Sponsored by Business RadioX ® Main Street Warriors
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas, Your Relationship Surgeon, is an 8X Internationally Best-Selling Author, Certified Life/ Relationship/Business Coach, Motivational speaker, and Multiple business owner.
She serves individuals and businesses by precisely pinpointing what is “infecting” their ability to achieve PEACE, PROSPERITY and PROFITABILITY while placing them on a permanent path of success!
She has spent over 20 years studying, analyzing and healing relationships of all types and within all stages. The journey into truly understanding relationships was birth out of her own determination not allow her “let downs” to become her Legacy.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Woodstock, Georgia. Welcome to Women in Business, where we celebrate influential women making a difference in our community. Now, here’s your host.
Stone Payton: [00:00:30] Welcome to another exciting and informative edition of Women in Business Stone Payton here with you this afternoon, and today’s episode is brought to you in part by the Business RadioX Main Street Warriors program. For more information, go to Main Street Warriors dot org. You guys are in for such a great treat this afternoon. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast. Author, Speaker, Life and Business Coach. Your relationship surgeon. Dr. Michelle S Thomas. How are you?
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:01:04] I am amazing. Thank you. Thank you for this opportunity. I’m always that person that especially when we can kind of talk to our ladies about stepping into their greatness. That’s just where my, my, my sweet spot is. So thank you for having me.
Stone Payton: [00:01:23] Well, it’s absolutely my pleasure. We’re delighted to have you on the show here in studio. You and I had a chance to have a conversation a few weeks ago before, and I could I could hear it in your voice. But now I see it in your eyes. The the passion, the exuberance. You really clearly enjoy the work. I got a thousand questions. We won’t get to them all. But you can go back sometime. Maybe a good place to start is if you could share with us kind of in general terms, mission purpose. What are you really out there trying to do for folks?
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:01:56] So my mission, my assignment, I call it my divinely appointed assignment is to help people in general, but women especially, to be able to reach their level, their decision of their greatness, not what society says, not what your family says, not what your bank account says, but what you know, your level of greatness is. And for us to build a new foundation for the next five generations to come, we got to change the narrative and the dynamics out here of thinking of just now, the here and now we are, whether we want to or not. We are the ancestors of the next four or five generations. And where we lay this foundation is where they’re going to follow. So we got to do what we got to do. And so my job is just kind of that connector, that information guide just to be able to help people to kind of better articulate and walk down their path of greatness.
Stone Payton: [00:03:00] So was there a catalytic moment that led you down the path of doing this work? What’s the back story? How in the world did you end up doing this?
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:03:11] So long story short, I since the age of three, I knew that I was supposed to help people. I knew that there was something that was in me that I was supposed to help, but I didn’t have a definition for it. I didn’t have a description for it. And so throughout my journey of life, there’s some pivot points that got me to understand where my place was. And most of those pivot points were negative pivot points to get me to clarify that the unicorn in me was necessary. And so my first pivot point was sixth grade. I, my English teacher, asked for us to write a paper about what we wanted to be when we grew up. And so I went home and I always knew that I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know what job description. And so I wrote and I threw away about 50 different versions when I finally landed on the proper job for me, the perfect job for me. And it’s the day that I’m supposed to go and deliver this speech. And I’m ready and I stand up and I say, Hi, my name is Michelle Spears, and I am going to be the president of United States. And my English teacher jumped up, grabbed my paper, took a red pen, and wrote a great big F across. It made me sit down and styling. I’m gonna tell you, I’m gonna sit back there. I’m and I’m trying not to cry. I’m embarrassed and I’m trying to figure out because what my parents will tell you, I’ve always been that y person is probably I stayed in a state of trouble most of the time.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:04:46] I didn’t stay in trouble because I did things wrong. I just needed you to explain. Before we go into this punishment, I need you to explain why we’re here. So. So I’m sitting back there, and the rest of the students, I don’t even know what they said. I don’t know what I was focused on. What did I do wrong? And at the end of the class, I went up and I asked her, I said, what did I do wrong? And she said, You didn’t take this assignment seriously. And I said, But I did. I can show you all the drafts that I did, but I did. And there were two criteria for this, this paper. It had to be a real job, and we had to explain how we were going to arrive there. And I had all of it mapped out. I said, But you didn’t give me a chance. And. Here was my first lesson of people. What I love and how we interpret help. This is my first lesson and I want everybody to listen clear because this was a black teacher who looked at me and said, Young lady, in my lifetime, in your lifetime, you will never see a black president. And in my lifetime and in your lifetime, in the next five lifetimes, you will never see a black woman president. And that was a pivot point for me, because she did mean it for harm in her own manner, in her own version of help.