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Sage Hobbs

Episode 39: How to Create the Relationships You Really Want

Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Lynn S. Evans and I am the host of Power Of The Purse Podcast. There was a time in my life not too long ago when I believed three things about money. One, women are not supposed to talk about or be included in any conversations about money. Two, women don’t have the natural ability to understand anything about money and three, men know best how to manage money. Those truths I made up about money guided me for years until I realized money was not a foreign language or some other obscure academic exercise. It was something I could not only understand, but teach to other women.

Too many times I’ve heard stories from women who ought to know better, but didn’t until they were forced to because of divorce, widowhood, job lost or the approach of retirement. This podcast will add another chapter to a rich history of successful women who when faced with some personal challenges found the ability to step beyond them. We’ll examine some of the truths they made up about money from their life experiences and how that shaped the path they chose. My mission is to help women have a healthy positive relationship with money. With that in mind, my guest today is Sage Hobbs. Sage Hobbs is a women’s empowerment coach, speaker and author of, I should have a drum roll here, Naked Communication: Courageously Create The Relationships You Really Want.

She’s known for her bold, insightful and dynamic approach to communication, relationships and personal growth. Sage works with both individual and groups to cultivate courage, self-expression and freedom. She empowers her clients to unleash their voice, take action and transform their status quo when they feel stuck or dissatisfied. Prior to creating her current work, Sage received her master’s degree in counseling psychology and spent a decade working with teens and families to navigate the wild path of growing up. She’s also a mom of two, a cancer survivor, a proud teacher’s wife, a retired school counselor, a world traveler, a living room dance party aficionado and a book lover. Welcome, Sage.

Hi, Lynn. It’s so fun to be here. Thanks for having me.

I can’t wait to get into every one of those little things that you talked about yourself because no one has ever completed anything in regard to this interview with those types of answers. I love the other one that I asked a question ahead of time, what do you do for fun… You said you dance, hike, play with my kids, read, travel, dinner with girlfriends, but the last one is the one I love the best, laugh with my husband. No, because most people will say spend time with my husband, but you said laugh with my husband, which I think is just so expressive. I love it. It’s really great.

Totally. I feel like fun is a really underrated value.

Oh, it sure is.

They put so much emphasis on success and striving and blah, blah, blah. I love all those things too, but life is meant to be enjoyed.

Yeah. I’m with you.

Laughter is like the best elixir.

That’s wonderful. Tell me how did you get involved with this? I understand you did work with teens and families and you have a degree in counseling psychology, but what made you decide to write the book?

Yeah, that’s a great question. I think I’ve always wanted to write a book. If you look back at some of those longer-term dreams we had, I just always thought books were so cool. I love books. I love to read them. I think they’re beautiful. I’ve always been really ambitious, really driven, but was more on a formal path. I went to Penn. I graduated with honors. I got a job and I went to graduate school and on and on. I did the civil career thing where I was in a school setting and I loved it. It was good work. It’s really important work.

There was always this like part of me that knew I wouldn’t do that for 30 years like most educators and knew that there was some other way that I wanted to express myself creatively and in a leadership capacity that I couldn’t get met the way that I wanted to get met in those confines really. It was after I had my second kid. You might ask something about this later, but I know you talk about women and their transition points. I had my second child. I’m sitting there with her on maternity leave and I’m like looking at her, enjoying my time. The second one is so much easier because you don’t think you’re going to kill them. I’m hanging out. I’m actually like enjoying my time off. I’m thinking, “I don’t want to go back. I really don’t want to go back.” It was a deep visceral feeling, but it wasn’t at all that I didn’t want to work because I would suck at staying home full-time. I’m like so clear about that. My kids would agree. There was something else I needed to do and I wanted more freedom and I wanted more creativity. When I started to explore that, it just got clearer and clearer about the only thing that has ever fascinated me deeply. The place where I geek out most is human behavior, human potential, right? I just find human beings the most fascinating thing that there is to study. Other people don’t. My husband’s a science teacher. He goes on and on about plants and animals. I’m like, “Eh. That’s cool.” For me, people, I mean they’re so rich.

