Admired for her inspiring impact on creative thinkers, social innovators, transformational coaches and heart-centered leaders worldwide, Lesley Michaels became a leader in the coaching industry for Female Fortune100 C-Suite executives, and celebrities. Today, she joins Tanya Memme to discuss what holds women back the most from making money, keeping it, and growing their wealth. They also dive into why so many women reinvent themselves later in life – starting over after 50 – financially and professionally, and what that means.
How does this happen to so many women, and what steps can we take to get back up and create a more secure future? Lesley shares her own incredible story of how, just a few years ago, she hit her rock bottom and was forced to start all over again financially and professionally.
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Making, Keeping And Growing Money With Lesley Michaels
Female Executive Coach, Author And Speaker – Lesley Michaels – What Women Need To Know About Money, Changing Careers And Creating Financial Stability
It has been quite some time since I’ve done an episode because I’ve been working. I’ve been on the road filming Sell This House and Smart Home Nation. I’m back for the summer. We have some awesome guests lined up. I’m very excited to have my new 2022 first episode with Lesley Michaels. I met Lesley years ago in Adam Markel‘s TEDx class because we were both learning how to get on that stage at TEDx with awesome topics. Your speech is so compelling. I know that you’ve traveled talking about that speech. I want to tell you about Lesley.
Lesley is an equity warrior. She’s a speaker, entrepreneur and transformational coach. She also coaches Fortune 100 C-Suite executives. We’re going to talk to her about that. She also coaches celebrities. One thing I love about you and the main thing is that you love empowering women. You are all about empowering women way back when you were a little girl. You talk a lot about your grandmother and how events in her life have become so ingrained in your DNA and why you’ve dedicated your life to empowering women.
She also has Women We Should Know Podcast, which is an incredible podcast that I have been on. Lesley, I look forward to getting into this with you. The first thing I wanted to mention too is talking about empowering women. The show is all about people that have hit rock bottom and getting out of it. I always want everybody to walk away with some good and juicy information that they can use and implement into their life. I wanted to talk to you about networking, how your network is your net worth and why that is so important.
I’m going to ask you to chime in on this. I want to tell you a little story. When I was at my rock bottom, the first thing I did was I thought, “I need to meet new people.” It’s hard to meet new people when you’re at your rock bottom because you’re not in the mood to. You don’t want to be social. I was a huge cave dweller during those times but I forced myself to network. Although I’m not at my rock bottom, I joined an all-women group called Boss Talks.
You can find these groups all over online. We have a gift of knowledge at our fingertips and computers. Boss Talks spoke to me. I’ve met four women. One was a guru in real estate. Another one was a guru in products. I’m wanting to possibly launch a product line as well. I met different women that I’m having lunch meetings with. They’re introducing me to other podcast guests or helping me with my business. Your network will ignite the next journey in your life. It’s everything to me. Lesley, what do you think about that too?
One thing that studies show is that women are not inherent networkers because they’re more relationship-focused. Men are more transactional. A lot of women don’t network because they find the whole transactional space uncomfortable and distasteful. I tell women, “You don’t have to do it like everyone else. You can go out there, take yourself to the table and be there. It’s because of your genius, talents and uniqueness that you’re going to find women who want to know you and women you want to know. Get out there and engage.”
It’s amazing when you do start networking how much you realize you can help other people too even if you can’t. No matter where you are in your life, it’s amazing how you always find someone that needs your help with something.
One of the ways I always find myself helped the most when I’m in these kinds of groups is when some other women in the group or at the table share something. She’s very vulnerable and she shares something about how she doesn’t feel worthy, the idea that’s running in her head that’s stopping her or the way she feels like an imposter. When some other woman speaks words that are running around in my head, that is so freeing because I’m not the only one. It’s no longer my dirty little secret that I have to keep hidden.
How many times did that happen?
For my entire career, I’ve been lucky enough to have an awesome hosting career but it all began with somebody that I met. I went to the Super Bowl and sat at a bar. My shoes were kicked off. It was the end of the night. This gentleman comes and sits beside me. We start chatting and he asked me if I had ever worked with a teleprompter before. I said, “Yeah.” Meanwhile, I hadn’t but I was like, “You’ve got to fake it until you make it.”
