Challenge Partner Dana Campbell on Her Life Journey – and How We Can Find Balance

I’m so excited about the upcoming Valentine’s challenge. It’s always a great opportunity to focus on our goals, to give ourselves the time and opportunity to achieve them, and to see some remarkable change in our bodies and our perspectives. This time around, we are adding another layer — introducing meditation, mindfulness tips, and intention. I have recently come to understand the importance of mindfulness and meditation in my own life, and I am realizing that so many of us need these things in such an intense and high-powered city!

I have known Dana Campbell’s work for a while, so she immediately came to mind as one of the figureheads of this challenge.  She helps others find their true calling, reduce stress, and live life more mindfully and happily. I am thrilled that Dana will be providing meditations and mindfulness tips for our challengers and helping me lead a Slow Sculpt and Meditation class. I’m telling all challengers that they’re in for a treat!!

I have sat down with Dana and asked her some questions about her life and work. She is such an interesting and insightful person — check her out!!



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Where did you grow up? I grew up outside Chicago.

I know you took some twists and turns to get where you are today. Could you tell us a little bit about that journey? My dream was to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and an ultra-marathoner by the time I was 40. I thought consulting was the best path to achieve the former, and training my butt off was how I’d achieve the other. I was off on both accounts.

I loved consulting for the first four or so years- and I was pretty great at it. I excelled at problem solving and helping my clients. Unfortunately I also naturally absorbed a lot of the stress and drama that big meaty transition projects carry and a tendency of pushing beyond what was good for me. I was placed on several projects where I was literally working around the clock and the stress became hard to justify because I no longer believed in what I was doing. And so the dream of becoming a CEO began to fade. At the same time my tendency of pushing myself too hard kept causing ridiculous running injuries- who fractures their femur from running???

These two things collided in 2007- and I burned out- I just didn’t know it at the time. During that period I recommitted to yoga, became a teacher and kept working and teaching always looking for a way to combine the two. In 2014 I finally left my full time job to become a certified coach. I help stressed-out professionals get unstuck, create more space and ease in their lives and build fulfilling careers.

As a professional coach, yoga instructor, and former management consultant, I would love to hear how you combine your varied backgrounds and practices in your work today. Or do you try to keep them separate? I completely combine them! The irony is that we spend so much time trying to compartmentalize our lives- which is futile. We are living, breathing, integrated beings- everything impacts everything. Connection heals- disconnection breaks.

I actually spend less time teaching yoga now, because I believe coaching is a part of my practice. I meditate with a lot of my clients and use mindfulness and conscious relaxation a lot as well. So everything is very blended- which I love! It also makes me feel like I have the most creative job ever!

A big theme of this challenge is learning to love yourself and your body from the inside out. Related to this is recognizing and honoring your inner voice. Why do you think we have such a hard time doing that? I mentioned disconnection before. I think it relates in two ways.

The first is that we are taught from a young age to figure out what we want to be not who we want to be. So most of us show up in our formative years chasing something that is misaligned to who we are and what we believe. As a result we spend a hell of a lot of energy seeking approval from outside ourselves. When you know what your core values are and live in accordance with them- the need for approval goes away.

The second is more obvious- technology. We spend so much time buried in our devices, which means we aren’t really living in our bodies. Its so hard to love yourself from the inside out when you don’t spend much time being embodied, connecting to all the amazing aspects of you.

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So many of us balance so many things in our lives at once. Could you give us a few tips on how to find balance when we’re feeling stressed? So most of us mistakenly think that balance means everything being equal. But true balance comes from aligning how you spend your time with what is most important to you. So I would start there. Make sure you are spending your time only on what is most important to you.

Next I would suggest building time into your day to consciously relax. The normal reply here is that there is no time to add anything else into your schedule. My argument is that you can’t afford not to. And its pretty easy to swap out 5-10 minutes of TV, Instagram or Twitter for a hot bath, meditation or literally just laying down with nothing to do.

Lastly, I would recommend touch. So whether that be really paying attention to how you put lotion on your body, getting a massage or a mani/pedi or intentionally engaging in intimacy with your partner – be touched – regularly. Its very grounding and can quell stress.

In your work, what are the biggest concerns people express to you? What would a person experience with you if they decided to go to you for coaching?  The top two concerns I hear are about careers devoid of purpose or meaning and the impact that chronic stress has had on their health. Through coaching we tackle both of these concerns head on and my clients report increased clarity around their goals, confidence to pursue the next chapter of their lives, a letting go of unhealthy coping habits and improved health.

You seem to really embrace change in life when it’s right, and you’ve had some really interesting chapters in your own life. What’s next for you? Thanks Mahri – I’m not sure I actually embrace change, but I crave it deeply so that’s why I bring a lot of it into my life. This year my focus is on continuing to develop new programs that meet my clients needs and overcoming my own perfectionist tendencies.


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