You deserve to enjoy your life, but sometimes, you just can’t feel that sense of fulfillment no matter how hard you try. You could not get the feeling of ultimate happiness you’ve always dreamed of because of different circumstances or tragedies. So, it’s time to explore the possibilities. In this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando, Moneeka Sawyer shares the key things that helped her overcome the challenges and trials in her life that made her stronger, braver, and wiser. As Monica attains financial freedom and wealth, it helps her reach her goals and experience bliss in her life. Tune in to learn how to acquire yours!
As you might imagine, as a podcaster, I am often invited to be on other people’s shows, which I love. It is such an honor and it is so much fun. Every once in a while, I am on a show that is so good. We cover stuff that I haven’t covered elsewhere and sometimes I want to share those conversations with you. This conversation that I had with a good friend of mine, Caterina Rando, is one of those conversations. I thought this might be exactly what you need as we were heading into the New Year, so I wanted to share it with you. Here is the episode with me and Caterina. I hope you enjoy it.
Welcome back to another episode of the Expand Your Fempire Show. I am extra blissing to be with you because I have the Blissful Millionaire, Moneeka Sawyer, as my very special guest on this episode. She is a dear friend, a TEDx speaker and a real estate mogul. What I want you to know about Moneeka is that she embodies bliss and lights up every room she walks into. You cannot be with her and not leave blissing. Moneeka, thank you for being here.
Thank you so much for having me. You made me blush. That was so cool.
We have been to Hawaii and on other adventures together. You are always so wonderful to be with. You are a leader. You don’t just teach about bliss and you not only live your bliss, but you bliss every room that you are in. I am so happy to have you. Let me have you share a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey because you are living an amazing life. You travel all the time and you have financial freedom. How did you get from that blissing little girl to where you are?
Thank you so much for asking that. It is a journey that is a little bit unexpected. It is not something people would expect to hear from me when they meet me. I was not a blissing little girl. I was a tormented, bullied little girl because I lived in what you might call a Lily-White community in Ohio and was the only person that was not White. I’m Indian so I got bullied and treated very badly. From a very young age, my journey, passion, and the thing that I focused on most were how was I going to be happy because people were not kind. I was like, “Could I be happy?” That journey towards bliss started as a very young girl trying to survive and figure out how to be happy.
The journey went on for many years. We have eventually moved to California, but things didn’t get much better. In high school and college, I became a people-pleaser. I wanted to make other people happy because I thought other people being happy would make me happy if they liked me. How many of us girls can relate to that? We were like, “If they like me, I will be happy.” Horrible bullying happened were things that boys do to girls happened. Eventually, I left for college and found that no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t get better. I put my strong face forward. I always had a big smile. I was always the nicest person in a room and people were so unkind.
The one thing that kept me sane through most of my life was I was a dancer. I started dancing when I was five. All of you ladies know exercise helps with the endorphins, our confidence and keeping us strong. Plus, I loved it, so it was my anchor throughout my entire life. I got in this car accident when I was 21. I became a cripple and lost my legs.
I did not lose them but I couldn’t use them anymore, so I even lost dance. At that point, I fell into such an incredible depression. I wanted it to be over. I had been depressed and in bed crying for a week. I remember one morning, I woke up and I heard my mom’s voice in my head. My mom says, “Moneeka, get out of bed. Get some air so you will feel better.” I pushed the covers over my head, swung my legs over the side of the bed and tried to stand up. My legs were so weak that I fell to the ground.
At that moment, I sat there crying and prayed. I said, “God, I can’t keep doing this, so either bring me home or teach me how to live.” About an hour later, a girlfriend called me, who I hadn’t heard about for years. I tell her frequently that God sent her to me at that moment. She turned me on to a coach and that coach is the man that saved my life because he taught me that we are all born in these little blissful bundles of joy. We come into the world so full of excitement of being alive, learning, and experiencing. We were blissing, and then life teaches us that it is hard and bliss is okay. He told me that my journey and all the study that I had done were going to serve me. He was going to help me get back to where I needed to go, and so we did.
It all starts with the decision. I wrote a book called Choose Bliss, and the reason I say choose bliss is because it always starts with a choice. Bliss is a choice and it started with a choice. It didn’t mean that the journey was easy, but it meant that the journey started, I was committed to it, and therefore, it could happen. That is how the whole bliss thing started for me.
We are all born in these little blissful bundles of joy. We come into this world full of the excitement of being alive, learning, and experience.
The first thing you did with your coach, did you choose bliss? Was that the first step?
I chose to live, which was not the first step and then the next choice was to try to find happiness. At that time, it was this very basic, “I didn’t want to be miserable.” Sometimes, the first step is to not be something. As we worked together, I expanded so great because it was truly in my heart to experience bliss. Also, I want your audience to know how I define bliss. Bliss is not being happy all the time. Bliss is that deep sense of joy and contentment with life so that you know that anything that comes your way, you can handle it emotionally. It is emotional mastery and resilience. That wasn’t where I started but that is where I wanted to go.
