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I am one of those coaches/visionary women who spent TENS of thousands of dollars on ‘Big Name 6-Figure Mentors’ in hopes of turning my struggling, little coaching practice into an epic coaching empire with year long masterminds, hundreds of loyal clients and me basking in the glory of achieving multimillion dollar status.

Year after year I envisioned myself sitting on a stage perfectly coiffed and polished in front of my logo-colored drapery with my name and buzz phrase in the center. I would be perched in my Director’s Chair and to my left would sit 5 of my most successful clients who would one by one gush about their transformations from poverty to profitability based on applying my signature step-by-step process.

There would be tears, hugs and celebrations as each would confirm how making just one decision to work with me changed their lives and that anyone who dreams of the same experience should stop holding themselves back and make the same decision — -because if they could do it, anyone could.

Then, as I shared the very program that would allow everyone in the room to make that same decision, a stampede of ideal clients would rush to the back of the room eager to sign up so they could begin their journey to awesomeness.

Just like that, another year of new exciting clients and another 6-figure weekend.

As shallow as this may sound, every time I signed on the dotted line for a premium program that promised to help me create all of this for myself, this BIG dream was what I was holding as my main motivation.

Sure, my family was my ‘Big Why’, but this, this would allow my family and I to have the lives of our dreams.

This was the way I could help a lot of people, make a big impact in the world and make a lot of money.

Except, after several years of being the person stampeding to the back of the room while saying to myself, “This is THE last program I will ever need and the last one I will EVER sign up for,” all I had was tens of thousands of dollars more in debt, a still struggling practice and a date in bankruptcy court.

True story.

And…the first to get blamed with every ounce of debt were the ‘6 Figure Mentors.’

In my mind, they had failed me because their rags-to-riches stories made my dreams possible, no matter how many times I heard those stories or how rehearsed they sounded.

Their Inner Circle Elite Private Mastermind VIP Cool Kids Clients had their own 6 and 7-figure successes proving that their ‘secret sauce’ worked and all I needed to do was peek behind the curtain to capture a taste.

Their events rivaled the best shows in Vegas letting me know that creating lavishly luxe experiences bringing complete strangers together, changing lives and doing the work you love could create a ripple of transformation throughout the world.

They showed me in black and white, technicolor and 3D that everything I imagined I could be, do and have was at my figure tips.

I wanted their lifestyles and to work smarter not harder for it. I would shortcut my way to the top without going through the day by day drudgery of building a business over time.

I wanted it quick and fast, with all of the webinars, Q & A calls, modules, worksheets, and 3 day retreats (which I hardly ever could afford to attend) they gave to me.

By God, I wanted it ALL.

And, they told me I could have it…but I didn’t.

Since I’m keeping it completely honest here, I didn’t get all of what I wanted because what I really wanted was to avoid having to ask people to work with me so I was looking for sexier approaches to quickstepping over that icky place which seemed too scary and made me feel vulnerable.

I wanted to look bigger than I was so that people would assume I was a good coach so they would ask me to work with me so I could avoid having to market and sell to them.

I wanted to charge high prices and get higher paying clients faster (than I even deserved) so I could make more, work less and play more.

I wanted to stay exactly as I was and have something different because that would feel comfortable and safe.

I just really wanted building a business to be easy.

Now, let’s be clear, what you and I both know is that my mentors also knew this about me so I am not giving them a full pass. After all, their seductive marketing played on my pain points like concert pianists at Carnegie Hall. They crept into my head and pulled out my deepest desires and secrets and waved them like tasty treats waiting for me.

Yet, as much as I would like to deem them fully responsible, wrong and culpable for all of my suffering, I cannot hold them 100% accountable.

That is, if I am being completely honest with myself.

I’ve spent years blaming the 6-Figure Coaching Crew, the industry, the cult-like environments and the ‘prey on victim’ messaging for my shortfalls.

I’ve complained, bad-mouthed, gossiped and commiserated with fellow colleagues who also felt duped ad nauseum about those ‘horrible vultures’ who took advantage of little old me and my pipe dreams.

