EP 75: Get It Launched with Michelle Ward
Michelle Ward, CEO of 90 Day Business Launch, is a business coach who guides creative, multi-passionate women to become entrepreneurs. Since 2008, she’s helped hundreds of these women launch their dream businesses so they can get the freedom, authenticity and fulfillment they’re seeking in their day-to-day lives. You may have seen or heard her in New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Etsy, Newsweek, Freelancers Union, USA Today, the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career list, EO Fire, Real Talk Radio, The Unmistakable Creative or hundreds of other media outlets. She’s the teacher of Create Your Dream Career and Ditch Your Day Job, which were watched by tens of thousands of people on CreativeLive. When she’s not coaching, teaching or speaking, she can be found building a fort for her little girl, sitcom-binging with her husband, strumming her ukulele or belting out show tunes.
Tami: Good morning. Good morning. I'm so happy. You're here. I'm so happy to be. Oh my God. You guys, we have done Epic calendaring to make, and I am so happy to connect with you this morning, Michelle, can you tell my listeners, who are you and what do you do in the world?
Michelle: Yes, I can. I'm Michelle Ward. I am the CEO of 90 day business launch and I help creative multi-passionate women launch their dream businesses with the maximum impact and effectiveness and minimal stress in just 90 days.
Tami: Okay. I'm sitting here and I'm like, what's that dream come true as this? So how does that even happen?
90 days? So what are some of the things that you help people with?
Michelle: Yeah, so, you know, the women that I work with they come to me knowing they want to be business owners and knowing. The business they want to start. They sometimes don't know their niche. They don't know the offer. They don't know the marketing plan.
They don't have all the ins and outs. That's why the program exists. That's why I'm here. But they'll say to me, I want to be a nutritionist or I want to be a graphic designer, or I want to be a creativity coach. They know what they want to start and how they want to work with people. And you know, it's a blessing and a curse of being an entrepreneur, wanting to be an entrepreneur.
I think 20, 21, because there's so much free stuff to get you there and like, yay. And also, Oh my God, it's overwhelming. It is so easy to go down rabbit holes that you never get yourself out of. And because I work with women who are. So smart and so ambitious. They want to do things perfectly and they get in their own way.
So they're taking the overwhelm, the perfectionism, the procrastination that they have been suffering from for months, if not years, I had a recent client who was like, I've been wanting to start my business for 10 years. And we take that. And push it out of the way. So that we start the program with what I call a one perfect day, where you get all of those pieces.
What is, who's your ideal client? What are their challenges? What do they want to walk away with? What's your business name? What's that first offer? What's the pricing. What's the onboarding. What's the initial marketing plan on and on. And in the three months that lead up that, that follow that one perfect day.
I give you the community. I give you the weekly calls. I give you the milestones of. Here's what we need to do to make it happen. And these women need to practice B minus work and they need to, I tell them you need to make wobbly CEO decisions. I will not let you go down these rabbit holes. I will not let you spin yourself into procrastination and perfectionism.
You follow the map that I set out for you and you lean on the community and me for support. You're going to get to where you want to go. Well,
Tami: what I love about this is as somebody who's been slowly, very part-time very imperfectly working on my business for a decade or a decade is that most people need accountability.
Most people are like, if somebody could just give me the roadmap, okay. You're like, here's the roadmap. Here's the accountability. And here's the big, bad secret. Nobody wants to hear. Imperfect action takes you further than a perfect logo. The perfect is on your website. You might not even need a website to start your business.
In fact, I started my coaching business a couple of years before I got my fancy
Michelle: website. Yeah. Yeah.
Tami: Because I needed to know that I wanted to do the thing. So, I didn't think told people I was doing the thing, but I quietly did the thing for years.
Michelle: Yes. Yes. And I don't disagree with that route and I feel that a light switch gets flipped on when there is a website and there is, you know, an elevator pitch and there is a clear.
Offer and mission and message that my clients are that a new business owner could say to someone go to my web website at 90 day business, lunch.com. And you know, that person going there will say, Oh, she's for real this time. Right? Like know, or like, this is such a great first impression and it, doesn't not, you're a hundred percent, right.
It does not need to be fancy. It does not need to be. I mean, we just had I'm halfway through the group that I'm running right now. And we have like, branding week and I'm like you have one week, you pick your colors, you pick your fonts. Like, you know, I brought on a former client of mine who is a branding designer and she gave them tips and tricks.
And you know, one of the participants was like, what do you mean we have to do this by Sunday? I'm like, yeah, That's it's done. I mean, you could torture yourself and do it more, but it doesn't matter. As long as things are readable, as long as they look cohesive. Yeah. And I'm going to tell you if something so really ugly or not legible or whatnot, but yeah, this shouldn't take so long cause it's, doesn't, it ultimately doesn't matter.
But having that public space that makes you as a new business owner feel as confident. And professional as possible right out of the gate. I feel like makes a difference mentally. And it's all the mental stuff, the emotional stuff. It has kept me in business since 2008. For sure. I
Tami: have to say I misspoke.
Yeah. I don't think you have. When I said you don't have to have a website. What I meant was you don't have to have. The capital w capital site, because I've had a website since 2009, but I quote fancy website until 2017.
Michelle: W I'm with you on that?
Tami: I claimed all my four mains. I laid down the law, everyone, and their mother is like, for some reason, every single time I see somebody laying in Shavasana and yoga.
I think of you. I'm like, well, that's because I talked about restorative yoga for eight years, right. As a deep form of self care. So yeah. Oh
Michelle: my God, Michelle. Yes. Yes.
Tami: Well, I'm very excited, but I'm also a little bit like, wait a second. What happened to the thing that you're known for
Michelle: when I grow up coach?
Yes. Yes. It's so funny. So cute. You said I'm known for it. I feel like it in my part of the internet, because I have also been around Tammy since 2008 as the, when I grow up coach And really when I started my business, I got my life coaching certification. I decided to niche myself by being a career coach.
