Michele Nevarez

There are times when we feel like we're responsible for absolutely EVERYTHING, when we feel the need to carry all the weight, because everything will fall apart if we don't. And that's because we believe that nothing will get done if we're not there to do it. But what if that's not necessarily true?

Welcome to a new episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast! Today I have the greatest of conversations with a former client of ours. Her name is Michele Nevarez and she's the President of both Goleman EI and Brain Capital.

In this week’s podcast, we look at the issue that many of us experience -- the need of being needed -- and how to approach it. Through Michele’s experiences, we explore what happens when we decide to carry all the weight without letting go of anything, how it can hurt our lives (and even our bodies), and how we can remove ourselves from the equation without everything collapsing.

It’s important to remember that no matter how amazing a project can be, if we engage in unhealthy habits that ultimately hurt us just because we get something out of it, then it may not truly be worth it.

Do you often feel a massive weight on your shoulders? Do you feel that need of being needed? Will your world fall down if you're not holding it up?  Let's talk! If there's a challenge you'd like to talk about on the podcast or privately, please reach out to me at:


Episode Transcript

Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades and I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching. And you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we invite leaders from all over the world to join us on the podcast to get coached live and in person.

Today I have a special guest. She's a friend, she's a colleague, she's a former client of ours. Her name is Michele Nevarez and she is now the President of Goleman EI and Brain Capital.

Michelle, welcome.

Michele Nevarez: [00:00:37]
Thank you, Kim. So great to be here and to be on the show. I really appreciate it.

Kim Ades: [00:00:41]
So everybody knows Goleman. Fill us in. What do you do? What is Goleman? What are you up to? Where are you in the world? Just kind of give us a little bit of context before we dive into a coaching conversation.

Michele Nevarez: [00:00:55]
Perfect. Okay. So, Goleman EI was founded, ironically, two years ago today.

Kim Ades: [00:01:04]

Michele Nevarez: [00:01:05]
On April 1st.

Kim Ades: [00:01:07]
Happy anniversary!

Michele Nevarez: [00:01:08]
Thank you. Thank you. And we've been going for about five years, total. We were incubated within a company called Key Step Media, and during that time we developed a suite of products. I helped them do that with a small team.

And since that time, we have launched our own coaching certification program and a suite of products and offerings that are specific to emotional intelligence. And just sort of briefly to kind of give you a sense of the kind of work we do.

We do consulting mainly with both business clients, as well as people who want to come and be coached or take part in our online programs. And the thing that distinguishes us is that we like to teach people not only about the concepts of EI, but how do you do it.

How do you implement it, how do you apply it, how do you build EI in your own toolkit and repertoire skills. And that's what makes us unique and different. So in an, in a nutshell, that's what we do.

Kim Ades: [00:02:13]
So give me a little piece-- like, a sample of that. Where might I learn a concept and then apply it?

Michele Nevarez: [00:02:20]

Kim Ades: [00:02:21]
I mean, I'm just interested.

Michele Nevarez: [00:02:23]
Cool. So there's a couple of things. Our online programs have that design built into it, and so, for example, somebody can tune in from anywhere they're at in the world and at their own pacing, go through our courses, which have a design of where you learn a little bit.

And it's either a snippet of a video, usually of Dan talking to a subject matter expert, maybe in neuroscience or leadership. And they hone in on one aspect of EI and/or we have an article or something very brief, two to three minutes, because people are busy. They don't have a lot of time to do things.

Kim Ades: [00:03:00]

Michele Nevarez: [00:03:00]
And then they'd get an immediate assignment. So like, let's say they learn about, you know, how perception works in the brain. Then that day they might be given the assignment to notice their mood shifts or their triggers or the things that don't sit well. What gets them sort of riled up. What has valence or salience for them.

And then they're asked to journal about it or reflect on it, and they can do that either on their own, they can do that as a group, or they can do that as part of a coaching process. And so, that's the general thought process of how do we not just think about these things, but how do we do them and apply them and really get them to stick.