He hired me on as an executive coach underneath him and I found that there were all these people that I worked with that were multi-millionaires. I would go into their offices. They had a great job and a beautiful wife. At that time, all the executives were men. They have these beautiful children and beautiful homes in the Silicon Valley but they were miserable, so I became the Bliss Coach.
I took what I had learned through my own experience and taught them how to bring their passion, motivation and bliss back into their lives. I could only reach so many people in coaching or speaking, so I wrote a book called Choose Bliss. That is where I grounded this idea of bliss, where I defined what we were looking for and the specific steps on how to get there based on my experience with myself and my clients.
You know that I am a huge fan of focusing on bliss and I host the Bliss Retreat, which I’m looking forward to. For someone reading who wants more bliss and does not have it, let’s keep it out of business. We are going to go to business shortly. How do they bliss more in their life? What tips do you have for them?
I have already said that it is a choice and I know that sounds trite. We hear this all the time. I want to be clear. Learn from what has happened to me. There has been abuse and a lot of horrible things that have happened in my life. The thing that I realized is that I was not going to be able to be a happy person unless I was willing to get past that somehow. The very first thing is to understand that bliss is a choice and here is the next piece of that. We can’t control what happens out there in the world. We can’t control other people, what happens to us or what people do to us, but we must always control how we choose to respond. That is the ultimate key to living a life of bliss. That is the start. After that, we have got some techniques. There are many in the book, so take a look at it.
I do tend to agree about choosing bliss. What I also have seen and know is that for women entrepreneurs who are the women that I focus on and our key audience here, one thing that can impact your bliss is when you are struggling financially. You are concerned about whether you can pay your bills and if you can deliver what you promised to your clients because your financial situation is challenging.
People may be in that situation. What I also know about you is that you have created financial freedom for yourself. I would like to shine the spotlight a little bit on that because that is a place where you are like, “I choose bliss but if I can’t pay my bills, it is hard to keep choosing bliss for a lot of people.” Can you talk a little bit about your financial freedom journey? Let’s give some super tips to our audience.
That is what my TEDx is about. My TEDx is called Who is the Boss of You? It is about living a life of choice. At the age of 21, when I got out of school and looked for my first job, I was lucky enough to recognize that if I wanted to be free, marry the man that I wanted, and have the life that I wanted or be able to live in choice. I had to have the financial wherewithal to make that happen, so I wasn’t desperate to get married, get a job or sell myself into society. For me, it became this journey very early on that financial freedom was the key to my freedom and choice in life.
It is interesting because part of why TED wanted me to talk about this is because it is so controversial. People do not want to recognize that money is an important piece of freedom. It is not necessarily happiness, but freedom often leads us to happiness. Money buys us freedom. Freedom buys us choices. Choices can buy us happiness. For me, my big focus is empowering women so that they understand that they need to focus on money.
It is not the most important thing in the world but it is certainly important, and a lot of women want to ignore it or turn their back on it. They feel somehow wrong if they are focusing on the money. I will back up a little bit and say that you don’t want to be selling services to someone that they don’t need. Money is a king but money should be the thing that sets your foundation so that you can be of service in the biggest, best way possible.
For me, I found that I did that through real estate. I had my businesses and I was in corporate. My side hustle was real estate. Even in the very beginning or when I wasn’t wealthy, the one thing that I knew was I would always be okay because I had this asset. Whether the bills were bothering me or what was going on, I knew that I was always going to be okay. As that asset grew and I grew that side hustle that I paid very little attention to, the freedom came within 10 to 15 years. I knew that I would never have to worry about money, so whether I was coaching, speaking, or whatever it was that I was doing, I didn’t have to struggle to make money. I knew I was taking care of it. I could do what I felt was right and give my very best.
Freedom often leads us to happiness, but money buys us freedom. Freedom buys us choices, and choices can buy us happiness.
I want to jump back for a second, Moneeka. We need to shine the spotlight that women can make a living or a business doing what they love that may or may not be their source of wealth. I also have some real estate and I call it my old lady money because I believe that as long as I can give a talk, I can come home with clients. There may also be a day when I can’t give a talk or I don’t want to come home with clients. That is what my real estate is for. It does provide this feeling of security and the feeling of knowing that you are going to be okay financially, thus giving us more freedom. Real estate is not the only solution.
I do emphasize with my clients the importance of creating financial surplus and looking at how to create financial surplus so that they are okay with those things that are unexpected. I do feel that a lot of women who don’t value money as a high value have their attention on serving and helping, which is great. We want to be sure, though, that we were filling our cup first so we were not trying to give from an empty cup, and therefore, we can also be enjoying our journey more. What are your thoughts?
