353 Transcript: Choosing a New Story for Your life (with Nicole Alexander)

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Intro: [00:00:00] You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast. I'm Dr. Jen Riday, and on this episode, I'm talking with Nicole Alexander about changing the story of your life. Stay tuned. Are you ready to expand your soul's capacity for joy? Then this podcast is for you. I'm Dr. Jen Riday and welcome to Vibrant Happy Women. Hey there, everyone.

Jen: [00:00:25] Welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women. I'm here with a friend of mine, Nicole Alexander, who is a mom of three from Kansas, a fellow Midwesterner. (I'm from Wisconsin, in case you didn't know that.) And Nicole and I met through the Vibrant Life Coach Certification. She graduated, I don't know, a couple of years ago now, right?

Nicole: [00:00:48] Yeah. Two. 2 or 3. Yep.

Jen: [00:00:50] She and I are going to talk today about those moments in our lives when we feel like something is out of balance. We all get there, especially women, where we realize, “I don't like my story right now. I don't like my marriage. I don't like my kids. I don't like my job.” Whatever it is, we're going to talk about how you go from there and get back into a story or a life that you love. So before we go there, I'm going to introduce Nicole thoroughly. Nicole Alexander spent more than 15 years leading communications and public affairs teams spanning government, corporate, and small business before launching her coaching and consulting business last year. Her experience in these diverse professional environments, alongside being a mom and a wife of a business owner, provides her unique perspective and passion for helping high-achieving women get back to loving their work and their lives amidst the chaos. I love that we're going to get back to loving our work and our lives. That's the goal of this whole episode. So Nicole, tell us a little bit more about yourself, especially the cool career I think that you had just out of college.

Nicole: [00:01:56] Well, thank you for having me, Jen. And it's fun to be here with you after having worked closely with you and learning so much from you over the years. So thanks for the opportunity. You're welcome. Yes, I am in Kansas, and Jen and I share a farming background. So we have, you know, fun stories in common there with how we were raised and different things like that. And still an important part of my story, but worked for much of my career in professional settings. I started – to your point, Jen, – the fun story out of college as I served as my home state congressman's press secretary right out of college. So got a quick start to my career and, you know, pretty fast-paced settings, a lot of high-pressure scenarios, high-level leadership positions, and organizations over the years just kind of packed it all in real early, which I'm very grateful and grateful for and learned a ton. But to Jen's point, just got to a point where things were not aligning any longer with, you know, family life and all of those things and needing to make changes and choices to get me back into a place where I was living in a way that was true to me. And showing up in a way that I felt was genuine and an integrity for me. So that is a lot of part of my recent story.

Jen: [00:03:11] Okay. So tell us a little bit more about your journey of finding these moments when you knew, “Oh, it's time to tweak something.” Because I'm imagining everyone listening can find something they know they need to tweak in their lives and they'll relate best and understand this best. If we have your example of when you've had to do that. Yeah.

Nicole: [00:03:35] Sure. And you know, one quote I heard at one point that resonated for me was, you know, dreaming can be a form of planning. And I think it's important to keep that close by, as in we all have envisioned our lives in some form or fashion at different points. You know, thinking about what it would be like to have a really cool career and travel the world and do all these, you know, challenging things in that space, you know, maybe envisioning raising a family and being a mom and what that would look like and feel like and just having those that those dreams that are on your heart, I do think it is what certainly got me started, but also kept bringing me back to a place where I knew I needed to get closer to. It's again, it's like doing what I think you are where you are for a reason for now. But then as those things pop up, not ignoring them and stuffing them down continually, it just will not work. It'll, you know, it'll keep creeping up and kind of gnawing at you over time. So for me, it was, you know, doing all I could do in any space I was in to be who I thought I wanted to be and show up, how I wanted to show up and take leaps and do hard things and all of those things, but. Knowing when it wasn't working anymore for me was, honestly, I do think it's in your body. Your brain's going to try to talk you out of it a bit, but your body's going to show up with the dread, with the overwhelm, with the, you know, dissatisfaction with things that you used to love and find great joy in. And as those things are creeping up, just knowing that in its own way is a signal that something's not quite right here. And one of the big shifts that I learned in this process of the coaching process and all of that is just switching from being critical about those things to being curious instead of just beating myself up for, you know, I should know better, I should do better. I can power through this. I don't need help. I can do it all myself to like, you know, what is what is going on here? Like what's creeping up for me? Where can I go get some resources? Where can I ask for some help? What do I need to do to learn some new things? Because what got me to this point is not going to get me to the next point.

