Michelle from The Classy Simple Life had been walking the same path for years until she was forced to change course. She found herself facing new challenges that broke her down so she could grow into a healthier life. Here’s her story:

The Humdrum Path

I spent over a decade following an ordinary path. I thought it was the road I was supposed to be on. I was married, had a good job in corporate sales/marketing, and a full home life. But after sixteen years, I realized that this humdrum path was crumbling.

I was exhausted, burnt out, and the stress was starting to negatively affect my health. My marriage had ended in divorce. I had to sell my cluttered home. I was days away from having a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t go on like this. I needed to simplify my life. I needed a change. I just didn’t know how to get off this path and onto a different one.

The Unexpected Path

Instead of finding a new path, it found me. In the Fall of 2015, I was laid off. I hadn’t planned for this and found myself having to quickly throw together a survival plan. Luckily, I had recently paid off my car loan and had at least $1000 in an emergency savings fund. I was forced to cut my monthly budget drastically from $5k to $1k!

In order to make this happen, I sold my home and rented a room with family in exchange for helping around the house with cooking meals and cleaning. I cut my Starbucks habit in half, stopped going to restaurants, got frugal with my groceries, started repairing my possessions instead of replacing them, and sold the things I no longer needed.

Finding myself without a job was a kick in the pants, but I needed it. The Universe was telling me - Hey lady, it’s time to live a simpler, stress-free lifestyle. Even if I wasn’t prepared, I was starting down the path of a classy simple life. At least I had my termination pay and small emergency savings to help me get started.

Becoming An Entrepreneur

I had always wanted to work for myself and this seemed to be the best time to give it a try! I took a turn down the path of entrepreneurship and started my blog. For the first time I was my own boss and made time for my health and wellbeing. It was great, or so I thought.

Entrepreneurship is challenging and progress can be slow (really slow). As the months ticked on, I found myself struggling mentally. I didn’t think this would happen, that the loss of my career would hit me so hard, but it did. It was a huge blow to me! I had worked for 16 years, was super successful, and had never been laid off before. For the first time, I felt like I wasn’t successful. I needed to find a way to pick myself up, even just a little bit.

I ended up finding some relief by getting a part-time job. I know, this seems like a backwards move, but sometimes what seems backwards is just a side step. I was lonely working at home all day. I needed more community in my life and I found that in a part-time job at a coffee shop. This became a sanity saver and has brought me a lot of other positives - extra income, great connections, and health benefits.

I wish I could say that from that point on, things became easy, but life never moves in a smooth line. After a few months of feeling good, my grandmother passed away. This hit me hard. I found myself more depressed than before and started leaning on old bad habits to get through the sadness.

I found myself questioning whether the path I had taken was the right one. What if I had made a huge mistake? Was I good enough? Could I get this business off the ground? I stopped looking at my successes and only looked at my failures. It was awful. I began to feel like I was never going to be successful.

By late 2017, I was mentally exhausted and had enough with beating myself up. I decided it was time to once again pick myself up. I turned to daily affirmations and reminding myself to think positively. I started doing yoga and meditation (life saver!). I turned to self-help books and motivational videos. Women like Danielle Laporte, Oprah, and Gabrielle Bernstein became my coaches for getting past it all.

I also re-evaluated how to move forward in my business. I created a regular routine for myself. I now schedule when I write, take photos, and do admin work. I even set aside my Sundays for self-care so I don’t run myself into the ground.

While my part-time job is awesome for my finances and having a social working environment, I knew I needed more support in my entrepreneurial journey. I tend to find myself stuck in the planning stage and not taking action. I joined a local mastermind group for female entrepreneurs and it has been just what I needed. They are kicking my butt!

Looking Back, Looking Forward

These past few years have been challenging. I expected to go straight into entrepreneurship, not supplementing with a part-time job. I thought I would be filled with energy, not crushed by depression. Sometimes I look back on 2017 and feel like I wasted a year of my life, but I needed to go through that hard time and allow myself to heal.

Along this path I have become tenacious and persistent. I’ve found a strength that I never knew I had. I’ve taught myself to focus on my wins, recognize the abundance I have, and find gratitude in the simple things in life. I’m healthier than ever and continuing to slowly grow my own business.

And as my income increases, I’m looking forward to adding a little travel back into my life - maybe even living and working from anywhere in the world!

Thank you to Michelle for sharing her story! Chris and I can relate to so much of the same struggles. We are so happy that Michelle found a way to work through life’s crazy challenges and we can’t wait to hear where this path takes her!

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