I Wish I’d Found You 20 Years Ago (Michelle’s Story)

Ep: 205

Michelle had always struggled with perfectionism. Her desire to be “perfect” in everyone else’s eyes began to feel like a trap of her own making.

She felt stuck in her career and spent a lot of time and energy wondering why she wasn’t feeling happy or fulfilled.

If this sounds familiar, then know that you’re not alone. 

There’s value in being vulnerable and knowing when to seek help.

Today on The Bridge to Fulfillment Ⓡ, Blake welcomes Michelle to share her story. She had the perfect job and the ideal life on paper, but she just wasn’t happy. Once she made the decision to take action, she experienced profound changes in both her work and personal life, all in just the first month!

In this episode, you’ll hear why Michelle wishes she’d taken action much sooner, and her advice to anyone who is sitting on the fence, waiting for things to get better on their own. She shares the emotional roadblocks that made her fearful of change, and how the pressure to be perfect was preventing her from living her values.

Not only has Michelle found more fulfilling work, but her relationships have become deeper and more meaningful.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward real change, just like Michelle did, then this episode is for you. 

What You’ll Learn:

  • Michelle’s advice for anyone thinking about career coaching (3:21)
  • The emotional roadblocks that were holding Michelle back (6:36)
  • One surprise benefits women experience after going through the program (10:45)
  • How Michelle uncovered her secret sauce transferable skills™ (13:41)
  • Learning to stand in your values rather than everyone else’s (22:09)

Favorite Quotes:

  1. I wish I had met you 20 years ago, because what you did for me personally outweighs any career financial gain I could ever get to this program. –Michelle
  2. I used to believe that I was successful because of my level of perfectionism in the work I did. I had no idea that it was a big cause of my patterns of burnout, exhaustion, and overwhelm. –Blake
  3. One of the secret things a lot of people don’t know about this program is that I consistently see improvement in marriages and relationships with kids. Because you can show up more as your authentic self and you can have deep conversations about things. It creates a sense of connection that maybe was missing in a lot of respects. –Blake
  4. When you take yourself out of that box that you created for yourself, abundance is out there and there are opportunities for your life to change. And if your mindset is there, everything else will follow. –Michelle

Additional Resources: 

Rather than hoping the grass will be greener, identify what the RIGHT next step is. 
We can help you do just that.

Get clarity on where you are on your journey to career fulfillment, where you’re headed, optional paths to get there, and the right next step to take.

Start your complimentary, Personalized Career Fulfillment Plan by going to www.thebridgetofulfillment.com/plan

Want free resources to set your job search up for success? You can get them by going to: http://www.thebridgetofulfillment.com/mistakes

For other programs and opportunities to work with Blake, go to www.BlakeSchofield.com


Michelle 0:04
I wish I had met you 20 years ago because what you did for me personally outweighs any career financial gain I could ever get through this program.

Michelle 0:18
I came into it thinking that was the career was gonna be like the Holy Grail, she’s gonna fix my career. But really, you fixed me, you really fixed the way I perceive people looking at me and how I can help others. So it was beautiful. And that happened the first month. So thank you.

Blake Schofield 0:43
Hi, I’m Blake Schofield, founder and CEO of The Bridge to Fulfillment, mom to three, USA Today top 10 professional coach, and former corporate executive who got tired of sacrificing my life for a comfortable paycheck. My mission is to expand women’s perspectives and empower them to achieve greater impact at home and work without sacrifice. This is The Bridge to Fulfillment. Hello, and welcome back to another episode of The Bridge to Fulfillment. Today, I’m really excited to introduce to you my client, Michelle, her journey has been incredibly inspiring. And today, I think she’s going to be able to help show you a shift and a perspective about, you know, an initial reaching out to me because she wanted to see how I might be able to help to a much greater understanding of the impact of this type of work and what it can really do to change the trajectory of your life. So with that said, welcome Michelle.

Michelle 1:48
Well, thank you. Thank you, Blake, it’s an honor to be here with you.