Jen: [00:05:47] Wow. That's good. Critical. No, curious instead of critical. That's good.

Nicole: [00:05:52] Questions. Ask questions. Yes.

Jen: [00:05:55] So before becoming curious, you're kind of saying you're the type of person that would say, “I've got this, I can do this.” And it totally triggered something in my brain. I've done that for years in various settings, some not as much. Um, I sometimes feel like the pain just has to get so great and the overwhelm and the struggle is so great that it pushes you to metamorphosize yourself and make that shift. So yeah. So you did that initially working for the Congressperson. How did you know when that was time to end that instead of keep pushing through?

Nicole: [00:06:33] Yeah, honestly, that's where like upon reflecting on those things, it is, it did go back all the way to those days because it was a really, really unique opportunity in position. You're living inside the Beltway, as they call it, and it is a fascinating and, you know, it's a world you could keep. You could stay in that lifestyle for a long time. And the ego is there for sure in lots of ways. But I think it is like that. You know, what was on my heart eventually was of course, or not of course, but for me was to get married and to start a family and things like that. And I knew for me that was not going to be in that environment. So it was the draw to want to get back to Kansas to be with my now husband. Um, and it was being willing to walk away from that job. I actually transitioned back and worked here for a while for him. But then walking away from that job, even without having another job, just knowing, hey, I think like I've given it all I can give it there. I had nothing else to give. I was totally spent at that point. It was a very demanding position. It was a great time to do it in my career. But again, it was kind of that just that subtle dream of, you know, building a family, starting a life in Kansas that drew me back here. And I guess that really probably was one of the first hard choices of giving up a really unique high-profile position right away. I was a couple of years in at that point, but I walked away from that and saw what else was in store for me next.

Jen: [00:08:03] Wow, that's not easy. I mean the prestige, like you said, the ego, probably the pay even to some extent. Um, but then your heart, if you listen to your heart, maybe not your mind, you're thinking of your high school sweetheart and wanting something. “Oh, what if I did that?” So how do we know whether we should listen to those or keep pressing on? Like, that's so hard for so many of us.

Nicole: [00:08:31] Agreed. And I do think that's, I mean, it does start with accepting that something is not working well for you. Right? And again, maybe not knowing exactly where you're going next, but just the acknowledgment that something is not right. And it's like that even shift right there opens you up to, you know, what's going on and what else might there be. And then when you start looking around, you know, you'll start finding different, you know, different things will drop in different data points will pop up that I personally believe, you know, your intuition, your faith, the universe, whatever that might be for you, that kind of starts clearing the path for you to move in a different direction. It is uncomfortable. I mean, it's sometimes it's much easier. I actually had a client say this to me once, sometimes it's easier to stay miserable than to get uncomfortable and move, which was one of the most fascinating lines I've heard. And it's but it is true, you know, there is some comfort in like, we know the mess we're in and we know what we have to deal with in that mess versus the discomfort of what else might there be or who am I without all of these things. So it is being willing to go do what might be a bit hard in the near term but knowing that it can get you closer to where you want to be. I firmly believe that.

Jen: [00:09:51] Wow. Yeah. The known misery is sometimes less scary than the unknown of something better. Yeah, that's fascinating, isn't it?

Nicole: [00:10:00] Yeah.

Jen: [00:10:00] Yeah. So fast forward, you and I met a couple of years ago, and you were at this place where you were feeling dissatisfied with a corporate job. So another one of those moments where you're like, Oh, I need to make a course correction. We have them all the time in our lives, but tell us about that one.

