This week we welcome our guest Michelle Kaplan. Overcoming struggles in her HR career, Michelle discovered her true voice through her writing and poetry. This ultimately led her to her new position as a co-producer in an off-broadway theatre show. Uncover how Michelle came to live her true genius and how it can help you live yours.
Join us as we discuss:
02:58 Heroism and the fascinating things about it.
05:07 Having that voice through writing a poem or book.
08:39 Getting to know Michelle Kaplan.
11:00 How did Michelle meet Ken Davenport.
15:10 It’s the goal and strong leadership team that brings success to the show.
23:07 The struggles that Michelle overcomes in her HR career and as a new producer on a show.
27:38 Michelle’s discoveries about herself.
32:03 There’s no greater satisfaction than helping and seeing somebody successfully unfold their journey.
33:10 Everyone’s an expert and is a genius.
37:01 Intentions rather than specific goals.
40:15 There’s no way to guarantee a disappointment less, loss less, and grief less life.
About the Guest:
Michelle Kaplan is Founder and CEO of an HR consulting and training firm specializing in Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership Development. Specific areas of focus include emotional intelligence, change management, creating and sustaining high performance teams, effective decision-making, and increasing psychological safety at work.
Michelle is also a Co-Producer in theatre. The current show she is involved with is the new musical Harmony which just finished its Off-Broadway run. Finally, Michelle is also a published author with her two books of poetry recognized as Amazon’s Top Hot New Releases for Inspirational Poetry, with a third book on its way. Michelle posts her poems every day on Instagram @themichellekaplan.
Feel free to connect with Michelle at:
About the Host:
Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist, speaker, author and coach changing our perspective on the world of work. It IS possible to do Great Work– launch a successful business, make a scientific discovery, raise a tight-knit family, or manage a global remote team– without sacrificing your health, happiness and relationships.
Amanda is the Author of the forthcoming book, Great Work: Do What Matter Most Without Sacrificing Everything Else, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda’s TEDx talk has received more than a million views and has been featured on TED’s Ideas blog and Ted Shorts.
Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.
Sponsored By The Aligned Time Journal
The Unleashing Your Great Work podcast is sponsored by the Aligned Time Journal! The Aligned Time Journal is here to answer the question “But HOW?” How can we figure out what our Great Work is? How can we get started, stay with it, and finish our Great Work so it can go out in the world and have an impact?
Click here to learn more, and try it out for yourself!
For more information about the Unleashing YOUR Great Work podcast or to learn more about Dr. Amanda Crowell, check out my website: amandacrowell.com
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Welcome to unleashing your great work, a podcast about doing the work that matters the most to you. I'm your host, Dr. Amanda Crowell, a cognitive psychologist, coach, and the creator of the great work journals. Every week on this podcast, we are asking the big questions. What is great work? And why does it matter so much to us? What does it take to do more of your great work without sacrificing everything else? And how does the world change when more people are doing more of the work that matters the most to them? So whether your great work is building your own small business, or managing a remote team at a multinational company, you will find insight and answers here. Welcome everybody to unleashing your great work. This week, I couldn't be more excited to welcome my friend Michelle Kaplan. She is a founder and CEO of an HR consulting and training firm, focusing on emotional intelligence change management, creating and sustaining high performance teams effective decision making and increasing psychological safety at work. Michelle is also a producer on harmony, a new musical by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, welcome to the podcast. Michelle.Michelle Kaplan:
Thank you so much, Amanda. It's so great to be here.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
I'm glad so glad that you're here. So we're going to start where we always start? Which is the question. Tell us just a little bit about your great work.Michelle Kaplan:
Yeah. And I you know, before I even answer that question, I want to just give some context to that. The phrase great work, because, you know, it's a great question. And it really made me think about what is my great work, right? What are the things that inspire me, and I'm passionate about? Yeah. And I was always jealous, even as a kid of those people who just like, they woke up, you know, were born is do they wanted to be the doctor, the fire, you know, the firefighter like everything, because I always had so many different interests. And so what I think about what I'm doing now, which is part HR, like human resources, consulting, coaching executives, published poet, and yeah, we're producing a show that's, you know, that was off Broadway, hopefully go into Broadway. It's like such a diverse, at least on the surface of things that I do. And so your question of what is your great work made me kind of just pause and be like, there has to be something inter interconnected with all these