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:06:09] She was trying to make sure that I wasn’t set up for failure instead, because, again, I’m that unicorn. Y’all learn after you talk to me a few times. I’m a little a little special. But when I wasn’t getting, I got the lesson. But where I interpret or reinterpret her lesson was. I have to change the narrative. I have to expand people’s mind and thought process of what we cannot do. And end to end translate it into what we can achieve. And so during that time, from that moment on, I begin to just learn how to listen to people and the barriers. And a lot of times we think that the way that someone thinks and the way that someone processes is out of negative negativity, but it’s only out of what they know. They can only operate from the information that they know. And so that’s what she did for me. And throughout my journey, I can tell you so many stories of people that I met that intentionally or unintentionally, maybe what they were saying and what they were doing was meant for my harm. But because of how I was built and what my assignment was, I took that information and turned it into a teaching tool. And so it was it’s as I’m going through these, again, negative experiences where people would have given up and people would have stopped. I became a a scholar of people first before any education, before any businesses.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:07:55] I began to learn people. And so I take that. And when someone wants to sink into segments and and our own little microcosms of bigotry or discrimination or hold back, I seem to be that neutral person to be able to. Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about it. And so that’s how we just kind of got into this space of and I’m going to tell you in the beginning, like this wasn’t popular. I just want to clear that for everybody. Don’t let me sit here and make you feel like that. This was a great journey. There were so many times that I looked in the mirror and was like, Now, Jesus, listen, I don’t even know what is happening here. And let me just try to just let me go in here and sit in this little cubicle and do my job, shut my mouth, because my life is tore up. How am I in here trying to speak positivity and somebody else’s world and my life is completely jacked up. What is wrong with me? So, you know, there was times I felt like that. What now is my business? I thought it was a curse. I thought it was something that was wrong with me. Why is it that I look like this and I think like this? But now I learn that a lot of those roadblocks that I went through was building my story. I can’t relate to what you’re going through if I haven’t been through something myself.
Stone Payton: [00:09:16] Yeah. So several domains to your scope of work. One, and maybe it’s really two is is this life and business? Business coaching. Describe that a little bit. What does that look like in the early stages, especially? But then how does that that process unfold?
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:09:34] So back to when I was at, I used to tell myself to go into that cubicle and do my job. I found myself always speaking life into someone. And so the life coach part of me was kind of a thing that I did without having a certification for it. So when it became popular to get these certifications and when I got my certification to become a life coach, but as I began that life coach, the title, your relationship surgeon was birth, because as I’m doing my life coaching, I’m a business woman. I am straight business. That is what I do and that’s what I love. I begin to recognize that they they were not separate from each other. In order for you to be very profitable and successful in your business, then you also have to have that level of love and success in your life. So your relationship surgeon became the person to let you understand that no longer. 400 years ago, maybe you had to have a separate life. But in this global world and this world of technology, what we have to understand is our business lifeblood functions off of the life of the people that are applicable to our business.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:10:55] And until we get that message, until we stop segregating people’s lifestyles, and as a woman, as a mother, as a wife, going through my business career in the beginning, my first management job was at the age of 19. So I’m. Wow, right? I’m the kid sitting at the table and everybody is like, okay, so this one we’re about to make cry. But I had to learn my business acumen. I had to know that when I came and sat down at that table, I needed to know not only equal to what the people at the table was, but I needed to know more and where they were going to be a part of that study in people. And so when I get when I started my life coaching, it organically developed into becoming a business coach because now I go into corporations and I go into businesses and I’m able to talk to them about the human capital that they need to be able to survive. And I have I’m a 25 year old. I’m 25 year old, Right.
Stone Payton: [00:11:57] What I am, she looks great, y’all. We’ll get some pictures posted.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:12:02] I am a 25 year vet, air vet. So I understand the legalities and understanding the functions of human capital. But I take my experience of life coaching and I bring it into that business aspect so that that CEO, that vice president, that director, when they’re making decisions, then it is a transparent decision across the board. We got to get rid of the levels. We have to get rid of the big eyes and the big and the little use and post-pandemic. It is really very important right now for businesses, whether you have operated the way that you’ve done for the past 50, 60, 70 years, now that you are post-COVID post-pandemic, there are going to be some shifts and some things that you’re going to have to implement into your business model in order for you to retain the the the qualified candidates that you are seeking. And one of that is you have to understand that they have a life. They have needs. They have emotions. They have. I did a research. I do a lot of research. And one of the market research that came out was during the pandemic. The biggest fear of a lot of workers going back to work was I lose myself again. I lose the ability to feel what I feel. If I need to do what I need to do with my kids, I lose that that capability. And we saw that with the great resigned resignation. We saw people that went back to work because of finances, but then they had to balance it with is it really worth it anymore? So as as corporations, we all have to understand that there’s a shift that we need to do.
Stone Payton: [00:13:56] It must be incredibly rewarding work. What are you enjoying the most? What are some of the things that you just like? Wow, I’m so glad I get to do this.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:14:06] People. I get to in my line of work from global speaking and being an author and being in my own businesses. I get a chance to meet people that never would have had the opportunity to meet different backgrounds, different nationalities, different experiences. And that’s what I enjoy. I love sitting in the space where I learn from someone else’s background.
