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Danica Patrick: Finding Her Joy

By Anna Griffin, Editor in Chief

A top athlete in the world of motor racing having turned the tough, male-dominated sport on its head by achieving an impressive series of firsts as a female driver, Danica Patrick is no stranger to following her dreams, focusing on her desired outcome, and achieving her goals.

An accomplished woman, Danica published her first book in 2017. Pretty Intense™ is a motivational, 90-day high-intensity workout, protein-rich, paleo-inspired eating plan and mental-conditioning program, with a goal of helping her readers get leaner, stronger, and healthier. Danica’s podcast of the same name followed, and is another platform utilized to inspire her audience. Through her straightforward interviews with inspiring thought leaders from different genres, it is obvious that their conversations bring as much inspiration to Danica as they do her listeners, but what inspired her to step into the world of podcasts?

“The idea for the podcast came about a couple years ago because I realized just how much I like to talk, and what I learned is that I was going to have to learn to listen. I love to have conversations with people I guess is the point, like I'm very interested in people, I'm curious. I always have so many questions for people, so I just have a natural curiosity to know more and that's when the epiphany came where I was like, “Man, I should have a podcast. That makes perfect sense.” So selfishly I truly just enjoy doing it because I really like meeting all these people. I like talking to them, I like hearing their story, and I like learning. I love learning, so it's taught me new skill sets. Coming from a background of 20 plus years of doing the talking, it was so interesting to learn how to interview versus being interviewed, and of course the beautiful dynamic of that is that you learn. You don't learn when you're the one talking, you learn when you're listening,” she says.

Danica’s Pretty Intense™ Podcast is exactly as it’s named - pretty intense - because she gets straight to the heart of substantial conversation, asking intelligent and well-considered questions. Her calm and candid demeanor as she digs deep is refreshing, as is her sincere interest in her guests and her desire to learn. Interviewing other-worldly thinkers such as Dr. Joe Dispenza, Jay Shetty, Gary Vaynerchuck, and Dr. Zach Bush; athletes such as Gabby Reece and Dale Earnhardt Jr; and entertainers including Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, Jenny McCarthy, and Howie Mandel, Danica extracts in-depth and authentic responses that lead to inspiring and thought provoking discussion.

With 72 impressive episodes already published, I am intrigued to know if she has any favorites. She tells me, “I do love Dr. Joe Dispenza. I love his content, his message, and what his gift is to the world. I love Zach Bush, who talked about the nature of cancer cells and how they work and how it actually is quite simple, and then the bio - the biosphere that you live in and that your body is in. I love John Paul DeJoria who started Paul Mitchell and Patron. He had such beautiful information about just being a boss and being a good human, as well as our conversation took a total turn and we ended up talking about aliens and all kinds of really fun stuff, so it's always fun when it sort of takes those turns. Jenny McCarthy was super fun - she's obviously very lively, but she's so vulnerable and she has crazy stories to tell, and is also really smart and has a lot of ambition.”

She continues, “There's been a wide range of people I'm not even identifying and they've all been so enjoyable. I guess at the core of it is that everyone has a story if you are ready to listen and then if you're ready to guide the conversation there, and it's all about trying to figure out how to get into the truth, which sometimes you come from the side. Sometimes you come in from the back, but it's really about how you unpack this human on a relatable level that we all experience, so that their story can apply. Just hearing that, and hearing what it is that got them to where they're at and what motivated them - their failures and how they overcame it - that's real life. We can all relate to that stuff.”

Through listening to her podcasts, Danica hopes her audience will have breakthroughs within their own lives, and when asked for what advice she would give to people struggling during Covid she says, “I understand that people have adversity for sure - I’ve had it - and I think asking for help in those moments is really big. We don't have to be everything and perfect; we just have to be ourselves and sometimes we just have to ask for help, so I think that when things get chaotic, asking for help is something that's really good. And then I would say outside of that, I get asked a lot what it was like to be a girl in racing and what were the challenges and the downsides. I chose to focus on the positive and it is up to you if you do. I chose to look at all the good sides of things as opposed to how it wasn't fair or what I didn't get, and so mindset, looking at things from a positive perspective of all the things it does bring, and then guess what it does? It brings you more of them. There is abundance versus a state of lack - you get more versus you get less.”

