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#25 Becoming Your Favorite Boss with Sandy Vance


I'm thrilled to introduce you to Sandy - one of my first participants in the early days of Melissa Parsons Coaching. And let me tell you—she is crushing it.


In the two years since our six-month coaching program, she's built a six-figure business, weaned off anxiety medicine, lost forty pounds, and dramatically improved her personal relationships.


It was an amazing experience to watch Sandy discover her favorite her! Listen in to today's episode to see just how her life transformed.

Sandy Vance is a successful business owner and life coach who helps smart humans become focused humans to achieve their goals. Sandy has risen from poverty to financial freedom, raised a family through many life struggles, and helped many people navigate careers and entrepreneurship. Sandy is a master at coaching clients to get focused, meet goals, and live their most true and beautiful life through the power of a well-managed mindset.


"You really shepherded me through the process of evaluating what I felt and find what I really wanted, and encouraged me to go after that thing instead of trying to look outside for the solutions or answers." - Sandy

The doors are open for my group coaching program! Since you’re ready to become your favorite version of you, click here to schedule a conversation to see if working together is a good fit.


What You'll Learn:

  • How coaching helped Sandy change her whole trajectory

  • What Sandy was most surprised to learn about coaching

  • The ways Sandy's life changed in the two years since her six-month coaching experience

  • How coaching dramatically affected Sandy's parenting practice

"But what you have right now is not what you want, so why wouldn't you take the next step? What's the worst that can happen?" - Sandy

Sandy has taken everything we coached on and ran with it, with incredible results. You can, too.


Your favorite you is just a consult away. Please, go right now to my website, www.MelissaParsonsCoaching.com and click on the "Work With Me" tab today.


Listen to the Full Episode:


How to Connect with Sandy:


Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript

Hey, this is Melissa Parsons, and you are listening to the Your Favorite You Podcast. I'm a certified life coach with an advanced certification in deep dive coaching. The purpose of this podcast is to help brilliant women like you with beautiful brains create the life you've been dreaming of with intention.


My goal is to help you find your favorite version of you by teaching you how to treat yourself as your own best friend. If this sounds incredible to you and you want practical tips on changing up how you treat yourself, then you're in the right place. Just so you know, I'm a huge fan of using all of the words available to me in the English language, so please proceed with caution if young ears are around.


Melissa: Hello everybody. Welcome back to Your Favorite You. I am delighted to share that I am here with my former client, Sandy. She is one of my OG clients, one of the very early adopters of Melissa Parson's Coaching. And Sandy and I—


Sandy: Woot!


Melissa: That's true. Woot-woot! Sandy and I have known each other for decades. She and I used to work at the same children's hospital back in the day when I was in training. And she had some job; I didn't understand what she did, but it didn't matter. She helped us residents, and we all loved her. And we initially worked together through coaching, when I was offering complimentary coaching sessions, while I was learning how to coach using a specific method set forth by the Life Coach School.


And actually, Sandy was the one who told me that she refused to allow me to continue to coach her for free. That she felt bad taking the coaching that I was giving to her for nothing, and that I must start to charge her. Thank you. Sandy.


Sandy: Marketing 101.


Melissa: Marketing 101, right? Yes. After Sandy told me that we did a consult, one of my first ones ever, and she signed on as a client for six months.


And that was in July of 2020. And I can't wait for you all to meet her. Okay. Sweet Sandy, are you ready? I'm going to have you introduce yourself to my audience by telling everyone about your favorite you.


Sandy: My favorite me, who I didn't meet until this version of me that came about through Melissa Parson's Coaching in 2020, is a Sandy that is completely comfortable in her own skin, and doesn't take any patriarchal bullshit, and has really learned to, I think… no; I think I always stood up for myself, but I wasn't as just, I guess, confident and sure of myself as I am today. So, thank you for that, Melissa Parsons.


