Your Hairy Godmother
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen
Photography by Christian Lee
Michelle Casey is a powerful woman. She has accomplished something many only dare to dream about and she did it in a year. “You’re actually sitting at the end of a one year project,” she said with a deep breath in her charming, nanny-style, British accent that occasionally slips a bit of Irish brogue.
It’s not that she wasn’t already successful. She is a well-respected, professional hairstylist and owner of Chez Michelle Salon on Hilton Head Island. Her life was fine, only she knew there was more—something missing.
“A year ago (November 2014), I was supposed to be in Charleston for a Thanksgiving holiday. I had become so over committed and so warn out that I decided to take the weekend for me and just clean my house,” she explained. That was the decision that changed her life.
An advocate of the self-help genre since the early ‘90s, Michelle randomly chose to listen to Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich on YouTube while she cleaned, seeking a sense of foundation under the built-up clutter, which was hard evidence that her life was not about her at all. The video outlined 17 principles of achievement and the importance of having a definite purpose in life. The video ignited an inextinguishable spark within Michelle’s core.
“I decided that weekend the year 2015 was going to be a year of action—to take all of the things I had learned and apply them. I started intense lessons with the Napoleon Hill Foundation. I earned a certification in life coaching. I joined Toastmasters,” explained Michelle. All of this was accomplished by February 1. Then, I decided to write a book,” Michelle said with another deep inhale.
On a leap of faith bolstered with determination, Michelle decided to go the distance with the Napoleon Hill Foundation and attend their annual leadership program. “In March, I took 10 days off from work and went to French Lick, Indiana. It was the first 10 days I had off in 10 years.” She drove cross-country by herself for a five day intensive training and goal setting session.
Not only did she sharpen her action plan and put her goals in writing, she also met someone who led her to the National Speaker’s Association, where she met a writing coach. With his guidance and encouragement, she started writing the book on May 18. “If you don’t write down your goals, you’ll never achieve them. Napoleon Hill (program) had me write out a specific plan. I wrote a step-by-step, week-by-week commitment to myself and I have just completed it and now the book is out,” Michelle said.
The book, Your Hairy Godmother, is a fun journey on the search for self-acceptance with the help of your hairstylist a.k.a. Your Hairy Godmother! She is your vision of the perfect hairstylist as YOU perceive it. She is unique to each of us, and understands our individual priorities. In all of her years behind the chair, with thousands of clients to date, Michelle noticed most people are uncomfortable looking in the mirror. “Your Hairy Godmother is the one who takes the “mis” out of miscommunication. The book will empower those sitting in the salon chair, as well as those standing behind it. After all, it’s not what we say, it’s what they hear that counts!” Michelle explained.
Millions of people want to write a book. Thousands actually start. Few ever finish. Michelle wholeheartedly credits her stick-to-itiveness to understanding the Napoleon Hill’s 17 Principles. She started reeling off the 17 principles as easily as if she were reciting her ABCs. “I have been a person who could set my mind to doing things and achieve things, but this program systemized my mindfulness,” she said.
Positive mental attitude is her favorite of the 17 Principles. “People are surprised to know that I was a very negative child. Coming to America—the land of possibility—and my mother and father and their senses of humor taught me the power of possibility. But my positive mental attitude is simply this: It attracts solutions,” Michelle said. “It is the key factor in how you not only survive, but thrive.”
“I wrote the book to bring awareness to others and as a result I became more aware of how much I love my clients and how I owe them everything. I touch the human race every day and it touches me,” Michelle said. There were many moments of self-doubt and wondering if anyone would be interested. Michelle quelled these fears when she discovered, “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if anyone likes the book or not; it’s really my truth. It’s what I know for sure.”
Of course Michelle wants people to love and enjoy the book, but like most things in life, it is usually more about the journey than the destination. A frame on a small table in the foyer of her home simply states, “In the midst of winter, I found that deep within me was a summer.” That is when you know the journey was worth the ride. And, the book is fabulous, heartfelt and funny…just like Michelle.
Hometown: Nottingham, England
First Self-Help Book: The Language of Letting Go by Melanie Beatty
Worse Stylist Oops: “20 years ago I applied lowlights to a morning news anchor’s hair and they turned out green. It was a disaster.”
Michelle’s Wish for Women: “That they know they are enough just as they are.”
Goals for 2016: To become a professional speaker and expand her message.
Quirky Secret: “I experience leg cramps when people describe an injury or show me an open wound. It’s like a sympathy pain and it started when I was about 12 years old. My friends make fun of me for this.”
Buy the Book: Your Hairy Godmother at Amazon.com
Learn more: www.yourhairygodmother.com; www.chezmichellesalon.com