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.