#QandAwesome 43 Perfectionism + Courage

In this episode of #QandAwesome, I talk the dangerous side of perfectionism. It takes courage to drop the excuses and create. And while it’s uncomfortable, the truth is everything awesome in life is generally uncomfortable. Thank you so much for watching! 


Passion Squared Go To Tools Header

My Tools for Creating Awesome

You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow. Unknown

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

So many tools, so many ways to create awesome. I am asked often what my preferred tools and platforms are. And some change quite often, some stay the same. But before I get into the actual tools, here is what you need to know…

No matter what tools you have, they are meaningless without choosing to create, choosing to be consistent, choosing to engage, choosing to create value, choosing to commit, choosing to find the courage to do stuff that matters. And with that, here are just some of the tools I use for creating awesome every day at Passion Squared…

WordPress (I recommend Squarespace for my clients)
Professional Web Designer + Programmer (You can’t afford NOT to!)

Audacity (audio blog)


Social Platforms + Communities
YouTube (video hosting)

WHY these? Because my community and clients engage there. How do you learn where your clients engage? Ask.

Professional Designer (always start here!)
Canva.com (blog graphics, Facebook covers, and so much more!
PicMonkey.com (words on graphics in my own brand font, WIN!)
WordSwag (quote graphics, words over pictures)
PicStitch (lots of graphics in one graphic)
Afterlight (framing graphics)
iPhone #duh

QuickTime Player (for shooting #QandAwesome)
iMovie (for editing #QandAwesome)
Flipagram (graphics set to music)
PicPlayPost (graphics + video)
iPhone (Instavids, Zen snoring, stuff like that!)

Webinars + A School Workshops
Go-To Webinar

Client One On One Sessions + Client Team Meetings
Go-To Meeting

Proof Reading + Copyrighting
Spell check (try it some time!)
#teamawesome at Passion Squared

Keeping My Mind Right
Energy Healing
Serving Others

Again, tools matter, but what matters more than tools is commitment, consistency, courage and choice.

Want to learn how to create more awesome in your career, life + biz? If you are a creative small biz owner, check out A School for Owners. If you are in school or recently graduated, check out A School for New Professionals. In A School, you get a ton of love, support + brain food, all in a safe, sacred space.

Love + Awesomeness-


Nina L. Kovner Beauty School

5 Lessons from My Beauty School Experience

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. -Coco Chanel

Like it was yesterday, I will never forget my first day of beauty school. Butterflies, fear, excitement, and awe, how was it possible that I was actually going to live my dream? OMG.

Getting to this day was far from easy. And I mean FAR FROM EASY. Just to give you some context, I was a very lost young person, nearly failed out of high school, was forced into the college experience for which I was far from ready. It was 1987. I had run out of options. Totally cut off financially as I chose to leave college, I mean, when you get straight F’s, what else are you supposed to do?

My namesake asked her hairdresser about schools, and just like that I got a referral to Potomac Academy of Hair Design in Falls Church, Virginia. But the battle was far from over. I was broke, working as a school bus driver, yes, that is not a typo, and could not qualify for any financial aid. My family was “too rich”, lol. So my awesome Mom found someone who would help me get a personal loan, as I needed money for school, plus living expenses for one year, and because of that dear family friend, I began to live my dream.

The thing was and still is, nothing has ever come easy for me. Not even beauty school. I was always kind of a tom boy, and hardly ever used a curling iron, blow-dryer, etc. But I did manage to cut the hair of every single creepy doll my Mom ever put in front of me, cause I mean, dolls were meant for cutting hair, not for playing with. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, because of my choice to leave college and pursue my dream, some family members stopped talking to me. For reals. It was sad, and odd, and typical at the time…1987. But I carried on, and became one of the best students in school. Getting all A’s and stuff like that. I also caused a bit of drama as I at one time decided to challenge the school on some things, got all “we the people” on them, but luckily that sorted itself out and I was not kicked out of school. Mind you, I had some experience getting kicked out of schools, as I was suspended twice in elementary school. Don’t ask, those stories may show up in my next book though.

Here are 5 lessons I learned from my beauty school experience…

1. Show Up
And I mean really show up. It’s hard, I know. I worked part time while going to school full time, then worked full time while finishing up school part time. It’s hard. Anything worth having is. Do whatever it takes to show up physically, emotionally and mentally.

2. Listen
While we may think we know everything, we do not. We just don’t. And there is always something to learn. Always. To this day, with all of the success and experience I have, I study every day. Yes, every day. Well, except Sundays, where I basically spoon my dogs all day.

3. Connect
Connect with every human you possibly can that has what you want. Teachers, other students, owners, artists, leaders, educators, everyone. It is one of the biggest reasons my career took off so quickly, as I made a huge effort to connect with those I wanted as mentors. And I still do.

4. Assist
Still to this day, one of my favorite jobs ever was when I was a shampoo girl all through school at a very successful salon, The Falls Salon in Great Falls Virginia. I learned so much there. The wisdom and experience I gained was only attainable by being in the salon, working my tail off, learning the ins and outs of everything from operations, to pace, to client care, to booking, to inventory, to blow-drying, to client building… and yes, sweeping, shampooing, ordering lunch, answering phones, doing laundry… All of it, priceless, and is one of the reasons I have been so successful in the professional beauty industry. Perspective and context, and it began by being a kick ass shampoo girl.

