Sonja Landis Tells All About Life, Legacy, Art and Books!
Melinda: Today, I’m going to have a Girl to girl chat with author, motivational speaker, mom, looser of keys and eater of carbs, Sonja Landis. We’re going to talk about her journey from being a single mom to being an artist, author to having celebrity clients.
Sonja: I was seeking funding the Painted Laugh when we met. I record children’s laugher and paint it as modern art. I did end up opening the gallery and it was a dream of mine that I wanted for so long. But once I opened it, I realized that it didn’t actually match who I was as a parent and what I wanted to do as a career. I learned a lot and was really emotionally attached to it. So when I decided to close it, it was heart wrenching. There was so much guilt because I thought it was what I wanted and now I’m not happy. After getting through the guilt and knowing that I did the right thing, I had a whole litany of projects that came my way that were better fitting and allow me to be the mom that I wanted to be. And now I can work in a way that is much more leveraged of my time and skills. Being a writer has allowing me to be more of who I am.
Melinda: You felt like you had to go through that process first in order to go to the next phase. If you had those opportunities prior to opening the art gallery, would you take those opportunities the same way?
Sonja: I don’t think so, I definitely believe in everything happening for a reason and in its own time frame. Had I not opened my gallery, I would have always had this longing and desire inside of me. But just because you have a dream and it comes true, it doesn’t mean it’s your dream forever. And so I learned a lot about flexibility and being open.
Melinda: And you’re brave enough change! I know a lot of women out there who may want to change but is paralyzed by fear.
Sonja: And yes, it’s hard to be open to change. You feel a sense of security and a sense of responsibility especially as a mom. It is hard to be brave but it’s much nobler to be brave. I think there’s more power in bravery than sitting idle to wonder, hope and wish. There’s a lot of power of achievement through that bravery. That’s an important aspect that I want to show my son. I want him to see that in me. Even if I’m scared, I always think about what I’d want him do, I’d want him to be brave, to move forward, to accept change roll with it and to be flexible to new possibilities.
Melinda: This is an Oprah AHA moment! This really resonates with me because I want moms to take that risk and take a chance. Their personal happiness is out that for them and if they’re content, that’s okay, but if they’re not, then there are ways to take action to make themselves happier!
So you a book…
Sonja: My first book is called My Master’s Degree is Useless… I came up with the title because it was the way I was feeling at the time. It was during the recession when I’ve gotten a Master’s degree. It was pushing me to a career path that didn’t fulfill me or make me happy. It was over qualifying me for some positions that I would have really enjoyed and wanted to get into. But because I had an elevated degree, it was pushing me toward something I didn’t want to pursue and it was holding me back from things I was really interested in. The other aspect of that was I had gotten a Master’s degree and the world was changing. There was so much technology, social media and entrepreneurism that was really evolving and I wasn’t set up for that with my degree. And I paid a lot of money for that degree but I wasn’t prepared to be an entrepreneur and to live the kind of fulfilling life that I wanted. I had a really unique life and made some really great decisions and some enormous mistakes along the way. I feel like I can help people by encourage them to pursue their own dreams and destiny. I want to point out my flaws and mistakes in a funny way so they can feel that if she can do it, so can I. The mistake you make yesterday doesn’t carry on when you move forward. So I can tell them my mistakes and flaws to give them encouragement.
Melinda: So you’re also a life coach, I’ve spoken with you briefly about this because I’ve always been skeptical of life coaches. There are so many experts out there, how do you know if someone is really for you. Since they’re seeking help, they’re desperate and are willing the pay the price. What is the best advice for them to have them get a coach that’s right for them?
Sonja: It definitely depends on the person’s specific goals and what they looking for. It could be for personal development, build a business or they want to inspire and build communities. There so many different goals so it’ll depend on who speaks to them the most. For me when I was in search for a coach, I wanted someone who had a business sense as well as personal development because I’m a single mom and head of household. So for me, not only did I want to be fulfilled but I also have a child I needed to provide for. Having that business aspect in a coach was very important to me. Part of my book does say that you can build your life doing what you love and make money at it. But you can’t just affirm it, cross your fingers and hope for the best. You really have to put some business principles behind it.
Melinda: That’s what leads you to your next book… Which is Nothing But Net, She’s the contributing author in chapter 23!
Sonja: It hit the bestselling list in 5 different categories including for entrepreneurial.
Melinda: So what inspires you?
Sonja: I’m inspired by humor, I love it when people make me laugh and when I make others laugh so that’s something that’s so true to me. It’s really a brand new thing because it’s come out of my writing. Another thing that really inspires me is bravery and creativity. I think they go hand in hand. Anytime you get bravery and creativity together, I’m really inspired by that. For example, like when people think outside the box in little things they do such as creating different ways to perform random acts of kindness.
Melinda: What legacy do you want to leave behind?
I want to people to know that I did just the best that I could with what I had and that I didn’t waste any of my days or my time and talents being afraid or looking back too much. I’m raising my son so I really want him to be brave and want him to pursue things with an open heart, mind and be flexible. I want that for him so much. The only way to do it is to demonstrated it and not just tell him. I want to have made people laugh and them knowing that I laughed all the time and did what I loved.
Melinda: Now giving the same circumstance and situation, what is your imagined life?
Sonja: Now, it would be to continue to write and I have several books in the works. So I definitely want to keep writing and pursuing that. I want to get into public speaking and especially speaking with young women to inspire them to not get stuck into all things they should do but just to be more aware about their options and take the time to listen to their own heart and do what they want to do.