In 2008 Michelle Reeves left behind corporate life in the UK and moved to China for four years where her life fell apart. A traumatic birth and treatment for post-natal depression left her broken and searching for a way back to her former self. Over time and through the combination of 8 Happiness Habits she went from functioning to flourishing, including running her own life coaching practice for over six years and writing her self-help book; The Happiness Habits Transformation. Michelle lives in the East of England, UK, with her husband, two children, and two crazy rescue cats: Bella and Ziggy.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. If you could transform into one mythological creature, which one would you choose?
A dragon – they’re strong, intelligent… and I’d always be warm!
Q2. Finish the phrase “the way to my heart is…”
To listen more than you talk.
Q3. Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert – time on my own is my chocolate.
Q4. Everyone has a moment in their life that changes it forever. What’s Yours?
The day I accepted I had post-natal depression.
Q5. Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
To the future – what’s past is passed.
Q6. What is your last Google search?
How to create a flipbook for my free Reflect and Reveal 2023 Workbook.
Q7. What object do you misplace or lose the most?
My phone (have you seen it by the way?)
Q8. What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
My publisher suggesting my story should be made into a book.
Q9. If given the chance to start your life over, would you take it?
No, the experiences I’ve had – good and bad – have made me who I am today.
Q10. What is the best present you have ever received?
My two amazing children.
Q11. Describe your style in one word.
Q12. If you were to devote the rest of your life to philanthropy, what cause would you choose?
Mental health – we talk a lot about physical health, eating healthily, exercising and staying fit, but without strong and resilient mental health we’re really not prepared for what life can throw at us.
Now, let’s get started with the actual Interview. Please write your answers below the question. If you feel like you can’t answer one or more questions, you can ask us for an alternate question instead. You can answer them as short or as long as you want, but usually 50 words is a good minimum count we’d advice.
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Michelle.
You’ve answered our rapid fire brilliantly, Michelle. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the book.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that we’d not find online. Who, really, is Michelle Reeves?
Well, most people know that I’m an author and former life coach, but there’s a bit more to that story… in 2008 I left corporate life in the UK and moved to China for four years where my life fell apart. The traumatic birth of my daughter after multiple rounds of fertility treatment plus therapy for post-natal depression left me searching for a way back to my former self.
Over time and through the combination of 8 daily habits, I rebuilt my life, set up my own life coaching practice that I ran for over six years, and wrote a book sharing my journey called The Happiness Habits Transformation.
Here are a few things other things that most people won’t know about me…
● I almost rode my Honda RVF400nc35 motorbike off a cliff in the Pyrenees – but it led to my husband proposing.
● The movie Jaws terrifies me but I’m a qualified diver and I’ve swum with turtles and manta rays.
● I have sarcoidosis and osteopenia (low bone density) but I’m working hard to support my bones through weight training and reversing years of undereating.
● In my early career as a public relations executive, I had to walk through the Chelsea football team showers at a photoshoot.
Q. Well, that will keep you in our thoughts. So, what books did you grow up reading?
I loved losing myself in books as a child. Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series was a firm favourite and now my daughter loves them too. As a teenager, I fell in love with horror and read most of James Herbert’s books, even though they terrified me!
Q. Interesting. Has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?
Not really, I see the book as an extension of my passion for #gentleachieving and sharing my personal journey to help others whether that’s my experience of infertility, depression, perimenopause, running a coaching business or writing a book. It does make me very proud though and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to show others that they’re not alone.
Q. What’s that one thing that influences you the most, be it the way you live your life or your writing?
Honestly, my Happiness Habits influence my whole day! From the morning through to the evening they ground and guide me and without them I do feel a bit lost. Travel also influences me too – when we lived in China it gave me a completely different perspective on life – and my husband and I are planning to spend a lot of time travelling when we eventually retire.
Q. Now comes the most anticipated question that every author must answer. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
Well, I’m grateful not to have had many bad reviews, but I am quite an emotional person so I’m not going to lie and say they don’t affect me! That said, I wrote The Happiness Habits Transformation with the view that if just one person felt seen or helped by reading it, that would make me very honoured to have been part of their journey.
Q. How do you go about marketing your book? What are the things you focus on?
Even though I’m an introvert in terms of my energy, I love doing book events and meeting readers so I’m looking forward to those again next year. I’m also featuring each of the contributors to my book on The Happiness Habits Transformation podcast along with episodes about the main themes. Video is such a big part of marketing now and I’m trying to embrace that with my new YouTube channel and also on social media. I’m no expert, but I enjoy learning new things and it’s fun too! Instagram is my happy place but I’m having fun with TikTok as well – there’s a sizeable community of authors there and it’s inspiring to see how creative people are when sharing their books. Finally, I’m really looking forward to working with book bloggers and introducing the second edition of my book to a whole new audience.
