Your story is too big to play small, and everyone’s story can help heal not only yourself but other people.
Dr. Michelle Mras is a very impactful executive coach and a speaking coach, an author of 16 books, a host of two podcasts, and a powerful icon helping people formulate their stories and walk through healing by telling their stories.
On This Episode:
- Dr. Michelle shares her experiences in life and how she overcomes her traumatic journey.
- Dr. Michelle discusses how she went from pain to purpose or tragedy to triumph from her upbringing.
- Learn how Dr. Michelle’s coaching as an executive coach and as helping people formulate their stories.
- Dr. Michelle shares what happened after her brain injury and her mindset through that journey.
- Hear how forgiving yourself can help you lead and work in the world.
- Joseph and Dr. Michelle discuss the trauma and tragedies they had in life and how they used that as a tool for their healing journey.
- Dr. Michelle shares her book, Hold My Crown: Women of Grit Share Stories of Resilience. The stories of women and the miracle of life happen in their stories.
1. Be able to forgive because you do need forgiveness for yourself.
2. Your inner critic isn’t holding you back. Your inner critic challenges you to prove
how badly you truly want something.
3. When you walk in faith and trust the opportunities that are open to you, when you listen to that voice in your soul, there’s nothing you can do wrong.
4. Remember that when someone’s holding you back, they’re not holding you back, they’re afraid of losing you.
5. Eat dessert first. The small things in life are the things that you will regret more than anything when you miss them.
6. Remember, when you’re not protected and alone, God’s protecting you another way. He’s enabling you to encompass that learning experience, that you can utilize it somehow in another lifetime or at another time. But remember that you’re never alone.
“Life’s too short to play small. Life is too short for taking little or petty things and making them big.”
“The difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.” -Ellen Glasgow.
“Your power is the power in your brain that can either make or break you, and it’s your choice.”
“The best thing that’s going to happen is another door of opportunity to where you want. It’s going to be there, so stop being the adult.”
Connect With Dr. Michelle Mras:
Connect with Joseph James:
Joseph: Hey everyone, and welcome to another great show of Purpose Through Pain Podcast. I am your host Joseph James, and like always, I have amazing guests on our show. But this particular lady, not only did I get a chance to meet, but she was very impactful in my life and just a very short time, Dr. Michelle Mras. I met her and immediately just immediate connection, but she has an amazing story that I want her to share with you guys today on not only just her upbringing, but how she went from pain to purpose or pain to triumph that tragedy to triumph from her upbringing and what she is doing now and how her coaching as a executive coach, as a speaking coach, as helping people formulate their stories. She's been able to build her own story, but also take that art of doing this, and she's gonna talk about this today, but helping people walk through healing, through telling their story. And that's something in just in a very short time, she was inspirational to me in a recent speaking competition that she's like, Joseph, use that pain, use those things because it's going to help touch people's lives and I already knew that but to hear it from somebody else and hear it from somebody that's influential as much as she is, that's what you guys are gonna hear today because your story is too big to play small and everyone's story can help heal not only yourself, but other people. Dr. Michelle, thank you so much and welcome to the show.
Dr. Michelle: Well, thank you so much for having me, Joseph. It's an absolute pleasure, and I'm so excited that God and Universe brought us together.
Joseph: Yes, yes, absolutely. And just of course, the way it did at a speaking competition.
Dr. Michelle: That I wasn't supposed to be at.
Joseph: That you were not absolutely were not supposed to be at, and why were you not supposed to be there?
Dr. Michelle: I was supposed to be home. I'd just been in Europe for two weeks and I was heading home from Orlando and all my flights canceled and the only flight I could get on was one to Phoenix. So I jumped on it and went to the competition.
Joseph: And that was just a such a divine purpose because if it wasn't for her, it was definitely for me because now not only getting the chance for you to impart knowledge into me as well as your experience and share that you touched a lot of lives at the competition as a judge, as a speaker, then also now you're bringing value to my audience, to those that are out there listening, because ladies and gentlemen, she's gonna bring it today and it's a very impactful story, very similar to mine in a military family. So Dr. Michelle, let's go back in time. Talk to me about that young girl that was so pretty but was made not to be so pretty.
Dr. Michelle: Well, I was a military brat, grew up in the Philippines, and I have six siblings total, and I'm the fourth of six, but the first one, the eldest is a musical savant, the second is a athletic monster, I mean, he's amazing at everything, and then my third is a sister who was a runway model when she was nine. So just absolute perfect in all three sections, and then there was me. I was short my flaw as my father said, you're a short, fat and ugly. You might be smart, but the world opens for beautiful people and girl that you ain't one of you, that's not you and so I went through my whole life comparing myself to the top three, wondering I'm not good at anything. Well, what it was is they were very good with specific things. I was over average on everything, and I thought that was a bad thing. And I thought that being smart was bad, so I used to play small and attempting to hide who I was because who wants to look at the short, fat, ugly girl? And so I would hide and it took, honestly, it took till I was 47, 46 and hit by a car, I was in a car accident, when I finally stepped out of that and realized life's too short in that I was living a lie, I was living in a perception of what my father thought was successful in the world, and I played into his game and I had to remember, this is my world, this is my game, and there's a lot more tragedy in my life that you don't know about that one saying that he gave me, at youth, basically it formed all the other relationships that happened to me in my life as I got older and I don't know if you want me to go into all the other things, you do?
Joseph: Go for it, go for it.
