Author Archives: michelle

I Screamed This to My Son (& the true gifts)

About eight or so years ago, I told Josh that I didn’t want us to buy each other gifts anymore. It didn’t seem that either of us were into receiving purchased gifts all that much.

Instead, I said, what if we spend time writing each other something (since we both like to write). 

Years later, as Nolan got older, while still also purchasing gifts for him for special moments, we brought him into the mix and made mama, papa and Nolan books which were/are simply journals that hold the notes or poems or stories that we write to the others throughout the year for special days.

Cut to last night, as I’m in my room, after having seen him in another high school soccer game (and having had heartfelt connection time in the car talking about a music artist he liked who passed away due to drugs (they think)), I yelled so he could hear me in his room: 

Nolan (pause, I didn’t really know what I was going to say next, but I knew I wanted to connect with him in that moment. I was feeling it)…I’m really proud of you. I LIKE YOU. And I love youuuu!

It was loud and seemed appropriate for what I was feeling. 

I didn’t know exactly what would come back through our walls and our two open doors and then — there it was:

(His own pause)…I reallyyyy like you too, Mama and I love youuuu!

And this is it, I guess. The best gifts include this, all of this ~ really liking one another (love is awesome and liking one another is a another ball game), genuinely connecting about the real stuff, finding the words to express that like or love, whether that be written or said, breaking down walls and keeping our doors open…….

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,




Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

Being ONE Person vs. Seven (it’ll make sense when you read:)

His first high school game is officially in the books and he did himself proud! 

What I want most…

What I want most for him is a comfort felt in his own skin. Over and again.

That he feels and expresses himself on the field or, say, with new friends or anywhere, really, as he feels or expresses himself or his ideas at home (in that complete and down to cells, ‘I’m wearing flannel pajamas’ type comfort). 

I want so much for him to feel himself as ONE beautifully complex person in the world and not seven, constantly changing to fit his environment, living others’ definition of life vs. his own. 

Because what is naturally FOR us (purpose, a deeper calling) can only connect to us when we are natural or natural-ly ourselves and I sooo want for him, for all kids/teens who grow to be adults, to feel on purpose.

We live in a world – a beautiful one – but where we feel fragmented, not solely as a result of technology or social media (or because long are the days of entire communities huddling around fires to simply talk), but because THIS is one of the biggest tests of our lives that’s part of our grand purpose ~> to find the way back to ourselves. 

To accept ourselves, our quirks, our powers, our blessings (some wrapped in sand paper, others wrapped in pure gold) because because because (to the sound of The Wizard of Oz) others only genuinely “accept us”, whatever that means, when WE do the job really well first (and then and only then do we realize it wasn’t *their* acceptance we were going or growing for, cheekyyyy).



Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,




Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

My Time in Prison










You are not alone. 

These words have come out of my mouth many, many times while at the prisons I’ve visited. 

They’re important words for all of us. 

They heal. They make a difference — a difference so big that it gives others the belief that they can do something different than they’ve done before! 

The Compassion Prison Project and Hustle 2.0, projects I have had the honor of being a part of in 2019 (and will continue to in 2020) do outstanding work to help give men on the inside a second chance at life on the outside (translation: they give them a chance at rehabilitation and the greatest chance at not going back, in fact programs like this reduce recidivism upwards of 80%, especially when consistent). 

This purposeful short film produced by some of the women I shared my first Hustle 2.0 experience with gives a look at some of the work that Hustle 2.0, specifically, is doing and what my time at Tehachapi Prison here in CA with the program was like. 

The men are not only learning how to start legal businesses, but they are also learning about compassion, forgiveness, connection, communication and emotional intelligence…

It was life-changing/perspective-altering for me and the men inside, the Mavericks (what Hustle 2.0 calls the men going through their program) also shared with us how this program has changed them, how they want more from their lives and from their time on the outside when released (and, for those in for life, how they want more [peace, purpose] from their time on the inside, too). 

The film: 

To donate and help send more Mavericks in CA through the Hustle 2.0 program* ($5, $10, all of it matters):

[Incarceration costs $75,000 per inmate, per year and it costs $1200 per Maverick per year to go through the program].

Change inside our system *and* inside human beings, not only can happen, it IS happening. 

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,




Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

On Loneliness (Vision Quest story)

“I have a relationship with them — it’s just not exactly the one I want.”

If you’re feeling any part of this with anyone in your life (it’s not the way you like or love it, you want more), the connection or relationship that may need the most attention is the one with yourself.

When I was in the wild 7,000 feet up and on my own for three days and nights (four days fasting, which this photo is representative of…one pine cone for every day), there was much time to be with myself (I had someone ask me the question the other day that many have asked, what did you do every day??), and you know what I found besides more of me, the woman/a woman who enjoys her own company? 

I found that although I was alone, I was not lonely.

In fact, the night before coming down, I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay up there.

I wanted that connection, no distractions (did I mention I had some of the best sleep of my life)…but, I knew, of course, that that wasn’t real. 

I couldn’t stay up there forever (Josh and Nolan might soon begin to miss me, plus my back might have issues sleeping too many weeks on just a pad — the open air wasn’t an issue, in fact, that felt ridiculously healing).

The true quest, as my wise guide reminded me, though, would actually begin, off the mountain, going back to the way life is there, hopefully, though, bringing the proverbial light down from the mountain — to where disconnection (loneliness) today feels like a societal norm.

And it’s true, the human condition today is one where, no matter if you’re in a marriage or surrounded by people or in nature or in the city, many people feel alone — and lonely. Again, especially these days. 

And it’s due to many things (insert cell phone emoji here), but healing longtime wounds and getting to know ourselves and develop ourselves emotionally are a couple important ones.

Though I went up to say goodbye to a handful of years of tragic loss and to generally challenge myself inside what makes up a vision quest (no shelter, no social interaction and no food…I‘ve always appreciated a good physical, emotional and/or spiritual challenge), I received much around this idea of loneliness, loss and disconnection and what to do about it (folding in a lot of it into my work with women).

And it’s no wonder, too, because the idea of a functioning [it takes a] village or true community, of consistent sitting or gathering together as we once did or as some cultures still do, and, as importantly, of rights of passage, are not usual modern-day practices (but it can be found, and better yet, created~> go, do…create what you want to be a part of!). 

The journey/the challenge/the path/the climb — the purpose — of most lessons or trials today, yesterday or tomorrow are here to assist us in exactly that ~> in being the creatives, the creators, of what we most want and need…

And though this creation does involve other humans (it must, we are social creatures, we need each other!), the part we often leave out or prioritize after everything or everyone else is the one with the person who will *always* be there ~ that relationship within which is THE one we can’t go without. 




Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life!

Life is good,




Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur