Standing atop a snow-capped peak, some 23,000 feet above sea level, Dana Platin saw her future. It was the year 2000, and she had just completed an exhilarating summit of Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua in the Southern Andes, the Western Hemisphere’s highest peak. And from that exclusive view, Platin’s life stretched out before her. There would be more summits, sure. More finish lines. More goals crushed. More opportunities to be extraordinary. But for Platin, it was time to take that sense of empowerment and pass it on.
Today, Platin, 46, has made it her mission to push people past their fears and accomplish their own extraordinary goals. Through the nonprofit The Warmi Project, Platin partnered with professional triathlete Rachel Joyce to form the Reinas brand, which seeks to give women the tools they need to become braver, bolder, and stronger in triathlon—as well as in life in general. Platin, who holds a master’s degree in public health, took up triathlon while living in South America working for the Peace Corps, so she has a special understanding of the oh-so-important mental component of the sport.
“It’s all about a mindset shift,” says Platin, who now lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband. “That’s about 80 percent of the battle on race day. By silencing that inner critic, we can stop self-sabotaging.”
Platin has dovetailed her own experiences in mountaineering and triathlon, as well as her extensive career in leadership development—she currently works up to 50 hours a week as a deputy director with AmeriCorps—to create the platform for the Warmi Project.
Named after a cadre of indigenous women whom Platin met through her work in Ecuador, the Warmi Project encompasses workshops, camps, and retreats offering lessons on everything from goal setting to, yes, silencing negative mental chatter.
As a team, Joyce and Platin merge practical techniques in the swim, bike, and run (sighting in open water and cornering skills on the bike, for example) with more nitty-gritty mental tricks for identifying and conquering fears. They also facilitate discussions where women can share their own tips and lessons learned from setbacks.
“Our hope is to create this network, this community of women who can lift each other up,” Platin says.
One of the main themes to their teachings is learning to live inside the courage zone—in other words, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.
“Eighty percent of the population live inside the comfort zone, and that’s when doubt shows up” Platin explains. “The courage zone is about taking risks, speaking up, having those hard conversations. If you challenge yourself to do three hard things every day, it eventually becomes habit. You’ll get comfortable hanging in the courage zone.”
Although she prides herself on living in her own courage zone, Platin admits she still gets pre-race nerves (it’s always the swim start she says). But by drawing from the Warmi Project strategies, she has learned to switch her mindset from fearful to fierce.
“Races can be intimidating, but head’s up: Everyone is nervous. So I just tell myself, ‘You are strong. You’re a badass. You’re ready,’” Platin says. “And when my inner critic shows up to tell me otherwise? I can say, ‘Thanks, but I’ve got this.’”
A Day in the Life of Dana Platin
- 5 A.M.
- Wake-up call for COFFEE!
- 5-6 A.M.
- Warmi Project time
- 6-7:30 A.M.
- Train either swim, bike, or run
- 7:30-8 A.M.
- Prep for work, eat breakfast
- 8-9 A.M.
- Commute to work, catch up with mom on the phone
- 9 A.M.-5:30 P.M.
- Day job at AmeriCorps
- 5:30-6:30 P.M.
- Commute home; use time to call friends, family
- 7:30-8 P.M.
- Strength training session
- 8-9 P.M.
- More Warmi Project work
- 9 P.M.
- Review goals, plan for the next day, decompress