Blake Schofield 1:52
Thank you, I’m so excited to have you. And I know when we first enrolled you into the program, I was like, Yeah, I want you to be my next client success story. And it’s always so fun when that comes to fruition. And we get to come back just a few months later and be able to talk about the impact that’s happened in your life.

Blake Schofield 2:11
So would you kind of share a little bit with our audience about your background? And what was going on when you and I connected?

Michelle 2:18
Sure, well, first of all, we I stalked you probably for a year on LinkedIn and kind of connected and then I was like, Well, I don’t know. And so then we finally did connect, and I’m in the C suite of fantastic company and just couldn’t put my finger on why I was just not happy and I was stuck. And from our conversation, you absolutely made me see that you can help me get unstuck. So I signed up and you know, thinking this was going to be a good career opportunity for me to learn and to grow. But who? I just amazed how. And I think I said this to you. I wish I had met you 20 years ago, because what you did for me personally outweighs any career financial game I could ever get to this program.

Blake Schofield 3:03
Thank you. So you said something I hear quite often, which is like, I stalked you or I’ve been following you for a long time. But I didn’t reach out. Why was that? What were the barriers that sort of stood in your way? And wish you knew 20 years ago? What do you wish you knew when you started following? You spent an entire year following me before you connected?

Michelle 3:21
Just take the step and just do it. What are you waiting for? There’s so much help that Blake can give you and she gave to me, I think I was just stuck in my little box of just change. And change doesn’t have to be scary. And you can get help. And that’s where I was I was just very in my box of I don’t know what to do. So I kept thinking it was going to get better and just kept going over and over. Okay, it’s gonna get better. No, it’s not better and just kept going in that little circle until I just finally decided to connect with you.

Blake Schofield 3:55
Yeah, was there a particular moment or particular thing that happened that finally throw you over the edge of like, Yeah, I’m done. I need to do something different. I’m finally going to take action.

Michelle 4:05
I just was not happy or motivated. And I could not figure out why have worked for a fantastic company. I have a fantastic job. What people would think would be but internally I just was not happy. And I could not figure it out why.

Blake Schofield 4:23
Okay, so you decided we connected you decided to join the bridge to fulfillment. Tell me a little bit about what the beginning part of that journey was like for you. And when was the first moment that you started to really see a shift in your life or your perspective?

Michelle 4:39
Yeah, so I went into it with eyes wide open, I want to embrace it and just take it and you know, once you get into the program you have it’s so laid out so succinctly and there’s a portal and there’s exercises and all kinds of things to do and so I was in reading my you give us some homework to do and so I was really embracing it until I came Until a couple of roadblocks, where I was like who I didn’t realize I was emotionally have these emotional roadblocks as to why I was doing certain things. And you were really, really instrumental in removing those roadblocks and letting me see the opportunity and the abundance that’s out there.

Blake Schofield 5:16
Let’s talk about that a little bit if we can, because I think through my own personal journey, in my career, I really thought that my problems were tactical, I’m just working in the wrong company, the wrong industry have the wrong type of boss doing the wrong type of work. And if I could move into the right environment, I would finally have the balance. I wanted the fulfilling work all of the things. And I was talking to a woman recently about how different what we do is and pretty much the entire career coaching industry, that what we really do is more of a mix of career and life coaching plus therapy, I don’t know, that’s what I’ve heard over and over again. And because we’re addressing both the tactical things, as well as these emotional roadblocks, or perspectives, or beliefs, or maybe habits or things that are creating problems for us, it sounds like that, when you came into the program, you probably also came into a very tactical perspective. And then you came to learn that it really is both emotions plus tactics. What was that like for you, when you started to see Wait a second, I’m having some emotion around things, or I’m feeling some blocks, how did that come across for you? And if you can give us a little bit of an example about how you saw that come? Because I think often people don’t even realize they have these things. We’re just blind to them.