And when I started it was off the back of me deciding to no longer pursue acting as a profession. And that was my dream forever. I went to NYU, I went to school of the arts, prestigious and musical theater. And. I was in my mid to late twenties when I said, you know, I don't want to be an actor when I grow up.
And what am I going to be? And people would, whenever I said that out loud, at that point in time, people would laugh because I was a 28 year old woman saying, what do I want to be when I grow up? But it felt very deep to me and very personal and very important. And I think too, because I was pursuing that profession for.
You know, 20 years, as much as you could pursue something that you love when you're six or whatever. But I was pursuing it that long. It was unacceptable for me to get a job that I didn't feel passionate about, that I didn't feel energized by that. I didn't feel fulfilled by it. And I really, I was not the optimistic person that.
So many people know and love at this point, I was definitely less optimistic. I think I would ever find something that would light me up as much as performing did. But when I thought about basically becoming the career coach that I needed at the time That I couldn't find for myself. I mean, I was the person who like bought what color is your parachute?
And my best friend at the time also bought it. And after it like a month, she figured out this really niche form of marketing that she wanted to go into. And she started applying for these jobs in this niche form of marketing. And after three exercises, I threw the book across the room. It just was not, it did not speak to me.
It did not hold me and my values and what I wanted. And I felt. So despondent, like, can anyone help me? So I thought I was going to work with actors who wanted to get out of the business and find their grown-up careers. And what I found instead, which was way more rewarding in a lot of ways, I found mostly creative women who wanted to get into creative careers.
So I went from being a career coach for creatives. To a career coach for creative women to a business coach for creative women. Because I found that thread after a few years in my business of everyone I'm working with is either a business owner or wants to be one. And. I decide I made the really tough decision, like, you know, mid 20, 21, you know, nothing was happening that I had really put down the discover work that I was doing for so long for my people it was hard on on a lot of levels and 90 day business launch was a program that I had been running since 2016.
And I thought about what it would be like to kind of go all in on this program. What that would mean for me as a business owner, for my personal goals, for my professional goals for the bigger impact I want to have in the world. So I really feel like I could help a thousand creative women launch their dream businesses in the next eight years by going all in on 90 day business launch.
And it's something that's. Scalable. And I think way more easier for me to manage. And I decided to shed my, when I grow up coach name and the business umbrella that came with it and go all in on 90 day business, long shifts still feels like incredible for me to say, because the, when I grew up coaches is who I still feel that I am.
Tami: Well, I love every bit of it because I know that. I spent a lot of time talking to people about getting time and energy back. Yes. As a form of self care. And one of the things that people often tell me about self-care is they feel like, Oh my God, it's just one more thing. And I'm like, wow. PR friends self-care needs PR because usually it's about subtraction, not as.
Yes about loving your darling so much that you're like, okay, which darling do I love the actual most? Cause that's the one I'm going to spend all my time with. Yes.
Michelle: Well, and it's so interesting you say that, right? Because I wouldn't even necessarily say that. Like I love the launch piece the most. I think that's part of what really raise me up.
But like I loved my, my, when I was working on the discovery piece for my clients, I love that. I didn't love the sales part of that. Just like there is a piece of acting where it's like, Still love performing. I didn't like the business of show business. The discovery piece was super, super hard for me to sell for years and years.
And I try, I forced it, I pushed it. I tried to make it work. And it just ultimately like didn't really get off the ground. I also love, and I still have like privately on the side of a six month mastermind that I do with. Former clients and direct referrals for new ish business owners. I love helping them build their client bases.
I love helping them build their businesses, but also like I don't want to be selling that anymore. So I think that's part of it too. And I love that piece of, you know, you can't see it as just one more thing. I think of the self care routine that I have every morning and like, it is not a one Oh one more thing to do.
It is like this integral to my mental and physical health alike. Everything else needs to get out of the way for this morning routine. Otherwise I'm done. I might as well just go back to bed. Okay. So
Tami: two to that brings me to the next question, which is how does self care affect your work? But I also want to touch on I know that you had your job while you had a regular nine to five, while you built your business.
And you also, because you're fancy also. We're like, you know, I think I'm, I think I'm gonna get cancer
Michelle: extra I'm extra.
Tami: So ha so I would love to hear both of those things because something you might, so many of my listeners are what I would call civilians. There are people who yeah. They my clients. And a lot of my listeners are people who have jobs, where they're paid by other people.
They go to the job and they want to feel good in their daily life. And I do have a segment of people who are like, and I have a civilian job now and I would like to build a business. So you're qualified to talk to both groups. So to hear you talk a little bit about
Michelle: that. Okay. So the first thing that pops into my head is that like, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a traditional job.
I mean, I knew for me, like the first thing I recognized when I went to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up that, you know, 27, 28 years old the common denominator of me being unhappy and everything I had leading up to that was like me. And the first thing I realized was I needed to be an entrepreneur if I want to be happy.
And that was the last, that was a lie. I resisted that with every ounce of my being, because I wanted. A grownup job for the first time in my life. I wanted, you know, for an actor, like I had all of these day jobs and I wanted these, you know, unethical thing, like a salary and a paycheck every two weeks that, you know, could actually pay my bills you know,
Tami: satisfaction while working for some, for something I would ask, I
Michelle: just knew.
I just knew. I wasn't finding that. You know what I mean? Like I just knew, like I wanted the, I wish I still wish, like, you know, I could have gone through what color is your parachute video? Like, you'd be so happy being an accountant. Like, yes. Thank you. Like that's the easy path, right? I spent the hard path trying to be an actor.
Now you're gonna make me, you know, be an entrepreneur and try to build this from scratch. Like, but w. The thing that I say to my clients and my readers and anyone who follows me I am not a like owning your fitness is just like sunshines and rainbows and you know, all the time. No, it's not, no, it's not stop it.