We’re like the human animals.

Yeah. Like the human animals. Exactly. The most complex specie. From that I decided to leave. The book was part of the next evolution of that professional journey. It’s been wonderful to explore how to express that kind of…

Well, you know I think you probably know that I wrote a book too, and I call it Power of the Purse and there’s a subtitle.

I love that title.

Everybody was after me to try to come up with a title that would really make people want to pick it up if it was at a bookstore. All right. Naked Communication just…it just creates all kinds of visuals.

Yes, it does. I love where you’re going with that, Lynn. I love your sense about it. That’s so funny.

I love it. I love it. I am actually jealous that you came up with a great title that makes people definitely want to pick that up. Past that, tell me though what did you mean by courageously creating the relationships? Why does it require courage?

Oh, good question. Honestly because it’s scary to be real. It’s so scary to share yourself in intimate ways to make requests that might upset people. Women in particular and I’m sure most of your audience is women, we’re mostly conditioned to be nice, to take care of other people first, to not make waves, to not ruffle weathers, and it’s changing. I was fortunate enough that my mom really celebrated my spirit from an early… And my dad. They really championed my spirit and now I have a total spitfire of a four-year-old daughter. I’m trying to do the same. I guess what goes around comes around.


You know?


What I find is like the women I work with it’s really like they’re paying me to help them reconnect with that four-year-old self. It’s messy and it’s scary. It requires courage to use your voice. It really, really does and I think more so for women. I really do in general. Obviously not every stereotype is accurate, but we in the United States at least, in Western cultures, are conditioned much more clearly to be passive. If you want to really have rich deep relationships, not just romantic relationships, but with other women like with your girlfriends, with your siblings, with your boss, your colleagues, it requires really being more courageous than you’re used to to speak up authentically.

Yeah, it does. I think you’ve offered something to all of the listeners. Something you call The Ask Formula Cheat Sheet. Tell us about that.

Totally. That’s one of my favorite workshops I do. Last week I did The Power of the Ask Workshop with a group of women in the construction industry which was so fascinating to talk about a—

Oh my god.

…male-dominated field. They’re all in corporate. They were in marketing and business development and stuff, but they’re often at odds to get their voices heard in their industry. The Ask Formula is just based on the most simple concepts ever that I’m sure we’ve all heard, but you’re much more likely to get what you want if you ask for it. It’s not rocket science, but how you ask for it matters. You can set yourself up and position yourself to more likely get a yes. That’s what The Ask Formula walks people through. I have to give some credit to my mom here. All you women listeners too.

How you ask matters. You can set yourself up and position yourself to more likely get a yes. Click To Tweet

Because my mom used to say to me when I was a kid and it really was annoying as a child, but it was awesome now that I’m an adult which is like I’d be throwing kind of a fit or my brother or sister would be, whoever one of us, about something that we wanted or something we weren’t happy about, right? She’d say, “Well, do you have a complaint or a request?” It’s like uh, just rolling your eyes. Obviously I’m complaining. Just give me what I want. It really helped me have that distinction early on that I get to choose. Am I just going to complain or am I going to actually ask for something that is more likely to satisfy me?

That’s a brilliant distinction because I think it just sets you back for just a second to say. In our culture it’s okay to have these mutual complaints even if it’s just about the weather, that we commiserate with each other so well. But really, what’s the request? That is really a very important distinction.

It really is. It really is. You’re absolutely right about that with the commiserating piece and our culture. The one that drives me the most nuts right now—and as a mom who takes her kids to early…my kids are eight and four—with lots of mom talk is the “busy” thing. Everybody’s so busy. If you’re not busy, it’s like you don’t have a valuable life. We’re just like addicted to busy. We validate that all over the place. I just like refuse to play into that because it just makes you feel more manic.

True. Yes.

It’s an interesting one for me, right? Even that, how could you frame that around like, “Well, what could you take off of your plate? What could you ask people to help you with? How could you receive support that you didn’t feel so perpetually busy?”

