What you will hear in our discussion with D.D. Marx:
- The Courage to Change Course in Life
- Put Your Passion into a Plan
- Share Your Story, Create a Legacy
- Fired at 40 – What to do…
- Become a First Time Author
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More about our featured guest D.D. Marx
D.D. Marx is an author, blogger and inspired writer for the chick-lit genre. She is a Second City graduate, hopeless romantic, amazingly proud Aunt, a forever friend and life lover.
D.D. Marx came barreling into this world with the “gift of gab”. Her parents quickly identified a pattern forming when each teacher conference contained the words “she’s a little too social”. D.D.’s biggest life concern was identifying which boy she’d be chasing at recess rather than mastering math problems. She parlayed this gift into creating play dates on the playground. If friendship were a business, she would be a millionaire. She prides her life on maintaining friends from every walk of life in every corner of the country. This is the fuel that fills her tank.
Graduating with a Communication degree from the University of Dayton, she attempted to break into the world of Public Relations but was instead side-tracked with a J.O.B. At the strong encouragement of her friends and family, who dubbed her a “funny story teller”, she stretched her comfort zone by entering the Second City program in Chicago where her itch for entertainment was finally scratched. Determined to share her story and create a legacy, she decided to combine these talents and become a writer. She returned to her alma-mater to immerse herself in a 3-day writing course where this dream finally came to life. Asked to imagine if she was a super-hero, her task was to dig-deep to describe her special powers. Based on the real-life tragedy of one of her best friends, that answer came without hesitation. All she’s ever wanted was the power to visit with him one last time. This is the inspiration that catapulted her into her debut project titled, the Beyond Series. She dove into a world imagining that he never left.
[00:00] Joel: On the show as promised, author of a great book. It's called “Beyond Believing.” DD Marx is on today's show. DD, welcome. Welcome to Relaunch. This is the first time we've had you on.
[00:15] D.D. Marx: Yes, thank you so much for having me, I'm really excited to be here.
[00:18] Joel: Absolutely, I'm gonna do the very best I can to have a stimulating discussion with you. I said this is the first time we've had you on, because usually on microphone number two is my co-host and wife of 14 years. But you know what, I'm gonna have to do this one solo, so be gentle and… And we'll have some fun. How about that?
[00:42] D.D. Marx: Sounds great.
[00:43] Joel: Fantastic, DD, this show is highly practical because it is all about the relaunch, and specifically how you did it. And while we've all experienced numerous launches and relaunches throughout our lives. I generally ask our guests to zero in on the relaunch that has been the most significant, or the most transformational for them. And then we just unfold the story from there, and we'll do that with you here in just a few minutes if that's okay. But when I was reading some of your background material, I noticed that you and I have something in common, and that is that we both caused a great deal of concern in our younger years for our teachers and for our parents. And for me it had to do with the recovery that I was going through from my childhood accident, and from my injury, but for you it was a little bit different. It seems that your teacher used to say that you were a little bit too social.[chuckle]
[01:48] D.D. Marx: Yes.
[01:49] Joel: How about that? We could unpack that for hours, but for right now can you think of one specific time or one specific teacher conference, or maybe they had to come bail you out as my parents did many times for me. Can you think of just one specific time when that happened, when you were called in because you were “too social”?
[02:11] D.D. Marx: So, in kindergarten… Let's start right out of the gate.
[02:15] Joel: Okay.
[02:15] D.D. Marx: So, first day at kindergarten, my Mom told me that I came home crying. I was very little, very small, and I went to school and the teacher was taking us on a little tour of the school, and I guess I pushed the kid in front of me 'cause I couldn't see. So I had to hold the teacher's hand and she took me after school to the principal's office. And I had to go home and tell my mom that I wasn't playing well with others. But I was also in class with my best friend that I'd grown up with, and we were never allowed to be in class together ever again throughout our grade school years because we were way too disruptive. So yeah, so right out of the gate, first year of school, I was completely separated from my best friend for all time to come because we were too, way too disruptive.
[03:09] Joel: Two peas in a pod.
[03:11] D.D. Marx: Yes.
[03:12] Joel: I understand completely, and I chuckle to myself because I pushed a kid or two also during my early…
[03:20] D.D. Marx: Yeah, it's our way of telling them we like them, right?
[03:22] Joel: Or something… Something like that, you know what? The translation kinda gets blurred depending on who you ask and in what frame of mind you ask them, and but many times.
[03:35] D.D. Marx: Yes.
