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The Life Cycle Of A Visionary

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The Life Cycle Of A Visionary

When I first met women’s financial guru Barbara Stanny, author of Overcoming Underearning and Secrets of Six-Figure Women, she was in the process of researching her next book Sacred Success. As part of the research for this book, she was interviewing 7-figure women, researching whether there were any common trends the rest of us might learn from. What Barbara found is that women who make more than a million dollars have very similar life trajectories that got them from A to B.

The Life Cycle of Seven-Figure Women

When the life cycle begins, the woman is going about her business, living her ordinary life, doing her ho hum thing and usually not earning seven figures. Then something happens. She gets thrust into the life cycle, and a very predictable series of steps ensues. I’m paraphrasing what Barbara told me when we chatted about this, so I’ll use my own words, but in essence, this is her juice. (Hint: Barbara’s work is aimed at women, but I have a strong hunch that this is also the life cycle of 7-figure men!)

Step 1: The Fracture

First, something ruptures. She gets fired. Her spouse or child dies. She winds up with cancer. She loses all her money. Tragedy strikes. It may be subtle. No one but her might be able to see the fracture. But somewhere, it’s there. Nothing will ever be the same again.

Step 2: The Retreat

Shaken out of her complacency, she takes time off and goes into retreat, either literally or figuratively. She leaves her ordinary life, goes on an “Eat, Pray, Love” quest, moves to a cottage in the country, quits her job, leaves her family, climbs a mountain – something that takes her away from it all, at least mentally, so she can heal from the trauma. Again, it may be subtle. She may stay in her comfort zone in ways others can see, but internally, she’s crept out of it into a new place. Her life will never be quite the same again.

I call this time “waiting and becoming”. My friend Amy Ahlers calls it “awaiting further instructions.” Found at this phase of the life cycle, the woman probably earns little and may be confused with what Barbara calls an “underearner.” But the money is coming. She’s just spending it to live off, travel, retreat, and heal. This will wind up being money well invested, if she plays her cards right. But most likely, she won’t be certain of this at the time. It’s a risk she’s taking, with no guarantee of a payoff, either emotionally or financially. She just knows she MUST do it.

Step 3: The Mission

While retreating, she comes through what I like to call “the narrow place”, a rebirth process that transforms her from one who wanders aimlessly to one who knows exactly where she’s going. She is richly rewarded for being courageous enough to venture into the narrow place, not so much in dollars at this point, but with an even more precious gift – clarity around her life purpose. At this point, she knows her calling, and it’s not just a calling to earn money (though that may be part of it). It’s a calling to be of service, to help people, to change the world – in essence, to be a visionary.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
6:34AM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

thank you

11:35AM PDT on Aug 29, 2012

Thank you Lissa.

6:59AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012


6:13PM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

When you lose someone you love, it is devastating. I would have given anything in the world to know how to have saved my grandfather. He was closer to me than my father. I cried for 50 years. He was my rock of Gibraltar. My passion for finding answers related to health stemmed from losing him...and I have spent over 50 years on this path.
To me it is all about truth. Money might buy love for some, but it doesn't buy love for me. I found my purpose for being in my search for the truth....and more satisfaction than I ever thought possible. There is nothing greater than true knowledge. Hosea 4:6 My people perish for lack of knowledge..

10:49AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012


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