#5 Grief, Starting Over, & Speaking From Your Heart


Today's Guest: Michelle Vande Hey

Today, I interview Michelle Vande Hey, Certified Holistic Life Coach who helps grieving mom’s heal their hearts and spark joy again using Food, Fitness, Faith, & Forgiveness with her group coaching program.

Michelle’s biggest struggle with speaking in public is worrying she is going to forget to say something.

Her work with Toastmasters and being part of a group, together other others trying to improve themselves helped.

Michelle is committed to being true to herself, even though her message may not be mainstream. Her point of view is that acceptance of grief and allowing a process is important.

Watch the episode:

Connect with Michelle Vande Hey

Transcript of Interview

Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast

Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing

Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com

Episode #5 Michelle Vande Hey

“Grief, Starting Over, & Speaking From Your Heart”

(00:02) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Hi, I’m Dr. Doreen Downing. And this is my Find Your Voice, Change Your Life podcast series. And I’ve developed this and made a platform for people to come on and share stories, stories about their struggles with speaking in public, whether it’s something about being so afraid that they have never done it, or whether it’s always just been something that’s not been comfortable for them. I like people to tell this story about what it’s like to have finally felt like their voice tapping into what’s inside of them. That’s really true and passionate, and they finally can speak from there. And when you could speak from there, you could share your gift. And today I’m happy to invite Michelle Vande Hey on to this podcast series. And Michelle is a certified holistic life coach, and she helps grieving moms heal their hearts and spark joy. Again, using food fitness. They have forgiveness with her group coaching program and wow, Michelle, I just reading your bio touches me. So I know we’re talking about a fear of speaking and finding your voice, but I guess where I wanted to start with just gratitude for that must take it. Must’ve taken a lot of courage to go through a personal journey to then be able to, uh, help others who guide lead others. So thank you.

(01:50) Michelle Vande Hey:

Thank you Doreen, thank you for having me.

(01:54) Dr. Doreen Downing:

So let’s, let’s begin with the whole topic of, you know, finding your voice and feeling first that it was a struggle and anything that you can say about the details of what was hard for you about showing up in public. And, uh, so we’ll start there.

(02:11) Michelle Vande Hey:

And I find it very interesting because I feel like for me, the biggest struggle is just feeling like I don’t want, I, one of my things that I have to work through on my own that I continue to work through is this desire for people– that I want people to like me or that I don’t want people to not like me. And I think that’s where my biggest struggle with speaking comes in is because I want to, I want people to like me, I’ve actually always liked entertaining or being in front of people, but speaking is different than being silly. Like when I was a kid, I wanted to be a clown at one point. And like I wanted to entertain people. And so I don’t mind being in front of people having this when you’re, I feel like when you’re speaking, You’re speaking from some sort of expertise where people are really trusting, trusting you and what you’re saying. And so for me, um, I, I’ve always liked the idea of speaking, but I was always kind of nervous about speaking in front of people. And I really started to find joy in it in college when I had to take a speaking class. And I realized that if I just like practiced well enough and you know, kind of like psych myself up enough, I would have fun and like focused on the fun part of it. And that really helped me with speaking in college, but now like moving how my life has shifted, I’ve even had to kind of refine my voice again, moving into this holistic life coaching and helping grieving moms and making sure that I’m speaking from my heart, but also making sure that that I’m being true to myself, but also sharing what I believe, because sometimes what I believe is not what most people believe or is not like what mainstream media or mainstream healing is. And so I have been learning about sharing from my heart, but also making sure that I’m not, um, I’m not like contradicting things, if that makes sense.

(04:29) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Well, uh, I understand from the very beginning, it seems like you had a, a part of you that just loved to dance in front of, uh, the well that we didn’t have cameras from…You know, I remember in my own family, my sister and I would put on little skits and plays and, you know, dance around in front of, uh, the family. So it feels like maybe just a lot of us have that from the very beginning, this playful spirit. And then something happens, you know, it just is not okay. Or, you know, we go off to school and realize that it’s harder to be, to fit in. And so with your early life experiences about wanting to be accepted, did you have that happen at school?

(05:21) Michelle Vande Hey:

I feel like I, I did, and I didn’t a little bit, I’ve been in sports most of my life. And so I feel like when you’re in sports, you have this group that you fit into, but being on the playing field or on the court is different than being in class. And, and so it’s a different type of thing to wrap your head around because I too, I played mostly team sports. So even though there’s moments that you’re in the spotlight of being on that team, you’re still a team and, you know, in classes or when you’re speaking, it’s just you. And so it’s really a vulnerable place to be. But knowing that so many people are afraid of speaking to that, it’s okay to allow yourself to make mistakes and not say everything perfectly. And that’s something I’ve really had to come to realize that it doesn’t have to be perfectly stated. I don’t have to know how to pronounce everything perfectly, that as long as I’m coming in from my heart and just being honest, that that’s the best I can do. And that if someone needs to have a conversation with me after about something that they disagree with or anything like that, that that’s okay.

