Today I want to share with you how I recovered from homelessness and show you the steps I took to get out from sleeping in the car to being able to rent a safe space once again. This took place in my early 40s, after the complete loss of my business and losing faith in humanity. Right now COVID-19 has caused economic turmoil, not only for us a global society, but also for individuals and companies. My hope is to encourage you with my story and to give you a few steps and thoughts to start over.

LEARNING THE CONCEPT OF PASSIVE INCOME

The concept of ‘Passive Income‘ appeared on my horizon when I was in my early 20s, after moving to the United States to learn English. One thing I deeply appreciate about living in the US is the wide-open mentality as far as entrepreneurship is concerned. People's careers don't come to a crashing halt if they decide not to get a degree right away. In fact, in the United States even a 60-, 70-, or 80-year old can still go to University and get that degree they've always wanted.

So, there I was, newly arrived in the US and with almost no English skills whatsoever. I learned English by going to ESL classes at the local community college and by watching Oprah in the afternoon. A couple of years later I got married, raised a family and only decades later I returned to my home country to be closer to my parents as they were aging and making their transition from this life to the next. One thing was clear – if I wanted to move half way around the world like this, I would need to create and carve out the type of work that would allow me to work from anywhere on the planet, without my income having to suffer as a result of my moving around.

This concept of working online and earning passive income from my multiple streams of income became even more important when I got pregnant in my mid to late 20s. The thought of having to drop off my child at a babysitter's place made me nauseated. I had to do something, anything to work from home, so I could be with her! I bought every work-at-home course but nothing seemed to stick. Ultimately, I was just throwing away money and the day arrived when she was born and I was forced to return to work. It felt like my heart was breaking not to be with my daughter at all times. Ultimately I got very ill, too sick to work, and I was forced to stay home, which was a blessing in disguise. More than ever I was motivated to get healthy and to build a passive income business so I could contribute to the household while being a stay-at-home mom.

FINDING MY FIRST STREAM OF PASSIVE INCOME

After reading Rich Dad Poor Dad I knew that real estate would be the way. My husband and I purchased a lake-front retirement home that we rented out. I later purchased another property and rented that out as well. Having tenants, however, was more of a hassle than I wanted to deal with. There had to be another way, a simpler way that wouldn't tie me to properties or tenants. To avoid the hassle of having to deal with tenants I decided to build homes instead and to then sell them shortly before they were finished. This worked for me. I was very good at selecting land that would assure a profit the moment I purchased the land, which made selling the homes prior to completion a slam-dunk. Even during the real estate crash I was still was able to sell my homes at a profit, because my gains were made at the time of purchasing the land.

MAJOR CRASH LANDING

Sadly, I eventually got involved with a couple of shady business partners that eventually caused the complete loss of my entire business, my assets, all of my homes, my clients, my friends, and my reputation. In the middle of it all I had a ruptured appendix, go figure, and nearly died.

I was devastated and never wanted anything to do with real estate, business or money again. I also stopped trusting people completely, especially those close to me. Eventually my devastation and loss of faith in humanity caused me to become homeless. I slept in the car for 7 months and although I desperately tried to get re-hired doing just about anything, and after sending out hundreds of resumes and getting only one phone interview, I came to a major cross roads in my life. I could either accept that homeless was my fate, I could give up on life completely, or I could re-invent myself professionally and personally. I opted for the third option.

FAST FORWARD 14 YEARS

It is now 14 years later and although these wounds have healed over nicely, I also have managed to build the mobile lifestyle business that I always wanted. For almost 10 years now I have been traveling the world. I've lived in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sedona, then moved to France, Italy and as of right now I live in Switzerland. And yes, I'm already thinking of where I want to move to next. Maybe Austria, New Zealand, Canada, Scotland?

Need help with personal or professional reinvention? Here are some resources to help you:

TAKING A HARD, HONEST LOOK

People often ask me how exactly I recovered from homelessness. They want to know the exact steps I took to get out of my car and into a home. Here is what I did, in a nutshell, when I was homeless:

I decided that homelessness is a circumstance, not my fate. I decided to professionally and personally reinvent myself completely and to do whatever it took to discover the person that I could be, the person I had yet to get to know. I knew who I was, at least so I thought, and I was oddly comfortable and perhaps even complacent with myself. I did not know who I could become and this was a rather scary prospective, especially since I wasn't afraid of failure but of success. I went for it anyways. I had nothing and no one to lose since I had already hit rock-bottom and lost everything and everyone.

