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My Top Investments (…some of these are going to surprise you)

“Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you. They can run up huge deficits and the dollar can become worth far less. You can have all kinds of things happen. But if you’ve got talent yourself, and you’ve maximized your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold.” – Warren Buffet

Tonya Leigh came out with a fascinating blog post this week about the 8 investments that had changed her most as a woman.

firtpicOne of my clients who just released her best selling book, The 100 Day Promise, said that her investment in my program was the best of her 15 year career as an entrepreneur.

All that got me thinking about the most powerful investments I have made and how they have shaped my life. And it got me curious about your most powerful investments and how they have shaped yours. Here’s what I came up with!


8 Investments that Changed Me as a Woman

1. My first Crowded House Cassette Tape

You probably know Crowded House without realizing it – you know that song that goes “Hey Now. Hey Now. Don’t Dream It’s Over”… well that song changed my life. I bought that self-titled cassette with money I made from my job at a shoe store and practically wore it out listening to it in my 77 Chevy Nova (which, btw, had an 8-track, not a tape player so I had to use a converter to make it play). I fell in love with the band, joined the then-mail-based fan club, and began “trading tapes” with other fans. Years later the early Internet emerged. That initial $5.88 investment in the tape turned into my first online tribe. The Tongue In the Mail was a UseNet Newsgroup and ListServe from the early 90s where I started meeting fellow fans around the world

HOW IT CHANGED ME: To this day many of my friends are “Crowdies” but that’s not the only reason this investment made me the woman I am today. What being a Crowded House fan taught me is that as quirky as I am, my people ARE out there. And more than that, my world, my life, my closest, most intimate friends, do not need to be geographically close to me. Through Crowded House I created a world-wide friendship base that put international travel and hosting at the heart and center of my life. If it weren’t for that first cassette tape purchase, I wouldn’t have been to 43 countries. I wouldn’t life in a home called the International House of People. I wouldn’t have best friends in England, Australia, Argentina and Serbia. Oh, and I might not be getting married to a handsome Brit.

  1. Marianne Williamson tapes

MWI pretty much lived at the Barnes & Noble near my first apartment after college. And at least once a week I bought one of Marianne Williamson’s lectures. I must have listened to each one 20 or 30 times. One of the best things to come of that experience is that I always have Marianne and her interpretation of how the Course in Miracles would see different situations in my head.

HOW IT CHANGED ME: If you want to change the results you have in your life, you have to change your thoughts. I didn’t know that at the time but listening to Marianne and becoming a student of A Course in Miracles healed my (very messed up) relationship with my father. Forgiving my dad remains the greatest and most powerful transformations of my life. Worth every $14.95 cassette tape times 1000!

  1. That Ugly Sweater in Auckland

sweaterI spent most of my 20s travelling. It’s one of the greatest decisions I ever made. I wasn’t flush with cash though and I often had a goal to survive on just $10 a day. One special trip to New Zealand though I made a huge purchase. Probably the biggest purchase I made in 5 years. It might sound silly now, but I spent $300 on a sweater. Kind of an ugly sweater in retrospect, but I was in love with it. I still am. It’s the reason I look forward to super cold days when I have to be outside! I saw the sweater in the window of a knitting shop just hours after I arrived in New Zealand, but spent 3 weeks travelling the entire country before coming back to Auckland and buying it. I had told myself it was too much money, but after thinking about the sweater every damn day for 3 weeks, I made the decision to invest. 20 years on, I have definitely gotten $300 in value!

HOW IT CHANGED ME: What I learned from that sweater is that even when money is tight, there is a time and place to make an investment in something that might seem frivolous that makes your heart sing. Knowing the difference between being a consumer to numb yourself from feeling and consuming to connect with your deep desire – that’s a skill they don’t teach in school but that craving that sweater for 3 weeks taught me and I’m so grateful. Amazing investment!

  1. Becoming a Home Owner – on a whim

blue houseI had borrowed $20 from my friend Heidi and wanted to return it. She mentioned there was an open house in her neighborhood so I decided I’d go to the open house and casually sneak her $20 back to her while I was there.

I was unemployed. A full time student. And had just been rejected from my dream PhD program in California. I was rudderless. Less than 3 months left of grad school and I had no idea what I would do next.

When my foot hit the first step of the porch, the answer flooded. I would buy this house.

You have to understand how ridiculous this idea was. It was a quarter of a million dollar house and I had no money and no job. And yet from the second we made contact that house was mine.