[03:35] Joel: And being separated from friends and things of that nature I completely relate with that. I appreciate that little story. DD, if we back up a little bit, and talk about relaunch. As I've mentioned, we've all experienced numerous relaunches, and oftentimes we're currently in the middle of one. But let me ask you, which relaunch that has already happened for you in either your personal or in your professional life, do we need to zero in on for today?
[04:09] D.D. Marx: So, the birth of this book came at a very transitional part of my life so…
[04:16] Joel: Okay, “Beyond Believing” by the way, is your first book, congratulations and that's the one you're talking about.
[04:22] D.D. Marx: Yes, so about four or five years ago, I had gone to college, got a job, had a career most of my life. Really good career, but it was always a means to an end, it was never really… I wasn't really trying to climb the corporate letter or anything. But about five years ago, I found myself without a job, I'd gotten fired for the first time ever in my life, and it was just a total shock. But the two years prior to that, before I got fired were the worst two years of my life, in my career. I spent a lot of my time trying to get out of that situation and interview, and doors kept closing in my face, and I did not know why and what was happening. And it wasn't until the choice wasn't mine anymore that I got let go, that I felt the freedom to take a breath and figure out, what's next and…
[05:18] Joel: But before we get that, what happened in the two years prior, and then we'll talk about the actual firing.
[05:25] D.D. Marx: Sure, so basically it was just a very volatile work environment that I was in. I did not see eye-to-eye with leadership. It was just a very dysfunctional environment, and so. When you get up and you go to that environment every single day, it has a very big impact on you. You try not to let it wear you down, but it does.
[05:47] Joel: Okay, can you think… Okay, I'm gonna ask you for a specific story, 'cause this is all about specifics and practicality. So, laying on that for a minute, but I wonder, what was going on inside you when you don't see eye to eye with someone is… Was there self-doubts that kind of shattered over you or you as it like you were as a child, strong in your spirit and what you thought was the right thing? Kind of take us there.
[06:21] D.D. Marx: Yeah. So I guess I'm one of those people that feels very convicted about certain things and very passionate.
[06:28] Joel: Sure.
[06:28] D.D. Marx: I was working. I don't wanna be too specific 'cause I don't wanna give things away. But I was working for a healthcare organization, so when I took the job, I went there thinking, “Wow, it's almost like a volunteer position where I can help people, like literally save lives, make a difference.” I was working in their marketing department, so not like a doctor or anything, but being able to help the patient experience, and help them for example with a patient portal, helping them get their medical results, and things like that. And I was very concerned about… I was coming at it from a patient perspective where my organization was coming at it more from a financial deadline perspective.
[07:09] D.D. Marx: And I was pushing back that I felt like, “We only have one chance to get this patient experience right. They're not gonna come back a second time. We need to do this right. We can't just sacrifice quality for a deadline or because it's gonna cost us more money.” So given the fact that I was fighting for people who were literally fighting for their lives, I just felt very strongly that I was right in that scenario.
[07:33] Joel: Sure.
[07:33] D.D. Marx: So unfortunately, my leadership didn't see it the same way. And that's exactly how the firing happened. So, it was one of those things where your personal ethics are fighting with things that just don't make sense, but it's a business, right? I mean, they're running a business, right?
[07:49] Joel: Okay, so emotionally and spiritually, personal ethics, fighting against something else. So what is that battle like, and what did it look like for you up to the determination, and then even afterwards because your ethics are your ethics. You carry them with you, with the job or without. And we're… By the way, we're gonna fast forward to the “Beyond Believing”, 'cause I definitely wanna hear about the story. But I like… I wanna really understand the wrap up, and kind of what led to it.
[08:22] D.D. Marx: Yes, absolutely. So I guess I was willing to risk everything for the patient. I was willing to do whatever it took, and even get myself fired to make sure that their voice was heard. And I guess I didn't hold back. And that's where my passion comes in. And if something doesn't feel right in life or with somebody that you're in a relationship with, I fight very hard. They say there's two types of people, fight or flight. I fight, and unfortunately, I lost, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me, so…
[08:57] Joel: What do you mean exactly?
[09:00] D.D. Marx: Because I got fired, so…
[09:01] Joel: Well, yeah, yeah I got that. But why was it actually the best thing that happened to you? That was one of the…
[09:07] D.D. Marx: It was a catalyst to me absolutely, changing my entire life. It was a place where I realized that I could not do this for 20 more years. I could not fight with executives. I could not go to a place where I wasn't appreciated. I couldn't continue to make money for other people where I wasn't valued or appreciated. And it had been two years of totally breaking me down, and I was exhausted.
