My 10 Life Rules

Years ago I learned from my business partner to write down my “10 Commandments,” or the 10 life rules I live by, and now I use this exercise when I’m coaching clients. These are the non-negotiable things I do every day! If I need to make a decision in life, I refer to my 10 life rules by asking myself, Does the decision align with my life rules? If not, I move on!

We all have those days we don’t feel like doing anything. We’re tired, stressed and nothing seems to be going right. That’s when I pull out my 10 life rules and remember why I do what I do!
So, here they are:

1) Show up with a smile EVERY SINGLE DAY!

I’m grateful for my life and am a happy person that spreads happiness whenever I can! I look for the positive in everything! We’ve all been around those people who, when you ask how their day is or how their weekend was, they tell you all the miserable things that happened. If you want to find something wrong with your life, it is easy to do! But, guess what? If you want to find something positive in your life, that’s JUST as easy to do! Focusing on the positive and showing up with a smile will change your life! And if there’s something in your life you aren’t happy about, instead of complaining, CHANGE IT or change the way you think about it. You control your job, your relationship status, your bank account, your friendships, your weight…it’s all under your control!

My first boss said to me one day, “You know what I like about you? You show up with a smile every single day. No matter what’s going on, you’re in a good mood and show up happy which spills over into the team!” At the time I didn’t really think much of it because I’d always had a happy demeanor, and it didn’t take me much effort to put a smile on. But when I became a boss I realized how important this quality really is! The positive energy I give out is a direct reflection of my work and affects everyone around me! One of my hardest employees to manage was one that complained all of the time. It didn’t matter what was going on, she always complained. And she was the least qualified person on the team and honestly the least valuable asset from a business standpoint. When her attitude started to spill over into the team (after all, complainers love company), I knew I had to take action quickly. I’ll take a positive attitude with ZERO skill any day! I can teach anyone the skills if they come with a good attitude! And guess what? I wasn’t ever the smartest person, but I always brought my smile with me! People want to be around happy people. They want to do business with positive, happy people!

I am not the most tolerant person in life when people start to complain. YOU ARE THE ONE IN CHARGE! You don’t like it? CHANGE IT! One exercise I’ve used is to write down five things I’m thankful for at the start of every day. By shifting your mindset toward gratitude, suddenly the bad things go away!

Today it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all that’s wrong. Turn on the news, negative. Talk to the mom next to you at soccer practice, complaining about Covid. Ask a client how they are doing, the pandemic has ruined their business. All of these things are very REAL, but how we respond to them is what’s most important. Guess what? D2 Branding was UP year-to-year in 2020. Was it easy? NO! We lost many clients. At one point we lost what had been a $30k monthly revenue in one day (by the way, that’s $360,000 a year!). YIKES! But we didn’t focus on that. I didn’t let my mind go there! We controlled what we could control and started to revamp our business model to create an online coaching program. If we stayed in that negative space we would’ve never come out of the hole! We pivoted, and we controlled our environment. We focused on what we needed to do and never looked back. I had to get on the phone with potential clients and put a smile on my face. I had to give them hope for the future of their businesses and convince them to keep on marketing.

Start your day with a smile! It’s the prettiest thing you can wear!

2) Workout every morning before the sun comes up and eat healthy 90% of the time!

For the last 20 years I’ve worked out regularly at 5am, six days a week. I even workout on vacation, not because I have to, but because I want to be the best version of me. Exercise makes me happy, clears my head and sets me up for the day! I also do it as an example for my kids to live healthy, disciplined lives. Because if you don’t have your health, you can’t enjoy anything.
Sure, I have days I don’t want to get up at 4:30am to hit a 5am workout, but I always remind myself of times I couldn’t workout because of an injury, or I think about people who are physically unable to exercise. They’d give anything for an able body that can move. We were made to MOVE! I’ve never done a workout and afterwards thought, “I wish I would’ve stayed in bed…” I’m always happy when it’s over, and I feel accomplished for the day!

I think about my daughter who tore her ACL at her state championship high school soccer game. I watched the tears come down as she had to cheer on her teammates from the bench for the next nine months until her knee was fully healed.

And I think of my son, born 12 weeks early, weighing only 2 pounds 9 oz. I remember what he looked like in the incubator with tubes in and out of him for 77 days. Would he ever walk? Would he ever talk? I knew right then and there I would never take advantage of my health and would continue to improve it.