Kim Ades: [00:03:49]
Okay. So you mentioned a guy named Dan. For those of us who are listening, who may not know who Dan is, can you just fill us in?

Michele Nevarez: [00:03:58]
Sure. So Daniel Goleman is the person, we could say, who popularized emotional intelligence. So, originally it was a concept that didn't originate with Dan. Rather it was Peter Salovey and John Mayer, who Peter is now the, I believe, the president of Yale. And has written his own books on it and has his own model of emotional intelligence.

But Dan first wrote about the concept of emotional intelligence within the context of business in 1995 with his first book. Has written many, many books since on the topic and related topics. So he, I think it's fair to say is probably the world's leading expert as it relates to his model of emotional intelligence.

Kim Ades: [00:04:44]
Right. And again, before we jump in, how did you get involved with these people? How did you get to be the President of Goleman EI?

Michele Nevarez: [00:04:54]
That's a great question. So it's a little bit of a long story, but I'll try to take a shortcut.

So back in, I guess it was 2000... It's right around the time I met you, Kim. Maybe 2014, so just a little after I met you. I was headed through an airport when I worked for Banner Health as a CHRO for one of their hospitals in Colorado. And I picked up a book called The Emotional Life of Your Brain and it was written by Dr. Richard Davidson, who's a neuroscientist based at University of Wisconsin.

And I started working with him and his team to take his work specifically into the business. And his work led me to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where we were engaging with the entire community of leaders and elected officials.

And I ended up moving to Jackson Hole and going to work at the hospital there, because of that project, I was engaged in. And Dan came to Jackson Hole right on, or about 2015 as someone we invited to come and be part of this bigger kind of community changing process that was happening around compassion and mindfulness.

And I got reconnected with Dan at that time. I hadn't known him well, prior to that, but I had met his son Hanuman Goleman, almost 20 years prior when I lived in Nepal. And Hanuman and I went on the same Buddhist studies program in India. Different years, but when I was helping to start a university focused on Tibetan Buddhism in Katmandu, he was on his program in India and doing his field study in Nepal.

We just met randomly and we're friends at that point and then got reconnected through those kind of confluence of circumstances and so... I ended up moving myself and my whole family to Massachusetts, where I'm at today, to start this venture with Hanuman, in conjunction with Dan to democratize emotional intelligence and bring it up off the page, so to say, and into everyday practice in life.

Kim Ades: [00:07:09]
Amazing. Amazing. So you've had your hands full and then... And then COVID hits and... Life gets interesting. So, I want to kind of jump in. What would you say right now is your greatest challenge? I know you have a lot of balls you're juggling.

Michele Nevarez: [00:07:26]

Kim Ades: [00:07:27]
What's your greatest challenge?

Michele Nevarez: [00:07:30]
That's a great question. I just have to decide to pick one. I'll pick one that I think is probably something that a lot of people struggle with, who are either solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, parents, you name it. Like, one among many things that they do.

So, for me it's-- I'm not going to say work-life balance. I think you and I have similar views about work-life balance.

Kim Ades: [00:08:00]

Michele Nevarez: [00:08:02]
You know, I was trained by you, so it's not a wonder that I think the same thing that you do. I think it's simply a matter for me of I'm involved in too many things and I have a really-- I think the underlying issue that I could use some help with is, why can't I let go of some things? And why am I finding it so hard-- It's not even about saying no, I don't have a hard time saying no to things I know I need to say no to.

It's that there are too many things to say yes to that really touch my heart and that are meaningful to me, and therefore I have a hard time differentiating between what I get involved with and what I don't. And the person who ends up suffering is me as well as my endeavors to some degree, because, well, it's obvious you... as one person, you can only do so much.

Kim Ades: [00:08:53]
So, go back. I want to know what is the cost to you, specifically. Describe it. How does-- so what are the things you're taking on and then what's the impact on you? How does it play out for you personally, professionally, from a family perspective, et cetera?

