I hope that all of you have had a productive beginning to the new year so far. I look forward to continuing and reaching my achievable goals with each target date I encounter. In part two of this interview with Michelle, we will discuss what rituals you can do to keep you from getting stressed out while reaching your actionable goals. My friend Nicole was with me during this interview, so you may see her chime in briefly from time to time. We will also talk about ways of thinking that can ensure you are able to work these into your daily hectic life without feeling guilty if things don’t turn out the way you envisioned.
Sesame Street Rituals
E: What ritual do you have to keep you centered? Is there anything that you do in the morning or right before you go to bed.
MW: This is fairly new but I have a journaling practice, I guess I should say. I’ve been working with a Spiritual Life Coach, because this is who I am now. When she and I started working together she gave me a bunch of prompts to answer every morning and every night for that first week or two worth of homework. It was questions in the morning, “Describe your dream.” Which is why I remember my dreams now because I wake up in the morning and it’s supposed to be the first thing that you do. That often doesn’t happen. ‘What did you dream about? What do you think it’s trying to tell you? How do you feel? What are your thoughts? What are your intentions for the day? Three things you are grateful for. What fun and adventure are you going to have today? And what are the tasks for today?’ And then at night: it’s going back to your feelings, your thoughts, three things your grateful for, who you’re forgiving, which is a big one for me it’s very hard. How the universe supported you that day, a loving thought for yourself the positive choices you made for that day. Choices that served me and choices that didn’t serve me. So, I’m not super consistent. I usually do them one or the other. I rarely do AM and PM. But I try when I wake up in the morning, before I get to my phone, any of that stuff I’m just like, “Answer these prompts.” Sometimes I’ll do yoga. Sometimes I’ll do mediation. And then at night I try to have the TV off by 10 or 10:30 and I try to do those journaling prompts or read a book and stay off my phone.
E: Is the night your most alert time?
MW: Yes, I’m definitely more of a night owl. Then I am an early bird. I’ve tried to wake up and have a morning routine before my daughter wakes up, but that’s not…
E: I don’t know how old she is but the little boy I use to Nanny he would get up, his Mom said, “before Jesus” because he use to get up so early.
MW: Thank God, my daughter is not like that. And the earliest now, oh my God I shouldn’t say this, she woke up at 7 today and that’s been early. We’ve been getting out of bed 7:30/8 o’clock. She’s just over 2, she’s an extraordinary little girl. We’re just like, thank you, thank you Jesus. To bring Jesus back into it. But saying that I’m going to set my alarm for 7 o’clock and then I’m going to do my journaling and then do my yoga and meditation. No, I’m going to get up with her, I’m going to do my journaling while she’s watching Sesame Street, I do my yoga before I try to start my day or go on my first call, I try to do 5 minutes of mediation. I try to do five minutes of meditation before I go to bed at night. It happens sporadically, but the journaling and those prompts specifically and answering those questions and being able to freeform write whenever I want to or draw in my journal has been super super helpful. And staying present and mindful and centered and all of that good stuff.
1…2…3! 3 happy things! Ah Ah Ah!
E: What are three main things in your life that bring you joy and happiness?
MW: My family. I’ll just count them as one, my husband, my daughter. Our new house it’s really joyful and happy. Working with my clients makes me really joyful and happy. That’s it, those are three things. Those were easy.
E: So for people who’s work life is not one of the things that makes you the most happy, like before when you were doing the bridge job how did you cope with that and find joy in your daily work?
MW: A. You have to make time for yourself during the day. I think it’s so easy to buy into the corporate culture. You sit at your desk and eat lunch, you do not go outside for any reason. So every day I would take my lunch hour and at 3 or 3:30 me and my friend would go get some coffee for 20 minutes or I’d go get a manicure during my lunch hour or I’d have a client call. I was in classes for my certification during that job so I would go into a conference room and dial into a class. I was doing something for my business every day that brought things forward. That’s really important. So, if I wasn’t doing it during the day at work, and I am a proponent of doing your work on company time as long as it doesn’t lead to you not doing your work. Go write a blog post, while you’re at work and you don’t have anything to do. But don’t publish it on a Wednesday at 1, publish it at 8 o’clock at night. That sort of stuff I did a lot. So, that was a big piece and that just allowed me to feel like I was moving forward even though it was pretty slow. And then doing the things that matter to you. Like going to see shows or spending time with your partner or doing that yoga class that you really love or going for a run or whatever all has to happen.
E: What are you most passionate about or what gets you the most excited?
MW: In general?
E: It doesn’t have to be with your work but if it happens to be with your work, that’s awesome too.