3) Do not have a scarcity mindset…ever!

I’m referring to a poverty vs. abundant mindset. I know I will always be able to provide for my family and make money. As the marketing landscape changes, I change with it. Even if I don’t have D2 in the future, I know I will always be resourceful and make money to take care of myself and my family!

This is such an important lesson. I talk to entrepreneurs every day that struggle with this. They don’t have the confidence that they WILL make money, and they CAN create a seven figure income! People do it everyday, why shouldn’t that be YOU???

If I lose a business deal, I learn from it and quickly move on. Why dwell in the past? I know I can make the money up somewhere else! I drive my husband crazy because I never sit around and think…we should save all our money in case something happens. LIKE WHAT?! I am a resourceful person and will always make money. Always. Even if this D2 thing doesn’t work out, there is something else out there for me! Someone is making money off marketing and coaching, why shouldn’t it be me?!!

You have to get yourself into this frame of mind when you are coming up with your rate sheet. I’ve changed hundreds of entrepreneurs’ lives over the years and my pricing is a reflection of that. I decided a while back I needed to make at least $500-$1000 an hour in a coaching session for it to be worth my time. It seemed a little crazy when I first started, but guess what happened? The people I coached VALUED our sessions more and they didn’t miss their meetings! They were paying good money to get an hour of my time! So a shift happened. They did their homework, and they were more successful! I was happy because I was getting what I was worth and they had a fire under them to perform because they were making an investment in themselves. When you’re pricing your business, get what you are worth and stick to it!

4) Strive to be a mentor.

I am always looking to mentor other women in business, in their health and in their relationships. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than sharing my knowledge with others to bring them success.

When I interned at a TV station I had the most amazing mentor. She was the first woman I saw in business who was strong and held her own with the men in the room. She was smart, funny, had amazing style, everyone at the station loved her, and she was very successful. She had power. When she spoke in a meeting, she commanded attention and everyone listened. She gave me confidence to be a STRONG woman in business and shoot for the moon and the stars to be what I wanted to be.

We often take on interns at D2 and I love watching the light bulb go off when they’re introduced to something about marketing that they really like. You don’t get that in college. If I can be a small part of someone’s inspiration for their career, then I have done my job!

5) Keep my emotional state calm.

I am unphased by the negativity going on around me. I think before I speak, I stay focused on my goals and avoid drama. THIS IS A MASSIVE LIFE RULE!!! You cannot be driven by emotions in business. If you are emotional with your clients, your employees, or when adversity arises, you will not do well. Sure, I’ve had my moments where a client or employee pushes my buttons, but I always take a step back and answer the email or make the phone call when I am not emotional. Clients will come and go. Employees will come and go. It used to really upset me when a client canceled, because I poured my life into their account, but I started to look back and be grateful for the time I had with them. It’s life! As we scaled our agency, I wasn’t able to spend as much one-on-one time with clients, and it was a hard transition. They were used to ME calling them back, ME handling their account and there was just no way I could do that and grow.

I’ve had business partnerships that didn’t work out. I see people in business meetings or around town that know my former partner and they start gossiping, wanting to know the good, the bad and the ugly…but I just don’t go there. There was a time and place for each business relationship I’ve had, and I’m truly grateful for all of them. They are the reason I’ve gotten to where I am today! Maybe we didn’t see eye-to-eye at the point we decided to part ways, but I respect the time we had. And the business world is small. What is great for one partnership may not be so great for another. But just because it didn’t work out with YOU doesn’t mean it won’t be a massive success with someone else!

I see people more than ever taking out their emotions and frustrations on social media. WHY? This is never productive as there’s always someone with a differing opinion.

Check your emotions. When you start to feel yourself getting angry or sad at work, take a step back. Leave the office, go for a drive, go for a run, and look at both sides. Once you start making business decisions based on logic rather than emotion, you will see success!

6) Family always comes first!

No matter what I have going on at work, if my family needs me, I make time! I have two amazing teenagers, so my time is needed less every year which makes it more important to be available for them every day! I was not always this way. I’ve worked for bosses who weren’t as understanding, and it was tough to be off work caring for my little ones. I constantly had the battle of not being 100% at home because I was thinking about work and not 100% about work because I was thinking of my kids.

