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Design A Life You Love (w. Dr. Michele Schmidt Moore)

Today’s show features one of my new favorite people, Dr. Michele Schmidt Moore, whom I met through a conference I attended in the fall of 2022.

Dr. Michele Schmidt Moore is the host of her own podcast - The Design Lessons Podcast - where she uses her gift for instructional design to help you create great teaching days through mindset and relationship work, along with critical and creative thinking.

Michele has spent many years in different educational roles from a district and school-based administrator

to a university adjunct professor, to an instructional designer and teacher. Currently, though, Michelle is a coach, consultant, and speaker dedicated to helping you live in the future you envision for yourself.

At the time I met Michele, I had the opportunity to attend a session that Michele presented called Design a Life You Love. In her session, she coached a small group of us through creating actionable solutions to some small goals that had a high impact. During the session, I felt inspired to dream and motivated to begin wrestling with some hard questions. And once the session was over, I had the feeling that I could tackle any life goal, even the really really big ones.

In our discussion, Michele shares…

Through designing our lives, we create intentionality around what we want and how we want to experience our lives.

But while this idea is very empowering and uplifting, we also can feel a layer of apprehension and fear, because while we know what lights us up, we tell ourselves the narrative that creating a life doing what we love isn’t possible and that it won’t be able to create the sustainability that we need in a job/career. Michele points out that we became our own barrier as we give in to the fear, many times because we struggle with feeling worthy to have what it is that we desire or that our next best step needs to be “perfect”.

The perfectionist voice in our heads tells us that we can take action on our dreams and desires when conditions are “right” or when the action we are about to take is “right”. But as Michele points out, it’s this belief that keeps many stuck because we are leaning into the fear that what we are doing isn’t “good enough” or “right”. But we need to lean into the fear. As Michele tells us, “We all live life a little scared when we are pushed outside of our comfort zone…Confidence comes from taking action.”

Yes, action. Imperfect, purposeful action.

As a coach, Michele uses her LEADERS framework to support those that she works with to not only create, but take action - even imperfect action - on creating the life that they desire through design, thinking, reflection, and refinement. It’s through this lens that Michele helps us see that designing the life that you want is about the journey and the process of getting there. You see, as we set goals and intentions, sometimes we set our sights on and get so caught up in the end goal - that thing we are working to achieve and have - that we miss out and ignore the joy in the process. And as Michele points out, “It’s the process that’s life”.

A fear that many of us have when taking action is “What if it’s the ‘wrong’ action” or “What if what I do didn’t turn out the way I intended”. But life is messy and we won’t always get it right. That’s why Michele urges us to see the process - and our lives - as an experiment. Once we have an idea of what we want, we make a decision on how we get there. Then, once we’ve taken the action, we reflect on how that went and the direction that it took us and make small adjustments along the way until we get to what we want. We try a different strategy, or we approach it from a different angle, we find a different resource - we experiment and make small shifts along our journey until we reach where it is that we want to go.

In addition to honoring the journey and process, Michele also encourages us to honor moments of rest. You see, there is an ebb and flow to life. There are moments for growth, and there are moments for rest. In our “hustle” culture, we are made to believe that, if we are hustling and continuing to move forward, we are somehow stagnant - that if we don’t keep pushing forward that we are stuck. This negative narrative can cause us to miss out on the value of times of pause and rest. Breaks are important. Creating pause points along your journey invites opportunities for your mind to rest, allowing creativity to flourish. It’s in those moments of silence that we can create the space we need to allow for rejuvenation. Know that creativity ebbs and flows and trust in the fact that it will return. Honor your need for rest. It provides your mind the space to create and locate creative solutions and inspiration.

So, you’re feeling inspired and you’re ready to take purposeful action to design your life, but where do you start?

The first thing that Michele tells us to do is LISTEN, just listen and pay attention to your life. Take a week and pay attention to the things that bring you joy, that lights you up, and what drain your energy. Write them down so you can reflect on them later.

Next, use the lens of EMPATHY to determine what you want to focus on.

Then, ASSESS all the possible ideas to reach your goal as well as the barriers that could be working to hold you back.

DESIGN a plan to reach your goal and take action.

Next, EXPERIMENT by trying out your plan.

And finally, once you’ve taken action, REFLECT on your action and make small shifts to continue along the path to where it is you want to go.

I so much enjoyed my conversation with Michele, she is a natural coach and encourager and while the journey of becoming isn’t simple, her style of inspiration and coaching is. I left our conversation with my cup overflowing, reassured that everything I need is already inside of me. Her approach to leading a life you love is all about jumping right in and allowing your action to drive your process.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Find Michele

Michele’s Bio

For over two decades, Dr. Michele Schmidt Moore, host of the Design Lessons podcast, has worked as a district and school-based administrator, university adjunct professor, instructional designer, coach, and teacher. Through her consulting, coaching, and workshops, Michele teaches her clients how to optimize the implementation of her signature LEADER approach to effectively discover and take action to implement your vision for yourself or your organization.


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