How Michelle’s Ultimate Life Binder Became a Best Seller on Etsy
I met Michelle through the Members’ Club of the Female Entrepreneur Association. First online, by going through the creative bundles she...
I met Michelle through the Members’ Club of the Female Entrepreneur Association. First online, by going through the creative bundles she created for the members and the work she did for FEA. Then last year in person at Carrie Green’s Inspired Vacay. Michelle’s story is one of those stories that immediately inspires you to become a better version of yourself. Her mission is to help people take 100% responsibility for their life. She does this by creating beautiful products to help others manage their projects and lives. It’s also how she went from living what she calls a mediocre life to becoming a best seller on Etsy with her absolutely amazing The Ultimate Life Binder™.
What was your big dream, and what inspired you to go after it?
My big dream evolved from a big fear I had – the fear of living a mediocre life. Looking back, I realize that I was stuck in a pattern of putting other peoples’ needs above my own and this led to me becoming an empty version of myself. I woke up one day and realized that I had just lived the same year twice and that it was a mediocre year. I had given away my power to design my own life by putting myself last. My dream from that point was to create a life in which I was fully in the driver’s seat. I’ve learned that helping other people needs to come after helping yourself, otherwise you end up right back where you started from and no one really benefits.
Did you always have this dream?
I remember how as a child, I always wanted to be the next best version of myself. I was always playing at being a “grown up” and I wanted to learn everything. In my teenage years however, I found myself dealing with many challenges at home as a result of my parents’ failing marriage and I put my dreams in the “back seat” and got into the bad habit of being everyone’s “rescuer” at my own expense.
What was one of the first thing you did to get you started?
After reaching a breaking point in my early 20’s, I resolved to put my dreams and myself first again. At the time, what I did was drive alone to a coffee shop every Saturday and sit there with myself and my empty notebook spending time thinking about who I wanted to become and what I wanted to do with my life. I started to realize that the fastest way to get out of my rut was to do whatever I was afraid to do. I started to plan things that scared me into my week: go to a networking event, say yes to co-hosting a radio show, enter an essay contest. I started inviting other girls to join me on my Saturday night planning sessions. When one girl could never make it to the meet-up, I decided to put up what I was learning on a blog for her to read. I called my blog “The Secret O.W.L. Society” and without knowing it at the time, that was the birth of my business. I didn’t start my business to change my life. I changed my life first by changing myself and out of that my business was born.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in working toward achieving your dream?
I would say that my biggest challenges come from slipping back into my old pattern of over-giving to people who never give back to me. As I’ve said, nobody really benefits from that arrangement. Sooner or later, the giver ends up used up and starting over and the people who you gave your energy to end up back to where they started as well. I’ve learned that being a leader doesn’t mean holding someone’s hand and making sure they’re there every step of the way. Les Brown said that when two people are walking together, one person will always either speed up or slow down to match the speed of the other person. By being an over-giver, I’ve slowed down more often than I would like to admit for the wrong people. You simply cannot help everyone. The only people who will benefit from your help are the people who will do what they need to do with or without you. Now, I believe that the best way to know who will truly benefit from my help is to see who is still following while I walk on ahead on my own, without holding anyone’s hand.
What do you wish you would have done differently? What would you warn others about?
I’ve been learning a lot about what it means to be an empathic person. The book “Dodging Energy Vampires” by Dr. Christiane Northrup has been exceedingly enlightening. As an empathic person, if you don’t learn how to protect yourself from people who would take your energy from you, then you’ll never fulfill the purpose that you’re here to fulfill. If you truly want to help people, you have to learn how to help yourself first as an empath. If I could go back in time, I would have given myself the book I just mentioned, but seeing as how the book was only just recently published…maybe everything happened according to diving timing after all.
Would you say you’ve achieved your big dream yet?
I’d say I have a lot to learn and a long way to go. I’m not going to say that my dream is to “help as many people as I can” because I know that for me, that statement comes with a precursor in order to actually work. My dream is to become the best version of myself, to take care of myself, to learn more about myself and THEN, from that place, help as many people as I can. Since human potential is nearly limitless, I’d have to say that the dream is to continue to make every year 10 times better than the last because I’m constantly becoming 10 times better. I never want to live the same year twice again as a result of letting myself stagnate in a rut. The beautiful thing is, I’ve had so many people – thousands – benefit from the contribution I’ve been making in the world since the day I started my blog. Not a week goes by without someone reaching out and thanking me for the value I’ve added to their life and business. Which tells me that this recipe for life really works – the more you help yourself, the more you can help other people.
What do you think helped you achieve it?
When I realized I had just lived the same year twice I started to do things differently. By driving alone to a coffee shop every Saturday and sit there with myself and my empty notebook I was slowly changing my habits and my thinking. This initial realization, and the intense wish not to live the same year yet again helped me move forward, and stay on track.
What’s the best advice you have for others who want to follow their big dreams?
Don’t be afraid to let your old life fade away. Old friends, circumstances, and people… What you hold onto holds onto you. Making progress is about letting go more than it is about what you put on your to do list. We are all overcoming old beliefs and debilitating patterns that we picked up in childhood. As Dr. Christiane Northrup said in an interview I watch today, “The minute you put yourself and your needs first, your old life will start to go away.” Let it.
More about Michelle – secretowl.org
Michelle is the founder of the Secret O.W.L. Society and the creator of the Ultimate Life Binder™. She believes that when you take 100% responsibility for your life, you can create anything you want and she create printables, courses, videos, and articles to help people do just that.
You can find out more about Michelle on her website at secretowl.org.
Michelle’s favourite quote is:
If you want things to change, you have to change. If you want things to get better, you have to get better.
– Jim Rohn
Michelle’s big dream for the world is:
That more and more people become a shining example of what it means to love yourself, take care of yourself, and put yourself first. Life never works until you do.
If you want more inspiring stories of Big Dreamers, I’ve got great news for you! This story is part of an interview series, you can find all entries here.