This is not like girl boss hustle all day mompreneur BS. You have to pick your stress preference. And for me, my stress preference is as a business owner, I would rather have the stress of like, Getting my next dollar finding my next clients, like, no, I go this next launch, shouldn't be going to be people.
Are they God. And like having to do that all myself and not know where the next dollar is coming from. And thankfully, you know, 12 years into business, I trust very much that like the dollars will be there and the people will be there even though I suffer imposter syndrome, like everyone else. You know, and still that, yeah, that fear of, Oh my God, it's all going to fall apart at any second.
And that's my stress preference so that I could call my own shots. I could work with who I want. I could have an unlimited, you know, income cap. Like I don't need to answer to anyone, but there are people that say, Oh my God, I don't want my stress preference is to just follow it. Someone else dictates.
I, I do like go into the office and leave when they want so that I could have the, you know, Paycheck of a certain amount of money every two weeks that I could count on and all of those other things So I think that, you know, if you're one of those people that's listening that has been thinking about being a business owner and it's a good way to kind of weigh out that decision of, do you really want to commit to this?
Do you really want to start it? Is it really something that's happening? And for me. When I realized I want to be an entrepreneur back in 2007, I want to be an entrepreneur. And the way I'm going to go about that is to get my life coaching certification. Which I still laugh at, like who, who let me do that seems so like irresponsible.
Right. And I lived in New York city. I lived with my boyfriend, who's my husband now. And You know, the first thing that I did to reach the school was not like, Oh, let me just quit my job and go take these classes and try to build up my business right away. Like, no, I had bills. I had responsibilities that was not acceptable to me.
And so the first thing I did was. What I call now get a brake job because the job I was in at the time was on paper or really great fit for me. And I had a boss that made me psychosomatic. And it was so draining. It was so exhausting. I felt like I was verbally abused. Most of the days I was in that job.
And I knew I could not build my business and get my certification while I was in that job, working under. That bully. And so the first thing I did was to get a new job that I felt, and I call it a bridge job because you know, you're there to bring you someplace else, but it is, it gives you the money that you need in order to not stress about money and as much of your time and energy as you could have.
So I went from like a position where. I was verbally abused all the time. I was expected to be on a Blackberry answering cause it was 2007 answering emails on Sundays at 11 o'clock at night, I would have this needless travel. It was all consuming to having a job. Where, you know, I clocked in at nine and I clocked out at six and they pay you overtime.
So they didn't want you to take it. I was forced to take a lunch hour every day. I didn't have a Blackberry, I wasn't on call. Like once I left, I was done. And I even got a $10,000 salary bump. So I stayed in that job for two years and seven months while I got my certification while I built my business, while I worked 50 hours a week, while I got engaged while I got married.
And I realized in December, It was 2009, like a year or so into, you know, the people we had back then financially, globally that I had pretty much saved enough money that if I gave my notice three months later, when I got my bonus which was, you know, another grownup thing I thought I wanted I would basically have five months severance.
And at that point I said, Okay, I'm ready to go out on my own. So I've been full-time since March of 2010. I haven't had to look back. Thank God, knock on wood. And you know, I got my cancer diagnosis in November of 2011, so I was not going through day jobs, certification, business, building cancer at the same time the cancer came later.
Bonus gift. It was a year. Oh yeah, it was great. It was like right when I N I mean, There's so much of it as I look back to be grateful for, but that experience, because I mean, I heard these horror stories of women and I was 33 at the time. Like I was in a, you know, Facebook group and connected to other young women who got a similar diagnosis and like they were being fired from their jobs and their employers were just like counting on them, not to Sue them because they couldn't.
They didn't, they weren't going to let them take leave, or they had to come in after every chemo treatment, because they didn't have enough sick days. You know, for me, like I was in business for a year and a half for myself at that point. So I kind of had my footing. And you know, when I got that diagnosis, of course it was like right after.
I planned, I spent like three days with my assistant at the time. And we planned out all of 2012, like every single date of every single thing and programs opening this day, a lot of blah. And like then cancer came and it was the ha so now I never planned more than 90 days in advance. I think that's part of my self-care too.
But you know, I handled that. Differently than I would. If I was still at that job and whatnot. So it was a huge shock obviously to any 33 year olds or anyone in general to get a breast cancer diagnosis at that point.
Tami: Absolutely. And I'm so happy that you obviously made it through your cancer and that you have continued to.
Thrive in your business. So you talked earlier about your non-negotiable morning. Yes. So, so, and it's funny because how I usually phrase this question is how does self care affect your work? And so when I ask you in that way, Michelle what happens if you don't do self-care and then what happens if you do self care?
Michelle: Okay. So I am. Whew someone that I feel like, especially with the cancer diagnosis and FYI, the cancer came back in 2015. But I saw it again. Okay. But it's been around twice in the last nine years. And, you know, self care, I feel like especially the last time it came around, you know, you have, I call them the begrudging life lessons where you're like, I wish I would learn this any other way, but this is the way that I learned it.
So I guess I better take this lesson in between my first two cancer bouts. I made a lot of. I guess we could say like kind of more superficial changes. Yeah. Where I switched all my makeup and, you know, skincare stuff to natural products. And I stopped eating meat for the most part and was eating, you know, very clean.
And I started Being more athletic, which I still laugh at because I don't consider myself athletic in any way, shape or form, but exercise kind of became important to me because all of the studies showed that it decreases your risk of cancer recurrence. And so I did all of these things that and I didn't really get to the root.
I feel like of. What I should have addressed back then, too. Which is that like, I'm definitely a workaholic. I'm definitely a productivity junkie. I'm definitely someone who and I think it's because I throw up a little bit in my mouth when I say this, but I'm someone who like, I love my work so much.
I derive a lot of meaning from my work. But that to me just meant, like I better be at my desk, you know, I better like wake up in the morning. And take a shower, have my cereal and get to my office. I better turn on my computer right away. I'd better sit in this seat until it's five o'clock or six o'clock.
