Profiling Someone I Admire: Patti DeNucci

This is my training journal, so I try to keep my entries to running (or lack of running and rehab). But so much of what I do in running and training is tied in with life in general that the waters get a little murky at times and something more “life” related will make a splash I can’t ignore or leave unaddressed. This entry is really about setting goals…and how can any of us train without successfully setting goals?

Last night, I had the great honor and privilege of going to a cocktail party hosted by a dear friend who is launching her first book. I’ve know Patti for more than 20 years; we go ‘way back before her kid was born and before two of mine were around. We met randomly through a mutual friend who wanted to put together a Bunco group (remember that ’80’s dice game that was really an excuse to hang out with girlfriends and drink? Now it’s called “book club.”)

Because many of us were strangers to one another, our friend had us go around in a circle and introduce ourselves, tell a little something about who we were and what we did. I don’t remember exactly what Patti said, but she was certainly writing and freelancing and I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “Wow. I’d like to do what she does.” We became friends over many evenings of dice and drinks, shared books, babies, interest in art, you name it.

Patti was my mentor into freelance writing. Everything I know about being a successful freelancer and professional came from Patti, whether she simply modeled behavior or out-right instructed me. Her help and guidance over time have been invaluable.

Several years ago, Patti announced that it was time for her to write a book on networking. She wanted to take the things she’d learned as a freelancer, successful businesswoman, and consummate networker and parlay that into her new business: selling her book, speaking to folks eager to learn, and sharing with others her professional knowledge. We were at a conference and she made a pledge to one day present her own book there.

And by God, she’s done it. IntentionalNetworkercover-199x300She has produced a wonderful book; she’s already moderated a panel of authors in discussion; she’s speaking at various events about networking; she’s selling her book. I’ve watched her work purposefully and steadily to become exactly the person she wanted to be, doing the things she dreamed about doing. I cannot express how proud I felt last night as she mingled among her supporters, signing copies of her book.

If you think about it, what Patti has done is not so very different from executing a successful race plan. She spent a lot of time deciding what outcome she wanted and she took the steps to achieve it. She invested in years of training to get to the start line. What she did during her race was fueled by good decisions made from experience and keeping her eyes on the greater prize. On the off days, she persevered because she was motivated by the rewards at the end to overlook pain in the process. Patti visualized her success at every step.

I admire her so. Watching Patti navigate this process has shown me that what keeps me from my own successes is ME. If I can set goals, plan strategies, and successfully execute a race plan, then I can surely do the same with a life plan. What is the difference? Nothing but desire. And sometimes, the very thing you need is that wonderful person who dares, dreams, models, and goes first….

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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