During the past two years, we’ve all had an opportunity to reflect, reassess, and recalibrate. Many of us have felt compelled to dig deep, to pinpoint what matters most to us and really look at how we live each day, personally and professionally.
Living our authentic truth and fulfilling our purpose can be challenging during the best of times. But in times of disruption, isolation, and fear, it can feel almost insurmountable, which is why I feel so inspired when I see adults, like me, continuing our education.
We are collectively investing in ourselves by furthering our education, making personal sacrifices to pursue something that requires many hours of focus and commitment, and balancing full-time jobs, families, and many other important responsibilities.
But we decided to take our lives to the next level by acquiring new skill sets to allow us to make a greater impact in our respective careers and industries.
I’m used to working hard in pursuit of a dream. I discovered the piano at age 5 and trained as a concert pianist. I dedicated my life to music—and to my clients—when I became an agent, recording executive, and manager, repping amazing talent from Mary J. Blige to Macy Gray, Travis Scott, Rick Ross, and Wu Tang Clan.
It was 24/7. It was a lifestyle. I did whatever it took to get the job done, even if it meant sacrificing my happiness and well-being and sleeping only a handful of hours after late-night shows—sometimes five days a week.
But then, in January 2020, my stepfather became very ill. This was a man who fought tirelessly for his clients through his work as a chief assistant district attorney.
I will never forget the words he said to me in his final days, as he gasped for air in his hospital bed: “Will you move on with your life?”
Those seven words were the greatest gift he could have given me. What he meant was that he wanted me to pursue my best and happiest life, whatever that meant to me. He wanted me to pick myself up and move forward, even if the final destination was unknown. Inspired by his example, I applied to law school. I also began training at the UCLA track, regardless of the fact that I had never been an athlete.
I was running the track in June 2020 when UCLA track coach Richard Rucker stopped and asked me what was I training for. When I said I didn’t know, he replied: “Wrong answer—you’re training for life. It’s not the age, it’s the stage.”
Three hours later, I received my UCLA Law acceptance letter.
From the outside, the decision to tackle law school must have looked a little crazy. I had a full-time job, in addition to running my women’s networking company The XX Project and my charity Music Unites, plus I was dedicating hours a day to training and running.
But it wasn’t too much. It was everything I needed. Running became my healing.
I “ran for life” to find my life force. Running taught me that anything is possible if you walk through the door when the opportunity presents itself. Law school forced me to dig in and balance all of my responsibilities. Every day I got stronger, mentally and physically.
Now I can say, as I turn 40, that I:
- Am a two-time all-American masters athlete
- Competed in the USATF national championships
- Have run 2,500 miles
- Am a UCLA Law master’s in legal studies graduate
Creating Your Own Blueprint
Change takes time, and good habits take time. With discipline and focus, we can create the best habits of our life to fulfill our purpose and truth. I have cultivated an ability to assess every situation with fresh eyes and a new perspective. My legal mindset and the ability to think like a lawyer empowers me.
For years, I dreamed of launching my own consultancy, the Edgar Talent Agency, and UCLA Law made this dream feel not only attainable, but necessary. As my law school journey comes to a close, I know that it is now time to step into my power, because I now have all the tools I need.
I don’t have to have it all figured out, but I will continue to invest in myself and welcome new challenges and opportunities. It’s never too late to craft a new blueprint for your life.
As I embark on my exciting next chapter, I’d like to share some takeaways from my time at UCLA Law.
- U for Uniqueness: Let your uniqueness shine.
- C for Commit: When you commit to something you can do it—it’s a mindset and you already have it in you.
- L for Love: Let love and passion be your guide and let nothing stand in your way. In the end, love is what it’s all about.
- A for agent: Be an agent of change. It’s not just about tomorrow, but creating systemic change for generations to come.
- L for legacy: Reflect on your legacy and the imprint and impact you want to make in life.
- A is for ask: Ask when you need help. We are all pilgrims on this journey. You don’t always have to have all the answers and a master plan. It’s never too late to pivot and have a change of plans and a new blueprint.
- W for work: Whatever you do, work at it every day. Stay the course. Don’t give up. Work with perseverance and passion to unlock a world of new possibilities. We all know that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Michelle Edgar is a 40 year old UCLA School of Law graduate a well as founder and CEO of The XX Project, which empowers women in business and supplements their professional journeys. She is also the founder and executive director for Music Unites, the leading non-profit charity organization supporting music education around the world.