Dawne Hanks is a speaker and marketing strategist based in Portland, Oregon. She’s also a #LiveGrey ambassador spreading the word about how to love what you do. Check out her story and advice below:
1. How did you find your grey?
I was one of the weird kids at school. I’m sure everyone says that but I have the pictures to prove it. From as early as I can remember I was always looking for something that made me, ME. I tried every club, joined every team, dressed up for every holiday and I mean EVERY holiday. I was looking for my place in the world.
As I became an adult that didn’t change. I read book after book on happiness, purpose, passion and any other thing I could think of that would help me find my place. I moved up in my career and was good at it, but it never really felt like a purpose.
Then one day onstage in North Carolina, of all places, that changed. While my family regales anyone who will listen with stories of how chatty and bossy I have always been, talking in public was NOT something I was good at. But somehow on this stage it was different. I was speaking about women and the cultural changes we have seen in the last 50 years. I felt an electricity. People were laughing in all the right places, nodding in agreement and gasping with shock and awe when I wanted them to. I even had on a really great outfit that day. As I walked off that stage sweating and heart pumping, it came to me. THIS IS IT! This is what I am meant to do.
In that exact moment the owners of the company I was speaking at offered me a pretty sweet job. It was all so crazy, all this time searching and then BAM here it was. I found my grey by spending 35 years hustling to find it. I realize that it was all the little things I learned that set me up for success. All the jobs I had ever dreamed of had one thing in common: talking. It was there the whole time, but I needed time to fine tune my instrument and realize that my grey wouldn’t show up exactly how I expected.
I am a storyteller and that is my place in this world. I am here to tell stories that inspire and build up other people to realize their value and purpose.
2. How have relationships played a role in your career and what advice do you have about building them?
Relationships are probably one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to career. Anyone who says otherwise will not be successful for long.
The professional relationships that have helped carve my career are ones where I’ve learned good and bad things. Some were with people I only knew for a short time, and some I have known for twenty years. All of them were authentic and all of them did what they said they would do.
So my advice is this: Be authentic. Be honest. If you say it, do it.
Not everyone is going to like it, in fact not everyone is going to like YOU, but if you stick to these three things, the right ones will.
3. What part of your morning ritual would you recommend to others?
Make your bed.
Years ago I heard Howard White (the head of Brand Jordan) say this and it has always stayed with me. The reasoning is simple. By making your bed everyday, you start the day with an accomplishment. It puts you on a positive path right from the get go and sets you up to accomplish even more as the day goes by.
4. What’s the best piece of advice you have for someone beginning their grey journey?
I tell people to find 5 words. Five words that will guide your journey and that you can lean on in times of uncertainty. Two of mine are hustle and balance. There are two kinds of people: those that expect everything to be easy and those who hustle so hard they forget everything else. Both are bad. Successful people hustle but the only way they find “grey” is when they balance that with the enjoyment of the journey. It’s the journey that holds all of the good stuff.
5. What principle or goal is guiding you in your life right now?
I am a storyteller using stories to change minds and empower people to find their place in the world.
The Live Grey Ambassador Program is a collective of grey individuals dedicated to spreading the Live in the Grey message and helping others to blend their personal and professional lives. This series offers some of the wisdom they have to share as they progress on their journey.