Michelle Cashman is the “Musical Motivator”, a singer songwriter, storyteller and host of the Transformational Personal Growth podcast. Leaving home at 15, dealing with homelessness, addiction and mental health issues, she uses her story and the lessons she has learnt to write music that connects and tell stories that transform.
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- Transformational Personal Growth Podcast – Michelle’s small business resource
- Vitality: How to Get Your Health and Mojo Back – Michelle’s Top Business Book
- Connect with Michelle on her website or via email
- The Freedom Journal – Set & Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!
- The Mastery Journal – Master productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days!
3 Key Points:
- Learn the art of being authentic and show the world who you really are.
- Take care of your health FIRST, before you take care of other aspects of your life.
- Make sure that what you do is aligned with your end goal.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:09] – Michelle left home at 15, and realized she needed help
- [01:20] – She tried therapy and worked on being the person she really wanted to be
- [01:40] – She became a single mom while juggling her music career in her 20’s
- [01:49] – She tried out for The Voice Australia and was offered a record contract!
- [02:03] – She turned down the offer because they wanted her to lie about being a mom
- [02:30] – Shortly after turning down the offer, she became sick with Fibromyalgia, which she’s spent years battling
- [02:41] – Fibromyalgia is a chronic fatigue and pain condition that left her bedridden for sometime
- [02:59] – She found a way to help people through her podcast, Transformational Personal Growth Podcast
- [04:34] – Michelle’s area of expertise is in being authentic
- [04:50] – Being authentic is a skill and it can be learned
- [05:35] – Michelle shares Marianne Williamson’s quote, Our Deepest Fear…
- [07:20] – Entrepreneurs want to share their voice, message, and mission with the world
- [08:45] – What was your goal for The Freedom Journal and how did you crush it? “My goal was to write my first book and publish it… and it didn’t take me long to realize that in order to do that, I had to do some other things first”
- [09:13] – Michelle put her goal aside but continued setting up her podcast, redoing her website, and rebranding
- [09:54] – She started The Freedom Journal again and finished her book draft in 80 days
- [11:01] – How do you define Productivity? “Productivity is about getting the important things done”
- [11:56] – “Productivity is keeping the end in mind”
- [12:50] – “Focus on what you’re producing”
- [12:54] – How do you define Discipline? “I define discipline as the commitment to do what is right vs. the commitment to do what I feel like”
- [13:13] – Tap into your sense of commitment every time your sense of enthusiasm wavers
- [14:36] – Come up with a disciplined plan and execute it
- [14:53] – How do you define Focus? “You got it covered with ‘Follow One Course Until Success’”
- [16:18] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Fear of being judged”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “What you’re thinking is only your 90% of what you’re capable of is someone else’s 100%—don’t wait for perfection, just get it out there”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I’m a natural researcher”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Transformational Personal Growth Podcast
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Vitality: How to Get Your Health and Mojo Back – Check out Michelle’s FREE ebook for Fire Nation!
- [18:17] – “Don’t put your business before your health”
- [18:41] – Connect with Michelle on her website or via email
Michelle: John, I am burning down the house.
John: Yes. Michelle, Fire Nation, is the musical motivator, a singer-songwriter, storyteller, and host of the Transformational Personal Growth podcast. Leaving home at 15, dealing with homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues, she uses her story and the lessons she has learned to write music that connects to tell stories that transform. Michelle, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Michelle: Obviously, there’s a very colorful history. I left home at 15 and, after that, I realized that I needed to get help if I was going to survive, let alone flourish. So I did a lot of therapy and I got some help for my drinking and I really worked on the person that I wanted to be. So I became a singer-songwriter because I loved to write songs about the crap that I was dealing with, and I got my life on track.
Then, in my early 20s, I became a single mom and, at the same time that I was juggling being a single mom, I was juggling my music career. I did The Voice Australia.
John: Oh, wow.
Michelle: Yeah, that was good and I didn’t turn a chair, but I did get offered a record contract because of my appearance. I ended up turning it down because I refused to live out of line with my integrity because they wanted me to lie about being a mom and it wasn’t The Voice themselves. It was outside of that. So it wasn’t part of it, but yeah I was offered this record contract that wanted me to sex things up and be someone that I wasn’t and lie about who I was. I just wasn’t up for that. So I yeah turned down that opportunity and shortly after that, I got really sick.
