I wish someone had told me that there’s more to it than mindset. In coaching there is a huge focus on mindset and this is great, but you also have to have action. I kept believing that I didn’t have clients and wasn’t making money because of my thoughts. I kept trying to find the right thoughts to think to make it all come together. What I realize now is that yes, 100% you have to have the right mindset, you also have to figure out how to be great at client attraction and marketing and sales and everything else that goes into running a business. It’s so much more than mindset.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Snow.
After her own lack of self-worth landed her in jail, Melissa Snow had a choice to make. Would she let this break her or would she use to propel her forward into a life that was better she had ever imagined? After working with her own Life Coach, Melissa realized that life didn’t have to be so hard. When she finally learned to love herself, everything fell into place and she knew she wanted to help other women do the same. Melissa Snow is now a Certified Love and Life Coach and the author of the book “Ten Secrets to Having the Love You Want.” She is also an international speaker and the host of the Quest for Love podcast. Melissa specializes in helping smart, successful women improve their relationships, starting with the one they have with themselves.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Absolutely! I’m a Colorado native and was blessed to grow up with hard-working and loving parents and an older sister who has always been one of my best friends. We weren’t rich by any means but we always had what we needed and my childhood was a happy one. Despite that, I remember struggling with depression and feeling “not good enough” from a fairly young age. In middle school, I found a love for dance, which became my passion and my primary coping mechanism. I attended Columbine High School and the shooting happened during my senior year. Two months later, I was drugged and raped. Two months after that a knee injury on my 18th birthday took dance from me. It was kind of downhill from there for a while but don’t worry, this story has a happy ending!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
There is a Japanese proverb I love that translates to: “Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight,” which is really how I’ve tried to live my life. I love this quote because it reminds us that bad things are going to happen — we’re going to fail, we’re going to make mistakes, it’s going to be hard but that is where our growth is. As long as we’re able to get back up and keep going, we’ll actually be better, stronger and wiser than we would have been had we never fallen down at all. For me personally, I’ve been through so many difficult times, so many things that should have broken me, but they are the reason I am here today. I am the person I am with the life I have because I grew through those difficult times and was always able to stand back up again.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Resilience — I had to be learn to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep going — even when it seemed impossible. It’s important to me that people reading this know that this was not something I was born with. Resilience is a choice. It’s a choice you make to say, “I am bent but I will not let this break me.” It’s a choice you make to keep going and anyone can make that choice at any time.
Determination — Coaching changed my life so much and helped me to see how much harder I was making things for myself. I knew that I wanted to help other women do the same thing and once I realized that was what I was put on this Earth to do I knew that nothing would stop me. I am on a mission to help women love themselves more, know their worth and feel more empowered to create the life and love they want and deserve. I know the impact this work has for generations to come and holding on to that is what allows me to keep going, even when it’s really hard and it feels like nothing is working.
Humor — I think humor is one of the most under-rated qualities in business and in life. When things go wrong in business, it’s really hard to keep going if you don’t love what you do and it’s really hard to love what you do if you’re not having fun doing it. Having a sense of humor has kept me from burning out and it’s kept me grounded by never letting me take myself too seriously. In fact, just this morning I recorded a podcast episode that I thought was brilliant and when I went to upload it, I realized I must have had the same brilliance a few months ago because I had already recorded a nearly identical podcast. Same title and everything. Sometimes, you just have to laugh!
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
In the first chapter of my life, I was a High School English teacher. As a graduate of Columbine High School, I had seen the profound impact that teachers could have on students lives and I LOVED being a teacher but emotionally, I wasn’t ready for it. I became overly involved and invested in my students lives. I lacked self-esteem, self-worth and boundaries and that was a really bad combination. When I was 27, I had what, at the time, I considered a relationship with a 17-year-old student. I got arrested, lost my job, lost my house, lost my dog, lost my friends and went really deep into debt and depression. The only job I could get was selling firewood. I was a felon and a registered sex offender and I knew my life was over. I knew no one would ever love me, no one would ever give me another chance, I could never be successful and I could never be happy. I had no idea how I would survive, and sometimes I wasn’t even sure I wanted to.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
One day, desperate to feel better, I took a class called The Inner Beauty Journey that was taught by a life coach. She asked us all to go around and finish the sentence, “I would be happier if…” and when it got to me, I was brutally honest. I said I would be happier if I hadn’t done this horrible thing that hurt so many people and robbed me of the future I had always dreamed of. The teacher looked at me and she said, “This is what I need you to see. Your problem isn’t that you did that horrible thing. It’s the story you keep telling yourself about what it means about you and about the life that you can have.” That was the moment I realized I had a choice. I couldn’t change the fact that I had fallen down seven times, but I could choose if I got up an 8th time or not. I could learn to love and forgive myself. I could recreate myself and begin a new career and hustle my way to the top. I could choose to listen to what people said about me or not. I could find love. I could be happy. I realized it was all up to me and that day, the second chapter of my life began.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
I did a LOT of work between the day I took that class and the day I really “took the plunge.” I found a job scanning documents at a law firm and eventually worked my way up to being a paralegal and I was a really good one, which eventually allowed me to start my own business doing contract work. I also did a lot of work on myself. I wanted to make sure I never had to depend on someone else to make me feel important or worthy or good enough ever again. I wanted to go into my next relationship as a happy healthy and whole person, and that’s exactly what I did.