Dr. Michelle: So think of a young lady, I'm five foot nothing, short, fat and ugly smart, but the world opens for beautiful people. My confidence was very low, although I'm very confident there would be times when I would step behind someone and try to play smaller all the time while my senior year of college predators can feel things like that, bad people can feel things like that and I was sought at, and a young man, quote unquote young man, broke into my house one night, my senior year of college, and he raped me. He didn't just rape me, he kept me for the next from what we can do in my therapy sessions, the next 10 months, my brain won't let me go back any further, so we say 10 months because that's all I can, my brain will allow out. And so, I realized in that moment when I was captive was that the recording that played through my head was, this is where you belong. You're short, you're fat, you're ugly, no man wants you, all they need you for is sex, and I remember thinking that while this boy was, you know, attacking me, and I remember I stopped fighting, I stopped fighting and I left my body and watched him do what he did to me, and I remember I would pray to God, please stop him, God please stop him, God please stop him, and God never stopped him. So I said, God must hate me, and so I pulled back even more and pulled back even more, and I remember one day he caught me talking to someone at work, I had four jobs going to school full time and he would bring me to work ‘cause he followed me everywhere and he saw someone talk to me and I smiled. Now, Joseph, you know me, I smile all the time, but I was not allowed to smile during that time in my life, and I smiled, so this boy hurt me more than he normally would've hurt me, and that day he left me bloody on the floor and I was crying and I said, Dear God, what can I do? And I heard, you're smarter than him, get up, and that's when I realized, I mean, instant power, I realized the thing I thought was my greatest weakness being smart, it was my saving grace. I had to outsmart him, I couldn't out muscle him at five foot, but I could outsmart him and I did and I got away short, long story short, I got away. He ended up coming back a month later and threatening me again, but this time, instead of succumbing, I told him to blow my face off. I'd rather die than him touch me again and in that moment, he fell to the ground and cried and said, I just want you to love me, why won't you love me? And I realized at that moment, this boy did not know what love was, he thought he was loving me and I promised to the world and God never think that I would break that chain because somewhere in that where, in that lion of his world, he did not learn that love was not pain, and so when I grew up and I said, okay, I'm gonna go into the speaking world, somehow I started speaking at women's shelters and things like that and telling people, the women, it's us, up to us, the mothers, to break the chain, our children see how we let men interact with us, our sons learn that you can hurt them if you let them hurt you, our daughters learn it's okay to be hurt, so if we're gonna break it, it's us, the mothers, because we are the figure they're looking at, that's why I smiled when you called me mother, ‘cause I'd say that we're the moms, we've gotta break it, and so that was a big part of my life, I got married to my high school sweetheart later, all this stuff happens, but I'll let you break in now because my story keeps going.
Joseph: Yeah. So, you know, going back to, so your father, and then of course this guy, you know, we know that words have power over us, okay, words can, whether spoken from us or to us can either create life or destroy it, you know, and, you know, ultimately I look at my dad, I hear the words that he said over me and to me, and then of course, healing took place over the years. I think a lot of times what we like when you said, when he, when he told you is like, I just want you to love me, and you realizing that that's, that's what his influence was somewhere at some point his influence was that's what love looked like and same thing with your dad is ‘cause you told me that later on, your dad said something to you that changed really almost the reason or gave you explanation to the reason of why he said that, and can you share that little part with me, because I mean, ultimately when we're going through these things, whether it's an adult now, whether it's people in a younger relationship and talking about the power of words, until we're sometimes able to put ourself in other people's shoes and under truly understand your dad didn't do it because he hated you, this guy didn't do it because he hated you, he just didn't know any other way.
Dr. Michelle: It's what they learned. And so that's why I'm such a very forgiving person is because when, I'm gonna fast forward to a little bit of my brain injury, I have a brain injury, I have a traumatic brain injury, I've lost four parts of my brain, and while I was relearning things and relearning to be who I was or find who I was, I went to my dad and said, Hey, I need to talk to you, I've got some grief on what you said to me when I was a kid, I said, because now all these thoughts are coming through my head, and he said, I can't believe you're talking to me ‘cause I was a terrible father, and I said, well, I don't think you were a terrible father, you were a great father when you were a dad, it's just some of the things you said, I don't understand, and he said, Michelle, you're a beautiful, you're smart, you're powerful, people are gonna wanna take advantage of you, and I didn't know how else to protect you, but to tell you to play small, he wanted to protect me all in the, with what I could have, and so…
Joseph: All of the name of protection.
Dr. Michelle: Yeah, he loved me and he knew that if I came out the way I am now into college and high school and everything, that people would come to me and hurt me because of how I showed up so much, well, now I'm in my 50’s, so I can come, I can go be the me that he saw when I was a little girl, but he's like, yeah, I wanted to protect you because I knew you would be out there charging forward, and I didn't know how to, I didn't know how to protect you there, so I had to keep you where I could keep you.
Joseph: In instead of, and that being his perspective, instead of flipping it and be like, you're such a beautiful woman, you're going to be a powerful and mighty queen that's gonna walk the face of this earth, holding that crown on your head and knowing and understanding your value and worth, so you're not taking advantage of.
Dr. Michelle: But see, you have to think with him, he grew up in New Orleans, New Orleans, and he was getting into the gangs and things like that, and just like him, just like, I'm just like him, we're very theatrical, we speak very fluently, we're intelligent, I'm a female version of my dad, and when he was younger to get him out of all the trouble that he was getting in, because natural leaders, people come to you, well, his mother tried to save him and she moved him out of New Orleans, put him out with his uncle at the, in the levee, at the living off the levee, and tried to make him learn to be a man, well, what she didn't know as that man was a womanizer and blah, blah, blah, so she put him in a worse situation, trying to keep him away from gang life. So he learned, move them away from what they, where they are to save them, he moved me away from what I could be to save and he repeated the same mistake his old mother made.