And then that's the acceptable time. And I leave like no lunch break, no more, no nothing. Just productivity machine for like eight, nine hours a day. And I'm not someone who overworks myself to death. I was never a proponent of like, let's work till midnight or work all weekend and never have a day off.
Like I am anti. Hustle culture like that. But that was always my priority. And my, the tape that was in my head was always like, you don't have time. You don't have time, you don't have time. You don't have time. So once I started, once I had that second diagnosis and I realized what I really have been neglecting.
Was this limiting belief that I have this motivation piece, this like totally false belief that, you know, busy equals productive equals successful. So I just need to be dizzy all the time. And I wasn't really dealing with the other internal pieces that became really evident that I needed to deal with.
So I worked with a coach at the time and she really helped me see that like, I needed to carve out a very intentional morning during my work week that if I don't have this intentional morning, my chances of spiraling into the like, Oh, I have to pee. No, don't get up. You could wait. You have to send this email like that kicks in much more quickly and easily email emergency lie.
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Big time. And I still sometimes catch myself like, Whoa, why am I not. Going to pay, like what I could come back, what, like what I still feel like I still feel that so in the mornings now I have my alarm set for six 40. I go downstairs, I feed the kid if need be. I feed the cat, I make the coffee, I have my breakfast.
And then I do some sort of moving my body. So, Three times a week during the week, I go for a run, usually with a partner, socially distance. I have a running buddy. So I meet her at seven 30. But days I'm not running with her, I'll do a strength training you know, 20, 30 minutes strength training, and then a stretch.
I'm moving my body in some way here in my house. And then I stretch. I shower, I get trust. And before I opened up my computer, I also, I took email off my phone. So it's not even an issue. I did that a little while ago. Before I look at my computer, before I look at my email for do anything, I come into my office.
I put on my diffuser, I shut my office doors. And. I opened up the shine app, which I highly recommend. And I usually do their daily shine, which is usually a five to 15 minute meditation. And if I, and then I start my day and if I don't do those pieces, things just wind up feeling real bad and getting out of control real quick.
You know, what's crazy
Tami: is how many people, well, okay. Th this I'm going to be captain
Michelle: obvious for a second.
Tami: Back in March, when everybody went from, I go somewhere to work to now I work at my house. Yeah. The first few weeks everyone's like, ha eating potato chips in my pajamas. And then after a while they're like, Oh shit, we're never going back to the, I got real panicky, probably around three weeks in where they're like, Oh my God, it turns out potato chips and coffee for breakfast with a side of meat.
Gives me a tummy cake and I can't concentrate. Why are these kids here? I've been telling people like you got to start in the morning. Yes. It's setting your day. Intentionally. Not that intentional day. Yes. Again, it's this mind. It's like this Jedi mind trick.
Michelle: Yes. Yes. And it's,
Tami: I know it feels like you don't have time to really do well
Michelle: and us now.
Right. I feel like the world kind of caught up to us where I was the weirdo where people were like, Wait a sec. So you own this business, like where's your office, where do you meet your clients? I'm like online on zoom. I mean, you know, I've been using zoom for years. It's like, this is how I do all of my clients, not all before COVID I would meet some clients in New York city sometimes.
And I live in Montclair, New Jersey, just outside the city. And sometimes I'd have local clients and we'd go to a coffee shop, but you know, 80%, 85% of my client work was online. So I felt like not that much change. For me, but it was interesting to see how my clients showed up were like, yeah, they were coming in sweat pants.
They were coming, you know, as they would usually come because I would have calls in the middle of the day they were coming they're professional clothes. Cause they were at their day jobs or they would come you know, in their cars because that was the only private spot they could fit. And now like everyone's coming kind of in their pajamas without their makeup and things have definitely changed.
People realize like, yeah, no, I need to get dressed. I mean, not to begin with like, I have to have a bra on torch all day. Like I have to like, that's that to me is like, you are working like I'm wearing a bra, you are working. I can't do it other than, and
Tami: so there's so many memes about like, Oh my God are.
Pants with zippers and high and bras in the way of the Dodo bird. And I'm like, I am wearing a bra, right? The second I will wear it all day. I haven't put shoes on other than athletic shoes on. Yes.
Michelle: I'm with you. Like, no. My slippers all day, but I've always been doing that, right. Like always been, I'm not doing anything that's that different.
Although I liked when I was able to. Even just like go to the coffee shop. And that was part of my self-care routine too, was, you know, when you are in the same room of your house day in and day out all the time you go crazy. And so, so at least that was great. Says
Tami: the extrovert, the extra. Yes, that's
Michelle: true too.
Actually. That's true too. That's true too. So like pre COVID, you know, my kid would get off the bus, like around four o'clock or whatever and where we're a one car family. And so, you know, my husband was in charge of like, being, being with her and, you know, usually needing the car and like, I would have calls, I would stop my calls at around two o'clock.
Cause that was kind of my threshold. And I would gather up my stuff and I make my husband like drop me off at the coffee shop and he would come back and pick me up at like five, five 30, because I needed to get out of the house because I could not be here when she was here because she's Screaming banshee,
Tami: enthusiastic participant in her mother.
Michelle: that's a better way to put it, yeah. Screaming in San Berson. And I just could not like I could not deal. And I just had to get out of my space and at least just being in the coffee shop you know, was like, okay, I think a really important self-care piece for me. And it's really hard to not have that.
That outlet anymore. I just be here. I know that I'm going to be here while she's here doing her schooling and you know, my husband's trying to wrangle her and I'm just working with headphones. And especially as, I mean, you're in California, I'm jealous, like here in New Jersey, as the weather gets colder, at least I would, you know, work outside on the patio.
I'd work outside and now it's just kind of going away. So we're all kind of stuck.
Tami: Yeah. We had some We had a taste of that when we had non-stop wildfires. And I was like, okay, I can see why people on the East coast are real tense about the weather,
Michelle: the winter. Right.