I’ve spent the last few years battling a condition called fibromyalgia, which for your listeners who have no idea about that, it’s basically a chronic fatigue and chronic pain condition and it can leave you completely … like I was bedridden and it was really bad. So I had to completely change my life and my trajectory from what I eat to how I make my living. I’ve always wanted to help people and finally found a way with my podcast, Transformational Personal Growth, where I share all the lessons that I’ve learned along the way and I interview people from all sorts of backgrounds, including you.
Michelle: That was fantastic.
John: Michelle, I love your courage. I love how you’re just coming out and you’re sharing what was great in your life, what was terrible in your life, and all the struggles in between because that is real life. I love how you really made a point to share that incredibly important decision that you made about living your life in integrity. I mean you had that crossroads. I mean I can literally see you standing there at the crossroad and being like, “Am I gonna go down this road and live a life of integrity or am I gonna go down this other road and just not be a life of integrity with myself.”
You obviously chose the path that worked best for you. Fire Nation, these are big decisions. I really hope you give them the weight and the meaning that they really need and desire. So, Michelle, for you you’ve done a lot of great things in life and you’ve also had a lot of great struggles, but you’ve been able to master this area of expertise, this specialty so to speak. So what is your area of expertise, if you had to drill it down to a couple sentences?
Michelle: So one thing that I am really, really good at is being authentic, which is why it made it so easy for me to turn that down because I already knew at some level that that was what made me special, you know? Because being authentic I’ve learned is a skill. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it can be learned. I’ve learned to shine my own, unique authentic light. I used to play small.
So in Australia, we have this thing called tall poppy syndrome and it’s basically where if you start doing anything outstanding or you start reaching for really big dreams and crushing it, people will start to turn against you and try to cut you down to size. They might be jealous because they didn’t try to achieve their own dream or there’s this mentality that, “You think you’re better than us.” That’s just crap, but I had that fear, that fear of standing out and that fear of people thinking that I was a show pony, especially in the music industry.
So I didn’t perform to the best of my ability and I held myself back and I really regretted that, but I found a quote from a lady called Marianne Williamson and that really helped me to understand why I should never dim my light. So I printed it out. I stuck it on my fridge and I looked at it every fricking day. So I’ll read that quote to you.
Michelle: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and famous.’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.”
“It is not just in some of us. It is in all of us and, when we let our own light shine; we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” So that, for me, “Your playing small does not serve the world.”
That quote taught me that while there are people out there who might want to cut you down, there are people out there who need you, who need you to be you, gloriously you, so that they can step out into who they really are. It’s just that ripple effect that you talk about, John. You do what you do and it empowers others and you just never know how far that can reach. That, for me, is way more important than what anyone else thinks. Someone needs me to step up and that’s my responsibility.
John: Wow, Fire Nation, I mean that just gave me shivers. I’m not gonna lie and I am standing here in a very cool, air conditioned room. So it’s not that easy to get shivers, but I got them. If that didn’t move you, that quote, even a little bit, I’m gonna be honest with you you’re probably listening to the wrong podcast because that is exactly what we do here as entrepreneurs.
We want to share our voice, our message, our mission with the world whatever that might be. Maybe it’s through audio, maybe it’s through video, maybe it’s through the written word, maybe it’s through a product or a service or a community that you’re going to create, but that’s the impact that you are going to have as an entrepreneur. Now, Michelle, shifting gears just a little bit as we’re talking, when this actually goes live, it’s going to be the second to last day of the Mastery Journal campaign.
So you know here we are late February – for people that are actually listening to it when this goes live – and you actually came into my world for the first time when you picked up the Freedom Journal. You invested in yourself and you just started rocking it. I started seeing you post on our Facebook group and you were doing this and you were doing that.
Take us through that process right there because I’m always curious – and I think all entrepreneurs by the way Fire nation – you really need to know where are your clients, your customers, people that are buying your products, your services, where are they coming from? How do they find out about you? You want to trace that back so you can amplify what works. So Michelle, how did you hear about the Freedom Journal and what made you pick it up?
Michelle: Okay. I heard about the Freedom Journal through EOFire, the podcast, and I had also done the free podcast calls, which was actually how I had started my podcast. So I figure pretty much if I just follow the path that’s been set before me, surely I’ll achieve some goals. So my first Freedom Journal, my goal was to write my first book and publish it. So I chose a hefty one and it didn’t take me long to realize that in order to do that, I had to do some other things first.