The coach I met that day at that class changed my life. I have no doubt that my life would not have become what it did without her and without the power of coaching. When I realized how much happier I was, I knew I wanted to do the same thing for other women. In 2016 I got certified as a Life Coach and in 2019 I quit my job as a paralegal and began focusing on coaching full time. It has not always been an easy path buy I’ve never regretted my decision to “take the plunge.” I know the work my clients are doing is so powerful and so necessary and is going to change the world.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
One of the things my first coach told me was that I could still be a teacher, it just wouldn’t like I thought it was going to. This really changed my perspective and I realized that all of my education, all of my experience and everything I had been though wasn’t a waste — it was exactly what I needed in order to be as successful as I am today. I am able to listen to and coach my clients from a neutral place without any judgement, because of what I’ve been through myself. I also think they feel more comfortable opening up to me because no matter what they say they know I’m going be like, “Oh, girl — I’ve been there!” The magic really happened for me when I stopped focusing on everything I didn’t know, everything I had never done before, everything I wasn’t sure about and started focusing instead on what I did know and what I could do. That has actually served me very well in business and in life in general.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
Things are going AMAZING! I love what I do so much because I get to see the profound impact this work has not just on my clients but also on their husbands, their siblings, their children…it truly is life changing. The other day I was coaching a client who recently found out her partner had been unfaithful and she had so many stories she was telling herself about this. One of the things her brain was telling her is that this wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t gained so much weight when she was pregnant, if she hadn’t nagged him so much, if she had made sex more of a priority…her brain was basically telling her that this happened because she wasn’t ENOUGH. If she had never hired a coach to help her work through these kinds of thoughts and to see that they aren’t actually facts, can you imagine how different her life would be? And imagine what it would have been like for her daughter to grow up with a mom who believed she wasn’t enough and taught her that you always have to say and do the right things in order to be loved. Her daughter is going to have a VERY different life because of the work her mother did with me. It gives me chills to think about.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are a lot of them, really. Of course, my first coach, Cheryl Bartlett, who we talked about before, changed my life in so many ways. There’s no way I would be where I am today without her. And although it sounds cliché, there’s no way I’d be where I am today without my family either. They have stood by me though some really dark days but they never stopped loving me and never stopped believing in me, which made it so much easier for me to love and believe in myself. There’s something very powerful about knowing you have that kind of support behind you. It makes you feel like there’s nothing you can’t do.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
I hear a lot of really interesting stories from my clients and potential clients but there are a few that stand out in my mind. Really early on in my career I had a consult with a potential client who had just been dumped by her boyfriend and she was heartbroken about it. She told me that he was ten years older than her, that he had cheated on her like, eight times in the past two years — including in their house while she was asleep upstairs. She told me about how emotionally and sometimes physically abusive he was…a lot of really awful things. So, I assumed she was coming to me for help with healing and moving forward and to make sure that she never got into another situation like this again, but at the end of the call her only question for me was, “Do you think I have a shot at getting him back?” This was maybe the third consult call I had ever done and I was so caught off guard by her question it took me a minute to recover. This was a great lesson for me in not making assumptions! Although we didn’t end up working together, I’m hoping something I said on that call planted a seed for her to help her realize she deserved better.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
I have in the past and I still do! Struggling to believe in yourself is part of the human experience. I still have days where it seems like everything is going wrong and I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and my brain is giving me all the worst-case scenarios and I’m pretty sure I should just give up and go work at Starbucks. Fortunately, part of coaching is learning to manage your mind instead of letting it manage you. Instead of spinning out of control and making decisions I’ll regret, I am usually able to see that these are all thoughts, and not actually facts, even though sometimes they feel really true. And I also now know that thoughts are optional, which is really great news on days like that!
