My entire life I've wanted to move with my truth, as we all innately deserve to experience.
And, from a young age, I knew that I had been born into a life and experience that would ultimately shape the work I was to do in the world.
There are so many reasons for why I decided to begin The Aspire Series.
Where I will begin is that it is held so deeply in my heart. It is held in pure love and utter certainty. The kind that has you realise that there is in fact, no other way.
A few years ago, a series of events began where women who seemed not so different to me, had died. The communities surrounding me, each time, left shaken. With each death, I feel the exact same voice rear up within me.
I feel deep, immense passion for being a woman in this world, for the positive and more painful realities of this. I feel a very real appreciation to be here, to have lived up until this point and for my very own existence. For the opportunities I have to dream, envision and create my life forward. To step more and more fully into my own skin, because this is what Aspire demands of me.
And yet, the earlier women had me become aware of a voice that was lying dormant within me.
Each and every time it said to me...
"When are you going to do something that REALLY helps other women?"
"When are you going to take a stand for this?"
"When are you going to utilise all that you are capable of?"
We have no idea how long we have, and how much time there is for what we feel called to do. One truth is, I know that we are so much more capable than we even know...
I feel a deep sadness attributed to the reality that we all have so much more in us than we actually give. If only we have the opportunity made available to us and the support to follow through. And if only, we decide this for ourselves.
I, like many of us, sat on dreams and ideas for years, allowing them to circle, gain momentum, and then settle again.
Yes, I was in contemplation, yet how many times do we need to come full circle before we take a deep breath and move from this space into the actual space of making our ideas a real 'thing'?
I had filled endless space
with seemingly smaller dreams, telling myself that I was satisfied because my life was full. I believed the smaller dreams would be enough to bury the bigger ones, and that these were enough. I was satisfied enough, and I had enough of the ‘good enough’ things in my life.
Yet, there is no way to escape what on some deep level, we know to be true. No additional thing that we learn will better prepare us for taking the leap and for stepping out and just beginning. Yes, I may have more intellectual knowledge to my self professed identity, yet what my heart and soul is most called to share, runs so much deeper than this layer of knowledge.
It has always been there...
The stuff that I really want to share,
I do not know where I learned it.
Some of it can be attributed to life and professional experience,
and the rest of it is just known.
It is because it is.
It just makes sense.
It always has and it always will.
It is what makes us human and what draws us together.
To sit with something where you know that you have a bolder presence in sharing, and to not offer this thing a voice, it feels doable for a period of time. However, at some point our refusal to pay attention and act on the seemingly scary stuff, leads to a whole bunch of unfathomable synchronicities that begin showing up and running havoc across our lives. And when we try to tell ourselves that it does not matter if we do share this thing, it sells our reason for existence desperately short.
What is worse than this is that we begin to bury ourselves just a little bit. Maybe we don’t even realise that we are doing it in the beginning, however over time, our trajectory edges more and more off course. And the impact of this on our wellbeing is seen and felt both within our being, across our lives and it ripples out toward those close to us. It affects the way that we make decisions and how we live our lives.
And so, the cogs had been turning for a long time, and little hints were showing themselves all over the place. These women, they became and continue to be my driver. They became my reason to be bolder and braver than I thought that I could ever be.
These women did not have the opportunity to live out their full trajectory, and many more will not unless WE, who are here right now step, speak and give fully.
We are afforded opportunities every single day to stand a little bit taller and to open ourselves up to a bigger world that we did not see as being possible for us just the day before.
One of these women, she was gorgeous, aspirational, determined, well spoken and heart centred. She was 19 years old. Despite a rough childhood, she was a role model for her peers with dreams that far exceeded what a lot of us will see as being possible in our lifetime. This young woman, through no fault of her own, had her supports pulled from her on her 19th birthday.
Six months earlier, she shared about how important it is for young people who have had a tough time to overcome their experiences and create great futures for themselves. This is because every time they do, they challenge the stereotypes in the community about what they are capable of achieving.
Without a safety net, cheer squad and secure grounding, this young woman could no longer see what was possible for her and her future. She could no longer see herself as the incredible and blossoming young woman that she was.
Without being able to see her own inner light and strength, this young woman took her life.
It is for this young woman, and the many other women I cross paths with that I have created The Aspire Series. It is for my younger self, my present self and my future self, as much as it is for yours.
