Please welcome this weeks Woman of the Week, Sonja. I met Sonja back in my old WaMu days and we have stayed in touch all these years... Her interview below:
1: If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?
Live life now.
And Be Nice.
2: In the last five years what have you become better at saying no to?
Commitments on my time.
3: What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the "real world"?
Find the real you. Authenticity drives happiness and draws the right people to you (not money, title, and things).
4: What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you've ever made? (it doesn't need be financial in nature)
My kids. They (force) teach me lessons in: Patience. Selflessness. Love. Humor. Wonder.
5: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Saying no. Understanding my limits and saying no to extra projects at work and extra projects at home.
6: How has a failure, or apparent failure set you up for later success? Do you have a favorite failure of yours?
I love the idea of a "favorite failure"... perhaps I need to try to fail more!
The failure that stands out was my first marriage - I was lured by first love and someone loving me. But those aren't enough ingredients for long-time happiness.
I learned and embraced that life is too short to not be happy.
Telling someone I loved (just not in "that" way) that I wanted a divorce was the hardest thing for me to do. (but I did it!)
That lead me onto a path of lot of soul searching and inspired me to take control of my happiness and figure out who Sonja really is (which is still in progress). It also helped me to find my voice to ask for what I need and not settle.
It took me on adventures to Portland, San Francisco, an MBA and finally a move home to Seattle. And those adventures taught me that I can succeed at anything I put my heart and mind to.
It removed the self-imposed barriers of fear of failure.
I know I'll be all right with whatever life throws at me.
7: What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months or in recent memory?
I think the biggest impact in my life along these lines are the things I've been able to give away and release out of my life via my Buy Nothing community group.
I worry about the world and the environment - all the pollution and resources that are being destructed to give us "things".
Also, our family of 4 humans, 1 dog, 2 cats and 2 bunnies in our tiny little house -- the "stuff" just brings more stress in our lives.
So, being able to give new life to our existing "stuff" as someone else's treasure is thrilling & rewarding.
[okay, and it's also thrilling to receive a perfect "something" for free!]
8: When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
There's what I should do, and what I do do.
What do I do? Glass of wine.
What I want to do? Walk, stretch, meditate. Create art. Find never ending patience. (or 4 out of 5)
9: What is the book (or books) you've given most as a gift and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influence your life?
10: What is one piece of advice you would give to a woman that you wish you knew earlier in life?
Radiate your genuine, authentic self.
Be yourself; it doesn't matter what other people think (and likely, are too wrapped up in themselves to notice).
It's your true self that attracts the people you want in your life. Trying to be something you're not (i.e., inauthenticity) just makes everyone confused. :)
11: What do you think about the theory of "the love of your life", what does that phrase me to you?
I've been pretty pessimistic of this theory of a singular, perfect love - But creating and sustaining love with people you want in your life, is worth it.
12: What is something that you would find most helpful in your life right now? (what would be the best problem solved for you)
More time. More time to get stuff done but also more time to relax and read books that help inspire me to be a better, smarter person (recommendations please) is what I would love to have in my life.
Thank you Sonja for your honest and heartfelt answers... I left you some book recommendations last Friday in the group, now we just need to help you find that time to give yourself for reading. Even if it is just 20 minutes a day.