Nicole: [00:10:18] Yes. So I stayed kind of in a communications capacity for most of my career. I worked in the aviation industry and same had a really neat opportunity to lead communications for a company that's based here. But you know, it's global. So had a lot of wonderful experiences, led a team, and served on the leadership team in different capacities. But saying, you know, we started a family. My husband owns a business and kind of like the pressure cooker environment, to your point, like the pain did become so great and real that something had to give. And, you know, my husband and I talked about it at length in different capacities. You know, do you say, do you keep doing what you're doing? Do I keep doing what I'm doing Between the two of us, something needed to change. And I could tell environmentally for me that I, I, I just couldn't I couldn't quite see the path where I was. Some of my expectations, you know, whether good or bad or unrealistic, were not being met for what I kind of envisioned for an environment that I want to work in and contribute in. So that definitely helped. You know, those things did help me peel away over time, like knowing that I've given it all I can give. It doesn't seem to quite be fitting and meshing like I had hoped it might. That to me was a signal that it was okay. Like, this is my opportunity to find new things and explore other opportunities. So I did make another career change after that large corporate setting and worked locally for a few years and it was a good stop along the way.

Nicole: [00:11:54] But same thing: I could tell it was not, you know, truly an alignment of how I want to be contributing and how I want to be showing up and giving back and just again, being willing to accept that, acknowledge that it is a little different from, you know, you think you get on the path and you're going to stay. You're going to ride all the way to the top and do all the things and so slowly walking out of that and stepping away from it is hard and very anti, you know, or cross-cultural or, you know, not what the world's telling you. Right. That this is this is the thing to do. But I knew, you know, with my husband's help that for us and our family, we want to try something different. So I think, again, kind of that the dream or the vision or the priorities for you that are on your heart, they are in there. Sometimes they have to be rediscovered and uncovered, but they are in there. And getting back to those like what really is most important to me? What do I value most? Where do I want to be spending my time and just making adjustments to keep getting closer and closer to that? Even if it means walking away from a career and a stable salary and all of those things, which I know is not an easy choice and also can't be done overnight. But. I do think the the benefit and the health of that for you is worth it if you can get there.

Jen: [00:13:17] What were the signals to you that it was time? Were you miserable in the job? Were you exhausted? Or was it more subtle than that where something's not right, just a little itch, you know, or all of the above? Do you think it was a combination?

Nicole: [00:13:37] I do think in the work environment, for sure. For me, I think, unfortunately, on some level, totally lost myself in that space. You know, I used to show up and be speaking up in my zone, in my environment, and pushing back on, you know, on things and contributing in a way that I felt good about. And I slowly started losing that. I wasn't speaking up nearly as much. I was retreating. And I think it was a little bit of protection. I think I was getting so lost in the expectations of everyone else and trying to do all the things for all the people, right, my family included, showing up again, trying to appear that I have it all together. I've got this figured out and I can do this on my own. Over time, like I certainly was. I mean, one weird example is I love music. And I remember just driving home from work one day and like, even music was not bringing me joy anymore or relief. So to me, I wasn't like flat out depressed, but I was just going through the motions not knowing where to be. I just I think definitely lost in the swirl, very unhappy. And that unhappiness, unfortunately, came out most at home because I didn't have I didn't have an outlet for it. So, you know, the pressure inside the house, my short temper with the kids just because of my pure unhappiness and not, you know, not being able to sift through that is really where it kind of erupted. Yeah. And what I didn't want you know, that's not the place that I want. This is the place I want to be calm and peaceful and loving. You know, not this constant chaos that I individually was largely contributing.

Jen: [00:15:20] Yeah, that makes sense. Wow. So I kind of heard you saying you were getting swallowed up in this environment in other people's expectations. Almost like you weren't shining anymore. You were getting smaller and losing yourself in everything that was happening. Oh, my gosh. I can think of a million environments where we as women in particular, I feel like even more so than men sometimes, have that exact same thing happening. I'm not shining anymore. I used to be sparkly and fun and now…. So do you feel like those feelings are always a sign that you could make a shift or, you know, some of us say, “Oh, I'll just get on an antidepressant?” How do we know whether to shift or see a psychiatrist?

Nicole: [00:16:06] I do think there's just an element of even experimentation, as in, again, acknowledging that something's not right. Taking some ownership of like, “I am where I am for a reason. I did get myself into this mess. I can also I guess I believe I can get myself out of the mess as well.” And, you know, raising the hand and asking for some help in different ways. I mean, yes, the World Wide Web, you can find any number of resources that way. I think, you know, having a mentor, of course, you know, I'm in the coaching capacity now, so I often think like, man, what if I would have had a coach in my professional journey, I wonder where I would be now or what that would have looked like, I would have maneuvered different scenarios and how I could could have continued showing up as my best despite some of the environmental things that I let overwhelm me. But I do think that, yeah, raising your hand for some help is a big part of that. And yes, you do. You can individually make plenty of shifts. There is an element, however, of. You know, like making we all make up our own stories to support.

