A few years ago I would turn into the Tasmanian Devil whenever anyone called me “intense.” That one word would cause the blood to rush to my head, my heart to pound and my body to tense up. It was the absolute worst thing you could call me. It made me feel like I was too much, too controlling and difficult to get along with. Yet, I knew I was not.

Fast forward to a workshop I was at working with my Shero, Yvonne St. John-Dutra co-founder of Challenge Day. Someone had called me “intense” during break and I was really upset. I went straight to her and told her. She looked at me and said, “Yes, you are very intense and you need to own it.” I felt betrayed by her in that moment. I began to doubt everything about myself.

Yvonne and I this summer at Challenge Day's 25 Year Celebration.
Yvonne and I this summer at Challenge Day’s 25 Year Celebration.

Then she proceeded to tell me that because of my intensity I was strong, I was a fighter and I got things done. I was reacting to the shadow side of intensity and seeing it as a bad thing and not as a powerful tool. So she challenged me to write 3 words on a piece of paper that trigger me and tape it to me. Then I had to go around for those 3 days introducing myself as those words. Wow! It was not only difficult but eye opening.

I made my sign. It said: “I am an intense, controlling bitch.”  I had to come to terms with the fact that I was that indeed. I spent the next three days introducing myself to everyone that way. I began to see the controlling piece as being organized and on top of my projects. The intense part as fueled my passion, my fire and my drive. The bitch part was the part of me that would not letting others dictate how and what I do and staying true to myself.

Today when someone calls me intense, I reply by saying: “Thank you for noticing.” I am intense and determined. I have goals, dreams and hopes for how I show up and experience this world. So yes, I am intense. It is that intensity that has driven me to move forward with this project I am working on with my business partner and our team. We are creating a global community for growth, healing and support.  Yes I am intense!


+Michelle DeBerge

About the Author

Michelle has over 20 years experience in coaching, leadership and motivation. She is passionate about creating a community for growth, healing and support. She has been recognized for her work both locally and nationally. She inspires audiences and clients with her down to earth stories of struggle and growth. She believes that being authentic has been the key to her success.

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