This was when I was in my late twenties. That spurred me into a huge job with DirecTV. That was my very first hosting gig. He hired me once every six months and then it was once every month. It became more and I became the spokesperson way back when for DirecTV. That’s one example but my network and I do love networking has greatly affected my career.
What I love the most about your story is you said, “Yeah.” You didn’t know anything about it. It is studied and proven that women typically have to feel like they know somewhere in the area of 80% about whatever that next job is before they will even consider applying, whereas if a man knows anywhere close to 60%, he will walk into the room and not only apply for the job but also convince whoever is doing the hiring, that he is the only person for the job. I love that you said yes. I would love to see more women saying yes more often.
I wonder if we wrote down how many yeses and how many times we say no in a day. What would that look like?
It could be enlightening, especially after we recover from the shock of it.
You see right then and there what we have said no to. It’s helping you expand your life or step into a new section of your life if you’re saying no, which a lot of women do because they’re afraid. There are a variety of other reasons why we would say no. I get that. I want to talk to you about you as a transformational coach and get into your life story as well. It’s what we talk about on the show.
You interview top executives and celebrities. These are people that have a lot of money. They’re very affluent. They live a certain lifestyle. I’m generalizing because that’s what we’re all thinking when we hear celebrities and executives. What would you say that people on that level are struggling with most?
I get this question a lot when people find out that’s where I’ve mentored for a long time. What is surprising typically to the people I’m speaking with is the same things I would mentor the woman down the street on. It is true. They don’t have the same type of money issues and worries. For instance, when you get into the financially elite classes and I have quite a number of them as clients, they worry about it from a different perspective but they’re still worrying about money.
They’re worrying about if they are giving to the right organizations. Are they investing in the right places to make sure that their children have a stake in life? Are they going to end up in a Bernie Madoff type of situation where he took so many people’s money? They worry about the same things but from a different perspective. They worry about how they’re perceived. Are they giving enough money and time to the things they care about? Are they giving their children the right values?
We worry about all of that, except most people have money issues on top of it.
A lot of times, it’s because they have the financial liberty to do so. Someone I worked with earlier will come back and their kids are in their tweens. They have been great parents up until now. They want to make sure that they continue to be great parents. They come back and talk through this experience of seeing their kids become someone else and start to become who they will ultimately be.
There are all the pushbacks that they are receiving as parents because when we are that age, it is a moral obligation to push back against our parents and help them understand that it’s not you. It’s going to pass. It’s a moral obligation of puberty. It helps them to calm down and move through that a little bit more gracefully.Women are not inherent networkers because they are more relationship-focused. Men are more transactional. Click To Tweet
My daughter is going through it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you have money or not.
It has nothing to do with money. The tweens are the tweens. That’s it.
I wanted to talk to you about something else I find that’s going on with women and a lot of my friends too. It’s strange but the one thing I’m noticing with most of them is that we have all had these incredible careers. We have worked hard. A couple of my friends are executives. Some of them have started their businesses but they have reached their 50s and realize they have no retirement fund. Why is that such a thing?
It’s not just in their 50s. I speak with women all the time in their 60s. The noticing starts in the 50s but then it carries on up. Some notice sooner. Some notice later. Part of it is because of the way our lifestyles were different. I was young earlier than you but think about when we were young. Parents and grandparents had jobs. They stayed at the same thing for a long time. They had retirement, all kinds of investments, profit sharing and guaranteed passive income.
That phase passed about the time that the Baby Boomers got ahold of the world. We took it up and shook it up but it also changed the way we work, what we were willing to tolerate within a company and how willing we were to be transient and pursue our dreams. This speaks specifically to women. Until the ’70s, a woman couldn’t get a credit card in her name.
We started lending power and saying, “You’re going to have to move over and make a place at the table for us or we will go out and make our tables.” When all of these things started happening, it changed the face of business. They tell students when they’re moving into college, “Be very clear about diversifying your studies because you will probably have eight careers in your lifetime.”