Melissa: Yeah, you're so very welcome. It was my pleasure to introduce you to this version of you. Because you were powerful before and you're super powerful now, and I can't see any version of you that just doesn't get more powerful in the future, so that's so amazing.


All right. My first question is, so Sandy, what were some of the surprising things about receiving coaching? What did you expect it to be and what was it, actually?


Sandy: I think coming into it, having known who you were and what you were like, I thought you were going to impart Melissa Parson's wisdom on me. Like, tell me how to find the answers. And I think the biggest thing I learned is that none of us knows what's best for any other one of us. And dare I say, even with our children. We don't always know what's best for them as humans, particularly as they grow up. And so, for me, getting to a—the biggest surprise, you know what I would say: "I don't know the answer to that," or "I'm looking for guidance." You really shepherded me through the process of evaluating what I felt and find what I really wanted. And encouraged me to go after that thing instead of trying to look outside of me for the solutions or the answers. Whether it be looking to you—like Melissa Parson's Coaching is supposed to have all the answers—or my husband, or my boss, or anybody else in my life.


Like, stop talking to other people about what you want and start talking to yourself and having, you know, writing it out. Writing out your thoughts and figuring it out. What is it that you want? So that was something that surprised me a little bit.


And then I thought there would be a lot more instruction and a lot less work.


Melissa: Yeah, me telling you what to do, what I thought you should do.

Sandy: That would've been so much easier.


Melissa: I could have done that.


Sandy: Yeah. Yeah. In a lot of cases, you probably could have. But it was such a valuable process to figure it out for myself and end up getting what I truly wanted. And you'll remember it took a lot of iterations of "here's what I think is wrong."


And then you would always be like, "why is that wrong? What's wrong with that? What really is the problem with that?" And so, really forcing me to go through that evaluative process, I'll say.


And then, "okay, maybe that wasn't what the problem was. The problem is this." Okay. So, then we would sort of try a solution to that. Okay. Maybe that wasn't it either. So, I think that's why I had so much success in the time that I was coaching. Like I was able to make so many changes because we would just go after it like, "okay, is this a problem? Okay. Really why?" And then make an adjustment. And then, sometimes it would change the whole plan and sometimes it would be something really small that I needed to do that would just have a big impact, so.


Melissa: Yeah, so good. And yeah, the impact is greater because now that you haven't been working with me for two years, like you get to take this, what you're calling an evaluative process, but basically you just asking, "what do I want? Why do I want it? Can I try it?"


Sandy: At the time, like I would've thrown up so many obstacles and I can remember doing this to you. Like "that would never work. It would upset somebody."


And you're like, "and who gives a fuck? What? What? Like…


Melissa: Sandy, I don't believe I used those words. Oh, that's scandalous.


Sandy: Never. No. But it, it was really… learning to just trust my gut. And we all need to do that. And I encourage so many people to do that now because it has been so freeing for me.


Melissa: Yeah. It's such a good question. I'm going to ask it to you now because I don't think that we talked about it explicitly when we were coaching, but can you remember when you stopped listening to your gut? Or when you stopped listening to your intuition?

Sandy: I think it was a gradual process for me that came from a number of relationships that I had at the time. And even like my kids growing a bit more, like the more independent they got, the more frightened I became.


I think? And so I think that at the time I had so much pent up anxiety about doing the right thing, and making them successful, and all of these A-line things that I thought I could do to impact their R-line that were 100 percent BS.


It was never going to work for me to be successful for them or to make them successful. You know that my kids are 19 and 21 and you really have to allow them to become who they're going to become and allow them to build that failure tolerance. And that felt so counterintuitive to me that I think it got in the way of, not only my parenting, but all of my thought processes in life. Because I was just walking around white knuckling it, praying that I didn't make a wrong move.


Melissa: Right, right. And I think that most of us as moms have been sold some line of bullshit of, "you can only be as happy as your unhappiness child." Or that we are responsible somehow for their success, for their failures, for their accolades, for the places where they miss the mark and it's just, it's puts so much pressure on us as moms. And it puts so much pressure on them to never fuck it up.