different from the corporate HR, to my entrepreneurial consulting to being creative, and writing and theater. Yeah, and there is something so thank you for this. So really kind of sense is, is that I think the great work for me, is helping myself and others kind of really becoming the hero of their own story. And, you know, with the work that I do, it kind of reminds me of Joseph Campbell, who wrote, you know, hero with 1000 faces, and he really talks about, you know, whether it's, you're crafting a story, right, from a creative expression, I really always saw it more as how do you live your life? Right? We're all writing our story each day. Right? So in a sense, it's kind of like, you know, how do you become the hero of your story? And do you need coaching for that? Is that which jobs? Is there a problem in your organization, the the work that I write about, like, and I write poetry is not necessarily autobiographical, but it's always personal. And that's it, and trying to figure out, like, as Joseph Campbell kind of breaks it up into the three acts of like, there's a decision to act. Here's the action. And then there's the consequence, action. And I really work with people in so many different industries in different ways. You know, as they're in those kinds of various stages,Dr. Amanda Crowell:
hmm. So what is it about sort of heroism or the notion of being hero that speaks to you?Michelle Kaplan:
I think for me is that it's like taking on a challenge, the problem solving. And I think for many times, it's really the journey with in that really fascinates me, it's that like, a lot of times we fast food we get, and I'm so guilty of this myself, where it's like, I get caught up in what's externally happening to me, and that I'm experiencing, and it's like, if this person wasn't, you know, was a little kinder, right? Or if this event did happen, it would be better right in some way. And I felt I'm what I'm fascinated with Howard harrow is, I can't hard wordDr. Amanda Crowell:
Thank you. Because I got like tongue tied there. Yeah, it's hard. Because I'm like, so excited. I have like, 10 thoughts going on in my head right now. But it's like, it's the journey within that changes the outside. And so that's what I'm particularly fascinated about. And even myself, where it's like, you know, sometimes things don't really change outwardly. But because I have a different perspective. I'm like, I'm seeing it differently. And then it helps me make more effective decisions for my, for my career and my family.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Hmm. So that's interesting. So it sounds a little bit like you're saying that true heroics. So we'll just leave heroism on it say, you're so true, heroics are really about an expression of change that's happening inside of you. And it's reflected in the outside world, but really the impetus, the source of it is inside of you.Michelle Kaplan:
Yes, yeah. We're and we kind of come to that realization, you know, hopefully, you know, in a sense, so, you know, there are a lot of times where, you know, there is the reluctant hero. I mean, you know, I, you know, with everything going on in the world nowadays, I just know, so many people, I kind of wrote a poem about the reluctant activist, you know, it's like, I don't know, if people are seeking to, you know, is the part of the process. And the challenge of all this is, you know, really having a voice and being aware of the judgments. And, you know, people, you know, you're when you put yourself out there, you know, there's that whole vulnerability piece that really comes up. And so, you know, I remember before my first book of poetry went out there, I was so excited. And then like, two days before the book was released, I mean, you're an author, so you probably get this. I was like, Oh, my God, why did I do this? I thought,Dr. Amanda Crowell:
I was just thinking that two day worries I thinking, Yeah, I was like, Why? Why did I write this book, I'm never like, if I want to get another job, I'll never be able to get another job. So funny that you mentioned that two day today.Michelle Kaplan:
I mean, we all kind of go to that. It's like, I'm really putting myself out there. And I don't like poetry, or what you write about I don't agree and beauty about, like, for instance, poetry is that there is no right or wrong answer, right. It kind of meet you where you're at. And kind of, you know how, you know, people will say what we're thinking when you wrote this poem, and I would say, I'll tell you, but I would love to know what you because nine times out of 10 on blown away by not what I was expecting, like, Wow, you got that? You know, like everyone's a poet really, in their own way in the art of life. So in a sense, it's like, you know, I'm very curious to know, you know, in what context someone kind of read it. It'sDr. Amanda Crowell:
so interesting, right? Yeah, it isn't poetry as an inkblot test, what do you see? Yes.Michelle Kaplan:
Exactly. And, you know, and really all expressions of art, dance and being a true, you know, like painting and sculpting. It is, it's like, you know, what do you see in that? And then that is kind of revealing, then, and then the coach and me, right, and they kind of says, you know, especially from like, my leadership development work that I do. It's kind of like, you know, you know, why did that kind of come up? And how do we kind of move you through it? I think that's, you know, it's a challenge. And I just have such respect for people who kind of know, like, most people will say to me, Michelle, I don't know what I really want. And I found through the years, that a lot of people do know what they want. They just don't think they can have it.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Right. They've been denying it. Yeah. Right.Michelle Kaplan:
