How the Arts Take DEI to the Next Level 

This past weekend, I attended a statewide arts conference. Like most creatives, I spent the majority of the past two years in professional isolation, trying to make the best of the situation but ultimately falling short because the arts are collaborative. We collaborate with each other, we make music with each other, and we share that creative energy with the audience during performances.

Needless to say, being a part of the conference was cathartic and meaningful for many, including myself. That feeling of…

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Can Burning Bridges Be a Good Thing? 

The music community is small. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows you. Character is everything; that includes making sure you don't burn bridges (leave employment on poor terms). Or does it?

I tend to be a people pleaser, so the idea of burning bridges used to mortify me. In the past year, I've burned two...on purpose. I felt that my professional dignity was at stake. In retrospect, I have no regrets. The comfort of knowing I'm not going to be in those work situations again outweighs the…

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When Tension Gets Out of Control - 3 Ways to DeStress 

When personalities collide or the latest disaster hits the news-cycle, 
the physical tension can be almost unbearable. 

All the self care in the world can't seem to stop the emotional response of some trauma.  It doesn't mean you're not taking care of yourself.  It doesn't mean you're crazy.  These times are intense.

Here are my favorite go-to ways to ground myself and manage the tension:
  1. Breathe.
    Slow, deep breaths calm the Vagus nerve and stop the fight-or-flight symptoms of your parasympathetic…
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Accepting Feedback - 4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Criticism 

We've all been there...our egos get bruised from feedback (solicited or unsolicited) and we feel the need to either defend ourselves or hide away and lick our wounds.  In fact, a recent study by Tasha Eurich showed that even those of use who are great at learning from feedback still feel the same emotional pain initially. 

That emotional pain lights up the same areas of the brain as physical pain, according to neurological studies, so of course we don't like the immediate, and apparently universally human…

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Why a Predictable Character Matters – 3 Reasons for Consistency in Leadership 

In a pedagogy class, the professor told us it was good to keep students off balance, that it was a positive if they didn't know where they stood with you. This was the opposite of what I found to be true in my leadership experience. If people know where they stand with you, they're not wasting energy trying to prove themselves. They don't to manage the anxiety caused by working for someone who is a "loose cannon," someone who's actions and reactions are unpredictable.

While my professor may have thought this…

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Self-Care: Four Ways in Which Mindset Matters 

Being an overachiever was my M.O. in my early adult years.  Graves disease and back problems forced me to prioritize self-care in my thirties, but it wasn't easy.  I was devastated that I wasn't able to work full-time and do everything I wanted to do.  I had mindsets I had to change in order to embrace a life that didn't require me to always be achieving to matter.

Here are the four main mindset changes I had to make:

  • You are more than your job.

However you define your job (by your ability to make…

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Five Life Lessons I've Learned Through Managing Chronic Pain  

I've been managing chronic pain for over twelve years.  Although I've found strategies and a health support team to increase my mobility and decrease the pain over this time, I'd given up on finding any answers as to why.

I recently found a physical therapist who was able to put the pieces together in a way in which all of my symptoms made sense.  I was hit by a car when I was a young child and had emergency surgery for a lacerated liver, after which my neuromuscular system recovered in some not-so-healthy…

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Recovering from the Great Resignation - What Your Team Needs 

I'm constantly having conversations with professionals as an aspect of my coaching business, and what I'm hearing over and over again from people in their fifties, sixties, and even forties is that they are just wanting to retire.  Some are burnt out, others are grappling with the disillusionment of their career choices (such as my colleagues in the music industry), and some have felt devalued for so long that they're just done.

A recent study by Ben Zweig and Donald and Charles Sull revealed the main…

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Ubuntu and Inspirational Leadership 

I use the African word ubuntu to help my clients who have trouble asking for help 
to realize that they've already received an endless amount of support already
and that their journey to success is not theirs alone, but a community effort,
whether or not they embrace it.

The concept is much more complicated than that
and to simplify it as part of a leadership model
could be interpreted as cultural misappropriation.

To disregard it's importance in leadership altogether
would be a great loss, however,
for the tenets…

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Four Ways to Help a Stressed-Out Team Focus 

Friends and clients are confiding in me that it's incredibly challenging to focus right now.  That should be no surprise to leaders everywhere as we've maneuvered two years of "unprecedented" times with the pandemic and its workplace, political, and societal upheavals only to have a war in Ukraine, inflation, and supply chain problems unfold.

I know, I didn't want to be reminded of all that either, but our brains are always trying to figure these things out it in the background in order to keep us safe…

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I would definitely recommend working with Nancy to help anyone feeling stuck and unable to move forward in their goals.


Working with Nancy helped me overcome a significant block in my career concerning success.


I felt a shift in my thinking from a limited mindset, always focusing on what things I had to be before considering myself a success, to a new space of accepting my successes as they appear and feeling more grateful for those.


Elissa Nesheim

Elissa Sue Watercolors

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