Ep #208: Three Pillars To a Million Dollar Self Image with Tonya Leigh

Welcome to the Make Money as a Life Coach® podcast where sales expert and master coach Stacey Boehman teaches you how to make your first 2K, 20K, and 200K using her proven formula.

Hey coaches, welcome to episode 208. Today I have the most fun episode planned for you. I have my good friend, Tonya Leigh, here from the School of Self-Image and we’re coming to the end of the year and I wanted to have a conversation about coaching and your self-image in coaching. And she’s the best of the best when it comes to all things image. So I asked her to come on and talk to you all today. Are you all ready?

Stacey: Tonya, hello. What’s up?

Tonya: Hi. Thank you for having me. I feel like this is long overdue.

Stacey: I know. Okay, so we have a couple of ideas of what we want to talk about that we’ve talked about behind the scenes. But do you want to just introduce yourself, tell everyone a little bit about you and then we’ll take it from there.

Tonya: Yeah. So I’m Tonya Leigh. I am the founder of the School of Self-Image where I work with women on elevating how they see themselves. And we do that by focusing on three pillars, your mindset, your style and your environment. And I’ve been doing this work for 10 years and more than ever, Stacey, I just know that self-image is the key to everything. So I’m so excited to have this conversation.

Stacey: So good. So one of the things we want to talk about is how both of us have such an insane rags to riches story. So I think that will definitely be fun to explore and how we used those three things and self-image to get where we are. But first, will you talk a little bit about self-image itself? What does that mean to someone? What are the areas that are impacted by self-image? I think I call it self-concept. So everybody has a little bit of a different definition. So will you just explore a little bit deeper into that?

Tonya: Yeah. So self-image the way I like to describe it is how you see yourself. So it could be when you’re standing in front of the mirror and the thoughts that you have about your physical appearance, the thoughts about your personality, the thoughts about your capabilities. But it’s also, a lot of times we’re not looking at ourselves in the mirror. We’re looking at ourselves in our own brain. We’re looking at images and visuals of ourselves interacting in the world.

And so it really boils down to what are your thoughts about yourself? And in terms of what areas of your life it impacts, literally every single area. It determines how much money you make. It determines the quality of your relationships. It determines your wellbeing. It determines your business, everything because the way I like to think about it, the best analogy is your self-image is like a thermostat.

So when you are programmed at a certain setting, let’s say you’ve got it programmed at 70 degrees and someone opens the window and a blast of cold air comes in. What happens is that you get the room back to 70 degrees, the heat turns on. And so this is what subconsciously is happening within us all of the time. We all have a set standard of what we expect. And so you’re always going to fight subconsciously to stay in harmony with your self-image.

So let’s just talk about money because I know that’s a hot topic in your community. For example, there was a time in my life where I could not fathom making more than $15,000 a year when I first started working. And that was a big amount of money at the time, for where I grew up. And that’s what I was used to making. And so I would subconsciously work to create that number. So I would work extra hours or I would cut back on hours. I didn’t realize I was doing it at the time.

Stacey: Oh gosh, I did that too.

Tonya: Yeah, I had to stay around 15,000 because that’s what I knew was possible. And then I became a nurse and I was told that nurses can make around 50,000 to 60,000 at the time. So I thought, that’s what I’m going to make. And so subconsciously I was always working to stay within that number. And so for those that are wanting to make more money this work is so important.

You have to begin to see yourself interacting with the amount of money that you want now and becoming comfortable with it and it being normal in order for you to be able to create it in your life or you’re going to subconsciously sabotage yourself every single time.

Stacey: I’m just thinking about, I’m in a training right now and I’m doing a training right now for my audience called Creating Demand Workshop. And one of the things that someone asked me, I think on day two or three is, I don’t remember exactly how they framed the question but basically the result they have is up and down sales. So they can’t keep consistent selling. And this is totally why. I remember being taught this idea of the money temperature as well and this really impacted me too.

I would sell and make $10,000 a week selling knives in a grocery store or a department store, at the time before I found coaching. And then I could take a month off or two months off. I’d be like, because I’m just used to making $60,000 a year. So if I make 10,000, well, I just did a sixth of my income so now I get to take off and play or I will go spend all that money. And there was always this money ceiling that I was hitting where I could never really get above that.

And I do find that’s true when coaches are selling as well, they will have a really great launch and then their self-image, their self-concept doesn’t match that, it doesn’t raise to that level yet. So then the next launch is half that or it’s even less. And then they can’t figure out what happened. I always think of – and I’m interested to hear what you have to say about this but the work that we have to do and whether it’s money or relationships, or even feelings work is it’s all about what is our baseline and then expanding our capacity beyond that.

Or what is our ceiling and expanding our capacity beyond that. So if your self-image is I am a person who makes $60,000 a year, you have to grow your capacity to experience and have more than 60K a year. And it’s literally like you’re raising your temperature otherwise it’s always going to be, I make a little bit but then something will happen, get in a car wreck and I have to buy a new car. Or there’s always something, life will always give you the opportunities to be where your image is, that’s where you’re comfortable.

Tonya: Yeah. And it’s so crazy when I think about the temperature analogy. You think about it, if you’re used to existing in a room that’s 70 degrees and you decide I’m going to raise it to 85, it physically is uncomfortable.

Stacey: Let me do that right now. Yeah, I have this image of myself, I’ll just use myself as an example because I think it’s the best and you can tell me what your thoughts are. But I have this image of myself, there’s a couple of things, number one, that I’m a person that doesn’t operate without sleep. That’s probably my biggest story that I have had my whole life is I have to have lots and lots of sleep. And of course I’m getting absolutely no sleep right now.