Tami: But we have stay inside summer here.
And I just want to like really talk to this point of. Knowing yourself and knowing deeply what you need, because what you need is not what I need, which is not what
Tami: super individual. So how did you come up with all of these things of like, this is going to scratch this itch in this way for me at this time also, Hey everyone, your self care need changes on your age, the season of your life, the season of.
The seasons. I don't ever know how to say that, but like, why is the summer self-care very different than my winter self-care so, so how did you come to know yourself in the way that you're like, I need these kinds of things in this way, at this time.
Michelle: Oh, that's so interesting. I'm trying to think back.
You know, I think that once I started running and I still laugh because I'm like, how did I become a runner? I was a kid going to like performing arts high school, half the day, junior and senior years because dance class counted as yeah. But, you know, and it was like, Oh my God, I don't have to take shit.
But I started running. And I think that running to me, there, there is still that part of me. That's like, I want that. I want that gold star. I want that checklist of like, there ha there have been studies that show that people that do 180 minutes a week of cardio. Have less of a chance of cancer recurrence than other people.
So I feel like that is a way to kind of sooth my self and my own anxiety about the cancer coming back, that I feel like I'm doing something towards it and that self care in a way really that's
Tami: future that's present me taking care of future means. Yes. And that was a leap of faith in that we can't control the future, but we can control we're doing right now,
Michelle: Q well, and then there was this great side effect.
Not runner's high. I feel like I've never really experienced runner high. But it was this great side effect of like, this is how I relieve my stress. And it just became so apparent that when I wasn't running or moving my body in some way, I was more stressed out and overwhelmed than I was otherwise.
So I think that was really big, even though I would not say like, I love running, I'm going to, I'm never running there. I found it's never happening, but I run a few half marathons. But it's definitely this is how I relieve my stress. So that was a big piece. And then, and the meditation, I mean, I think that was.
Another kind of related to the cancer journey where, you know, let's practice gratitude, let's practice visioning. I mean, I remember getting radiation back in 2016 and in my mind I would take that, you know, half hour that it was happening and just envision like. You know, ma like mad emoji faces, like leaving my brain and being replaced with like happy emoji face and hearts.
And I would picture that and like different areas of my body and meditation as what. I knew that it was an important piece of the puzzle to be more positive, to quiet my mind, to help with my anxiety. And it just became obvious that like, this is not something I should stop anytime soon.
So I think those are really the. The pieces that I'm going to be doing no matter what. And they might be taking different forms, but the second I dropped something, I'm just not too great. Yeah, my morning.
Tami: Yeah, go ahead. Oh no. I was just going to say, like, I resist all things that are good for me
Michelle: as we all do.
What is up with
Tami: that? I don't know. I it's some human. I have this internal Jerk. Who's like, you know, I don't want to fuck you. Don't tell me what to do. And I also have this, like, okay, but what would happen if, what if you took the advice of every health medical health expert in the world, and you just tried what they said, what would happen if you tried what they said?
And so that's the only way I get to myself to do something is to like, do this. Thing, getting exercise meditation, stretching, going to sleep all of that, do it as an experiment. And I'm flabbergasted. At every experiment where I'm like, Holy moly, I feel so much better. I'm like, shit. It turns out there are some non-negotiable human design things that we all need.
You can deny them, especially in our twenties. I don't know about you, but I just like the step rate. Of course, that was me too. Of course. Get up early, take a shower and then work all day and be like, Oh, I feel a little like crap. Let's do it again. Like I used to be able to do that. And it w and in your twenties for a lot of people, your body's like, I can't believe we're doing this again.
That's crazy. Yeah. But around 30, my body was like, okay, we're going to have a talk. I need to knock it off. And I turned 50 in March that shifts it's non I know,
Michelle: I know. I know. We're experiencing that too. I mean, my, my husband is 44 and he's like, You know, binge drinking certain beers. And he'll just like, say to me over the past, like year or so, and just be like, Has beer stopped agreeing with me, like I'm trying to drink bottles.
I'm trying to drink cans. I'm trying to drink craft. I'm trying to drink this. Like nothing feels good and it's like, ha, I have gone on the, you know, like red wine, sometimes white wine or Rose a bandwagon. Specifically, like, I feel like that's a cancer piece too, of like, that's kind of one of the only things you read, like yes.
Red wine, go ahead. Like, you're fine. You know, even though yes. Moderate, whatever. But Oh my God, I barely have. Hard liquor. Like he has almost stopped drinking. Like, we'll just say, feel good anymore.
Tami: 44. I was like what happened if I got this? I know
Michelle: my God, I know
Tami: six years into it. I literally had one drink in six years.
Cause I accidentally had a drink at a house party and somebody offered me something and I thought it was a fancy juice. It was delicious. Grapefruit. Boozy drink. I was like, halfway in. I was like, Oh shit, this has booze in it. So it's not like, Oh
Michelle: my God. Right, right, right, right. But you know, quickly it affects you quickly.
Tami: Right. But the point is that I didn't stop drinking because I was an alcoholic or I was like in danger of losing my job. I was just like I think Booz is turned on me. And I think I have to maybe break up with it. Yeah, it is a couple of months ago I had like a day of French fries and I basically ate like a teenager and then I was laying on the couch, holding my tummy and my daughter comes up and she's like, When are you going to learn?
You can't eat like that anymore. And I was like,
Michelle: nine-year-old is bringing it home, man.
Tami: I'm like, clearly not
Michelle: like Hertz, but see at the same time. So, so we are recording this in the midst of, you know, election results, anxiety waiting. And like I made a disparaging remark about how I've been eating to my husband yesterday.
And he's like, You got to stop. I am. I'm my main focus right now on my self is kindness and compassion, which I feel tie in so much to self care. And he heard me like disparaging, like, Oh my God, I eat pizza. And we're eating all the Halloween candy and like this and this. And he's like, yeah. You're fine.