And so it says, How do we start working towards, you know, you achieving that, because I haven't met anybody who was an overnight success or two did it alone? Right. I mean, there's always a group of people. And, you know, and it takes time. But for me, and I think for others, it's like, if you know, you're making progress, we're good, right? You want to stand still or yeah, not backwards.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Right. 100%. So, in that, in that vein, let's just back up just a little bit and say, you know, we've we've referenced it a few things like you're a poet and you do HR and coaching, but can you just tell us a little bit like, how did you get here, tell us a little bit of the narrative history so that we can we can really understand your perspective as we unpack more of this.Michelle Kaplan:
Excellent. Okay. So for you know, I worked 30 years Send human resources. So I haven't been green, you know, I think at the time, they called it industrial psychology. You know, but there was no majors in HR. But I've spent my career you know, in human resources, and then slowly through my career, you know, my writing kind of started in the early mornings, with a, you know, bad case of bedhead. And sitting there kind of grounding myself, especially when I was trying to figure out things for myself and like, what was happening at work. And with my family, it my journaling is really become much more of a meditation practice, almost, and really kind of going within. And then I started sharing the poetry. And that in my corporate setting, I just kind of got this knowing, you know, a more like an intuitive voice to start sharing it, which I did. And, like, it just totally changes the conversation you got out of your head, that room. Right. And I'm righter than you. Right, right into more of the heart of kind of a cop, you know, just like your question of, like, what is your great work did for me, it's like, okay, I didn't have that like, quick, easy, you know, snap answer, you know, type of thing. And so as I wrote, I started sharing it and decided to publish my work. And then I kind of saw script I had in my head, I was like, I don't know why, but I'm seeing a lot of these poems and the things I write about, which is very much more about personal transformation. I love how one bookstore didn't put my books in the poetry section, they put it in the personal development Self Help section, badly. So that person actually read the poems exactly what I wrote about. And you know, and then I got the sense of the script. So I always reach out to coaches and teachers and mentors who know, you know, and come up to speed so much quicker when you work with someone definitely isn't the know. And so I met a producer on Broadway, Ken Davenport, who has been a wonderful mentor and coach, and has now how didDr. Amanda Crowell:
you meet Ken Davenport? Because I actually now well, maybe, because I know you. But like, I know his name. He's quite the producer. He's not like, a producer. He's like, one of the producers. Yeah. So how did you meet Ken Davenport?Michelle Kaplan:
You know, it's like, one of the practices I always say, if you want, if, you know, especially I was saying before, like when you when you know what you want, but you don't even know how to get it. Right. And, you know, one of the things I've learned through the years is just let everybody know what that dream is. You don't have to tell everybody especially we're gonna like, you know, not right, you know, be like, talk you out of it, you know, right, right. Well, intention, but misinformed people that do that, you know, so I was just telling people how I want to write a script. And I, I know nothing about script writing at all. And his name came up, and I looked, and so I looked him up online. He has a goal of, you know, 5000 shows by 2025. Like he really wants to, he loves theater, wants to get theater out in the world, and really has, you know, a personal passion for helping others get their shows out there. I saw online, I saw he was speaking like, within two weeks, he had some type of seminar. So pre pandemic, I went in and saw him speak and met him and realize, you know, he's full of integrity and the real deal. So then I signed up for his program. And that's him. So I had to kind of apply to the program and be interviewed and things like that. So all that is online for Ken's program. And then, you know, quickly, I just, like totally embraced it, you know, by man I met. No, huh. And I love learning, right. And that's where again, Joseph, I had read Joseph Campbell's hero of 1000 faces from a personal development perspective years ago. And now here it is coming up again, the hero's journey from a writing perspective. Again, it's so interconnected. I just love it. And so he was one. I mean, I think great leaders, the leaders that I've worked with personally, Coach, you know, really have that real knack of seeing the potential in someone, before you actually do for that person does want to approach me and ask, you know, have you ever considered being a producer? And I was like, Absolutely not. Right, or limiting belief? No. Then I was like, wait, I know what a producer does, right? But it's like, what do you do? Right? Yeah. So after understanding it, I was very intrigued and I sat with it and I, again, the