By Michelle Cederberg, Certified Speaking Professional
MKin, BA Psyc, CEP, Co-Active Coach

Have you ever thought about how much you could accomplish in your week (and I mean really get done) if you could shut off the voices of self-doubt and worry that pop up? You know the voices I’m talking about. They say things like You can’t do that. Who are you kidding? You’re not smart enough, others are more qualified, you don’t have what it takes, there’s no time, you have no energy, you don’t have enough drive…besides, who will take you seriously? Some days don’t you just want to tell the voice to zip it?

Small thinking is something that plagues all of us at one time or another. Even the most confident and successful people you know will come up against their inner saboteur now and again. It’s perfectly normal to have moments of doubt and wonder, but if small thinking gets in the way of your forward progress maybe it’s time to take a closer look at that pesky inner-saboteur and have a few words with them?

Now you’re probably thinking, Sure Michelle, but what does Everest have to do with it?

In the year 2001 I developed a presentation entitled But I’ve Never Climbed Everest?! about overcoming small thinking and finding your passionate path through life. I created it out of frustration more than anything. My burning passion at the time was speaking in front of audiences and I wanted to grow that passion, but my deep-seated belief was that I hadn’t done anything worthy of sharing with other people on a grand scale, that I didn’t have a message worthy of keynote speaking. I envied the Olympians, world adventurers and Everest summiteers who had done something truly remarkable with their lives.

The summer of 2000 I sat through two different presentations from world adventurers who had climbed K2 and Everest. They were both empowering individuals and really had something interesting and adventurous to speak about. I wanted to be a keynote speaker too But I’ve Never Climbed Everest. It was while listening to another speaker at a conference later that same year that I had my epiphany. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember the conference and I don’t remember the speaker, all I remember is that she had done some amazing things in her career as a track athlete, but she was a really lousy speaker: tedious, ultra-focused on herself, boring and uninspiring. That’s ninety minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

It wasn’t a total loss though. In that mind-numbing hour and a half I did gain some valuable perspective. I sat there thinking, I’m a good speaker. I can captivate and motivate an audience and it’s not about what I’ve accomplished in my life, it’s about how I can help my audiences accomplish more in theirs. That is my Everest. My passion is to help people and the speaking I so love is my vehicle to accomplish that in a bigger way.

So let me ask you a question. What gets you fired up? What gets you excited about getting out of bed and getting on with your day? I want you to really think about that. If there were no barriers in your way what great and exciting things would you do with your life? It’s a big question but it’s a good starting point for finding your passionate path. So here’s a taster to get you thinking bigger. Grab a piece of paper and answer this question:


What one great dream would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?


That means censorship buttons are off. Time and energy are abundant; you’ve got support from family and friends; money is not an issue; childcare is taken care of; you’ve got the education and experience you need; so really, you can do whatever your heart desires. What will it be? Write it down. And here’s a hint…if you can see the full path to your dream you’re not thinking big enough. As you think about or write it down you should feel a wee bit of fear and excitement around its execution because it is so grand and amazing!

The leader within gets nurtured when you take care of yourself physically, pursue goals that are meaningful, and trust that you are capable of everything you set your mind to in work and in life. When you push aside the small thinker you make room for the leader within you to step forward and shine. Imagine how your life will change when that happens. So what do you want more of?

Once you’ve answered that question for yourself the next step is to…well, take a step.

Michelle 'feeling the fear' at the summit of the Matterhorn

Recharge your Passions

  • Do one thing every day that excites and thrills you.
  • Think out-of-the-box about new experiences. Plan outings that spark your interests in unique ways.
  • Try something new.
  • Reconnect with something you used to enjoy doing.
  • Talk to someone who inspires you that is doing work you’re interested in.
  • Instead of saying It can’t be done re-frame to How can I make it happen?
  • Join a club that does what you love; cycling, dance. books, art, science, stamp-collecting…
  • Write down 10 things you love to do. Post them where you can view them daily. Do 1 tomorrow.
  • Take time for yourself to do something just for you.
  • Volunteer with an organization in line with your passions.
  • Feel the fear and do it anyways.


With over 20 years experience as a speaker, author, educator, fitness professional, life coach and entrepreneur, Health and Productivity Expert Michelle Cederberg has developed innovative and practical methods to solve our enduring health and energy dilemmas in a realistic and do-able way.

She holds a Masters in Kinesiology, a BA in Psychology, a specialization in Health and Exercise Psychology, and training as a Co-Active Life Coach and combines mind, body, and practicality to inspire change! She is the author of three books and her newest; Energy Now! Small Steps to an Energetic Life has been featured in the National Post, Calgary Herald, Huffington Post, Best Health Magazine, Canadian Living and more.

As a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) she shares her experiences in a humorous and realistic way with delighted audiences across North America. Learn more  at

Book Michelle to speak at your organization. Ask about But I’ve Never Climbed Everest?! or another of her inspiring, thought-provoking sessions. Click here to tell us more about what you’re looking for and Michelle will get back to you right away.