Women transition through those careers but women tend to have bigger spaces between one career to another, whether it is because they stopped to have children or they can’t find something in their area and it takes them a minute to build their business or regroup within themselves. They tend to spend their savings and live off their investments. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing because consider how healthy and viable we were.
I can’t imagine my mother going to yoga at 50. We’re healthier and more viable. We can continue but there’s also this factor that women are afraid of money. Mutual of Omaha is still one of the big players out there. They did this poll in 2021 of all of their female customers, which is a big number. Sixty-seven percent of the women said they would rather discuss their death than finance. That’s a problem. If we are more willing to get naked in front of a stranger in the gynecological office than we are to go to a trusted advisor and talk about our money, we are putting ourselves behind the eight ball.
We understand why there’s an issue but what do you say to your clients that are in this situation? They’re 55 to 60 years old. They hired you on their last threads of money. They’re like, “What do I do?” A lot of them are also in transition or they hate their job too.
We have a big stack of issues. The very first thing we do is prioritize, “You hate your job. You have no money.” When I say no, I’m speaking figuratively. They wouldn’t have hired me if they had no money. They hate their job. They don’t have a nest egg. It doesn’t matter whether they have a partnership that they like, a partnership they should have left a long time ago or a partnership that they left. Whatever that situation is at best is not helping these other issues and at worst is causing them to be more severe.
The first thing is to strategize, “How much do you hate your job so much that you are going to become incompetent and get fired? In which case, that’s the first priority. Let’s look at that first. Is it something that you hate but you’ve been doing for this many years? If you hang on for a few more years, at least you will have a small amount of passive income. In the interim, let’s look at why you’re afraid to look at your finance.” We prioritize.
You’re picking your job and looking for a new one at the same time.
That’s always a given. First, prioritize where they are and how soon they need to start generating a lot of extra money and then look at the money itself. I have a couple of colleagues who are friends who I will refer to because I am not a financial expert. I had to give it up, be willing to discuss those hard topics that I didn’t want to discuss and find financial support.
Did it change your life?
It changed my life.
Figure it out and hire someone who can help grow what it is you do have even if it’s $20,000, $10,000 or $5,000 in your bank or whatever that is. That’s what you mean by strategizing.
You strategize what is most important. Can you keep your job long enough to go ahead and start building an estate? Do we start with how to uplevel your skills so that you change jobs and then start building the nest egg? Either way, you’ve got to build something.
It becomes harder as people get older, especially in their minds. Women feel like, “I’m 55 and 60. How hard is it for me to start over again?”
It is mostly in our minds. KT Oslin was a country singer. She didn’t write her first hit song until she was 45. She had to keep it going. She was living in a trailer when she wrote her first hit song. What I want to tell women above all is if you have this nest egg, grow it. If you don’t, start one. Don’t give up on yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are 50 or on the verge of 66. It doesn’t matter where you are externally or in terms of how many times you’ve been around the sun. It matters how engaged you are in life. The more engaged you are in life, the more people want to be around you and the more opportunities come to you. Get advice.
That’s big-time too because some of my friends that I’m going through this, their energy is heavy. They seem worn out and stressed.
That doesn’t invite exciting opportunities.
Whether you’re looking for a new relationship or job, it’s amazing how I feel the energy that you carry within and how you see yourself become. You need to get that.If you decide you don't love something, and it's not what you want to do, you still pick up some usable, actionable skills along the way. Click To Tweet
You and I have had these conversations over food and lots of wine. You have to start inside.
You’ve got to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “When I walk into a room, what energy am I giving off? Am I happy? Am I not? Am I miserable? Do I have heavy energy or light energy?” It all makes a difference. If you don’t know, ask your friends to be honest with you and what they think.
If you don’t know, ask yourself one question, “How do I feel?” Whatever you feel is what you’re putting out. Are you legitimately helpful and happy? Are you legitimately in the tank with no belief that you can rise? How do you feel? Your energy will resemble that.
There are many different ways of modalities and healing modalities that you can do to start but it does start with that. You’ve got to walk into that room happy and present your best self even if you’re at your rock bottom. Maybe you’re not going to go to the party tomorrow but plan on going. At least start. Plant the seed. Get yourself out of bed.