Michele Nevarez: [00:09:09]
Yeah. Not well. So, I'll just show you the little literally scar that I have for how it plays out. Where is that scar? Here.

Kim Ades: [00:09:21]
Oh, okay.

Michele Nevarez: [00:09:22]
That's a spinal surgery that happened this time last year.

Kim Ades: [00:09:26]

Michele Nevarez: [00:09:27]
And, you know, I had three herniated discs and... in my cervical spine and yeah, I grew up as a gymnast and a skier and a tennis player, and so there's probably a lot of collateral damage that happened along the way.

But I personally believe that the reason this came to ahead was all the travel I was doing, all the stress I've been under, and time at the computer. Just this sort of constellation of events coming together where my body just is simply giving me the big middle finger and saying: Enough already.

And so, that happened and it was really excruciating. I mean, not only the experience itself of chronic pain. Now I understand people who live with chronic pain for any amount of time. Geez, Louise. That's not-- I was going to say something else, but I edited.

It's-- that's hard. And so, in very real terms, I think that's a manifestation of what I was carrying and I even used to speak like that, like the weight I'm carrying. And I actually am physically also carrying a lot of weight, which I don't love. It's not having time to tend to Michele's overall wealth.

Kim Ades: [00:10:44]

Michele Nevarez: [00:10:45]

Kim Ades: [00:10:45]
And so, if-- I'm going to talk to you a little bit differently than perhaps I would anyone else...

Michele Nevarez: [00:10:51]
Okay. Fair enough.

Kim Ades: [00:10:51]
Because you've done so much work, because you've done all of this. And so, you know, it's funny, you're very good at changing it around. "I can say no to the things that I clearly don't want to do. But there are too many things to say yes to, which means I have trouble saying no".

Michele Nevarez: [00:11:08]

Kim Ades: [00:11:09]

Michele Nevarez: [00:11:10]
I love you, Kim. This is great. I need a good coach.

Kim Ades: [00:11:13]
So, my question for you is, and you say, you know, "I have trouble letting go." Take a guess. Like, why is that? What is it that you're afraid you're going to miss out on?

Michele Nevarez: [00:11:24]

Kim Ades: [00:11:24]
What do you think that if you don't take these things, what will happen?

Michele Nevarez: [00:11:29]
Fair enough.

Kim Ades: [00:11:31]
And more specifically, I'm going to be very specific. If you skip one, what will happen to your significance?

Michele Nevarez: [00:11:39]
Fair enough. That's a great question. Set of questions. Let's see if I can answer them.

Kim Ades: [00:11:44]
Sorry. I throw them fast, right?

Michele Nevarez: [00:11:46]
No, no, no. It's okay. I got three. So, now if I can remember the three, we'll see, but...

First of all, I don't think, in my case, root cause is FOMO, fear of missing out. I think for me it may be more a matter of... wow. And as I-- I'm about to say-- I think it may be-- I hope it-- Yeah, okay. I'm part of--

Kim Ades: [00:12:14]
This is the thing: when you coach someone who's smart, they edit themselves.

Michele Nevarez: [00:12:23]
There's the self regulation coming in. Or even just realizing before I say something, how it's going to sound when I say it.

I'm a part of a lot of nonprofit boards, mainly of spiritual organizations, retreat centers, within my spiritual tradition, which is Tibetan Buddhism. And I... That actually is a big source of my time apart from the other things I'm doing.

And what I was going to say is that I think the reason that I've not been able to say no to the ones I've limited myself at saying yes to, which are four, maybe five...

Kim Ades: [00:13:12]
Great limit.

Michele Nevarez: [00:13:13]
Right? Is that I feel like they need me and I feel like what I have to add in contribute is significant for their aims and...

Kim Ades: [00:13:29]

Michele Nevarez: [00:13:29]

Kim Ades: [00:13:30]
Okay. Beautiful. Okay. So let's step back.

