Michael Kithcart has been all around the world, and what she’s learned is that you have to know yourself and you have to tend to yourself. There is no one right path to greatness, and Michael helps her clients define success for themselves, and then forge a path toward it. She uses her experiences and previous leadership roles to coach others on figuring out how to “win your way.”
Tell me about yourself.
I’m a high performance leadership coach. I work with executives and sales leaders using my Winning Your Way Framework. I’m a podcast host of Champions of Risk, and I really just work with people to help them move into their own greatness. I help to elevate them so that they can go out and foster that same greatness in others. I’m super passionate about creating great leaders. I’m from Fargo but live in Minneapolis. I graduated from NDSU – go Bison!
Three years ago I decided what I really wanted to do was grow and develop teams, so I decided to create my own business.
What is stepping into your greatness?
I find that with my clients, they are all high achievers. They’re good at what they do and know how to get things done. Stepping into their greatness has to do with winning your way. Whose definition of success are you driving? Is it yours, your company’s? So, we get aligned with what is going to work the best for you. I help them identify how to win their own way in business and life.
So, like defining success for yourself and moving toward that instead of fitting someone else’s mold?
Right, because people put themselves in boxes – even leaders, even CEOs, and I tell them, you run the show! You can do anything you want, and sometimes that is surprising. It’s fun to break people out of that mold. I work with high achievers and turn them into high performers. Achievers grind; high performers keep things intact, keep personal relationships, and take care of their own wellbeing.
Where did you learn how to “win your way?”
What it came down to was that I started to see that people know the mechanics. If you’re a sales leader, you know the sales process. What often is missing are the pieces in between. It’s a combination of “brainset,” or aligning your thinking with your behaviors. We break down those limiting beliefs that we all have. If your thinking and actions aren’t aligned with what you want, then it can’t ever happen. Even if you know the logistical stuff, you have to align your thoughts.
You’ve seen many successes and failures. What is one thing that sets someone up for success from the beginning?
Clarity. By that I mean, what is the most important thing right now? You need clarity in who you are, how you want to show up, and what outcome you want. Having that is the foundational piece for success. People get most tripped up by who they are because they’ve never asked themselves before.
What’s a challenge you’ve personally overcome recently?
I started my business three and a half years ago. I’ve had to pivot a few times, especially with COVID, and really what I’ve faced is that I had to get real with niching my business. I was being too general, and there is this fear for entrepreneurs that when you niche down you won’t be attracting everybody. But people need to know how to work with you. Recently, I niched into working with sales leaders and entrepreneurs who are in charge of their revenue. And I can tell, even saying this to you, I’m still nervous! It’s a big challenge! But it’s helped so much in directing people in how we can work together, and I’ve got proof that it’s working. But it’s scary to say it out loud!
Who are you outside of your work?
I’m the same person. I’ve worked hard to make sure I’m being more authentically me. I’m curious. I’m curious in work and at home. I ask a lot of questions, and that curiosity comes in the form of reading or engaging with my fiancé and family. I spent a lot of my earlier years traveling the world. I wanted to comprehend this crazy world, and I figured I might as well go check it out!
I decided I wanted to live in Paris. I made a plan, and within a year I moved to Paris. That was great and really opened my eyes to the whole world. I felt like I didn’t have perspective, so I went and got it. I met people from all over and it set me off on a whole trajectory of spending time all over the world. It shifted my perspective of life and the world.
You talk a lot about wellness as being an important aspect to success. What does that mean?
You need this to be successful as well. Without health and wellness, you don’t have anything. It impacts every aspect of life. We struggle so much with time, like saying I don’t have time for that. So, wellness to me is asking what do you need in your life to feel fulfilled and to feel joy, and then making time for that. For some, that means running every day, and for others it’s quiet time. Like, I need peace and quiet in the morning. We have to make these things priorities in our lives. There’s no perfect definition of wellness, so you have to define it for yourself. What makes you feel well? Whatever makes you show up and be your best self.