So I was trying to throw myself into this ginormous goal, feeling like I was failing every day because I just couldn’t do them because of the mountain of other things that was creeping up on me. So it made sense to me first to put that goal to the side and continue going along, but instead setting up my podcast and redesigning my website and redoing my branding so everything made sense and I needed a way to make my content more shareable and accessible and all in the one sort of spot so that my workflow was easier so that I had the space in my life, in my schedule, to create and release my book.
Then so I did all that and I signed up with Squarespace for a better web experience and everything was in the same spot and I drove traffic to the same place. Then I started again with the Freedom Journal and, instead of biting off a whole published book – because I like to bite off more than I can chew – instead, I used it to just do my first draft of my book and I completed that in 80 days … well, under 80 days. Now I’m using the same journal as a countdown tool for what’s left of my wedding planning, which is in 17 days.
John: Wow, so cool. I mean this is what I love about being able to share these experiences with you, Fire Nation, because people use the Freedom Journal and they just use the experience with EOFire and with what they’re having in so many different areas. It might be weight loss. It might be marriage. It might be a book. It might be a business. It might be a podcast.
It might be any of these things, but the key thing is is they’re being held accountable. You’re putting something down on paper and you’re following that process. Now Michelle was I was inspired to do over 2016 was create the Mastery Journal because I wanted to help others with my three greatest strengths, which are productivity, discipline, and focus. So that’s what this guide’s all about. So how would you, at your stage in the game, define productivity?
Michelle: Okay. First of all, I cannot wait for this Mastery Journal.
John: It’s awesome.
Michelle: I’m pumped and I’m gonna get one of those because productivity, discipline, and focus are probably my weakest strengths. But, for me, productivity is about getting the important things done. So, at the end of the day for me, especially because of my fibromyalgia, the condition I have, I can’t afford to go full steam ahead like a freight train like I used to. I have to think about what’s important and stay on top of the things that keep me healthy for me now, which is my number one priority. That’s also my biggest struggle too because, like I said, I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew.
But now that means if I do that, I can go a bit stupid fast. I can end up sick for a week and then all my hard work goes out the window. So for me now productivity is about keeping the end in mind and pacing myself and making sure I’m clear on my goals and then chipping away at them and even if it’s slowly, as long as they’re the right goals for the right reason, then I will get them done and I won’t have to sacrifice my health and my sanity, which is basically practicing what I preach because I’m all about living a life that is joyful and that you can sustain.
John: I love this and pacing yourself is so important, Fire Nation. I’m really glad that Michelle uses those words. That’s what the Mastery Journal is all about because so many people, they’ll look back over their days when they first get their Mastery Journal and they’ll look back and they’ll be like, “Oh my goodness, I’m doing so much stuff, but what am I actually producing of value?”
We cut out all the fluff because the fluff doesn’t matter when it comes down to it. You just need the core things that you’re producing that’s actually moving your business forward. Forget about all the rest. It’s a waste of time, energy, effort, bandwidth, everything. So focus on what you’re producing that’s moving you and your business forward. Now onto discipline, Michelle. How do you define that word?
Michelle: Discipline, okay. So I define discipline as the commitment to do what is right versus the commitment to do what I feel like. So in uni, on my counselor’s wall – where I spent [inaudible] [00:11:56] during uni – was a sign that said, “When your sense of enthusiasm waivers, tap into your sense of commitment.” That’s what it’s like for me. Do I want to eat super healthy, predominantly vegetables and salads, no gluten, low sugar foods or do I want to eat a doughnut?
Actually, sometimes I want to eat the doughnut, but it’s gonna make me sick. With my condition, I can’t do that without sacrificing my health. So I’m gonna do the right thing. There’s those birds again. I’m gonna do the right thing regardless of my desire. That’s discipline. So, so far, that’s been my best muscle to exercise for my condition because I know so many people out there with fibromyalgia who are searching for an answer through medication or a quick fix, but you just can’t have the quality of life with this condition unless you completely change your foods and your lifestyle and sticking with it.