And that I can only get so much done during a day. And I have really challenged that in a big way. Obviously I have a $10 million business now so my productivity level and my skill level now are much bigger than what it used to be five, even two years ago really. But I’m noticing that my work is pushing myself. I’m like, what if my capability and my image around myself and what I’m capable of is half of what I think it is right now, or it’s double what I think it is right now? What if I’m only half or less? And it is deeply uncomfortable.

It’s deeply uncomfortable to push myself to, I think about Brooke, and I’m like, “The level of work she gets done, and the energy, and the enthusiasm that she brings to it. I’m not even scratching the surface of that and is that possible for me?” And it is, I’m deeply uncomfortable.

Tonya: Yeah. I just think about these people that are running 15 and 20 companies.

Stacey: Like a Shark Tank person. How are they not exhausted?

Tonya: Yeah. Because I think when you were saying, “How much can I get done in a day?” I think it’s how big can I think in a day. I think that determines the results that you get. I just did a podcast episode last week, it was basically a book review by Benjamin Hardy, he wrote, Willpower Doesn’t Work and Your Future Self. And the very first book he wrote is called Slipstream Time Hacking. And he gave me a copy of this book years ago and it’s talking about how we measure time.

And he was like, “Most people measure time in chronological years.” And he was like, “What if you measured time in distance covered? How much distance can you cover in a day?” And I think that requires that you increase your capacity to go far distances in short amounts of time. And that definitely is a lot of emotional work because it’s super uncomfortable to go long distances when you’ve been used to traveling a mile and you’re trying to get 26 miles in a day. It’s willing to feel that discomfort.

Stacey: Yeah, that’s so good. What came up for when you were saying that is a good way for everyone listening to check when you have reached your current capacity for the image you have of yourself and when you’re trying to push beyond it. I’m noticing because I say this to myself a lot for different various reasons, you know, I’m house shopping too. And we found a plot of land that we absolutely love in Nashville in a gated community. And once they told us who was in the community, who had bought land there as well.

And it was within the price range that I had told them but as soon as they told me who was in that community I was like, “I don’t know, this isn’t for us. Who do we think we are?” And so this has been coming up for me a lot is, who do you think you are? Or I’ll do this when I’m shopping. Sometimes I’ll see something that I absolutely love but it just feels like it requires a different level of confidence for someone to wear it and I’ll be like, “Who do you think you are? Where would you ever wear that?”

Tonya: You have to answer that. You have to answer it.

Stacey: No, I’m realizing, I think for everyone listening, this is the indicator when you ask yourself, when you make a money goal or you see an outfit, or a house that you might want to buy or an opportunity that you want to take. And your response in your brain is, who do you think you are? That’s the indicator that you’re at that ceiling.

Tonya: Yeah. I call it a self-image crisis because I think this has happened to us. You create this external success but your self-image hasn’t caught up to it yet. So for example, a great way to think about it is, I used to struggle with my weight. I was over 200 pounds at one point. And so I would take a lot of action and I would lose the weight. But I didn’t see myself as a naturally slim woman. I saw myself as a woman with a weight problem. And because I didn’t do that work, inevitably of course what happened? I put the weight back on.

And so now I know that when you’re in this what I call self-image crisis, nothing’s gone wrong, it’s part of the process. But instead of just listening to that voice in your head that says, “Who do you think you are? You’re not good enough. You’re not going to be able to sustain this?” That’s a big one in our business. That is the work. You have to then become that person who has that result. I experienced this in 2020, you were with me during that time when I moved to Denver. And for everybody listening, I was making seven figures. It wasn’t like I was broke. And I had a story that I could not afford rent.

Stacey: I remember that, I was like, “What’s happening right now?”

Tonya: Right. Everybody was like…

Stacey: I remember thinking, how much is her rent?

Tonya: And so I come to Denver and I’m shopping around for apartments because I’d left a long term relationship and I’m shopping around for apartments. And I give them a price range of I want to stay between 1500 and 2500 dollars. And he shows me the apartment and it’s a 500 square foot studio. And I was like, “What, this is what one gets for this money?” Because I grew up when your mortgage was not more than $1,000. I grew up in a trailer so it was way less than that. But still it was, everything’s so relative.

And I remember him looking at me and the guy was literally confused because I was dressed like this, carrying a Fendi Peekaboo bag.

Stacey: For anyone listening, that’s a $5,000 bag.

Tonya: He was like, “She must be broke because of her closet.” But he was like, “I feel like I need to show you some other apartments.” And so he took me up to the penthouse. And I walked in there, Stacey, and I was like, “This is where my future self, lives. This is what I want to see myself having and inhabiting.” And he told me the price and I was like, “Oh my God, are we allowed to do this?” I remember calling up Brooke, I’m like, “Brooke, this is.” She was like, “Rent it immediately.”

So I did and I lived in that apartment for a year and at the end of that year it was just like, this is what we do. We just live in penthouses now. This is normal. But I had to go through all of that discomfort and all of the limiting beliefs and work through that in order for that to then become my self-image. And now I’m building a house. It’s the craziest thing but this is the work. It’s allowing yourself to go through a crisis of how you see yourself but committing to doing the work, of seeing this as your new normal.

Stacey: What is that work? What would you suggest someone do when they’re in that space of putting themselves in situations where they don’t see themselves?

