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A Story of Integrity, Failure and Regrouping


In my work, I talk a lot about values. One of my highest values is integrity.  Integrity to me means, being honest, transparent and authentic. Kind of a what you see is what you get sensibility about life.  So it is with the spirit of integrity that I write this post about my own regrouping story.

If there is one key to success, it is how quickly you can re-group after a set back.  Sounds so easy and simple. But regrouping is not for the faint of heart.

Regrouping requires:

  • Admitting things aren’t going well.
  • Deciphering what went wrong
  • Figuring out how you can do it differently
  • Putting yourself out there again.

And a lot of other messy middle steps. But those are the 4 big ones.

About 14 months ago, I opened the Live Happier Loft.  It is a magical space full of good energy and beautiful twinkle lights. It is my dream workspace and I absolutely adore it AND very few people are coming to the Loft for workshops (here is where the re-grouping comes into play). My counseling/one-on-one practice is booming and just seems to be getting bigger and bigger (which is FABULOUS) but the workshops and classes are in short, a bust.  A bust might be a strong statement: 1-3 people show up for a class here and there. But the idea of workshops consistently filled with 5-10+ people just isn’t working out the way I thought it would.

Thus enters Step 1. Admitting Things Aren’t Going Well and the messy, messy parts of this step. This step took me a LONG time. The Loft space was/is a big dream of mine. I believe we need more connection, we need more places to have real conversations we need what the Loft provides AND the idea of talking about yet another workshop that very few people attended was extremely stressful for me.  This was a step filled with doubt, shame, grief and anger.

After Step 1 I got snagged on Step 2: Deciphering What Went Wrong. I am sure there are many many reasons for this…busy schedules, tight finances, not enough interest etc.  Unfortunately, I spent WAY too much time beating myself up and not enough time moving on to Step 3: Figuring Out How to Do it Differently. This I believe is the KEY step.  The messy middle parts of this step involve taking a long hard look at what you have learned, what you need and you are willing to change moving forward.

In this step, I realized how important integrity was to me and how hard it was to continue to talk about the Loft and the workshops as if they were a success, when I knew in my heart there were few people showing up. To me that feels so unauthentic. I know it is a part of marketing but it is just not something I want to participate in. The dream was still alive but I needed to be true to myself, the spirit of the Loft and my clients wants and needs.

So here I am in Step 4: Putting Myself Out there Again. Let me be clear the Loft isn’t going anywhere (at the very least, I have a lease there until mid-2017) and my one-on-one sessions will continue to be there. But a couple of changes are happening, one of them is immediate.

First, I am going to turn the Trust Yourself, Already!™ course into a tele-seminar. The material I teach in these classes is amazing and rather than canceling the whole concept due to low attendance I decided to change the format.  Which means starting this Wednesday, I will be teaching the 8 week course via the phone. You can call-in in your yoga pants and a glass of wine and listen to me teach on a variety of topics. The technology is so easy, you will receive a number to call in and you will be muted the whole call UNLESS you WANT to share something. When you register you will receive a recording of the call as well. The fee is less, the convenience is greater and I think it will be a win win.  You can register for that here.  Thanks to one of my clients for suggesting this idea–it is a fabulous one!

Secondly, through conversations with clients and myself 😉 I have decided that I want to keep the Loft as a place for deep conversations and community. So in 2016, I will be offering more chances for that. Less one off workshops, and more in-depth programs. Such as weekend retreats, A 6 Month group coaching program and longer more in-depth courses. More details on all of that soon.

There is actually a 5th step which is the joy that comes from the lessons you learn through failure.

A few things I have learned in the past year:

  • To show up to life means you have to be wiling to treat life as a grand experiment.
  • To be authentic means you will experience grief, anger, disappointment and pain.
  • It also means you will experience true joy, happiness and giddy relief.
  • Showing up/risking in life cannot be done alone. I have relied heavily on my friends and family for support and would not be here without those conversations.
  • Although this has been one of the harder years of my life I feel less afraid, more free and more authentic than ever.

The biggest lesson I have learned is keep trying. Failure is part of life and no matter what your big dream is, it takes lot of experiments, lots of regrouping and lots of support. But it is SO worth it.

2 Responses to A Story of Integrity, Failure and Regrouping

  1. My beautiful friend, you are truly a Light. I love this post. You are teaching me – and so many others, I’m sure – what it looks like to be honest, vulnerable and yet keep your heart and soul focused on service. I’m excited to learn more about the evolution of The Live-Happier Loft and all of the new ways you’ll be sharing it with us. Thanks for being a heart-filled leader in what it takes to really live happier. xoxo to you.

  2. Nancy Jane Smith says:

    Aw thanks Michelle! It was a tough post to write because it is against everything I have learned about marketing as a business owner. But I told myself what is the point if it isn’t a business that I am proud to be running! xoxox right back at you 🙂 Thanks for you continued love and support!