Sunny Joy McMillian is a Master Life Coach and Radio host based out of Seattle Washington.
If you’ve thought about making a change in your life, but have been held back by the unknown or fear. Sunny will join you and encourage you as you make the leap into the life you have always wanted.
Her passion in life is connecting people with who they really are and the lives they want to live.
From unhealthy relationships, unsatisfying work, or learning to listen to the still voice inside of you, Sunny is enthusiastic about enabling you to live a life with love and courage.
More recently her work has taken her to the airwaves where she is able to speak with experts in the mind/body field to create an experience that leaves the listener feeling empowered and connected. Every Friday, you can hear her radio show “Sunny in Seattle” on Alternative Talk 1150 AM KKNW. (Streaming |Archives)
In our conversation, Sunny discusses; her personal journey into life coaching and using it as a guide to help others, the importance of trusting the universe, and why owning a small business is like being a conquistador
Sunny was kind enough to participate the following interview.
Please describe your business: I am an attorney-turned-Master Life Coach, and I specialize in big healing and big hope for divorced adults by helping them use their divorce as a catalyst for creating a new life of even greater purpose and meaning than before.
I also host a radio show on a local AM station called Sunny in Seattle where I interview authors, teachers, coaches and healers about some element of mind, body and spirit wellness.
How did you get the concept for your idea or business? I became a bit obsessed with the work of Dr. Martha Beck around 2010.
Her writing was one of the primary drivers in prompting me to leave my old life behind (a marriage, career as an attorney, home state of Texas – you name it, I left it!).
I ended up in her Life Coach Training program, not because I wanted to be a coach, but because I wanted to stay connected to Martha’s organization.
Even more importantly, it felt like a breadcrumb the Universe was presenting for my next step.
During my training, Martha asked us, “What’s your hell-and-back?” In other words, where had I been to hell and come back healed so that I could help others get out of their own hell.
For me, that was leaving my marriage. I’d certainly been to hell in the marriage at times, but the funny thing was, I ended up with a divorce made in heaven.
My divorce was my own personal catalyst, not only for personal growth and spiritual awakening but for an incredible post-divorce friendship with my ex-husband that I couldn’t have predicted.
I learned divorce doesn’t have to be devastating, and I wanted to share my experience and tools with others.
What is unique about your business? These days, it seems like everyone and their dog is becoming a life coach – we’re everywhere! I do think my background as an attorney is pretty unique in this field and distinguishes me a bit (although I freely admit that isn’t always a good thing – all those lawyer jokes exist for a reason!).
To what do you attribute your success? The overarching belief that I am on earth for a reason with a specific life purpose. And tenacity.
These days, I believe that I am working in service of something greater than myself. As opposed to a job or a career, I like to think I’m following a calling. And I believe we all have them.
Instead of feeling externally motivated by some outside source (like climbing the corporate ladder or keeping up with the Joneses), I now feel internal inspiration. That fire inside is what I use to create the success I envision.
I also believe that we can’t make any mistakes, and we never truly get it done.
I find a great deal of peace in this view, and it really takes the pressure off. For the first time in my life, I’ve released the white-knuckled death grip I had on controlling my reality and attaching to a particular outcome.
It took a certain amount of trust in a friendly Universe, but I find that it’s way less exhausting and way more fulfilling than my previous way of being. Success then becomes a natural byproduct of simply staying in flow.
What is the single most critical talent you possess in your role as a business owner? I don’t know if this necessarily counts as a talent, but I think the single most critical factor in seeing my business through its first several years, even when the going becomes really tough, has been creating a situation where I have no fallback path.
I call it Cortés-ing it, after Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador from the 16th century.
In short, when Spanish forces led by Cortés arrived in Central America in 1519 for the conquest and colonization of new territory, a group of Cortés’ men tried to flee. Cortés addressed the mutiny by scuttling his ships.
Translation: he sank them, leaving his men no choice but to conquer or die.In much the same way, I’ve tried to make sure I don’t have a fallback boat (for example, an unfulfilling but dependable or financially rewarding job) to escape in if entrepreneurship gets too difficult.
In other words, there is no Plan B for me, and I’m committed to seeing this venture through, no matter how scary or difficult it gets.
What has been your biggest challenge? Having confidence in my abilities. I am a sucker for acronyms behind my name, degrees and certifications.
But at some point, I had to admit I know enough and I am enough just as I am. And I had to be brave enough to put myself out into the world and declare I have something of value to offer, even though it’s not perfect and I may not feel ready.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Leaving my old life behind to follow the call of my heart and soul. My ex-husband is an incredibly successful attorney, and he provided a lifestyle for us that was completely over-the-top by our culture’s standards.
For most of my adult life, my entire self-worth was wrapped up in an armor of money and education, so when I left my marriage and career as an attorney with no safety net, it was the scariest thing I’d ever done.
I felt so naked and vulnerable without all that old armor. I still look back and wonder how I had the stamina to extricate myself from the pull of my old life. There are still so many unknowns, but now I finally feel truly free, and intuitively I know I’m exactly where I need to be.
How do you define success as a business owner? Someone who has an abundance of health, wealth and love AND has an abiding passion for the work they do.
By wealth, I just mean financial ease (i.e., it’s not about having some large and impressive sum in the bank, but simply feeling like you have enough, whatever that looks like for you).
When I was still practicing law, I saw so many attorneys who were making a good amount, but they were miserable. Stress, depression, anxiety and addiction were rampant. My priorities and definition of success changed considerably after that.
What are your goals and where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years? In my business, we set Wildly Improbably Goals (WIGs).
In non-coachy language, this just means you set goals that aren’t impossible, but highly improbable. And it’s kinda crazy, but you’d be surprised just how often they come true, both for my clients and in my own life.
So my WIGs for the next 3-5 years include publishing a book, getting my radio show nationally syndicated and becoming an expert in my field.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be? Get really comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I have become convinced that one of the primary reasons so many entrepreneurs give up too soon or fail is that they do not put enough time into the “scary stuff.”
I know from personal experience it is really easy to stay super-busy in my office day after day resizing my logo, fiddling with my website, and drafting and perfecting coaching programs that I’ve never implemented with actual clients.
But in my experience so far, to grow your business, it is important to get out with the people, look them eyeball to eyeball (or get ear to ear with them on the phone) and tell them what you do, ask them to try your product or service, ask them if you can speak at their organization about what you do, etc.
Yes, you risk hearing no a lot in the beginning. And your product or service likely won’t be perfect yet. And you may not know exactly what you’re doing…but that’s okay!
Treat it as a grand experiment where you’re collecting information, tweaking your offering and moving forward one day at a time. It’s so easy to stay in hiding indefinitely, so get comfortable with discomfort and just put yourself out there!