in the spotlight with michelle ward and laura simms

In the Spotlight with Tanya Geisler is a weekly live show that shines a light on some of the biggest mindset challenges facing leaders and entrepreneurs today in their lives and in their work.

This week's guests are Michelle Ward and Laura Simms.

Michelle Ward, PCC, has been offering dream business guidance for creative women as The When I Grow Up Coach since 2008. You may have seen or heard her in New York MagazineThe Huffington PostEtsyNewsweekFreelancers Union, the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career List or 100+ other media outlets. She's 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.

Laura Simms is an expert on meaningful work who challenges conventional wisdom by asking people to ditch their passions and start with purpose. She left her dream career to help people quit their dead-end jobs, find careers that feel like home, and start businesses that make a difference.


  • The number one reason why people don’t start a business
  • Everyone experiences doubt when launching, but the people who DO build businesses are the ones that confront the doubt
  • The strengths and personality traits we gain from significant life events show up in how we run our business
  • It’s important to get paid for your best work so that you can keep doing it
  • You can launch your new services without being an expert

in the spotlight with michelle ward and laura simms


  • They might convince themselves it’s money, it’s time, it’s my unsupportive partner, people don’t understand me… No. It’s your own impostor complex that you are not enough, you don’t have enough to offer, you’re not adding anything new to the conversation, you’re not different enough, you don’t have enough experience.
  • If you’re smart, you bring [your character and personality traits] into your business, you bring that into your branding, you bring that into your copy.
  • The best thing I’ve ever done for my business is to put myself on the page, everywhere.
  • I learned as an actor that when I tossed out all the rules… all of a sudden the energy of the room was different. People leaned in and noticed me. I was getting more auditions. More callbacks.
  • Your personality traits and personal experience all need to come into your business in order to build the type of business that you want, working with the type of people that you want to be working with. That’s where the gold is.
  • You getting paid for your best work that is of service to other people and the way you help the universe the most allows you to do more of it. If you don’t get paid for that, you do less of your best work and what the world needs and wants from you.
  • We have to take the pressure off of ourselves to be an expert before we start.
  • It’s hard for the impostor complex to show up big when you’re [working with] another brain.


  • Most people who want to start a business care so deeply about wanting to help people. One of the big fears is… Even though I really want to do this, what if I can’t help people? What if I try to help people and I can’t get them all the way there and not only am I a fraud and I feel bad about myself, but what if I let them down? ...I want that question to propel someone towards excellence, not stop them from the pursuit of it.
  • The person who starts the business has the doubt. They choose to engage it, find out how to tackle it, they test things, they grow small, they get positive feedback, they get proof that they can make a difference. The people who won’t even engage that question? Those are the people who won’t start the business.
  • It’s so hard to see the value of these things that are just so inherent in who you are.
  • If there’s a monetary exchange [for your services], it doesn’t diminish the transaction. Sometimes it actually enhances it. Charging for it actually helps the other person make that change and transformation. 


  • Failures we want to amplify, but successes we want to discount. That’s when we’re aware that it’s the impostor complex.
  • Actual impostors don’t feel like impostors.
  • If you experience the impostor complex, then by definition you have strong values of excellence, mastery, and integrity.
  • Understanding what your brand of joy is, is critical. It’s your how… How you launch your business, how you speak about your business, how you do everything.
  • There’s something really powerful working in collaboration with somebody else. It’s not the giving over of power… it’s the joining of forces.



Each week Tanya and a guest star (an expert in their zone of genius) take on a topic that is UP in their work, or in the work of their clients. (Can’t step into your starring role when perfectionism, procrastination, boundaries, comparison, people pleasing, diminishment, and overwhelm are in the way, right?)

We’ll take your questions and bring our best answers. It’s part coaching, part exploration, part Q+A, all delicious.

It is hosted on Crowdcast and simulcast to Facebook Live.

Listen to In the Spotlight with Tanya Geisler on iTunes or where you listen to your favorite podcasts!