Joseph: Wow, that's impactful, and I just wanna share this with those that are listening, is until you truly understand how you were influenced, do you know the power of how you will influence? And honestly, Dr. Michelle is, I didn't even realize that myself until this past year when I heard somebody say that, I'm like, man, now I understand how I'm a leader, now I understand my leadership style can be very blunt, can be very harsh at times, can be very direct, but if I look at my leadership, I was groomed by a father that was 20 years in the Marine Corps. He was also very stern, very direct, very abusive, then I spent my time in the Marine Corps, time in law enforcement, time in corrections, time with Homeland Security, all love it, you know, so I can be very, so I have to sometimes be like, let me start now being influenced by other styles of leadership, you know, and so, but until I really truly understood how I was influenced, could I start changing the dynamic of how I influence other people?
Dr. Michelle: Exactly, you need to know thy self, right? In all the layers you can, you can muster up, I love my parents, I mean, when I tell my stories, I mean, I'm not saying because, oh, they were bad people, no, they were doing the best they could with the knowledge they had and if they weren't the way they were, I wouldn't be who I am today. And I'm a powerful force, which means I'm came from two very powerful sources, so, I mean, I love them truly, and for everything they are, and I forgive them for the mistakes they made, just like I hope my children forgive me for the mistakes I made, and you know, remember that when you're thinking about how you lead and how you work in the world, be able to forgive because you do need forgiveness of yourself.
Joseph: Absolutely, and I believe that's a key thing for healing is, you know, ultimately it wasn't your choice to be brought up in the home that you were brought up, that you had no choice in that, okay, like most of us, we don't have a choice in that, okay. And in our generation, we didn't think about calling the cops if our dad was being abusive, ‘cause we get it worse when the cops left, you know, and we sure didn't think about running away or being able to go to social media to share my mom or dad as doing x,y,z. We were scared to death, I didn't do a lot of things because of fear in a good way, and it probably kept me out of a lot of bad things because I was scared to death, you know, but being able to, and I didn't, growing up in a faith-based family, I've always been taught to forgive other people, but what I was never doing, and I didn't realize this until about two and a half years ago, is about forgiving myself, and just how powerful am I? Okay, God, I'm always asking you to forgive other people, and I forgive them, but I've never bothered to just say, Joseph, I forgive you for thinking the way that you were thinking for allowing people to do that, for blaming yourself. That was a huge, I was blaming myself for the way my dad didn't love me or loved me, you know, and all I was doing was creating a story that was ultimately not true.
Dr. Michelle: I had to forgive myself for the high expectations. I failed well, I alluded to the brain injury, okay. Now growing up in a rough childhood kind of thing, and having the things that happen to me, your brain builds up walls to protect you for walls of the things that it doesn't wanna remember, and when I had that brain injury, the traumatic brain injury where I've lost my frontal lobe over my left ear, the back of my head, and my two hemispheres disconnected, and I was trapped in my body for two years, three months, completely not able to speak or walk and what I realized, what all those walls came tumbling down with the brain injury. So I was stuck in my head reliving everything that had ever happened to me and I had to evaluate it, where did my place, what was my place in those roles? And this is, people get, give me pushback on this ‘cause I say, you have to take ownership in everything that has ever happened to you that you see as negative. So like in my case, my rape, I had to take ownership because if I didn't take ownership of my part in it, I would stay victim forever. So what I play, what I've decided was my ownership in it was I played small because of what I believed, I believed I was short, fat and ugly in that a woman's place was to be under a man and that I'm supposed to be baby carriers and that's all I was ever supposed to be. I believed it, and so that's what he saw, that's what he felt and that's what he took. He took the weaker version of me and I let him, so my part is I'd stop fighting when I should have fought, now I'm not saying punch fight ‘cause I would've died, okay, physically fighting, I would've died, but I could have fought mentally and not given in. It took a lot of gumption to say, wait a minute, I don't belong here, I wanna go to school, I want, I had to fight for myself, so I took ownership of that, I played small, and that's what that guy, he fed on, and that's why he found me, and then by doing that, I know, I'm not that young girl anymore, I'm not that person who would succumb like that anymore. So now I am now the hero of my story, not the victim of my story.
Joseph: And there's something you said, something you said that was powerful about taking ownership, there's a difference between taking ownership and blaming. Expound on that a little bit. How did you not, how did you take ownership without blaming yourself that it was your fault? How does somebody go about doing that? ‘Cause we're all in that situation, we all can't succumb to that, which puts us in a victim mentality.
Dr. Michelle: Well, you have to, well, what I remember is I take ownership, because I was an 18 year old girl working out of the realm of what I knew. So I don't take blame because I worked with what I knew, and I've had women as when I'm older, and I've told that story, they do, are you an idiot? Why didn't you fight back? I would've got a gun and killed him, I said, well, one, you aren't 18. Two, you weren't kicked outta your house at 16. Three, I didn't wanna go to jail for the monster, I have a life I wanted to live, and I wasn't going to be a murderer and go down to his level in my mind, so there had to be another way because if I became a murderer, then I would take blame and I would never forgive myself, you see? I know my limits of what I would be able to handle and murder is not one of them, so I took ownership of the part of the game I played in that I won, big difference.
Joseph: Absolutely, absolutely.
Dr. Michelle: There's a quote by Byron Katie that I love to use and I kind of alter it ‘cause I say, I think she says there's three types of business in the world, I say there's three types of control in this world, there's my control, the other person's control and God's control. I believe that I can control everything that in is in my mind and my realm, but I can't control the actions of other people. So in this case, I couldn't control that boy's actions, but I can control how I react to him, so I did.