Another thing you can do is if you don’t feel happy and you say, “I can’t be the life of the party,” don’t be the life of the party. Go to the party and be curious and interested in everyone else there. Nothing will make you the center of attention faster than being interested in everybody else. You can be very passively interested than quiet. It gets you out of your bed, house or room.
Eventually, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. It also takes time to create new opportunities. It’s being open. I don’t know if Sell This House is coming back. I’m in transition and I’m like, “I want hosting to be my second job.” I’m going through a transition. I’m quite happy about it because I want to be the boss of my future, instead of in the hands of these amazing networks.
I have wonderful relationships with the A&E Networks and networks I’ve worked with but I want it to be my second job. I’m very excited about it. I got my real estate license. I was like, “What else can I do?” I joined Boss Talks, an all-female group. It’s like, “What are the things I’m interested in? What do I want to try?” Even though I’ve sold a ton of houses, I don’t know the LA real estate. I’m taking some classes on how to do that. I may not like it. If I don’t, I’ll try something else. It’s saying yes.
Even if you decide you don’t love it and that’s not what you want to do, you’re going to pick up some usable and actionable skills along the way.
I’ll meet someone. I’m very excited about it. It’s the first time in my life I’m able to try new things. The pieces of the puzzle always fall in. When you’re open and you say yes, you’ve got lighter energy and you’re excited about it.
Congratulations. I’m excited for you.
Hosting will always be there. A&E has contacted me to do another series and a bunch of stuff for them. It’s all good but I want it to be my second. I don’t want it to be my main career anymore.
That’s true for a lot of women in their 50s. They want to do something different and then they will become afraid because they don’t have the nest egg. Jump anyway because if you jump for something that you’re doing to pay for whatever and something you’re excited about, you’re going to generate so much more every time.
It is a formula. Since we are on the show, we do talk about our life stories. You have an incredible life story. I want you to talk about your story. How did your life at this point spiral down? How did you get out of it?
I was in the process of deciding where I wanted to jump next. I had been speaking internationally, coaching and mentoring for years. It wasn’t lighting me up the way it used to. I was walking around with this idea, “This is greatness. It’s paying the bills and sending me all around the world a few times. This is what I’m doing until.” That’s where the sentence and the feeling always ended. I kept writing that until one day, I was dashing into a grocery store during a rain spurt. It was Sunday. There were no adults on duty.
The young people had moved the rain mats back from the door to protect them from the rain. I hit a puddle, went skyward, came down on my coccyx and blacked out. I ended up with seven torn ligaments, a hairline fracture down my spine, a severe concussion and whiplash. It took me six months to be able to get out of bed without hanging onto the chair that I would put beside it. It took me three years of going to physical therapy to begin to feel well enough to go into a full-blown panic because number one, I don’t do allopathic medicine.
I’m a naturopathic person all the way. Insurance doesn’t pay for that. I had been depleting my finance and assets because I hadn’t been working for three years. I suddenly stopped hurting enough to panic and wonder what in the world I was going to do because nothing makes a speaker irrelevant faster than without notice disappearing from the face of the Earth for three-plus years. I still wasn’t ready to go back to work. I was only well enough to panic.
It’s not something physical. It’s how the universe works. It knocked you on your feet because you were miserable. You’re putting it out there until when. It causes you right then and there to stop and puts you in a situation where you have to reinvent yourself.
I wish the kids hadn’t moved the rain mats but honestly, if they hadn’t done that, the universe would have found another way to knock me down because I needed to stop. I had known for a very long time that I needed to stop but I wasn’t stopping. Everything in life slammed on the brakes in that one moment. That’s the number one thing. I wasn’t listening to the inner voices that were saying, “Stop. At least slow down.” I would run faster to outrun that voice.
As I started to get up, it dawned on me in the shower one day that it was time to do the thing that I had been carrying around since I was twelve years old. That was this dream I had to create some platform for uplifting women. I’m bringing women together. That became my journey going forward. Here’s the miraculous thing. This is amazing. This is how clearly the universe speaks when we’re listening. The minute I knew that, my phone started ringing.
