Sometimes, making a big change requires a big wake-up call. That’s what happened to Lisa Michaud, millennial on the move. She had a great career, was building a mini real-estate empire…and then her doctor gave her some news (lung cancer) that shocked her into action.

Lisa decided to give up her job, move to Vancouver, BC and pursue a new life.

What would it take for you to go after something you really want to do? Lisa and I talk about that and more in this episode of the Own Up Grown-Up podcast.


Whenever people said things or doubted me, my motivation was to prove them wrong and so I use that a lot of the time to get the results that I wanted in my life and it really fueled me to work hard and to create the success that I wanted…”—Lisa Michaud.

Tall poppy syndrome

What is it about people that make them such jerks to those who stand out a little bit?! While I recall experiencing this most as a teenager (as did Lisa), I still see it in adults—cutting down those who are a little brighter and bolder or more keen to learn and grow than their peers. It’s frustrating and it holds people back from reaching their potential. Snickering at the smart kid. Telling the inventor they’ll never make anything worthwhile.

Psychology Today says tall poppy syndrome stems from feelings of inadequacy on the behalf of the resentful person or group. It’s promoted by the media and according to this article in Tech Crunch, it’s a nationwide epidemic that causes talent to leave the country (Canada) in search of fulfillment.

Lisa got the impression she shouldn’t be who she was because she’d take opportunities from others. While others tried to constrain her, thankfully this didn’t quell her fire. It fueled her desire to prove people wrong. In university, she joined a leadership club and started an event. She became a young executive, and now coaches executives to achieve success on their own terms.

Whether it’s your coworkers, classmates or family who want to uphold the status quo, if you feel compelled to challenge that, all the power to you. Innovators and leaders don’t stand for the status quo, and you don’t need to either.

Lacking motivation? Get curious

I really like Lisa’s approach to immobility, those times when you just can’t or don’t want to get things done. You might fear getting started, you might lack energy, or you might be overwhelmed by your ever-growing to-do list. When you come up against this, Lisa’s suggestion is to get curious.

Figure out what’s going on. Is it fear? Are you not feeling well? Are you worried about what someone’s going to say or think What’s stopping you from moving forward? I know that for me, the reason is often that I feel inadequate. If I’ve taken on a writing project for a topic I don’t know a lot about, I get so overwhelmed sometimes that I do nothing. A barrier comes up and the sign on it says: “You’re not smart enough to research this properly.”

Once you’ve located the root of your immobility, get creative. Find a way around your fear, do some jumping jacks, run, have a cup of coffee, journal. Push through your discomfort and start moving forward. In my example, when I’m feeling inadequate it helps to exercise and then write outlines by hand in a notebook. I allow the outlines to get really messy and I draw arrows between things as I start to put concepts from research together. And then I transfer that back to my computer screen. It takes me a lot longer to get a piece of writing done, but I get it done (and then have a glass of wine and a huge sigh of relief/dread afterward, hoping I haven’t totally f-ed it up).

Don’t let roadblocks hold you up. Be a monster truck and smash through them in your own way.

Learn more about Lisa and her coaching work on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.


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