The real estate market was hot and I hadn’t been preapproved for a mortgage. I had 24 hours to get an offer in and I had no idea what I was doing. So little idea I made a huge mistake in the favor of the sellers so even though they had 6 offers, they picked mine. I had made an impulse buy…. Of a house.

HOW IT CHANGED ME: I’m all about being careful and logical in decision making, but sometimes, when you know you know. When I did sell that house my investment had more than doubled. But more than that, this was my dream home. It picked me! There was no reason why I should have even been able to buy that house. But the reason why it’s one of my best investments isn’t the fact I sold it for more than twice what I bought it for, it’s because I listened to my heart when everyone (and I mean everyone) said it was impossible. Other people might have believed you couldn’t buy a house in one day with no job and no money… not me!

  1. My (amazing) doula

Let’s get this out of the way first. Doulas DO NOT charge enough. Whatever your doula wants to charge you, pay double. Sometimes I think I should send my doula a royalty check every year on my kid’s birthday.

Look, having a baby is one of the most physically demanding things a human being can do. If you were climbing Mt. Everest you’d have a team of Sherpas. If you were free diving, you’d have a massive support team. If you had a heart attack even, everyone medical and emotional would be there to support you.

But when you have a baby, it’s all about the baby. You become, as my friend Jen so eloquently put it, Baby Tupperware.

HOW IT CHANGED ME: Having a doula seems like an “extra” to most people, but I can tell you for sure my doula is one of the best investments of my life. There is a lot of unhealed birth trauma stuffed in women’s hearts and heads. Letting myself be taken care of in the deep way was one of the most soul nourishing experiences. My doula taught me what it would feel like if I loved myself. It was the first glimpse.

  1. Good Bras that Fit Well

braWhen I met Ali Cudby I was wearing a 46 DDD bra and size 20 clothes. I knew about pretty lingerie but what I knew was that was not for people like me. I even knew there was plus size lingerie but I was pretty sure that was for skinny fat girls, not fat fat girls like me. I resisted Ali for months when she told me that I could have a bra that fit, flattered and felt fantastic.  I wasn’t buying it. And I DEFINITELY wasn’t walking into a Nordstrom with her. Slowly, over months and many online orders we found a perfect bra that fit perfectly. Turns out my ACTUAL bra size was more like a 36 H.

HOW IT CHANGED ME: By living in cheap, ill-fitting foundation garments for most of my life I was accepting the fact I didn’t fit in the world. It seems silly that investing $50 or $100 in a bra that is well made and fits would change my life, but it did. Without that investment, I wouldn’t have the relationships I have today. Finding bras that fit gave me a reason to believe there was a place where I fit too. 

  1. Coaches & Mentors

I spent 2 days trying to come up with the 8 investments that changed me as a woman and it read instead like a big list of books I had read, classes I had taken and mentors I had cultivated. I am a cerebral girl. I love a nice glass of Malbec, a cup of Yorkshire tea, and yes, a well made bra; but at the end of the day, what lights me up is expanding my mind. Brooke Castillo. Martha Beck. Steve Harrison. Kevin Nations. These are just 4 of the mentors I have invested well over $100,000 since getting fired from my dream job on December 18, 2006. I had a colicky newborn, a violent marriage, and a bank account running on fumes but I never stopped believing it could get better.

HOW IT CHANGED ME: The most important thing I’ve learned from the mentors and coaches I have worked with is that I always get back 10 times what I invest because of ME. I am an amazing student. I do everything my teacher says, knowing I can always go back to what I was doing. Brooke, my first coach, taught me that I was 100% accountable for the results in my life so when I invest, I am responsible for getting back that investment in multiples and so I do!

  1. This Piece of Art

artI commissioned this piece of art after I had my first $100,000 month. It wasn’t cheap. A huge chunk of my profits that month went into it and it was a tribute to all of the clients who had trusted me with their books. I take that role very seriously and I wanted to honor that. I don’t think there is a better way on the planet to celebrate than by creating art. And while the amazing Leah Campbell Badertscher did the actual creating, commissioning this artwork and co-visioning it with her was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

HOW IT CHANGED ME: Connecting with the deep gratitude I have for my clients through art transformed my business and virtually guaranteed the first $100,000 month was only the beginning. My business has continued to grow month after month and it’s investments like this that I believe attract all the right people to work with me. People who invest in themselves and in taking full accountability for creating the life they want to live and people who are committed to making a difference.

(Psst…. You may have heard all 11 books we launched this week hit #1 in their categories on Amazon. I am so proud of them and to celebrate I’ve made my book free today on Amazon. Grab a copy if you don’t have one already. Tell a friend if you do!)

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Explore Sophia’s fascinating journey from
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