569 Nancy Michieli:
What does it mean to leverage everything, and I mean everything, that makes us women …stepping into that feminine power we all have …rather than falling into the trap of thinking we have to behave like men to succeed?
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who is inspiring women to be more Fun, Flirty, and Fabulous in Life and Business.
Nancy Michieli is a former oil and gas executive who had a big epiphany when she wrote the obituary for her mother. Nancy realized she was living a life she thought she “should” while her mom had played all out in alignment with her true purpose and passion.
The “aha” moment led Nancy to create her Luv2bMe program, inspiring women to be more Fun, Flirty, and Fabulous in Life and Business.
I can’t wait to introduce you to Nancy! First…
Women grow up with relentless messaging that leads to what Nancy Michieli calls “patriarchal stress disorder”. As little girls we’re told to stay pretty and quiet while boys were allowed to get dirty and be more vocal. Nancy describes this early and steady acculturation as a series of “mini traumas” that dissuade many women from advocating for themselves confidently.
Working in the Oil and Gas industry for 25 years, Nancy noticed that having fun and being flirty in the workplace was frowned upon. Yet, all her success all came from using her empathetic Feminine Energy, laughing and smiling, motivating her teams to achieve greatness.
Nancy is on a mission to breakdown masculine stereotypes that “hard work and discipline” are the only way to succeed in business and life. With her Luv2bMe program, Nancy helps women reclaim their feminine nature so they have the freedom to be fun, flirty, and fabulous creating the life they desire.
We’re going to talk about all that and more and first:
Nancy Michieli is many things – and always flirty and fabulous in her authentic feminine.
Nancy is a certified Rapid Transformational Therapy Practitioner, Consulting Hypnotist, Holistic Life, Career and Executive Coach, Canadian Sommelier, Chemical Engineer, and Amateur Ballroom Dancer.
Today we talk about how to fall back in love with your true feminine essence, find your natural voice and the person you truly are, so you can negotiate and advocate for yourself as a woman in a masculine world. We talk self-esteem, leadership, and much more.
Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Nancy Michieli.
Melinda Wittstock: Nancy, welcome to Wings.
Nancy Michieli: Hello, Melinda. I’m so excited to be here with you today.
Melinda Wittstock: I am so intrigued about what makes a woman leave the oil and gas industry and completely do like a… It feels like a 180 … into helping others really lean into their true feminine energy, and I think you’re saying is “fun, flirty and fabulous”. What was the event or the moment that you decided to just go in this completely different direction in your life?
Nancy Michieli: I don’t talk about this very often, the event that was writing the obituary for my mother. And as I sat writing the obituary, I realized that I was doing what people expected of me. Becoming an engineer, because I was really smart, I was good in math, I was good in science. And it was sitting, writing my mother’s obituary, that I realized that she was somebody who, while did all of her work through volunteer activities, which wasn’t a profit making process, did things that she absolutely loved to do. And she lived the life that she wanted. And it was kind of my little aha moment when I wrote her obituary. And I think I’ve heard that whole concept where write your obituary, what do you want people to say about you when you die? But I’ve done that before and it’s never kind of really resonated until I wrote my mother’s obituary.
And my mother, I would say was not the feminine woman by any stretch of the imagination, but she lived true to herself.
Melinda Wittstock: The sad thing is so many people get to the end of their lives with lots of regrets.
Melinda Wittstock: Nancy, it’s so lovely that your mom lives all out. And so, writing that obituary, it sounds like you’re like, “Wait a minute, I’m not living my own life or what I really want to be doing.” What was it about the oil and gas industry and ticking all the boxes of the ‘should’s’ or whatever, where you felt out of alignment?
Nancy Michieli: Well, one of the things that I find in the corporate world is that you’re working for a business to make a thing or a commodity. And often in the corporate world, we miss that the most important asset and the most important value that we should have is actually the people who work for us. And as somebody who is a leader, I always believed in that, but there’s this whole impression that it’s business, it’s not personal. Or these words that were told that you come into work to do a good job, because it’s all about the company and the company will look after you, if you do all of these things. But as a woman and as a female leader in organizations, I think one of the things that we bring, but we also hide and hold back on is that we have this natural nurturing capability and this natural nurturing desire.
