Seeking Sisters: Role Models for Women Professionals with a Life

My friend and coach Geoff Laughton (who now runs a nonprofit around men’s groups and men’s coaching called The Evolving Man) recently introduced me to a book called The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, by Vishen Lakhiani. Lakhiani talks about something called Brules – bullsh*t rules we each have in our brains that were handed down by the culture and family systems we grew up in. (Usually I refer to these as shadow beliefs. Like everyone, we women professionals all have them, and we’re often unaware of them.)

So when I mentioned to Geoff that I was having some money fears lately he asked me to name my current money story. I said the first thing that came to my mind: “The fact that I haven’t been earning as much as I used to shows I’m no longer willing to work hard.”

He immediately responded, “There’s a Brule inside that. What is it?”

Without much more thought I replied, “Earning big money equals sacrificing health and relationships.”

Hmmmmmm.  That’s a real big shadow belief in my head. No doubt it’s getting in my way.

Before I can let it go, I need proof that this potential Brule is actually untrue. Of course I’d much prefer to believe that I, along with all women professionals, can earn six figures as a healthy woman and present mom. The truth is that while I have experienced each of these components in my career, I don’t recall experiencing all three of them all at once.


I can easily think of many high-earning men and women in the United States who have worked so hard that they have sacrificed their health and/or relationships. Who are my counterexamples?  I can think of too few women.  I know countless women professionals aspiring to become this, countless women professionals qualified to become this, countless women professionals deserving to become this. But which U.S. women out there personally earn $100,000+ from their careers who consider themselves to be healthy, as well as present moms of school-aged kids or younger at home? ” Please help me identify and talk to them so we can learn from them, get inspired by them, and share the lessons!” 

[bctt tweet=”Please help me find healthy, present moms who earn $100k+ to be work-life role models.” username=”@connecttwo”]

Here’s my vision: I want to create and host a  Sister-to-Sister Summit – an online (and maybe even in-person) gathering of U.S. women who meet these criteria. I want to interview them! How do they do it? What are their tips and tricks? What are their struggles? What do they need? How can I help? How can they help each other?  I do not intend to sell anything to them. I only want to learn and draw inspiration from them.

Now to clarify, I’m not looking here for the Sheryl Sandbergs of the world, women who are such extremely high earners that they can afford full-time staff supporting them at home. I happened to pick up a Good Housekeeping magazine recently and was delighted to find an interview with Shonda Rhimes where she confidently admits how much help she has at home. I applaud her for saying so! That’s her reality and she’s leveraging it beautifully. But right now I’m not looking for the Sheryls and the Shondas.  

I’m also not looking for women whose businesses gross $100,000+ but expenses are so high that they personally aren’t taking home big bucks. Nor am I looking for women whose families do not rely on their income, as the professional pressures on these women may feel quite different.  

I’m deeply curious about women in the United States who are able to be high-earners and simultaneously take good care of themselves and their children.  Are you such a woman? And/or can you introduce me to such role models?  

For us to meet virtually, please schedule a “Collaboration Connection”. To facilitate an introduction, please contact me via email or Facebook.  

Would you like to meet and learn from such women?  Do you wonder if they even exist?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

I am so ready to expand my awareness of role models who disprove my shadow belief.  In return, I promise to share my inspiration and lessons learned with all of you!   


  1. Dolores Hirschmann


    I’m one of them if what you are looking for is women who:

    – Have carved a path for themselves
    – Have the life they want (I work from home, travel when I want I am there for my four children)
    – Make an impact through their work
    – Volunteer in their community (I’m a TEDx organizer and I put together an event for 1,200 )
    – Work out three times a week (more for my mind than my body but they both benefit)
    – Launched a coaching business and in year three broke past the 100K mark

    Would love to chat,


    • Debra

      Wow, Delores! I would love to interview you. I will be in touch via email.

  2. Rachel

    I know a couple. They are doctors (primary care) And, I’m wondering if you are ok if they don’t work quite full-time. They still make your earning threshold, but I think they both work like 32-36hrs/week. Let me know.

    • Debra

      Thanks, Rachel. I’d love an intro to these women.

  3. Elaine

    I’m also interested to see who you find! I was hoping to become one of these women, but with difficult pregnancies and infant periods, and not requiring my income for financial security, I left corporate. Took 2 of the three as many people say. I do wonder if there’s a difference even between babies and toddlers vs. school-aged kids. Friends tell me it gets easier. And I also wonder what % of income still goes to “help” even if it’s not Sheryl or Shonda-level help. Just because a woman isn’t a movie star doesn’t mean she doesn’t need or deserve help!

    • Debra

      Hi Elaine,

      Thanks for taking time out to comment. From my experience, it definitely gets easier, unless/until out-of-the-blue unexpected things come up. I completely agree with you about having help. One of the questions for my research interviews is about that specifically. So tune in later! If you want to be sure to get the research update, and you’re not already officially in my community, you can ‘like” me on Facebook or friend me on LinkedIn or send me your email address and I’ll add it for you. Or you could take my Competence Archetype Assessment at I’ll be sharing my research update through all those channels!

  4. Lora Strine

    Debra, I’d like to say that women who fit this criteria are probably like me. I usually ignore stuff like this. That’s how I achieve being present. The money thing is: something you achieve either consciously or subconsciously by following your beliefs in how you seek to change the world. And something you achieve salary gains before you have kids and then you ride the wave. Time is precious. And if I reveal my secrets then either people think I’m a fraud or they get me in trouble. Now I need to go find a certain lego piece for Alex. L

    • Debra

      You are so right Lora – half the battle of staying present is choosing what to ignore!

  5. F

    I don’t think these women exist. I’ve just always assumed that the decision to have kids basically dooms you to a stressed-out, overextended life until they are out of the house. Ideally we check in with ourselves before we take the plunge to make sure the tradeoff is worth it. Thing is, when you have kids plus career, the marriage and particularly sex often gets shortchanged, increasing the likelihood of divorce and even more stress. I wanted sex and sleep and leisure and money more than kids, and chose accordingly.

    • Debra

      Good for you for prioritizing what is most important to you!

      You’re not the first to suggest such women don’t exist. And I thought you might be right. But I’m just starting to find some. I will keep you posted.

  6. Geoffrey Laughton

    Way to go Debra! This is SUCH a great idea, and I salute you for putting it out there so clearly, vulnerably, and powerfully. Will look forward to watching it unfold…

    • Debra

      Thanks for the conversation that started it all, Geoff!

  7. Devra W.

    Brilliant question to put out into the universe. I hope we can find some women out there who fit the description!

    • Debra

      It’s already starting!

  8. Jessica J.

    Oh, good luck with this! Burning to discover the “all three’s” rather than the “pick two’s”! (Six figures + healthy + present mom.) Back in the day when I was a Present Mom + Somewhat Healthy + Ha ha ha ha $, I remember reading an interview with a famous Hollywood star who had just had her third child, and she happened to mention the household help: a nanny per child, chefs, housekeepers, gardeners, chauffeurs, etc etc etc. Plus she worked out with a personal trainer from 5 am for several hours each day. Hmmmm …

    • Debra

      Oh, those Hollywood stars. They are in the category with the Sheryls and the Shondas, having the financial resources to operate in very different ways from us mere mortals. Thank you for the good wishes!