Stone Payton: [00:14:38] Now, even with that level of diversity, do you see some common patterns emerge? And maybe you don’t articulate it out loud, but you say to yourself, Yep, I’ve seen this one before. Yes.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:14:50] People don’t recognize. And if you actually take time to think about it, life is a circle and there are trends and things that we do. Sometimes we think we reinvent the wheel. We didn’t. If you ask, you do research. My first lesson with this, my kids and I have seven kids. Wow. Yeah. At one point in time, my house was worse than The Partridge Family. We had seven kids, two dogs, a cat and a partridge in a pear tree. If you looked hard enough, there was a lot going on. But during that time, one of my lessons that I taught my my kids and six on my boys, and so I taught them about music. And so some of our life lessons came through music and I would play whatever was hot at that time, whatever they was over there. And they just, Oh, this the ladies Mom, you got to hear this latest drop. This is it. Okay, so I’m listening. And this is Kanye West. It’s Jay-Z or whatever. And so I remember Jay-Z’s song came out 99 problems. And what happened was I sat the kid, the boy’s on the couch, and I told him, I said, so let’s play nine, nine problems. And all day just over there. This is the latest that Jay-Z has reinvented the world. And then I play top. And they said, Who’s that? Those are the guys behind Jay-Z right now.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:16:06] That that that that guitar, that track that was played back in the eighties when they first came out. And they’re like, well, real. Yes, yes. Everything comes and it stems from something. So even in our business, our in our in our in our functions and our micro biases and people have to I’m kind of that that shock factor because I talk about things that most people like to shy away from, whether you want to admit it or not, we all have micro biases. The biases that we have may not be negative or detrimental to someone, but we all have our biases. And our biases stem from exposure where we grow up, what we learn, what we were exposed to creates our biases. And so tall people have this image of short people. Short people have this image of tall people, light people, dark people, people with hair, people with no hair, people with bright hair. All these things are just micro biases that we have. When you go into business is key for you to recognize your own micro bias. So it doesn’t take on the personality of your business. And so my job a lot of times with that coaching is to go and expose the underlying biases that they’re not even recognizing. That is ostracizing a group of people in their business.
Stone Payton: [00:17:41] And you don’t even realize it maybe without the the objective perspective of someone with your specialized knowledge and experience coming in.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:17:48] And it’s not and no one’s doing it for harm. But when you’re that interview person, when you’re not hiring manager, what you don’t realize unless you’re unless it’s brought to the forefront of your mindset, you may steer towards a certain client or a certain applicant because your own biases and it comes with gender, it comes with experience. So let me take you back and let’s think back to maybe early 2000s or whatever when it got to the point that even to be the fry cook at McDonald’s, you had to have a degree. Yeah, like everybody housekeeping, everything. There was no job out there. Like in the nineties, if you had a skill and the qualifications, you could get that job and you grew in that job and then all of a sudden we shifted into everyone had to have that degree. Well, what happened was a group of people who had a strong skillset and work ethic became ostracized because of a a piece of paper that became the bias. I don’t even want to hear from you. I don’t even want to know what you can do because you don’t have this piece of paper.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:19:01] Well, what happened throughout our life is we begin to learn towards the latter part of the first ten years that we lost a valuable workforce. Ageism, sexism. Those are things that that that when we think that we’re inventing something new. It’s just the circle of what we have experienced just on a different level. Now it’s technology. So if you don’t have that tech knowledge, if you don’t if you’re not savvy with that, when you go sit down to apply for a job that you know that you’re qualified for. When they start throwing out these net and all these dots and all these are the terms and you’re not they don’t even want to hear the rest of the skill set. So post-pandemic. What is forcing us to do is look at our workforce in a different manner. Now it’s about transitional skills. Now, as a company, you have an obligation that if you want to groom someone to become the perfect candidate, you have to have that training, that support to get them there.
Stone Payton: [00:20:12] So how do you get the work? How does the whole sales and marketing thing work for someone like you? It seems like it would be a very competitive field and maybe the people with whom you might have the most impact, the greatest lover might be hard to even get to, much less have a substantive conversation with, even start broaching these topics.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:20:33] Yeah. So that is an excellent question. And this is for my entrepreneurs out here. You have to know your strength. And so I positioned myself in places that I am open. The doors are open for me to even have this conversation, a one dimensional piece of paper or a email and listen for social media and that don’t send me no emails because I’m just going to be transparent a minute. Nobody call. Okay? But this is this is what we all have to understand about. Again, that circle of life and business. Social media is great, but it has a place to it. If you have not developed the skill set to be able to walk in someone’s door and have that elevator pitch and sell them on why you are the better candidate than the other Fortune 500 company that does the same things that you do. Then you have to go reskill. Because coaching and business coaching right now, if you go on LinkedIn, it’s about 8000 pages of coaches.