[09:33] D.D. Marx: And I was like, “If I'm trying this hard to help people who are sick and dying, try to make a great cause for them, I don't know what I'm doing.” So I literally got fired, and I just took a really big step back and said, “What is it that I should be doing? I should be channeling this energy, and this passion into something that's meaningful to me.” And that's where the birth of this book came from, so…
[10:00] Joel: Okay, got you. Hold on. I know you're here to get there, and I'm eager for you as well. But one of the things that I ask a lot of our best guests is, what did they learn or relearn, discover or recover about themselves, their value, their possibilities, and about their contribution. So what did you learn or relearn about yourself during the ramp up to determination, determination itself or the grieving and the recovery that happened right after that, right up to the time where you're able to pull yourself up by your boot straps?
[10:43] D.D. Marx: So it was a very freeing experience. So for two years, I argued, I fought, and I tried to proactively go out and find another job. And for whatever reason, it wasn't happening. So it wasn't until I got fired that I realized that, I really did have the freedom to make that choice myself that the world wasn't gonna end. I was still gonna be able to eat, and have a house, and whatever. And that my health was most at risk because of the turmoil going on inside of me, and not being able to move forward, and make a difference.
[11:19] D.D. Marx: So I went back to the core person of who I am, and said, “You know what? I'm not gonna let anybody bully me, and change how I feel about things in this world to meet a bottom line.” So I just totally reevaluated who I was, what I wanted, and how I could put my passion into something that was gonna make a difference, but in my own personal way.
[11:46] Joel: Okay, gotcha. So as you are kind of learning these things about yourself and making some declarations and some projections about where you're going with your life, what did you need to overcome? I mean, were there fears? Were there doubts?
[12:02] D.D. Marx: Yes.
[12:04] Joel: Yeah. What were the hesitations?
[12:07] D.D. Marx: I think in this job I took their value of me and took that upon myself. Maybe subliminally, but it was like, “Wow. They really don't like me. They really don't care about my opinion. They don't care how much I am fighting for this,” Or we just did not see eye to eye and it really tears you down as a person. It kills your self-esteem. I heard things like, “You need to build your confidence and you need to this and you need to that.” And I was like, “Who are these people?” And this is their opinion and I don't like them either, so their opinion really doesn't matter to me and it took, it was a huge bruise to the ego. I'm not gonna lie. I mean I was 40-years-old and I'm like, “Wow, I just got fired from my first job ever,” and but it made me go back to… I don't know if you've ever heard of a movie called “The Legend of Bagger Vance”…
[13:04] Joel: Oh my gosh, I love that movie.
[13:07] D.D. Marx: I was turned on to that movie from a friend and that literally changed my life. The authentic swing and going back to the person and the core of who you really are, and that people will chip away at that to break you down and tear you down, but you need to stay true to yourself and that really was almost like it just touched my soul and it spoke to me and I was like, “This is what I'm missing. This is what I forgot about,” as what my core values are, who I am, what's important to me and what I'm passionate about and I'm not gonna let anybody in any level of any organization try and tell me that I'm not good enough, because I don't see it from their perspective.
[13:50] Joel: Okay, so what was most important to you?
[13:55] D.D. Marx: The self-esteem rebuilding.
[13:58] Joel: Gotcha.
[14:00] D.D. Marx: Rebuilding myself and believing in myself again, and having the courage to move forward and take my life in a totally different direction.
[14:08] Joel: Okay, so moving into “Beyond Believing”. What was the actual catalyst that got you to sit down at your computer, your keyboard and just start whackin' away, even if you didn't know how to write a book or how to submit a book proposal or make PR connections. What was the actual trigger where you said, “Enough is enough”?
[14:34] D.D. Marx: So I had gone through a tragedy earlier in my life. So this was 20 some years earlier. I lost one of my best friends in a car accident. And we were 23 years old, it was extremely tragic, I was totally devastated. I didn't know how I was gonna go on with my life without him in it and so I think part of me almost died in that moment and I just was kind of going through the motions in life, and that's when I decided when things finally caught up to me, I was like, “Okay, I need to tell the story of this friendship. This is the story that's in my heart and he was such an amazing charismatic guy, and I'm gonna tell it from a fictional perspective 'cause I wanna add some of my own flavor of things that have happened to me in my life and instances and build those characters in,” but I just, I just got rid of the fear and I was like, “Nobody is asking me to write this, I'm just gonna sit down and write it and people are either gonna read it or they're not gonna read it.”