♡ We all deserve to have solid grounding.
♡ We all deserve to feel supported.
♡ We all deserve to have community we adore.
♡ We all deserve to feel that we belong.
♡ We all deserve to see and feel our capacity to reach for so much more than what we even know is possible.
♡ We all deserve to feel good about ourselves.
♡ We all deserve to feel that we are deeply connected to ourselves and others.
♡ We all deserve to stand up and verbalise what really matters to us.
♡ We all deserve to feel passion and to live from this place.
♡ And we all deserve to create an impact on others, and for others to feel the positive influence of our existence.
We have no idea how long we are here for, and the least that we can do is to provide the kind of space that enables those who cross our paths to have the best chance at living in a way that brings them and those who they in turn cross paths with, the best opportunity for fulfilment.
This is what comes to me most strongly, despite all else...
Nice to meet you,
I created The Aspire Series in early 2019 after many years worth of facilitation, social work and coaching experience.
It is a channel for what I wanted to see created in the world. The stuff that excites me most is sharing about and creating social change and impact. The kind of BIG ideas that shift people beyond our own experiences and has us realise how impactful we can be in our communities and the world.
I firmly believe that we are here not only for ourselves, but to be both a beacon and soft landing place for others, and to leave the world better just by us being here.
The best bit about this is that there are things that we can do in each and every moment to contribute to this. Each and every act and way of observing our world confirms this. Given this, I would love to guide and co-create with you through The Aspire Series.
Michelle is the Founder and Director of The Aspire Series, including Aspire Société, the Aspire Summit and 55 FACES. These are both a movement for women who are dedicated to pioneering social change and impact as well as a methodology in facilitating change work.
Michelle has spent over fifteen years working in the Australian Child Protection and community sectors, supporting children, young people and families through some of their most vulnerable life experiences. Through hearing many life stories, Michelle became most passionate about raising the aspirations of young people and women, which has greatly inspired her work with The Aspire Series. This passion parallels Michelle’s own experiences of working hard to define her own voice and to use this to build a life that she, too, is proud of.
Michelle firmly believes that with genuine opportunity, meaningful support and spaces where we can truly love, value and believe in ourselves, we are able to become so much bolder than we ever imagined. Michelle also believes that great aspirations must be matched with a great capacity to nurture ourselves, in order to create the sweet spot where female leaders blossom. The kind who are not only creating amazing things for themselves and for the world, they are also doing so in a way that sustains them.
It is Michelle’s intention in creating The Aspire Series, that as women, we can become more connected and heart centred leaders, and use one another to become the best that we can be, for ourselves and the future women who model themselves on us. From this place, we can truly influence social change and shift the dynamic of both our local communities and global society.
We are at a point in time where our stories, experiences and livelihoods account for so much more than we can imagine and we can not afford to see ourselves in any lesser light. Our stories truly are the gateway to enabling and facilitating so much of the change that we each wish to see in the world.
Michelle holds a Bachelors of Social and Community Welfare, Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Science (Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy), she is a Yoga Teacher (500 hours - Moksha Yoga Academy), a Certified Life Coach, and a background in individual and collective narrative work, leadership and empowerment program facilitation and trauma informed practice. Michelle is a published co-author, carries significant Non-For-Profit Board Member experience and is currently undertaking her Masters Degree in Narrative Therapy and Community Work at the Dulwich Centre and Melbourne University.
Michelle lives in Bali, Indonesia and is enthused by dance, yoga, cooking, chasing the sun, exploring and learning about people, arts and culture.
“If ever the world gives you a reason to shy away, remember that you are in fact being given the greatest opportunity to step back with a stronger, wiser, bolder and more expansive heart than ever before”
- Michelle x
Michelle is passionate about working with both individuals and organisations who have the desire to create a much greater depth of change. Combining 15 years experience working in the Australian Child Protection Sector and her experiences with The Aspire Series, Michelle’s talks are real, raw, highlight her depth of experience... while also fusing her light infectious energy, quirky stories and metaphors.
Michelle is most passionate about sharing the following topics to audiences:
The Nature of the Human Spirit
There are things in life that have the potential to make or break us. We can’t choose, select or shut down the parts of life that we do and don’t want to respond to, yet truth lies in the fact that overcoming adversity and the ways that we navigate crises can, and often do become the substance of who we are as humans. Michelle reflects on her professional experiences of sitting with and assisting many people to navigate adversity and crisis in their lives and draws on the common themes that she recognises that make the difference in how we overcome and even thrive through these times.