Which only kept me angry and didn’t help my business at all.

What I had to fully admit to myself is that the reason I wanted to build that BIG dream in the first place was prove to myself and anyone who ever doubted me, that I was capable of doing something that mattered to somebody other than me.

What I really wanted was to be seen as a smart, capable, powerful woman, who could lead, build empires, bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and buy an entire restaurant if she wanted.

I wanted to be free to do what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted.

And, daggone it, I wanted someone to notice.

Every time I celebrated a new client I secretly wanted to show my mentors that I listened and followed their ‘Step-by-Step Processes’ to the tee.

Every ‘5 Figure Month Yee Haw’ came with waiting for acknowledgment that I was on the right path and someone who “has what it takes”.

Every moment at the microphone presented the opportunity to prove my intelligence and my ability to show I was an apt pupil.

The child in me wanted to be seen, heard, validated and special.

And easy as it is to blame these mentors, I cannot deny my lack of consistency in taking action, unwillingness to ask for help or clarification to avoid sounding stupid, and refusal to change my behaviors, patterns and habits to match what I really claimed I wanted…

…I just can’t.

Could my mentors have been more compassionate and more aware?


Could my mentors have showed me where I was going wrong and cut me off at the pass so I didn’t keep repeating the same mistakes?


Could my mentors have refused my money because I would be wasting my time and theirs?

Yes, but I can assure you I would have talked my way in even if they tried.

Could my mentors have done something different to show me that they cared about me as an individual and not just another member of their group?


The question is, would I have done anything differently?

Would their interference, guidance or opinions have changed me the way I needed to change myself?

That, I don’t know, but again, if I am being honest, I can’t say I would have noticed if they did.

Which is the point here.

As incredibly annoying as it can be to read the same old copy in different ways, spouting the same old promises of success and meteoric rises from the same old ‘Big Time Mentors’ and batch of ‘Quick to Success Newbies,’ there is a very blurry line where we can say the mentor is 100% prey and the client is 100% victim.

Every time I signed up for a program, I did so based on the promise that the answer was inside that program while simultaneously discounting the fact that I would have to apply what they taught consistently whether or not it felt good, was fun or it was hard as hell.

Every time I sweated as I handed over my credit card (while praying there was enough space on it for at least the first payment), I filtered my decisions through my idealistically hopeful lens rather than take my time to be discerning, realistic and truthful about what I would be willing and unwilling to do to make it work.

And…maybe, just maybe, I was holding the mentor accountable for my success even more than I was holding myself.

Because, holding them accountable for my failures in these programs is way easier than admitting all.of.this.

It’s been years since I worked with a 6-Figure Mentor.

Ultimately, I forged my own path which has allowed me to get clear on what I really want for myself from the very heart of me.

I’ve finally allowed myself to build MY practice — -the one I want — -for me.

It may not be glossy or staged, but it’s mine and it’s giving me the very lifestyle I have been dreaming of from Day One.

And what feels sooo damn good is that it’s WAY better than I ever felt or even imagined inside the 6-Figure Mentor playground.

The best part of all of this is I’ve finally made peace with those 6-Figure Mentors and myself.

Today I can thank them, because if I hadn’t chosen or blindly believed they could give me my BIG dream, I would have never created them for myself.



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Karen Graves
After being a lifelong Northeastener I relocated to the South and currently reside in central Virginia with my handsome professional body builder hubby, awesome and amazing baby girl (well she’s a pre-teen, but always my baby) and furbaby boy. My oldest daughter lives in Florida and as of this writing is putting up the finishing touches on baking my grandbaby boy in her belly. Beyond loving my family, I love the beach, like seriously, love the beach. I love dancing, good food (bacon is high on my list), good wine, playing cards, board games, playing dominos and smoking hookah. You will catch me riding horses and riding around in my Mini Cooper. I am adventurous enough to run mud races, parasail,and bike ride from the top of a volcano. I love to my laptop (Mac) for the flexibility and livestreaming. I love livestreaming. And I guess the only thing left to say is, I love the life that I am creating.