Isn’t that really the crux of it? That you talk about teaching us how to ask for things. The complaints are as you said, when you go back and take a look at those so-called busy people, you look what is the busyness in their lives and there are so many things that you could ask others to do even if it was something like a neighbor. You don’t have to have the funds necessarily to hire people to do a lot of the stuff and you could, as a business owner you could. I think the other part of it too is that we don’t even think to ask. We are so used to being martyrs and complaining. How do we become conscious of that and realize that that’s what we’re doing and say, “It’s okay for me to ask”?

Yeah. It’s a great question. Actually the whole book starts out with our own personal awareness. I ask several questions to help you sort of dig into how do you already communicate. It really can get to master yourself first before you’re really effective in your conversation with other people. That’s one of the things we talk through in the work that I do which is how is it already looking. As soon as you can start to see that, then you have heightened awareness. As soon as you’ve heightened awareness, you have the possibility of pausing and choosing differently. You first have to really look at how do I show up right now?

Personal awareness means asking yourself, how do I show up right now? Click To Tweet

I’ll have my clients spend an entire week just observing when they bite their tongue, when they have a thought or idea that they don’t share or when they stuff down an emotional response and then they just go complain about it to their girlfriend as opposed to their husband who they’re really actually the one upset with or whatever it is, right? There’s a process of just tuning in and noticing and upping our own awareness in terms of our own communication patterns and behaviors. Then you’ll start to see, “Oh my gosh.” Actually, in that workshop I just led, a professional women, super bright, super successful, she and I ended up on the phone afterwards.

She said I was actually experiencing a level of anxiety in our workshop because when I asked the question… I asked them to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 whether or not you are a hinter, wisher, hoper or implier or whether or not you’re like a direct, “This is exactly what I want and by this timeframe,” like on a scale. It hit her like a ton of bricks like, “Oh my gosh. Wow. I’m really suppressed in how I make requests. I’m totally the one who just wishes and hopes and hints.” You’ve got to know how you operate.

I think that’s interesting what you just said about these are professional women you said and that is exactly what I have understood too about professional women, that it’s the same thing. I sit there and think, “Well, how did they get to where they are? How did they get that far up the ladder if they didn’t understand how to ask and be assertive?” I don’t understand. There’s a disconnect there for me. Have you noticed that?

I think the ones who are most in the positions of highest authority are better askers. That’s been my observation. I do. I really do.

Those in the positions of highest authority are typically better askers. Click To Tweet

Better actor?

Askers. They’re better askers.

Oh, askers. I thought you said actors.

That might be part of it too.

I’m sure it is.

That could be part of it too. I do believe that those who find themselves in the highest positions of leadership for the most part in my experience they have gotten better at making requests even if it’s uncomfortable for them. It’s great you said actors because I would also say that could be true also. That they’ve just complied and followed the rules and been like a quiet player. They quietly get advanced, but I would wonder and I’ve no idea, I’m sure there’s research, these definitely meta research on this, but specifically for a certain Fortune 500 or something, I would wonder though about their salaries, right?

That they’re in positions of higher leadership, but did they negotiate for the financial compensation for example that their male counterparts did? Most of the time we don’t.

Oh, for sure we don’t.

It’s my experience.

I talk to several women physicians who talk to me and even those in academia say, “On a par with another guy who’s had exactly the same experience, everything is the same, the only difference is their gender, the men are offered more and they negotiate for something more.” Women they just take. They just take what they’re given and they don’t think about it.

I was just talking to a friend about that.

We have to learn a lot more for sure. There’s some holes in this.

It’s like leaving money on the table. I think asking for what you want is in terms of your… If you look at your marriages, your partnerships, your friendships, all the way to the cash in your bank account, you’re going to have more satisfaction if you’re asking. I cannot tell you how many women just don’t ask to, “Hey, can I go out for a night on my own or I’d like to take two days away.” Do you know what I mean? Then they’re just irritated that their partner takes the time that they want, but they haven’t asked.

Some women I know just do it. There’s no asking. They just say, “Hey, I’ll be gone for two days. I’ll see you later.”

I’m a little bit more that way now, but that’s what my husband expects of me because that’s who we are. We have a good partnership going on here.