MW: I think it’s definitely related to my work and seeing my clients doing things that we talked about and seeing that happen is very like, “AAAAAHHHH!”. I run this program called, “It’s Business Time” where after six months everyone has a website and logo. They came into the program and some of them had an idea for business and others didn’t and so after six months to see that and after the course of six months to see that and all of their websites you see over the course of a week. So, to see that is just this emotional thing. To be like, “Oh my God six months ago there was nothing and now…”
Nicole Norton: It’s a baby
MW: It’s totally a baby. Then I always think of my family and having my daughter do something she couldn’t do before. And today I was super in love with her today. So I was just like, (weepily) “You’re perfect. Oh my God. Can you talk to me more about daycare?” And she was just like, “Storytime, snack, go outside, lunch, Mommy come!” Anything having to do with her being happy is great or having a conversation with her now is great. I can’t get over that.
I Am Ramona
E: I love the post you did with her (Michelle’s daughter) trying to push the stroller. It was great.
MW: Awww thank you. You have to be careful what you wish for because before she was placed with us Luke and I would talk about the kid we wanted to have. We named her Ramona for Ramona Quimby because we wanted to have this really independent spunky kid who was a little rebellious and whatever and smart and does things her own way. That’s what we got to the point of she’ll look you in the face and go, ‘I can do it myself Mommy.’ It’s like okay baby. It’s hard because she wants to push that stroller and she kept veering it into the grass. And so my instinct is to go and do it for her and a lot of times she’ll say to me, ‘Mommy!’ and I’ll push the button on this thing and say, ‘Let’s do it together’. So, she kept veering into the grass and she kept saying, ‘No Mommy stand back, I do it! Ramona do it!’ That’s her main thing, ‘Stand back Mommy! Stand back, Ramona do it! I do it! Stand back!’ So, I said ‘Okay, but if you go slower, you won’t veer into the grass you’ll stay on the sidewalk.’ Because her two favorite words are “more faster”. This is my child. So I said, ‘Just slow down.’ And she just went and she left me behind her. I think a half a block earlier she looks back at me and goes, ‘Leave Mommy!’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not leaving you on the street.’ Like if you’re in your room I’ll leave you. I’m not leaving. ‘Leave Mommy.’ So, I was just able to take that shot and just be like, she is able to do it by herself and sure she veered into the grass, but it took longer than it did before and that’s what this lesson is all about. And the lesson for me and what I need to be practicing in my life.
E: Complete this sentence; I feel I am loving other best when I am…
MW: I am loving others best when I am…can I say present? Yeah, I think present. When I’m fully there in the moment. Then I can give them my full attention and not be anywhere else. And I think when I believe in them. That judgment free I believe in you, I support you is a great way to love somebody.
E: I feel I am loving myself best when I am…
MW: I feel like I’m going to roll my eyes at myself, but when I am practicing self-care. As much as that’s such a buzzwordy thing. If I don’t make time for my yoga. Tomorrow Luke is bringing Ramona to music class because I have sessions. If I don’t do my work I’m not going to be as good of a Mother as I could be because I’m not going to be happy. It’s self-care and doing things that nurture me and are healing things for me I need to keep doing for myself.
Stand Back! I Do It!
E: You already explained your most difficult work experience because that was the one where you were on the train and vomiting.
MW: Yeah vomiting, it doesn’t get much worse than vomiting.
E: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. What was your best working experience and what did you learn from it? I mean, I’m sure it’s now but…
MW: Yeah, it’s now. It’s over and over again now. I’m trying to think you know. I don’t want to say that there’s a highlight but, the first Creative Live class that I taught was this unbelievable moment of, ‘Oh, I know what the fuck I am talking about right now.’ And it felt like the culmination of all of my education and experience and interests up until that moment and that was a very weird kind of surreal thing where I was like, ‘Oh, here I am on camera, speaking about this shit that I’ve been working on for six years this is where my acting degree comes in, this is where my personality comes in this is where it all…’ My work and why I chose this work and the fact that it was two and a half days of six hours of teaching and every question I got from the audience I had and answer for and I was like, ‘Oh, I know my shit.’ This is why all of that other stuff had to happen. So, that was probably a highlight for me of just coming to that realization and feeling like there was purpose to everything I had ever done up until then. Even though it felt so disconnected sometimes.
N: That’s amazing
MW: It was amazing. It was really amazing.
My hope for this series is to do a weekly post of the sessions. So, next week you will get the final installment of Michelle’s interview. In this last part she will explain how you can achieve your actionable goals for 2017 and teach us how we can embrace receiving help when we need it.
I hope you have been enjoying these interviews as much as I have. Until next time.
To The Revolution!