hero's journey. is like, you know that reluctancy of lights are really, you know, it's very humbling, you know, after being 30 years in human resources and knowing the ins and outs of right not, it's very humbling to start to be brand new. Start a new industry new responsive, everything's takes you longer. You don't know what you're doing, but you're doing it with that beginner's mindset, and, you know, and so that's why he's a great coach and mentor, because, you know, like, I have a question and, you know, is accessible and answers it. But know that I've been doing it, I would say about six months. I love it. So it's like another, so who knew? Like I knew? I'm a very goal oriented person. So I have this was not on any list? Not on my radar. Right? Yeah. So I think the answer, you know, a long, very long, winding road to kind of say, it's just evolved. Follow the breadcrumbs of your passions, and see what comes out up and then, you know, decide in that moment, like, is this the best time? I mean, my daughter is a teenager, if she was much younger, I might say, Yes, I'm interested. But I have to do this at another time. Right. Right. Might be off. But I was kind of like, you know, putting myself out there kind of like, if I don't try it, then I'm gonna regret notDr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. Yeah. So okay, so what does a producer do?Michelle Kaplan:
A producer.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
All like you skipped over that part. And I was like, wait, wait, wait, wait.Michelle Kaplan:
Like, what does a producer do? I mean, what I love about it is that I thought it was very different from my world of business. And it's really not a producers really CEO, part of the leadership team of a show. And you know, you're you're there with directors and choreographers and costume designers and writers and composers. It's amazing. The creativity in one room, and what a producer is definitely more the business and the operation side of the show. And really, just like any startup, you're finding investors, private investors, to invest to show to swipe money. And then really kind of working, you know, you know, having people come to the show, so whatever, that's from the marketing and operations, and then there's other people, stage managers, general managers, that type of thing. But after being exposed to some, like, this isn't so different. It's just a different industry. And so, and I actually just gave a talk recently about what Broadway could teach the boardroom. Hmm. Because I found that fascinating with the amount of so much more actually doing the collaboration part in shows, and then there are from my experiences and client experiences in corporate. So it's not every company and there's different pockets of things. But I'm just fascinated, like everybody's aligned to the goal, the goal, is this the success of the show. Yeah. And everybody has a role and responsibilities very clear and have their perspective. So I love hearing all the discussion if there's an issue or something they want to do. But then a decision is made, and you move on because then it'll impact the show. Yeah, you know. And so, the show that I've just been working with a harmony, which was off Broadway and just had like a New York run. No, wait, whatDr. Amanda Crowell:
was a great show, by the way?Michelle Kaplan:
I know. I know. I saw the show with you. That's awesome. Yeah, we saw the show together.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
It was exactly fascinating.Michelle Kaplan:
Yeah. I mean, it's it's it's such a strong leadership team, um, between Canada's the lead producer with Sandy Moran and then having you know, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, you know, writing and composing the music and then having Warren Carlyle as the director and choreographer, I mean, it's such a strong leadership team. And actually, that is why I chose to produce that show as a main reason besides that story is amazing. Like, this team of people is gonna it's gonna take it somewhere. I mean, they're just so and so um, again, it doesn't matter which environment you have those certain great work hats on. Yeah, I'm looking at it again, probably from a different lens and somebody else, but um, I am looking at from a business perspective, as well as just being very artistic and creative.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
So what was fascinating to me watching the show, because I've been to a lot of Broadway shows like you, I just love it. Right? I did some theater in you know, high school in college. So I thought I understood what was happening. But then when you You were the producer, and you invited Michelle and Michelle invited me. It was what I loved about it the most outside of the show, which was lovely, was that we sat sort of close to all the producers. And it was interesting to hear the sort of side chatter amongst you about the show. You know, it was like, I feel like I got like a view into what it is like to be invested in something part of creating it, like putting your entire heart and soul behind the success of it. And I remember the, to me, one of the more memorable moments was when something would happen on the stage, the entire like, six producers sitting in this like, we're like the loudest clappers the like. Like it was like, they were not going to let that cast think that they didn't have support that this wasn't happening that they weren't really doing, it was so fascinating to feel the energy of the producers kind of caring, and like infusing the show, with all the support, which is just interesting, you don't think about that? You don't, you don't think that it's like you just like watching the movie, you don't really think about the person holding the boom, you know, but like, that person has such a big impact on the overall success of it. And it's just really interesting to think about all that because a cast of characters that you're now sort of aware of in a way that you probably we're not before you were a producer.Michelle Kaplan:
