Nicole Casanova

Mindfulness Trainer

Founder, Living Polished.  Professional Development and Leadership Development consultant.

Nicole always wanted to help people feel better through her work. She studied to be a doctor at uni, but then changed course, choosing to heal people on the inside.

What does a mindfulness and career coach do?

I teach people how to be better leaders at work. I use meditation and other healing tools to help people grow strong enough inside to do the hard work of leading others.

When you were at school did you know what work you wanted to do?

I always knew I wanted to help make people feel better. When I was in school, I thought this meant I should be a doctor because those were the only jobs I saw doing this around me. Later, when I began uni to become a doctor, I realised I wanted to help people feel better on the inside too (emotionally), not just on the outside like a doctor. After trying out lots of new ways to make myself feel better inside, I found meditation. And then I realised this was a kind of medicine too, and that I could teach this tool to others.

How did you get started?

My journey wasn’t a straight line. It took lots of twists and turns. As I mentioned, it started with me studying to be a doctor, but the road changed a few times to get me to where I am today as a leadership coach.

What do you love most about your work?

I feel most powerful when I’m loving my clients – reminding them how amazing, beautiful and valuable they are and helping them grow into the person they want to be. Love and kindness are the greatest powers in the world to me and I get see that everyday love and kindness can change the world and peoples’ lives faster than anything else I’ve seen, including money, appearance or fame. In fact, many people I work with have money, looks and fame in their community and they’re still unhappy.

What’s been your biggest ‘fail’ so far?

It’s really hard for me to think of a failure. Sure, things haven’t been perfect. But every “fail” I can think of led to something great that I would be so upset to not have in my life today. So, it feels like a blessing, not a failure. For example, once my boyfriend broke up with me and I stopped going to medical school because I was too sad. But then I learned how to not be sad with meditation, and then I could teach that to others. If I had become a doctor, I would have spent seven more years in school (that’s how they do it in the US) and would only be able to help people feel better physically, not on the inside. I know I would never be as happy as I am now with that alone.

What’s been your biggest accomplishment?

Some people would say helping leaders at big companies like Google, Facebook and Harvard is a great accomplishment. I agree with that, but I think my two biggest accomplishments have been helping women leaders at a domestic violence women’s shelter in Oakland, California and helping women of the Maasai tribe in Kenya to feel better inside and outside. I feel that helping those who might never get a chance to receive help is the greatest accomplishment for me.

Who helped you get to where you are today?

I’ve had many coaches and teachers along the way. I’ve learned so many tools for emotional healing, physical wellbeing and professional satisfaction from different experts that I’ve studied closely with. I think it’s very important to only teach what you know well because you can only truly deeply help someone with what you have gone through. And I’ve had good role models for that.

How has technology changed your industry in the last 5-10 years?

Technology has really helped me as a coach to be able to do my work from anywhere in the world! And I can work with people all over the world using video calls. As a free spirit and a passionate traveller, I really appreciate not having to be stuck in one place to do my work.

Do you have any advice for young girls thinking about a career in your industry?

The best life coaches are those who really have gone through something bad or tough in their life and had the guts and courage to really face it and then help others do the same. Have the courage to go deep into whatever pain you feel inside. You can heal and change it by paying attention to it. Then you’ll be an incredible leader and you’ll be able to support anyone you meet who’s struggling with the same thing.

In your wildest dreams, what would you love to do every day and get paid for it?

Dance! I am a big lover of dance. I love all styles but especially contemporary, hip hop, African and salsa. I have incorporated dance movements into my coaching exercises before, but it’s not the only activity I use.