We catch up with How To Be Rich, Thin and Happy’s author Sharon Mitchell to get the scoop on how to be, well, all of those things!
Are you originally a Gold Coast girl?
No, I’m Canberran, born and bred.
What brought you to the Gold Coast?
I have twins, so when they finished school I knew I would leave Canberra. When I decided to leave, I went traveling, but I decided if I were to come back to Australia I would come to the Gold Coast. I’ve always wanted to live somewhere with better weather than Canberra and I wanted to live near the beach.
Are you a full-time author or do you have a side job?
I have a side job.
I’m 47 now and I’ve been sober for nearly a decade, but before that, drinking nearly killed me. I had been a high functioning alcoholic my whole adult life. I had a successful multimillion dollar finance company, which I sold for enough money that I could live comfortably for the rest of my life when I decided to get sober. Once sober, I then qualified as an addiction specialist, specialising in women’s alcohol and counseling. Part of my journey was selling my companies and leaving Canberra, but I also knew I needed to go traveling.
When I went traveling I discovered that alcohol abuse is much worse in developing nations than it is in first world countries, but of course they don’t have medical facilities for any kind of alcohol treatment. The effect on the communities is much worse than they are in our society. The mortality rates are much higher, domestic violence is higher and HIV gets spread more rapidly. It’s a vicious cycle and no one is doing anything about it.
When I came back to AU, I was counseling women one on one, but I wanted to do something bigger. So I’ve spent the last year developing an online alcohol education program. We are currently testing it in the US, and will launch to every developed nation in January 2017. The plan is, that people in developed nations will pay for it with user subscriptions and those proceeds will be used to provide the program free of charge to developing nations around the world. It’s called drinkless.org. That’s my full-time real job.
What events led you to the inspiration for your latest book?
Really it was the fact that; people think when you make millions of dollars you can lie on the beach for the rest of your life, but it gets real old, real quick. You need to have meaning in life. I knew my purpose was to help women struggling with alcohol, the same as I had, but I still had some things to figure out for myself. Meaning of life stuff; I had to find my purpose.
What’s the book about?
The journey of how to be healthy, wealthy and wise. The book tells the story of when I was traveling around the world on my own. Each country has a different story, all of which are all very funny, but through each story, I learned a lesson on how to be healthy, wealthy and wise. AKA rich, thin and happy, but the lesson at the end of the book is the lesson which I truly believe every woman needs to know… It’s a very fun read!
(One review states: ‘If Eat, Pray, Love and Sex and the City had a love child, this is it!’)
What do you think about having one without the other? Are all three needed for inner peace?
I think self-responsibility and understanding the importance of providing yourself with your own happiness, your own wisdom and wealth. I do think you need them all, and you need to provide them all for yourself.
Is there a standard? How much money do you need or how thin do you have to be?
It’s subjective. For example, thin actually means healthy; it’s not about what you look like.
Are you rich, thin and happy?
Healthy, wealthy and wise, yes!
If there were one overall message you want your readers to take from reading your book, what would it be?
To have their own journey. It doesn’t have to be a travel journey, but it should at least be an emotional one.
What’s your advice to someone who is feeling poor, fat and sad? Where do they start?
If there is an area in your life you aren’t happy with, don’t look out for the answers, look within; that’s where they are.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in becoming wealthy, healthy and wise?
My own ability to understand how important it was to love myself before I could love anyone else.
Have you over come it? If so, how?
Yes, I’m happy to say I have. I have focused inwardly. I have done a lot of self-work to really understand myself and my value as a human being. My default position in life was to always help others before I helped myself. A key part of my lesson is, you can help other people more if you’ve helped yourself first.
So me, being fully self-responsible for my own health, wealth and happiness has allowed me to be the best version of myself. Now I’m blessed to be in a position where I literally can help millions of people around the world. SELF CARE!
The book cover markets to women. Does the message also resonate with men?
I have had men read it and they think it’s funny.
The book focuses a lot on self-love, and if there is one thing most women struggle with, it’s that, where as men don’t struggle with that as much.
For men, it would be a good read, but the key messages are targeted at women.
When you first sat down to write, did you have intentions on it turning into a book?
Yes, I do speak to so many people, and the stories are funny because I did get myself into some hilarious pickles and I knew the message that I have is a message that women want to hear and need to hear. So I wanted to write a message that will empower women through a vessel that is enjoyable.
How long did it take you to complete the book?
It didn’t actually take long. I thought it would take ages for me to do it, but because I was going back to that time, I wasn’t actually imagining anything, I was taking myself back to that place.
The first few days I was writing, I would write for an hour or two having taken myself back to that place mentally and coming out of that and getting back to real life was actually pretty hard to go in and out. So I checked out for 6 weeks. I would write for 12-16 hours a day and I would stay completely in that place. It came quite easily once I focused.
This is your second book, correct?
Yes, this is my second book, but my first book has a very specific market of women who are trying to stop drinking. It’s really not a book for the masses.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Oh yes. We are very lucky as authors now because the days of writing the best book in the world and getting shot down by a publisher are over. With self-publishing now, it is so easy to sell a book.
Are you self-published?
Yes and I would not go with a publisher. I fully understand my market, so I was able to write clearly to them, and sell clearly to them. You can’t be only an author; you have to be a marketer. With very little money you can market your book online. All the tools to write and sell a successful book are right there for us.
We are lucky because it gives us, as consumers, the opportunity to read many things we never would have seen before.
What is your favourite Gold Coast spot to grab a coffee?
Well I’m a tea drinker, but I love Cardamom Pod, Blendlove and BSKT.
Favourite Gold Coast dinner spot?
That would be Mandala Organic Arts Café.
What is your favourite outdoorsy spot to relax?
I’d have to say Surfers Paradise Beach. I know it sounds cheesy, but I like to go down there in the morning when all the locals are grabbing coffee and exercising.
Where is the best place to buy a book on the Gold Coast?
Bookface at Pacific Fair.
If you want to read How to be Rich, Thin and Happy grab a copy here
By Marleigh Kelly