Joseph: You did. When you had that feeling come over you, you know that you are smarter, that power, you said that impartation, take us back to that moment and what did you, what did you feel? What did you do? What did you start doing? Was it immediate? Was you like, Okay, I'm we're done, this is it?
Dr. Michelle: No, this guy would've killed me. He would've, and so I had to do it very meticulously, he watched everything I did, so when he would go out for a smoke, I'd pack something in a bag and so I would put, I mean, he knew how much, how many piece, how many underwear I had, how many bras I had, he knew everything about me because he examined and watched everything I did. So every day I would move something, move something, pack something, and then I would take him in like my lunch bag to go to work, and I would leave them at work, and so what I ended up doing was I slowly took things I needed to survive away from him, and then one day I told him I was gonna run to the store and I'd be right back. Normally he would say, I'm coming with you, but this time he said, yeah, I'm too tired, just go, just hurry up, I'm watching the clock, well, I never came back, that's how I got away. And I, it was kind of cool because I told him, well no, that was the first time I got away. He found me after that one. And then the next one was, I told him, you know, I love you, now this is the part I had to forgive myself, so let me tell you this, sorry, I told him I love you, sell your gun so you don't, you know, ‘cause he raped me with his gun, you don't know that, but now you do, I said, sell the gun, I love you, we'll move up to New York and we'll live happily ever after, you won't have to worry about all these people checking on me, I have a lot of friends, I'm a friendly person, so he was always mad that people were talking to me or stopping by, and so I said, we've moved to New York. No one will ever find me again, it'll just be me and you, it'll have me all to yourself. He's like, yeah, that's what I want, well, I told him, Silver, the gun to my brother, my brother will, my brother loves guns, and he goes, Okay, so he took me to church and he normally never let me even touch anyone else, hug anyone else, and I hugged my brother and I said, by the gun, don't ask questions, and my brother looked at me, and he just, I sent him over to buy the gun and they did their transaction, and that's how I got rid of him. I went into church and then the minister and my brothers did something and he never came back for till that 30 days later when he came back with another gun threatening me and I told him to kill me, and that's when he followed the ground and said, please love me, I just want you to love me, so I outsmarted him to get away and then I had to out brain him out, will him and say, you know, take the chance of kill me, and he didn't, but before he left, he told me he would, one day he would kill me, and so for 30 some odd years later, I held that fear and I was afraid to be a speaker, I was afraid to get on stage, so I would hide on big stages, I would do small venues, but when it came to a stage, I would do what if he finds me, and it wasn't until after my brain injury that I realized if that didn't kill me and then I got breast cancer, if that doesn't kill me, he's definitely not gonna kill me, I've got a black belt, a concealed carry, I mean, you name it, I've got it, so it's like, go ahead. If you are meant to kill me, then now go ahead, do it ‘cause I'm ready now, but before I was afraid of what he could do and it's been so many years, one, he'll probably never find me two, if he does find me, I'm pretty sure I'm not the little girl that a car behind him tower on him again, and three, I've got a tribe of people that are always around me who love and protect me, so I think I'm good.
Joseph: I love it, I love it. So over that time, of course with the brain injury, and I want you to go into that, but is that where. And this question may be beforehand, but is this where the mindset really started shifting? Was it after the car accident?
Dr. Michelle: Yes.
Joseph: Okay. So now that we know that, I want you to tell the story of that because when I got to hear it from your side of the other day is, and knowing what it led you to the weight gain and things like that, and even though you had a loving husband to take care of you, something had to shift, so tell us what happened and what led up to that, your mindset, where you were at, and then of course your mindset through the journey of it.
Dr. Michelle: Well, I was writing for politicians, I wrote speeches for politicians in Colorado, and I was doing that kind of thing when I was at my computer and I said, Dear God, I am so tired, I had so many things going up, I was balancing checkbooks for the church, and, you know, reading other people's talks and evaluating if I'm gonna represent them in the next election, I'm like, I'm tired, and I alarm went off my phone to go pick up my kids from school, and I drove, I have to sing, you know me, I was driving along a mind in my business, went out of the orange colored sky flash, bam, alakazam, I got hit by a car and I got the wish, I asked for God that I needed a break because 12 days after that car accident, I stopped speaking, then I stopped walking and for the next two years, three months, I was trapped in my head, unable to move or do anything for myself. My husband bathed me, fed me, and everyone just did everything around me. I thought it was only a month or two, but it was two years, and my, I loss of my frontal lobe lost my ability to lie, can't lie, frontal lobe over my left ear, back of my head, and my two hemispheres disconnected, that's what stopped me from walking, but while I was in my head, I evaluated all the things that I never let myself do because I was basically, I was trapped in my body, fully cognizant, but all I could do is move my eyes, and no one really understood me because I couldn't speak, so I would say a word and my husband would decipher what it was, it was like the biggest game of charades ever, but I wrote a book in my head called, It's Not Luck Overcoming You, that's it, my second book actually, It's Not Luck Overcoming You, because every insecurity, every inner critic that I've ever had all attacked me when I was stuck in my head, and you should be dead. You don't have a voice, that's why you can't talk, you're just, you know, you're short fact and ugly, just like your dad told you he's whole, right? And it was just all this stuff and I had to, counteract all these voices, and I wrote a book on how to counteract inner critics. Spoil alert, what I discovered throughout my journey is your inner critic isn't holding you back, your inner critic is challenging you to prove how badly you truly want something. Inner critics are not bad, but they want you to prove it, and they, they're tough, okay? So when I said I wanna walk and talk again, I get me out of this, I remember at the end of that two years, three months, I told God, screaming at my head, in my head, If you just hate me so much, then one is just kill me already, I mean, I went through so much as a child and all this other stuff, and you know this stuff that happened when I was a senior in college, why do you hate me so much? And I heard again, you're not dead yet, get, and I found myself six feet away from that couch with my hands in the air promising God I would walk through any door he ever opened again for me. I would never question whatever he put me in front of I would bravely walk and walk in faith, I promised, and ever since I've been doing that, my