This month’s Fearless Fridays interview is with Nicole Donovan-Wells (previously Nicole Marie), who responded to my call for interview candidates in a Facebook group for online entrepreneurs who particularly value freedom. As it turns out, this is Nicole’s core value, which has really driven her career change. Although not coming from a corporate background, she explains that some of the symptoms of that corporate world could also be found in her work as a midwife.
Nicole shares many valuable insights about the transition. In particular, she talks about the usual financial challenges but also at a deeper level getting used to following her own intuition rather than looking for guidance from friends and family. She has found the whole journey rather lonely, although she’s had a supportive partner throughout, as people perhaps did not react as she had hoped in understanding and encouraging her in the changes that she was making.
I also like how she talks about celebrating her successes with her husband. Often we reach our goals and then just rush onto the next one, without pausing to acknowledge our progress and celebrate what we have achieved. If we don’t stop to enjoy what we are creating, then what’s the point?!
You can watch the full video of the interview below, or read on to find out more about Nicole’s experiences…
Leaving a corporate job behind to follow your passion: From midwife to holistic life coach
Nicole Donovan-Wells spent ten years working as a midwife. Although not an office setting, there was still the corporate politics of working for someone else and in a business that wasn’t her own. There were also regulations that constricted how she wanted to provide care and comfort to women in their birthing and maternal health challenges. Today, Nicole calls herself a Midwife of the Soul, Energy Worker, and Ritual Creatrix.
1) At what moment did you decide it was time for a change?
There was definitely a defining moment that came from the clarity that I got after trying to figure out why midwifery wasn’t working for me any longer.
It was probably about a year before that moment where I realised that I was really burnt out from offering and holding space energetically for women and just not having the time and the space to replenish my own self, to be able to build myself back up again. From a place of taking care of myself, doing self care, being able to take vacations and having the money to take vacations. So there was definitely this lack of energy and emotion that I was putting out for other women, and not being able to have the time and the space, and the finances, to be able to give it back to myself.
The defining moment was doing a workshop that was put together by Danielle Laporte called The Desire Map. It’s based off a book, and I was part of the beta testing workshop that happened in Seattle. In doing that workshop, I was also finally coming to a place where I was ready to start looking at how I wanted to feel in my life, versus all of the things that I wanted to do or was doing. I got that clarity that one of the most important ways I wanted to feel in my life was free. If I’m not feeling free in my life, in all the areas of my life, I am miserable. And working as a midwife – there was definitely not much freedom in that.
2) What was the biggest challenge you faced in making the change?
I think one of the challenges was learning the whole logistics of starting my own business and what it takes to build a website and deal with all the technical issues. The steep learning curve that went along with that was challenging!
It has been challenging from a financial standpoint to find the place where I’m really clear about what it is that I’m offering so people know how I can best support them. It has been challenging as my friends and family have looked at the financial struggle that I had in the first few months and just wanted to tell me to go and get a job. People who are not on an entrepreneurial journey don’t understand that I have a job, and I’m working my arse off in a job, day and night. It is actually bringing me more money than if I got a job in the area we live now – about six months ago we moved out to an island so it’s not as if I could just go and get another job as a midwife out here, it doesn’t work like this.
I think another challenge has been to stop looking to society and my family and my friends for guidance, and to learn how to follow my own inner guidance. In some ways, I have driven a wedge between my family and friends in a way I didn’t expect. I expected to be on this amazing journey and to have them link arms with me and to take them along with me. Instead it feels like I’m trailblazing and cutting a path and heading out onto this journey on my own, and I keep turning around to look to see if anyone else is behind me and I see them way back there. So it’s been a lonely journey as well.
3) Where did you get the support you needed to make it happen?
Having an amazing supportive partner, who has been my biggest cheerleader; who has edited all of my blog posts; who helps me celebrate and reminds me to celebrate all of the little and the big things that I have accomplished along the way. That’s been the biggest thing for me in the last year, having his support.
4) What’s the best part of your lifestyle today?
It’s the freedom that I have; the freedom that I have most days, outside of having appointments with clients. I have the ability to not write my blog post today if I’m not in the mood to do it, or I’m not feeling it, or I’m tired and I want to go and take a nap instead. So the freedom that I have to really do this work from anywhere, when I want, and how I want. And if things aren’t working, if I’m not liking how it feels to me anymore, to be able to stop and shift directions, and change course.
5) What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering making a big career or lifestyle change?
I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is to really find clarity in how you want to feel in your life and begin chasing those feelings in all areas of your life. Shut out the often well meaning advice from others who aren’t supportive of where you are wanting to go, and really tap into your own inner wisdom and your own inner guidance (I call it your soul guidance, that guidance that comes from your own heart, your own intuition, your own soul). And to let go of fear and just take the leap!
To find out more about Nicole’s work with individuals to discover their voice, their intuitions, and their deeper purpose, visit her website.
Have you made big changes in your life and want to inspire others to do the same? Or maybe you’re 100% happy staying put where you are and want to make a case for being satisfied with what you have? Get in touch to share your story!