Michelle 6:35
Yeah, well, it was when I was trying to figure out what made me me and what I could put on my resume as my what makes me special. And then with the other coaching that you have on the calls, just a bit of perfectionism that I had, and just how my perfectionist ism was making me it kind of gave me excuses not to do something, you know, I’ll wait until this is all XYZ is done, then I will do my networking or taking something from a resume and then trying to pass it off to you as like, this is my secret sauce. And you’re like, oh, no, Michelle, that’s not good. Like, let’s let’s work on that. And I’ve loved it because you’re like, yeah, no, let’s let’s work on this together. And let’s figure out that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be vulnerable with the ladies on the group. And you can just be yourself and going on the calls with the other women. And just seeing that they’re going through the same thing I was going through and all different levels and in our careers from beginning to C suite. It’s all the same, like we’re all in the same boat. And it was really, really refreshing just to share and just to unlock some of those perfectionism for me roadblocks that I had that was making me just stop. And you said, Michelle, I’ll just take one step. And I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna do it. I trusted in Blake and I’m like, I am going to do it. I don’t care how uncomfortable it is or what I might look like. And it was so darn freeing. And that’s just one of the little things that I learned from being in this program that just gave me the confidence to move forward in my life. And my family and my friends in my career is like the last thing that it’s the priority of what it’s helped me us. And I came into it thinking it was the career was gonna be like, the Holy Grail, she’s gonna fix my career. But really, you fix me, you really fixed the way I perceive people looking at me and how I can help others. So it was beautiful. And that happened the first month. So thank you.

Blake Schofield 8:35
Yeah. And you said earlier to me, I came in for all the career stuff, which I got. But then it was all the other stuff that I didn’t expect that was so much more valuable. And so we’ll dig into that in a little bit. Because, again, this is the thing that makes what we do very different. And again, is we’re solving the root cause of why you’re having all these moments of lack of fulfillment. So perfectionism, super common definitely was my issue. I used to believe that I was successful because of my level of perfectionism the work I did. And I had no idea that it was a big cause of my patterns of burnout, exhaustion and overwhelm what happened for you when you sort of unlocked Wow, I’ve been waiting for all of these things or have not been taking action because of this deep desire to be perfect in this fear that if I wasn’t perfect, something bad would happen. What happened when you change that cycle? How did you see that impacting your life? How did you see that impacting your job, search your relationship?

Michelle 9:31
You’re gonna make me cry, because I said to my husband, I confessed to him and had like a major meltdown broke down crying, like just it was just beautiful. Like it just kind of tore me down and done. And he’s like, Honey, I don’t want to be perfect, perfect. You’re not who wants to be perfect? No one’s perfect. No one’s expecting you to be perfect. And I’ve been with my husband for 30 years and it just never dawned on me that that was even like, I was doing that. I just thought I was being like the perfect wife because I Is what I’m supposed to be not that I personally was trying to be perfect, which never dawned on me. So that was a ha. And then being perfect. When I tried to be perfect, I wouldn’t ask questions. And so now that I know I’m not perfect, I ask a lot more questions at work. And I come off a lot more confident and excited to ask questions. I’m excited to do my networking, which we’ll get into which I was like, Oh, God, I don’t want to do that, that’s gonna be terrible. Which I turned out to love. But just breaking down those barriers. You know, if any of the ladies are listening, and they want to get into this program, they will get so much more than they ever expected from it personally and career wise.

Blake Schofield 10:39
Thank you for sharing that the story about your husband, I think, often it’s sort of a, maybe one of the secret things a lot of people don’t know about this program is I’ve watched, and I’ve watched it for the last five years pretty consistently improvement in marriages, and relationships with kids, etc. Because you can show up more as your authentic self. And you can have conversations, deep conversations about things, maybe you haven’t. And it creates a sense of connection that maybe was missing in a lot of respects. And I feel like that’s so important, because so many of us appeal disconnected. It’s a big part of why our program has small group calls. Because I’ve been asked by women sometimes well, you know, why isn’t it one on one, and it’s like, Well, I started it is one on one only. And then I started to see the exact same patterns across all of the clients I worked with. And then I tried a couple of things where I did small group calls. And what I saw was the benefit, and the growth was four to five times more than what it was individually. And I think a beautiful thing is that the program is structured with one on one support, but it’s also structured with that small group. And so to your point, at least what I’ve seen for a lot of clients, and I think in some ways to help me heal, to be honest, was it was the first time I actually saw a group of women like me, that could have real conversations about life and what we were struggling with and what we wanted, in a place that felt truly non judgmental. And that space of being able to be yourself, I think creates such a beautiful sense of support and compassion and appreciation that enables you then to take that outside of this environment and take it to your work environment, take it to your home and all of those other relationships. So I don’t know if that’s what your experience has been. But that’s what mine is, then.