flood floodgate of opportunity has been hit me, I mean, four years ago, you look at me, four years ago I was 389 pounds, I might have done a couple of talks for Toastmasters and I might have had a Facebook Live, now I'm 240 pounds lighter, TV show in the Philippines called Mental Shift, it's all over the world, it's streams on Roquio and all that other stuff, I've got two podcasts and I've got 16 books. When you walk in faith, and you trust the opportunities that walk that are open to you, when you trust and you walk and you listen to that voice in your soul, there's nothing you can do wrong, my life has fast forwarded in four years more than it ever had in the 47 years to before that day even happened. Now, when I came out of that coma, I found an invite to join TEDx and I said, yes, my husband's like, you only have a 16 second memory, you haven't even spoken a full sentence, how are you gonna do this? I do, I promise, I'd say yes, so I went and did a TEDx with a 16 second memory, and I spoke for my heart about something I felt needed to be shared. One, I needed to share that I was going to take control of this 389 pound body, I was going to not live willy-nilly. So the three things I shared in my TEDx are, number one, you have to have a goal, but you've gotta be flexible in how you achieve it. Life is like a GPS, you can't expect to take that exact route, sometimes there's roadblocks and it will, you'll be detoured to another road. It may not be the straightest path, but it will still get you there, be flexible on how that road gets you there. Number two, eat dessert first, what I realized when I was in my brain injuries, I had never allowed myself to enjoy anything. I was always putting a caveat on when I lose 10 more pounds, Oh, when this happens, Oh, once I get my degree, Oh, I always had a caveat, I never let myself enjoy anything. So eat dessert first, the small things in life are the things that you will regret more than anything when you miss them, so I enjoy life to the fullest you've seen me in real life, I'm laughing, having a good old time. Why? Because life's too short to play small, life is too short to take little things, petty things, and make them big, and then the third thing is the difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions, it's a quote by Ellen Glasgow, if you keep doing the exact same thing every day and wondering why nothing changes, it's because you are building the dimensions of your grave, if you don't wanna build your own grave, you better step out, step, do something, anything different, and so what that declaration was is I had promise to the world because I'm stubborn, I needed to declare more to the world than just myself, that I was going to make a different, something different in my life every day until I found this woman again. So the first thing I took out was sugar outta my coffee, the next thing I took out was I was gonna walk a mile. Next thing I was gonna walk two miles, next thing I was gonna stop all things with chemicals, I mean, so I just did something new every day, incorporated into my life, and a couple of years later, I'm 240 pounds less, I beat cancer, I mean, it's just all these crazy things that happened to me, because of my TEDx that I declared to the world. So I'm asking your audience right now, what little change that you can make that when you wake up tomorrow morning, you know, something has altered in your life, what little change do you need to do?
It's that simple, one itty bitty change every day and the next thing you know, you've walked miles one itty bitty step at a time.
Joseph: That's powerful. I mean the complexity of the event, but yet the simplicity of getting out of it, you know, and I think, you know, you mentioned earlier, you know, the brain is actually, is created to protect us, you know, the brain cannot decipher from the fear of bungee jumping or just walking, you know, walking somewhere you're not sure where to go. Okay? It's fear. It's there to protect us, but yet the same feeling of fear has held us back because their brain can't decipher. Like, man, yeah, you know what? I'm just unsure, so I'm not gonna go for it versus, no, this is what you've gotta go for, this is what you need to do, especially in business or especially in speaking people, a lot of people are scared to speak, why? Because the fear of the protection of what will people say, you know, or I may say the wrong things or people may not say the right things, that the brain is there to protect us, but yet it has held so many of us back for so many years. For me, over 40 plus years, I'm 44, and it's held me back because ultimately the pattern we learned as that small kid was a pattern that was going to be set for us for the rest of our life unless we changed it.
Dr. Michelle: Yep, exactly, your power is, the power in your brain can either make or break you, it's your choice, and so with me, you've, we snuck in the point that I was diagnosed with breast cancer six months after I started walking and talking again. Now, the whole thing about that is, I could have crumbled right there, I mean, holy smokes, breast cancer, I've got three, I've got three months to live is what they told me, and the thing is I could have crumble, what had I said instead was, I've got three months to do all the life living. I wanted to do that, I never allowed myself to do the first 46 years of my life, and so I took off fast forward and my husband's like, do you really wanna do that? I said, what am I, what do I have to lose if I'm dying in three months? I don't have any other time, if I go and I feel they're only gonna laugh at me for two more months ‘cause I'm dying, so I might as well just go, and when I ran and did what I wanted to do, no one laughed, and then I accomplished that, then I accomplished that, then I accomplished something else, and I'm like, well, it's been three months now, I'm not dead yet, what else do I wanna do? And so I just kept checking off my bucket list so much that I really don't have a bucket list anymore, and that's how I see, live every day, like it's your last love every day, like it's your last, do everything like it's your last, I'm not saying like the millennials say, you know, YOLO live, you only live once, Oh, you only live once. Yeah, I'm not saying go out there and jump out of an airplane without a core or without a parachute. I'm saying go do what you wanna do, stop being afraid what other people think, because the worst thing that's gonna happen is you're gonna end up where you are already, the best thing that's gonna happen is another door of opportunity to where you want, it's gonna be there, so go stop, stop being the adult. Embrace the toddler mindset that you have inside of you, the little kid in you that said, I'm gonna be a ballerina, astronaut, fireman, and president of the United States all at the same time, be that kid because that is the belief system we need to, through all of that negativity in our lives and go be us, be that person, because especially if you're an entrepreneur or own a business, you need to be the brave one that jumps and says, you know what? There's a big pillow down here, jump, come on down with me, because so many people live with this fear of this veil of inaccuracy that we all hide behind, and we, we hope that no one notices that we're inadequate, so we just keep hiding under it, guess what? Everyone's walking with it, so take it off, go be the first brave one, be the pack leader so other people can realize, Hey, I can do this too, help all of us go be the best version of us unapologetically, that's my whole theme.