Nicole: [00:17:09] We'll find evidence to support whatever story we're telling ourselves. So if it's like the world is out to get me, I'm going to find everything I can to support that right? Or that my boss is horrible. And if they would just if I just had a better boss, everything would be fine versus, you know, me taking ownership of my part of the story. What am I working on to change where I'm at? And somebody's like speaking that truth into you again, could be a Bible study friend. It could be, you know, a family member. But having someone there that you can sift through some of that mess. So that's – we talked about it earlier- but it's like your mind over your body. Your brain wants you to be comfortable in different ways. You know, it's like this twisted way of this is what we know, this is what we do. Getting outside of that can be its own uncomfortable process, but sometimes you need that outside influence to help keep pushing you down that direction when you know that something's not, again, kind of in alignment.

Jen: [00:18:05] Ooh, I love this. Ooh, this is so resonant for me. I recently heard someone share – somewhere out there – I have no name, but I acknowledge you, whoever you are, that a lot of us will get stuck in that place where we're, “Oh, my spouse. If only my spouse would do this.” Or “If only we had more money,” And we get stuck in a bit of a victim mentality, not realizing yet, like you said, if we got ourselves into this mess, we can get ourselves out – that responsibility and ownership. Well, this person was sharing that the fastest way for her to get out of that place of kind of blaming everyone else is to imagine her life is a story that she is reading. And she goes along and you know, this happened and this happened and then this and oh, this is the messy middle. And then right there, what would you want the character to do next if you're reading this book? And that question has blown my mind over the past few days. For example, my best friend's Kitt I've said on a few previous episodes her spouse died and I've thought about this exercise in terms of her life. So she went to college. She grew up in the Yukon in a really cool wilderness area, went to college, and met her spouse, the love of her life. And a great mom who would drop everything for her kids and they went and served other people together. Three out of four Saturdays, they would help people move and renovate their kitchen. Just such good people. And then in the span of like a year, all of her kids are empty nesting and her spouse dies. So if you imagine reading this in a story, you're like, whoa, this character was just dropped off a cliff and you can see that she's in this black mess that's painful and awful. And what would you want the character to do next? Well, I guess for her, I feel like, yeah, she's going to be really rooting through some pain, but there's going to be a light or a glimmer that's going to say, “Try this next. There's a path still ahead.” So with that weird metaphor, you know, speak to that metaphor and how that works with your coaching that you do with women who come to this place where “what's next? How do I get out of this story and start a new story?”

Nicole: [00:20:32] Yeah. Yeah. No, I mean, I hate that for her, of course. And it was fun to meet Kitt at the retreat. So my heart hurts for her. But I'm with you on that. Is the world tackling me or am I tackling the world? And it's easy to say that no one understands me or what I'm going through. We are all very special unicorns, but all people are, you know, struggling and suffering silently and alone in different ways. And sometimes, again, it's just kind of that I go, first, I can raise my hand and say, “Hey, here's where I'm struggling. Anyone else?” Or I can take the first step to put myself in a situation that can contribute just to get out of my, again, my own in that not kids case, of course, my own mess. It's not that. But sometimes we can create our own messes, right?

Jen: [00:21:29] Sometimes we make them. Sometimes they happen. That's life, right?

Nicole: [00:21:32] Yes, exactly. This is a very silly example, but one professionally for me has been I've reinforced this idea that no one sees me type thing because I'm a doer. You know, I'm a worker. I'm gonna take care of things. I want to push other people out and in front and all of that. And I do still feel strongly and good about that in lots of ways. But it's like, you know, thinking you can get passed over for different opportunities or recognition or whatever that might be. So I mean, one of my shifts has just been, if I see something that I want to do, I'm going to ask for the opportunity. So I'm going to ask for the opportunity to speak. I'm going to ask if somebody would nominate me for this program or this recognition or award because I don't think it's not that they don't think of me. They just we're all busy people. Right. But I, I can push myself forward there. So I do think that can be, to your point, a subtle shift of me taking ownership of what I want for me and my life or my career or my family. I can go first. I can raise my hand and say, “Hey, somebody, pick me. I want to go. Put me in. I want to do it.” Versus like sitting here and waiting on the sidelines and just thinking like, poor me. Nobody's picking me, you know? Yeah, it's a very different approach and it's been fun to play in that space and be like, Look at everything I can go get and do. If I just say that, that this is what I want and I'm going to go work in a direction that gets me closer to that imperfectly and not fully thought out. But like, I'm going to go do it and try it and, and, and get there.