Tonya: I go about this very differently. I believe in making big decisions that freak your brain out. And I feel like everybody listening to this, you have the capacity to do this. It’s not like you’re new to thought work. So I feel like the bigger your decisions the bigger you that’s going to be required to show up for that. And so for me it’s making those big decisions and then just having my own back, freaking out but committing to this is my work. And just when those beliefs come up I just I find better beliefs. I prove them wrong.

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And that year of living in that penthouse, it called forth a new version of me that helped me to actually double my business that year. It was just like this butterfly effect in my life. It was so beautiful to watch.

Stacey: Yeah, I love that because I would say one of the biggest self-image shifts that I had was when I showed up for a Life Coach School, Kara and I still laugh about this. This was back when she was still doing them at the Holiday Inn Express in Eldorado Hills.

Tonya: Brooke has uplevelled her self-image too.

Stacey: But at the time that was a self-image uplevel for me. I remember walking into the room and regardless of the hotel, the room was full of women that looked just like you. Just looked very well put together, beautiful Louis Vuitton bags. They all had money. You could tell they had money, they carried themselves that way. They were all highly educated. And I’m like you, I grew up in a shotgun house. I lived in a trailer at one point and I had no money. I don’t remember if I’d paid for coach training at the time, I guess I had.

But it just was like I had scraped by to get in this room and I just feel how different I am. And then I remember thinking, you put yourself in this room, you paid the same amount as everybody else, it feels like a big jump but just be here, be uncomfortable but play full out. And then the next year I went to, she had uplevelled a little bit. We were at the Omni La Costa, I think is what it was called in San Diego. But I remember walking into the room and thanking myself for putting myself in that room with those types of people, the people that I wanted to be.

And it had been a really uncomfortable year, I’m so glad I got to celebrate. But it was, it was just deeply uncomfortable and I put myself in a situation where there was no turning back. It was just this is where you’re going, this is who you’re becoming. And it really blew my mind that I had made a lot more money than a lot of people in that room. And that really shifted something. I’m like, “Oh, wait a minute.” So I think that that’s so brilliant. I think a lot of times we think that you do have to change your thoughts first a lot before you take action.

And so I see a lot of my students and people that just reach out to me, they’re always, the way they talk it’s like, “I’m self-coaching so much. I am working on my thoughts so much.” And I’m like, “That’s so brilliant.” But I loved what you said before we got on the call about sometimes you just need to change your environment. You need to put yourself in different spaces, whether that’s a home. I had such an uplevel when I moved into this house. I built my business, I think $300,000 living in a 600 square foot old apartment.

I have a friend who came over to help me design it and she said years later that she thought the whole time she was walking through it, she thought, why doesn’t she just move? But I had thoughts like you, I’m making $300,000 a year, I think my rent was $600 a month. But I had always been someone that doesn’t pay more than $600 a month. So I couldn’t imagine. And then I jumped into this house, our mortgage I think at the time was 3500 a month and it was so scary. But I remember, even Brooke was like, “You’re like a different person now that you’re in this house.”

And so I put myself in the situation to go to Life Coach School, I put myself in the room with the women that were more educated and more fancy than me. Put myself in the house. I changed my environment many times to let myself catch up to that.

Tonya: Yeah. So I am a big advocate in changing the circumstance.

Stacey: Let’s do it.

Tonya: But I do believe…

Stacey: You have to coach yourself and manage your brain when you’re in it.

Tonya: Yeah, but I think I have to say this. I’m going to say there’s a caveat to that. Changing your circumstance can be powerful and it can also be very limiting. And it really depends on the energy driving it because I used to change my circumstance from a very victimy energy, always blaming my job and the people around me. And I was like, “I just need to move. I need to get away from these people.” But I wasn’t taking responsibility and I wasn’t changing, very different than changing your circumstance because you’re advocating for yourself.

But advocating for yourself is like, listen, I know I’m the one creating my feelings and I know that I can fast track this, and I can speed this up, and I can give myself a better chance of becoming the person that I want to become by putting myself in new environments. So sometimes you need to stay and sometimes you need to go. You just need to check-in with yourself before making that decision. So I just wanted to say that.

Stacey: Yeah, I think that’s so important. I also think there’s a difference of another question you can ask yourself is does this leap, will it be a call to be bigger or will it just completely shut me down? You can’t make decisions, if we did the math and we could afford the house. It was just going to be an uncomfortable thing we’d never done before which is very different than if you don’t have the money to pay a mortgage or it’s very different. I think you have to know your own risk tolerance as well because I tend to have a higher risk tolerance.

And I know there are things that I can do and it won’t shut me down doing it. And then I have some people that will put themselves in a moment of being willing to risk something, put themselves in a situation. But they have a very low risk tolerance and they haven’t thought through, can I operate with this risk or can I operate with this change? So it’s a little bit of a balance. And I just think if you trust yourself with your first answer, it’s usually correct.

Tonya: Yeah, it’s such a good point because sometimes you can make a decision and it puts you into such fight or flight that you can access your creative brain to create the results that you want to create. So it is a very individual choice. It’s how big of the decisions are that you make and how you do change your circumstances.

Stacey: But don’t you think you feel a little bit of like there’s always the fear but just layered on top of that if you pay attention and you look for it, there is an inkling of excitement and a challenge that makes your heart beat fast in a really good way. I think there’s an emotional response you have when you’re calling yourself to be bigger.

