Exploring What’s Beyond The Obvious

If you aren’t satisfied with the available options, Michelle Florendo suggests that you explore possibilities beyond the obvious.

Michelle was working as a management consultant, watching her colleagues make the difficult decision to sacrifice time with their children to continue a career they loved—or give up their careers to be present in their children’s lives. She realized that starting her own coaching practice would afford her more control and flexibility, but it was a risk.

Being risk-averse, Michelle gave herself a long runway and launched her firm long before she began the process of trying to get pregnant. But in her eyes, it was a bigger risk to do nothing. She had to find an avenue for getting the life and career she wanted.

Today, Michelle joins us to discuss her career arc, defining coaching as a profession and describing her transition to a private coaching practice. She explains her approach to decision-making, the distinction between the quality of a decision and its outcome, and the role of intuition in the decision-making process. I ask Michelle about her decision to become a parent and the choices she made around giving herself space to be present during her pregnancy. She speaks to the ‘silence of the first trimester,’ offering insight on the language we use to take fault for the parts of pregnancy and miscarriage we can’t actually control. Listen in for Michelle’s wisdom around choosing the narrative for any given situation and making decisions based on the information we have.

The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #047

Some quotes from the episode

  • “Success and fulfillment: Not actually the same thing!”
  • “It was a really powerful realization to see that working individually with people could have such a great impact.”
  • “Sometimes we need that outside perspective to be able to shine a light on some things that might be right underneath our nose.”
  • “When I find other people facing decisions, it’s usually with this sense of dread. That sense of dread usually comes with fear, uncertainty, doubt. I’ve seen people who feel like they made bad decisions in the past, so they doubt their ability to make good decisions in the future.”
  • “People don’t feel like they have the tools to be able to think through a decision to get to a point of clarity.”
  • “‘What would you say is the role of intuition in decision-making?’ It’s another data point.”
  • “The quality of a decision is separate and distinct from the quality of the outcome.”
  • “Make the best decision with the information you have and move forward. You can’t control what is going to the be that next card in the deck. But you can focus on … the piece you can control and not beat yourself up over the piece you can’t control.”
  • “If there’s anything I have learned from decision engineering, it’s that it’s worth it to explore what other options exist beyond the obvious.”
  • “The highest priority for me was to be able to be present in my pregnancy.”
  • “Miscarriage is not within our control, and it’s actually a very natural … and important thing that our bodies do when it notices something may not be quite right or the baby would not survive out of the womb or to term.”
  • “In every moment we can choose the narrative that we have around what’s happening.”


Michelle Florendo is a Type-A management consultant and Fortune 500 brand marketer turned career coach. Michelle founded What If You Could in February of 2012, and she has become known for her analytical approach—employing a blend of decision engineering, design thinking and the lean startup method to help her clients craft fulfilling careers. Michelle has an MBA from UC Berkeley, and she was named to the 2015 FWN Global 100 list of most influential Filipinas in the world.




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