Meet Dana Inouye

Tell us about yourself and your business.

I have four kids. The juggle is definitely real for me. But the snuggle is also real. I help moms elevate their experience by finding the magic in the mess. It’s one thing to find our happy by stepping out of our day-to-day routine (retreats, spa, massage etc) but the deeply transformational shifts happen when we find ways to enhance our experience when we’re in it, not only when we step out of it.

I am passionate about re-imagining and re-conceptualizing how we do motherhood in a way that lifts us up rather than weighs us down: through profound mindset shifts, embodied emotional approaches, reframes, and luscious community.

I believe it takes a village to raise happy kids. And it takes a village to raise happy moms.

I “raise” moms through coaching programs and retreats. I have a group-coaching program for moms called ELEVATE (launching in May) and a couple luscious joy-filled retreats for moms and kids together coming in the summer.

How did you get started?

I started blogging – writing and processing – my experience with the magic and the mess years ago (when my older two were littles). I’ve always been fascinated by paradox, poetry, story. The funny thing is that I started blogging as a “spiteful” response to another picture-perfect blogger who displayed her shiny-happy-unicorny family. And I just couldn’t relate. I wanted to be real. I wanted to show the mess.

And the thing is, that by being real about the mess, I ended up landing on the magic. (The only way is through).

My background is in Education and Theatre.

Last year I developed an apparel brand featuring leggings with #allthepockets for moms who’ve got their hands full. I launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and delivered a quality physical product to hundreds of happy customers.

But along this journey, I also realized that the piece of the process that I connected to the most was developing my brand story, storytelling, connecting to and communicating with my audience, and sharing value around my process of “becoming” (through my mini-mompreneur-musing series and my “real-mom-talk” show).

Following some purposeful introspection, I realized that what I’ve always done naturally– communicating and inspiring through story – is what I’m meant to do. Sometimes it takes a whole lot of looking back to see what’s always been there.

What have you simplified in your life to make room for your passion?

Letting go: letting go of perfection, letting go of the mess. Essentially: prioritizing. There are always tradeoffs. The question is what choice tradeoffs will you make to support your version of “it all”? Doing it all and having it all are not compatible. We really do need to do less in order to have more.

What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?

Hold onto and honor your truth. It is so vital that we make decisions that are aligned with our gut, with our intuition, with our heart.

What keeps you motivated?

My Lean in Mama facebook community. It is so full of beautiful badass mamas who are willing to be real, to be transparent, to engage deeply in opening up new ways of experiencing motherhood, and always to support one another.

What struggles do you face balancing motherhood and running your own business? How do you deal with them?

My younger two (ages 5 and 2) are home with me full-time. And my youngest is transitioning from one nap to no nap. So: never having enough time for myself/my business of course!

I pause, I go back to reflecting on my values based on the season that I’m in (little kids!), I take some time to sit with them and play.

AND I summon that magical old-school box (the TV!) for some short-term kid-entertaining (Seriously, the TV has so much less guilt attached to it than the iPhone/iPad; I get to select what they watch, they don’t scroll distractedly from one video to another, and they view a show together, not individually (it ticks all the boxes!)

It’s my go-to when I need an hour for a call or content creation. But after that, we’re off to the park or the library, and I step into presence so that I can make the necessary beautiful.

What book changed your life? How?

All Joy and No Fun – The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior.
She explores the effects that children have on parents and claims that parenting, in our day and age, is imbued with meaning (joy) but that the fun (happiness on a daily basis) is sorely lacking.

To me, this hypothesis reflected a painful truth and the impetus to create more fun in my mom-life; to add intentionality to my days so that I can be more playful and connected within the day-to-day.

This is the why for my REJOICE retreat – that is a container of space and time for moms and kids to play together wildly, carefree, building memories.

What advice would you give someone that is just starting out?

– Don’t underestimate the power of baby steps. Start small. And keep moving.
– Ask for help. It’s a muscle that so many of us need to exercise. Exercise it.
– Ask who not how. Who can you reach out and connect with that might be able to shed some insight/connect you to someone else? Business (and life!) is built on relationships.

What resource has made the biggest difference in your life? 

The Notes app on my iPhone. Everything goes there. It’s my mom-life brain-dump. And it makes such a huge difference to get it out of my head and onto a device that’s not a journal that gets constantly scribbled on by my kids. 

What quote or words do you live by?

I am really drawn to this idea of becoming. There is something dynamic in this concept, and yet an enoughness at the same time. I love and live the idea that we are enough and we are becoming more.

My mantra is: I am becoming the person I am meant to be.

Where can we find you online?

www.leaninmama.com

Though I will be rebranding and updating my site soon! You can always connect with me on Facebook in my Lean in Mama group or personal page.