Now that I am an entrepreneur, I am able to take off when I need to, work from home anytime, and be there for the important things in life.

I’ll never forget when I worked in television I never got off before 5:30pm. I’d have to drive across town to daycare, rushing to get there by 6pm before they closed. My husband picked up the kids most days around 3pm, but sometimes he had to travel which meant my kids would be the last ones there. The time that I’ll never forget was when I pulled up to daycare late and stressed out from work. Neither of my kids felt very good, both had runny noses and were extremely tired from their own long days. They were the last ones there, and the teacher seemed worn out too. I knew right then and there, there had to be a better way, and I was determined to find it!

7) Love BIG and celebrate BIG!

I try to be the biggest cheerleader for my family, my friends and my clients! I am truly happy for their successes and take pride in those around me being their best! I have a gift of making people believe they can be and achieve anything they set their minds to!

We’ve all had friends that we thought really weren’t happy for our success. It’s the little comments, the competitive nature that makes you second guess telling them when things are going your way. WHO NEEDS THOSE FRIENDS IN LIFE? Your journey is not their journey and their successes will look different than your successes! I have a very close circle of friends from college, my Kappa girls, and we truly lift each other up! I am forever grateful to have friends like that, and I encourage my kids to surround themselves with people who will do the same for them.

8) Surround myself with a clean, organized environment.

This truly affects my productivity and my calm state of mind. I operate best when everything is clean, tidy and minimal. It’s less distracting and enables me to focus on my work! I do not go to bed or leave the office without it picked up and everything in its place. I think some may call that obsessive compulsive, but call it what you want, when your environment is calm, your state of mind is calm.

If I’m meeting with a client and their office is a mess, it makes me wonder how they can operate at optimal levels within the chaos.

9) Live a present life!

Whatever moment I am in, I strive to be fully present. With my family, with a client, with my friends…It’s so easy to get distracted by social media, texts or calls. And then add ADD on top of it! I have to eliminate distractions from my life to be fully present. I think that’s why I’ve learned to love yoga so much. You can’t have your phone and they train you to let go of all the thoughts in your head to get into a state of zen. The music is soothing and it is the one time of the day I can let go and relax! Don’t get me wrong, my happiest times in life are when I have a house full of friends and family making memories and having a great time, but I realize I need to have quiet time and be one with my thoughts and my prayers, too.

If you are at work, be at work! If you are home with your family, turn off work and enjoy the time! If you are at yoga or on a run, give all of yourself to that moment and enjoy!

10) Establish rapport and make friends with anyone I meet in the first few minutes of meeting them.

This has been my #1 quality in relationships and in business throughout my life. I try to not have enemies. I make it a point to be friends or friendly with everyone I come in contact with whether it’s an ex-client, ex-boyfriend, ex-boss or someone I just met in passing. I often get client referrals from someone I knew 20 years ago! Be the person people want to talk to because you make it about THEM! You ask them the important questions and get to know them! This is a great quality in life whether you are trying to sell a client, run for the president of your neighborhood association, find a new best friend or land your husband!

One of the biggest compliments when talking to someone is when they say…Oh gosh! We ran out of time, and I didn’t even get the chance to ask about you! It’s not about me, it’s about THEM! If you keep this mantra in life you will go far!

So now I ask you, what are your 10 life rules? Have you written them down? I encourage you to write them down and reflect on them. And when things don’t seem to be going your way, pull them out and remind yourself of the things you strive to live by every day! Your mind will be renewed and you will be reset. I know, because I do it often!


Deedra Determan, Founder

Deedra Determan started her career working in television for one of the top media companies in the country and later became a marketing consultant in the television industry.

Determan went on to launch a niche website for moms in her local market with over 100,000 moms visiting the website each month using the power of Facebook. After one year from launching, Determan sold the website to Oklahoma Media Company, Griffin Communications. Determan went on to launch a digital marketing agency, D2 Branding that was recently recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur360.

Determan is the host of the Do It My Way Podcast Show, empowering women business owners and CEO’s to do business on their terms with no regrets, hesitation or fear. Determan coaches these women on how to create a personal brand so they can live a life of financial freedom, working when they want to work and making the money they want to make!