Joseph: Wow, and you're living it, you're, I know people can't see the video right now, but, or, and you're, you know, you may be driving when you, you're hearing this, but, you know, having to spend, being able to spend a couple days with Michelle, just last week, I think it was, it seems like forever ago, it seems like we've already known each other for a long time, she has such an attractable, unapologetic experience, a personality, okay? And I use that word unapologetic because with love, she will tell you, she will tell you, she is, she does not hold back, she's not rude, she's not unprofessional, she's not ugly, she does it with love. But she will tell you exactly what you don't want to hear, but yet what you really need to hear. And from my experience, it wasn't just the speaking, she was a judge, okay. And I was at a speaking competition, it wasn't just about that, it was about just how we interacted, how other people interacted, how life is her sharing her story about the car accident, about her father, and I'm, so, I'm attracted because to her spirit, her spirit woman, okay, because I know the things that I have suffered from in life, I know the things that have held me back, and when I see other people that just, just choose to live life by the fullest and then begin to understand why, it's like, how can you not want to be around that person? You know, I mean, everything is just exuberant about you and knowing that the fact that you've gone through so much, hell, I caught it hell in the hallway, you know, and knocking on those doors of opportunity, but yet the, it wasn't there. The door was locked, couldn't get in, you know? But yet you kept on and you kept on, and you kept on and kept on, instead of becoming the victim, you now walk this earth as a victor.
Dr. Michelle: Queen, I like to say Queen.
Joseph: Yes, that crown is on your head lady.
Dr. Michelle: Yeah, I'm, I just figured, you know, God chooses people. I think that he knows, you know, they can take it, and I need them to be my warrior, and I see all the things that happened in my life, not because God made them happen but He armored me to be able to survive them so that I can come out and speak and share and write about it so that I can help other people see that they can get out of whatever they're in or use whatever happened to them to fuel what they wanna do in their business, in their life. Nothing happens just to happen, their armor, use it.
Joseph: I believe that God does not choose the qualified, He qualifies his chosen by putting on that armor, by equipping them, by teaching them. Sometimes it may be walking through the wilderness for 40 years, you know, but the promise land is there.
Dr. Michelle: Yeah. And I remember when my father told me, when I went and talked to him, I remember him telling me, you were three years old, he said, I remember walking in a room and you were three years old and you were commanding everybody in the room. He said, you were talking and you were telling a story and we couldn't understand, I had my own language, apparently, I had a list, had a l and I had my own language, but he said You were there where we barely understood you, but we all listened, and he says, and I knew something big was coming out of you. Yeah. And uh, he goes, I didn't know what to do with you, and so that was the thing. How many times do we have someone in our lives or people or friends in our lives that say, don't do it, no, don't, don't do that. It's because they're afraid to lose us, not because they don't believe we can do it. It's ‘cause they're afraid of losing us in another level. And so when I hear people say, Michelle, you want a TV show? You wanna do a car? Burnett, I can see you doing, but that's gonna be a lot of work. I wanna do the Carnet show. I wanna bring it back, The Michelle Show. And people don't, Some people will say, you really wanna do that. I mean, that's a lot of work. And then there's others who do. I didn't see you doing that. I can definitely see you doing that. And so what I realize is the ones who say don't do it, they're afraid that when I move to that next level, that I will leave them behind, but what you know, and what the people who truly know me as, I don't let anybody go. I am building a family, a tribe, people who, who move together through the world because together we are love, we grow and we serve together, yeah, Just remember that when someone's holding you back, they're not really holding you back, they're afraid of losing you.
Joseph: That's so good and I mean, it kind of goes back to the boy, you know, the young man that was, I thought this was me loving you. I thought that's how you love, you know, is he didn't know truly how to love. So displaying that love, you know, I know without a doubt of my mind, I mean, I look back at my father and I know he loved us, I know he did, you know, and there's not a doubt in my mind, I just truly don't think my dad was ever taught how to truly love you know, and because I saw that when my dad finally, when my dad was displaying love to us was, he was a gift giver, he would go buy things, okay. And so I don't have a lot of times of memories of playing outside with my dad. And when I do, it was work. We're gonna throw the baseball, you're gonna throw it right a hundred times and you're gonna practice a hundred times until you get it right, there was no, let's just go outside and play. But I understand my dad wanted excellence. He wanted that, and there was nothing wrong with it, you know, I just simply a kid that just wanted to play ball with his dad, you know? And then even when, he found a stack of baseball cards on my dresser one day, and he asked me where I got them from, and I'm like, you know, I go to the grocery store and buy them, and they have a stick of gum in there, I was only buying them for the stick of gum, you know, that was probably about a year old and you couldn't chew anyways but it became something where he is like this is how I can show my boys love but again, became about excellence, it became a work, it became a chore, you know, and I look back and even when he would buy Beanie Babies from my mom, he would buy them because that was a way he was showing love because I looked back, I was like, well, he had to have learned it from somewhere. He was a gift giver, that was his love language, you know, and I just encourage everybody out there that is listening, it's like, you know, the people that you're with or the trauma, the tragedies that you've have in life. Take a step back, view the whole thing from the bird's eye view, so to say, you know, God's point of view. I believe that everything is fathered filtered and what I mean by that is it goes through God and I know there's different things that can happen in our life that we say, well, why is God allowing this? He's allowing it because you're going to become something so much better than what you can ever imagine.