I then looked at my past experiences, including my own character, and made long lists of those experiences and my character traits. I figured out what I liked doing, loved doing, hated doing, what I was good at and what I really sucked at. Then I created a new list of only my professional strengths and things that I loved doing, and character traits that I liked about myself. For the character traits that I did not like about myself, I simply wrote down the opposite or the qualities that I wanted to have, and focused on those.

I then created a sort of wish list of what my ideal life would look like and what I would like to do for work. My list was very simple:

  1. My life and work must be dedicated to the evolution and expansion of the human soul.
  2. I needed to be able to do my work from anywhere on the planet.
  3. I needed to be able to say something once, set it up and then be able to forget about it. This meant no physical products, no brick and mortar business, no customer service, no returns. Instead I wanted to create something digital that could be enjoyed by people from anywhere on the planet.
  4. Whatever I did for work needed to be done with minimal amount of complexities. A laptop and internet would be all I wanted to work with, and maybe a microphone. Anything beyond that would put a damper on my next business endeavor.
  5. Whatever I create would have to give me passive income and multiple streams of income at that! This meant that I would be able to create a product, such as an audio, a video, a book, or a course – only one time, but this product would then be available for purchase even when I was asleep, on a plane or otherwise unavailable.
  6. The last point was timelessness. This meant that whatever work I did would have to be applicable even years or decades after. This meant that my work needed to be ever-green. Otherwise my passive income stream would meet its end the moment the product, course or audio had a time stamp on it or anything else that prevented it from being ever-green.
  7. Lastly, and most importantly, my work needed to authentically reflect my inner core, my purpose, passion and my experiences. While I was homeless I sent out hundreds of resumes, of which I had three versions. The actual resume, a less-than accurate resume and a completely dumbed-downed version, which I used to apply for minimum wage jobs. I was willing to sell out just to get a job, any job, because I was so desperate. After three months of having only one phone interview that didn't even last five minutes, I made the most scary decision to follow my heart instead, and I agreed to never compromise myself, my skills and my inner voice again. I truly believe it was this moment and this single decision that served like the catalyst, a sort of excavating energy, that removed all of the obstacles that prevented me from seeing what I was supposed to do. Once I made this decision, the scales fell off my eyes and I could see so much clearer of where to go next.

HEALTH CHALLENGES

There was another thing that forced me to take a good look at how I wanted to move forward, and that was my health. I'm sharing this not to bring skeletons out of my closet, but because I know many of you are in a similar position where certain conditions are making it difficult to adhere to a regular working schedule. I hope my sharing helps some of you.

After my ruptured appendix I never really recovered. Instead I got sicker and sicker. I lost 16 pounds in 14 days until I was just skin and bones. I vomited daily, was constantly nauseous, had on-and-off diarrhea, no appetite, an incredibly slow metabolism, and was in a lot of pain.  The doctor who did the emergency surgery performed two follow-up sonograms to make sure I didn't have a hernia. Both times he confirmed that the toxins from the ruptured appendix were still in my stomach cavity and that it would take a few months to get better. It didn't get better.

This surgery happened in 2008 and thanks to an MRI that was scheduled for a completely different reason, I found out only a year ago (19 years later) that I have what's called Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome. MALS is when the aorta going through the solar plexus is restricted by ligaments. They don't know what causes this but they do know that 50% of patients who have had a laparoscopic gallbladder surgery, which I had in 1991, have this condition. I experienced similar symptoms after my surgery back then, but definitely not to this extent. When my appendix ruptured in 2008 the doctor tried to use the same scars to perform the laparoscopic surgery, but I'm sensing that he may have injured my solar plexus, causing these ligaments to do what they are doing now.

