We had the good fortune of connecting with Danna Gift and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danna, how do you think about risk?
I think it’s important to consider the actual definition of risk. Risk is exposing (someone or something valued) to danger, harm, or loss. When you see these words – danger, harm, loss – it places you in a position of fear and anguish when thinking about taking risks. This is where my mental constructs are a bit different. I don’t consider risk as a negative outcome, I see risk as an opportunity for growth and development. Since I was younger I’ve heard the phrases “you got to risk it for the biscuit” and “risks lead to greatness”. I also observed people who took risks and the most successful people are the ones who saw an opportunity and dove head first. Because I admired those who did, I’ve trained myself to believe that risk is where the excitement in life happens. Without risks, we wouldn’t appreciate all that we have today. The fear of something loss at the cost of something gained – it seems like a moment of discomfort for a lifetime of glory – and that’s just how I’ve processed my “risks”.
I’ve been taking risks since my college days. I tried many different career paths and have (on multiple occasions) left one career with no backup. The way I saw it, I’m young enough to bounce back and I can make money available when I wanted it. I think it took me putting myself in multiple situations of discomfort to truly trust myself and to build that self-confidence. I remember when I took on a big project where I had no idea how I was going to fund it, I cried every night stressed and upset with myself for making these decisions. But, after all the heightened emotions, something great happens. You start to realize you have a decision to make, you either perform and excel or you crumble and fall. In between wasn’t an option and both choices were going to be hard – so might as well choose the better outcome!
Taking these risks overtime has allowed me to minimize the stress and unfamiliarity with it. It never gets fully comfortable because there are new exposures every day. But, you learn to trust yourself. You learn what you are capable of each time you take a risk and win. It’s almost like a muscle being built and you can train your brain to accept risk as a positive thing.
Because of this, it’s lead me to live a wonderful life. I’ve met the most amazing people and now I’ve created a life I could have only dreamt of. I get to make my own hours, make art, socialize with people who fuel my passions and so much more. I’ve went from broke college kid, to six-figure-earner, to not earning a paycheck an entire year and I’m ramping up again! It sounds like a crazy ride – and it is! But that’s the beauty of it all – I’m actually living. Without taking any risks I probably would’ve ended up still working an office job that I hated day dreaming of the live I’m living now. Now my office is wherever I want it to be and I work on my own accord and I’m never “clocking in” again unless the boss (me) tells me too and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a full-time lifestyle content creator. I’ve just made the decision to fully transition into this career field earlier this year (2022) and have secured a few sponsorships with more on the way thus funding all my expenses and will soon be more than I’ve ever made in my life. What makes my content unique is the story behind it all.
I have been searching for a “niche” to attach to in the social media world. You hear this concept pushed around endlessly and that if you don’t find a niche it will be hard for your audience to understand you and ultimately you wouldn’t be successful. “A jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none”, I hated the idea because I’m good at many things and I’m a learner, I have self-taught myself everything! So rather than niche down I decided to make my niche the “non-niche”.
In my new series – Danna Does – I learn new skills and master them! I share the entire journey from start to finish. This current series I’m working on is learning to roller skate but the next ones lined up are Danna Does becomes a street artist where I attempt to get paid as a street artist painting peoples portraits that are walking around in the city. There are more fun things I will be learning but I’ll allow my content to develop and hopefully people tune in!
Getting into content creation full time was no easy task. It took a lot of back and forth in my head of whether or not this was the right decision. I struggled with believing in myself and honestly, I wanted to pursue this full time since college days (about 7 years ago) and never fully took the plunge until this year. The whole year of 2021 I earned about 2 paychecks as a realtor (I still held onto my license) but otherwise spent the year soul searching and trying to understand what I’m truly passionate about. I kept circling back to content creation but I was too afraid to admit to myself that this was what I wanted because I was scared. I was scared of the outcome and the type of exposure I’d be allowing into my life.
But due to supportive friendships and a wonderful community – they’ve convinced me that I had to do it and fully believe with my heart that there will be success in it. So sure enough, I took a risk and went full time into it and low-and-behold I’m beginning to see success.
I learned that your soul always knows what you truly want. I think, to some degree, we know what we want but it’s a matter of being still enough to listen to it. You have to turn off the background noise and learn to sit with yourself and hear your thoughts to process and truly feel your passions. You have to dive into different things and explore. As we were children that’s exactly what we did in order to understand the world so why don’t we do it enough as adults?
I want the world to be inspired to take risks. I want people to look at me as an example of how amazing life could be in you truly embodied your passions. I want them to believe that you can make a living doing whatever you want in life if you do the self-work, work hard, and do it with passion. I also don’t want people to stop exploring. We are multi-faceted human beings and we should be allowed to express ourselves with several passions – not just one. I want people to see how much one person can do in a lifetime and I want to be inspired to do the same.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many wonderful spots in the city of Phoenix, AZ! I would take them to spots like Tempe Town Lake to ride the scooters around. I would want to have dinner at Century Grand – platform 18 where there is a moving train theme to have some delicious cocktails. Got to take them to Lake Pleasant and rent jetskis and a double-decker boat for the weekend. We’d also take a hike up Piestewa Peak to see the man who hikes to the top of the mountain every morning to play his drums and flute to “wake up the world”. They’d have to meet my local friends at dinner spots all over Scottsdale and we can hit the clubs starting at Club Maya and basically bar hop down the street (it’s like mini Vegas!). There’s endless amount of entertainment here in Phoenix where you can get a mix of relaxation or wild fun – it’s hard to choose but no matter what – I know it would be an amazing time!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people I want to dedicate a shoutout to – people who don’t even fully realize the impact of what they’ve done for me. However, my biggest thanks needs to go out to my best friend Laura and my boyfriend Dylan. Both of them have been so loving and supportive of my dreams. They have been encouraging me to pursue my career in creating content long before I even took the plunge to be in it full time. They’ve helped me film, come up with ideas, grow my accounts, set up my schedules, and the list goes on and on. And whenever I needed an extra boost they’d lift me up when I needed it the most. Sometimes we can get in our heads when we’re pursuing something we care about and we need a community or a few people to let us know that our thoughts are not serving us. I’m so grateful for these two people always encouraging me to pursue my passions.
Other: Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@dannagift