Jen: [00:23:10] So yeah, I love that. That's my favorite thing about always having my own coach. I think everyone should have a coach because we're all on a journey of changing how we see ourselves, you know, hopefully less and less as someone who's stuck and the victim of these people we live with or this job we hate. But you know, like you said, seeing more and more opportunities to do something and to have someone in our corner helping us to see that and root for us so we don't feel stuck like, oh, I can't do it. So like, I would love for you to speak to that. How do people overcome that sense of imposter syndrome going from you were happy to be in the background helping to step up to, “Oh, I'm happy to be in the foreground.” Now that's a scary leap. How do you help people do that? Yeah.

Nicole: [00:24:01] You know, the biggest thing I noticed in my own work and then now helping women, you know, self-confidence comes up a lot, especially for women in leadership positions. It's sometimes like against our nature to all of those things. Speak up, advocate for ourselves, go first. All of that doesn't necessarily come naturally or that's my own interpretation I have that it doesn't come naturally for us as women. Um, but I do think it does start again with me, for me, it is my, like, my faith is a big part of that. But again, like it does start with me and my belief in myself and just zeroing in on that, like shutting off a lot of that, scanning around you, scanning and self-comparison and she has this and he has that like turning down that volume honestly and then turning up the volume on like, well, what am I telling myself every day? And to your point, that's where the coach, the coaching process is huge in that because it's like you're leaving your mind. We're processing thousands of thoughts a day and that is going unchecked most of the time. So you get in a coaching environment where you can process some of that and really figure out that this is the thought that I'm circling on all of the time that's bringing my energy down.

Nicole: [00:25:18] It's affecting how I show up each day. You know, I'm taking something circumstantial or environmental and making it about me, and it has nothing to do with me. It's just how I've processed it. You know, this is the thought I have about what's happening. It's only affecting me. So a lot of the front side work is, you know, zeroing in on like, who am I? What am I good at? Where are my strengths? How do I live into that? And how do I also start just, you know, suddenly sifting through fact versus fiction. This is just this is a thought I'm having. This is an interpretation I have for the circumstance versus this is actually what's happening. This is just all of your evidence over your lifespan is is leading you down this path to think it means this. It could mean that, you know, just kind of opening up perspective. Don't know if I answered. I'm not sure if that answered your question then.

Jen: [00:26:11] No, no, I love that. Well, yeah. And it popped into my head. One of the. Fictional stories I used to tell myself was, “My kids really need me. I can never do that.” What are some of the other ones you've heard and how do you help people overcome those?

Nicole: [00:26:30] Yeah, I think, again, it's the worst. I think often we're so tuned in to and it's so twisted and it's once we realize it, you can start turning it down. We're so tuned in to what others might or might not be thinking about me and what again, everything around us could or could not mean or what someone said and how I'm interpreting it. What you know, what I'm making it mean for me individually, you just lose sight of everything that you're bringing to the table. So the amount of energy that, you know, a lot of people I'm working with right now, it's like you're giving up your energy and focus to things that you have no control over versus dialing it in and saying, I do have control over what I'm thinking, how I'm going to show up today, why I chose to be here in the first place like I love helping people like Pre-decide, you know, How do you want to feel in that meeting or what's the result you're working toward and how do you need to show up in order to get it? Yeah, we pick out our clothes, right? You'll pick out your clothes for an important meeting or an important day, but you don't pick out how you want to feel in that environment. It's like just being more intentional with those things make a really big difference and kind of take again, that's like ways of taking your own power back. This is the space I'm working and this is where I'm focusing my thoughts. I know who I am. I know what I bring to the table. I am open, of course, to growing and changing and being challenged. But you're starting from a more solid base instead of just scanning constantly for approval. And he said this to me and she said that to me. It's like, no, this, you know, I'm firm in who I am and I'm going to operate from that place.