Only when the symptoms of MALS cause a person to need a feeding tube is when surgery is recommended. And even then, the surgery may not help and can make things worse. It's a very complicated surgery, not many doctors do it, and even fewer do it well. It's also not something I would consider. Living with MALS, however, is not easy and definitely explains why I prefer smoothies, small portions and why I rarely eat after 3 or 4 pm. Laying down is more painful than sitting or standing up, at least for me. Even getting up in the middle of the night to drink a glass of water barely allows me to go back to sleep because of the pain and nausea. Twelve years of this has become my new norm and I cope with it by doing EFT, eating right and at the right times, and taking good care of myself.

I've taken this detour into some of my health challenges because I know that there are some of you reading this, who are in a similar boat. You may not have MALS but you may have Fibromyalgia, MS or some other debilitating condition that flares up from time to time, making it hard to work a regular Monday-through-Friday or a regular 8-5 job. You want to be free to work when you feel somewhat decent and when you have energy to do so. Being an online creator allows me to do just that. I can work as much or as little as I need to, work on a Saturday or Sunday and if I'm not feeling well during the week, I rest. This type of freedom is not permitted or possible when you work for an employer who wants you present. I'm deeply grateful for the opportunity of a flexible work schedule! Being an online course creator offers me this type of freedom, while being able to contribute to my audience.

Need help with personal or professional reinvention? Here are some resources to help you:

HOPE RETURNED!

Although I remained homeless for another four months, hope had returned and I had a new mission, which was to get out of homelessness and into safety again. I spent the next four months learning how to create a blog and simply wrote about my work and life experiences. I put a Paypal button on my blog for people to book a coaching session with me. My first coaching session rate was $40, which I used to buy a burner phone, which included 300 minutes. With this burner phone I held my first coaching call in my car! With my next $40 coaching session I got a monthly cell phone plan for $29. This way all of my calls were included and I didn't have to worry about getting cut off during a coaching session because I ran out of minutes. After four months of doing coaching calls and recording my first audio course with my cell phone (yes, in my car), I had enough money to rent a room for $650 in a lovely woman's home, where I stayed for two years. During this time I worked on creating more audio courses and eventually video courses. In fact, my first and one of my best courses ever, is all about how to create an online business with just your telephone. Becoming a Tele-Class Leader enabled me to get a good command of my voice, which then opened doors to getting invited to radio shows and being asked to participate in panel discussions, and joint ventures. And eventually when it came time to step in front of the camera, everything became much easier. If public speaking is of concern, then you definitely want to first start with getting a good command of your voice. Once sounding confident you can then step in front of the camera and the rest will fall in place naturally.

A NEW LEASE ON LIFE

Today, some ten years later, there are nearly 70,000 enrollments from students in 167 countries. I've written 6 books and published over 40 courses. I've also published 13 Reiki Music CDs and Healing Ringtones. My coaching practiced closed to new clients several years ago and I just re-opened the practice to new students and clients due to COVID-19. I remember so well how it was for me when I was homeless and hopeless and what the world needs the most right now is a coach and consultant that knows what it takes to personally and professional re-invent oneself. If you need help, please reach out through this page to book your 1-on-1 coaching session with me.

MOVING FORWARD

Having to start over is not easy even when we plan it, let alone when we are forced to start over. People fundamentally do not like change, especially not when the future is so uncertain. Loss of life, health, a job, money, relationships – these are all things that are important to us or that we need in order to live these human lives. When these foundations get destroyed it can leave us feeling angry, uncertain, hopeless and very rarely excited or thrilled about the new opportunities that lie ahead. If I could impart one piece of advice, it is to remember that my next steps were not revealed until I made the decision to live and to re-invent myself without ever compromising myself again. Going through these radical, life changing types of changes are about so much more than just picking a new job or a new career, this is about character refinement, authenticity and integrity, and most of all it is about the evolution of your soul. If you already possessed these qualities before any loss, then you are being refined even more. Allow the chiseling and remolding and strengthening of your character and be hopeful that these changes, no matter how painful, will bring you much fruit in the near and distant future. You will find the most precious and priceless treasure – right within your own center!

I wish you much strength, wisdom and discernment as you are going through this time.

