Inaugural Post: Following Your Joy, Fleetwood Mac Style

Fleetwood Mac
It was July 2004 in Cedar Falls, Iowa, when a turning point occurred in my life. Bill and I were on a road trip to see one of our favorite bands, Fleetwood Mac. I’ll never forget how sweltering hot it was driving through the Iowa cornfields to get there—the kind of heat where you can see the psychedelic-looking steam radiate off the scorching hood of the car while you’re cruising down the two-lane highway.

And to add to the mid-summer drama, the cicadas (you know, those insects that sound like a major power line buzzing) were engaged in a full-out blast.

If you don’t already know this about me, I’m a huge concert enthusiast. I LOVE classic rock and paying tribute to the legends that helped shape the world of music in the late 60’s and on through the 70’s. I’ve been going to shows since I was a kid and thoroughly enjoying it all along. When I met Bill, I was so happy that he was a rocker just like me (my mom always did say that he was the “male version” of me and vice versa). :)

On that hot summer day, we were so excited to see the band live once again. But this time it was different. This time we had front row seats.

Why the front row rocks

Of course the show was phenomenal and it was a thrill to be so close. I had never experienced anything like it! And what I realized on this night is that being up front represented something for me; something big. In the front, I was no longer a “spectator” on the sidelines, watching the show.

Instead, from this place, I felt powerful. I felt as though I was an actual participant in the show. (Well, actually I was. I did get to play front-man Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar during “Go Your Own Way” as he knelt down from the stage and held his guitar out to a few of us lucky ones. It was a fun story to brag about when we got home!).

The front row experience that night impacted me so greatly that I began writing down ideas as soon as we got back to our hotel room (but of course not until after we made our traditional late-night/post-concert run to a nearby Taco Bell drive-through).

I pondered re-naming our coaching business “Front Row Coaching.” And the tagline: “Because life is not a spectator sport.” I felt called to help others live their lives boldly! In the front row, I was in the game; the game of my life. And it wasn’t until that moment that I realized I had spent much of my life on the sidelines as that “spectator.”

I felt ready to step up with a primal desire to take charge of my life, to live out loud, to be my best…following my joy. And, to be in the front row of the most important show of all for me: My life!

Stevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham

I never did re-name my coaching business (but that’s okay because the focus of my coaching is still the same—I work with my clients to live their absolute best lives). So instead, and more importantly, I re-worked my life with this new perspective.

You’ll hear a lot more from me on my front row experiences, as they’re very symbolic in my life journey.* The front row is one of the many, many places I feel alive…not only because I’m shouting along and dancing to music performed right in front of me by amazing rockers, but because I’m following my joy.

In the movie The Secret,one of my favorite inspirational teachers, Jack Canfield, said, “My primary aim is to feel and experience joy…and then I constantly put myself in that state.” Right on, Jack! And so this blog is dedicated to the magic that happens in your life when you make the conscious decision to be following your joy. Thanks for riding along on the journey with me.

*Editor’s note: For more great front-row stories with legendary musicians, check these out!

Rockin’ With The Who
How Synchronicity Led To A Front Row Kiss
Is Front Row Asking Too Much?

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17 Responses to “Inaugural Post: Following Your Joy, Fleetwood Mac Style”

  • Liv says:

    You are JOY personified!! Congrats on the wonderful new blog, my friend.

  • Ron says:

    We are blessed to have your joy in our lives. Can’t wait to have you and Bill out on our boat. We also need to share stories of our recent trips. Luv you both!

  • Bill says:

    LOVE the new blog! How lucky am I to experience so much JOY?!

  • Lisa Saline says:

    You have always showed your joy on your sleeve. It is captivating and inspirational. Thanks for inviting me into your space.

  • Andrea says:

    I’m enjoying your blog already…keep it up!

  • Michelle,
    This is SICK! Only you will know what this means.

    LOVE THIS, and you.
    me :)

  • Mike W. says:

    Your middle name…how appropriate is that? JOY. As I recall, Rochelle was the one who chose it for you! You make us very proud. Love, Auntie Roch and Uncle Mikey.

  • Peggy Norton says:

    You are such an inspiration..this is super cool and I look forward to following along!

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the reminder Michelle! You have inspired me to follow my JOY!

  • Tracie says:

    Michelle, I love the story and I think it is true for me that I sometimes feel like I am throwing the ball back onto the fields from the sidelines.

  • Anne Pryor says:

    Congrats on the blog. I love it. I see so many times that we don’t “take our seat at the table”. Your analogy is just perfect. Here’s to cheering you on!!

  • Megan says:

    Thank you so much for including me and sharing your blog with me! You are such an inspiration to me and I am so grateful we have reconnected in person and through your website in the past couple of years!

    I so enjoy your positive outlook, your contagious attitude and your encouragement on creating and holding onto all the joys in life. Keep on keepin on. :)

    Wishing you many continued blessings,


  • Sharon says:

    Oh Michelle! I am so happy you put to words what I have felt for so long about “front row seats” and being a PART of the band…..I had my first front row experience years ago and I STILL relive it!!!! I will never be the same….the music and singing makes your body pulsate and literally come alive… and your heart so full…..I can honestly say I have not had a better time than when I experienced that! Until I read your feelings, I felt as though I was being selfish in wanting front row or close to front row…but now I don’t. I tell my friends, “if we can’t be up close, I don’t feel it and I have to feel it…!!” now, that IS JOY!! love you, Sharon :)))

  • james says:

    As I have reminded you many times…I found my Guardian Angel in you….of course due to a concert! Donald Fagan april 2006.. the rest is history

  • Lana says:

    Thanks for your words of wisdom… front row, sounds good for all of life.

  • Thank you, everyone, for all the great support and for "getting" what I am talking about. That feels great! So happy to share it all with you. :)

  • Happy to see you working towards your dreams. Great post JOY!!!

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

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