Michelle 12:23
Yeah, with the other women, you know, maybe some calls, you might not want to talk about that. But someone else brings it up. And so you’re always learning, you’re always learning. And Blake has fantastic stories that she shares where you’re like, oh, yeah, like get that. And it was just really nice that women in the group are all just being authentic, and a place that we can share and not be judged. And we’re just there because we want all want to get better. So it was really beautiful.

Blake Schofield 12:50
That’s awesome. And I loved watching you in that journey. Use your secret sauce skills that we identified and really be able to show up every day as who you really are not just for your own personal journey. But to help the other women in the journey. We were actually just talking about that a minute ago. Secret Sauce skills, transferable skills, that sort of is my proprietary approach to really helping people truly understand who they are, the value, they bring their natural way of working at the highest value, and then really be able to communicate that to people. And I’ve often had people say, what if I have none impossible, but I’ve also had people try to figure it out for themselves, which is also quite challenging. I’d love to hear a little bit about your personal journey and uncovering your secret sauce, and then being able to truly be able to communicate that with confidence to other people. What was that journey like for you?

Michelle 13:41
Yeah, so in the program, you we have all these documents, we’re filling them out and writing them out. And so then you get to the secret sauce. And so I tried to do it. And I was getting a little stuck. And so like pulls up all my documents. And she’s like, Oh, it’s right there. You’ve written it like five times. And I was like, what? And she’s like, you’ve written team captain on this on that. And I was like, oh, yeah, like I am the team captain. I like to take people and put them where they want to go. And people come to me and want us to come and do things jointly together. And she’s like, it’s right there. And I just could not. And she said, sometimes you can’t see the label from the inside as I used to. I just couldn’t see it. And she just looked at it in five minutes. She’s like, there you go. And I was like, oh, and so when I’m having conversations, I’ve been doing my networking, it just rolls off the tip of my tongue. Like I know who I am. I’m very clear on who I am. And I’m very, very clear. It’s another thing of what I want in a company. So I’m the one figuring out what company I want to work for, rather than the other way around. So that’s been fun to investigate.

Blake Schofield 14:48
And how has that process been? How has it been received you being able to come in and say, “this is who I am. This is the value I bring to an organization. And this is what I’m really looking for.” What are the responses been like for you?

Michelle 15:00
Yeah, so I’ve researched the company and I know what I’m before I even talk to someone it’s been, it’s just been like a conversation. It’s not stressful for me at all. I’m so tuned in and savvy on on what my criteria and who I am. It’s been fun. It’s hasn’t been like a nervous conversation or interview. And I’ve actually it’s funny, I’ve talked to a bunch of people, I’m like, No, that was not for me. And I just kind of keep moving along. And it’s been very, nothing I ever expected, I would say.

Blake Schofield 15:30
Awesome. So you said you originally came in thinking, I’m going to dread the networking process, I would say that’s a pretty common thing. And most of the women that come in to my program, either don’t feel good at networking don’t want to be a burden, or have a hard time selling or positioning themselves. And then you’ve also said is ended up being one of your favorite parts. And you share a little bit about how this process and how you’ve learned how to go through the networking process has sort of shifted your perspective or empowered you to be able to go after and create more of what you want.