And what I found, especially in the oil and gas industry, especially working in that masculine world is that as a woman, it was very uncomfortable and very difficult to use my nurturing skills to utilize those. But when I did utilize them, I had massive success with my teams.
Melinda Wittstock: As a founder of your own company, you can set that culture and really leverage those unique, archetypal, feminine energies, to really change the game in your own business. It’s much harder to do it, from within an oil company. Do you think there’s still a pressure on women who are strong to kind of behave like men or equate strength with masculinity in their businesses?
Nancy Michieli: Yeah. I think there’s a huge expectation that women, when you’re in very masculine worlds, behave from a masculine perspective. And I actually even think it’s true within women who expect that of other women. So for me, the first time I really experienced this was when I was leading a really massive team and massive project. I had approximately 1,000 men working for me and I was using my fun, flirty behavior. And I had actually a woman give me significant negative feedback. And I took that really personally because it came from a woman. So I actually then went into what I call my negative masculine power, where it’s more controlling, thriving, and not being open.
And I will tell you, I hated working and behaving in that perspective. And as soon as I start to work with a coach, if you happen to be a man who was like, no, no, no, no, bring back your fun, flirty nature. That was really bad advice. Then I was able to start to be more successful again in corporations, but it is uncomfortable and it is uncomfortable for men as well to even know how to deal with this. Because a lot of feminine energy, isn’t just something that women have. It is something that both men and women have within them. And so to bring out that and learn how to connect that is really important.
Melinda Wittstock: It is. In my 20s, 30s into my 40s, the only role models I had mostly were men. The only mentors I had were men. So it never really felt, and I never even knew what it was like to really leverage my feminine. And I think as I’ve moved on into my 50s, I am drawing on that so much more. Just like intuition, being able to connect the dots, empathy, all these things, which I think that women really have at their disposal in kind of epic ways.
And yet sometimes we don’t use those skills and I’ve found it personally transformational in my own life and my businesses much in the way that you’re describing. Is this something to do with just where we are at this point in our culture? Is it age related? Because I see so many women struggling with this, how to balance, if you will, the masculine and feminine within us.
Nancy Michieli: So I actually believe it is related to a lot of historical messaging. And if you think about women where we are in the business world, it’s interesting. In the corporate world, there’s still a shortage of women who have made it up into senior leadership positions. And I’ve been very blessed to be able to have moved into leadership positions. But if you look culturally at different things, if you look at the way messaging has come to us and even this concept of patriarchal stress disorder, which I apologize, I can’t think of the psychologist who’s written on it, but-
Melinda Wittstock: Patriarchal stress disorder. Hold on. I just want to pick up on that. Patriarchal stress disorder. What is that?
Nancy Michieli: So patriarchal stress disorder is actually a disorder of messaging that we all receive from the patriarchal society. So it’s things that even as children, right? Like as little girls, you were told to stay pretty. You weren’t allowed to get dirty. You needed to be quiet and didn’t have a voice to ask where men were allowed to ask and boys were allowed to get dirty and being more vocal. So these types of messaging. And I kind of described them as little mini traumas that we’ve experienced through our life, actually stops women historically, from asking. I work with a young engineer who is absolutely lovely. And one of the things we had to get her used to was because of her cultural upbringing, her parents would say things to her like, “Well, why do you need to have a job? That’s your husband’s role? Why do you need to…”
It was not acceptable for her to ask. So she assumed because she did really good work, people would just notice her, which boys are more comfortable or men are more comfortable saying and asking for feedback, asking for the next step in their career. And a lot of this messaging comes from like a variety of different sources. For example, women weren’t allowed to get a business financial account without a man signature until the 80s.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s not that long ago.
Nancy Michieli: It isn’t. So I think we think that we’ve moved a longer distance than we have, but a lot of rules still around women in business are still quite young. And so we need to figure out ways to overcome them. And I think that’s also why a lot of women, there are more women entrepreneurs than there are men entrepreneurs.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Because we have to forge our own path. I’ve noticed that other women who have gone into entrepreneurship have gone into it a little bit later in their lives after they’ve tried to succeed or hit a glass ceiling in corporate. And they’ve innovated and ‘entrepreneured’ as much as they could within an organization, but ultimately got frustrated, but learned much and took it to their own companies where they’re coming up with disruptive innovations and business models, even that you wouldn’t imagine a man coming up with because they’re kind of ‘connect the dots’ business models with deep domain expertise.
