Michele Attias encourages us to look inside ourselves to shake off external attachments.

A prophet with honour in her hometown, life coach, international speaker and author, Michele Attias, brought her self-help know-how to the Literary Festival, where she promoted her first book Look Inside: Stop Seeking Start Living.

In an intimate talk at the Garrison Library on the opening morning, Michele bared her soul to a close circle of friends, relatives and fans, candidly acknowledging how losing it all was yes traumatic, but at the same time it carried a liberating sense of inner freedom. Proving that less is more in your mind as much as around your closet, Michele was poised for a change in direction, leaving behind all the material attachment that wouldn’t be stuffed in the proverbial emotional baggage. Here, she was faced with either sitting around feeling sorry for herself, or looking ahead to the infinite possibilities to become whoever she wanted to be and not whom others expected her to be. She describes this pivotal moment as being reborn, the second chance that not many are afforded in life – and those who are should indeed treasure it.

“As soon as I learnt how to read confidently, my older brother Isaac advised me to read two books: Watership Down and The Hobbit,” Michele recounted. “I resisted reading them as a child, but I eventually read these books as an adult and I appreciated how they both told wondrous adventures. I particularly identified with the Hobbit, a humble person from a protected village who goes out in the wide world on a hazardous journey, slays ogres and dragons and then returns and has a heroic homecoming.”

Michele has encountered her fair share of dragons in her life, which she’s slain with the flaming sword of inner balance. With a nod to fantasy novel style, or perhaps downright biblical, the ‘revelation’ about how to channel the inside-out power came to her while standing at the top of a mountain: “I travelled to Morocco, to re-familiarise myself with the colours, sounds and smells of my childhood,” she says. “I went on a daytrip to the Atlas Mountains, stopped at an outlook, stepped out of the vehicle, and roamed about for a while, immersed in thought. Besides the infinite views across the valley and the almost cliché company of a couple of goats, what really struck me was the immense silence there. No sound at all. Except a voice, the inner voice, that ordered to me to start publishing my writing. The inner voice that one can hear only when one can isolate oneself from the surrounding static.” This is meant both metaphorically and practically: turn the volume down, slow down, make time for leisurely walks alone, when you can think and focus, practice mindfulness, don’t abide to toxic people, don’t live up to others’ expectations, but build your own goals, while always keeping grounded in the present moment.

Michele worked in corporate banking at the beginning of her career, but enjoyed a sharp change of direction in her thirties and forties becoming a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and eventually a life coach: “I started off becoming interested in personal development, and while speaking to a man who was going through a difficult time, he observed how I was actually really good at listening and pinpointing the best way forward, and should consider pursuing therapy professionally. Yes, I’d always loved connecting with people, making them feel acknowledged, validated and worthy, so I decided to make a career out of it, and switch to this line of work. In my thirties, alongside bringing up my young daughters as a single parent, I embarked on attending university to study psychotherapy, and in my late forties I steered my acquired mental health experience towards already functional business clients and professionals, identifying the root of their issue and surgically selecting the best way forward towards the life and business they wanted with less stress, anxiety and overwhelm.”

Psychotherapy mostly deals with patients facing acute or long-term crises, like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and sometimes it makes little progress with the patient returning to therapy, while life coaching focuses on the positive, supporting already successful confident clients in progressing even further without all the limitations that were previously getting in the way,” she says.

The most obvious tell to the shrewd listener is indeed that she refers to the first as ‘patients’ and the second as ‘clients’. “My clients seek a coach to motivate them with openness and honesty; my expertise is geared around guiding them to remove the fog, gain clarity and become more authentic whilst giving them a space to reassess their life so they can make positive decisions moving forwards.”

Her second contribution published a mere six weeks ago is also featured in Fit for Purpose Leadership #4, a book written with twenty international experts in leadership coaching. And what about fiction? “I have thought of it, and drafted a novel with a female protagonist, but I’ve noticed that what touches my readers is that my stories on self-development are based on real life experiences, and writing about a fictional character might not have the same impact.”

Visit MicheleAttiasCoaching.com to be inspired by her blog, full of great original advice such as ‘drop resistance and embrace surrender’, ‘take meteoric action like a hyena’, or ‘three crucial lessons I learnt when carjacked’. She also has a Youtube Channel ‘Michele Attias Coaching’ featuring her public talks.

TIP:

The month of January is always a great time to re-assess where you are in your life and reflect on ‘what would I like to have in my life 1 year from now?’

Once you have clarity on what you want; ask yourself ‘What small actions could I start taking today, to get me to where I want to be 1 year from now?’ This question will inform you of all the small actions you can start doing daily to take you closer to your goal. This is effective and totally manageable. Change does not become created overnight, it happens through deciding what you want, then taking small steps daily to take you from where you are, to where you want to be.