Jen: [00:28:06] That's awesome. That's so great. Well, I guess for a last example, I would say right when you graduated from the Vibrant Life Coach certification, you finished, you were certified as a coach. You were not the same person I'm talking to today. Speak to that transformation and, I mean I'm blown away by what you're doing, who you're coaching. She's coaching some big names, people. I don't know who they are, but I know they're big. She didn't tell me their names, but she told me their position. I was like, Wow. But to get from where you were, where you're a new graduate of a coach program to “Whoa, I have a website, I'm doing this and what do I want to do next?” And you're writing that chapter. How did you handle that part?

Nicole: [00:28:54] I mean, it's definitely been a journey. Jen. Um, but it is fun. I agree. Even, you know, from the retreat until now, when we were together in January, you know, it is, I guess it is just proof that. Taking steps forward will get you somewhere. And even if it's not the right step forward, you can be redirected. And in general, I'm certainly not doing it 100% of the time. I'm lost plenty of times in procrastination and confusion and doubt and worry and all of that. But just knowing that that's like, I'm just going to bring it along with me for the day and the week because everything I'm doing is relatively new to me. I'm used to pushing someone else out. I'm not used to pushing myself out there, but just knowing, of course, I'm nervous because this is new, and like it's okay to be nervous, but I can still go do the thing anyway. And then the next time I do it, I probably won't be quite as nervous. I think that that. I think the fear can keep all of us stuck. All of those things, as you talk about, you know, it's the dream stealers, the fear, the doubt, the overwhelm and confusion.

Nicole: [00:29:59] If we allow ourselves to live only in that space, then we will not take the steps forward to get us closer to what we think we might want. And again, it doesn't have to be entirely mapped out. I still don't quite know how this all comes together, but I'm experimenting and trying new things and asking for opportunities and, you know, telling people what I do and asking them to keep me in mind and tell other people that they know just things like that, slowly but surely. Because I do know that I do believe I can get what I want, you know, which maybe sounds bad, but I, like I do have a vision for contributing in a way that is meaningful, helping other people, like unleashing potential in other people so they can go do their best work so that all of our lives are better in different ways. I think, for women in particular, we have so much to contribute and we just get in our own ways. And I love the idea of being able to help people remove those obstacles that are honestly mostly in your mind. Like we've just made these things up that are keeping us stuck.

Nicole: [00:30:56] If we can just move some of that aside, just make small steps forward. I always say nudging. I'm just nudging myself forward a little bit each day and getting closer and closer to where I want to be. But do I love the idea of women unleashing their, you know, their full vision, their full potential, what's kind of been placed on their heart? Because I think if we're all operating in that place, the world would be a better place. And in lots of different ways, we're going to contribute. Women love to give their time, their money. Like if we do well and show up well, people around us get better. We need more of that. So that really is like my heart behind all of it. But it is a journey. It's a process. It doesn't happen overnight. There's lots of mess in between. There's no perfection. You know, it's like releasing all of those things and just. Going along for the journey and seeing if we can make a little progress each day. So thank you for asking and it's for everyone else that's on the path. Keep forging ahead. Yep.

Jen: [00:31:59] How? What do you say we have to get out of our comfort zone? Daily. Weekly. How often? Once a year. 

Nicole: [00:32:09] You can do it once a year. It's going to be a slower journey for sure. Um, you know, I think also a big part of what I've learned is just not being so hard on myself. So there are days that I don't I don't feel like doing the thing that needs to get done or I put it off literally until the end of the day or but also not. I used to just I'm very good at layering and stacking all of that. So then I'm not only procrastinating, but then I'm angry with myself for procrastinating as opposed to just acknowledging that, of course, I'm putting this off because I don't quite know how to do it. I don't quite know what it's going to look like. So, you know, there's an element of the stacking that can also work against us. But. I think it all just depends. Nothing has to happen overnight. It's like figuring out, generally speaking, maybe where you want to go, picking 1 or 2 things to experiment with to see if that gets you closer to it. If it doesn't, what else can I do? It's like it's also some of the all-or-nothing thinking. It doesn't have to be every single day being scared to do every single thing you're doing. It can be a little bit of both. But I do think living more on that side of doing the uncomfortable is the stretch that will get you likely closer and more quickly to where you want to be.