Dr. Michelle: I've gotta share that part. You remember when I said that I heard, you're not dead yet, get up. And then I saw when I found myself six feet from the chair that I could not walk away from with my hands up in the air, I saw a flash forward video of everything bad that had ever happened in my life, and in every one of those terrible scenarios, there was something holding me, something very large holding me that was transparent. And I realized then that all those terrible things that I thought he had abandoned me for, he had been protecting me through. It's just like that Footprints Pro poem, you know, you were walking alongside me when my roughest times, there's only one set of prints, why'd you abandon me, my son? I was carrying you. That's what had happened. So even though you think you're going through hell and you're doing it alone, I can assure you there's someone holding you and saving you from it. You are still here, okay? So just remember when it feels like you're not protected, that you are alone, He's protecting you some other way, He's enabling you to encompass that learning experience, that you can utilize it somehow in another lifetime or in another time. But remember that you're never alone. That was one of my biggest revelations after my brain injury was okay, I'll take on anything now because now I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid of dying, honestly, especially after the breast cancer, not afraid of anything anymore.
Joseph: And you live it and walk it, you do, you do.
Dr. Michelle: I'm a little terrifying sometimes, but yes.
Joseph: Only to the wrong people. You know, and that kind of goes back to like when the night my wife passed away is understanding the why, you know, and having that clarity, like I've never was never mad at God, and I'm not saying I listen, there is nothing wrong with questioning God, it says, asking you shall receive God why did this happen? That's a question, you know, there's nothing wrong with that. I don't even see that there's anything wrong with ever blaming God, but we don't want to sit there and become a victim by choosing to blame other people, instead, I like to God, why is it that this happened? You know, ‘cause when my mom passed away, I asked why I asked God, you know, and he showed it to me. I think it was about a month or so later, might have been a little bit longer than that. He showed it to me through scripture, but for my wife that night is, I saw it, but the first time that, the crazy thing is the message that I saw that gave me and helped me understand my why, I had already saw that actual message, it was a video seven months prior, I wasn't ready to receive it, I immediately thought, babe, this is for you, sweetheart, this is for you, this is your why, it was never her why it was mine, you know, and being able to grasp that, being able to step back and instead of immediately blaming or immediately going into a defense of man, imagine the people that I can help by just simply being vulnerable and telling my story, talking about telling your story, Michelle, you, this is what you do, you not only just travel and tell your story and just, and author, and we're gonna get into that in a little bit, but you truly help people tell their story, why do you do that?
Dr. Michelle: Because a lot of people, what I've found are telling a story that isn't the real story, and one of that's one of my gifts is I listen to the story they tell and say, what about this part of your story? Go deeper into that, they do, well, I don't really wanna go there and I do, ‘cause that's where the story is. We as humans like to take the easy path and so what I like to do is take that veil of inadequacy and reveal the real story because it is my purpose, it is what God wants me to do. I'm supposed to share his story, that was what I was told when I was given my voice back, tell his story, and I thought it was, tell whose story, I was looking for a person and then I realized, tell his story as in the great his of the miracles he's making through the world, because we don't talk about him anymore, so by helping other people tell their story, we're telling his story by what he's really doing in the world, working very quietly through the world, and we're not giving him credit where he is supposed to be getting credit. So I share those stories by pulling them out of my clients so that they can share the true story, the one that really moves them to another level so that they can help more people, I believe that a lot of us who tell our stories play the self, the safe stories, Oh, this is the top line story, this is, no, there's something deeper that you don't wanna talk about because it scares you, it's the scary story is the one that God wants out, and that's the one I help with. And I do that because we are the cave painters of the future. One day there are gonna be people looking around and they're not be able to find our books, they're gonna find these digital records they can't decipher because they can't get anything off and what they're looking for, the stories of us telling we are the cave painters of the future. We need to share what we've gone through, what we've survived, the strength, the resilience of this people that we are today. So they can see that we lived hard, well and loved hard and well.
Joseph: Wow, that's beautiful, absolutely beautiful, and it's so true too, you know, I believe that vulnerability brings healing to us, it's transparency and how it brings healing to other people, but how do we do that? And we do it through our story, we do it through exposing what is hurting us the most, you know, I never thought, I never said this because I think there's too many people in this world that share, that share the same experiences, have gone through very similar things, but I could almost probably say, I can sit there and say, you know, Dr. Michelle's, like, how many people do you know, lost their father and their wife all within 22 days of each other? You know? And outta 7.2, almost 7.3 billion people in the world, there's probably not a lot, but you know, ironically, even though I never told myself that I am the only one that's I've, that's ever gone through that, it was just a little less than a year later that at the church I was going through, one of the pastors lost his mom and wife in the same month, you know, and I'm just like, I kind of sat back and I'm just like, okay, thank you, God. I've never questioned that, I've never used that as something, but it's just like you really just supported that, you know, and I believe that those that are out there listening as number one, your story is, is too big to play small. Number two, by telling your story, you're going to bring healing to you and to others. And number three is don't live in the aspect that you are the only one.
Dr. Michelle: Yeah, you never are.
