that I can be home to raise my kids. Married to an amazing man. And here we are raising our family in our dream home in the woods. And not just two boys, but 4, the youngest are twins. In a matter of months we went from 2 to 4 boys, bought our dream house, and then ….job loss. Just like that my beautiful world is flipped upside down.
No problem! I got this. Here I go, my old self image to take care of business, save the day, come to the rescue. So I tie on my super hero cape and off I go. I find the job – at the county jail no less. I am now surrounded by windowless brick walls, cameras in every corner, hopelessness dripping from the faces around me. I am fueling myself with coffee and self loathing. I was angry! This was not how it was supposed to be. It wasn’t this job that kept me from living my life. I had built a prison around my heart – trapped in the trance of unworthiness. Angry, resentful, depressed. This was not what life was supposed to be like. Yet another tearful commute on a rainy day, I hear this whisper – “keep driving. You’re no good to anyone anymore. You have nothing left to give, even to your kids.” I held my breath, very aware of this trance I was in. And then another louder voice – “wake up! There is another way!” So I prayed “God you have to give me something else, this I cannot handle”
A short while later I was diagnosed with cancer. You can imagine my conversation with God was a little different after that “Really! Cancer, I cannot handle cancer!”
Well, it was up to me.
Cancer was my opportunity to wake up from the trance of unworthiness and shift my image from the superhero to the inner warrior. I had to shift my image and become someone else. Really – had to find myself again – my inner warrior, my light. The only way to access our truth is through love.
So Mike and I had made the decision for me to take care of my health and leave this job. He was still not working. This was a huge risk for us and for our family. It was all faith now.
After a while of healing, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, I started my own practice – Mind Body Counseling and Coaching.
I created The Image Shift – the path to creating a powerful positive self image. I help my clients wake up from the trance of unworthiness with these three key secrets: mindset mastery, elevate your emotions and create conscious connections. I teach all of this through a method called intenSati. With movement, mantras, meditation – we manifest the life of our dreams.
I had to risk taking off the super hero cape, tap into my inner warrior and be the best I could be. Risk is what brings me the greatest rewards in my life!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
School was challenging for me. I didn’t learn the way others did. There was no name or label for it. So I just found a way to get to where I wanted to be. My first year in college was riddled with anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. I was failing out of college – already. I was enrolled in all the psychology courses I could get my hands on. I loved this stuff. I was the one in the front row taking notes vigorously. And that is where I experienced my first panic attack. Unsure of walking out of the room without passing out in front of everyone. I knew this was not ok. I had to find a way to get to where I want to be. The option for help I was offered was not a choice I wanted to take. So I found another way – meditation, breathwork, and visualizing. I plugged into my walkman and listened all night long until I began to sleep again. I was able to breath again.
I also had decisions to make. I was failing every test I took. There were many many tests to take in psychology. I had to memorize synapses and neural pathways. This stuff was amazing – just don’t test me on it!
If I wanted to help people, work with people who wanted more from their life, I needed to find a career that would get me there. So I chose another path that still got me to my masters program, my licensing to open my own practice and to teach people what I discovered – if you want success, fulfillment and passion for your life, create the path to get there!
I am a licensed counselor and been in practice for over 22 years. I have a certification in complementary medicine and wellness – which was a reason for choosing the masters program that I did. I am also a registered yoga teacher and self image coach. Oh yes, and an international speaker! Soon I have two book collaboratives coming out, Voices of Truth and The Art of Risk and Reward. When I read the previous, I am speechless – “is that really me”. I have always been an ambitious learner. Personal development is my life, I cannot imagine doing or living anything else. I believe with my heart and soul that we all can live a life full of joy and passion for what we do.
As the next challenge revealed itself to the world about 2 years ago, I had a flood of calls coming in of clients needing support and guidance. I only had so many hours in the day to serve. As well as my own family, my self care to attend to. I had to find a way. It was time to put my coaching skills into action and begin serving more people, create online courses, and create more programs and a group to serve more people. So how do I get this message out that can serve so many people. On the journey working in the Bob Proctor coaching program I discovered that I could speak on stages at events to share my story and offer my programs! How fun right! Yeah, I know, most people would rather die than speak on stage. I love it. Inspiring people, seeing head nods in agreement, eyes wide with possibility for their own life, having the audience stand with me as we move with intenSati, elevating the energy in the room, hearing the audience repeating affirmations back to me with confidence and excitement in their voice. This work doesn’t get much better than this! I use the intenSati method in all I do. It is at the core of my parenting, relationships, profession. It is what birthed my coaching program – The Image Shift, create a powerful positive self image so that you can live a life you love, a life of love, and a life well lived.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live close to Ann Arbor, a decent size city with lots to do. First we would head into the city for one of my favorite breakfast spots – Zingerman’s for breakfast bagel, veggie omelette and hot coffee. We walk the city, check out Kerry Town and the farmers market. Buy fresh flowers. During the week we plan a day on the river either paddle boarding or kayaking. Pack some snacks and spend the day floating and relaxing.
A drive out to Lake Michigan is a favorite of mine. We find a morning beach yoga class, walk the beach for hours, lost in time and enjoying the warm summer sun and visit. Saugatuck is a favorite town of mine to hike the dunes, walk the beach, take a tour through the marina and shop the unique stores. Find a yummy vegetarian dinner spot before we head back to our hotel overlooking Lake Michigan where we catch the breathtaking sunset.
Of course there is a spa day! Massages, manicures, facials, oh my!!
One night spent in pj’s with popcorn and movies – rom com! sometimes we need a good laugh and a cry!
We would catch an evening meditation class, chat with friends. Followed by a day of hiking amazing trails on the Potawatomi.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate this work to intenSati creator Patricia Moreno. As my teacher, leader and mentor, it was first her videos that gave me clarity, calm and confidence through parenting, cancer, and life’s unexpected twists and turns. She transitioned from this planet in January 2022. And to honor her work and continue to share this practice in all my work and with all I serve. It is the core of what leads me into my greatest life. My mission is to share this practice for all to live a life they love, a life of love and a life well lived!
intenSati Wake Up and Win Event MOM Race (Mind Over Matter)