Jen: [00:33:26] Yeah, I'd love to have you speak for just a moment about…you mentioned contribution and we could put purpose together right with that word. Um. One of the phrases – I think I even mentioned it earlier – a lot of us will have the excuse that, well, I have all these kids or I have my family that's on the back burner. How do you justify to yourself or how do you think about that in a way that makes it easier to make that contribution? Changing women's lives high, achieving women who want to up level and being a mom. How do you think about that? I have my own ways, but I want to hear your ways. 

Nicole: [00:34:07] Yes. And you know, a couple of things. One that's fresh in my mind because I just worked with someone on this, is that it's like we make our purpose, this destination that we need to get to as opposed to realizing that. You probably are already living in your purpose space and lots of different ways. You know, for one person it was simply providing, you know, being a source of joy for other people, like being someone that has this energy and this ability to bring a smile to someone's face like you can do. You're like, you're already living in your purpose. This was the conversation we had. Like, she's already doing that every single day. Like people are drawn to her and her energy like that is a part of what you're doing. She just knows what she wants to do. Like, how does she lean more into that or how does she, you know, further grow in that space to continue doing more of that? So I guess some of it is like knowing that. And my opinion is that purpose is not necessarily a destination. I think you and I talked about this. It's like we're going to constantly be reinventing and relooking at things and re-evaluating.

Nicole: [00:35:07] So it's a it's a journey in that sense. I guess when you package it with all the things that women do, you know, the caretakers working outside the house, inside the house, all of it. I mean, I guess I justify it by. I mean, just knowing the value of women very individually, you know, we were created, uniquely created. We think very differently. I think the world needs what women have to offer. And I do think there's space to do it in a way that serves you and your family best. I don't think it has to be this. All corporate hustle. Masculine energy all of the time. There can be a season of that if that's, you know, if that's your journey. But it's also like choosing to believe that I can create. Environmentally and time balance and all of that. What works best for me and my family? It's like I've I've kind of dreamt about. Could I? You know, work from home mostly, still do really meaningful work and contribute. But be here when the kids get off the bus. You know, I've kind of envisioned that for a long time. My husband teases me about working in yoga pants. I'm like, But that's I mean, that's been my dream.

Nicole: [00:36:19] So I'm living my dream. Like, you can work in your yoga pants, too, if you want. Is that your dream then? Like, Hey, you do you, buddy. But it's I mean, honestly, I've been I've, I've, I've wondered, like, why can't I have a little bit of everything I want? Why can't I be more present for my kids? But why can't I also keep working in a really, you know, impactful way? And again, I'm just choosing to believe that I can and I'll figure out I don't know exactly all the time what it looks like or how it still comes together. But I'm I'm doing it. I'm taking on some client projects that maybe I won't do forever, but I'm doing them for a while because it fits right now and it makes sense. And then maybe I won't later. I guess all of that is just being willing to try. Like being willing to believe in yourself, that you do have something to contribute, that you also can figure out the right mix for you, whether that's inside the home, outside the home, any number of different ways that it's like absolutely it can be just your path.

Jen: [00:37:13] So absolutely. Yeah, I agree. And I'll just share that I have a friend who loves being a stay-at-home mom and she's super happy and loves it and thrilled with it. Like, even my best friend Kitt did that because I thought I should do it. And I had to get to this point where my pain was so great in just that role and I was so miserable like we talked about at the beginning of the call where whoa, I feel awful. The music isn't making me happy anymore, you know. And that was that little nudge. Okay, I'm going to change something. And here I am..

Nicole: [00:37:54] You didn't know this is where you were going to be, though, right? You didn't know this was where you were going to be. You took one step, right to get started going in a different direction and then another step, right? Yeah.

Jen: [00:38:06] And I like that my kids get to see a much happier version of me. And so who cares what I thought I should be doing now? I'm actually doing what feels good. So trusting the body and and I think you said the body and the intuition more than the mind, like you said. Yeah.