As an example of positive thinking manifesting in her own life, Danica is also the proud owner of a vineyard and organic, boutique, wine label called Somnium (meaning dream in Latin). A lover of wine stemming from her racing days in England, owning her own winery seemed like a dream until she discovered the property with it’s premium soil and beautiful view, all of which inspired its name. “It was on a trip to Napa Valley in 2006 where I was set up for a tasting at a really nice place and there was a big knoll in the middle of the property, and I'm standing there at 10 a.m. with wine going, “Wow. It'd be really cool to have something like this someday,” and that's it. That was the beginning, and so when you think about manifesting, I look at how funny it is all these ideas I had, and thoughts become things. It's through intention and energy creates matter, and so I just thought, “Wow, how cool would it be to have something like this someday?” And then boom! There it is. Two years later I saw the property that I ended up buying, and it was just a dream of mine that I was brave enough to allow to become a reality, and believe it was possible,” she says.

Danica lights up when she speaks of her venture into the wine business, and, as with everything she undertakes in life, it is obvious that she has put a lot of consideration and heart into it. “I bought the property in 2009, started planting in ‘11 and it's just been this beautiful, fun process that at the core, at the heart of Somnium, is really a matter of wanting to help people connect because I think that there's nothing more beautiful and more memorable than those nights when you're sitting there with your friends and your family and you're opening up wine. You're having such a good time and you create the memories, and especially this day and age where our phones and technology tend to dominate where our eyes are and where our mind is. How beautiful is it to create that environment where we're connecting on a human level and experiencing each other and sharing stories and having fun, and you know every now and again getting a little too drunk?” she passionately shares.

Her commitment to the quality and purity of every bottle crafted, and the vineyard’s organic certification is important to Danica who tells me, “I choose to eat that way anyway, and very early on I asked and hired good people to work on the project that uphold those same values too. It was already happening, it was already being farmed organic, but it takes two or three years to get the certification because you have to have that long of a record of no pesticides and nothing that's in-organic, so that's when we finally got it. It's always been like that actually.” When it comes to Somnium’s varietals and her favorite, she says, “Personally I truly enjoy Cabernet, so we have a Cab, we have a Sauvignon Blanc, and we have a rosé, and they're all incredible.”

Naturally evolving into something of a wine connoisseur, she has another new wine project called Danica Rosé Wine, which launched in 2020. “It's made in Provence, France, so it's super authentic; it's the home of rosé, and it was really fun to work on a project that's larger scale. Somnium is so boutique and we sell out of things, and it's also a higher price point because of the quality, especially the Cab and how long that wine lasts in your cellar and the amount that goes into it,” she says. “The rosé project that's grown and bottled in France is an incredible wine. We're in hundreds of locations already, but it will be everywhere soon enough and you won't miss it. It's a beautiful bottle with embossed roses and it's a really, really, really fun project. We actually ran this super cool campaign last year that donated over $250,000 to Folds of Honor through donations that were made so that people could enroll into the opportunity to go to the Monaco Grand Prix this year, and be our guest on our yacht that's in this amazing spot in the marina, and it's just going to be the most fabulous party. I really have to honestly remind myself - I actually don't remind myself, I just laugh and smile that I can't believe I'm working right now. When I hold up a glass of wine and I'm like, “Am I really working right now?” I mean that's great! That's an amazing place to be and I'm super grateful.”

With her busy schedule, how does Danica stay so present and grounded? “Creating your environment is super important. I interviewed Jay Shetty and he talked about setting sound and smell, and so that's a great way to create your environment. It's like knowing that stuff’s going to happen, but just doing the best you can to armor up. So you create a beautiful environment for yourself; burn things that make you feel good; play music that makes you happy; make your surroundings really, really ideal for the emotion that you want to create. And then I'd say that something that I've only now just become regular with is meditation.”

When I ask her what her ultimate dream is for herself and her life she says, “I would say that ultimately it's about how can I get to a state of being that is so joyful all day, every day? Like how close can I get to that? How close can I get to being truly joyful? There's a difference between being happy and joyful, right? Happy is like, “Oh that's great,” and joyful is like, “Oh my gosh. It’s indescribable in words to explain what joy feels like when I'm just walking in the woods with my dogs, and I just look and I’m, “Wow. I feel so small, yet so big and so connected,” and I feel so much heart opening and so much gratitude and just love, and so how do you get to be in that state more often? So to achieve more and more and more of that all the way until the very end, is the goal.”

Photography by Jennifer Cawley

Wine photography by WB Photography


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