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.


Follow Your HEART

Why I Wrote Follow Your HEART

“Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”

Alfred Adler


Follow Your HEART

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

After recording the Masters Series interview with Winn Claybaugh, a question he asked has been heavy on my mind. The question was “Who did I write my book for?” In between all the laughs, and tears of that interview, it really made me think.

Winn and Nina

While that would seem like such a simple question, it made me think about why I felt compelled to write the book in the first place, and what I was hoping the book would be in the hearts and minds of those who read it.

The message I was trying to communication was that the world wants us to live our purpose. And to me, that means following our heart. By writing down my journey and sharing it, it helped me get more honest  and clear about what it takes to live an authentic life.

But the simplicity of that is what many times gets people confused. It is not an easy path to take; it’s actually the most difficult. Because in following our heart, we live on the edges of the society, we seek meaningful relationships and projects, we care deeply, and almost so much it hurts at times. We are seen many times as crazy, which you know, we are. We get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We embrace uncertainly. We are driven by our passions.

However, that does not mean that we are not thinking. We are thinking, actually more in many cases than those who choose to walk through life following someone else’s heart. We are strategic. We crystal clear in what feels awesome and what does not.

So why did I write my book? To challenge the seekers like myself, to open up a dialogue about living our purpose, to push those on the edge, and to share the experience and tools of my journey, in hopes of helping others live an awesomely authentic life.

Following our hearts is simple, but it requires we bring our brains with us, and that my friends, is the most awesome combination of all.

Love + Awesomeness-


PS: A big shout out of thanks to my friend Winn for the opportunity to share my story. And to all who have invested in my book and are on the path to authentic awesomeness, thank you, I am so grateful for you.

Click here to hear my interview with Winn Claybaugh. To purchase my book, in either ebook, audio book or a printed and signed copy, click here.

Molly Deimeke

Social Good

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

Herman Melville


Molly Deimeke










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

This is a story about social good. And about a beautiful hairdresser I know named Molly. And how some awesome heroes, and Facebook, saved her life.

We have become so jaded it seems, complaining about the platforms we choose to be on, about the ugliness that is shared, about the political rants. But while all of that is going on, something awesome happened. A life was saved.

Molly decided to follow her heart and travel the world. Something many dream of, but she had the courage to do it. I have been following her adventures via Facebook, as her family and friends had been too. To watch her have so much joy and freedom, so much adventure and happiness was so inspiring.

Then something happened. She had an accident. In Laos. She had no ID on her. She was going to die.

A few brave and selfless heroes saved her life. They needed to find her family. Find out her last name. Find her belongings. Find treatment. And it was done via Facebook.

Dianna Sholomon

You see, the social web is what we make it. Just like anything. We can find it empowering, for ourselves, our communities and our businesses, or we can be mad at it. We can choose to add value to the conversation, or muddy it up with ugliness and TMI. We can choose to let it connect us, or push us away. It’s a choice. I am so grateful Molly, her family, her friends and the heroes that saved her life chose to use Facebook as a way to connect and share. As a way to stay in touch. A way in which it is meant to be used.

Molly has a long road to recovery ahead of her. If you feel inspired to share this story, share. If you feel inspired to donate to Molly’s recovery, click here Molly Deimeke GoFundMe.

To learn more about Molly’s story and the heroes who saved her life, click here. And bring the tissues. You will need it.

Love + Awesomeness-

Just Ship It

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do. -Henry Ford

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

How many great biz ideas do you have right now that you have not taken action on? How many times have you talked about doing something awesome and never followed through?

Many of us can relate to the questions above, and its what I call a shipping problem.

You see, we can have all the most awesome ideas in the world, but unless we “ship” them, launch them, initiate them; they are just awesome ideas that will never have any impact on our business or the world.

If you find yourself unable to ship, there may be a few things happening that you need to explore.

Are you afraid?
Do you not have the resources or knowledge?
Do you have too much on your to-do list?
Are you a perfectionist?

All of these things are real and worth exploring, but not always an excuse to not ship your idea.  Now I’m not talking about a $100K remodel, I am talking about ideas, programs, products or services that can bring value to your world and help grow your biz.

Typically, what I have found working with my clients and community, is it is all four that stop so many from creating awesome. So lets break it down.

Most of us fear failure to some degree. But if we are going to ever create awesome, we have to use that fear as creative fuel, bust through, and do it anyway. It’s takes a TON of courage to create stuff. And even more courage to launch and ship it.

Resources + Knowledge
In today’s world, there are a gazillion resources at our fingertips as well as information to help us ship our idea. We just have to want it bad enough to find those resources and knowledge.

The To-Do List
In order to do important things; we have to let go of our obsession with the to-do list. If we get really honest with ourselves, most of the stuff on that list can be deleted, moved or delegated.

Is deadly. The idea that something is ever going to be perfect enough is one of the most dangerous thoughts we have. Why? It can prevent us from doing just about anything. And guess what? It’s never going to be perfect. Ever. Its not meant to be perfect and neither are we.

I wrote my new book, Follow Your Heart, on January 1, 2013. I sat on it for almost 9 months. Why? Fear, my perceived lack of resources, knowledge and my to-do list.  I have long lost the need for anything to be perfect, however, this did creep into my head when I recorded the audio version of the book. For real’s. Upon listening to the book, I began to judge its contents, to the degree that I had to stop listening or I probably would not have shipped.

As I prepare to finally release my book into the universe on January 26th, I see how I was 100% responsible for not shipping. Regret? Never. But what an incredible lesson it was for me, to always remember to look in the mirror, and realize my ability to create awesome and ship awesome is my choice.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)