Author Archives: Michelle Ward

About Michelle Ward

Michelle Ward, PCC, has been offering dream career guidance for creative women as The When I Grow Up Coach 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. She'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, which were watched by tens of thousands of people live on CreativeLive. Discover and achieve your dream career at www.whenigrowupcoach.com.

Why Where You Work Can Be More Important Than What You Do

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Pursue your personal passion where you work

Photo: WOC in Tech

In my work as a creative career coach since 2008, I’ve seen this over and over again.

I’ve seen my clients think they’re in the wrong profession, only to realize it was where they were — not what they were doing — that was broken.

I’ve worked with my clients on clarifying and prioritizing their non-negotiable work qualities, and the type of work they were doing was less important than where they got to do it, and with who.

As long as they were working with insert-certain-type-of-people here on insert-bigger-mission-here, their own responsibilities mattered less and less.

At first, I was surprised at this finding. I was surprised hearing an affirmative response to the question, “Is where you work more important than what you do?” But then I kept hearing it. Again, and again, and again.

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The 9 Things I Did To Quit My Job and Become a Solopreneur

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solopreneur-hustle-DeathtoStock_Creative Community8

It was 2007.

I was an Account Manager for a startup-ish company (read: cool downtown office, lots of young people, OK to wear your pajamas to work) that seemed like the perfect match on paper. Unfortunately, it came with a verbally abusive boss that left me psychosomatic. My breaking point was having to run off a rush hour train to dry heave into a trash can at one of the busiest NYC subway platforms…and feeling fine once I knew I couldn’t go into work that day.

Talk about a wake-up call! Continue reading

4 Exercises To Help You Unlock Your Dream Career

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Live your passion. Follow your bliss. Do what you love. 

You’ve probably heard advice like this when it comes to finding and achieving your dream career. But what if you’re not sure what your passion is? Or what if you have many passions? If either scenario is the case for you, then this advice remains vague and largely unhelpful.

I’ve worked with thousands of creative people on their dream career development since 2008, and what I kept finding was this:

It’s not about doing what you love or loving what you do. It’s about getting clarity on your lifestyle goals, and then figuring out what you need to do to bring them to life.

Simply put, a “dream career” is one that allows you to wake up in the morning, think about the day ahead, and look forward to at least 70% of it. If you’re doing work you enjoy with people you like being around, and it leaves room for your personal priorities, then you’re in the sweet spot.

Do you want your lifestyle to allow you to pick up your kids from the bus and spend quality time with them until bed? Then that’s a piece of your dream career puzzle.

Do you want to be able to work from anywhere, filling up your passport quickly? Then that’s a piece of your dream career puzzle.

Do you want to be able to attend a lunchtime yoga class every weekday? Then that’s a piece of your dream career development puzzle.

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