A-Ha #3: The Discovery Delusion

For Part 3 of this series, click here. To check our earlier posts, visit our main page here.

Focusing on strengths? Check. Tweaking perspective? Check. We’ve completed the first two steps on your path to building a superstar personal brand. Those steps are fundamental, but they’re only the beginning. Where do we go from here?

We wait to be discovered, right?


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A-Ha #2: The Player Principle

For Part 2 of this series, click here. To check our earlier posts, visit our main page here.

Be yourself. It’s the first step to turning your uh-oh moment into an a-ha realization. But where do you go from there? How do you continue on the path to success?

Change your vocabulary.

The words you use to describe your situation help frame how you think and what your outcome is.

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A-Ha #1: The Identity Ethic

For Part 1 of this series, click here.

After my life took a turn off of the path that I (and my family) always thought it would be on, I was left adrift. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with my life and how I was going to get there.

Well, I did know something. I knew what I thought was wrong with me and that I needed to fix it.

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From Uh-Oh to A-ha! (Part 1)

The path to success can be a roller coaster…I’m living proof of that.

My life had a plan for it from Day 1. You may even have had one just like it for yours. Get good grades in high school, then get into a prestigious school, then get good grades again, then get a good job. Once you get the job, you’ve got to get promoted or get a better one. Then you get married, have kids, and continue along your path. Somewhere along the part about promotion, things went off schedule.

When my life took a left turn (and a right turn, and another left turn, and some zig zags for good measure), there was a lot to worry about. When you drop from a six figure salary to $39k a year, you’re going to have some sleepless nights. But eight years later I’m doing doing exactly what I want to do, working with incredible women, and am the head of a seven figure business.

So how did I do it?

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A-ha! Moments…


I live for those blinding flashes of insight that literally have you stop and go “wow!! I get it now!” Lucky for me, I have these “a-ha! moments” all the time, pero like, ALL THE TIME. And if you know me, you know my mantra: “the uh-oh precedes the a-ha!” In order to have an a-ha, there must be an “uh-oh” that necessitated it.

So recently I decided to learn about a-ha! moments, investigate them and start understanding why and how we have them — and how to have more. One thing I realized (a-ha!) is that one if the best times for me to experience the phenomenon is early in the morning, in that halfway period between awake and asleep. (Problem is, I’m usually so sleepy that I don’t want to get up and write it down!)

Well this morning, I had one, and I came here to write it — because this was my a-ha! moment (actually this was the uh-oh that preceded the a-ha!): I write thousands of words a day and have tons of original, interesting thoughts each day… Yet I struggle to put together content for my blog, emails and social media. What’s THAT all about? Ridiculous.

The realization I had right after that, is that all those thoughts are being recorded in random, scattered places, with a large chunk of them being written by hand, in Sharpie or just recently, by hand with a stylus the iPad “Penultimate” app.

My a-ha!: I love to write by hand. Instead if trying to fix or change that, why not embrace it and post those notes… Just as they are, in real-time? I can always type up an intro to explain them, if needed. Gotta figure out logistically how to make that work, but at least now I realize the big disconnect — I prefer to write by hand, and my notes are interesting and beautiful just the way they are — and now that I am aware, something can shift.

What’s the lesson in here for you? No idea. Why don’t you tell me!?

Ciao for now,
Michelle Villalobos (vee – ya – low – bos)


The Big CLOSE.

Ever wonder how you got to where you are?

Today I was thinking about that…

When I was a kid, every year we’d visit my cousins’ house in Chicago. My family would drive out from Longmont, Colorado and stay there for a couple of weeks, during which time my (indulgent) teenage cousins and I would plan and execute our annual Talent Show in their basement.

The Talent Show featured your standard musical, dance and gymnastic lineup… mostly on roller skates. My mom still has a picture of me at 8 years old in pom-pom pigtails and overalls roller skating in circles around the “audience” (our parents), singing “Tomorrow” from Annie. At right is a picture of me posing before a gymnastic performance.