It's okay. Like this, isn't how you eat all the time. Like, we are all stressed out. We can eat our feelings this week and then we'll like, get better. Yeah. Okay. I feel like we asked, right? Okay. Yes, it's. Okay, great. Thank you. Like that's okay. Right.
Tami: Uncertainty. Does not help us make our best choices. However, self-compassion gets us back to, okay, wait, how do I feel right now?
I fast, not mentally, but physically I'm like, Ooh, maybe I'll have a vegetable today because of, yeah, mine too. The insides I know.
Michelle: Right, exactly. And you know what sometimes, and it's funny, we went to like a. You know, nutritionist. Oh my gosh. It seems like forever ago, probably the beginning of the year.
And she was all about intuitive eating and we really learned about intuitive eating and I was just like, I don't understand. I don't understand, like if your body wants a cookie, she's like, yeah, sometimes you probably just, it's a cookie and it's okay to have that cookie and like just eat the cookie.
Don't feel bad about the cookie. Now, if you eat five cookies, what's probably gonna happen is you might've intuitively wanted those five cookies, but you're gonna. Realize that is not really what your body wanted. Like, and probably the next time, you know, you're not going to eat five cookies because intuitively it's your, body's going to remember how it felt to eat five cookies and you'll stick to just one.
And you know that there were some really interesting aha moments. I will
Tami: say. I have I have a couple of close friends who are intuitive eating coaches, and it's a pleasure to eat with them because we're reading all the things and we're not fast. Yes. And on election night I grabbed the cookie jar and some oat milk.
Cause I like dairy. I don't drink, I don't eat dairy because it, I am allergic to it. But I sat down in front of the TV, I ate two cookies and drank my milk and I put the lid on the cookie jar. Yeah. And the next morning my daughter got up and she's like, who's eating all the cookies. I was like, I had to come on.
Right. And she goes, Oh, that's right. Cause there's cookies left. And she's like, how'd you did. How's your tummy. I'm like, it's fine. Oh my God, because that's the thing, like, I feel like years ago I probably would have eaten a lot more.
Michelle: Yes. And now I'm like, but to
Tami: his kind yes.
Michelle: To my tummy. Yes. And that's a big self-care thing too.
Tami: Okay. So I'm doing the internal math. I think that you are an elder millennial. Oh, are you Jen? Are you. Super young gen X cause I'm hell a gen X. I
Michelle: am a young gen X. Okay. I'm that there was an article I was born in 78. There was a weird article that probably only people born from like 78 to 80 read, because it was like, if you were born from 70 to 80, you're in this weird, like not gen X, not millennial, kind of, it might've been like 78 to 82 or something like that.
But I'm is that
Tami: group of people because they're like, I fit nowhere.
Michelle: I didn't know where I fit nowhere. So yeah, definitely do not relate. I would, I relate more to gen X and millennials for sure. For sure. I
Tami: love millennials, but I'm hella gen X. My question to you is I always try to put that this question in context, which is, what did you learn about self care growing up?
Like, how is self care handled in the house? The house of
Michelle: origin. I hope my mom isn't listening. She listens to everything that I do. She's super supportive. Thank you, mom. I love you. You know, I was a kid that, and this is like, I feel like such an eighties thing. Right? I was a kid that was like, Schedule to an inch of my life.
You know, I could think back on like sixth grade and like, what was I doing extracurricularly in sixth grade? Like I was in select chorus. I was in all the shows. I had piano lessons. I had singing lessons. I was in Hebrew school. I was in dance class. Like that's just at any given moment, all the things that I had.
Going, I was probably in some sort of acting class. I was in shows. I w like I was, I could just keep going on. So I think that there wasn't a, like, there, there wasn't a self care thing. There wasn't a, like today we just need to rest and recharge there. Wasn't a we've had our capacity let's scale back.
Like none of, Oh, in sixth grade, I was probably also doing like, Softball. Yeah, I was doing softball even though I hated athletics and stuff. I like softball. It was fine, but I was doing that. There wasn't a, like you're at capacity. There's too much going on. Like less. Prioritize let's make a decision.
Let's pick our top three. Like yeah. It was all the things, so that's, that was super cultural. That was,
Tami: and it also speaks to you being at the latter end of the generation because I was a latchkey kid, so we didn't do shit
Michelle: actually kid in sixth grade, but I still had all that stuff.
Like I still had all that stuff or like, I w I don't know, my mom's friends would pick me up and take me places, or I would stay late at school for choir practice or the play. And like, my mom would come after work and pick me up. Like, I still had all that stuff, even though I distinctly remember.
I mean, my mom would work when I was in like fifth or sixth grade. And I, when I came home right after school, I would come home and let myself in and watch punky booster and eat my snacks. And like, that would be. But it was
Tami: sorry. I'm giggling about punky Brewster. And I watched punky Brewster with the kids.
I was a nanny for yeah. In the late eighties, so yeah. Yeah. Yeah, but that's, but isn't it interesting. So what did your parents do for self care? Because mine didn't do anything. I just say most people are like nothing. I mean, I have nothing
Michelle: more nothing. I mean, my
Tami: some murder on
Michelle: top, but yeah, I mean, my family was, Oh, he's very social.
I would say that both of my parents were extroverted. I'm extroverted. My brother's probably not, but maybe a little bit. So it, it was a constant, like, I mean, I think there was a piece of, you know, a lot of social dates, like a lot. My parents. I would be with a bait. Me and my brother would be with a babysitter every single Saturday night of my childhood while my parents went out, either by themselves or with friends, usually with friends.
So that's probably part of their self care that they had a Saturday night date every single week. And yeah, those sort of relationships are probably rooted in their self care, but like my dad would play tennis. My dad played softball. He had those activities. My mother just was with us. Or like she was the president of the PTA when I was in elementary school.
Like, this doesn't seem like self-care to me. But it was more, you know, getting together with her friends and stuff like that, that I think kind of counted as self-care totally. And
Tami: I'm. It's like sitting here, like, wow. A date night every week. That's every week. And that's really incredible modeling.