Joseph: You never are. Dr. Michelle, you're an author. You said earlier, you've written 16 books.
Dr. Michelle: Well, four and then the 12, I'm in compilation books or wrote the four or whatever.
Joseph: Oh, stop it, you've written 16 books. You've been a part of 16 books, whether you're writing a chapter or 10 chapters, it's still writing books.
Dr. Michelle: Yeah, it's pretty big.
Joseph: Without a doubt, don't be too humble and modest now. But there's one that you're especially proud about.
Dr. Michelle: Oh yes.
Joseph: Okay. Share that with us and why are you just so proud and just excited about this particular book?
Dr. Michelle: Hold My Crown: Women of Grit Share Stories of Resilience. One, I'm so proud of that book because I think that's the one I was supposed to write from the get go when God said, tell his story. This is a compilation, it's an anthology book of women from different ages, different nationalities, different every background, you name it and I've had them all tell a different story from childhood to grandmahood, and all the different stages of a woman's life and the things that they experience in those different things. And what was really neat is they were all brought to me in different times, but when I had them all together and we were telling our stories, they all slightly overlapped, and so no one has the same story, but one story would kind of link to the next story. So that's how I put them in the book, it was really kind of cool, but I'm very proud of it because it is the calling I was told, tell his story. These are all stories of women you see the miracle of life happen in their story. Tragic, just absolute horrific stories that have happened, and then you see them as these wonderful, successful women they are today, success in whatever level success they're in, okay? Not everybody's an executive, not everyone's a big speaker, you know, success, where they are the best mom ever, you know, those kind of things, the best teacher ever, and I'm so proud of this book because one, it's the first of many. I plan on replacing Chicken Soup For The Soul, with Hold My Crown. It'll be Hold My Crown, Women Of Grit Share Stories of Resilience, Hold My Crown, Men Of Grit, Share Stories of Vulnerability. So I'm still looking for men,
And then after that it will be hold my crown, stories of resilience and vulnerability. And then the very beginning will be, the first 10 will be women and then in the middle of the book, it'll say without one there isn't the other and then you'll flip the book and it'll be all the stories of men. And eventually it will be a conference where men and women will come together, where we share our stories and we talk about the issues that we don't talk about together because right now the world has kept us separate, world men and women, women empowerment, and men are dogs, and you know, men can't do anything, and women are awesome, and I believe that the reason we're having problems in this world is because we need to come back together again. And that's what the whole Micron series is about, is bringing us back together again.
Joseph: Wow, and that can be just a whole another podcast and recording, just on that right there. Now you were just in Europe promoting your book, you've been on a book tour for quite a while now with this book…
Dr. Michelle: For a year.
Joseph: For a year. How can people get a copy of this book? What's the best way for them to find this or even to reach out to you?
Dr. Michelle: Honestly, the best way to reach me is through my website, which is michellemras.com, so m i c h e l l e m r a s.com.
Joseph: I'm loving it.
Dr. Michelle: You can find all the links there, but if you want an autograph copy, you're gonna wanna write me and say you want the link, because the link on my website I found does not work, it's bringing them to Amazon, it's not bringing them to my account, so you would have to write me on social media or write me through my website and say you're interested.
Joseph: Love it, love it, what is something that, besides the book, that you're truly excited about doing and that's maybe up and coming that you're already doing?
Dr. Michelle: I do an unapologetic speaker camp and I love people live, I love one-on-ones, but I love one to many, but not many, many. I only work with under 20 people at a time, I love sharing that stage time and watching and adjusting people live on stage and no matter what level speaking you're at, I can adjust fix, and make you more powerful with your message. Well, I have one coming up in January. I'm excited about this one, January 25th to 27th because it is at an enormous new place here in Colorado Springs with a huge stage, but the VIPs are going to be my first live audience guests, for my TV show. We have, four or five cameras filming all at once and you'll have all the different aspects you could be possibly a guest on my Live pro, my live show, we film it live, and then we cut it and edit it so you don't have to worry about being perfect. And then we ship it off to Zandra TV and the new channel in the Philippines, and it's broadcasted to over 50 million plus. that's what I'm excited about.
Joseph: Wow, I would be excited about that too. Dr. Michelle, it was such a pleasure, is there any parting words that you'd like to leave with, with the audience?
Dr. Michelle: Yes, let me think, I wrote a quote for my first book, eat, drink and be merry, it's the same as my TED Talk, if you wanna see my TED talk, my TEDx, go to my website, it's one of them anyways or you can Google my name and write TEDx, but the quote I wrote was, change is an emotional journey, it's not rainbows and butterflies in a field of daisies, change is uncomfortable it forces you to evaluate who you really are and the beauty of that is in the possibilities, I wrote that quote because I was always afraid of who I was or who I could be. And it wasn't until I got outta my own way and allowed me to shine as Michelle Mras instead of the little girl who didn't wanna be. I've been able to change the world in my own small way. So understand change is scaryut the beauty is in the possibilities. Go, go be the change.
Joseph: Wow, love it. Dr. Michelle, thank you so much. Truly honored to have you on the show, and guys, do not hesitate to go get a copy of her book, email her, get that signed copy, read it, follow her on social media because I'll tell you this right now, she is the real deal. I've spent some time with her, very intimate time with her late nights, dinners and just even just a lot of phone calls over the last week because we have an exciting project that we're gonna be working on very soon. And you guys, I'm not gonna announce it yet ‘cause we have some details to work out, but it's going to be exciting, it's gonna be official to all of you guys, so don't hesitate. Dr. Michelle Ross, thank you so much, I love you.
Dr. Michelle: I love you. Thank you so much for having me.