The Fabric of the Stories That We Weave
As humans we are a summation of stories that exist within a soft skin shell. These stories hold a tonne of power for the meaning, emotion and true reflection that they hold of humanity. There are few things that have the same potential to move others that sharing our stories and experiences have. Likewise, to share our stories is to honour our experience and to open ourselves up to exist in new ways. Here, Michelle explores the power of personal stories in the ways we navigate change.
Heart Centred Leadership Paves the Way
We exist in a world that has been largely driven by logic, and it has served us very well in many ways. It has also significantly impacted our hearts, our capacity to be present for one another, our wellbeing, and our connection to ourselves. We are at a time where we are calling out for greater balance and a remembrance of what it means to be human. This is where Michelle offers a true tapping back into what it is that brings purpose and meaning to our lives, with a focus on heart, intuition, compassion, empathy and a valuing of who we are as individuals.
The Power of the Space We Hold
Innately as humans, we are all space holders and we are all leaders. Regardless of who we are, our background or our social demographics. Likewise, we each have the capacity to draw these qualities out in one another. This means that every space that we find ourselves in affords us the potential to lead, encourage and foster trust, growth, healing and the potential of those we are with. Each space can be the instigator of what contributes to bringing another home to themselves, in a way that far too many of us have not had the chance to experience. Michelle draws on this power that we all hold.
We Arrive Together
We all exist within a dynamic interplay between individualism and inter-relativity which we cannot be separated from. We are united by nature, and we are here to exist in community and to deeply feel that we belong somewhere. Just like we are all here to have true self ownership over our own experiences. We don’t have to look far to see that as individuals, communities, and a society, that it’s a struggle to do either of these well and we see the impacts of this all around us. Michelle explores the role that identity, self authority and communities play and how we can arrive and grow together.
Please email [email protected] for Media or Speaking requests for Michelle’s blog, podcast, media kit, media relations + interview requests.
The Pro Pics
“Michelle’s strong emotions reflected an intense desire and boundless enthusiasm.”
Michelle Gardiner spoke at the 2019 conference for the Association of Independent Funeral Professionals. The conference was about how individuals, professionals, can make a significant contribution to society and to our industry in a positive and inclusive environment.
Michelle shared her experiences, her story about finding her passion and delivered her speech clearly and effectively, and her message was well understood. Her theme was clear, fitted well with the focus of our conference, and I had many people comment on how well Michelle spoke and on the message she delivered. The audience were immersed in Michelle’s story and many people acknowledged that even the toughest circumstances have a way through them.
Mario M Anders, Events Director, Association of Independent Funeral Professionals
“Thank you again for contributing to the Conference’s success and to educating the Magistrates.”
On behalf of the Judicial College of Victoria, I would like to thank you for presenting at the 2019 Children’s Court of Victoria Conference.
The feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive. The audience was appreciative of your message, with one participant stating about your presentation that you were a “very likable and passionate presenter.”
The Judicial College is committed to continuing to deliver programs that challenge and educate judicial officers on the importance of understanding the needs and experiences of young people. I am very grateful for the generous time and energy you dedicated to the Conference and to supporting the College’s aims.
Fiona Dea, Judicial Education Manager, Therapeutic Justice.
2019 Children’s Court of Victoria, Australian Conference
“Michelle, you had a knack for challenging me to look deep within myself and truly ask my heart what it wants.”
You gently pushed and encouraged me to acknowledge that quiet voice within that I often fail to notice, hear or listen to: often buried underneath my fears and self-limiting beliefs. You encouraged me to voice these thoughts and misconceptions and challenge their veracity.
You have a positive, proactive and insightful approach to coaching and made me feel safe to share my thoughts and encouraged me to act upon those things which I may have been afraid to do or felt were out of my reach. I have now been able to more clearly state the values that are important to me, and link them to the decisions I make in life.
This has led to me being a lot clearer in my intentions and also more content in my work and personal life. I’d like to thank you for your skilful coaching and caring nature which have been a catalyst leading me to where I am today, with a dream job, living in a dream location and more content with my life.
Rachel, Social Worker.