(06:37) Dr. Doreen Downing:

The, the idea that what you pointed to is being part of a team, part of a, um, you know, something that you’ve got a co either you’re a part of a group. So it’s so different when you’re standing up in front of a class and all eyes are on you is different than being a part of a group. And I think you just pointed to something that’s really important for people in understanding some of the routes to anxiety is that once you put yourself out there and you’re standing alone, that that to me might even just be something that’s in our, our brains, our lizard brains, you know, animal, you know, here, I’m standing up in all, you know, like all the eyes are on me. That seems to be one of the biggest things I hear from people is just that fear with all those eyes. And I can, I, this is pretty much the first time I really got the difference between being part of a group and being seen as, um, part of a group, as opposed to just standing up alone. And, um, just your vulnerable self, totally exposed, I guess.

(07:48) Michelle Vande Hey:

Right. Cause if you, if you really take it back to the school example, it’s different too. I mean, even some people it’s like raising your hand and volunteering an answer can be difficult, but it’s much more difficult to stand in front of the room and really like speak because that, then it’s all you where if you’re in the class, it’s like, you’re still like amongst everybody else. And everyone’s kind of at that same level.

(08:14) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Yes, that’s right. And I do work with people who are afraid to even raise their hand, but I get that there are levels, you know, of where you stand out and where you really are totally alone, which then takes us to the places where you, like, I guess you say college where you really, um, got into looking at speaking as having an element of fun.

(08:41) Michelle Vande Hey:

And that’s, I think part of the reason is because the teacher was really fun. She was definitely this outgoing personality. Um, and so that fun aspect really helped me because I like to have a lot of fun. And so focusing on fun pieces, I just, I don’t know why I always remember it, but I remember this one speech from college. I don’t remember what the speech was about, but the beginning of my speech, I was, I came into the classroom jumping rope to eye of the tiger from Rocky. And it was like so much fun and it just like gets everybody kind of excited. And then, you know, maybe they’re not paying too much attention to what you’re the, every single detail, but they’re listening. Like you, you grabbing their attention and everyone’s kind of in that same, that same energy almost.

(09:35) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Well that, uh, for a lot of people listening to you doing something like that, if they imagined themselves, I think they would go, Ooh, I don’t think I could. That’s too much, a lot of bravery there. And yet I think it’s a good tip too. Uh, what does, can you hit it’s, it’s that quote about dances, if nobody’s watching you, something like that. Oh right.

(10:01) Michelle Vande Hey:

Oh yeah. Dance as if no one’s watching. And I think too, I mean, even though it was still difficult in that class, at moments, we’re all in it together. So it’s like having, having someone you can practice with, and those types of things can really have really helped me with people that I want. I need someone to practice with. And then they can give me honest feedback about what I can do better, what I’m doing great at, because then it’s like, that helps boost your confidence and just realize, and if you can actually watch other people practice too, I feel like that’s really helped me realize what my strengths are, what I can work on as well as watching other people, practicing, whatever they’re trying to speak.

(10:49) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Well, you just pointed to, again, the importance of being together with other folks, I mean, that whole idea of everybody in the classroom is, is working to put themselves out. And, uh, you’re, you’re part of a, a group that’s doing that. It’s not like you are all by yourself. So the, the next thing would be, uh, you know, like being in a group or in a meeting, let’s say a business meeting where, and this begins to move into where you started to talk about being true to yourself and what, you know, not being mainstream. I know that my approach is about not about speaking, not helping people be a better public speaker. It’s about helping people tap into just like you said, the truth and being committed to that, even though the rest of the stream is not quite in line with what you have to say, uh, that to me, like, do you, how did you really commit and find this voice that you feel is a true voice for you?

(12:03) Michelle Vande Hey:

Practice and, and coaching, honestly, like having someone be in my corner and say, you know, it’s, it’s okay to say these things like, you know, I have my I’ll coach, um, I have with my holistic life certification and then through a business school that I’m a part of, I have mentors that kind of help guide me and say, no, that’s okay. Like you can, you need to speak this because other people are feeling the same way as you. And so really having someone that is in my corner that realizes that what I have to say is important and then helping me to really understand that when I am being truthful about what I’m saying, like feeling like I am speaking from my own experience and, and myself that, that, um, then I’m really truly helping people when I’m actually speaking in my true voice is like, that’s when I’m really helping people, not when I’m trying to cater to what I think will help the most people or what I think most people want to hear. It’s actually really, I can help more people by saying what most people maybe haven’t thought about before, or don’t, haven’t talking about publicly before either.