Stone Payton: [00:21:40] Yeah, right.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:21:41] And post pandemic, everybody became a coach because everybody sat in their living room or in their bathrooms or whenever, wherever they were, and everybody registered as a coach. But what’s going to happen with the fallout in the separation is the tools that you give. So I’m a great communicator, but I’m a better business person so I can bring you a package that shows you the results. I don’t just go in and talk, and a lot of us entrepreneurs missed that. We think that our skill set is being able to just sell ourselves verbally via social media, but there’s no substance behind that conversation. I coach people to do it the opposite way. Build your packages first. Build your foundation Business comes off of a foundation and fundamentals. I’m a I’m an old school realtor. And and so one of my my goals is to be a a custom home designer. But my father had two daughters. He wanted a son. So I was it I was close to. So while while my friends was at the mall, we was dropping electrical cord down from the the attic and rewiring the house and changing tires. And and yes, millennials back in the day, you had to change spark plugs and actual oils.
Stone Payton: [00:22:58] I remember.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:22:59] Those. Yeah. Yeah. You had to jack the car up and figure out what was happening with carburetors. We had real stuff that was on our cars. But what happened was I thought that that was going to be a hindrance because my friends were shopping or whatever that taught me about the work of the surface. The house is is beautiful, the car is beautiful, but it’s the work and the maintenance that you do with it that keeps it going. And so I took that into my business practice. And so when I go and I want to do something, I first always go back to that fundamental now back to that real estate analogy that I give. I tell people you can build a beautiful multimillion dollar home, but if the foundation is cracked, what’s going to happen to that house?
Stone Payton: [00:23:48] Yeah. So is that in a good book says something about that.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:23:52] So you’ve got to take that into your saying business practice. Yeah, you can do a social media page and you can do great logos and great business cards or whatever, But if you’re launching a business and you don’t have a strong foundation, then you’re going to that business is going to crumble. And when you and for all of my architects and all of my engineers, they will confirm what I’m saying. You have to have a plan of where you want that business to go, because when you go to build a building, the first thing that your architect is going to at you is how tall and how wide is that building going to be? Because that tells them how deep they have to dig the foundation. So you can’t have a surface level business and expect to scale it and expand upon it with a surface level foundation. Does that make.
Stone Payton: [00:24:47] Sense? It makes all the sense in the world. It certainly does. So let’s shift gears a minute and talk a little bit about the books, the writing. You’ve written several, I think. Tell us about the first one.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:24:59] So my first book was at all the titles that I had imagined for myself. Author was never one of them. And so I what happened? And I want everybody to be patient with this because at first you’re going to think this is a very sad story. It’s not a sad story. It is just the truth of my life. What happened out of those seven kids that we had? June 15, 2017, We lost our 19 year old son to a car accident. Mm hmm. And that hits you like a sledgehammer. Wow. That hits you to the point where you have to put sticky notes all over your house to say things like Remember to put shoes on. Remember to brush your teeth because your body and your mind is so in a deep hole you can’t function. And so what I did was I watched every dumb show that I could probably find. I could watch anything because I didn’t want to think. I didn’t want to deal with grief. I didn’t want to think, well, I ran out of series and shows to do. And so I took my laptop out and I started writing stories, little scenarios about my experience of blend in the family because we’re a blended family. And when we were blending the family, I never could find updated information to help me with the stressors that I was experiencing, blending the family. And so I wrote a book on blending. A family wasn’t going to put it out there, just going to be something as my own therapy, my own grief therapy was to write this book, and a friend of mine read it and said, Well, you need to publish it.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:26:32] So I’m thinking, okay, that’s fine. My family again, I have seven kids, so ten books I know going to be sold. So seven of my kids don’t buy them because they had no choice but seven of the kids. My husband has to buy them. So that’s number eight. And then my mom and dad are going to have to buy a copy. So that’s listen, that’s ten people. I got ten people locked down and I published this book. And before I knew it, it went international. Wow. I received emails and messages and mail from people that talked about how this book. I had one lady that I put on my website. She said, For 11 years I hated my ex-husband and I read your book. And she said, And I actually called him up and apologized because I finally understood from his perspective. So the book is written in scenarios called Unspoken Real Talk of Today’s Blended Family. And it’s still selling. But what it does is it takes the first story and I really sensationalize it. You guys, when I tell you I was so excited about writing this book, I got so absorbed that I drove my husband crazy because I would come to him and go, Let me tell you what she did. And he was like, Aren’t you the one writing the book? I know, but I’m just saying. So it kind of took on his own little personality.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:27:50] But I give you the first side of the of the story. And then in the middle of it, there’s an assignment where you memorialize, you capitalize what you’re feeling, all of that emotion that you’re feeling. I want you to write it down. And then on the other side of it, I give you the same scenario with what actually was happening. And it really trains your mind in relationships to not take the surface of what society tells you. That person is cheating. That person doesn’t like you, that person doesn’t love you. It really trains your brain to look at it from a different perspective. Back to what I was saying. I’ve always been that person to want people to understand how to look at things from a different way. And so and it’s not just about couples. There’s a story in there about a husband and wife that are two divorces that now become husband and wife. The next story is about a mother and a daughter and how that breakdown happens. And then we I talk about drugs and how drugs and alcohol affects the family. And then I finalize it with a story of a breakdown between a mother and a son. But all of it is unspoken. These are unspoken feelings, and I’m teaching you how to bring voice to it. So that was my first book. It was built out of tragedy. But my son that we lost his name was Bryant, and my obligation to him is to make sure that the world still knows and hears his voice.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:29:22] Bryant was an amazing kid, like we really had no title when we moved or when we get into a new neighborhood. We were just titled Bryant’s Family, so he must be Bryant’s mom. What it must be Bryant is that biggest personality ever. Never held a grudge. Never got upset with anyone. And during my trials and tribulations, I watched this kid never feel and experience and process things like I did. And so when we lost him, I said, my obligation now is while his mother was waiting to die and not live up to what her expectations was. I had a kid who’s no longer here, so I had to get up. I had a choice. I had to get up and get out of my own way and and decide even if it wasn’t for me, but to carry on that love, that passion, that drive that he had for making sure that other people, especially underserved people, were taken care of. And that forced me to show up in what I’m doing now. And so I, I use that that story. And sometimes what happens in our world, what we think is, is a great loss, sets us on the path of where we’re supposed to be. A never. There’s not a day that I don’t miss my baby. There’s never a day that I would not wish that he was still here. But while I’m still here, I have a job to do and I have to give him voice where he can’t have voice.