So you have a young daughter or how do you think you're doing and modeling self-care to your
Michelle: daughter? It's hard. It's definitely something I'm really aware of and a big motivating piece for me. Like I don't I don't want her to think that. You know, as a woman you should never stop. You should be, you know, if you're not working, you should be, you know, cleaning up or you should be what are you volunteering here or doing this or doing that?
I think I'm also very conscientious of how much we signed her up for at once. And have said to friends or my mom, you know, and, Oh, you know, it doesn't, she live tennis. You're gonna sign up for tennis. No, we're good. We have two classes. That's enough. Giving her more of that freedom. Of, you know, what she wants to do in her downtime.
And she's also, I mean, you know, we don't know this for sure. She can't verbalize this yet, but she is definitely an extrovert. And we are very lucky to live on a street with about a half dozen other families with kids under the age of 10. So we have like a built-in pod social thing right here, just on our street.
And. I feel like the self care piece. You know, I do leave weekend days that are just open that it's just like, we get to do what we want or we just get to relax. Like, she's always doing so. I wish there was more like downtime in our family, but she will not, she's a reader, but only at night.
When we go to bed, like she won't sit quietly with a book for an hour. She's just not that kid. But saying to her, like, I just need some sometimes to sit with the paper, I just need to rest, like you could play entertain yourself and that doesn't go over a hundred percent of the time, but it'll go over 40% of the time and I'll take it though, is that 40% of the time?
So, you know, as, as much as we're able to kind of. Put that message out there. I hope she's getting some of it.
Tami: I have also what we call our daughter, the mayor of Midtown, because she really knows everyone in Midtown Sacramento and everyone who's ever visited. I mean, everyone feels welcome when they come to Midtown because my kids out there like.
Making sure everyone feels welcome, but one of the things that we here's a trick, I want you to try this with yours and that is, we have her do something with her hands, whether it be play with clay or color or Lego and an audio book on, ah,
Tami: she's still getting that like. That's access really good kid lit that she does not have the patience to sit down and read herself.
Michelle: That's super smart. Yeah. We've tried podcasts and they've like, and like, she hasn't really caught on, but that's super interesting to think of there's play. Like my daughter loves Legos and she loves drawing and stuff like that. So that, that is. That'd be great. Thank you. Thank you.
Tami: You're welcome. I mean, and like every time we go on a car trip, we're like, what long kid's book should we listen to?
Yeah. And one thing, I mean, it's nice too, because, and I say this as a teacher, it actually helps their reading and their love of reading and their fluency and their comprehension and their listening, because they're able to take in those stories in a relaxed state. Yeah.
Tami: And it gives them access to all this rich language.
And so some people are like, Oh, they're just listening. It's like, no, it's such a great literacy building tool that everyone can feel really good about putting on an audio book while your kid is doing something. And then pro tip, while they're doing that, you put your own headphones on and set your own book.
Right. Like we can build in like we're both we're together, but yes,
Michelle: totally. Totally. Oh, that's great. Thank you. You're
Tami: welcome. Okay. So I feel like we already covered how you practice self-care as a grownup, but is there anything else that you want to add?
Michelle: I mean, I, you know, I feel like the other things are being intentional about you know, working through, say this to my clients all the time.
Like. I'm aware of when I need a break and I am deciding to ignore that feeling. And so I'm being very intentional of like stopping now in the middle of the day, especially since I can't go to the coffee shop. I take a walk for like 20 minutes every day because I need to get out, I need to get away from the computer.
So that has contributed to my self care and to kind of recharging my own batteries. Instead of just powering through and finishing that email or whatever other ridiculous nonsense, I'm convincing myself as more important. And I think, you know, work hours are also key as well. So like I started around 10.
I finished around five 30. I'm doing my best to not work weekends. I rarely work nights. And I think that all ties into self care too, so I can really recharge and not burn myself out and prioritize the things that I want to prioritize. Right. So like yesterday I had calls like, All day for most of the day.
And I was running the tape in my head of like, you should work late, you didn't get to do as much as you want it. And my daughter had asked the night before, could we watch the witches the new version that just came out with Anne Hathaway. And I said to her the day before, like, Oh, we could do it tomorrow because she didn't have school.
She doesn't have school today. So I was like, we could do it tomorrow. We could even start it a little late. Well, you know, we'll do it tomorrow at like five o'clock. And so. She didn't remember that commitment. Usually she does and she can say, is it time to watch the witches? But I remembered it and I was really looking forward to it.
And I was like, Hey, I could work for another hour. And I could also stop right now and go walk to the witches. And I did. And it was definitely the right decision. So, it's making very intentional choices like that, that I normally would say no, I don't have time. Oh, I know I told you that, but I don't have time or it can't happen.
Or mama has to work or whatever that is just not happening as often anymore.
Tami: I have to say one of the things that is both. It's revolutionary. And it's also like the simplest thing ever, which is now that so many of us are spending so much time, more time with our families. Like our relationship to time has changed over the time that we've been in the pandemic because it's like, we're not sure if up is down and totally right.
And like what's a weekend. And so I've been really intentional. I always, excuse me. I just about to give some hyperbolic language there always had really good work boundaries. Yeah. Because I, I felt that scarcity of like, but I only have a little bit of time, but when I found is when I have hard start and hard stop times, I actually get more done.
Michelle: Yes. It's Parkinson's law. It's a law. It's a scientific law. Thank you. That the amount of time it takes the amount of time it takes for something to get done expands or contracts based on how much time you have for that thing. Right. Wait,
Tami: people are constantly like, I can't believe how much content you put out and that you have committed to always working full-time or part-time like, yeah, I know.
Yeah. I don't spend a lot of time farting around thinking aunts or guests or anything else? Yes. Quick and dirty. And it's. Yeah. An exercise in imperfection, every single
Michelle: hard for us overachievers. It's
Tami: hard that people, and it's so funny. People Marvel at the amount of content and the quality of content.