A very different pathway in entrepreneurship from say the guy in a garage, in a hoodie, in his early 20s. Why do you think that women are more attracted to entrepreneurship? Is it really because we don’t really fit in, in that corporate culture and it’s not changing fast enough?
Nancy Michieli: So I think one of the big reasons why women choose to do it is because of being mothers and that there’s a lot of desire to be able to be a great mother and balance the work and managing a family. And so I think one of the things that corporations have in their processes is as women take time off to have children and have family, they somehow times get like putting a peg into a hole that says, “Okay, now you can’t move as fast because you’ve lost X number of years of service.” Or that, “Oh, you’re going to want to take time off to take your child to a doctor’s appointment or to do these different things.” And I think as women who really want to be that superhero of being a great mom and really good in business, the only way we can do that is by breaking out of this mold, of having to work 9:00 to 5:00 and be able to create a business that allows that freedom to do more things and to create.
As well, I think our creativity gets stymied a bit in the corporate world because we’re trying to follow rules and women are so naturally creative. Creativity is a feminine energy. It comes from the fact that women are the only people able to give birth. And when we connect with that creativity, I think going into entrepreneurship and building our own is a space where we recognize that we have more freedom.
Melinda Wittstock: I think this is so true. So is this why you founded Luv2bMe? I want you to talk a little bit about what Luv2bMe does and who it serves and what led you to launch it.
Nancy Michieli: So Luv2bMe is actually about teaching women, how to fall back in love with their natural voice and the person that they are, so that they can go and negotiate. Feels better in masculine world so that they can perform better from a leadership perspective and not have this fear that they need to do it the man’s way. And so the reason I choose fun, flirty and fabulous is in the corporate world, the concept of flirty is like a word that people resist because they think it means sexual. And the reality is in the Oxford dictionary for flirty, it means without sexual intent. And so when we get to be our flirty selves, when we get to be more of that feminine charm, studies at Berkeley University, indicate that women who have feminine charm and that flirty nature actually can negotiate significantly better than if they just use that cool, friendly perspective.
And so for me, I want a woman to walk into a room and I don’t care if she has been mucking out the stalls with the horses, or she is dressed to the ninth for a fabulous party. But she carries with her this incredible energy that people just stop and notice without even necessarily knowing her, but says, “I am confident and comfortable being me and that I enjoy it.” And that we all kind of are a little bit jealous of, because there seems to be this real, amazing, inner confidence that just glows. And she raises the energy in the room just by being there.
Melinda Wittstock: This is so interesting too, when it comes to all aspects of what a female founder does in the business. So let’s take sales, for instance. A masculine way to go about sales is pursuit. Like literally you’re out there and you’re going for the wildebeest. Women have the ability, though, to attract, right? A more enrollment or relationship sell. When you break down all these different things, or just how you create a team culture, all the different aspects of entrepreneurship, how does fun, flirty and fabulous play into these different rules? Like say for instance, sales, starting there.
Nancy Michieli: Well, if you think of sales, if you go into a restaurant, for example, and a waitress comes up to you, waitresses make better tips if they’ve got that little bit of flirtiness. That little bit of just kind of making you feel really great in the process of ordering food, making that dinner special. And as somebody who’s also a trained Sommelier, my goal in that process was to actually help my clients be able to choose fabulous wine that paired beautifully so that it elevated them in that moment. And I think it’s one of those things that when women bring this fun, flirty, fabulous into sales, we can help elevate the person that we’re with so that (a) they don’t feel like they’re getting sold, but (b) they feel so good and that they know that what they’re buying or engaging with, isn’t just a widget. But it is something about helping them connect with being the person that they want to be in life.
Melinda Wittstock: I think that’s so profound because when things are enjoyable, like life is just much better. So, from the point of view of launching your own company, I see so many entrepreneurs really be also focused on the destination that they missed the journey. Because there is another dynamic of this too, is having fun along the way and enjoying yourself. Do you think women confuse flirtatiousness with frivolousness somehow?