Q. How has your professional or daily life influenced you as an author?
I think the book came about as a combination of both of those things… the challenges I faced in my daily life and how I overcame them became my purpose for writing the book, but my professional life as a coach enabled me to share practical tips that anyone can use to create their own happiness habits transformation. That practical aspect was so important to me that we designed ‘next steps’ pages at the end of each chapter and spaces for taking notes right in the book so that people can begin brainstorming the actions they’re going to take straight away.
Q. What does literary success look like to you?
Helping as many people as possible to create a routine of happiness habits in their daily lives that support and nourish them. And positive reviews are always welcome!
Q. Let’s talk about your book. Tell us about it.
In The Happiness Habits Transformation, I urge us all to take time out (without feeling guilty about it) to rebuild our daily routine into one that serves us – one habit at a time. Through my personal experience of depression and how I rebuilt my life through a combination of 8 simple happiness habits, you’ll discover how you can create a simple routine with time to focus on you, release yourself from the habit of negativity, boost your self-esteem and dream and plan out your biggest, scariest and most exciting goals.
In the second edition of the book (which is out on 26th January 2023), I expand on the foundation of the first book with real-life stories from women who have found success weaving the habits into their own routines. And in this new and updated version, I also explain how my Happiness Habits continue to support me as I navigate a new chapter in my life through perimenopause and beyond.
When I wrote the first edition I had no idea that three years later I would be reeling from the Covid pandemic, homeschooling two kids while working two businesses, my Mother’s stroke and other behind-the-scenes family issues… and becoming perimenopausal. I felt lost and overwhelmed again, and a fraud for not being able to cope. But I knew I couldn’t be the only one who was struggling so I decided to write a brand new chapter to share that experience and how my habits keep me grounded every day. I’m incredibly grateful to have the wisdom and expertise of menopause specialists Dr Shashi Prasad and Lauren Chiren who contributed to the new version too.
Q. Some people say daily habits or activities lead to happiness, while others say they prevent us from enjoying real life, thus diluting our potential happiness. Which side of the argument holds more water?
I am 100% for daily habits having the potential to lead to more joy in our lives, but I believe we need to be super intentional about what those habits are. A habit of turning to our smartphones for distraction whenever we’re bored or procrastinating will not serve us. But a habit of reviewing our successes every day, for example – however small they are – can help us finish the day with a dose of positivity and accomplishment that sets us up for a great tomorrow.
Q. What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
The backstory in chapter two and parts of the new chapter about my perimenopause journey were both challenging to write. They both reveal times in my life when I felt emotionally raw and broken and reliving them brought back a lot of the emotional issues I experienced. I had to take a step back from time to time, but I knew that I wasn’t alone in experiencing a traumatic birth experience or having to close my business and the hope that it would help others who had similar experiences to move forward was a powerful motivator to complete these parts of the book.
Q. A common criticism that Non-Fiction books receive from casual readers is that there’s nothing new about the message. How would you change their minds?
I can understand that criticism, after all, Mark Twain said “There is no such thing as a new idea”, but I believe that, especially in my genre, non-fiction authors have a real opportunity to share their own unique experiences in relation to a topic which can resonate with a specific audience, opening up that message in new and interesting ways.
Q. Have you ever considered writing a fictional book or a series? If you were to write one, what genre would you choose?
Yes! I’ve been having some fun writing a fictional book for my son. It’s a middle-grade fantasy fan fiction with a message. I do find fiction more challenging to write than non-fiction, but I’m enjoying the creative process and hopefully he won’t have grown out of the story before I have the chance to finish it!
Q. What’s the best feedback or advice you’ve received in your life, and how has it changed your perspective?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard came from life coach Brendan Burchard who said “if I was to look at your calendar, would I see what’s most important to you on it?” I never forgot that advice and use my calendar strategically to block out time specifically for my biggest goals rather than just writing things down in a list.
Q. It’s been fun. Now, before we wrap this up, do you have any suggestions to help budding authors to become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I think the two pieces of advice I’d give budding non-fiction writers is first to think about the message that you want your readers to take away from reading your book. Make that message the through-line that connects all your ideas together. And second, to ditch perfectionism when writing your first draft and just get everything down on paper. It’s all too easy for our inner editor to sabotage us when we’re in creative flow, so be sure to park them in the corner with a cup of coffee so you can get on with sharing your message with the world.