Michelle is a peace, purpose and power activator, heart-led leadership coach and master hypnotist. She works with professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs to relieve stress, rediscover purpose and activate their power to create lives and businesses they love. A trained NLP Master Practitioner, Registered Master Hypnotist, Matrix Therapist, Meditation Teacher and Multiple Brain Integration Practitioner, Michelle works one-on-one, in her programme The Purpose Pathway, is a speaker and designs corporate wellness solutions using the power of the unconscious mind.
I started off as a shark photographer, then I spent 15 years as a brand and culture strategist, working with leadership in global and ASX businesses. However, I was burnout, miserable and yearning for more (although I didn’t know what that was). I quit, took some time out and stumbled across hypnosis as part of my Masters in Coaching. As soon as I did the first training, I knew this was what I was supposed to be doing. Hypnosis blew my mind. The last four years have been exploring and shaping it into a business.
Oprah once quoted ‘Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher’. How important is it to you to surround yourself with the right people?
This isn’t only about people who lift you higher, but people who lift you into alignment. The mainstream definition of success is study, get a job, climb the ladder, buy a house, get married, etc. Our brains compare us to the people around us. When I chose to leave my career, I was about to have a big step up in salary and seniority; it wasn’t logical to quit. Many friends were taking that next step too. I chose to spend time with people who were redefining success. This reinforced my choice and expanded my idea of what was possible.
Nelson Mandela once quoted – ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’
What has been one fear you have overcome?
Not being taken seriously when I became a hypnotist. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand it, think it’s woo woo, pendulums and chicken dances! It’s actually a performance accelerator. I wanted to use it with leading professionals and entrepreneurs, and I questioned how it would be received. This is a great example of the battle between the head brain and cardiac brain. I felt it was completely the right thing to do. Ultimately, I had to trust my heart intelligence, while I’ve generated more and more evidence of success to satisfy my head brain.
Tell us what the word “empowerment” means to you?
Often when we talk about the concept of empowerment it is linked to a person, group or environment that enable us to become empowered. The more I work with leaders, entrepreneurs and myself, I understand it’s a complete inside job. External factors can influence the ease with which you can create change, but ultimately the degree to which you are internally stepping into your power is real empowerment. What that means in practice is letting go of all blame, excuses and taking radical responsibility for your life and experience of it. Empowerment is embodying that every day – which is a lifelong practice.
What has been one of the biggest business ideas you have had and how did you have the courage to implement it?
Throwing out the traditional meaning of purpose, to tap into genuine purpose. Although the catalyst for wanting more purpose often sparks because we’re discontent in our career. Purpose itself is not a job. To truly tap into meaning and design a life you love, we have to become less attached to logic. But our whole society is based on logic. It’s been a fascinating journey refining this process for The Purpose Pathway (my experience to connect you with your purpose) – and doing this, with head brain, logical people like financial planners, engineers and professionals to get them out of their heads.
Running your own business can be scary. Success requires moments of courage to push through to the next level, please tell us one of the moments you have had to push through to take your business to the next level?
When I was employed, I used to think: “Imagine what I could create if I spent this much time and energy building my own business.” In practice, the commitment to do that was really scary. I used to feel my time was never my own: hijacked by meetings and travel. I had someone manage my calendar which actually made it worse. I was genuinely scared if my business took off, I would find myself back there. There’s a lot of unresourceful rhetoric around entrepreneurship, especially around working hours – honestly, it’s only true for you if you want it to be.
Tell us what attributes you feel make a good leader in business today?
High EQ. The best leaders not only inspire their people on a logical level but ignite heart-led purpose. Also, to be brave to approach challenges from a whole new perspective. The last two years employee expectations have changed significantly. We need to evaluate a lot of traditional business structure and process. For example, businesses need to find new ways to access capability as many people don’t want full-time roles anymore, how to shape culture when we don’t have people in an office and quality innovation – all the CEO’s I’ve spoken to this year have said this has dropped with remote working.
What is your favourite quote about empowerment?
It’s not so much a quote as a fact:
Only 4 percent of our mind is in our conscious awareness at any time. Imagine what you can create when you work with the 96 percent of your unconscious mind?
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
There is no more confronting lens for experiencing yourself than through your own business. All yours fears are going to surface. All your limiting beliefs about what you are capable of and worthy of achieving, they are going to show themselves. Any emotions you’ve been ignoring they’ll pop up too! It’s as much a personal journey as a professional one. Know that’s going to happen, embrace it and get support to navigate it. Finally, get clear on your personal values and build a business that allows you to experience them every day, it’s through that alignment you will experience purpose.
What would be one (1) question you would you ask the person who most inspires you? Also share with us about this person and why they inspire you?
I’d love to have a cuppa with Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee expert who has observed them for over 60 years. I’d ask her how chimpanzee’s use their emotions to inform their decisions and actions. Although, as humans we see ourselves as superior to animals, our overthinking minds are truly the cause of most of our issues. Animals are far superior to us at processing stress for example – I imagine they have much more to teach us. When we get out of our head and into our heart and our body, we activate our purpose and power.
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