There were clients I hadn’t spoken to in a long time. I had to tell them why I wasn’t working anymore or someone did. All of a sudden, everybody needed sessions with Lesley. They were in a state of real need like, “I need you now.” It was clients who I had worked with before coming back and saying, “This is what’s going on. Can I have some time with you?” The minute I made that switch and said, “This is what it’s time for me to do,” then all these clients started coming in. I had the financial wherewithal to do it and pursue that.
Before you were coaching clients, what made this different?
I was coaching clients. That’s all I was doing. I was coaching clients and speaking from a place where I knew I was of sincere benefit. I wasn’t speaking from a place of my authentic passion. That’s the difference. I was good at what I did and cared about what I did but I wasn’t passionate. I am unapologetically in love with women, their spirit, what they are capable of and the opportunity to help them see how amazing they are and uplift each other. Passion is the difference.Do something different. Even if you’re afraid, jump anyway because if you jump for something you're excited about, you're going to generate so much more every time. Click To Tweet
You had the same business before but you weren’t passionate about it. You were doing what you were good at. You’re good at coaching, speaking and empowering but when this accident happened, you were off for three years. Why does this happen? You were questioning and learning more about your tenacity and everything about yourself. When you come back, it’s the same career but times ten.
I haven’t been traveling around the world speaking. Nobody has. We had COVID. Instead of doing that, I devoted myself to doing what I’ve been doing. It’s writing a book and building a podcast. The next thing you know, more clients I’ve had for years were saying, “I know you don’t know this person and take new clients but would you mind?” It paved the way for me to do this. My book is coming out. It goes into presale on June 21st, 2022.
Your book is on the shoulders of mighty women. Tell us a little bit about that. We have to sum it up.
One part is my journey from the time I was born to a paternal grandmother who was a suffragette. There was a mother in between there but the grandmother had more influence to set 1970 when we were fighting for the women’s liberation movement. Being at the young end of the Boomer generation, I stuck out my thumb and hitchhiked to New York because I never was bashful. That’s how hippie kids traveled anyway. I was flying up the ranks of corporate oil and gas being the lone unicorn and female, leaving that and doing what we have been talking about. I’m speaking and touring.
I’ve got a few small businesses that either crashed or I sold them. All of that brought me here. Every bit of it has been guided by this circle of women that were my early influences who I talk about in the book like my grandmother, my first four earliest mentors and the women in New York who I met when I was out there holding signs and walking in protests.
It’s my story and the story also of women on the whole that I’ve learned as I’ve gone along this path. There are many pieces I didn’t learn but there are all the pieces I learned about where we hold ourselves back and where we are amazing and will not accept it. It’s one part of actionable steps for lifting yourself into a new place.
It sounds like gold to me. I can’t wait to read it. When is it coming out again?
We’re going to prelaunch on June 21st, 2022. You will be able to find it on Amazon on June 21st, 2021. I’m getting excited.
I love all of this information and I love that we centered around how networking becomes your network. Even through your stories, you had a lot of female mentors. Those women wouldn’t have come into your life if you wouldn’t have stepped out there and tried networking. It doesn’t always come naturally. I understand it but you can always go to a party and not have to be the center of attention. Try to go and say yes.
Go with curiosity.
You don’t have to do anything except go with curiosity and start there.
That’s a good tagline for life.
I’m a very curious person. That’s why I love interviewing people.
Call me curious or nosy but I’m going to go and talk to people.
If you want to learn more about Lesley, go to LesleyMichaels.com. Everything is there. You have all kinds of things. You have online programs and your book launch. I signed up for your book. My name is already there. Check out Lesley’s podcast for sure, especially the episode that I’m on.
It’s LesleyMichaels.com/Women-We-Should-Know-Podcast. There is Tanya Memme in all her glory having a wonderful conversation and sharing all kinds of beautiful things. You go catch her.
Thank you so much, Lesley. Thanks for being a life master.
Thanks for having me, Tanya. It was great.
We will talk soon.
- Adam Markel
- Women We Should Know Podcast
- Boss Talks
- Mutual of Omaha
- A&E Networks
- Episode – Past Episode on Women We Should Know Podcast
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