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What does a successful life look like?

By Michelle Pollack

· success,purpose,actor,change,Entertainment Indust

Today, I have a special guest. My friend Michelle Pollack sent the below in a newsletter, and I loved it so much that I asked if I could share it. Michelle is a leadership coach who works with smart, ambitious women to embrace imperfection, own their special sauce and lead with courage and authenticity.

Prior to her career as a coach, Michelle worked as an executive in both theater and television on such projects as GREASE, LIVE!, AVENUE Q, Baz Luhrmann’s LA BOHEME, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Without A Trace and The Unit.

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It was a cloudy day in March and we were in a Cosi in midtown Manhattan eating lunch. Everyone else dug into their sandwiches but I just stared at mine, trying to figure out how to give my parents the news. 

My stomach churned with anxiety as I watched the balsamic vinegar slowly seep through the bread of my tomato, mozzarella, basil sandwich. 

“Aren't you going to eat?” my mom asked. 

My brain went fuzzy, my palms were sweaty, my breath was shallow. 

“I DON'T WANT TO ACT ANYMORE!” I blurted out across the table. 

Yes - that was the thing I was practically having a panic attack about. Not that I was pregnant. Not that I was addicted to drugs or that I was declaring emancipation from them. 

I was terrified of telling my parents that I no longer wanted to be an actress. 

Why? Because I felt completely and totally ashamed that I was quitting acting before I was a “success”.  

I hadn't been in a Broadway show. I hadn't been in a commercial or on TV. I hadn't even been in a national tour. 

But in reality, I had made this decision in a very intentional way. 

I was at a callback for the National Tour of “Annie Get Your Gun”, when something snapped. I knew I didn't want to cartwheel across the stage for eight shows a week and I sure as hell didn't want to move out of NYC to do it. 

What I did want was to work with artists to create inspiring theater for a new generation. And once I made that decision, I. Was. Done. 

But I wasn't so sure anyone else would see it that way. I was sure that people would think I was “giving up” or that I “just didn't have what it takes”. I was pretty sure that the world would see me as a failure. 

Why am I telling you this story? 

Most of my clients are “successful” by a definition that they created for themselves years ago. But that definition is no longer fulfilling to them. They join the throngs of successful people walking around wondering why they feel so empty.  

So we start to dig in order to discover:

What does a successful life look like to you NOW?

Success isn't one-size-fits all. Success is not stagnant. And your idea of success may be very different than your friends ideas of success or your parents idea of success. 

When was the last time YOU sat down and really thought about what a successful life looks like to you? (And by life I mean ALL the things: relationships, health, finances, and yes, of course, career).  

How about your DESIRES? What do you really want?  

And what happens when you let your desires dance with your definition of success? 

Might be time to do some exploring…. 

I dare you to go do it now!  

Now, if you want some help with defining YOUR success, then Michelle has a free gift for you. Go ahead and get it below.