Michele Nevarez: [00:13:32]

Kim Ades: [00:13:33]
Okay. This is great. This is beautiful. So I'm going to take you back to your training in Frame of Mind Coaching for a brief moment.

Michele Nevarez: [00:13:42]
Fair enough.

Kim Ades: [00:13:43]
So one of the premises, the basic tenets of Frame of Mind Coaching is, as a coach, your job is to see the client well, healthy, strong, successful. When you see them as broken, ill, in need of fixing, you're not in a position to help them.

Michele Nevarez: [00:14:02]

Kim Ades: [00:14:03]
And so I'm going to make these organizations, your clients, your coaching clients.

Michele Nevarez: [00:14:09]

Kim Ades: [00:14:10]
When you say "they need me", what are you also saying?

Michele Nevarez: [00:14:17]
That without me, they won't be okay.

Kim Ades: [00:14:19]
Correct. And so, that's not-- that's clearly not serving you.

Michele Nevarez: [00:14:23]

Kim Ades: [00:14:24]
And in some weird twisted way, it's not actually serving them.

Michele Nevarez: [00:14:28]
Yeah. I hear you.

Kim Ades: [00:14:30]
Crazy, right? And so, you know, step one is, what do I believe to be true about this organization? And how must I see them in order for me to be able to say, "you're okay, you're good. You're going to thrive. You're going to be well, you're going to do well with or without me".

Michele Nevarez: [00:14:50]

Kim Ades: [00:14:51]
And I serve you better by taking care of me.

Michele Nevarez: [00:14:54]

Kim Ades: [00:14:54]
And you know, all this stuff.

Michele Nevarez: [00:14:56]
I do. I know. Yes, it's true. But no, I think it's great. Go ahead.

Kim Ades: [00:15:01]
But you see, right? The key part here is that if Michele's shoulders are already burdened, then her ability to contribute becomes less and less and less and less.

Michele Nevarez: [00:15:17]

Kim Ades: [00:15:17]
And so, you know, the question that you want to ask is I know that you want to have an impact, that's clear. I know that you are having an impact. I want you to kind of go inside and say, what's the desire.

Just, like, for me, I look at my business and I know we're doing a lot of good things, or I know we're doing a lot of things good, but we're not doing everything excellently. The one thing we do excellently is coach.

Michele Nevarez: [00:15:49]

Kim Ades: [00:15:50]
Do we do our market excellent-- marketing excellently? We don't. Do we do, you know-- Do we do our podcasts excellently? It's pretty good, but we can step it up. Right? Like, there's all the things that we can be doing with excellence.

Michele Nevarez: [00:16:04]

Kim Ades: [00:16:05]
And we can't do everything with excellence if we're doing all the things just good.

Michele Nevarez: [00:16:11]
Right. I understand.

Kim Ades: [00:16:12]
I know that wasn't exactly English.

Michele Nevarez: [00:16:15]
No, no, it really was.

Kim Ades: [00:16:16]
But so... So, my encouragement to you is to number one, see them in a different light and then decide what you want to do with excellence.

Michele Nevarez: [00:16:29]

Kim Ades: [00:16:29]
And start eliminating.

Michele Nevarez: [00:16:34]
Yeah. And I think what you-- what you're saying there for me is profound, at least on a few levels, not just with regard to me and my role and... But even them, you know, even just this idea of... Even if I do choose to stay engaged with one or more on an intentional level, you know, just how I'm approaching it matters. And it matters for them too, not just me. And I think that might be the part I've kind of maybe lost sight of and/or just forgotten.

And, or the other thing that is occurring to me is that the purpose I've given you, or the reason I've given you may not be the full story. I mean, I'm just truly being reflective. I'm not trying to withhold stuff. Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:17:37]
So, do you want to continue or do we need a part two?

Michele Nevarez: [00:17:42]
Up to you. Based on your time. I don't know where we're at.

Kim Ades: [00:17:47]
Let's continue.