John: First off, those birds, they’re beautiful. They make beautiful sounds. I love them. I embrace them in this podcast. So birds, keep chirping, please. Michelle, you only have so much willpower. Fire Nation, you only have so much willpower. If you have to spend every hour being like, “I’m gonna eat that doughnut. No, I’m not gonna eat that doughnut” or “I’m gonna put on this shirt. Oh, I should have put on that shirt.” You’re gonna be just spending all of your very limited willpower throughout the day.
So people wonder why, at the end of the day, they’re just like, “Oh my God, I’m just gonna go through the McDonald’s drive-thru.” Of course, you are because you’ve spent all your willpower. You need to hoard that willpower and how you do that is by coming up with a discipline plan and then just executing upon that plan because, when you create that plan, that’s some energy there, but then just following it and not having to make a decision at every single juncture in your day and in your life, that gives you back all this extra energy and bandwidth so you don’t deplete that willpower. Now focus, Michelle, you know for me it’s all about following one course until success. How do you define that?
Michelle: John, you’ve got it covered with follow one course until success. It really is what it is. That’s pretty much how I define it as well, but as a mom and entrepreneur and, someone with fibromyalgia; it’s like trying to drive a train on three tracks at once. If I can make sure that my goals and the destinations that I’m looking forward to can align really well and I don’t try to do too much at once, I can run those three tracks side-by-side and everything works. But, if I fall off the health track, the mom track and the business track will suffer.
It’s the same with the other two. I can’t let being a mom take a back seat and neglect that because that ties into my identity and my responsibilities as a decent human and if I do that, how can I be a mentor for people when it comes to transformational personal growth? How can personal growth and being a crappy mom go together? Well, it can’t and I can’t help anyone if I’m sick in bed. So, all of these things really have to go side-by-side. So that’s where I struggle with focus, but it’s also a strength because I think I do these things pretty well considering the steep learning curve.
John: That’s a mic drop, Fire Nation, from Michelle Cashman. So I’m just gonna leave it there because well-said and we’re gonna crush, destroy … we’re gonna drop value bombs galore in the lightning round. So don’t you go anywhere. We’re gonna thank our sponsors. Michelle, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Michelle: Yes, yes I am.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Michelle: Fear of being judged, of being an imposter, and this idea that I had to be perfect and have everything perfect before I released anything.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Michelle: What you’re thinking is only your 90 percent of what you’re capable of is someone else’s 100 percent. Don’t wait for perfection. Just get it out there and it’ll get better as you go.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Michelle: I’m a natural researcher. If I don’t have the answer, I will find it. If I don't know how to make a podcast, I will find an online podcast course from John Lee Dumas.
John: Yeah, girl.
Michelle: I will find it. I will share it and it’s one of the ways that I bring value to the work.
John: You’re awesome. Share an internet resource like Evernotes with Fire Nation.
Michelle: Okay. So given that every single app and resource that I use I’ve pretty much found off EOFire, I’m not gonna add to that sea of awesomeness except to say that if people are looking for ways to get out of a slump or improve their health and wellness that they could check out my podcast which is, Transformational Personal Growth podcast, on iTunes.
John: Check it out, Fire Nation. One book, Michelle, what would you recommend and why?
Michelle: So what I would recommend to Fire Nation is that they head to my website, michellecashman.com/Fire, and they check out my book that I’ve written for your listeners, which it’s just a little eBook. It’s called Vitality: How to get your health and mojo back. They can get that completely free as a gift from me to your listeners, John.
John: One more time, what was that URL?
John: Michellecashman.com/Fire. Michelle, let’s end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Michelle: Okay. My parting piece of guidance, don’t put your business before your health. We have our goals to make us feel amazing. That’s why we’re entrepreneurs. We want to do stuff that makes us ignite. So you can’t do that if you are spiritually, physically, or mentally unwell. So make sure that your priorities are in line with your end goal and how you want to live and how you want to be. The way that people can contact me is head to michellecashman.com and/or email me Michelle@michellecashman.com and, like I said, check out the free eBook that I’ve written, which is all on point for everything we’ve spoken about at michellecashman.com/Fire.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with and you have been hanging out with MC and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type Michelle in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz; timestamps, links galore.
But of course, head directly over to michellecashman.com. Add a slash Fire on there for your free gift from her, her book Vitality, and shoot her an email, say hi, say thank you, just ask her a question or whatever it is at michellecashman.com. She’s there to answer your questions, Fire Nation. Michelle, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation. For that, girl, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Michelle: Thanks, John.
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