(13:24) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Wow. Yeah. That’s, that’s you coming in on with the rope and Rocky song, right? So you have, what would be something that you would say that feels like true to your heart? But that, I mean, I really like this idea about reaching the people that need to hear you and feeling that by connecting to your own voice, it connects to the people who need to hear you. And then there’s a circle. It feels like it just, you radiate and reach at the same time and people go, yes. And those who don’t, relate are not going to follow you or listen to you. But what, so what are some of the things that you say that are feeling like your heart and what you offer?

(14:22) Michelle Vande Hey:

Um, I mean, I’m really an advocate obviously for holistic health. And just really, I talk a lot about,

especially with working with grief is about mental health and something that I really believe in is that we can really not necessarily heal, but we can start a healing process and really help work through some of these mental health issues. Um, without having to, to Western medicine right away, we can find other ways, especially after a traumatic event, if there’s like no predispositions in your DNA or something like that, like from your genetics, if it’s something that has come from an event feeling depressed and anxious and having PTSD is actually a natural form of our body’s just trying to protect itself. And so what can we do to really help our bodies come out of that? And more of a natural way, instead of just trying to say, okay, you shouldn’t feel like this here, like, just take this instead. It’s like, well, let yourself feel that way. And if it’s not harmful to your life or someone else’s life, like let’s work through it instead of just trying to really like push it down and push it away.

(15:47) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Or to somehow speed it up because it’s, uh, I know I’ve worked with people who, uh, don’t want to go there, just deny it, put some kind of lit over it and say, well, it happened, let’s move on. That’s all sorts of motivational quotes that say, you know, get on with life. But I think what I like about what you’re saying is honoring your own, what– mental, physical, emotional, spiritual bodies, and to, um, you know, like maybe your mental health needs more attention, your physical health needs attention. So this whole holistic, what you’re saying is important too, is what I’m getting about healing from trauma, from grief. And, in terms of you finding your voice and what you just said, I think, you know, we’ll just, if people are listening to this, they’ll go, yeah, that sounds so, so true. And then the, how I think it, well, I was going to ask you how, but I think I know it’s like, you know, finding people like you, who will support people in, in going through that process that you talked about.

(17:12) Michelle Vande Hey:

And just really allowing yourself to, like you said, it’s like, it’s allowing yourself to go through a process and not be so worried about speeding up this process because grief evolves and, you know, grief evolves throughout your whole life. Whether it’s through child loss or whatever type of brief it is, and it doesn’t even have to be the loss of a life. It could be the loss of a job or the loss of like anything that we’re here. Identity is really kind of being shifted or you feel like you’ve lost yourself because of, you know, because of people lose a job that they’ve had for 20 years or go through a divorce or something like that, where it’s like, this has been your life for this long, there is grief and grief is grief, no matter what you’re losing, but some grief just takes longer to work through. And just knowing that it’s okay to it’s okay to be grieving. And it’s okay. And I like, it’s hard to read the sign, but I have this sign behind me that says joy and grief, and it’s okay to kind of have fun times in your life. It’s okay to be joyful and be grieving at the same time. You can have both and not feeling like it has to be an either or it’s really an, and, and living in that, that, and space with whatever you’re trying to like with speaking and speaking your true voice, it’s like, you can speak your true voice and help people and you can speak her true voice and, you know, and still mess up at, you know, those types of things.

(18:48) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Yes, this is, this is wonderful. The, uh, acceptance, I hear what you’re talking about and, uh, uh, not the either or, but the fullness of living and accepting all parts of yourself. Yes, yes. Well, uh, your business, how do people find you?

(19:10): Michelle Vande Hey:


That’s the name of my business is Light of Love Coaching. And I offer a free support group for grieving moms. It’s a private group. And so if anyone’s looking for that for grieving moms, it’s called Light of Love After Child Loss, and that’s just on Facebook, but they can find it through, um, my website and that’s the best place for people to find me as lead of off coaching.com.

(19:41) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Wonderful. Any final words you’d like to, uh, inspire us with?

(19:48) Michelle Vande Hey:

Well, I just really appreciate you having me on here. And I just, when to inspire, I think if you’re, if you’re scared to speak, start with writing first, or start with speaking to your camera, like start with something that doesn’t have to be public and maybe you decide to share it, you know, if for you, it writing is easier and that’s a really good way to get your voice out. Um, if speaking to a camera’s easier, that’s good to like start with doing something that is helping you get your voice out in the form of like journaling and whether it’s journaling through handwriting or journaling through just talking to your phone, whatever it is. I think just like getting these thoughts out of your head is so important and can really help you navigate them better. So I would just highly recommend getting whatever’s in your head, out of your head, whether it’s through speaking or through writing.

(20:53) Dr. Doreen Downing:

Wonderful. Thank you. Yes. Thank you so much.


Also listen on…

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.