Nancy Michieli: I think definitely, especially in high performing women, that’s actually a really good description. Is that when you’re flirty, are you frivolous? Or are you not good enough? This whole sense that we’re not good enough, or we’re not worthy if we use a little bit of flirtation in our methodology, but the reality is when you can flirt just naturally, your self-esteem is high. And the reality is you cannot have too much self-esteem because when you have really good self-esteem and high self-esteem, that means you feel that you’re equal to the person that you were with. You’re not above them or below them. And people who are naturally flirty have that really high self-esteem within them.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. So I see so many women having outer confidence, but inside there’s often a subconscious imposter syndrome. Like I’m going to be found out at some point, because someone’s going to find out. That kind of imposter syndrome really that ties into just lack of self worth. And often it’s deeply subconscious though. It’s not something that you would necessarily see on the outside or even the woman concerned would even be aware of, but it’s lurking there. I think in most women.
Nancy Michieli: It is. And we all have these things subconsciously within our background. And until we actually slow down and connect physically with our body to go, how is my body feeling in this situation? You don’t actually start to recognize these subconscious little things that are happening and these subconscious patterns. I was listening the other day to an interesting audio book. And one of the things they indicated is that the sense of fear actually happens within 14 milliseconds for your brain to actually trigger that where the sense of touch is like 400 milliseconds.
And so when things happen subconsciously, we may not even realize that we’re reacting to them because it happens so instantaneously and our brain is designed to actually protect us. So it will cause us to go think somewhere else, to feel somewhere else, so that we don’t experience that discomfort. And so when we have self-esteem issues that are rooted subconsciously, we really need someone to help us to bring those to the forefront, so that we can actually relax and be the best version of who we are.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, you do a lot of things. You’re a rapid transformational therapy practitioner, a hypnotist in addition to being the [inaudible 00:24:58] and the chemical engineer and the ballroom dancer. You’re a Renaissance woman. Which is all extremely, like, it’s so exciting to talk to somebody who really has a kind of well-rounded lots of interests and clearly enjoying life. Talk to me a little bit about RTT or rapid transformational therapy, because as we go on this journey to reclaim our self-esteem, there’s all kinds of stuff that we have to release. It’s like whether it was something that we learned about ourselves or thought about ourselves and invented a story around at age three, that’s still ruling us, or whether it’s just society as a whole and all the pressures we feel to fit in. Take me through that process and what you do to help women to regain that self-esteem.
Nancy Michieli: Yeah. So RTT was designed by Marisa Peer and it is a form of hypnosis combined with neuro-linguistic programming and cognitive behavior therapy. And so when Marisa designed this, she took classical hypnosis. And because of her background in psychology, she was able to create this process that’s really beautiful. And I first trained in classical hypnosis, and then I’ve upgraded to the process that Marisa has put together and I’m certified in her process. And what this is, is we go back and take a look at… In the hypnotic state, it’s so much easier for me to help you discover subconsciously what your blocks are versus coaching, where it will take me longer to have those conversations. It may take a few weeks to happen. In the hypnotic state, you relax your conscious minds. We get it out of the way and your subconscious mind comes forward.
And it gives you a chance to kind of rewind some of those stories and messages that are within your mind. And then what my favorite part of this process of RTT. And I originally learned it in classical hypnosis, but it’s just the order that Marisa puts it in, in RTT, that makes it really powerful. Is at the start of the session, I work with my clients to figure out what they would be like in their future if they gave up this procrastination, whatever experience they’re currently having that’s preventing them from being the greatest version of themselves. And then I create the beautiful visual. It’s almost like a guided visualization, but you do it in the hypnotic state, which is deeper and allows us to rewire the brain faster than just standard guided visualization. And I create these custom pictures for people of their new life.
