Yvonne Druyeh Dodd has found what “alignment” means to her in terms of her career, financial and personal story.
The Lola member, Yvonne Druyeh Dodd started her career in social work to help individuals but as she grew in her career her focus shifted to a much larger scale. Yvonne found that she wanted to help a larger population find happiness and success within their lives. Throughout her journey, she has found alignment both with her values and her money story. Outside of work, you can find her dancing, practicing yoga, or planning her next trip with her husband.
Yvonne Druyeh Dodd
Location: Atlanta, GA
Age: 35 years
Briefly describe who you are, what you do for work and for fun
I’m a coach, entrepreneur, yogi, mother, and activist. I created the Authentic Hustle series to support entrepreneurs and career changers in getting the clarity, confidence, and strategy they need to create a life and business that’s embodied, abundant, and impactful.
I have over 15+ years of experience in entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, community building, and tech. Plus, I’m a registered yoga and meditation teacher (RYT 200). Whether the topic is self-care and mindset or sales and building valuable networks, my passion is in helping people be who they need to be so they can take action and create whatever vision they have. Whether I’m teaching a workshop, speaking, or 1:1 with a client, I hold focused, transformative space and create simple blueprints that make the “Woo” tangible.
These days I’m finding joy in dancing, making playlists, writing, doodling, learning from my 3.5-year-old, reading, and planning future vacations with my husband.
How did you land upon your professional path? Who or what inspired you into taking this path?
To make a long story short: I worked miracles doing no less than five job descriptions under one job title in 70 hour work weeks for a nonprofit in my early to mid-twenties. I cared deeply about our mission of helping homeless families become self-sufficient and had plans of going to grad school for a Master’s in nonprofit management or clinical social work. I was doing all the right things on the “checklist” as a young professional and was passionate about the population we served. But I was also exhausted, engaged to the wrong guy, and had trouble articulating what I wanted or needed out of life for the first time.
This realization was a turning point for me, and it was one of the first times I pieced together all the things I need to create what I envision. After a period of taking care of my body, breaking off the engagement, finding the courage to set boundaries at work, creating new friendships and systems of support, creating vision boards, and meditating, my life had done a complete 180 in under a year. I also met my soulmate during this time, and two years later, we were engaged.
The evening after he proposed, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow…life is happening. Do I still want to be complaining about the same things at work next year? Or five years from now?” and I heard a voice say, “No one can live your life but you.”
Through all of this deep work, I realized that I no longer wanted to work in social work with many issues in the nonprofit and government spaces. I also realized that so many people are experiencing mild depression and stagnation but are often overlooked because there’s no place for them to go without a severe chemical imbalance or extreme disorder. Miserable people make other people miserable, and I decided to become certified as a coach and help this population, rather than families and individuals in crisis.
Lastly, my mentor gave me a little nudge and encouraged me to set a deadline of a couple of months from our meeting and put in my notice at work. That year, I quit my job, started my business, and got married within three months. I am so thankful that she took me out to lunch that day and suggested setting a date. It was one of the best decisions of my life; I’ve learned and accomplished so much because of it.
What do you do (for work or fun) to align with your values?
It’s essential to start with the fact that I have to create the space for and ask the right questions to get to the core of what I want. Because if I’m not clear on what I want, I’m not going to be able to know what’s in alignment. It’s such a simple thing, but being in alignment requires that we ask for what we want and give ourselves permission to feel good and have the things we want.
The times I’m out of alignment are usually when I’m not clear, not taking care of myself, and perhaps not consistently setting the proper boundaries around my needs.
That can show up on a smaller scale, like not making the time for exercise or space to relax and kickback. Or it can look like trying to recover from a long period of burning the candle at both ends and enduring high amounts of stress.
To get back in alignment or to consistently stay there, I make sure that I am clear about what I want and how I want to feel.
