Danette May remembers being a little girl, sitting between her parents in their truck and telling them that she “was going to bring women to the mountains and bring women to self love.” And they would say, “Oh, you’re going to hold a retreat.” And she’d say, “Yeah, but there’s going to be a lot of them.”
It wasn’t exactly a straight line, but Danette has made that childhood vision a reality. Today, she is the owner and driving force behind a highly successful, worldwide health and wellness business that includes FitRise, an online membership program that provides daily workouts, meal plans and meditations, and Earth Echo Foods premium superfoods and supplements. She has a massive following on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube because her program works, but mainly because she brings her true, real and often vulnerable self to it.
“When I was going through the muck of my life, the mess of my life, I’d forgotten about that part of me. I was in the mess, right?” she said. “But I feel like everything I’ve gone through has led me to the truth of what I knew as a little girl. And I had to go through all these hard things so I could truly feel it and understand what women were going through. It was in my hardship and then starting to see the light and emerge that I discovered this is so much bigger than me and I acknowledged that the hardship wasn’t just for me. I’m meant to share with people how they can come out of their own mess. Or how they can rise up from all the different stories, all the different things from their past.”
Danette knew that the key was food, movement and mindset. She had always been in the fitness industry, initially as a personal trainer, working one-on-one with clients. She had a fascination with the human body and how movement positively impacts well-being. It took the devastating loss of her baby, however, for her to truly understand the power of movement and the power of healing foods.
“When I lost my son, I went through a really deep depression and I had never been in a depression before. It was super foreign for me. My brain felt completely foggy. I didn’t leave my house for three or four months. I couldn’t even go out to buy groceries,” she explained, “I had been teaching people about moving their bodies and here I was not moving my body.” She had been a runner and very athletic, but after having a baby and coming home without him, all she could do was walk. “I remember that first walk around the block. It was this huge ‘aha’ for me because my heart started to come open. It was a beautiful moment.”
She continued to “unlayer” her depression through healing foods and movement, and then added the concept of mindset. “When we hit rock bottom, it’s like our invitation to hit another rock bottom so that we can go higher,” she said. Following the loss of her son, she went through a really hard divorce and was financially as well as emotionally broke. “I started to bump up against this idea of, ‘Do I stay in this story right now where I’m feeling broken, feeling broke as a joke, feeling alone, feeling worthless and like I’m a terrible mother?’ Truly, those moments to me are the saddest around losing my child. And it was then that I really began to understand the power of the mind.”
That led Danette to the idea of being impeccable with your word. “I’ve always been intrigued by this because we are truly either gracing our life or making a nightmare by the words we speak to ourselves and also by not honoring the word that we gave to ourselves. So, if I say, ‘I’m going to get up and work out today,’ but then I don’t do it, I’m not being impeccable to myself and to my word.”
She also acknowledges the importance of choosing words carefully. “We often say things like ‘I’m not smart enough,’ ‘I feel alone,’ ‘I’ve had such a bad day.’ We do this unconsciously, so the first step is awareness of the language we use.”
he looked at that in her own life and really made sure that she was speaking powerful words to herself. “I continue to do that today because I believe that really being impeccable with my word to myself is what took me from where I was to where I am. If I say I’m going to do something for me or I’m going to do something for someone else, I’m going to hold myself accountable to that. And that has really built up my confidence and bridged the gap between having $47, feeling broken, feeling alone, going through all these hard things to today, which is a complete ‘180’. I harnessed the power of the word over myself and the direction I was meant to be going.”
Danette and her husband, Craig, along with their two daughters moved to Evergreen about three years ago and, she says, that is when her business exploded. They were looking for a community with really good schools and saw Evergreen on the high end for both high school and grade school. “This house I’m in was the second home we looked at and I knew instantaneously this was our place. We put in an offer that day. I felt like I was cradled for the first time.” She explained that being here gave her a sense of validation for the business that she and Craig were building. “I instantly felt almost a presence, an energy of, ‘We got you.’”
Within three months, the business took off. “Our team at the time was working 14 hours a day, heart and soul, trying to take on the influx of people that were joining and all the things that were happening. We’re still on this ride and we keep on hiring more and more. We have a team of 70+ full-time employees all around the world,” she said.
The superfoods company, which launched recently, grew out of Danette’s passion for learning about indigenous cultures. She has been invited to meet with and learn from healers all over the world. “I’ve learned so much and that is what I try to bring to the mainstream. I now realize I’m a bridge from these ancient ways of healing to our modern world and that’s what I do.” When she isn’t traveling, she reads books sent to her from shamans and healers to understand their ancient healing practices.
Danette is the author of a memoir, “The Rise,” (available on Amazon) her personal story of triumph over tragedy and the successful pursuit of her passion. She is currently working on a book for Hay House on finding one’s purpose. For more information on FitRise, Earth Echo, and all things Danette, visit DanetteMay.com.