Tonya: Yeah. I’m going through this right now with my house. I just met with the builder today and we have blown through the budget already and we haven’t even broken ground. And I’m like, “Am I allowed to do this?” I’m going through the exact same thing I went through when I moved into the penthouse. And so I’m assessing, is this a smart decision? Do I want to invest this much in a house. I’m going through all of that. But at the end of the day I know that no matter what I got my own back here. And I think that’s why we’ve done so well because we’re willing to take the risk.

We’re willing to fail and I know even if I do this house and goes into foreclosure, I’ll still be okay. That’s how my brain goes.

Stacey: I know, I love that your brain goes to that possibility. I’m like, wait, what? That’s not happening.

Tonya: Right. But that’s where my human brain loves to take me. I’m homeless on the street. And so I’m like, okay, well, maybe I would just set up in front of the Chanel store, be all good, and move to Beverly Hills, live on Rodeo Drive on the street, I’ll be fine.

Stacey: Just sell all your Peekaboo bags.

Tonya: Just I’ll be fine.

Stacey: I love that so much. Okay, so you said there were three pillars, say them again. We covered one of them.

Tonya: Yeah, so mindset obviously.

Stacey: Mindset.

Tonya: Style.

Stacey: Style.

Tonya: And your environment.

Stacey: And your environment, so we’ve covered kind of both of them. So let’s talk about style. You’re the stylish person I know, [crosstalk].

Tonya: Thank you. That means a lot and especially considering where I came from.

Stacey: Yeah. But how do you do that? Because okay, I have to say this, I told you this before we spoke but I do think this was one of the reasons I wanted to have you on because there are a lot of coaches. Listen, if you’re listening, I’m not calling you out. I’m not thinking of anyone in particular. It’s just when you scroll on Instagram or Facebook you can see the way they’re presenting themselves.

And one of the things I find is that especially when it comes to intellectuals, for whatever reason, people who maybe don’t value style or whatever over other things, they may not understand the importance of a really forward conscious. I don’t even want to say stylish but just forward conscious appearance as a coach and how that, I wrote down earlier how you take the way you present yourself to the world, how seriously you take that is you teaching other people how to treat you, how seriously to take you.

So if you take yourself seriously you’re teaching other people how to do that. And if you don’t, you don’t. And so I see a lot of – this is the only word I can come up with but just a lot of frumpy coaches marketing life coaching. I’m not even saying they’re my clients, I just see it on the internet. I remember seeing one girl once who was promoting that she was helping seven figure earners with these funnels. And she was going on about all the results. But she was sitting in a workout suit on the floor in front of a bed on the floor and it was with messy sheets everywhere.

And it looked like in a dorm room and I was like, “There’s no possibility that I believe that you’re helping all these seven figure earners with these funnels.” I think about this from time to time that there is the skill of coaching and there is the skill of selling. But then there’s also the skill of presenting yourself to the world in a way that has people coming to you and taking you seriously and wanting to be around you and thinking that you have something to teach them.

Just about the way that you show up in the world. And it’s something I always think about you. I’m like, “Tonya’s so classy, she just has something to teach me in the world.” I just think there’s people that do that for you. And so I’m curious what your thoughts are about that.

Tonya: Okay, we’ve got a lot to unpack here, Stacey Boehman.

Stacey: I know, and listen, I also – can I just make the caveat of not all intellectuals are like that. I just know a lot of my personal friends who their thought would be, if I spent time on my image in the world, that would be unvaluable when I could be spending it reading a book or taking a class, that’s what I mean when I say that. I have lots of intellectuals that follow me and not to offend everyone. But that’s my personal experience of my friends, they feel like it would be a waste of their time. It’s not a valuable thing to pay attention to.

Tonya: Yeah. And I’ve had people call me very superficial. I’ve had people say, “You’re not authentic.” I have people that have said to me, “I just love being authentic.” And they translate that into not caring for themselves.

Stacey: Yeah, that’s what I mean. Okay, that is what I mean, yeah. Or I want to be smart so I’m not going to spend time shopping, that would be an unsmart thing to do.

Tonya: Right. And so to me I always think about that’s like saying, it’s not authentic for me to clean my house. It’s not authentic for me to decorate my house. To me our body is our vessel for our experience in life. And I always just ask people, “What matters is that you like how you’re showing up for yourself.” Because that’s what matters to me. I don’t dress up for you although I did say, “Why aren’t we videoing this because I do look super cute today.” But I do it for me.

I love how I think about myself, how I see myself, number one, when I take the time to think about my outfit. What does this outfit say to me about me? I love how I feel when I show up as a professional, making sure my background looks presentable. To me it’s care for my clients, care for my community. I care enough for you to show up and give you my very best. I’m not going to half ass it over here and be on the floor in my workout clothes in a dorm room. I’m going to figure out how to present myself in such a way as a respect not only to myself but to you.

Because you will uplevel how you see yourself when you are dressing on purpose, and showing up on purpose, and surrounding yourself with the things in your life on purpose. And I just find that some people are being a little lazy.

Stacey: Yeah. And I do think it’s like when you feel overwhelmed with your life, I think it can feel like it’s just not the thing that’s important. I would challenge everyone to instead, what if it were the most important when you were feeling overwhelmed with your life?

Tonya: Taking the time to get dressed, changes you. When I’m having a bad day I’m like, okay, let’s get in the shower, number one, let’s brush our hair, let’s put our clothes on. Because the old me would have just been stinky all day in my robe feeling sorry for myself. And what I love to say is emotions love to be fed. And so if you’re having negative emotions, your brain’s going to tell you to do things to feed that emotion.

