Editor’s note: Michelle Ward, When I Grow Up Coach, was interviewed for this post.
After writing a couple guest posts for her blog, Springinspiration, Michelle reached out to me . She loves using amazeballs in her emails (I’m now obsessed with the word). If you think she looks like the friendliest person on earth, its because she is. We met for lunch at Madison Square Park and chatted about life, projects, and alas, making the jump from Corporate America to Your Dream Career. She helps people that REALLY HATE their jobs. I’ve been there and done that and it ain’t pretty. She also assists people that are on the cusp of making a transition. If you’ve got some spare time and are looking to Grow Up into your REAL self, pay Michelle a visit. You will never look back!
How Michelle Builds Confidence Muscles
Keep a warm fuzzies book – y’know, one that holds all the thank you notes that you’ve received, both online & off. Any time you get a compliment – & I mean, any time – put it in your warm fuzzies book. When you’re feeling less than confident (hint: you find yourself berating yourself with, “What the frig was I thinking?” & “I stink up this place!”) get out your Warm Fuzzies book & read it with an open mind & heart. If there aren’t enough Warm Fuzzies (yet!) to float your boat, then write down what you offer your clients. What value do you add to their lives? Make a list, put that into your book & smoke it.
GirlHabits: What can’t you live without?
Michelle Ward: My husband, my morning cup (or two) of coffee, sunshine, my morning dose of Judge Judy justice, ice cream, and my amazeballs friends.
GH: What do you wish there was less of in the world?
MW: ”Should”s, “can’t”s, & “impossible”s!
GH: What is the most valuable advice you got when striking out on your own?
MW: Is it OK if I got the advice from myself? I hope so, because that’s the biggest thing that comes to my mind. As a musical theater performer who pounded the pavement post-college, I realized that I got the most callbacks/jobs when I really broad-casted myself. Essentially, I was given the message that I needed to go into auditions and blend in with the other 20-something-year-old women (and there were always a lot of us!) by dressing “prettily” and singing “pretty” songs. The thing was, I sing loudly and am always, always cast as “the funny one”. I decided to embrace that and broadcast it before I even got to the audition – with a head-shot that had a bright blue background and me in polka dots (although you “shouldn’t” ever detract from your face in your head-shot!) and submissions that stated the “Top 5 Reasons to Audition Me (because who has time for 50?).” Then, once I was there, I stood out in a strapless dress that looked like it had candy buttons on it (more polka dots!) & a matching headband, & I’d start my audition off with the loud, funny song that showed me off so well. I knew that, then, I was making an impression. It was probably the biggest lesson I learned first-hand, and I knew I had to translate it into my coaching business.
GH: What do you wish young entrepreneurs were doing more of today?
MW: I wish they would realize more often that they can make a living out of doing multiple things they love – they don’t have to pick one & stick with that one for the next 40 years until they retire to Florida. I have a client who’s kicking major a** as a resume revamper /personal brander/ producer/ copywriter. They can also pick that one thing they’re really, really good at and they really, really love doing and do it, even if it’s not a “real job.” It’s 2010, the age of the Interwebs, and there are people who have lucrative careers as Lego artists, torso-renters, and mobile pizza firetrucks. If they can do it, you can, too!
GH: If you had to let go of something to make your own path, what would you say that was?
MW: The “should”s! “You shouldn’t say amazeballs!” “Your picture should be more professional.” “You should listen to all the ‘experts’, because they know better than you.” I had to kick all of those to the curb and listen to myself. I have to say, I think it’s the #1 reason I’ve been as successful as I am.
GH: Describe your priorities in four words or less.
MW: Family, safety, love, happiness.
GH: What’s the weirdest thing that has made you cry?
MW: The overture of “Miss Saigon” the second through fourth time I saw it. She didn’t even die yet, but I knew it was coming!
GH: What do you consider the most important event in your life so far?
MW: Marrying my husband. I’m thankful every day that I waited for such a fantastic, sweet, smart, funny, handsome, supportive guy to come into my life. I honestly don’t know if I could have believed in myself and taken this leap without him.
GH: If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
MW: Freezing time, like Evie in that sitcom from the 80s, Out of This World! I desperately need more hours in the day, and more naps during it! Ooh, or teleporting. Not having to go to the airport ever again would be fantastic. Can I be a teleporting time freezer?
GH: What’s your favorite food memory?
MW: I worked on a cruise ship for about 8 months as a performer, and we went to Bar Harbor, Maine fairly often. There was a great place within walking distance where I picked up lobster from a tank, paid about $10/pound, waited at a picnic table for it to be cooked, and ate it up a few minutes later. Having affordable, fresh lobster weekly is something I really got used to!
GH: If you could live anywhere in the world for six months, where would you live and why?
MW: Hawaii! I went there on my honeymoon and it really is paradise. It’s such a great place to find a bunch of stuff to explore/do/see, but it’s the perfect place for relaxation, too. I think that being there for more than 6 months might make me comatose, though! :)
GH: What’s your favorite happiness habit?
MW: Watching Judge Judy every weekday morning before I turn on the computer! I just love starting my day with a dose of Judge Judy justice.
GH: What is your next big challenge?
MW: Starting my very first e-course, The Declaration of You on Oct 25th (yes, you can still register!!) I’ve been coolaborating (yes, “coolaborating” – it started as a typo, but we decided to keep it!) with Jessica Swift since April, and we’ve been working so, so hard on the copy, the exercises, the design, the site…I’m so excited to get my hands dirty with our “students” and help them find their own declaration!
Michelle Ward, aka The When I Grow Up Coach, works with creative people to devise the career they think they can’t have – or discover it to begin with! A certified life coach by the International Coach Academy & a musical theater actress with her BFA from NYU/Tisch, Michelle has been interviewed for Newsweek, Metro News and The Examiner; is a co-host on Spring; and is encouraging everyone to claim their uniquity via The Declaration of You, an e-course with Jessica Swift. She could be found coachin’, bloggin’ & givin’ away free stuff at When I Grow Up Coach.