[15:36] D.D. Marx: “It's either gonna get published, or it won't get published,” and I really didn't limit myself. I just took the veil off and said, “This is the story that's in my heart and I feel like people need to hear it,” and I just started writing. And I felt like my friend Dan, the whole symbol of the book, the “Beyond Believing” part is that he's guiding my character from the other side. So it's about believing in things that are bigger than yourself and that there's a bigger plan out there for you and that if you stay aware and stay open to it, it can lead you to great places. So that's kind of where the inspiration came from. He was the inspiration and I talk about things about my job in the book. It was a great story line in my book. So it helped me kind of heal from that perspective too.
[16:28] Joel: How did it help you heal?
[16:32] D.D. Marx: So well, the process was very cathartic in terms of healing over the grief of my friend. I felt like I was leaving this legacy for our friends and his family to have even if it was just for us to have a story in print for all of us to have for the rest of our lives. But then as I was writing this character, there were things from my life that I was able to include both funny and tragic and hard, but writing through the experience of you know I have a whole job scenario in there that's based on this experience, but names and they're all changed.
[17:07] Joel: Yeah, I gotcha.
[17:09] D.D. Marx: But I got to write the ending. I got to change the way it ended in my life.
[17:15] Joel: Very cool.
[17:16] D.D. Marx: Yeah, it was very healing. It was like, “You know what? This it how it should have gone and now that I'm writing about it, this is how it's gonna go.” So it felt really good to have that media to be able to put it out there into the world, and tell it fictionally, but also have some truth to it and have people understand that this happens to people all the time, and that you get beaten down and people try to tear you apart, but you just have to stay strong enough and get past that hurdle, and then great things can be there for you on the other side.
[17:50] Joel: And that's the practical application to today's conversation is that, well, not only is writing cathartic, but you can take the facts, the things that happened to you, the good, the bad and sometimes even the ugly, or the very ugly and you can put a creative… Add some creative juice to it, make it into a some type of a novel that tells the story, that highlights the learning points, the struggles, the opportunities and also the missed opportunities. And you can tell your story that way and that as it was for you can be an absolute freeing experience. It doesn't have to be another self help book for it to be meaningful and not only to you, but to the people that read it.
[18:47] Joel: Talking today with DD Marx, the name of the book is called, “Beyond Believing”. Of course, we will have other social media hot spots and all the go-to places… Places to go in the show notes and the blog article that accompanies this episode. I'm gonna ask you one, maybe a couple more questions if we have time. But I wanna ask you this, and I like to ask authors… The easy question would be, “What can readers get from reading your book?” Right? That's the easy question. But I always like to ask kind of the opposite of that question, I say, “What did you get from reading your book?”
[19:30] D.D. Marx: Oh! I basically feel like I had a total rebirth of myself, and I was able to go back to, like I said, who I was? And why did I come into this world? And what am I really supposed to be doing? What am I supposed to be contributing to society? I don't have kids, so I didn't leave a legacy from that perspective. So, I felt like I need to leave a mark someway in this world, and I don't know what that's gonna be. But this book is exactly what it turned out to be. And it has just totally changed my life for the better and I don't worry about the small stuff anymore, I still have a job, but it doesn't affect me the way that it would ever in the past. And it's just a means to an end, to help me continue with my art, my craft. And help me pour my energy into something that's meaningful to me.
[20:22] Joel: That's another practical application of today's chat is you can still pursue other expression without having to make this heroic leaper jump. And I think sometimes, and I'm just as guilty, too, is that people trick themselves into believing, “Again, I did this,” into thinking now, “Okay. Well, then I need to quit everything and I need to focus all my time and attention on this thing.” And it might be writing a book, or creating a podcast or creating a movie, but you know what? You can side-hustle your way to a lot of things.
[21:04] D.D. Marx: Yes. I agree. 100%.
[21:09] Joel: And your book, DD, is a perfect example of that. Last thing coming up for a landing here, I really appreciate your time today, DD What didn't I ask you or what didn't we touch on that is tugging at you right now? Or is there anything that we just needed to share?
[21:28] D.D. Marx: No. I think this is awesome in terms of me even realizing. I haven't really been asked or thought about what it's done for me as a person. So, I thank you for that and it will help me appreciate the process even more now. So, thank you.
[21:47] Joel: Absolutely. Again, DD Marx is our guest today. You are welcome back here on ‘Relaunch' anytime and we highly appreciate you being here. And thanks to our friend Michelle Colon-Johnson and Tony Johnson that recommended you to the show and recommended that you and I get together and connect. So thanks to them, two of my favorite people.
[22:14] D.D. Marx: Yes. Me too.
[22:16] Joel: All the best, DD, Bye-bye.
[22:17] D.D. Marx: Bye.
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