And when it comes to our style a lot of times what your brain says is, “It doesn’t matter. Just go put your yoga pants on. You don’t need to brush your hair, you can do that tomorrow.” And you just feed this negative emotion about yourself. And so I have just found that style is one of the most underrated tools in changing your self-image. And your self-image is creating your entire life. So why don’t we use all of the tools available to us to purposely see ourselves in different ways?

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Stacey: Yeah, I really love that you said on purpose because I don’t think you have to have Tonya’s style or my style, or anyone’s style for that matter, or a certain type of style. It’s not about designer clothes. It’s not about anything. It just about, are you doing it on purpose? Is it intentional? Or is the story you’re telling about yourself and your appearance is that I don’t have time for it to be intentional, or I don’t have money for it to be intentional, or it doesn’t matter?

And I was thinking of a couple of examples because I know that not everyone listening to this can afford to live in a space that looks like what we live in right now. And I lived in a 600 square foot apartment until I made $300,000. So it’s not that that’s required.

But I had a client that had the most amazing background. Every time you were on a call with her it just looked so beautiful. And it turns out, it was a WeWork space that she was renting. That she was taking herself that seriously and her clients that seriously that she spent money on a space to be there to be dedicated to her clients and to be there focused and having attention on that. And so I do think that that’s really important is just the idea of it being on purpose.

And then the other thing I wrote down is, are you being an example? No matter what your offer is and what you’re helping people, you are a coach, whether it’s a business coach, a nutrition coach or a life coach and is the image you’re putting out to the world, is your own personal image an example of what’s possible?

Tonya: Yeah. I think everybody should ask themselves this question. When people interact with you and your company, what do you want them to think about you? And what are the three words that you want them to associate with you and your brand? And then you need to build everything around that? You need to build your copy around that, your visuals, your offers, your background, your clothes around that answer. Because I just see this as life is just one big work of art. We are just one big work of art, what do you want your art to be in this world?

And it does all start with thinking, every thought is a creative act. But we can use our environment, and our clothing, and our style to inform how not only we think about ourselves but how other people think of us. I will tell you, it’s so fascinating. I live in this building and most of the time, I would say 99% of the time I’m dressed in a way that people are like, “Wow, what’s the special occasion?” Because I love how it feels. And I’m treated very differently than when I am in my workout clothes.

Stacey: Me too, yeah.

Tonya: It’s like you need to dress the way you want to be addressed, period.

Stacey: So good. I have noticed with the airport. No matter how early we get up I’m like, I’ve got to put makeup on. I’ve got to be dressed even if it’s comfortable chic, I want to show up to the airport looking like I have money.

Tonya: [Crosstalk] money.

Stacey: Yeah, I know but I don’t want to look like, I always say homeless which my stylist always laughs because she’s like, “Stacey, your homeless is like lululemon’s and like you’re still wearing a Dior bag.” But that’s my new version of looking homeless. But it’s so interesting how I get treated when I am dressed really nice versus when I’m in my lululemon’s and my jean jacket, and my tennis shoes and no makeup. I do have, experience the world experiencing me and treating me differently.

And instead of being upset about that because that used to just really make me mad and I would get all like, “It’s not fair and it’s not about the looks”, and blah, blah, blah. And I’m just going to play the game. I want to be experienced this way and what I’ve noticed is I have more energy and I feel better when I do that.

Tonya: Yeah, and it just compounds all that good energy.

Stacey: Yeah. You know what it is? It’s especially at the airport when I dress, if I would, if I were meeting a client, when I dress that way I’ve noticed that everything from the check-in counter, TSA, when I say things, I will tell them how I want my things handled. And I’ll tell them how I want things done. And instead of giving me a hard time about it, it’s like, “Oh yes.” They’re just happy to address it. They wouldn’t think to speak to me in a different way.

Versus when I’m not, sometimes I get pushback and they’re like, “Well, this is how it’s done”, and blah, blah, blah. It’s just very interesting my treatment of being in the world when I need a little more care.

Tonya: Yes. I think that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy Europe so much is because my experience when I’ve been there and people probably don’t know this story but Paris changed me. That’s why my old company that Stacey forgot that I didn’t have any longer, French Kiss Life, that’s where that came from. But one of the things that I love about being in Europe is it doesn’t matter if you are a janitor or you are in the upper echelons of society. It seems as if people present themselves in a way that says, “I matter.”

Stacey: Yes, I experienced that too, yeah.

Tonya: Yeah, doesn’t matter what my job is, I as a human being, I’m important enough to respect myself and to maximize what I have in a way that is beautiful, and stylish, and represents how I want to see myself and how I want the world to perceive me. So it’s not about having a lot of money. I grew up in a trailer. I grew up with very, very little and I know what it’s like along this journey of having to figure out how do I maximize what I currently have? And we did it which means everybody listening to this can do it too. It’s not that hard.

Stacey: Yeah. That’s so good. I was telling you this before our episode as well that one of the biggest things that upleveled my brand and my business, this was the year I made a 100K and I thought this was huge. I grew up very similarly to you. So I just grew up in a family where you didn’t spend money on clothes. And I had to get a job at 15 because I wanted to start buying my own clothes.

I went to a school where it was all rich kids. And I very much stood out and I didn’t want to stand out anymore. I wanted to be like all the other kids and have the clothes. Anyway so I remember going to the Kate Spade outlet.

Tonya: Well, I went to Michael Kors, yeah.

