Good morning! Welcome to a brand new DESIGN YOUR LIFE. This week Michelle of When I Grow Up is sharing her intentions and some amazing ways she’s designed her life around them. I’m going to let our first meeting remain a mystery (to be revealed in the weeks to come), but I’ve loved getting to know her.
When I asked her to do the DYL interview I knew she would have a lot of great advice to offer. And I was right. Her professionalÂ life coaching concepts, ideals, and action plans which help dozens of clients are also active in her own life. Though I can’t comment on the cosmopolitan recommendation (never had one), I love her “trust yourself” revelation. Take a look.
DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Michelle of When I Grow Up
Claim your uniquity.
When I was 9, I wore two different sneakers (same Keds, just different colors with my own magic marker touches) & two different socks. When I was 10, I wore a hat. Yes, I was essentially copying Punky Brewster (who remains my fashion icon) & Debbie Gibson, but those girls allowed me to express my pre-teen self. As an adult, I claim my quirkiness in both my style, my personal life & my business. “Normal” is boring. Be yourself, & whoever doesn’t like it can find someone else to snooze it up/do business with.
Surround yourself with supportive, positive people (& learn to say “no!”).
I started purging my toxic frenemies when I started my coaching classes, & it’s changed my world. As a people pleaser, it was super tough for me to say “no” to anyone, even those who added nothing more than drama & snide remarks to my life. Knowing that the people that I lean on now are the ones who are only there to cheer me on – no drama, no hidden agendas, no jealousy – has lead to me pursue my dreams like nobody’s business. It’s also allowed me to know that my time will be spent with those that contribute something to my life, & that makes it easier to say “yes” – & “no”! – to those opportunities.
I have my own Bribery List of how I can celebrate each win (aka bribe myself), starting with the “little stuff” (buying a bouquet of my favorite flower, taking an hour-long bubble bath with a glass of wine & a magazine) & going through to the “big stuff” (tickets to a Broadway show & a lobster dinner!). I take out the list during Me Time (see below) as well as when I’ve accomplished a goal, big or small. I make my clients celebrate their wins, too. I’m super mean like that.
Find – and pursue – your passion.
When I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t want to pursue acting anymore – & believe me, it took a year if not longer – I absolutely knew it was unacceptable to me to keep living my life with the (well-paying, insurance-giving) job that I had. Not only was my boss emotionally abusive, but it was just numbing (& boring & painful & made me dry heave in the mornings) to me. I absolutely do not get the people out there who are super unhappy with some aspect of their lives, or their lives as a whole (!) & just take it day in & day out. Can a life really be lived without passion? Whether it’s a career or a relationship, each day needs to be filled with something that makes your heart sing. If you don’t know what it is, find it. Do something different every day that peaks even a bit of your interest, whether it’s taking a new class at the gym or reading a new book or finally taking that day trip to the wine country. Figure out what you’re passionate about & how you’re going to make it part of your life.
Don’t sacrifice Me Time.
I was so used to always putting myself last. Everyone/thing else comes first – my day job, my coaching, my friends, my family, yada yada yada. The time I needed to recharge my batteries, by either journaling or doing yoga or just sitting with a fiction book (this is where the Celebration List comes in handy!), was always the first thing to go. But I realized that I needed to take care of myself first so I can take care of all of the other people I care about, & who rely on me. Like my very first coach pointed on, when you’re taken through the emergency lists on a plane, you’re told to put the air mask on yourself first and then put it on the child next to you. Why? Because you’re no good to a child if you’re passed out from lack of oxygen! I now block 90-180 minutes on my calendar each week for Me Time, & treat it like it’s the holiest of holy appointments to me: a coaching session.
You’re the only boss of you.
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Seriously, you don’t. Danielle LaPorte said that you don’t have obligations – only choices. Doesn’t that blow your mind? And yes, while I absolutely consider the voices & opinions of those I love, & Luke & I call ourselves Team Awesome (we ARE an awesome team!), I am essentially the boss of me. The end.
You’re not married to anything (or anyone!).
Don’t tell my husband! OK, I’m totally married to my husband, but this is something my Mom told me right before I went to NYU. “Remember, you’re not married to anything (or anyone!). If you don’t like it, you can always go somewhere else.” I think of this to remind myself to always listen to my changing values, passions & priorities. I might have had 1 dream for 20-odd years, but then I had a new one. And I might have another one before I’m 50. I listen, now.
Don’t waste the pretty!
Yes, this was stolen from He’s Just Not that Into You, but it can apply to more than relationships. I waited until I was 28 to find my husband, because nobody that came before him was good enough for “the pretty”. I’m not gonna waste “the pretty” on a career that isn’t good enough for me, either, or a friend or client that doesn’t appreciate what I have to bring to the table. Wait for what you’re worth, & pursue what lives up to your expectation.
At almost-32 years old, this is the most current lesson that I’m learning. My years of pounding the pavement as an actress had conditioned me to not expect anything so that I wouldn’t be disappointed. I hated being an optimistic pessimist (hope for the best, but expect the worst) & am now changing my perspective. I’m trusting that I can make a living coaching & can reach my dream. I’m trusting that things happen for a reason. I’m trusting that my past has lead me to this place, where I am today, & where I know that I belong.
Never underestimate a great Girls Night Out.
Or the power of a strong Cosmo. Mmmmm…..
Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.[photo credit for image 3 and 6]