That’s great. I love to hear that. That’s wonderful. Let me switch around here because I’d like to find out something about your experience with money as you were growing up that brought you to where you are today. A lot of these things like I said in the introduction, I made up some stories about women and money because of what I observed. Nobody told me that these were truths, but I observed some particular exchanges between my mom and my dad and I made this up. You don’t know it unless you really take the time to uncover some of this stuff and yet it runs in the background constantly.


Let me ask you some questions not because I’m doing any therapy with you. I want you to be clear on that.

No problem.

All right. I’m just curious to see how it all worked out for you. The first question I’m going to ask you, you did intimate some of it about what your family was like when you were growing up. Where are you in the birth order?

I’m the oldest of three.

You have a sister and a brother, right?

Yup. My brother’s in the middle and then a sister who’s 11 years younger than me.

That’s interesting. How did you two get along? Were you like a mother-daughter thing or were you friends?

We’re still really close. She moved out to Colorado from Philadelphia. My mom moved out. My brother’s in New York. He’ll stay in New York because he loves New York. My sister and I, I’m friend, almost like auntie or something.

Oh really? Okay.

We never had anything to fight about because I left home for college when she was six. We get along great.

How about, what’s your first memory of money?

Oh my gosh. I’m so bad with first memories, but I can say that I got a confusing money message in my childhood. I’ve spent some time thinking about this one because when I started my own business, I really had to look at money totally differently than the very secure pension plan, predictable income that I had as a school employee. I wanted to say I love your introduction. I think there is right now this huge consciousness raising around women and money that’s so exciting where people are talking about this idea of a money story and things I had never thought about before. I love that you’re contributing to that conversation.

Thank you.

I don’t know where it came from. Oh, I could think of one. I don’t know if this was the earliest, but here’s a specific. It was about orange juice. We always got Tropicana Orange Juice, which I was aware that that was good orange juice versus the concentrate kind that you just added water to. Therefore, it was more expensive, but we all thought it was the best orange juice since my mom was willing to buy it, but she would only pour it out in little bits.

Little tiny, almost like shot glasses, right?

Totally. Oh my gosh. If she listens to this, she’s going to crack up because she couldn’t stand if we wasted the orange juice. You can’t waste something. There was this interesting thing where it was like you can’t waste, but we have plenty. I was almost like are we fine or are we not fine? I seem to get all of my needs met, but you’re supposed to be really careful because you want to make sure you can always have your needs met. It was an interesting sort of dichotomy of financial security, but be careful because you always want to have it so don’t waste.

Besides that particular situation with the orange juice, what other lessons did you learn about money when you were growing up? Just maybe by observation with your parents.

Let me see if I can build on that.

Let me ask you this way. If you needed money for something, how did you go about asking for it?

It’s a great question. I always felt that I could ask.

Any easier with mom versus dad?

I think a little easier with dad probably. Only because my mom really tended to wear her feelings on her sleeves more. My dad was just a little bit even keel. You know what I mean?


It was just like a little bit more predictable or something with him, but pretty much I could ask either one of them. The answer was usually yes and yet it would be yes, but there would definitely be like a “what is it for?” There was always an experience of you should be responsible. You know what I mean? Not frivolous. We were careful.

If you wanted to do something with your friends, like, let’s say go to the movies and go out for something to eat before or after, was that an extravagance that you’d get a sense that that was something more than what you really were entitled to and so you really had to justify or sell why you wanted it?

I didn’t have that. They were okay with that. Yeah.

What jobs or careers have you had up to this time in your life? We know you were a teacher, but let’s go back to the times when you were in high school and you could work. What kind of jobs did you have?

I think my first real job was at Gap Kids in the mall. I was so nervous to apply. It’s just interesting to think about that how nervous I was to go around and ask for applications and go through that process.

Let me ask you before you go any further. Did you initiate this or did your parents say something about it’s time to get a job?

Yes, I needed to help pay for my car insurance. If I wanted the freedom to drive the car, I needed to contribute to the car insurance.

All right.

That was a deal. A third, a third, a third. My parents were divorced at that time. Each of us paid a third of it.

All right. That was motivation.

