Each Friday, a person who is making bold moves, living well, nurturing their creativity, following their passions, and making magic will be featured on Bold Living Today.
Today’s interview is with the multi-talented Michele Woodward. Michele is an executive coach, career strategist, author, speaker and teacher. She is also a great storyteller and a fantastic mentor to me. I was excited to feature Michele today because she is a master at helping smart people get unstuck, create a doable a plan, and move on to living boldly. I think she totally rocks!
Check out this fun and highly informative interview.
I enjoyed reading your book I Am Not A Superwoman.What motivated you to publish this book of your essays?
The essay about “The Expectations of Others” really jumped out at me. What are 4 ways people can feel more empowered to meet their own expectations in order to design the life they want?
First, you have to really come to know yourself. What are your strengths? Your values? Your preferences? Why are those things integral to who you are? Do you like yourself?
Second, you have to set your own parameters of success. My friend Jen Louden calls this “conditions of enoughness”. What will feel like an accomplishment – to you? Know it, own it, work toward it.
Third, visualize what will change in your life when you meet your expectations. What will be different? What will change? How will things improve? Connecting with your “why” in this way is extremely powerful.
Fourth, find a way to be comfortable owning your success/meeting your own expectations. So often, we women say the equivalent of, “Oh, this old thing? I’ve had it for years!” rather than say, “You know, I’m really proud of this accomplishment, thanks for mentioning it.” Which do you think is more empowering?
You pose a powerful question about whether someone’s personal narrative is moving them forward or holding them back. What two personal narrative factors typically hold people back?
Often people are really attached to an idea about themselves from the past. I spoke with a woman who loved who she was when she was a full-time parent. She loved feeling needed, and being primary in her children’s lives. When she became an empty-nester, she was devastated. But rather than adapt to a new definition of self, she held on to her “mommy” identity and – even 15 years later – felt she needed to drive a van, be available 24/7 and got on her adult children’s nerves because she wouldn’t allow them to be grown-ups. [it was really hard to help her find a job, see? Because her personal narrative had no room for “working person”.]
The other personal narrative that holds people back is one of a dependent person, or of a victim. So many women, in particular, say to me, “I couldn’t possibly be a single mom – I mean, I don’t think I could make it on my own.” Their idea of themselves is as dependent on someone else. And then via divorce, or death, they find themselves on their own and their personal narrative holds no room for being financially successful or independent. A close cousin to this is the victim narrative where a person so identifies with being powerless over some great, shaping force that they almost contrive to continue bringing sequential great, shaping forces into their lives because they cannot envision themselves in a narrative where they are strong, and capable.
I hope people paid close attention to your response to question 3.
How can a person shake free of this and move forward?
Coaching helps. But also self-inquiry, self-exploration, and getting to know and like yourself. When you like yourself, it’s really hard to put up with any nonsense or B.S. When you like yourself, you see being your best self (and your best advocate) as a must-have, not a nice-to-have. When you like yourself, your life changes and you are happier and more successful. The opposite is equally true.
What six words describe bold living for you?
More about Michele:
Executive Coach, career strategist, author, speaker and teacher, Michele Woodward has the ability to help executives get clear about who they are and what they want to do — and develop a workable action plan to get where they want to go.
Michele is a Master Certified Coach who has coached executives across the U.S. and around the world, from Japan and Australia to Latin America and Europe. She trains and mentors other coaches and is considered a “coach’s coach.”
As President of her own consulting firm prior to becoming a coach, Michele provided marketing, strategic planning and public relations advice to growing dot-com businesses. Continue reading…