Grow Your Value finalist Michelle Ogden is a financial planner who hopes to empower women through financial education and security. She wants to help her clients with more than just their savings, but also with the other roadblocks that come with financial instability. Here, she shares her story.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of career advice, what would it be?
To love and respect myself and to not make excuses for other people's behavior. I wish I could go back and tell myself to stick up for myself. I used to make imaginary, borderline-delusional excuses when people hurt me. It helped me get through the trauma, but it didn't grow me into a better version of myself. The goal is not to just go through life, but to grow through life.
What do you think is one of the most important issues facing women who own companies?
The lack of role models who are successful in business while juggling the responsibilities of being a mother and wife. It seems like women feel like it's a competition and no one wants to show their weaknesses.
What is it like helping women deal with serious financial problems?
The challenging part is helping someone see how they might be doing things or spending money in a way that is self-defeating or not in line with their values. The most rewarding part is seeing ladies experience freedom – whether from debt, self-defeating patterns or just a lack of finance knowledge.
What inspires you?
My faith and my family are the two constant sources of love and joy in my life. My faith has been my foundation since the beginning. Although I attended a Christian school, I never put my ‘faith into practice’ until about ten years ago when I had two young children and went off on my own.
What do you think our society should understand about women who are struggling financially?
Women are very different than men: we process things emotionally. Often when a woman is struggling financially, it has nothing to do with her ability to earn money or manage finances; it is a completely separate issue that is sabotaging her financial success. Quite often (like in my case), the dysfunctional relationship with money can be traced all the way back to childhood.
What has been the biggest challenge for you in terms of knowing your own value?
Determining where to draw the line with helping my husband. It was a dream of mine to support him in starting a business since he supported mine, but as his company grew, it demanded more and more of my time.
What is the most rewarding part of running your own firm?
Working with people I love. I truly love my clients. We have a relationship built on mutual respect and trust. It's a long-term ongoing relationship.
Do you have a ‘Know Your Value’ moment? A time where you truly learned your inner or professional worth?
When I was at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, my amazing coach Lynn kept asking me: Why did you take on the role of helping your husband? Why did you not fire yourself sooner? Why do you make excuses for others? Why, why, why?
And what I realized was that although I had recognized years earlier that I had suffered from some deep-rooted unworthiness issues, I never dealt with it. And that was why I didn't hire someone sooner (to help my husband), I didn't feel worthy of help. And after ten years of helping others tirelessly, I have realized that I'm worth helping too.
What do you hope to gain from the Know Your Value movement?
I have already gained so much on this journey. I truly couldn't ask for more. I have made so many new friends – from the other amazing contestants and the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute instructors to our wonderful coaches. I hope we all stay in touch and truly grow our value in ways we never dreamed possible prior to this competition.
You can catch Michelle and the other Grow Your Value finalists compete for $10,000 at Orlando’s Know Your Value event on Friday, November 20 at msnbc.com/knowyourvalue where we’ll be livestreaming the event.