Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Michelle Mouhtis! I’m a licensed therapist and a life coach. I’m 28 years old and have a full private practice – but once I fulfilled that dream, I realized I wanted to do more with my career than one-on-one counseling. I wanted to have the creative freedom to help people, and that’s why I started life coaching, writing, and blogging!
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
Yes, I always knew I wanted to help and counsel people – but as I got further into my career, I realized I wanted to help people in more creative ways than just speaking to them one on one in a private practice setting. That’s when I began to explore life coaching and fell in love with blogging and connecting with a larger audience.
Were you scared to start the process?
I was absolutely terrified! One of the challenges about being a young professional is the fear of your clients equating experience with age. I was so insecure about my age in the beginning of my career that I acted as clinical and professional as possible in order to gain perceived credibility. I gradually became honest with myself and realized I wasn’t working in a way that spoke to me. I was also scared to admit I wasn’t totally happy in private practice – imagine going to school for five years, practicum for two years, and taking two board exams and realizing at the end of it you’re not completely happy. But once I gave myself permission to feel the way I was feeling, it made all the difference in moving forward with what was best for me. It’s okay to grow and evolve.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I have a pen pal named Rachel from England! We started writing letters to each other in the 8th grade when our schools matched us as pen pals. We wrote from then on and met for the first time in 2015 in England, then again in 2017 in the USA, and Rachel came to meet my family in Greece in 2018. We are forever friends! There is something so special about sending a letter to a friend or relative.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. No other relationships can grow if you aren’t honest and working on being the highest and best self you can possibly be.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Yes, I had a professor in college doubt me. I was studying addictions counseling. He asked if I had any personal experience with addictions and I said no – to which he said, maybe pick a different career or go work with children. I was infuriated! I allowed him to doubt myself and question my capability as a counselor.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
Be fiercely and unapologetically you wherever you roam.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
Definitely not. It was a huge conscious practice to start loving myself from the outside in. It’s especially difficult for women to shed the shame and not be so critical of ourselves when we live in a world that is marketed toward us doing the very same!
What do you love most about yourself?
My ability to connect with other people. I think at the root of being human is authentic connection and a sense of belonging.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
Every other week in MY therapist’s office for the last nine years! Doing your own inner work is TOUGH STUFF, but it is absolutely the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself AND your relationships.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
To be honest with yourself. Don’t judge yourself. Nothing is personal.
What motivates you most?
I can’t explain it – it’s a feeling. A fire in my gut that makes me feel so passionate about whatever it is I want to do. It’s like I have no other choice but to live it out.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
WOOF! This is still a HUGE practice for me! Mostly awareness and allowing myself to take breaks without judgement. I try to keep an active social life, keep up with my hobbies, and continue to find the joy in what I do for a living.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Journal, meditation, and reflection through the relentless lens of self-honesty and compassion. And laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I sing! I was a part of several choirs and theater for over 10 years.
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I would either be a nail technician or a nurse. Both jobs where I can still connect with people!
Who is your biggest role model? Why?
My dad! He immigrated to the USA from Greece when he was a little boy, came from nothing, and became something with very little resources. The true American dream. He taught me how to believe in myself and follow my passion.
Where do you find inspiration?
Honestly? Instagram! If you follow the right people who help you champion your story and wellbeing, it can be such a healing space. I also love Brené Brown.
What are your biggest passions?
Making self-help and self-healing simple and helping others through the power of human connection. Oh, and dogs, fitness, and crafting!
Michelle Mouhtis, LCSW is a licensed therapist and life coach who believes in making self-healing simple. She has her own private practice in New Jersey and is working on writing her first self-help book.