Nicole: [00:38:25] Yeah. It's for sure. I think that we, we weight them backward, you know, it's like flipping the weight of that. Trusting what your body is telling you and questioning what your brain is telling you is a better shift. But I do agree. I think that. I mean, it's not – you were the first to say this – You know, it's not 100% happiness all the time. It's, you know, life is very much the 5050. But at least knowing that you're walking in a direction that is more in line with what's true for you and I agree with you, It's it does take all of us doing all the different things and bringing all the skill sets and qualities and and serving all of the various roles that we all serve in. And it does look different for all of us. So that's why it's not useful to scan too much around and compare or question others. It's, you know, reflect that inward…and what does this mean for me and where do I fit in and how am I best contributing.

Jen: [00:39:20] So for high achieving women out there, by the way, you might not be high achieving right now, but in my burned-out stay-at-home mom phase, I thought to myself, I used to be such a high achiever. What happened to me? I'm miserable anyway for high achieving women or who used to be and want to be again. Where can they reach out to get more help and learn more from you?

Nicole: [00:39:43] Well, thank you. And I agree – I use those words lightly because I think, again, I think we all have like a passion or something that's been placed on our hearts. And for me, that's just like bringing, like bringing that desire forward. So I think we're all high achieving. We're just performing it in different ways and I also think that we are all leading, I say leaders because I genuinely believe everyone is a leader. You're leading inside your home, you're leading inside a group, you're leading, you're you're leading yourself, you know, if nothing else. So I do use those terms lightly, but it's kind of like those that, you know, desire, desire for more and whatever, whatever more means for you, more time, more peace, more more success. I mean, it varies for all of us, of course, but it's just those that are, you know, interested in moving forward is really where I like to dive in. But, you know, websites are probably an easy place It's Nicole Alexander co.com I am on social media I'm not super active these days but you can look me up there to see that I'm a real person I guess. But yes, if you want to get in touch, probably through my website would be the easiest, easiest place.

Jen: [00:40:48] Beautiful. NicoleAlexanderCo.Com. Very beautiful. Thank you. Oh, that inspired me so much. I am rooting for all the women listening who want to make a shift and are done with an old story. Ready for a new story? Reach out to Nicole. She's an awesome coach, so well.

Nicole: [00:41:05] And thanks to you, Jen, Honestly, you've been a huge part of my journey and going through your coaching certification and like all the things I use, the tools daily and I use it in my work with my clients. And so thanks to you. And it's just been a privilege and joy to get to know you and thank you for everything you're doing.

Jen: [00:41:21] Thanks for being on the show. Nicole.

Nicole: [00:41:23] Thank you, Jen.

Jen: [00:41:25] Hey, did you like that conversation? I loved it. I got chills 5 or 6 times because I adore when women give up a story that's holding them back and step into a new version of their lives. It's like HGTV for women – love it. I'm so grateful Nicole could share. She guides people through that process. If you want to learn kind of the whole process of upleveling your life, changing your story, you might be interested in joining us in the Vibrant Life Coach certification. We have a new round starting in September. This is the place where you'll learn about thought tables, feel it to heal it, healthy boundaries, self-love, all those things that are an essential part of making these bigger changes like Nicole has done in her life and like you can do in your life. I want to remind you that you're an example to everyone else watching. It's okay to be a woman who shakes off the shoulds, shake it off, and steps into that new version that leads to greater happiness. It's okay not to be okay with the status quo of your life If it's making you feel overwhelmed and miserable, it's okay to say, no, I'm going to be a person of light. I'm going to write a chapter in my story that makes me vibrant, and I'm going to be an example of what's possible. An example for my kids, my daughters, for other women. You deserve to have a life that makes you feel juicy and vibrant and you are the one in charge of creating that. Even if it's scary. Get the help you need. Learn more about Nicole Alexander or come over and learn more about the Vibrant Life Coach certification. You can do that at jenriday.com/certification. You'll know if it's right for you. Just give it a chance and read up and think about what would you want the character in your book to do next? What is that thing only you can know? All right, my friends, I am so glad you were here. I will see you again next time. Until then, make it a vibrant and happy week and life. Take care.

Outro: [00:43:39] If you enjoy this podcast, you'd love Vibrant Soul, the place to heal, transform, and expand your soul with like-minded friends. Join us at jenriday.com/vibrantsoul.