Sandy: Yes. You're doing it wrong. I was doing it wrong. Yes, absolutely. I wonder why my kids are so tense and anxious. Maybe because I'm walking around tense and anxious.


Melissa: Yeah. Fascinating. Yeah. Yeah. And I think probably, and you can speak to this if you'd like… like the more relaxed and allowing you were for you to listen to your gut and your intuition, the more it allows them to be themselves and listen to their gut and their intuition.


Sandy: A hundred percent. And creating that safe space for them to have their… have their failures. They're not 45, right? They're not walking around with our 45-year-old brains.

They need to experience their own things, and they need to be comfortable enough to go after it and fail. And I think that's another really valuable lesson that I learned was, I had a lot of hangups around what it would mean if I failed at something and why I couldn't revolt against the patriarchy within a professional position where there was a whole lot of nonsense that I, frankly, shouldn't have been tolerating, but I was.


And, to me it was like, but I have to succeed at this thing or, but I have to make this work. And the reality is we don't have to make anything work. Like the world is just full of options for us. And learning that how we perceive things is completely optional and we can… make choices about how we want to live and what we want to do. And even if that means something financially or if that means something, God forbid, that one of our kids is not happy with, it can still be the right choice for us.


Melissa: Yeah. So powerful. And I think going back to something that you said. As kids, most of the time all they want to hear from us is, "I've got you no matter what, I've got your back. I will be a soft place for you to fall when you do inevitably mess something up."


Sandy: Oh, and one of the things, and this was so powerful, cause I think it was one of your kids, maybe there was a soccer failure.


Melissa: Yeah, that was Jack.


Sandy: Soccer issue. And you're like, I'm just going to sit in the suck with him. Like, guess what? They're going to fail just like we fail. And it's okay to just be like, "yeah, this is terrible. It's not fun. We don't like this. We don't. None of us like to lose."


But I think helping them realize that those failures, and the frustration, and the discomfort is really the currency to all things that we do that are successful is huge.


Melissa: Have you seen that graph, Sandy—and we may have already shared about it, you and I at some point—but where there's the guy with the graph and it's like on one axis…


Sandy: I could not! It was weeks before I got this out of my head and I actually use it in a business meeting and I was like, "what did I just say to this guy?"

I—literally! Fuck around and find out.


Melissa: Yes.


Sandy: So, Melissa posted this video of the… it's a 40-second video of this guy that's got this chart. And it's "the more you fuck around, the more you're going to find out." And I walked around with, "fuck around and find out in my head" for weeks, and kept repeating it, and now it's going to be there again.

So, here. My head. It's going to be serving it up to me. But it's so true. There's so much value. And just try it. Just do something. Just do something and run toward it. And I think Brooke talks about that with her whole massive action, sort of. Just go at it. Just do it and see what happens.

And. Oh my goodness. Can I tell my work story?


Melissa: Yeah, please.


Sandy: This is so good. Yeah. Like when I was working with Melissa. Like I said, I really, I hadn't even zeroed in on here's the problem, right? But I just knew I wasn't really satisfied in what I was doing. And professionally I was very frustrated and you, of course, encouraged me to be happy where I was at before I changed the circumstances.

And in that time, I worked really hard at that. And then—


Melissa: You did. I want to give you kudos. You did.


S; Not easy. And, but I was working at a regular W-2 job. It was a good professional position, and I just wanted something more and different. And while I was working with you, I was like, okay, I'm just going to learn to be happy here.

And so, I asked for a whole bunch more money. And I'll never forget texting you that night and being like, "this is the number I gave him." And then an hour later I'm like, "Oh my God. He just, it's done. I got that… I got that enormous number I just gave him now I got to stay and work this job."


And so then, like a couple months later, I'm like, "but I don't actually have to stay and work this job. What if I just did this for myself?" And so, I had gotten like, to use percentages, like I maybe a 40 percent raise.