Yeah, it was and it was great. It was a really important experience for me.

All right. The first job was what? You said you were working with…

Retail at Gap Kids.

Did you like doing that?

At first it was so exciting to make your own… To make my own money was exciting. I loved the discount at the Gap because I was a teenager of course. Quickly I hated folding shirts on plastic rectangles and I realized that was not going to be my career path.

That was a great visual I have to say.

Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Any time you go into one of the stores remember somebody has folded all that. I learned a lot. When they trained me on the register, I remember I was an honor roll student. I felt pretty confident in my ability to figure things out, but it was stressful if there was a line of people and what if you couldn’t figure out how to void something? All of that was like really important in terms of my own sense of being capable. I think it was a really good experience to have that job.

How did you feel about your ability to adapt to that stress?

I think I handled it pretty well. Again it confirmed for me I didn’t want to continue to do that forever. I felt that people don’t show a lot of respect sometimes to people on the service industry. I would just notice the way people talk to me. You had to have your bag checked every time you left on a break to make sure you hadn’t stolen from the back stockroom. That was an interesting thing for me. Yup. It’s like oh wow, okay. In my world I’m like a trustworthy kid, but that was a good lesson on like, “Oh, people steal? Okay.” Actually, that happened. A colleague had been stealing. I don’t even remember what your original question is, but hopefully I answered it.

You did. You did. You did. That’s fine. It’s fine. I just really wondered what jobs or careers you had when you were early on in your life.

Early on. Yeah. I worked at a restaurant. I was a waitress.

Oh good.

In college. That was awesome. Huge learning. Again I really believe that the bigger your worldview, the more compassion you can have. The more compassion you can have, the better relationships you can have. Period. Working in a restaurant, like hustling that way on my feet and working with a cook staff in the back and then the families in the front, the customers, it was awesome. It was dynamic. It was high energy. Again I was at that point in college… I was at Penn, the University of Pennsylvania. What people would presume about my ability is just because I was a wait… It was just interesting. I just often felt that people really had… Not everybody at all. Most people are lovely, but there would always be a few experiences where people really kind of doubted your…

I always felt like sort of doubted your intelligence because you were working retail or working in service. That was a really powerful thing. I try and aim to be very kind and respectful to the people who work in all industries because I’ve done a few. I was a camp counselor. That was an awesome experience. That was the reason I ended up living in Colorado because I did that out here in Colorado and after college eventually moved here.

Very nice.

I had internships in college in Philadelphia Public Schools. That was really formative. I’m trying to think. Those were the main ones.

Well, thinking back from that time when you were working, I’d say when you started at Gap Kids. Let’s go from there forward and say what are some of the best and the worst financial decisions you’ve ever made?

Wow. Okay. Best was for sure earning my car insurance because that car was freedom baby for a teenager and a 20-something-year-old. I felt really good about that. Then also when I worked in the restaurant that was money I was earning towards going to Europe later in the year with a friend from college who was from Switzerland. I had the opportunity to go visit her family with her and stuff. That felt like I was working towards something I really wanted. I would honestly say, this isn’t interesting, but I have not made financial decisions that I really regret.

That’s fabulous.

I guess. I mean there’s times where I feel like I wished I’d been able to have a little bit more freedom around it because you’re young and there’s a spirit of like living in the now that as the oldest and coming from a family that really taught this whole idea of like you have to be super careful and conscientious and responsible and I don’t fault them for that. Ultimately that’s a great value, but I did… There was a little bit of I think that I’ve never felt like footloose and fancy free about it. I’ve always felt kind of cautious. I think that money is really a dance and life is a dance between really enjoying the present and planning for the future. Part of my story is that I had cancer when I was 23. That really was formative for me in a lot of ways obviously.

One would be that idea that I don’t presume that I… I don’t want to save all of my money until retirement.

You want to die broke?

No. I’d love to have a little nest egg for my children, but I want my kids to enjoy growing up with me. I’m not going to like not do things with them so that then when I die they get to have the money. I want to take vacations with them now.

Yup. Well, speaking of that, what’s on your bucket list?

Oh my gosh. So many things.