Stone Payton: [00:31:00] Wow, I’m so glad I asked. And then you’ve gone on to write several more. Some of them focused on the business clients that you’re trying trying to serve. Have you developed a a methodology, some discipline and rigor to everything from identifying it’s time to write a book, and here’s how we write a book in my shop as it started to become like that.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:31:24] Okay, so you can laugh because again, I’m that person. So I usually write three books at one time. Wow. I have them because I write according to where I am at that moment. And I think sometimes a lot of times people get like, I’ve never gotten writer’s block, and I think it’s because I don’t box myself into one section. And so I’ll always in my laptop, I’ll always have. A business book that I’m writing on, a manuscript that I’m writing on. I’ll always have a relationship manuscript that I’m writing on, and then I’ll always have a comedy mystery. I’m a thriller person, so I always got that over here on the side. So whatever mode and mood that I’m in that day, if I have done a training, I can go to that business book and I can add to that manuscript because that’s the mode I’m in. If I’ve done a coaching or done a group class with relationships and now can go to my manuscript and add to that, now if I’m just feeling funny, then that’s where I just go and put my feet up and put on some fuzzy socks and I write and that keeps me flowing. And then once I get to each book tells me when it is done, I don’t decide how many pages I’m going to have. I don’t decide how many chapters.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:32:50] My book tells me, okay, this is enough for this time because you have to. There’s a balance when you’re writing where you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with information because it begins to replace that short term memory. It begins to replace what the the point that you’re trying to make because you’ve over inundated them with a bunch of information. And so with that, when that book is done that I, I move it on to my editor and someone else to read it. And then we go back and then we put that book out there. And so I brought you two books. One of my projects that developed was this exceptional woman enterprise. And so within the exceptional woman enterprise, there was two parts to it. The first part that came with the exceptional woman to her back story, all of our kids at a certain amount of time, my my husband requires for them to read the Seven Habits book. And so it was time for the 17 year old in the 19 year old, reluctantly, anybody who got into it just, you know, So my husband put it on the kitchen counter and it stayed on the kitchen counter for about a week. And so they just kept walking past and acting like the book wasn’t there. But for some reason, I’ve seen this book for years because our kids have this huge age span, and so I’ve seen this book for years.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:34:11] But this time it, it, it it stopped me in my tracks. And so I kept hearing I got to write a book. And so I’m in again. I’m I’m the unpaid comedian. I was like, okay, now listen, Lord, I got three in the laptop. I’m trying to get them published. Just slow down, okay? And I just kept hearing I got to write a book. I got to write a book. And over about three weeks, I came up with this title of the eight qualities. Well, as I was speaking on stages and things that I needed to do, it dawned on me that I needed to speak to a group of women which were women of color. And so the first project of the exceptional woman was to put out the eight qualities of the exceptional black woman in business and entrepreneurship. Because facts tell us that women of color are the least lended. We don’t really pass the iris sniff test. You know what that is? The iris sniff test. The iris will let you claim everything plus your cat and dog for three years, and you can claim everything in it. But after three years, if you have not turned a profit, then they. They will actually transition your business into a hobby.