Melissa: Yeah.


Sandy: And then three months later I was like, I would prefer to do this for myself. And I think I could make twice what I was making. And so, I…


Melissa: Multiple six figures, we're talking folks.


Sandy: Yes. Multiple six figures. Yes. And so, I went on my own and I was able to triple my income in the first year, and I was already making a very decent income. And so, like, so now I have my own business. I have several subcontractors. I am supporting myself. And my son, who's in college, actually works for me as well.

And a couple of other really incredible people from my life that I'm giving this opportunity to earn income from. And I… the financial pieces just worked out beautifully and I'm really only doing the pieces of my job that I wanted to do. And it's so fulfilling to be producing good work, creating great value, and getting paid fairly for it.


Melissa: Yes


Sandy: And I've really eliminated a whole layer of nonsense from my career, and it's quite awesome.


Melissa: Yeah. Yeah. I would say that when we first started working together, you were at the very bottom of that "fuck around and find out" axis. Like you were living a very small life in your career.


Sandy: Yes. Pop-Tarts were getting in the way, Melissa, if you recall correctly.


Melissa: I don't remember, but I'm sure you will refresh my memory.


Sandy: I would be at my desk, and I would be so stressed out and upset that I would go to the pantry and eat Pop-Tarts. Like just stand in the pantry eating Pop-Tarts at two o'clock in the afternoon.


And then I'd have this huge sugar crash and, like scientifically, we know why that was a problem, but yeah. That was how I learned about emotional eating.


Melissa: Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Those Pop-Tarts didn't actually solve any problems for you, it turns out.


Sandy: Yeah. It's funny how that works, but when I stopped eating the Pop-Tarts and decided to feel my feelings, all of a sudden it became much, much more clear.


Melissa: So amazing. So amazing. All right. So, I shared that we haven't really been in a coaching relationship since early 2021. We've remained friends, of course, but I know that the coaching that you received back then has continued to impact your life, right?


Sandy: Of course.


Melissa: So, do you care to share some of the ways your life has continued to change since we stopped coaching? Obviously, you've created this whole new career for yourself, where you're your own boss and…


Sandy: Yeah. It's so much, it's so much. Yeah, my career trajectory, I'll say, is completely different. I now own my own business. I do a lot of contract work. I only take contracts working with people that I want to work with and doing work that's important to me and good.


I think my parenting game has completely changed and continued to evolve as I realized that the more I allow them to be free, the way they want to be free, the more free I am. And so that's another piece of it. About a year ago-ish, I decided to enter into the Life Coach School certification program.


So, I'm now a certified life coach as well, and I do some coaching through focusedyou.com. And I have enjoyed passing on these skills that I've gained. Everything from parenting to weight loss to career coaching… it really—it's just such a different way of living and I really want everyone to be able to experience a life where they're comfortable in their own skin and free of the anxiety and the drama that we cause for ourselves.

There's so much. Like my peer coaches and I go like this when we start. It's like you can put a thought—I'm making a little loop with my finger—we send our heads into this sort of recycled loop of anxiety-producing thoughts, and it's very rarely helpful. And so, I've learned to just jump right out of that loop so fast. So fast.


Melissa: Yeah. Just the awareness that you have—


Sandy: Yes


Melissa: is huge. And then the awareness. "Oh wait, I don't have to be in this loop. I can jump out of it at any point. Like I'm willing to feel anxious. That's not a problem, but I can make a choice to feel something different right now if I want to, recognizing that worry typically never solves anything."

If it did, all the world's problems would've been solved a real long time ago.


Sandy: A hundred percent. There is optionality there. That's such a revelation when you start realizing that the thoughts that you're having are completely optional. And that most of our life experiences are just how we choose to perceive them.


Melissa: Yeah, and just I think knowing, not even perception, but like you can change the circumstance if you want to. Like you can choose to be in a relationship or not be in a relationship. You can choose to work for someone else. You can choose to work for yourself. You can choose to live in Ohio or live in California.


