Michelle, tell us about your passion. 

I am passionate about helping caregivers find a path to having a sustainable and rewarding career and family life.

How did you discover your passion, and how long have you been practicing it? Was there a big "aha moment" or did you realize it more slowly?

It was after I had my first child in 2018! I had spent 13 years invested in a big career, and it was a huge part of my identity. Having a baby changed everything - and I was not prepared for this incredible life transition. What I learned soon after was so many others struggle to find a path forward in their careers when they have new caregiving responsibilities. Yet - caregivers make up some of the best leaders in the workplace! They also contribute to creating more inclusive and diverse teams. It's incredibly important that we help them find ways to stay in the workforce, so I decided to launch a company dedicated to this goal. 

What was happening in your life when you began to discover this passion? (For example, did this passion help you through a tough period, were you going through a major life change?)

I became a mother - and then a working mother. These major identity shifts were tough, and there was no compass or support for navigating it all. 

Have you ever hesitated in pursuing your passion? Why? What support has helped you continue?

It took me 5 years before I decided I wanted to pursue this passion. I think there were a few reasons why. First, I was living my life pretty reactively. Taking things day by day, without a clear vision or sense of direction. I knew things were difficult and I wanted to help, but I didn't pause to really think about how I would do it. Next, I am risk-averse by nature! The idea of doing something so outside of my current profession and reality was daunting to me. And finally, I think there were some long held-cultural values that were no longer serving me. I grew up valuing a safe and sure route instead of pursuing my passions. To this day, it is still a challenge. Luckily, I am blessed to have friends and family who have cheered me on and pushed me forward to step out of my comfort zone and launch my company. 

Where have you needed to invest your time, energy, or other resources to pursue this passion? What have you removed from your life so that you could pursue it?

My start-up has quite literally become my 3rd child! I spend what feels like all day, every day working and thinking about Josie. I have invested an incredible amount of emotional and mental energy, and have grown tremendously as a result of it. That means I have had to decrease the mental energy spent on self-doubt and worrying about what other people think, and say "no" to demands on my time that just aren't a priority right now. 

Tell us about one challenge you've encountered as you've pursued this passion. What is it? Are you overcoming it, or still managing it? What tools or strategies have you found helpful for navigating this challenge?

One of the greatest challenges is building emotional resilience. I work on it every day, and don't think that work will ever stop. When you invest in something so deeply, there will be a lot of challenges, disappointment, letdowns, and bad days. There will also be thrills, big wins, incredible opportunities, and the highest highs. To weather all of that - and still manage to be present and show up the way I want to as a CEO, as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter - that's HARD! But it also forces me to adopt tools and skills to manage it in a way I've never had to before. I have had to build that resilience otherwise the show wouldn’t go on! 

Look back at the "you" before you started this passion. Is your life different now? How?

Yes, for sure. I've built deeper self-awareness by pursuing my passion. I've built greater emotional resilience. I've met so many amazing people I otherwise would not have. I have pushed the boundaries of what I thought would be possible. I have learned how the lowest of lows have purpose. 

Has your passion helped others? How? (Remember: what seems "small" to you could inspire others!)

I'd like to think so! I've been more vulnerable in sharing my story about becoming a working mother: how it was not easy nor what I expected; how I wrongly judged working parents before I became one; how I more clearly see where there are systemic gaps in ensuring we can find sustainability in working parenthood. Others have thanked me for sharing this and it truly is such a gift.

What is one "life lesson" you're learning as you pursue this passion?

Failures really are what shape and build your character. Failures are what will make you better. And without them, you become boring pretty fast. 

What would you say to a Passionado who is considering exploring a passion?

We often think about how we need to show up for others - as a leader, manager, mom, dad, sister, daughter, partner etc. We forget to nurture ourselves and explore our passions. Doing so helps us show up better for those we care about. So do it! And read Eve Rodsky's Find Your Unicorn Space

Learn more about Josie at https://myjosie.com/, or follow them on Instagram: @myjosieinc and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/my-josie