Stacey: Yes, I remember Michael Kors outlet too. And I bought myself this black and white striped dress and it was so stunning. And I got photos in this dress and I am telling you, from that moment on I had them plastered all over my social media everywhere. It was me in this dress and I had these bright pink heels on. It was just a really big statement. But it was the first time I really took myself that seriously, where I’m going to pay for this fancy dress and I’m going to pay for these photos. And I’m going to take the time to get photos done of myself and tell the world I’m a life coach.

I’m telling you, my business took off from there. It was something about it, my brain, other people’s interaction with me, it was the next level. And so I want everybody to just think about that is are you thinking of your images out in the world as your next level? Are you thinking about how much money you want to make and then thinking about how you would show up when you were making that? Because I also remember the year that I got engaged and I made $860,000. I remember having some conversation with Brooke about the way I dressed, I can’t remember what it was.

But I went to New York and I went to this store on Madison Avenue and I bought a whole new wardrobe. And I think I spent $2,000 and I almost felt panic. I remember my fiancé, my new fiancé was like, “What are we doing? What’s happening? This is a lot of money.” And then I went to some event for a week with Brooke and every day I wore one of these outfits. And even the way she started interacting with me was different. And then the way people started interacting with me was different.

And it was the three words that you said, I was just thinking, what are my words? And I remember at least at the time it was mature, and powerful, and rich. And so the way that I dressed for the most part is that, I want people because I teach money and I’m young, I want people to see me as mature. So I’m going to be wearing business type dresses versus ripped jeans and a tank on stage. That’s just for me, matches the positioning I want to put out in the world.

And I want people to feel safe to invest a lot of money with me, no matter my age. But I also want them to know I am a power player. And so my dresses, I love them to have edge to them, I was asking my stylist, what this was, asymmetrical maybe, I don’t know. The clothes with really strong edges.

Tonya: Yeah, say symmetrical, very modern.

Stacey: Yeah, I’m really into that but I also know for my body type I feel the best in something that’s form fitting and tight. I don’t do a lot of flowy stuff. So that’s the choices when I’m looking for dresses for my events. People are always asking me, “How did you find that outfit?” I’m looking for, when I’m shopping, what calls to where I want to go, my $30 million self and the positioning, and the way that I want the world to interact with me.

Tonya: Yeah. One of the exercises that I always love to have my clients do is to walk into your closet. And think, because within the School of Self-Image, we set extraordinary goals every year. So one big, extraordinary goal and I’m like, “Okay, I want you to imagine the version of you who’s achieved that goal and let her edit your closet, not you.”

Stacey: This is so good.

Tonya: But she needs to edit your closet, would she be wearing that? And I did this recently with my next big goal and it was so interesting. It was not what I expected. Because as I uplevel, one of the things that I want is actually less. And so I was going through my closet, so right now I’m doing a six month no shopping challenge. I’m not buying any clothing, nothing in my closet for six months.

And I’m so excited for this process because it’s a space and time for me to get to know what I currently have and to let that next version of me go through it, really think through, does this belong in your future? And so that’s where I am right now and it’s so fun to use clothes in such a way to change you. Because at the end of the day, it’s not even about the clothes. I think about my first designer handbag. I could not even get myself to go into the store. I had such limiting beliefs about myself.

Stacey: Oh my God, I spent so much time in my first Louis Vuitton, probably two hours.

Tonya: I couldn’t even walk in because I had the story of a girl like me doesn’t belong in there. They’re going to find me out, I’m such a fraud. They’re going to make fun of me. And so I remember, it was the Louis Vuitton in Aspen actually. And I would walk by that store for two years and would not allow myself to go in. And then one day I’m like, “This is ridiculous. I want one of these bags.” And so I walked in and surprisingly no one cared. I thought they were going to kick me out, all of the stories in my head.

And I’m like, actually everyone’s very pleasant in here. And I ended up buying a bag and it was so non-eventful and yet it was, meaning no one locked me up, no one kicked me out, they let me buy the bag and then I walked out. And I’m like, “It’s not even about the bag.” I mean that bag was probably made in China.

Stacey: Hopefully it was made in France.

Tonya: Hopefully. You have to look at the tag to make sure. There’s a whole secret to that. But for me, I walked outside and I was just like, “This is not even about the bag. This is about who I had to be to allow myself to want it.” And for some people listening, it’s not about style. You’re not into clothes, that’s okay. What I’m encouraging everyone to do is to really think through what’s important to you, how you want to see yourself. And for those of you who are thinking, well, style doesn’t really matter.

I’d just encourage you to ask yourself why you think that’s true and is it serving you? Because at the end of the day we just want what we’re doing to be purposeful.

Stacey: Yeah. I actually think so many people do think it matters and they don’t know how to approach it at all. But I did write this, instead of being into style, be into your appearance in the world. How you’re appearing in the world. Also I will just tell a quick funny story about Louis Vuitton. I went to my first Louis Vuitton in Paris. And I think the one that was on the Champs-Elysées, is that how you say it?

Tonya: Champs-Elysées, yeah.

Stacey: Terrible at French, but spent two hours in there, a very similar experience. It’s a very overwhelming thing, this is such an expensive bag, blah, blah, blah. Fast forward, I think two ish years, and I was in Chicago for a 200K event and we had my dog, Bear, with us walking around the city. And we walked by a Louis Vuitton and I was like, “I would love to go in there but we have the dog.” And they kind of saw us looking in the window and they were like, “Do you want to come in?” I was like, “We have the dog.”

And they go, “No, no, no, bring him in.” And I was like, “How lovely.” It’s an 80 pound dog. And we’re walking around the store looking around and my dog has anxiety and vomits all over the floor.