Like we have so many choices available to us, and when we're afraid of our own shadow and we're not comfortable in our own skin, seeing all of that choice, it's just not possible.


Sandy: Right. And I have made some pretty big life transitions that I don't know if it's what I want forever. I know it's what I want for now, and I'm not at all worried about it.

Like the whole, dropping my W2 gig and not being tied to a company was terrifying. And I remember right after I did that, I met with a business owner who said to me, who I respect very much, and his business is now employing hundreds of people and it's probably a fifty million business. And he says, I said, "Every day I wake up and I think this might not work. And I'm learning to be okay with that. Like I can't lie and say I am okay with that. Like I work on this all the time. If my business fails, I'll do something else. Like it's okay. I'll just make another right next. The one next thing, right?"


And he looked at me and he said, "Sandy, I can't wait to see what you do because I still coach myself on that every single day with this 50-million-dollar business with hundreds of employees. Like I am still working on being okay with the uncertainty of the whole thing."


Melissa: Yeah, so good. And I think that we all are searching for certainty and it's just not available. Like, the only way that you figure out if something works is trying it.


Sandy: Yes.


Melissa: And seeing. And then if it doesn't, like knowing—what I always try to tell my clients, and I don't know that I was using this analogy when you and I coached together.

In fact, I know that I wasn't, but whatever scenario you're living in right now can be your worst-case scenario. And knowing that, like for me, I was like, if my business fails and coaching doesn't work, I can always go back to being a pediatrician. Like not a problem. If your "business fails," quote unquote, and you can't, you can always go back to a W2 job, and they will pay you a shit ton of money to do the work that you're doing right now. And it'll be fine until you decide that you want to fuck around and find out again. Like it's not a problem.


Sandy: Exactly. And you were using that, and I almost brought that up earlier. Because I can remember times where I would be stuck and you would point out that I was, in fact, in a particular situation, living my own worst-case scenario by not taking the action that would get me closer to what I wanted. It was like, in so many cases, and I see this with clients that I coach now too. It's you know what you want to do, but you are, you get stuck, right? And this is what I—it's like you're stuck in your comfort zone, and you don't want to take the action necessary because you're afraid of what could be.

But you know you don't want what you want now.


Melissa: Yeah. What you have right now is not it.


Sandy: But what you have right now is not what you want, so why wouldn't you take the next step? What's the worst that can happen? You have something else that you don't want, but the best that can happen? And the odds are like, and over and over, I prove to myself. Like I'd be afraid. And you'd say, "you're already living your own worst-case scenario." And so, I would try it and then I'd be like, "oh my God, it worked. I can't believe it worked."

I got, I think—how long did I text you and be like, "I'm still skinny. Like I can't believe this. How is this weight still off my body?"

Yes, the job's going great. My kids are doing great, I'm doing great and I'm still skinny.


Melissa: All right, lady. Is there anything else, any other impacts that you want other people to know so that they could see possibility in you for themselves?


Sandy: I had massive wins from my time with you, and I haven't looked at the list for a really long time, but I do still have it, so gimme one second. I'll find it.


Melissa: I love it. Oh no. Take as many seconds as you need.


Sandy: Oh my gosh, Melissa, it changed my life so big, so big.


Melissa: Yeah. It changed my life so big too, by being your coach. So, thank you for that.


Sandy: Oh my gosh. I remember I was like, all right, you have to sell this to me. Now I'm going to have some objections. Prepare to work through my objections.

I'm going to say I don't have enough money, and what are you going to say to that? Okay. Then I'm going to say, my husband might not let me. Then what are you going to say to that? Remember? That I was, like, prepared. I was like, I'm going to help her be a salesperson. This doctor can do this. I believe in her. I was coaching you right back.


Melissa: No. Without me even knowing it. Yeah, you did great. Thank you, Sandy.


Sandy: Hilarious.

