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Archetypal Woman Series: Michelle Moussa

The old one-dimensional female archetypes -- the soccer mom, the starving artist, the successful-but-lonely boss lady -- are dead. Women are creating new, multidimensional archetypes and defying stereotypes.

The most fulfilled women are constantly creating in multiple areas of their lives, whereas burnout often happens when we feel like the routine of our day job is all we have time for. The Archetypal Woman Series is a tribute to inspiring women who rearrange time and space to explore and excel in a range of activities. May their stories encourage you to expand into your own uniqueness for the benefit of you and everyone in your orbit.

Can you tell us a little bit about the work you do?

I’m a public finance attorney at a national corporate law firm. I am really proud of the work I do - the transactions involve collaborating with a brilliant group of people towards a common goal to build housing projects for low-income families.

Jumping into a fast-paced, high energy environment fresh out of law school, I quickly adapted to working on adrenaline and stress. After four years of last-minute deadlines, big personalities and tension, I needed to bring focus to self-care and allow myself to pursue passions outside of work. This led to Legally Well, which I recently started with my best friend Lauren Munsell, who is also an attorney. Our goal with Legally Well is to inspire lawyers and others in the corporate world to feel that they can be fully human.

We are in a time of rapid change! What encouraging trends are you seeing in your industry?

The environment I work in traditionally thrives on masculine energy and structure. This time of uncertainty and lack of control has forced us to surrender to what is, to stop, and to take a deep breath. In this shift I am seeing a new level of respect and understanding for one another.

What are some practical tools you use to help manage your time and energy?

Every morning I walk my dog around the neighborhood. Spending time outside moving brings good energy to the start of my day.

When I feel overwhelmed, I write out a list of tasks that need to get done in order of priority – by actually writing them out, I hold myself accountable and feel more in control.

I am also learning to lean in to the moments when my work load is lighter. Instead of giving in to the urge to keep busy, I am allowing myself to take those needed breaks.

This is the Archetypal Woman Series, where we shine a spotlight on women who are bringing forth new, multidimensional ways of living and working. How would you describe the archetype you’re bringing onto the planet?

The archetype I’m trying to bring forward is an empath with ambition, drive and creative energy. One who advocates for people, for animals and for our earth, and one who works hard to do right by those who invest in her. A woman who strives to keep life balanced and to give herself the same compassion she gives others.

Can you tell us about a woman who has had a significant impact on the trajectory of your career? What lessons did she impart?

My older sister, Renee. Whenever I doubt myself, she gives me a metaphorical kick in the butt and reminds me to be proud of my accomplishments. She pushed me to start Legally Well and to stop second guessing myself. Renee inspires me to be unapologetically strong.

What's next for you? Do you have any projects in the pipeline you'd like us to know about? How can we support you and your work?

Expanding the Legally Well platform and living our message each day. The idea is to bring women together who don’t necessarily have the answers and are not the authority on “work-life balance", but want to connect with and inspire one another to promote healthier relationships around work.

Enrolling in Mary Margaret’s group advisory program Quarterly Report is an example of Legally Well’s mission – this was an investment I made in personal wellness and an opportunity to learn from others and evolve towards a more balanced version of myself.

As for support, I welcome connections and opportunities to build our network, both with people who are struggling to achieve balance and with experts in the industry!

What message do you want to share with the world?

Acknowledge your accomplishments and your potential – and stop saying sorry!

Keep up with Michelle's work by following @legallywell on Instagram!

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