And what is great about hypnosis is that you’re experiencing it in such a relaxed way that your mind doesn’t know the difference between what is really happening and what it thinks is happening. So it feels like it’s a movie and that you’re within your own movie, doing that activity. And your mind and body start to align with it, the more you listen to this transformational recording. And I’ve had people have like incredible, like blow my mind away results from doing this because we were able to get so clear as to who they were and to take people from overcoming fears of a photographer who was behind the camera, who wanted to be in front of the camera. Teaching women, how to present themselves on camera and she wanted to do it, not in New York City, but in somewhere beautiful and sunny and warm.
And literally within weeks of doing this, she picked up and moved to Hawaii permanently. And within a few short months started to have a really successful business by teaching women to be on camera. So it’s amazing how we can start to change people’s mindsets and help them rewrite and rewire the brain using this RTT process.
Melinda Wittstock: And you think of so many of those subconscious blocks that people have, like, whether it’s about money, because everybody has some variation of some sort of money block tied to deserving or whatever. A lot of people definitely like in the lack of self-worth can translate into things like procrastination or perfectionism or all these sorts of things that stand in the way of really growing a business or asking for help.
Nancy Michieli: Exactly. Fear of success.
Melinda Wittstock: Fear of success is a big one for women. I think it’s interesting you raise that because most people talk about fear of failure. I think for women often it is actually a fear of success. And underneath that fear of success, do you think it’s kind of a fear of loneliness? Like if I succeed, then other women won’t like me. I’ll intimidate men, yada, yada.
Nancy Michieli: Yeah. So, that is my biggest fear. And I worked through it as I worked through the next levels of my organization. What will my friends think? How will my husband respond if I am more successful than him? How will the corporate world see me? This one for me has been like a really interesting one is as I move, everybody knows me as an engineer and a very successful engineer. As I move into doing hypnosis, will people think that I’m less than because even though I can be more successful in hypnosis and running my own business. Like, it’s amazing what things go through our minds that we need to reprogram. And as you level up, you’re going to hit your next roadblocks.
So maybe you feel comfortable, as you said, money with I’m comfortable earning $100,000 a year, but uncomfortable being someone who earns $200,000 or a million dollars or 10 million, whatever those are. We have different kind of thresholds that we’re comfortable at and then breaking through that is really where we need to see what is going on in our subconscious.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely right. What I’ve come to learn through my own entrepreneurial career and also all of the hundreds of women that I’ve interviewed on this podcast, that the clearest prediction of success is aligning your personal growth to your business growth, because as an entrepreneur, there are so many things that are thrown at you that you can’t control. You get tested every single day. So eliminating these blocks and these subconscious beliefs and finding that confidence, all these things are like a vital part of a toolkit for any entrepreneur.
Nancy Michieli: Yeah. I think it’s very true. And I think that’s why you also see a lot of people who are in the coaching business or in this have their own personal coaches. I was thinking about this earlier today, but neurosurgeons can’t operate on themselves. They need someone else to come in and take them and sometimes remind them that you need help in this area. No different than anybody who is being an entrepreneur. If you want to move forward, you need to realize that the path of entrepreneurism is a journey. And at each step of the journey, you need to align yourself with a mentor or with potentially a coach or somebody who’s going to help you recognize where your triggers are. That are holding you back and give you guidance, help you work through those blocks so that you can move on to the next level.
And each stage may require a different coach or a different mentor or a different somebody who’s there to help you to move yourself forward.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. Well, I want to make sure that everybody knows how to take advantage of what you’re doing with RTT and can connect with you. I’d love to be me and of course, you have a podcast and everything as well. Tell us all the best way to connect with you, Nancy, and work with you.
Nancy Michieli: So the best way is actually to go to my website, at nancymichielicoaching.com. I’m in the process of launching a new program on procrastination. So how to overcome procrastination, things that are holding us back, as well on there is a free self-confidence booster. So it’s 60 seconds to boost your self-confidence. A free little mini training so that it can set you just in the right frame when you’re going into a business meeting, or you just need to feel good for the day. It’s five little mini videos, and each video teaches you a new little activity so that you have the 62nd practice. And it’s as simple as 60 seconds to change your mind, to change your body, if you’re feeling uncomfortable and want to go forward. I’m also available on Instagram at Nancy Michieli and on Facebook at Nancy Michieli Coaching. So I would love to hear from you and help you.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Nancy Michieli: Thank you very much for having me. This has been awesome.