The When I Grow Up Coach
Welcome to my About page! I’m Michelle Ward, and I’ve been offering career guidance for creative women as The When I Grow Up Coach since 2008.
You may have seen or heard me 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 (times two!), a Judge Judy contest winner, a pink ukulele player and an NYU alum with my BFA in theater, I live just outside of NYC with my husband Luke and toddler Ramona. I’m 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.
I graduated from the International Coach Academy with my CPC (Certified Professional Coach) status in 2009. The program took me almost 2 years to complete after I finished 120 classroom hours, a research paper, and 60 coaching hours. In 2012, I received my PCC (Professional Certified Coach) accreditation from the International Coach Federation. That means that I not only abide by their standards, but that I have completed upwards of 750 coaching hours and have been personally recommended by other PCC-accredited coaches. #legit
How I Became the When I Grow Up Coach
At 6 years old, I knew I wanted to be an actress. Being on stage is where I belong, and it brought me to be a musical theater major at my dream school – NYU / Tisch School of the Arts.
Then all of a sudden, the life I was pursuing for 20 years wasn’t what I wanted anymore. I didn’t want to spend my “days off” sitting at auditions to sing 8 bars of a song and wonder where the day went. I didn’t want to get a job and have to pick up my life with one day’s (or one week’s) notice. I didn’t want to be a 35-year-old waitress/ hostess/ temp/office manager. I wanted my days to mean something.
So I got a real job. And another one. And another. And another. I went through seven jobs in four years, constantly trying to find “the perfect fit”. I’d get restless easily and fairly despondent, thinking that there was nothing else out there for me that I could devote myself to passionately and enthusiastically. One day I declared, “Enough! I refuse to accept that there is nothing else out there that I’m going to love doing!” I decided to put some chutzpah into my search. I was going to find My Dream Career.
I enrolled in a Career Change Workshop at NYU and through a series of personality tests, exercises and conversations with my classmates, I realized that I wanted to help others find their own path, especially “creative types” that thought they wanted one thing their whole life and only to have to rewrite their plans (sound familiar?). I wanted to help them figure out what they wanted to be when they grew up (get it?).
It was then that I realized that I’ve been training my whole life to be a coach. My communication skills, my enthusiasm, my sense of humor, my desire to help people find their passion and my people-loving-personality makes this the role that I was born to play. And my certification and 9 years of coaching makes this a role I can take center stage!
Here’s My Featured Press
The Top 100 Websites For Your Career on Forbes
How to Find Hidden Jobs in amNY
To the Office, With Love: What We Give Up When We Become Entrepreneurs in New York Magazine
5 Steps to Pursuing an Unconventional Career on Forbes
On Starting a Business &
On Evolution on Raise Your Hand Say Yes
Hippie Dippie all the Way to Success on Entrepreneur on Fire