Stone Payton: [00:35:25] Hmm. I did not know that.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:35:26] So you’re not able you’re no longer able to claim these business claims because now you just consider playing. You’re just a hobby. And so what happens is a lot of times, women of color, we aren’t able to get past that threshold because of lack of funding, because lack of information, because lack of drive, not drive from us, but drive from the community and other businesses to support what we’re doing. And so this book is is is is written as a reference book so that every time that they need to understand some aspect of business, they can just go straight to that chapter. The goal for the book is to put this in colleges and universities and African American studies, even in high school, because it’s not a book about race. I made the title because I need you to be interested in it. I need that to catch your attention. But once you read the book, the first portion of each section gives you the business acumen that every business woman especially needs to know, no matter what your race or color is. And then after that, there are story after stories of women who related to that quality when they felt like they weren’t that quality. So you have a balance where you now have that business knowledge that you need, but then that’s that warm and fuzzies of knowing that what you’re feeling right now. There’s a woman out there that felt exactly what you felt, but this is the blueprint of how she overcame.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:37:05] And so that was the eight qualities. Now, what happened? And during this book, I thought I wasn’t gonna have enough information because everybody who did book collaborations always told me they was like, Oh, you’re not going to have to publish the book because, you know, you’re not authors aren’t going to turn the chapters in or whatever. That was not the experience that I had. I had so much information turned into me that I was able to create The Greatness Journal, The Guide to Greatness. And this journal has a space that you kind of record what you’re feeling, but above each section are quotes from these very authors to keep encouraging you on why you are an exceptional woman. And that just kind of came organically. So that’s that was the first step of the exceptional woman enterprise. And that function. The second step was, although I wrote a book that was targeted towards a group of women, women of color, I am a woman and I’m in business. I am here to talk to women across the globe. So that developed and birthed the Exceptional Woman tour. And the exceptional woman tour happens in two parts. Every March, which is Women’s History Month, we focus in on the inner woman and we have speakers and panelists and fireside chats and things that speak to what tends to hold us back as mothers, as wives, as women in general.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:38:31] Just those barriers that seem to hold us back internally. And then every August we speak to the external factors of the woman that’s that finances, that’s that professional career, that’s financial aid, that’s education, that’s partnerships. We give them all of the resources and tools, not for them to use six months from now, but when they walk out the door, these are actionable items that they can take to make a shift in their professional career. And then in between that, in between March. So March, we have the Inner Woman Summit, which is always virtual. Last March, we connected with 15 different countries, which I was so proud of. Yeah. And then I built a business platform that after the conference, April, May, June, July, they shift to this business platform that not is not just business, but is where they can connect with those very speakers and a very panelist that they resonated with and connect with their coaching program, be able to buy their products, be able to learn what’s next for that person that carries them to August. Then August, we launched a business conference and then once again, we shift them back to that platform. We’re September, October, November, December, January, February. Once again, we become that accountability partner so our audience doesn’t ever get to that space where they feel like they’re in this battle alone.
Stone Payton: [00:40:03] That is so in. It, isn’t it, to have that accountability partner.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:40:08] It’s a great without the judgment.
Stone Payton: [00:40:11] That’s how you are a good accountability partner.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:40:14] Accountability doesn’t mean that you beat somebody over the head. Accountability means that I am in the space waiting on you to call on me. And whenever you’re ready, I’m here to cheerlead you on. I’m here to encourage you. I’m here to get you the tools and resources that you need so that when. Because we all do it. Let me just give this is going to be my disclaimer that I’m going to give to everybody. We have a tendency that we look at people through our own lens and we think that what, the grass is greener type of theory. If I had more money, if I had a better, bigger business, if my if my clothes were different, if this was different, we’re always living in this world of if what we don’t realize is. That increase in that bank account, that increase in your responsibility, that increase. You still go back into the same emotional space if you’re not ready for it. If you’re not ready to have those millions of dollars, then you’re not going to be able to maintain those millions of dollars. So we got to get you ready for that. We got to get you ready and responsible and used to the tools and the resources that you need to maintain the 1000 there. Come on, somebody. Everybody’s 1000. Okay, before you become that millionaire, and then once you’re in that millionaire status, then we have a level to help you to get to that billionaire status. But we are here so that it is not a superficial launch.
Stone Payton: [00:41:50] I love it. And we won’t try to dive into all of the books. I don’t know. We’d have to just do a daily show. But you were so kind enough to to bring me this one as well. And it’s relatively new, isn’t it?
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:42:03] This is new. It hasn’t even come out yet. You are the first one to even see it.
Stone Payton: [00:42:07] Tell us about it, because I’ll be reading it this weekend. I am bigger than my resume.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:42:12] Absolutely. And it’s a very quick read. I did that on purpose because now most of my books, you can see, like the quality is most of my books are really thick. Even publishers like, do you know how many pages you have?
