One of her signature events, Divas on the Green, has become one of the most popular events on the social calendar with businesswomen in the Hunter. Life changing adventures and travelling with a purpose are her game. When she's not climbing the Great Wall of China, conquering Kokoda or hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you'll find her road tripping to Toowoomba to dote over her brand new grand-baby Lorna. You can follow Michelle's adventures here... https://shellfaithfull.com
If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
For as long as I can remember, I have always been a ‘connector’ of people. Even as a teenager I have always taken the time to stay connected with friends and family. Taking photos of family events and sharing them, writing letters, making the effort to travel and visit those who are important to me, As I’ve gotten older, the mediums have changed and with technology and social media, the ability to connect has grown and so has my
ability to build relationships and communities of like-minded people.
Connecting with people and bringing others together is something that brings me a lot of happiness. It’s a need that sits deep within my heart and if I’m not feeding that need, I feel as though something is missing.
Using my like-minded personal communities to help others is a natural progression of that need to connect. There’s a Mother Teresa quote that has resonated with me for many years “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”.
Having a positive impact on the greater community by way of fundraising and contributing to charities, volunteering and supporting others is now what drives my existence on this planet. It’s in everything I do. It might not make me rich in a financial sense (and there have been many close to me who say I should be looking after myself and not others) but it certainly makes me rich in happiness and gratitude. I probably just need to find that balance.
If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
To trust your gut. You know the truth by the way it feels. And don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
To always look for the positive in a negative in every situation. It’s my default setting and it’s probably not overly useful in all situations but it’s part of my in-built gratitude system. It’s how I deal with life in general.
Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
That is a very tough question… I could not bear to part with any of them, but if I had to choose, it would probably be never be able to make new ones. My reasoning for this is, I have absolutely no regrets in life and everything I have ever done, has ever happened to me or I’ve ever done for others has made me who I am today. If I didn’t remember any of this I’d probably wander around living life with an entirely different focus… not so sure how that would go down!
Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
I believe so. It’s all about trusting the gut and honing our intuition. To put some science against it, I believe that the more emotional information we give our brains to work with through life experience, the more we can increase the probability for success with gut decisions. How many times have you immediately instinctively known the answer to something, only to challenge it and then come full circle with your original thought to be the truth?
Has your greatest fear ever come true?
Yes. Losing a child, first and foremost my greatest fear. But having come through the other side of that experience and initial fear has been a life-changing experience for me, even now 29 years on. It’s built my resilience, it taught me that as human beings we can work our way though anything. It’s not easy at times, in fact it’s downright tough a lot of the time but I am still here, still grateful for many things and am acutely aware that we only get one shot at this life and making the best of it is an absolute priority.
What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
I love this question! It’s is exactly where I am at…
I used to think I was living when I was a lot younger, but I’m not sure you actually really can until you suffer some kind of adversity.
It takes courage to “be alive”. To make decisions that are right for you, but can potentially have an adverse affect on yourself and others around you. To make decisions that others may not like, or you may be afraid that others may not like and go ahead and make them anyway. Having the courage to be your authentic self is really what truly living is all about.
To persevere with making tough decisions, one by one, year after year, to finally reach a place where you are waking up each day, comfortable in the skin you’re in. Where you aren’t afraid to speak your mind, be guided by your gut and intuition, to take risks on what you think will make you happy, instead of sitting back and always wondering “what if”. Now “that’s livin’ Barry”.