Michele Nevarez: [00:17:49]
So, as I was thinking about it, yes, it's true. I do actually think they benefit from my involvement, because they're smaller organizations and I have a unique skillset and there aren't a lot of me floating around... Thank heavens. So... there's that. That's true. But...

But I'm also doing it because there's some part of me that is also getting something from the equation. Right? And I think I don't-- haven't explored that one as much apart from the fact that I just, I know that at a kind of a bigger spiritual level, I am very much focused on trying to benefit beings.

And... And so, I'm just saying, I think I have more work to do in that space of what am I getting from this equation, because you and I both know that if we don't really understand the root cause or sort of the purpose, this habit of serving or whatever, then maybe I'm just not revealing the whole picture. I don't know.

Kim Ades: [00:18:56]
And maybe it's being needed. Maybe it's an affiliation or connection to a spiritual world that fills you up. Maybe it's being able to exercise your intellectual skills, that is really important to you. Maybe it's the community that provides you with comfort, care, belonging. Maybe, right? A million different maybes, right?

And the question is, do you need to receive that from five different organizations? Right?

Michele Nevarez: [00:19:27]
Yeah. Fair enough. Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:19:30]
And so, yeah, there-- of course it's serving you in some way and hurting you in a grand way. So don't forget that you're also bringing your aches and pains, literally and figuratively, to the equation.

And so how can you come a little more clear? A little less. Right? And so...

Michele Nevarez: [00:19:55]
So true.

Kim Ades: [00:19:57]
In so doing, you would be serving at a higher level and in a position to receive at a higher level.

Michele Nevarez: [00:20:04]
Very good point.

Kim Ades: [00:20:05]
Not that I'm a Buddhist or anything.

Michele Nevarez: [00:20:09]
I love it. Great points. All of them. Thank you. That's helpful, actually. Thank you.

Kim Ades: [00:20:14]
Yeah. So, I mean, in a way it's a bit of an ethereal conversation, but it's really not. And what it boils down to is we all engage in habits that tend to serve us.

Michele Nevarez: [00:20:24]

Kim Ades: [00:20:24]
And that sometimes we engage in habits that aren't particularly useful or healthy for us because there's something in it for us, at least up front.

Michele Nevarez: [00:20:34]

Kim Ades: [00:20:34]
But in the long run, it's really kind of eroding our health and our wellbeing. So we want to look at those habits that we keep engaging in and saying, what is it that we're receiving from this? And can we receive these things in a healthier way, somewhere else, in some other way?

Michele Nevarez: [00:20:52]
Yeah. Fair enough. Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:20:55]
Right. Michelle--

Michele Nevarez: [00:20:56]
Thank you.

Kim Ades: [00:20:57]
I loved having you on this show.

Michele Nevarez: [00:20:59]
Ah! Thank you!

Kim Ades: [00:21:01]
Thank you for joining us. Thank you for sharing the complicated stuff and for being open about it. Always fun for me to talk to you.

Michele Nevarez: [00:21:11]
Likewise, Kim.

Kim Ades: [00:21:11]
I get a lot out of it.

Michele Nevarez: [00:21:13]
Aw! Thank You. I do as well. I'm obviously a huge fan and respect you immensely.

Kim Ades: [00:21:19]
For those of you who are listening to the podcast, I definitely hope you took something away from this episode. If you have a challenge that you want to share with me on the podcast, please reach out to me.

My email address is kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

If you have a challenge that you want to talk about privately, please reach out to me as well.

My email address is kim@frameofmindcoaching.com

If you're listening to this and you are interested in hearing more, please go and tune in for more of our episodes at www.frameofmindcoaching.com or on YouTube, iTunes (Apple Podcasts), all the things, and like and share. Please spread the news, we want as many people interacting with our content as possible, and we appreciate you for listening and tuning in.

Michelle, thank you so much for being on the show.

Michele Nevarez: [00:22:12]
Thank you so much, Kim.

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