I went through a six-month, or a little more process, with Melissa, and when I started, I was pretty sure my life was a shit show. I had been on anxiety medication for fourteen years. I was roughly forty pounds overweight. I was under-earning, undervalued at my job. I was frustrated in my personal relationships at home with my spouse and my children.

And in that six-month period, I was a complete transformation because every one of those things changed. By the time we wrapped up our time together, I was off of anxiety medicine, and two years later, I'm not on any prescription medications right now. I know how to live a healthy lifestyle that keeps my weight off.


I lost like forty pounds when we were working together and it really has… it wasn't even just about the weight. But my personal strength, my health, is so much better now because of the practices that I adopted while spending time together. My relationships with my kids are better. I'm able to help them.


I'm able to help other people because I am turning inward less, I think, is a big thing. I don't focus so much on the problems in my life because of my… I know life is 50/50. I know we're going to deal with kids' struggles, the death of our parents, the work challenges. It's all just part of the 50/50 of life.


And so, I can manage that very well in order to keep shining my light on other people and other things. And having just a really rich life of helping people. And I love that. I love that about what coaching's done for me.


And then there's the whole, there's the whole I make four times what I made when I met you. That's nice to do in two years too.


Melissa: That is incredible. And by helping other people too, so good.


Sandy: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think learning to quit, and if you haven't listened to Melissa's podcast about this, please go back. You'll know the name of it, Melissa, if you want to insert it. But there is an awesome podcast about quitting the things that aren't serving you.


Over and over again, you would say to me, "is this serving you?" And over and over again, I would be like, "wait a minute, I guess it's not really serving me. I could do so much more, so much different." And continuing to just trial and error. Find those things that may serve you and even if they don't, you're no worse off.

And yeah. It's been really awesome.


Melissa: Yeah. That brilliant episode was called Just Go Ahead and Quit.


Sandy: Yes. Yes. And it's a resource now. It's a resource that I use. I actually send that to my own clients. You need to check this podcast out. Melissa Parsons knows what she's talking about, but don't play it in the car with your kid.


Melissa: Unless you want them learning all the words.


Sandy: All the words. Full vocabulary.


Melissa: All right, sweet Sandy, how can the listeners of Your Favorite You find you, if they want to learn more about you or working with you?


Sandy: You can email me at sandy@focusedyou.com, or you can just go to focusedyou.com. That's F-O-C-U-S-E-D-Y-OU.com.


Melissa: Love it. I love it. I love it. All right. They'll be reaching out to you because you are definitely an example of what is possible. Thank you for being my client. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being my cheerleader. Thank you for being my first marketing executive.


Sandy: I love you, Melissa. Parsons.


Melissa: I love you too, Sandy. All right. Bye everybody. Bye-bye.

Thank you so much for all the love you've been giving the podcast. It is not too late to give a five-star rating and review on whichever podcast platform you are listening to this amazingness on right now.


I am thrilled to share a secret with you all. I have a new offer of group coaching for women who want to become their favorite versions of themselves. I'm calling the group Your Favorite You, because I value simplicity. This is for you since you are listening to my podcast. You will get amazing coaching plus the beauty of a community of other women who are also interested in thriving as much as they can and who will also want you to succeed at becoming your favorite you.


Believe it or not, there is great benefit from watching another woman being coached on an issue that you have had in the past or one that you're currently having. Our brains just see so much more possibility when we are not the ones in the hot seat. Another benefit is the ability to come every week and share yourself vulnerably and watch other powerful women share themselves vulnerable.


We know that shame only grows in silence and in hiding, and the power of being held by other incredible humans, who are often caught in some of the same traps of thinking that you are, is undeniable. Please, go right now to my website, MelissaParsonsCoaching.com, and click on the "work with me" tab.


Schedule a consult with me so I can hear how I can help you, and we can decide together if you are a great fit to join my group. We start in May. And the women who have already said yes to themselves and to the group are a wonderful group of humans. We're all on a journey to becoming their favorite versions of themselves.


Join us. You won't regret it.



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