Stone Payton: [00:42:23] This one is like an airplane book I call airplane book.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:42:26] And the reason that I did it is because at this base, the purpose, the very purpose of I am bigger than my resume is to reach that person in the stages of doubt. And so sometimes you don’t need a bunch of information, you just need task. So at the end of each chapter, there are nine chapters. At the end of each chapter is a challenge, and that challenge helps you to kind of get out of your own way. But the purpose of I’m beginning my resume when I told you, you guys, my my past and all this stuff, there were times in there were portions in my life that other people made me feel like the unicorn that I thought I was, but they made it in a negative way where I didn’t belong. And so they would look at the resume. And again, first of all, I was a single mom. I had three kids, so I didn’t have really time for a career. I had to get jobs. There was the job we need to keep the lights on. So and so. When people looked at my resume, they would always say, Oh my God, you’ve had a lot of jobs. And there was a period there. Stone that I felt embarrassed about that I felt like I didn’t want to show people my resume. What I didn’t know was all of those different industries that I had a job was designed to build for the seven businesses that I run right now because it gave me a tool, a skill set. I’m not that person that only knows one area. It built a repertoire and an information palate that was different than most people. Because I can touch on several different industries from experience, not from reading, but from experience. And so when I got past that embarrassment about my resume, I began on my stages.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:44:12] I would have these conversations with people who had degrees, who didn’t have degrees, VP’s or whatever. What I found was the common denominator was no matter what’s that is that they were there was some aspect of people around them that felt like they had to be satisfied. So if you’re a VP, but you decide that you want to be an author, people around you would look and and you know what this sounds like. They always go, Well, why are you doing that? You got a good job. Oh, yeah. You know, you make a lot of money. Why are you over here trying to do all this over here? And it speaks to everyone. Everyone that there is something in you, whether it’s gardening on the side or whether you make the best biscuits out there. And you decided, I want to just sell these biscuits. But I am a CEO of a company. It gives you permission to understand that you can be bigger than that one dimensional piece of paper. You’re bigger than that resume, you’re bigger than your degree, you’re bigger than all of that. You are a person and this teaches you how to pool those beauty in those aspects. And to get past we talk about those micro biases. We talk about generational gaps. I talk about things that help you to find what that light is within you. Because we’ve got one thing that I learned from losing Bryant, and that’s the key that I’m gonna leave everyone with. We got one shot at this. There’s no do overs with life. So if you’re not going to live every day to the fullest, then what are we doing? I’m beginning my resume.
Stone Payton: [00:45:50] I love it. So being an entrepreneur at any level, whatever stage of maturity your business is in, even in being an incredibly successful entrepreneur and living into your purpose, it’s still not all, you know, butterflies and rainbows in. And I know, at least for me personally, you know, sometimes I run out of juice. I got to recharge the batteries. Where do you go? And I don’t necessarily mean a physical place to kind of recharge, get inspired. What? How do you recharge comedy? Yeah.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:46:25] Comedy. I, i, I take all of my hats off, and my husband and I will sit on the couch, and you would think if there were people that had cameras in our house, they probably would put us those little hug me vest on because I think something was wrong with us. But we we will sit on and it could be like a 30 minute little sitcom. But I remember there was one show and I can’t even remember the name of the show, but there was a there was a scenario that happened in the beginning of that show. And to my to this day, I can’t remember what it was. We replayed that one section of that show at least eight times, and each time we fell off the couch laughing like the cat was looking like, Do I need to call somebody a day? Okay. But because of all of the businesses and things that we do, that’s our release. Laughter. Even in your relationships, I tell couples all the time, How many times do you laugh together? Because during that time of raising our kids, listen, there was a point there that we all we alternated months of who was going to file for divorce because I can’t I don’t like you and you don’t like me. I can’t do this. We’re not going to make it. But 21 years later, we’re able to tell people that even during those rough times, even when our buckets both were empty and we didn’t want to deal with each other, we could find something that we didn’t have to talk about it. We just sat there and found something funny and we would laugh. So that’s my cure for everything because life is so heavy sometime that you just got to get a real laugh. And so that’s how I refilled my bucket. I and I did stand up. I did stand up. I did circuit. I did, I did.
Stone Payton: [00:48:05] Oh, my.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:48:05] Goodness, I did. But as a single mom, that was not paying any bills, y’all. Okay, so you can’t couch I heard Sherri Shepherd talk about when she was starting her her career as a comedian, how she couch surfed. Well, nobody’s going to let you come in with your three kids and your cat. I’m just gonna throw that out. There. Ain’t nobody don’t knock on people’s door and try to couch stuff so you can have your comedy career. But I did. I did my little comedy circuit. I did a stint in broadcasting that was just kind of my my escape of I have to have a job. But during that time of comedy, people would always ask me, Well, who’s your writer? Who? Where did you write this material? I promise you guys, I just told you what happened on Tuesday. That’s just what happens in my life. And I think that became my my defense, my repair for tragic things that happened in my life. I always had a way that I could even as deep as it is, I can have a way that we can have a conversation and laugh about it. So just as like I told you about loss of Brian, I can tell you all the funny stories about Brian. That’s my healing to be able to do that. So comedy is my escape. To be able to go and just let my hair down and just be special.
Stone Payton: [00:49:20] I got to ask you about the professional speaking. Yes. What is that like? I think there are a lot of folks a lot of our listeners are you know, they have jobs of a great deal of responsibility inside large organizations. Several of them are entrepreneurs. Some of them do aspire to speak. Maybe some of them are speakers and authors. What is that life like doing the professional speaking?
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:49:45] So when I first started speaking, I thought that it was just about the speaking I did. I actually had a coach that was like, What’s your signature speech? What’s your target audience? And this is like my first session. I didn’t have no answers for y’all. I didn’t even know what she was talking about, but I just kind of faked my way through it. And so what I had to learn was I had to learn what the the speaking world really meant. And so I begin to dissect. So if you want to step out into your speaking career, you first have to know what your strengths are. Because even though you want to be a speaker, not all stages and platforms were designed for you. And if you want to not discourage yourself, you have to make sure that you focus in on platforms and stages that fit what you know. I caution people in the speaking business, Please do not ever try to be the expert of all. Because there’s going to be someone in that audience that’s going to know the facts of what you’re talking about. And if you’re winging it, it’s going to damage your career. So stepping out there on that stage in the beginning was very stressful for me. I was almost like that. Like if Webster had a kid. The dictionary. I’m sorry, millennials, and.