I'm like, you guys, I'm putting out C plus work. Yes every day, he's like, you're blowing sunshine up my skirt and I'm not sure who is crazy or you or me rolling with it. I love ever
Michelle: get anything done. I love it, right? Yes, totally.
Tami: So, Oh, I'm so glad that I never cut onto the British a baking show. Oh, you know, I
Michelle: tried, Oh my
But recently. During the election cycle, it has been bomb on Madame soul. You know, I
Michelle: have, I have a friend that's about the soul into it. Yes. I'll just say
Tami: yes, the collection's on Netflix and I'm watching with my daughter. And so there's a lot of it's. It's kind of like watching Mr. Rogers in a way in that only one thing is happening at a time.
That's not a drama and then it can be soothing for both of us. And it's Oh, it's so nice. And so a lot of times after she gets done with school, I could look at her undone work list and be like, You have to finish this,
Michelle: you have to fight, right? And sometimes I'm like,
Tami: you need to finish this, but most of the time, I'm like, you've been on zoom calls all day long,
Tami: now we are done and we are going to play a board game while we have nice British people making weird.
That's exactly right, right. Cause it's the afternoon of some curious. We're not sure what day it is.
Michelle: It doesn't really matter. Absolutely.
Tami: Okay. So what areas of your self care are going well? And what do you think could use some more attention?
Michelle: The, I mean, everything I mentioned with like the morning routine and taking a break and stuff during the day that has been going really well and what needs more attention is being kind to myself in my own head.
It's really where I'm focusing. Cause I think that's a really big piece of self care and you know, the expectations I have for myself are. It was so high all the time. And you know, that's the, I call it vampire voices because they're there to stuff, the good stuff out of you. You know, they like to just tell me how many ways I'm not meeting those expectations.
So I need to practice that self-compassion and that kindness.
Tami: I have to say, I, when I learned about self-compassion, I was like, Oh my God, there's another way to live. Oh my God was what I had the idea. Absolutely. I remember literally remember what I was wearing when I was introduced to this concept and was like, my life there's a before self-compassion and then there's some after self-compassion PS, I have to practice it 24 hours a day.
I think I'm practicing in my sleep and I have. A gaggle of critics in my head and the head critic I have named blanche because my friend Rosie Molinari wrote a book called beautiful. You it's like 365 exercises that get you towards a radical self self acceptance. It's the other one. Yeah,
The other self thing.
Tami: Yeah. And naming my. My most ardent critic has helped me be nicer to her. Right. We have this natural inclination of like, someone's being mean I'm going to fight back. It's like, well, you could, except that the call is coming from inside. That yes, absolutely mean to inside the house is not going to get you where you think you're going.
And so this idea of like, okay, let us. Tend to be friend blanche is her name. What if me and blanche got to hold hands? And then I hugged her real tight and said, I know it's scary time. No, you think we're going to spontaneously combust. If we do something scary, like cross the street. But what if I hold your hand and carry you?
I'll cover your eyes. And when we get to the other side I'll say, see, here we are. Right also. Well, yes,
Michelle: yes. Yes. I love Elizabeth Gilbert's analogy where she's like. You know, that fear, that inner critic, like it's coming along for the ride, whether we want it or not, but I'm not inviting it to, to ride shotgun.
Like it has to sit in the backseat. Like I am in the front with my tunes, I'm controlling it. Like it has to go in the back. And I think that is exactly right, exactly. Right. And I tell my clients too, that so often. You know, I really just all the time, like the inner critics, vampire voices, they exist to keep you safe and keep you in what, you know?
Because anything that is unknown is unsafe to them. And so they really are trying to protect you, but you know, you, you ain't got time for that. And they do it in like the most unkind way. Oh, you know, we got to get around
Tami: that. Yeah. They're like, I'm going to shock you into. Not doing that thing. Like I didn't, I wanted to start a podcast in 2012.
Right. And it took me till
Michelle: 2019. Wow. Yes. And that story is like one of many, and there are people right now that said I wanted to start a podcast in 2012 and I still haven't done it. Yeah.
Tami: Yeah. And that's why it's like, okay. Small pieces every day, everything's imperfect. And the only thing that got me to really be able to go is I have a wonderful assistant and she's like, Hey, I've heard really nice things about your boss.
You can make those rules just like, and just a reminder, you can start over at any time. I was like, you're right. Just call a do-over. You're
Michelle: good. She's no longer your assistant. She's your Yoda. That's amazing. Yeah,
Tami: exactly. She's actually, he's like such the right hand. Yes, my entire business and life she's I feel like she's like the conscious of my business where I'm like, she's like, I'm just telling you what you tell everyone else.
I'm like, yes.
Michelle: Thank you. Yes, exactly. Okay.
Tami: So what else should people know about you and where can people find you online?
Michelle: Yeah. What else should they know about me? I don't know. I don't know. What else is there to me other than my work notable? They kidding. I feel like I, I went through everything that, you know, I live outside of New York city.
I have a six-year-old I've had two bouts of breast cancer. I'm a business launch coach for creative women. Find [email protected] You could follow me follow the Instagram and Pinterest buttons. Otherwise just go to 90 day biz launch on Instagram. That is the only and I've played my ukulele and I sing and I'm.
Weird. I don't know, come hang out with me. That's
Tami: it. Okay. I'm Michelle. I want to say this in the nicest way possible. Yeah, you are a weirdo in the same way that I'm a weirdo in this. Like, this is who we are. This is. Yeah. That's all how we really are. So well, that's kind of weird today, right? Exactly.
It's like awesome. Let's all hold hands with all the other weirdos. There's no need to fit in. Yes. You busy belonging because we hadn't talked about Bernay Brown yet. So there she
Michelle: is. Oh my God. Always right. Two white ladies. Totally gotta bring her up. Two white ladies in a self-development world. We need to.
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