5. Follow Your Heart
As I wrote in my book Follow Your Heart, living a life of purpose and awesomeness is the greatest gift in the world. But it also takes a ton of work, and I don’t mean busy work, I mean smart work. Getting still and getting clear on what your heart + gut are telling you, then creating a road map to get there. The challenges will always be present, it is not the easy way, but it is the only way that will ever have true fulfillment. I implore you to stick it out, to surf the waves, to know that even when the road is bumpy, if your heart feels it, then you stick with it. No. Matter. What.

While I am no longer a licensed hairdresser, and have not done hair in the salon since 1991, my genetic code is set in stone. My purpose in the world has evolved to coach + mentor the people I love, and I am so grateful.

No matter what path you are on, it’s gonna take a ton of courage. So get ready for the ride of your life, and hold on tight, cause it’s gonna get bumpy, and even better, it’s gonna be awesome.


A Creative Process

Some people make things happen, some watch things happen, while others wonder
what has happened.  -Proverb

Here is the audio version of this post, thank you so much for listening.

Awesomeness in business and in life doesn’t just happen by accident; it’s a process.

Where It Begins
Its 3pm on the dot. It’s Sunday. I just prepared a delicious shot of espresso and turned on the Garden State soundtrack and lit a Marlboro light. It’s cool and rainy and grey, so unusual for la la land. And I am inspired to create this week’s blog.

Now, I could wait to Monday morning, which has been my process for a few years, but lately I am finding it more difficult and quite honestly too much pressure to put on myself. I mean, come on, a fresh written, recorded blog and newsletter, every Monday morning, to be sent before 7am? Yes. But no matter what, it happens. Why? I made a commitment. I know consistency matters. I keep my promises.

A Little Back Story
My mind has been racing the last few months, lots of change, shifts, emotions, plans, and with only 31 days left in 2014, I have a shit ton of awesomeness to create to kick off 2015 right. But because of my promise, I create space and processes to focus my mind.

We Move Towards What We Focus On
The topics for my posts come to me quite randomly yet are filled with intention and purpose. Understanding the promise of Passion Squared, I listen to my tribe and write for them, for you, and for me. Topics can come from a discussion, an interaction or situation with a client, an experience at a store, a movie or TV show.

This is my creative process. It’s messy, flawed, raw, authentic and yet strangely consistent. And I trust the process, doubts and all. Often I am asked how I manifested my career and created Passion Squared, what my process is…

Well, this is it. Above is my process for blog creation, workshop creation, talk creation, projects, and any other awesomeness I am working on.

Is There A System?
In my upcoming NEW coaching program A School, I break down my recipe for creating awesome in my business and my life. Many of the tools I have used for years to grow companies, and more recently, they are the tools I use to create an awesome life and business filled with purpose and authenticity for both myself and my clients. In the end though, you must make it your own, if you are going to own it, as only then will you stay committed and consistent.

So, just like that, one smoke down, 1 shot of espresso and 4 songs later on the Garden State soundtrack, my blog is complete. And this typically is where many begin to self sabotage their art.

Are You Self Sabotaging Your Creations?
Over-thinking, over analyzing, judging. All elements for never creating anything. Perfectionism paralyzes our thoughts, actions and awesomeness. Trust the process, put your heart into it, create it and let it out into the Universe for those who need it. Let it go.

Is It Really That Simple? Of Course Not.
Now, I will prep it in WordPress, create graphics and quotes on Canva and Word Swag, create a description, determine keywords, create links, test links, preview it, proof read it, fix most of the typos, preview it again, proof it again, record it, embed the recording, preview it again, and publish it. Then I’m off the create The Weekly Dose of Awesome, on MailChimp, my “every single Monday no matter what” love note to all of my awesome subscribers.

Commitment. Consistency. Courage. And most importantly, a process, which allows for all of this to happen week in and week out. What’s your process?

With love + gratitude-

PS: Want to be the first to hear about A School, click here to get your name on the awesome list.

PPS: When its all said and done, this post will have taken about 3 hours to publish, not including brain and bathroom breaks, which there are a few. It’s the little things, the details, the things you may not even be aware that you are seeing and feeling when engaging with this post that truly make things awesome.

The Owner

Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer.  -Unknown

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy.

Not everyone is meant to be a small business owner. And that is OK. There are leaders and followers, owners and team members. We each play a very important role in the world, no matter where we sit in it. After decades of working with and for owners, and now being one, I have learned a ton about what it takes to be an owner.

The owner arrives earlier.

The owner stays later.

The owner serves.

The owner leads.

The owner creates leaders.

The owner seeks.

The owner struggles.

The owner shines.

The owner is grateful.

The owner creates.

The owner gathers.

The owner connects.

The owner is consistent.

The owner is compassionate.

The owner communicates.

The owner coaches.

The owner gets coached.

The owner engages.

The owner empowers.

The owner listens.

The owner is honest.

The owner invests.

The owner fails.

The owner succeeds.

The owner learns.

The owner responds.

The owner commits.

The owner sources.

The owner solves.

The owner sacrifices.

The owner is passionate.

The owner perseveres.

The owner has boundaries.

The owner knows when to say yes.

The owner knows when to say no.

The owner laughs.

The owner loves.

The owner cries.

The owner cares.

The owner is brave.

The owner has courage.

Not everyone is meant to be an owner.

Are you?

(shared with love from Nina)