Stone Payton: [00:51:04] I don’t even know what you’re talking about.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:51:06] So back in the day, we didn’t have the Internet. We had a book that was called Webster. It was written by this. Now they’ve merged and it’s a whole nother name. But anyway, it was the dictionary. And keep you all catch all up. Just catch all up. But anyway, so I thought I had to be that. Like, I almost thought I had know every word that was in the dictionary for me to be able to be successful at this. That wasn’t what my calling was. And so what I learned to do to make my business, my speaking business successful was I had to learn what they needed. The key to professional speaking is not what you need. It’s what your audience needs. So if you’re not if you if you get like and there are some times that I get invited to stages that I probably drive them crazy because my first thing before I step on your stage, I need to know who I’m speaking to. I need to know what our tone is. What is the theme of this event? And once I know that information, then I go back and I take what my knowledge is and what my what my intent, my end result, and I tailor it to fit that audience. And so even though I do comedy and I’m funny, there is some stages and there are some corporations that I step into, they just want the facts. And so I can transition into standing in front of you and giving you a training with just the facts. And I don’t feel like I’m being fake about it or whatever. I just know what my audience needs. And so you plan accordingly. And I watch so many speakers stand on stage that they want the audience to accept them for their personality. And so you get to Tony Robbins place. That’s just not going to happen. But what you do to grow your speaker, your speaking platform, is choose at least two very comfortable stages that you know you can deliver. What what is that audience need? And that’s where you build that muscle and then expand out.
Stone Payton: [00:53:03] Well, that is marvelous, Counsel. Once again, I’m so glad that I asked before we wrap, let’s see if we can leave our listeners with a few actionable kind of pro tips. Number one pro tip is reach out and talk to Dr. Michelle. That’s number one pro tip. But maybe some things they’ve heard the conversation. They’d like to implement a little something. You know what they should be reading and what they should be thinking, questions they should be asking. Just sleep with a couple of things to go ahead and begin acting on, if we could.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:53:34] So here’s the first. Deliverable that I want everyone to understand, despite what anyone else tells you, you know exactly what you can do. You are your first resource. If it doesn’t feel right, if it doesn’t fit what your long term plan is for yourself, begin to evaluate what you really want. Back in the day, we used to talk about the wants, the needs and the desires. So let’s dig into and get to know yourself first. A lot of times we want to save the world, but we don’t know who we are. So don’t be afraid to get to know yourself, but also understand that every day you are developing and growing. So whether you are a reader, whether you are an auditory learner, or whether you’re a be a student of encouraging the growth in your life, what does that look like? And second thing, not everybody is going to agree with you. Even the closest people to you, their spouses, their kids, there are people in your life that don’t mean any harm when they don’t buy your book or when they don’t attend your conference or when they don’t support you. It’s not that they don’t like you or they don’t care. They’re just not in that space yet. And so you’ve got to approach things. We’ve got to get back to being humans, humans, brain to humanity, back into everything that we do. If there’s a kid out there, if there’s a person out there that’s being mean, that’s being aggravated by where the pain came from before we judge them. Get back to being human.
Stone Payton: [00:55:19] All right. If someone would like to have a conversation with you or someone on your team, I want to make sure that they can get their hands on these books, connect to a website, whatever you think is appropriate. Linkedin, email. I just want to make sure that folks can connect with you. Absolutely. If they’d like to continue this conversation on their own. So let’s leave them with some coordinates.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:55:39] Absolutely. You can always go to my website at michelle. Am i s.H.I.E.L.D. S as in sam thomas t amazon.com. That’s michelle s thomas dot com. If you want to be a part of even learning the speakers, if you want to be a speaker, reach out on our website of exceptional woman tours dot com. Bring us your story. Let us know what you need as a woman from your business through your speaking platform. Let us know if you want to email me. You can always reach anyone on my team at info at Michelle s Thomas dot com and we’ll redirect you into any direction. And I’m always that person. I want everybody to know if you want to know, one characteristic that I have is I am that connector. If I can’t help you, I will find someone that can get you the help and the resource that you need.
Stone Payton: [00:56:37] Well, Dr. Michelle, it has been an absolute delight having you on the show. Thanks so much for coming in. Investing the time with to visit with us. You’re doing such important work and we so sincerely appreciate you.
Dr. Michelle S. Thomas: [00:56:52] Thank you so much. And thank you to your audience. I want to hear from every last person, woman, men, age. I don’t care what age, race, whatever. Let’s talk about it and let’s figure out how we’re all going to get to our greatness.
Stone Payton: [00:57:04] All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Dr. Michelle S Thomas and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you next time on women in business.