On a daily or weekly basis, rituals and routines help me do this whether I have 5 minutes or 45. I try to make sure that I take a moment to tune into how I’m feeling, add some affirmations that resonate with whatever I’m working on, set my intentions for the day, and then create a “Brain Dump” list of whatever is on my mind that needs to get done or I don’t want to forget. On a monthly and quarterly basis, I revisit my overall vision and add or delete the things that help me achieve my goals.
Other alignment practices for resetting and recalibration include having tough conversations, doing the work to be as present as possible, engaging in laughter, dance, art, sensuality, delicious food, kid cuddles, and meditation.
How do you define success for yourself? What ideas of success do you reject?
I have lots of ideas and visions of the kinds of material things I want in my life, but at the end of the day, material and financial milestones are important rewards, benchmarks, and milestones, not the end game. To me, success is about the quality of my relationships, my ability to be content and grounded in who I am, leaving a legacy for future generations, and the freedom to choose how I want to live and make an impact.
Questions that help me determine whether or not I was successful include: Did I use my gifts and strengths to serve and co-create with others? Did I catalyze people toward their truth? Did I express my truth? Did I stretch myself beyond what I thought was possible to get closer to the vision? If these questions are answered with yes, it can’t get any better than that! It takes so much effort, failure, and deep inner work to answer “yes” to these questions.
What is your relationship with money? How does money make you feel?
My relationship with money today is trusting, secure and open to new possibilities. And that comes from years of working through money baggage, understanding my blindspots and knowing what it means to operate in an aligned and authentic way.
I have finally begun to understand what I do that repels or attracts money into my life and business, which is such a relief because I have definitely experienced the rollercoaster ride of feast or famine as a business owner. Or moments of feeling like I was working so hard and doing all the right things but still coming up short in my bank account.
What lessons were you taught about money growing up (saving, investing, debt, earning, etc.)?
From my Dad, I learned a good deal about holding on to your money, using cash instead of credit when you have it, and not buying things you don’t need. I also saw a dynamic between my parents that resembled stereotypical gender roles about the man being the holder of the finances and the woman mostly being the spender.
Because I knew early on that I was going to be a psychologist or social worker, I had a story in my mind that my salary would be capped at a low amount because it was in a helping profession. I also was never raised to believe that there would be someone else taking care of me. So I made it a point to learn all that I could about being financially savvy because it was a responsible thing to do.
How have you overcome any early beliefs or patterns around money?
After uncovering all the myths and stories, I had about money and what I was or wasn’t supposed to be able to do with it, I had to give myself permission to think as big as I wanted to, have the dreams I wanted to have, and create what I wanted to create. I had to extract and release societal and cultural baggage around what black women can and cannot have, or the possibility of making more money than my father or other family members, or being the person in my marriage that was driving the financial decisions, etc. You will find baggage in just about every corner, on every topic coming from when you were a child or a conversation you had or religion, social status, style aesthetic, educational background, and so on. For me, the key to overcoming it is naming and facing it. Once you can do that, it’s easier to be objective and create tools like affirmations, forgiveness practices, and new ways to take action until you create new habits around money.
Another part of this process is to make sure that you engage with money today in the way that you would engage with it if you had already achieved your monetary goals. It’s like the saying that if you can’t save $50, you won’t be able to save $5000. If you imagine yourself as a comfortably wealthy person in the future, you can’t get there by dodging bill collector phone calls and not knowing your bank balance today. Asking myself how I would behave today if I were like my best and highest vision for the future right now gives me powerful, tangible steps to take today to be in alignment.
I have a ton of books I can recommend, but an essential one is Marianne Williamson’s “The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles.”
How does money play into how you make big decisions about your life and career?
The vision I have for what I want to create for myself and my family is big. I want to be able to impact black healing and liberation, invest in other entrepreneurs, and pour into my children’s creative and educational pursuits, to name a few things. Money helps me have a seat at the table, make my own table, and make room for others. I’m striving to make as much as possible to live a fabulous life of being who I need to be to serve and help others do the same. So money always has to be included in the decisions I make, and I work to make sure I’m thinking of actual dollar amounts that can help create the vision.