My talent show duties included: talent recruitment, ordering the numbers, hand-crafting invitations, designing costumes, spreading the word, and getting the parents to attend.

Ah, the glory days…

So no surprise, I guess, that nowadays my favorite time of the year (twice a year, actually) is Summit SeasonThe Women’s Success Summit (May 17th & 18th) is my grown-up version of the talent show. The Summit brings together South Florida’s most ambitious, talented and successful women (and men!) to inspire, educate and ELEVATE the business community.

The theme? The Big CLOSE – all focused around the principles of selling – selling yourself, your ideas, your products, your services. (And by the way, we are ALL selling SOMETHING.)

Clear your calendar, friends, this is one event you must attend. Personally, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And yes, men ARE welcome to attend, and in fact, several often do!

Aside from the phenomenal content and national powerhouse speakers (check out the lineup here: www.WomensSuccessSummit.com), we have new and exciting sponsorship initiatives for businesses that want to engage 800 upscale, professional and highly influential women over 2 whole days. Check out the sponsorship deck here. Or contact Jessica Lurie for details (888) 531-3830, jessica@mivistainc.com.

By the way, I’m SO excited to announce our new venue, The Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, (YAY!!!) and our partner, Chispa Marketing, that is producing this Summit.

This Summit will deliver game-changing strategies, foster powerful relationships and inspire those oh-so-important “a-ha” moments to help women like me elevate themselves beyond where they are today. Take a look at some of the amazing speakers and sessions we have lined up, and prepare to be blown away…

Been Backstabbed? Have you ever been backstabbed at work? Tell us your story, and what you learned from the experience

1. Shut Up About Maybes

Got booked to teach a celebrity on national TV to paint-a-picture-in-5 minutes using my patented 4 step “Instant-Art” Method.
Bragged about it – unfortunately another artist heard – called – used my name, got booked instead of me – and OF COURSE couldn’t guide the celebrity to look good and get instant results. AS excited as you may be, don’t let news out until firm – better yet – accomplished. I learned-made a contract to teach DAVID LETTERMAN 6 times on NBC-TV. REMEMBER it pays to keep quiet!


2. Think You Should Kill With Kindness? The Answer Will Surprise You!

Experience should have taught me that I would be in for trouble when I was hired into a role temporarily filled by another competitive woman. My intuition quickly picked up her subversive negative energy, so I went right to work to dilute it with my more powerful strong positive. What began as smoldering ash, turned into an explosion! I learned that negative energy would have been diffused by simply letting it go. Adding highly charged energy- even positive- created combustion. FIRED!

Thanks to Nanette Saylor of Wise Well Women Inc.

3. Trust Yourself

Still pretty new in the company, I was once intimidated into doing something incorrectly by a know-it-all arrogant ex-bookkeeper who years earlier had held my job for over a decade and who returned as summer help. When the mistake was discovered, she rolled her eyes to her familiar clique and laughed loudly with such superiority about having this girl here messing up. Lesson learned: Believe in yourself, have confidence, and always do what you think is right!

Thanks to Heidi Diana of School Jungle: All Things Educational

4. Boys On The Prowl

After diligently working my way up the restaurant chain ladder to upper management, the new all male team that bought our company out decided women needed to be driven out of the company. I filed a complaint with HR & ended up being threatened by the Area Director. I quit & opened my own restaurant. It motivated me to stand on my own & now I am on the newest successful venture, growing real estate in Metro Boston. Some times back stabbing is the boost you need to become successful!

Thanks to Lisa Flashenburg of Legal Edge Real Estate, Inc.

5. Do Nurses Care For Nurses?

“Do nurses eat their young?” Every year nursing magazines ask that & every year the answer is “yes”. I’m a firm believer in worker’s unions, and that striking is an absolute last resort- better to use Conflict Resolution strategies and take 6 months than to strike after 3 months. My first job I crossed a picket line for just that-thought it’d been hastily chosen. After I was the subject of pranks, gossip, and things purposefully undone by other nurses blamed on me. Lives at risk for revenge.

Thanks to Jan Patterson of An Ounce Of Prevention