Need help with personal or professional reinvention? Here are some resources to help you:

LESSON: AUTHENTICITY

What I want you to get out from this post is this. My pre-homeless work life took place in the left-brained business world. My post-homeless work life shifted to the mind-body-spirit field. Remember how I said that I vowed to remain authentic in everything I do? Going back to my previous work industries would not have been the most authentic way for me to go about in my efforts to end my homeless life. I'm also pretty sure that if I had done so, I maybe would have made more money at the onset by getting another salaried position, but it would have cost me dearly in terms of happiness and character. Lesson: Being authentic with yourself, your desire and your mission here on this planet is crucial for you to create work that is in alignment with your beautiful spirit.

COURSE RE-DIRECT

Secondly, I was willing to re-invent myself completely. Not only personally but also professionally. My background was working for the government, the banking industry, technology (human resources) and real estate. None of my previous credentials were applicable or even useful in my rebuilding myself and in carving out my own niche for myself. I went back to school, got a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences and Holistic Life Coaching, along with other credentials, such as becoming a Reiki Master, certified Hypnotist and certified Grief and Suicide Hotline Counselor. I also became a non-denominational Minister. Lesson: Be willing to listen to your higher self and be willing to course-re-direct if you are guided to do so.

KNOW YOUR LIFE THEME

Lastly, I took to pen and paper and wrote down what my ideal life would look like. It became evident that ‘Freedom‘ is my life's theme. This meant that I needed to be free to do what I want, with whom I want, from wherever I want. I like the minimalist lifestyle and owning homes and cars and ‘stuff' is not what I consider living the good life at all. I consider these things millstones around my neck and opportunities that only complicate things, when all I want is freedom and simplicity.

CLARITY ABOUT MONEY

I also asked myself if I preferred to make one million dollars per year from just one person or getting one million dollars per year from one million people who paid $1 each. Any savvy business person would tell you that it's much easier to keep one person happy than it is to keep one million people happy. Remember my first point in re-designing myself? My work must be dedicated to the evolution and expansion of the human soul. Therefore, the one million people will always be more important to me than making a million dollars.

MY MAGICAL GENIE-WALLET

In fact, I took this a step further and I asked myself if I would rather have one million dollars from one million people paying $1, or if I would prefer to just have the type of monthly income that would allow me to buy whatever I needed, whenever I needed, in order for me to do my work. In other words, if I could have a magical Genie wallet that would always have enough money in it so I could buy anything I needed to do my work and to pay for my bills, but without having so much money that I would have to worry about it in any shape or form, which would I prefer? Which would you prefer? A million bucks each year or a wallet that always gives you what you need?

Again I decided that I don't care about the million dollars. On the contrary, I would prefer to have the magical Genie wallet that would always give me enough, but not too much. Lesson: You must know where your desires are located and what motivates you. If money motivates you, then you will forever be a slave to money. If you can get yourself to a place where you have enough to do your work, your focus and priorities change to what is really important in life. How freeing!

RE-INVENTIONS ARE THE NORM

I am now going through yet another major fork in my work life. I love what I have built and the work that I have done over the past decade will indeed help people for many years to come. Professionally, however, it is time for me to make a shift. I am not sure yet in what direction this shift is taking me. What I can tell you is that I am following the exact same steps that I took when I was homeless, in order to carve out my next ten or twenty years (or however long). Professional and personal re-invention periods become the norm when you dedicate yourself to the evolution of your soul. Staying stagnant means to become petrified, which to means rigidity, being frozen, unwilling to change, and set in ones ways. The willingness to stay flexible and limber then remains absent, which is not at all how I want to go through my last chapter of life and eventual death. Staying flexible means to stay open for surprises, good and bad, and being able to stay unattached to things, people and even life itself. This to me spells freedom!

WISHING YOU MUCH INTROSPECTION AND RE-INVENTION

I truly hope these steps will help you too. If there is one thing I hope you get out of this post it is this. You must find your inner core and decide what is most important to you, and only you. Someone once said: No one is you, and that is your super power! I couldn't agree more. Stop imitating others or doing what others want you to do and find your own inner calling. Then decide to be authentically committed to that inner calling and to move forward without compromising yourself. When you do, what comes next is the illumination and revelation of each step on your journey. When you follow your inner voice you will find your own yellow brick road by listening and honoring your inner calling!

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