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Tonya: I love it.

Stacey: Whole chunks of food and I’m like, “This is really bad, I’m so embarrassed.” I’m trying to pick the chunks up with my fingers. And then I’m like, “Oh my God, this is so disgusting.” And this lady is like, “Oh my God, do you need a tissue?” And she was like so just wanting to help me but then we ended up leaving and I looked at my fiancé and I go, “Well, from here on out we will always have the story of when my dog threw up in Louis Vuitton.”

Tonya: It’s so fun. How far we’ve come.

Stacey: How far we’ve come as my dog just vomits in Louis Vuitton, it’s not a problem.

Tonya: Yeah, I love it, I love it.

Stacey: So ridiculous.

Tonya: Because at the end of the day it’s just a store, folks, it’s just a store.

Stacey: Yeah, and if they’re snotty, I will say sometimes they’re not lovely. And sometimes they’re very snotty and that’s totally on them. I just had Dior be super snotty to me when I was in New York and I spend so much money with them a year, it’s ridiculous. And I just walked in, looked around the stuff. They didn’t want to say anything to me or help me. And it was such a weird experience. And I just took photos of everything I wanted and then my stylist sent it to her Dior person and I spent 30K. I’m like, “That’s on you, guys.”

Tonya: Yeah. I want everybody listening to this, no matter what stores you walk into, no matter what groups you are becoming a part of, I want everybody to see themselves as special enough, it’s like, you’re welcome, you’re welcome that I’m here. You’re welcome that I’m choosing to come into your store because that energy is so powerful. And listen, I know what it’s like to feel like you’re not good enough. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t belong there, that you’re a fraud and all of that is just self-image work.

And when you change those thoughts it’s lifechanging. I mean I went from literally seeing myself as a country bumpkin to seeing myself as a worldly woman. I went from never having traveled except I joke, my worldly travel was to Epcot Center one time, I went to Mexico, and Italy, and Paris all in a few hours, never had traveled to one day leading retreats in Paris and sort of being known as the expert on French culture. It’s the craziest thing. And I will tell you, it’s this work of changing my style, changing my environment and therefore changing my thoughts about myself, so good.

Stacey: Yeah. Changing the way you present yourself to the world.

Tonya: Who are you when you’re at home all by yourself? When you’re working, because a lot of people listening to this, you’re working at your desk, no one sees you but you see you. I remember way before Zoom when it was, what was it, teleconference.com? When we would meet with our clients on the phone. I remember having a call with this woman and she was talking about how she just wasn’t proud of how she was showing up. And I looked down at myself, Stacey, and I looked homeless. And I’m like, “How am I coaching her when I’m doing the exact same thing she’s doing?”

You have to be the person to yourself that you want your clients to be to themselves.

Stacey: Yeah, a 100%. And this reminds me, for everyone listening, what my clients get stuck on a lot is writing copy, sales emails, posts, things like that. If you are struggling, check with how you are feeling about your body and what you’re wearing if you are really struggling to come up with what you feel is compelling sales and compelling writing. Because every time this happens to me, I swear if I go in and I pick out my most fierce outfit I have in my closet, and I do up my makeup, I get my heels on and I sit at my desk, I always write better.

Tonya: I love that.

Stacey: Yes, every time, this is my secret trick that I’ve never told anyone. And I will tell you, there’s something else, now, with my baby I’m not always wearing the fanciest of fancy things because there’s in between calls, if I have time I want to get on the floor and roll around with him and play with him. And also my house just runs cold so I’m always wearing something nice but movable and then my house slippers. And we also don’t allow people to wear shoes in our house, so that’s even for us.

Tonya: Yeah, us too.

Stacey: You have to put slippers on when you come over to our house. But I was like, I don’t want to be writing my sales emails or doing my calls in slippers anymore. I bought these Christian Dior patent leather loafers with sheepskin on the inside. The inside’s like a boot but they’re Christian Dior and they have this gold metal band over them that says Dior on them. And I rock in those things all over my house. And I’m telling you, there is an uplevel to my little house slippers in my Dior clogs.

And every single person that sees me wearing them they’re like, “What are those?” My whole team came and they’re like, “I cannot even handle, what is on your feet, what are those?” And I’m just wearing them throughout my day and it doesn’t have to be Dior but find something that you’re doing for comfort and turn that into an uplevel for you. Turn that into something that is inspiring and makes you feel good and a little cheeky, and a little fun. And then do your work like that.

Tonya: I love this because it’s really about energy, everything is energy. And so if you think about it, the kind of copy that you want to write is hanging out on this energetic realm. If your clothes and your environment is in a different realm it’s going to be harder to access the thoughts that you need to access to get you into that realm of energy. And so I always think, we say money is energy and so is your clothing. And so what really happens…

Stacey: Well, is your hair, is just the way you are presenting yourself, is that the energy that matches who you want to be?

Tonya: I am telling you, we had in my membership, I started sharing some of my little tricks, one of them is exfoliating your body with these certain kinds of gloves and then a special kind of moisturizer that I use. Women’s lives have changed from this. They have gone from feeling like they had alligator skin to having baby skin and they’re like, “Oh my God, why did no one tell me this?” It’s little things change how you experience yourself and how you be yourself. And so when you think about your writing tradition, most people what we’re doing is we’re waking up and we’re looking at the same things.

We’re looking around, same things, we’re having the same conversations with the same people. We’re driving the same way to work. We are wearing the same things and as a result we just keep thinking the same things and doing the same things, same results. So you’re going to have to change things up. And I think changing your outfit, changing your hair, changing your lipstick as superficial as this may all sound to you all, it will change your life.