Michelle 16:01
Yeah, so I mean, I still have networking slot coming up. And Blake does give all you know, give us all tools and what to do. And I think I made up some kind of lame excuse or something to you, and you’re like, just do one. Okay, I’m gonna do it. And I got like a call. And like, I talked to the person the next day. And then it became fun, because then I was just had my periods George hat on, I was just investigating and searching for companies. Maybe we’re near where I lived, or an interest that I had, or maybe, you know, when I first came into the program, I was throwing the bathwater out the baby. I’m like totally changing everything. But now I really realized I like what I’m doing, I just have to pivot. So when I started speaking with companies, I was I quickly realized what I wanted it when I didn’t walk, and where I could go, and maybe what a good option would be. So it was really pivoting throughout the process. So it’s been, it’s the networking part. And I think once you get into it, you’ll probably have the same reaction it was I was dreading it. But then it turned into just conversations, and it turned into fun. And I’m just kind of, as you said, laying the breadcrumbs around and waiting to see you know what, what fits and feels the best.

Blake Schofield 17:15
Yeah, it’s amazing when you can learn the skills, I often say the art and science of authentic networking is job security. Because when you understand who you are the value, you bring the right type of organization for you. And you can go build relationships with people, whether you have any connections to them at all, or not, you can always be secure that there’s always going to be an opportunity. And I think it’s something I’m super passionate about for women, because we haven’t in general been taught this. I think in general, we’ve been taught to comply, obey, do what we’re told, be a good girl, and we rely on our boss to promote us, we rely on the company that we’ve been in to move us forward, we rely on our hard work to prove that we deserve to move up. And I see many times where that is a huge detriment to women across the board. So I love hearing you say that you embrace it, you will love it. Because once you understand this, and you keep doing it the rest of your career, you’ll always not not only have job security, but there’s a stability in a building of that over time, where you know, that old saying your network is your net worth, I believe that 100% And the more you embrace and understand this process and how to do it well, the more doors open for you, the more safety and security you have, and the more connected you feel, to the people around you to the opportunities and to the right environments, cultures and companies that are in alignment with what you really want.

Michelle 18:40
Yeah, and the abundance is out there. There’s 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of companies out there. So that feeling of being stuck, when I first started, has dissipated, I don’t feel stuck. Now I feel excited that I have all these abundant opportunities. It’s just now I’m gonna pick the one that I think feels the best or works the best. And it might not be the perfect one to start, but I’m going to keep following the breadcrumbs. So it’s been exciting to meet new people too. And just reach out to companies that I had never even heard of before in my industry or not in my industry in my state are not in my state. It’s just amazing. When you take yourself out of that box that you created for yourself, what the abundance is out there and opportunities for your life to change, and particularly emotionally, your mindset. And if your mindsets there, everything else is following like you say and that’s not the terminology you use Blake, but that’s what you know, it’s a mindset to me, the abundance is out there, you’d have to be open to it.

Blake Schofield 19:37
Yeah, often I think we you know, back to this idea of abundance and perspective and it’s both emotional and tactical. Often we’re searching for the next job, because we think the next job will fix the things that we’re really unhappy with. And one of my clients Sharon a while back and we did her success story said you actually focus on how people feel day to day in their job. And ultimately, I think that’s what’s most important. But nobody’s talking about that. Because if I don’t feel valued every day, or I dread going to work every day, and trying to solve it tactically, some of it might be tactical, you might be misaligned and in the environment. And usually, I find that to be the case. There are misalignments in terms of the work you’re doing or the environment. But I often also find there are these other root cause issues, some of which you’ve talked about, Michelle, that if you don’t resolve those, you’re just taking them with you as you move. So one of the things you mentioned earlier was that you wish that you had found what I did 20 years ago, can you share a little bit about that? And how do you think that would have impacted your life?

Michelle 20:43
Yes, this is not – I’m not working for Blake, I’m not I’m not doing anything. It’s just the truth. It’s like, jeez, I wish I could have found her 20 years ago, just because of the mindset of my perfectionism. And I didn’t even realize I had it. And then the other, just childhood, we go through a lot of emotional and brings you back to childhood and just some roadblocks I had from back then it just would have made me I have a great life, but it would have made me navigate and not be so hard on myself, I would have just embraced it. Now I just embrace if something goes a certain way. And that’s just feedback. I’m going to move this way, no big deal. I wouldn’t sit there and stir and stir and stir and think about it and think about it. So that wasting of Energy has dissipated. And just, I wish I met you 20 years ago, because then I would have just moved on quickly from any kind of feedback I might have taken as negative when it’s just really a course correction of Oh, no, you gotta go this way. Now, no big deal instead of me spinning so much in my head.

