Michelle Houghton is one of those gals that’s good for the soul.
After some one-on-one time with her, I guarantee you’ll feel like you can conquer the world, be an expert succulent grower, and paint until you faint. She makes it look easy, but is honest about the hard work and determination it takes to pursue your passions. In fact, she’s turned the process into a speaker series called The Bravery Board, where a collection of outstanding women promote mental well-being through inspirational creative workshops and weekly podcasts. And, she is the ONLY person I know who has a pet snail that roams around her living room. Ask her about it next time you see her. (okay, and about all the other amazing projects she works on…but the snail too!)
Name: Michelle Houghton
Current City: Springfield, MO
What did you want to be when you grew up? HAHAHAHA, what is growing up? I guess I’d answer a “balanced person”
What are you now? A mom, counselor, artist, and performer. I am employed as a school-counselor for 4 more weeks, and then I’m leaving that position to take a break to have my second baby. My eventual plan is to start private practice after I have the baby or to follow my passions in speaking to and leading women in some capacity.
How did you get to this point? I decided to leave my current job after a lot of frustration of working in a profession that doesn’t allow for a lot of flexibility during the day– My husband has a schedule that is fairly all-over-the-place, and I wanted more flexibility with my hours being a mom and pursuing outside activities like painting, speaking, and performing/acting.
Are you paid doing what you love? If not, what would you like to be paid to do? For another 6 weeks I’ll be paid, then I’ll be unemployed for the first time in almost 20 years. (Yikes!) I do some acting here and there and I sell my paintings around town and online. I’m excited to see what opportunities are out there that would better suit my needs and passions after I have my baby and am ready to enter some sort of a contract or part-time situation.
Current project(s): Growing a baby and transitioning out of my job! A few paintings here and there. Wrapping up this season of The Mystery Hour with Jeff and our team.
What are you reading/listening to/watching/making:
Making– I am painting only a little when I have the energy on the weekends, but that’s a lot less than normal in my pregnant state. :-) I am really inspired for some reason lately by movies and TV and the artwork they choose to highlight. Whether it be artwork framed in a staged house, or a close-up shot of scenery or landscapes– I have been pausing shows a lot lately to take pictures of the screen to archive the inspiration for later projects. Maybe its because my artistic brain is working faster than my pregnant body can catch up with.
Watching– 13 Reasons Why (relates heavily to my job as a counselor to young women), Big Little Lies (the coloring on that show was brilliant and so were the landscapes!) and soon I’ll be devouring the last season of Game of Thrones.
Reading– Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner, The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, and Present Over Perfect by Shauna Neiquist.
How do you express yourself creatively? I paint when I’ve got the energy and space in my life to do so. I also act and perform in my husband’s TV show The Mystery Hour and am part of the writing group for that show. I sometimes write blog posts for other blogs/websites, and pour a lot of my thoughts and creative energy surrounding how I view life in this stage to my side-project/business The Bravery Board, which speaks to women’s issues through a podcast and live gatherings.
Have you ever written a fan letter? If so, to whom? No, but that sounds like a great idea!
Drink of choice? Cappuccino, but lately I’ve been decreasing my caffeine intake due to being pregnant, so LaCroix!
Who inspires you, and why? Right now I’d say the people who inspire me the most are women who speak their minds and hearts in vulnerable ways about who they are and their struggles. My favorites in the last few years are Elle Luna, Erin Loechner, Elizabeth Gillbert, Glennon Doyle Melton, Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed, and Mary Oliver
Favorite tool to stay productive (for example, a set of watercolors, a specific planner or app, an exercise program…): Lists on everything! In my planner, on my phone, in my inbox app, I make lists over and over again every day for things to do and things to remember.
Something you have learned this year? To slow down. I used to get antsy when I didn’t have a project going or a friend to spend time with, but lately I’ve been a lot more content with my highest goals for the day to be snuggling with my family on the couch or making dinner at home.
What can people do to make the world a better place? Be themselves and stop apologizing or trying to cover up their weak spots. We all have weak spots and hard things in our lives. Lets just be honest about them and stop trying to pretend we’re perfect all the time.
Brag about yourself. It’s okay. If you don’t, I will. Go for it! (Okay, fine! Note from Nicole: In addition to what’s written above, Michelle has a unique artistic vision. When I see what she creates, you can tell she is painting straight from her heart and brain. She’s also one of those people who hugs hello and goodbye, and is an amazing date for coffee and/or wine.)