I want to highlight that. You cannot pour a cup of tea out of a pot if the pot is empty. Your life is that cup and what is inside you is the tea. You’re the pot. If you are empty, there is nothing to give. You can go out there, keep trying and pushing, but that is why we have sickness and disease, why women get very depressed and on medications because we were not taking care of ourselves. This is not just a trite talk about self-care and building yourself up. It is real. The most courageous thing that we can do is to take care of ourselves. People think it is the opposite. You take care of others and then that takes care of you.
As women, we do get so much from giving to others. It does feed us but remember, you are first because if there is nothing left in you, there is nothing left to give. It does matter financially. Part of filling yourself up is making yourself feel safe, taking care of your bills, and making sure that everything is paid so that you can be solid in the world that you are safe because that matters. Women don’t want to pay attention to that. Money has gotten a stigma. That is what I think but it’s not. It is a girl thing too. We need the money to make our lives work, safe and stable.
Moneeka, you have been kind enough over the years to support our charities through the community. We have our charities that support women and girls. You have organizations that you are involved with supporting youth and education. When we take time away from our business to do our philanthropy, we can’t do that consistently if we are struggling. One of the things that financial ease does is it gives you a choice to take some of your time and invest that time in the causes that you care about, and that has been extremely rewarding.
I remember one day I was sitting in traffic near the Bay Bridge in the Bay Area. I was high vibration blissing in my car even though I was in traffic because we had raised $10,000 for one of our charities. Another way to bliss in your life is when you are helping other people. You are not able to do that consistently when you do not have financial ease.
The other thing, though, is that during the pandemic, I haven’t been able to kiss or hug all my ladies. As a result, I have been sending them cards and note cards. We have made this bliss roll-on aromatherapy that we gave everybody. I have spent so much money on postage, and fortunately, everybody knows I have a crush on my mailman, Antonio, who gives me excellent service.
Here is the thing. You can’t do all those little special things when you are stressed financially. The other thing is it impacts your ability to think about the future and what possibilities you can create for yourself in your life when you have no resources. I love what you were saying that when you have financial freedom, it gives you a choice for your whole life. That is what we want for our audience. Moneeka, let’s talk to the audience. They are reading and saying, “I get it.” What steps do we want them to take?
First, decide if both of these pieces are important to you. We have been talking about bliss and wealth. It does start with a choice. Choose that it is important for you. It is a choice and it starts as simple as that. The first thing is you are going to have a relationship with the joy in your life and with money that brings you joy. That is why I call myself the Blissful Millionaire because the focus is on keeping even the conversation about money joyful. It supports all that bliss in my life not just by giving me freedom, but the actual process is a blissful one.
The next step is to find one little step in each of those areas that you can take. Don’t allow it to be overwhelming. You can eat a big chocolate cake but it takes one bite at a time. What is that bite going to be on the bliss side and also on the wealth side? Beginning steps should have something to do with your relationship, those ideas in your own life, and the role that they play for you. Make a decision, find what that first step is, and then take that first action towards achieving that first step.
You have a way of making me feel like there are so many possibilities. You have shared with our audience your phenomenal book, Choose Bliss, which I highly recommend. How can everyone connect with you? Is there any excitement that you want to share that you are up to?
Go to BlissfulInvestor.com. You will find all my books there and my show, Real Estate Investing for Women. If you are interested a little bit, peaked on that. We have a blog. You will find out all kinds of information there. I did a TED Talk called Who is the Boss of You? It is about this journey of financial freedom to creating a blissful life so you can look that up. It is on TED.com under Moneeka Sawyer. I will eventually have it loaded up on my website. That is what’s been going on.
You bliss every conversation that you are in. You bliss me out to be with you. Readers, we want you to have more bliss in your business and life. Choose bliss, get more bliss and do that through selling more, serving more, and the thing that will bliss you out the most uplifting more lives.
Caterina Rando is a master certified coach, business strategist and author of the national best-seller Learn to Power Think from Chronicle Books 2002. Caterina is also the creator of two live events, The Sought After Speaker Summit and the Business Breakthrough Summit.
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Moneeka Sawyer is often described as one of the most blissful people you will ever meet. She has been investing in Real Estate for over 20 years, so has been through all the different cycles of the market. Still, she has turned $10,000 into over $5,000,000, working only 5-10 hours per MONTH with very little stress.
While building her multi-million dollar business, she has traveled to over 55 countries, dances every single day, supports causes that are important to her, and spends lots of time with her husband of over 20 years.
She is the international best-selling author of the multiple award-winning books “Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment” and “Real Estate Investing for Women: Expert Conversations to Increase Wealth and Happiness the Blissful Way.”
Moneeka has been featured on stages including Carnegie Hall and Nasdaq, radio, podcasts such as Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod, and TV stations including ABC, CBS, FOX, and the CW, impacting over 150 million people.