Tell us all. What are some of them?  I just love to hear the answers to this question because people have some of the most outrageous and some of the most simple things. It’s what’s important to them. Give me a hint.

Okay. This is so funny. I was out to dinner last night with eight other women. All of us in our forties and we were talking about this idea. It’s just funny that this comes up now. To be perfectly honest with you, I’ve had such a full life that if it were to end right now, there’s not anything I would be like, “Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I didn’t do that.” Really.

Assuming you live for another 40 years.

It’s all about travel for me. 100% about travel. I’ve been to about 20 countries and I’d love be in hundreds more. I’d like to take my kids out of school and live overseas with them for a chunk of time. I’d love them to learn and study other languages. I would love to meet Bruce Springsteen and Oprah Winfrey.

Oh well, Oprah’s on my list.

I mean come on. If you haven’t watched her new role in the HBO movie, The Secret Life of Henrietta Lacks, it is phenomenal. It’s extraordinary. She’s extraordinary. I think really like meeting a few people and for sure I have to live long-term in a Caribbean or tropical destination by the ocean.


That’s not on my bucket, but like going to happen. I think that’s really it. I kind of think of myself as an experience collection. More than things I like just wonderful experiences like being in a Tuscan villa in Italy and having somebody, a chef, cook all fresh amazing food for me is much more exciting to me than a new thing. You know what I mean?

Yeah. That sounds good to me.

Yeah. I know. You want to come?

I might have to add that one to my bucket list. I like that, although I was actually going to the South of France for the same thing. Maybe I can meet you somewhere in between.

Perfect. Let’s do it.

That’s good. I like that. We have a couple minutes left. Let me ask you this, what are some of the things that you’d like our listeners to know? How can they interact with you and what are some of the offerings you have and where can they buy your book?

Great. The book is on Amazon. Good old Amazon. Available all over the world. It’s called Naked Communication. My website is Sage, there’s a B in it, Sage B Hobbs as in badass let’s say. I do one-on-one coaching as well as group coaching. I run a group coaching program that I launch a couple of times a year, which is called The Naked Communication Experience. That will be opening up again I believe in the fall. The one-on-one is available anytime as long as I have space. I’m active on Facebook and Instagram. Love to connect with people there. I actually do a regular Facebook live stream inside of the Facebook community, The Naked Communication community on Facebook every Thursday. Lots of different ways.

The book is a great place to start because you’ll really get a sense of who I am and what I do.

Who would be your ideal client?

My ideal client is, this is such a funny question, really any woman who is motivated, curious and bright. Really ready to bust through some notion of what should be and design what really…reconnect with what she really is. It’s really women who are kind of… They’re bright. They’re powerful in some way, but there’s something about their status quo that is just not satisfying them anymore.

It kind of dulled out I think.

Yeah. It dulled out.

You can use that if you want to.


I just made that up.

I like it. Good.

We don’t want any more dull women. We want women to be shining.

Oh my god. Please. Vibrant. I just made a video of my four-year-old daughter doing this thing in the kitchen in a tie-dyed t-shirt where she’s saying, “I am brave. I am strong. Girl power.” She’s like jumping you up and down. I didn’t tell her that. I’m like, “Where did you come up with this?” That essence, that spark, that’s where the power lies. It ties back to money too. In order to really make money, save money, being good, healthy relationship with money, we have to feel like we deserve to have it.

Yeah. Yeah. There’s that. Big part of it. Big part of it.

Big part of it. Yeah. Big part of it.

Let me say thanks to my guest, Sage Hobbs. To all of you in my Power of the Purse community, I hope today’s podcast was helpful in enriching your understanding of money and how it can help you achieve your life goals. If you’d like to spend 15 minutes on a call with me and ask me questions about your personal finances, please go to my website PowerOfThePursePodcast.com, select the contact tab and find a time that works for you. Thanks again, Sage, for sharing your time and knowledge and until the next time, thanks for listening. Remember, money is not the enemy. Your ignorance of it is. Goodbye until next time.

How to contact Sage:

FREE Download for Power of the Purse listeners

The ASK Formula Cheat Sheet



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