Mogul to Mentor

by Gail Z. Martin excerpted from Fresh Start Success: Reimagine Your Work, Reinvent Your Life, Re-Ignite Your Passion

When Cha~zay Sandhriel, PhD was little, she knew she wanted to work with animals. She loved horses and thought about becoming a veterinarian, then became a horseback riding teacher. Health issues got in the way. Cha~zay got very sick and realized she could not meet the physical demands of the job.

So Cha~zay changed direction. “I was very good at languages,” she says. “My mother had been one of ten children in a family with no money, became a nanny, and taught herself to speak other languages. Her experience inspired me.”

Cha~zay traveled and studied languages. She completed an apprenticeship in Zurich in customer service working for the Swiss Government, and then worked for a Swiss private bank. Then Cha~zay landed a job with an American company in Switzerland, which required her to speak English. She intended to be in the U.S. for nine months and then go back to Switzerland and work as a translator, but she ended up staying in the States. “I had skills, but no degree that was recognized in the U.S., so I had to reinvent myself again,” Cha~zay recalls.

Her first job in the United States was making $8.75 an hour as a receptionist. “That was a lot less than I’d made in Switzerland, which was hard on my ego,” she says. Cha~zay was ambitious, and she made a connection with a German CEO who wanted to start a headquarters in the U.S.

The CEO offered Cha~zay the choice between working for accounting or human resources. She picked accounting but discovered it was a lonely job, even though she loves numbers. So she did a u-turn into HR and discovered she had a talent for selecting the right employees when starting new businesses. Cha~zay went back to school to get her GED and eventually her BS in business management. By this time, she was in her mid-thirties and realized that her real talent was in seeing possibilities.

Cha~zay put together teams and HR budgets for Silicon Valley start-up companies. She set up operations, payroll, and insurance; wrote employee handbooks; and set up 401K plans. “I was completely in my element,” she says. “And what I was doing worked. Our turnover rate was less than one percent while the industry average was ten to twenty percent. I used my intuition when hiring people and realized that I love working with people.”

She came to a point where she had reached an income ceiling. Then, Cha~zay thought about going out on her own and specializing in working with German and European companies relocating to California, but she got bored with the repetition. “I felt like I was living on the edge, not sure whether I would make it or not,” she recalls. “There was constant risk.” By this point, Cha~zay was making a six-figure income and knew she had an entrepreneurial spirit.

The big shift came when she saw a magazine headline about millionaires creating ten new jobs each year. “I realized that if I had a company that earned a million dollars a year, I could provide ten jobs. I was questioning whether or not I had what it took to succeed at that level,” Cha~zay says. “I asked myself, ‘Who am I to do this’? Then I realized, ‘Who am I not to?’ I felt responsible for creating those ten jobs.”

Cha~zay asked her husband for his support and made a list of all the things she believed were holding her back. “I sorted through my fears,” she recalls. “My top fear was public speaking. I hated to present at meetings, and I was very shy at that time.” Her second top fear was flying. She decided to tackle both fears because they were holding her back financially and keeping her from promoting her new business. “I came to see those two fears as a drain on my pocketbook and debilitating to my confidence,” she says. “There was a woman on the other end of this fear who was going to emerge. This woman scared the crap out of me.”

She gave herself two years to overcome the fears. Cha~zay signed up for Toastmasters, took workshops, and pushed out of her comfort zone. She moved past the physical symptoms of fear. When it was over, she couldn’t believe who she had become. Unfortunately, during this process she also grew apart from her husband. She wanted to make an impact and live a big life, and he wanted to keep things simple. They divorced as best friends.

She approached the CEO of Mindjet, where she worked, and asked to reduce her hours. At this point, Cha~zay was a full-time student, in the middle of a divorce, and running her own business. She was also sixteen units short of a degree and was working part-time while running a part-time business. She was also a single mom. The CEO gave her more flexibility, and Cha~zay reduced her hours to four days a week and spent three days a week on her own business. The CEO of Mindjet was also on her company’s advisory board.

Cha~zay bought and rented real estate to create a passive income stream. Then, she built several houses. She also became a Learning Annex instructor and spoke on stage with the author of Rich Dad/Poor Dad in front of thousands of people.

“That’s when I made my mistake,” she recalls. “I lost sight of my intuition and took too many risks. I had a ten-year plan, but I didn’t stick to it. I got into bad partnerships and lost money and clients.” Cha~zay lost six million dollars and all her assets, plus the time and money spent on lawyers. “I lost faith in humanity,” she says. “I was devastated.”

So she went back to the drawing board. Cha~zay had visionary experiences, but her mother and ex-husband didn’t believe in the unseen world or intuition. So she left the U.S. and took a few years to turn inward. She went back to the Swiss and Italian Alps and earned a living as a consultant for several years. Building a life for her daughter kept her going. During that time, Cha~zay completed two PhDs in metaphysical science and holistic life coaching. Then she came back to the U.S. and trained in Reiki, becoming a certified hypnotist and an ordained minister. “I’m not religious, but I wanted people to be able to make their confessions and provide a minister’s non-disclosure protections,” Cha~zay says.

Cha~zay started her Core Freedom community to provide a “home away from home” for others and to share what she learned about the unseen world. She volunteered as a suicide prevention hotline counselor for several years and draws on that experience as she helps others discover their purpose in life. She is also the host of The Core Freedom Show, a podcast dedicated to the evolution of the soul.

“Today, I have new opinions about money and what I want out of life,” Cha~zay says. “I’m authentic with myself and with others, and I don’t hide behind my business. My new project is helping low-income people create start-up companies. It’s my passion to bring out their gifts.”

For Cha~zay, it’s no longer about having that big company to hire ten people. She has hired those ten and more. It’s no longer about making one million dollars a year; it’s about reaching one million people per year with her message.

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