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
I actually had no idea what I was getting into or that I would need a support system beforehand. I really thought I would just start telling people I was a Life Coach and people would start lining up outside my door and I’d live happily ever after. I have no idea why I thought that but I really could not have been more wrong. I realized pretty early on that being self-employed can be really hard and it can be really lonely. Having a dog really helps but it’s vital to have people you can connect with who are on a similar journey and have the same struggles and have been where you are. Now, I have a group I call my “Board of Directors” who I know I can call on for various things. I have the one friend who will tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back to work. I have another friend who is all rainbows and unicorns and empathy and love. I have another friend who will just listen without judgement while I vent. All of these people serve a very different but crucial role in keeping my business moving forward and keeping me happy and sane.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
I’m sure my clients get really tired of hearing me say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen, you will feel a feeling?” The reality is, though, that discomfort is an emotion and that an emotion is just a vibration in your body. When I think of it that way, I’m like, “Ok, what’s the big deal about that?” If you are willing to feel any feeling then there is nothing you can’t do and no risk you won’t take. Of course, that’s easier said than done but here’s the other thing I’ve realized about discomfort — that is where your growth is. If you’re comfortable all the time you are never stretching or learning or changing and you’re missing out on that experience of saying, “Wow, I had no idea I could do that!” When I think of it that way, I almost start to welcome discomfort.
And, it’s not just about your growth. Stepping out of your comfort zone also inspires and impacts the people around you. I am ALWAYS uncomfortable sharing the full story of what I did when I was 27 and how I got to where I am today, but I still keep sharing that story because I know somewhere there is a woman hearing it who is inspired. Somewhere there is a woman thinking, “Well, maybe it’s not too late for me to change how my story ends” and that makes all the discomfort totally worth it.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- I wish someone had told me that I could trust myself and my own answers. In the early stages of my business, I wasted so much time (and money) trying to find the answers from other people. I believed there were right answers and that someone knew them but that someone was not me. So, I kept consuming other people’s content, joining other people’s programs, stalking other peoples Facebook groups, trying to figure out the magic formula. I thought everything was the “missing piece” — I need a website, I need a blog, I need to learn about SEO, I need to improve my mindset, I need a funnel… What I know now is that there are no right answers and there is no magic formula. I’ve realized that the more I trust myself to figure out what is right for me and my business and my clients the more successful I am.
- I wish someone had told me that there were SO many misconceptions about Life Coaching and how to best handle them. I’ve heard it all — Life coaching is not a made-up profession. It’s not just for rich people or people trying to climb the corporate ladder. I’m not a wanna be therapist. I don’t give advice and I’m definitely not unqualified. To put it very simply, I’m someone who helps you get from where you are to where you want to be and helps you overcome whatever obstacles are in between. One of my mentors equates it to going to the gym: There was a time when not everyone went to the gym and it was just for body builders or celebrities. Now, almost everyone goes to the gym and no one thinks twice about it. I CAN’T WAIT for the day when having a Life Coach is the same way — when people look at it like something everyone should do to stay healthy and happy.
- I wish someone had told me that there’s more to it than mindset. In coaching there is a huge focus on mindset and this is great, but you also have to have action. I kept believing that I didn’t have clients and wasn’t making money because of my thoughts. I kept trying to find the right thoughts to think to make it all come together. What I realize now is that yes, 100% you have to have the right mindset, you also have to figure out how to be great at client attraction and marketing and sales and everything else that goes into running a business. It’s so much more than mindset.
- I wish someone would have told me that I was going to hear a lot of no’s and that I should welcome and celebrate that. There was one month early on when I had 15 consults with potential clients booked — 13 of them didn’t show up and two of them said no. At the end of that month, I felt like I needed to rethink and re-evaluate my entire life. What I know now is that’s just par for the course and it doesn’t necessarily mean that anything has gone wrong or that I’ve failed. It’s the same thing I tell my clients about dating — sometimes you have to have 15 bad first dates before you have an amazing one. Sometimes you just have to hear no 15 times before you hear one yes.
- I wish someone would have told me that I couldn’t do it alone. My dog is my best friend but even still, being self-employed can get really lonely. You need people who are further along, a few steps behind and exactly where you are on your journey to vent to, bounce ideas off of and be accountable to. Being a Boss Babe does not make you a robot — you’re still a human being who needs love and support and laughter and fun. Needing these things doesn’t make you less of a badass, and neither does asking for help when you need it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
It’s such a huge part of my mission to make sure that people know their worth and to make sure people know that they are enough, perfect, loveable and worthy just as they are right now in this moment. I believe that if everyone truly knew their worth this world would be a very different place. People would ask for and get what they want and need, there would be so much more love and there would be so much more peace.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
Oh man, I’ve been trying to get in touch with Dr. Phil forever! Ha ha! I have been a loyal Dr. Phil watcher for years and I keep seeing these male life coaches on his show and I’m not overly impressed with some of them. I also have yet to see a female Life Coach on his show and there are so many of his guests that I KNOW I could help! Dr. Phil, call me!
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Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!