Yeah. Oh, my God, thanks for sharing that insight. I mean, that's true, I never really thought of it, you know, being in it. You are percent vested, you know, emotionally as well as financially. And, you know, being someone who doesn't sing, who doesn't act and doesn't dance, then my next life, I want to come back. As a performer, I really do. I'm so envious. Like, such talent, I've been to the show, you know, over the course of the nine week run, it was I had to be at least 15 times and still amaze you of going with different people and things. And they're just such a talented group of people on the stage and behind the scenes, as well, that you just are you do you root for them, because they talk about putting yourself out there, right? And doing it. And sometimes, you know, Wednesdays and Sundays, you're doing it twice a day. I mean, it's physical demand, but they're just, you know, top rate, you know, just they just do it. I mean, I just can't imagine like hair, make this change, Michelle, and then I, I'm often doing it, I just, it's just amazing to me, when when, when people are really in their passions and doing their talents. That's the part for me that I just get such a kick out of it, like, wow, they just make it look so effortless. And there's so much practice, and time invested in that making it look effortless when when it which eventually does kind of get there. But you know, there's so much behind that, and I just have such a better appreciation. And then also it's like, you know, with each person having their role responsibility on the show. Yeah, they come together, it's like, it's a win win. You know, it's definitely an abundance mindset over like, lack. And that's what I love. And I find I noticed the most on the contrast between sometimes in a corporate environment where it's kind of like, there are no silos in it in the show, right? It's very small. It's like, you know, of course, I'm gonna you want it's like it's a win win, we all win, the audience wins, like everybody, you know, it's entertainment, and doing what you love. And having the opportunity to do that, versus sometimes sometimes or in different pockets of companies, where it's kind of like, you know, there isn't that mindset. So it can be, you know, you know, anything from an extremely toxic environment to one that least isn't the most accepting. Yeah, fractured.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Right. Exactly. Competitive. Yes. Yeah, for sure. So that's a great, that's sort of a great segue to the question of, you know, you've been feeling your way through it, and sounds like an amazing adventure. But I'm sure there were struggles in your HR career. And as part of being a new producer on a show with an amazing leadership team. What, what kind of struggles did you have to overcome in order to do your great work?Michelle Kaplan:
Yeah, I think that the common theme through that, for me is, you know, a little bit of that impostor syndrome kind of going on. It's kind of like, do I really belong here? Like, is this where I need to go? So again, it was much more of an inside job, much more of the mindset. You know, am I coming up to speed as quickly as my doing this work? Right. And then especially, you know, more recently, kind of, you know, in the, in the producing role, kind of saying, like, everybody's been doing this for like years and brand new people. And this one man said to me like, who are you?Michelle Kaplan:
How did you get your like? I don't know. Yeah. I,I really was kind of like, I'm not really exactly sure myself, I need to process that. But I'm here now. So to help you, right? I'm like, I don't know, that's a really good question. But I really find that for me, the struggle is, you know, am I coming up to speed as quickly and my being of service to others, and kind of what that looks like. And then there's also the second I think, other part, for me, that was the struggle was, you know, that vulnerability of like, I need to show up as myself. And in some companies that worked out really well, yeah, HR, and in some companies, not so much. And then it's like, instead of internalizing it kind of saying, like, this is fine, like this company, this is how they operate. And maybe this isn't the best fit for me. I especially found it when on my I, you know, when my daughter, I adopted my daughter, so when she came home, and she was eight months old, and I really, I changed, I changed a lot, right? And how flexible I am and how I work and things and it just, you know, I really had to look hard in the mirror and say, I'm the one who changed. Yeah, not the company. And so what's best for my family right now.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
That feels like that feels like it was probably quite a deep lesson that maybe was learned and relearned and learned and relearn. Because I feel like most people when they feel like they are the one who doesn't belong, it's easy to be like, what's wrong with me that I don't belong here? Definitely. It's actually not. I mean, I think you would agree, right? It's just not the default way to be like, you know, there's something wrong with this environment, or it's just not a good fit, it really does feel like it's almost existential, like, I must fit in, like, what do I need to do in order to not be rejected to not, you know, but that feels like a lot of maturity to say, to see it from this other perspective that you're talking about? So was that something that you struggled with over time? Or did you sort of have a light bulb moment? You're, like, done with this? Or how did that part work for you?Michelle Kaplan:
Yeah, I mean, I did struggle with it. I think it just would come up. You know, it wasn't I don't know, if it felt like an everyday type of stress, you know, when certain issues came up, and then certain themes. But I did have that so done moment, where something was happening. And I was just like, I really, you know, and again, that is part of the hero's journey is kind of like, you know, where you're, you're slowly starting, you know, of course, we want to please others and, you know, and meet their xpect or exceed their expectations, especially, you know, in a work setting, but it's something in it when it hits at the integrity of who you really are. You can there comes a point where it's like array, yeah. Okay, this one I can this one that can? Does it really matter? And then sometimes you have to say, like, I am going to die on this hill does. Yeah, well, I am. So for me, it was just more of this, like so done moment of like, like, why is this not acceptable anymore? And then you're just trying to figure that out, then what is so for myself? Personally, yes, it keeps coming up. And I've learned more about who I am, by who I'm not. Okay, much more of a process of elimination. Still trying to figure out like, I love when people like, how did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? But I'm like, I'm still trying to figure that out. I don't know. What did you discoverDr. Amanda Crowell:
that you're not?Michelle Kaplan:
What am I not? I think for me, I What I've discovered is that, you know, from a people pleasing perspective, for instance, is what's coming up right now, it's that you could become this like Acrobat and you can like contort yourself in this. And at some point, you just can't do that any more. It's like the lesson of like, it's never going to be enough. Right? So in a sense, it's like, but every one is enough right now, as is. That's a personal belief. So then, in a sense, it's like, it's just again, my perspective change. So what knowing that and really feeling that it's kind of like now when something happens and you just say you didn't do something at work, and I was expecting something on Friday and it's Friday and it isn't there. Now my thought isn't like what's wrong with Amanda right like what my thought now was like, what happened something still I approach it so differently now, where it's kind of like, are you okay? Like what's going on? Because I'm confused. Like, why didn't you get it? I mean, I know that somebody isn't waking up today, like, oh, how are we going to screw Michelle and her work? Right? Right? won't do that. So it's like, I need to come from it from right, like learning that. And then that's a whole different dialogue and discussion that you're having with somebody and then realize, oh, oh, I maybe I didn't communicate that, or I did, they heard me but they didn't truly understand. And so, you know, sometimes you could own some of that, you know, and that type of thing. And then that's how you build trust. I mean, as you learn, and you go and have multiple interactions with people and stuff. So I think, you know, that's just one thing about, you know, staying in integrity, you know, as much because I'm pretty clear a lot of times on what I want. Yeah, but I'm much more flexible on how I get there. And what thatDr. Amanda Crowell:
looks like, which, of course, paves the way for you to go places you never could have expected.Michelle Kaplan:
Exactly like theater. Like I was ready to try it out for all the flays ah, and, you know, I never made any like, I was in one that's not true. I did make one one, right. Yeah, in camp, but I, you know, it's so funny. So that's why, you know, if you, if you really listen, you know, there's a knowledge that you have, but there's also that wisdom, that intuitive side where, you know, like, really, that's why I love the inside journey out, again, whether through coaching through my writing through theater, because it's like, you're writing the story of your life every day. So it's like, part of that is some intuitiveness, that inner wisdom of like, right, my first reaction about producing is no, thank you. I'm a writer, right? It's like that look. And then I was like, Wait, what wasDr. Amanda Crowell:
I just say no to, to Dec and Davenport. That's probably a good story. So I keep coming back in my mind to the, to the idea of the hero's journey as the thread of your great work. And like, as I look back on the things that you're describing, feels like, first of all, you see your art as sort of inciting hero's journeys, right? Like, I'm, you know, that just one, I like to think of artists sort of like these mirrors that we put out there. And it's like you, you have to look into the art and what you see, but what you see back is, of course, reflected by the shape of the mirror and things like that. But really, what you see back is what you need to see what you what you are here to see what resonates with you. Yeah, and your poetry always. I see it all the time on Instagram. And it it often strikes me that way that it's, you know, it's always got some kind of clever. I don't know quite the right words, but like, it's like to have the same words can mean two things always in the titles? And I'm always like, Ooh, what? That's interesting. Yeah. Right. So if that feels like okay, so you're in C really inciting hero's journeys is one way to kind of think about that the artwork out there so that people can see what they need to see and maybe be moved to take off on a new adventure or to see it a new way, or to do the work that allows them to say, yes, when the adventure presents itself, yeah, I'm feeling that from you. And then it's like, the coaching is really helping people now they're on the journey. They need someone to talk to about it. They're gonna talk to you about it. And, and like, you probably it seems like you, you tell me if I'm wrong, but sort of fascinated by just watching them as they unfold through their journey.Michelle Kaplan:
Yes, I mean, there's no greater greater satisfaction, then it's kind of like seeing somebody because you know, that you have to make that people, right? Say, what would you do Michelle? Right, just even a friend, and not even. And it's kind of like, at some point, it doesn't really matter what I mean, like, let's help you figure out what you should do, right? Because this really depends on so many different factors. And at some point, it's like you have all your mentors and coaches and but at the end of the day, you you go home, and you're by yourself. Yeah, like, what can you really live with? Yeah, not and I think only the individual can really answer.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah, sure. So as the coach, you're like the Sherpa, you're like backup, it's right back to you right back to you right back to you. Again,Michelle Kaplan:
I really trust that everyone is the expert of them. You know what the word genius, I'll skip this I do give you know, some direct feedback. But at the same point, but the feedback is different than making the actual decision. Yeah, where when what how, you know, those types of things and then we can kind of talk out and play out where the that can lead to. And you did you know, really pick up that's why with from the poetry perspective, it's like even something like yesterday's poems called wearing makeup and And it's where you can be quite literal. Like that micro perspective of wearing makeup like on your face we're wearing is kind of like worn out like it's so wearing, right? The makeup made up stuff that's kind of going on right so it's, you know, and I don't know, can I read this? It's a really sure, please. Yeah, the wearing makeup is. And as she draws on a smile with her bright red lipstick, and applies thick mask Scarah that blackens her already darkened, downcast eyes. It still fogs up provision and makes it hard to breathe with the new mask she has on still hurts your ears, even when they say there are no strings attached. As she knows better when there's too much makeup to hide the made up? And are you also worn out? By too much made up with no making up? The play on words is what you're talking about. And so there isn't that one stood in my mind is because I just even had someone call me this morning about what came up for her. But with that again and really like you. So, you know, expertly kind of captured is that like, right helping her with her hero's journey, like how did she get thing? You know, with everything going on? hearse was a much more personal example. And people were private messaging me yesterday, just about, you know, how they're just feeling about the whole world in general and different things. So again, it's fascinating words, you know, and then right, either helping them just kind of go within to help figure out, you know, how can this help you?Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. Right. So in sites, the adventure, yes. And then you're helping them to sort of traverse the pathway of it, and every twist and turn and having someone to talk to you about that is huge. I mean, I really think that's why people hire coaches, I feel like that's why people hire me to be their coach, for sure. So they just want someone to who's really paying close attention, who's in it with them, to really help them on their journey. Just Yes, having a partner or a thought partner or a partner in crime writer die like just a companion. For the Yes, turn is just likeMichelle Kaplan:
you and I, as coaches, it's like the the example you give about listening to all the producers, right? Sitting around are all like, Oh, my God, is it same thing right coach does for their clients, it's like you're, you're 100% invested in their success, like you want them to succeed? And then you know, what is the best path? Like helping them figure that out?Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Right, and the best path is the one that they feel inside themselves. Right? Yeah. Oh, interesting. So then we get to the sort of the peak of the, of the journey, this particular journey. And of course, in a story, the journey that has the denouement, like the return to normal. But I suspect that your story is nowhere near the denouement. So what what's the next twist for you? Where are we headed next?Michelle Kaplan:
I don't know. I ah, and I'm so learning. It's this is what I, you know, very purposeful each day is learning to live in that unknown and uncertainty, which is not easy to do. I'm much the control freak. So, you know, like, when things are really crazy, right? I got to like, straighten out that junk drawer or something like I need some control over my life, right. But I'm quite happy. I never thought I would be here. It's just, you know, I would say probably the last 1015 years. Again, it's not overnight, this just takes time to kind of get more into your own. So I think for me what the future is definitely be more HR consulting, coaching. I love that. And I'm very drawn to the producing, I want to get involved, maybe do different shows. And you know, really, I love theater industry, and people are just real, they're the real deal. And so I'm very drawn to the people as well as their, their passion for their craft. And so that is definitely where and then just really, I mean, just for family. I mean, my daughter has only a couple of more years. She's in high school, so I just really want to enjoy her. I know chains are coming, like the change will come again and another couple of years. So I really just you know, so there's a part of me that wants to like be in the moment and experience at all. And then there is that part of like kind of what's next, but I find that more and more I set what I call intentions rather than the specific goal. balls, because it leaves me that that word makes a difference for me because it allows some flexibility. And like, where I'm going and what I'm doing and where and with Oh,Dr. Amanda Crowell:
yeah. Yeah, my great experience for your daughter to watch, you have so much trust in yourself to do something new, and to wade into an entirely new industry with entirely new collaborators and to So trust yourself and your own figure out ability. And, like, I don't know, like, the what you have to offer, like to trust what you have to offer to go like, that's such a brave thing to witness and for her to witness that in high school. Yeah, thanks for she goes off into the world.Michelle Kaplan:
I mean, she's seen the highs and lows. She's seen it, where it's like, right and getting ready for opening night. And it's so fun to get right all dressed up. And she's also seen me where I've just gotten off the phone with a potential investor who was like, you know, wasn't maybe responding in the kindest way, right? It's kind of seen it all. And then I think the thing that when you spoke of that just now made me think was, but then the next day, she, you know, commented to me, right, but you get up? Yeah, you just keep going like that, right? I play, because whatDr. Amanda Crowell:
else can we model? There's no way for Otherwise, we'd all do it for our kids. And then who knows what the world would be like? There's no way to guarantee a a frictionless disappointment, less loss, less grief less life. We can't model that it's not possible.Michelle Kaplan:
Exactly. And I think that's what differentiates what is, you know, back to your first question, which is, that is what the great differentiates the great work from that, it's, it's okay, like, I like it, you know, because the great work, you you take your lumps, everybody. I mean, I've been up at two in the morning, like, what am I doing? Like, what, why, you know, and I don't know, anybody who doesn't do that. But the passion outweighs, you know, the fear, like, right, the fear factor. And there's other things that I wouldn't, I'd be like, Okay, I'm done. It wasn'tDr. Amanda Crowell:
right. Right, because you don't feel the disappointment, because you're not as invested. Because it's not your great work. Correct. But then it doesn't like you up. I can't recommend the other direction to the same high.Michelle Kaplan:
Correct. And that's why I had to kind of give this a shot. Because it was intriguing enough to give it a shot. And I'm like it. I'm gonna play this out full force, and then all your whatever, you know, I'll figure it out if this is still for me, so, but at least you kind of give it the chance and you know, and resolve things I've tried where it's not work, and that's okay. Too good again. Yeah. That, you know, really prioritizing how you spend your days.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Right. That's the journey. Yeah, sure. Ah, so good. Well, I would like for you to tell us because at this point, I'm sure people are like, first of all, I need to go see harmony, which they can't until it's picked up on Broadway.Michelle Kaplan:
Yes. During the time, yes. It just finished its nine week run in lower Manhattan, at the Yiddish Theatre in New York City in Battery Park. So that is done.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
So it's perfect, because now we all just get to hold the intention. Yeah, well, we will be able to see it on Broadway.Michelle Kaplan:
Yes, we're just waiting to hear Yeah. And there will be a cast album, with the songs coming out, you know, sometime in the near future. I don't even have a date of that. That's like in process. So that's great. And then yeah, if people like poetry or what some some of my friends it's called, like little vignettes or like little mini stories, on Instagram on it's under the Michelle Kaplan, just Kaplan's out there. So I changed. So the Michelle Kaplan, and then my website is Michelle J. kaplan.com. Yeah,Dr. Amanda Crowell:
we'll put all of that in the show notes. And people can reach out to you if they want coaching or if they want to tell you how great your poetry is. And to keep their keep tabs on harmony as it unfolds. Yes.Michelle Kaplan:
Wonderful. Thank you so much, Amanda.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Oh, thank you for coming on the podcast. I am so grateful for your time. I know you're busy. And I'm just so grateful. Thanks.Michelle Kaplan:
Thanks, my friend.