Blake Schofield 21:45
And how do you think, you know, one of the big things we talked about for you was through this process, you really came to understand and appreciate who you are like to say right, you came to understand and know how to stand in your value. How would have knowing that information, changed your career to date? And how do you see that impact so far in terms of now having that tool and that information?

Michelle 22:09
Yeah, so, I was an entrepreneur, I’ve had my own business, and I got into a nice cushy job. And I would have taken more chances earlier on, I would have changed things up and not worried too much about the financial status that I’m at, or Ooh, can’t do that. Because then this is not going to be there. Or I would have just moved on, I think quicker, and taking some more chances and kept moving in the direction I really wanted to go not the direction where I thought I should go. Because that’s what it looks good to everybody else. So I think I would have done more. And I would have been more abundant because it would have just the more chances and and steps you take, I believe the more abundant you are. And I was had a mindset where I didn’t want to didn’t want to do that. Because I I was living for everybody else. With keeping up with the image I was supposed to be in do. I was afraid to get out of my comfort financial box, where now I can see that I was boxed in I can do so much more in my career value is so much more than I can ever imagine. I know it’s going to happen. It’s already happening.

Blake Schofield 23:19
That’s awesome. Michelle. So is there anything that I have not asked you that I should have? Or is there anything else you want to share that you it’s just on your heart?

Michelle 23:30
With my deepest heart, I thank you for having me join the program. I know it’s a select group of ladies, not everyone always is you know the right fit. So thank you for allowing me to be part of the journey. And I think we did touch on this. But I do want the ladies to know who are listening to it’s good for any age, if you’re just 20 Somethings starting or you’re in your senior level C suite. It can help each and every one of us in our journey throughout our career stages, because we’re really ladies just trying to help each other. And that’s what I get out of it is it’s a really, like I said, I wish I was 20 years ago I got to got to meet you. So I would just share that.

Blake Schofield 24:10
Thank you. Thank you so much for the honor and privilege to be just a small part of your journey. It’s been so fun watching you. And watching your perspective expand from this place of this is the only kind of job I can do. I’m limited because of all these factors to really be able to truly step into wow, you know what, I’m actually pretty amazing. I’ve done a lot of amazing things in my career. And this is what I want to own and create for my next chapter. And I think it’s been such a beautiful journey because you are incredibly talented and wherever you end up next is going to be very lucky for the skills gifts and talents you have not just in being able to grow businesses, but truly being able to understand and build and rally a team behind that significant growth and so I can’t wait to see where you land and be a part of that journey with you to help right and help close you out at the finish line. So thank you for allowing me to be part of the journey. And thank you for just sharing your story to help inspire other women about what’s possible for them.

Michelle 25:14
Absolutely. My pleasure.

Blake Schofield 25:16
All right. So with that said, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. And I hope Michelle has helped open your perspective about how much more is possible for your life to because I know she’s not the only one out there that struggles with the very same things that I did. Perfectionism, feeling trapped, and the career or the salary that you’ve made, worrying about what other people’s perspectives of your life are spending a lot of time and energy, going through cycles, trying to figure out what you really should do. And I hope she’s opened your perspective that there’s way more opportunity than you probably can even see that there’s huge value in being vulnerable and seeking help. And that you can live life with a lot more ease where you don’t feel like you have to be perfect, and you’re not spending time and energy every time something doesn’t go your way getting frustrated or beating yourself up, that you can actually learn to truly appreciate who you are, the value you bring, and get up every day excited for what that means and what you can do with the people around you. So until next time, have a great one. Thanks for joining me today. Rather than hope the grass will be greener identify what the right next step is. We can help you do just that. Get clarity on where you are in your journey to career fulfillment, where you’re headed, optimal paths to get there, and the right next step to take. Start your complimentary personalized career fulfillment plan at www.thebridgetofulfillment.com/plan  Again, you can get your personalized career fulfillment plan at www.thebridgetofulfillment.com/plan Thanks again for joining and have a great week ahead!