Michelle Ward (CPC, PCC): The When I Grow Up Coach

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Michelle Ward (CPC, PCC), also known as The When I Grow Up Coach, has offered dream career guidance to creative women since 2008. You may have seen or heard her in New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Etsy, Newsweek, Freelancers Union, the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career List or 100+ other media outlets. A boob cancer survivor, a Judge Judy contest winner, a pink ukulele player and an NYU alum with her BFA in theater, Michelle's the co-author of The Declaration of You, which was published by North Light Books, and the teacher of Create Your Dream Career and Ditch Your Day Job on CreativeLive. Discover what you wanna be when you grow up at whenigrowupcoach.com.

What do you do best?

My superpower is enthusing my clients with optimism. I constantly get emails from my clients after our sessions saying something like, “I am so PUMPED now and can’t wait to do my homework!” I think my optimism and energy for their dream careers rubs off on them, and that’s the best.

What makes you the best?

This is an annoying answer, but I’m gonna give it anyway: My life! Being on Broadway was my dream and passion for 20 years until I came to terms with the fact that I didn’t like the “business” part of “show business”. I was in my mid-20s and very focused on finding a career I could be passionate about while being a “grown-up” (i.e. not having to live with roommates, getting a steady paycheck, having a job with benefits, etc). I found life coaching, and while it wasn’t stable in any way, shape, or form, I couldn’t deny the excitement I felt when I thought of myself being the coach I needed at the time: one who works with creatives on their career transitions. I also realized that being an entrepreneur fit my own lifestyle goals. My certification plus my own life experiences and personality traits makes this work a very natural fit for me, and with 7 years of experience and hundreds of clients under my belt, I really feel like an expert!

How will you become the best?

I’m constantly learning, experimenting and revising. I always have my Nancy Drew hat on when it comes to my work. Without it, things get stale and you have lots more failures instead of lessons learned.

What are your aspirations?

Personal: Be a great Mom to my daughter (she’s 15 months now). Buy a house in the near-isn future. Continue to eat healthy and exercise (I’m a boob cancer survivor and half-marathoner). Keep making my marriage a priority.

Business: Be able to support my family on my income. Publish the career change book I’m shopping around to agents. Have my first six-figure year (I’m on track for it in 2015!). Relaunch my website with my new branding (which should happen on September 1st!).

What fascinates you?

Oh, anything career related, whether it’s entrepreneurial stuff or more traditional career “advice.” I also try to learn about eating unprocessed food, staying healthy, etc.

Favorite Motto:

Follow the Scary/Exciting!

Favorite People:

My husband, my daughter, my Mom!

Favorite Places:

New York City!


Favorite Products:

Brooklyn Beach Spray

Rick’s Picks pickles

Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee

For my business, the Passion Planner and Teamwork.com

Current Passions:

Theater (performing and attending)