A conversation with Hoffman graduate Marni Battista
Marni Battista, founder of Dating with Dignity, is a certified professional dating and relationship coach, writer, and sought-out dating expert. Her online TV show, “The Dating Den”, is a popular favorite for dignified daters. Marni was divorced after 17 years of marriage, and understands what it feels like to be lonely and sick of wasting time on dates that go nowhere. She has two daughters, and recently married again. She was trained as a graduate facilitator by the Hoffman Institute Foundation.
We spoke with Marni about giving, receiving, philanthropy, and overcoming fear.
Talk about your journey to giving; what forged this generous spirit in you?
When I started my business about 4 years ago, and I read The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines. She talks about the concept that in order to receive one needs to give. Giving was a whole new area of thought for me.
When I started to think about it, I realized how locked up I was, how much scarcity and fear I had around money, around believing in myself. At the same time, I wanted to give back to the Hoffman Institute because it really did change my life.
I thought, “What if I just make this part of something that I do?” I had to really push my boundary. I was just starting my business, I was living on alimony, I was afraid about paying my bills, and I thought, “I’m just going to set up this monthly thing.” It was like $25 a month. It felt so scary and so hard. But I did it, and things just started to open up in my life. I started to feel really good. Forget what was coming back; I just started to feel like I was making a difference and really helping people.
A few years ago, you were at an event to raise money to fight ovarian cancer, and the emcee announced that the fundraiser was $5,000 short of its goal.
Literally, Spirit moved me. I just stood up, raised my hand, and I said, “I’ll do it!” Then I thought, “What the hell did I just do?” It was incredible. The opportunities that have come as a result of that, how great I felt, it just literally turned on the giving faucet. I decided then that I was adding being a philanthropist to my vision. That’s something I can do in my life and make a difference. It’s something that became a value, and it’s a value that I didn’t even know could be possible.
Is there something about having done the Process that factors into all of this for you?
Doing the Process literally helped me create the life that I have today, and beyond. I really think that, for me, becoming a supporter of the Hoffman Institute was a natural way to move through my fear. I felt like it was safe. I knew that if I helped paint the walls in the dining room (at White Sulphur Springs) that it was real, it was tangible. It was needed, I saw it, and people were going to enjoy it. Because Hoffman is a family – if you choose to stay involved, it becomes your family – it’s a really easy way to stretch. It’s like a safe container in which you can practice and explore giving. One thing the Hoffman Institute does is to make it tangible and easy. The Institute is modeling asking for help, which is so great.
What do you get from all of this? How does it affect you in your life?
Unlocking the flow of giving on a surface level, I have experienced it to be true that the more I give, the more I receive. Every year that I make a bigger leap in donating, I end up having a better year financially for my business or for myself. I wouldn’t say that’s the motivator, but if that’s why you start then you’re going to find all those other rewards and it won’t become your ‘why.’
The other thing is, wow, you get to see people’s lives change! For me, that is very fulfilling. Giving literally creates different chemical responses in our bodies. It’s like gratitude; it makes us feel good inside. I feel so blessed that I’ve been able to witness the transformations in all the different places where I have been a supporter. It feels good to know that the work I’m doing in these areas is appreciated. And I’m teaching it to my children.
In order to start a ripple effect, someone has to throw the first pebble, and so change starts with each of us, individually, and how we affect the rest of the world around us.
I think that if we can let go of scarcity and fear, whether it’s time, money, or whatever it is, and step into living with abundance – like I did – then everything can shift. I know that, for me, everything in my life has a better texture; it’s richer, more vibrant, more full because of how I choose to be generous. The question I would ask is, “How could this apply to me?” Whether it’s money, time, talent – we all have something to give, and it can change your life. It’s not an administrative donation; it’s a heart donation. Put your money where your heart is.
Anyone who is reading this is on a journey to become the best version of themselves. Try donating and see how it feels. You don’t have to be black and white about it. Just explore, play with it, and see what comes up for you. If you want a window in which you can expand and be an even more luscious version of yourself, the Hoffman Institute is a great place to start. It’s going to change someone’s life.
To explore donating to the Hoffman Institute Foundation, start here:
For more information about Dating with Dignity, please visit
Maria Felice Cunningham
12/04/15 at 8:42 AM
What a beautiful way to remember our season of gratitude and giving. I walk daily knowing I have a left road and a right road–turn to the right and your heart is open.
Happy Holidays and thank you for brightening my day! Warmly, Maria