Stacey: I don’t think it’s superficial at all.

Tonya: I don’t either.

Stacey: This is the last thing I will say. It has really impacted. I’ve had to coach myself on it a lot. I had to cancel a haircut, I go to the best person in town, literally the best person in town. She’s so great, I flew her to my wedding. She’s legit. And I had to cancel my hair appointment with her because I said yes to speaking at Life Coach Live. And she just didn’t have any other availability that matched. And my hair, I don’t know what is going on, I have to wash it every single day, have to, it has to be washed, blow dried. None of that dry shampoo stuff.

And I have to get it cut every four weeks or it does something that is wild. It looks like this. I keep messing with it because it feels so stringy and greasy, and awful. It has caused so much distraction in my brain this week. I go tomorrow to get it cut and I’m like, “Thank God.” But I probably, there was a time in my life where my brain was so messy that I wouldn’t have noticed something like this but I feel like my brain now pays such attention to things like that, that it’s almost overwhelmingly distracting on my calls.

I have to be like, “Okay, your hair doesn’t matter, focus.” But I’m so used to being with hair that feels great. And when I look at myself I feel amazing. But it’s so distracting in my life. So this is the last thing I want to offer is if you are in a place where you just know you need an uplevel, or you’ve never considered that your appearance could matter, and you’re selling and you’re presenting yourself to the world, is just notice how often you think about it.

How often, for example one of my friends who is not into style at all and thinks it would be such a waste of time for her to spend time on style. I have to always remind her how much time she spends stressing when she spends time with me, when we go on vacation together, when we do things, she’s always stressing about her clothes, always freaking out that she feels uncomfortable, always talking about herself being uncomfortable. So we think it’s going to take so much energy to put care, and intention, and purpose into how we appear.

But it’s already taking time and attention, you’re just not focused on, you don’t realize it because it’s probably this habit that happens. But when you get out of habit of it and you go back to it, you notice it, you’re like, there’s a time in my life I would have never thought about my hair and now I’m like, what is happening? She better not cancel tomorrow. We’ve got to get this hair cut. I’ve got to get it back to just behaving, I don’t know, it just stops behaving with my hair routine whenever it goes beyond four weeks.

But anyways, it takes the same amount of energy, it really does, to not show up, just you have to find it. You have to find, what are the thoughts you’re routinely thinking? And how are you routinely feeling when you don’t put that extra attention?

Tonya: I think it’s just like changing your thoughts. In the beginning when you first discover thought work it takes a lot of effort. And I think the same goes, if you’re not used to taking care of your style and your appearance, in the beginning it’s like learning a new skill. And listen, for everybody listening, I want you to know this, I used to be the least stylish person ever. I literally lived in my…

Stacey: It’s so hard for me to believe that.

Tonya: Oh my God, go look at my Instagram.

Stacey: No, I’ve seen your befores. I remember one of your befores, I showed Neil and I was like, “Who do you think this is? We know someone in our life, she doesn’t look like this anymore but who do you think it was?” He could not guess that it was you.

Tonya: Even Fonz looked at it and he was like, “This is not you.” I’m like, “Yeah, a 100%.” So listen, I get it. And in the beginning it takes effort, and to me style is just a journey of personal discovery. It’s figuring out what you love, and what you don’t love. Because style affects your whole life, not just your closet. But once you figure it out it actually takes so little time. I remember telling Brooke one time, I’m like, “Listen, it takes just as much time to put on those yoga pants as a dress.” In fact I think it takes less time to put on a dress.

Stacey: Dresses are so much easier, I love dresses. One piece, that’s all you have to think about.

Tonya: That’s it and some accessories, it’s the secret to the universe. But once you figure it out, it takes so much less time and the impact and the value is definitely worth learning the skill, 100%.

Stacey: Yeah, so good. Thank you so much for coming on and just talking about this. I thought it would be so refreshing but I don’t know that I’ve ever talked about this on the podcast. But it’s something I continually think about a lot with my clients and with coaches in the world and just seeing other people’s marketing. And I’m always thinking, there’s a lot of coaches that need a style upgrade. They need an appearance upgrade in the way that they’re thinking of themselves, the way they’re showing up to the world.

And so I’m so glad that you came on, how do people, if they are like, I just know, if you’re listening and you’re like, “This is me.” You probably need to work Tonya, you need to have a little bit of Tonya in your life. So how do they find you? How do they get more information from you? Give them all of the places.

Tonya: Yeah. You can find me at schoolofselfimage.com. I recommend that you go there and download the manifesto to get an idea of what we’re all about. And then I love Instagram, that’s where I love to hang out. So you can find me @tonyaleigh and that’s T-O-N-Y-A L-E-I-G-H.

Stacey: So fun. Well, thanks so much for coming on and just chatting with me.

Tonya: Thank you for having me. This was so fun.

Stacey: This was going from trailers to millions.

Tonya: Right, from the trailer park to the penthouse.

Stacey: Yes. We’re examples of what’s possible. Let’s go.

Tonya: Awesome, thank you.

Stacey: Alright, bye bye.

Hey, if you are ready to make money as a life coach, I want to invite you to join my 2K for 2K program where you’re going to make your first $2000, the hardest part, and then $200,000 using my proven formula. It’s risk-free. You either make your 2K or I give you your 2K back. Just head over to www.staceyboehman.com/2kfor2k. We’ll see you inside.