Nina L. Kovner people passion purpose podcast courage hd

Nina L. Kovner Courage + Being Brave + Walking The Talk

In this episode Nina shares a recent experience she had getting stuck on a highway, alone, at night, in the mountains, in a snowstorm, and all the lessons she learned about being brave, our capacity for strength in scary situations, and the incredible kindness of strangers. Warning: this story may cause some fear and anxiety, but the lessons shared may be worth the temporary discomfort you may feel. You can find Nina on the gram @passionsquared 

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Your experience matters. We would be so grateful if you shared your experience with our podcast by leaving a review. It matters to us, and so do you. Thank you- Nina

Passion Squared Lessons from Dad Blog Header

5 Awesome Life Lessons From My Dad

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway. -Mother Teresa

The above passage from Mother Teresa was my Dad’s favorite. With Father’s Day around the corner, the loss of my Dad almost 5 years ago feels just as painful as the day we said goodbye to him. I think of him every single day. There is always something there to remind me (cue Naked Eyes song).

There are so many mentors and heroes in our lives that we have all learned something from, and as this world moves faster and faster, it feels good to create space and reflect on those lessons. As the wisdom that had been gifted to us can help continue to guide our journeys, even when those people have left us.

Dads Awesome Life Lessons

  1. Stand up for what you believe in, even when it’s unpopular.
  2. Humor is an awesome way to connect + make people feel more comfortable.
  3. It’s OK to keep your circle small; spend your time with those you love.
  4. We can agree to disagree. Where there is mutual respect, there is always love.
  5. Compassion above all else. Always.

My Dad was one of the most compassionate humans I have ever known. And it all makes sense, he chose being a doctor as his life’s work. He healed people, using both his brain, his wisdom and most importantly his heart.

And here’s the thing, we had our moments, really tough ones in fact, as all families and relationships do. But I do not regret a second of it. And most importantly, I spent every waking moment with him I could. Each one of those moments is forever tattooed on my heart. And while I wish to God he was here right now, I can say, with my whole heart, that I am the person I am today because of the gifts my Dad gave me.

No matter what is happening with your family relationships at this moment, ask yourself this one thing… If they were gone tomorrow, would you wish you would have said or done something differently? If the answer is yes, please, I beg you, go do that thing. Then, when the time comes that they move into the other world, you will be able to smile, like I am right now, through all the tears, knowing you did not let a moment pass or a word left unsaid.

To all the awesome Dads reading this, Happy Fathers Day. For all those who have lost their Dad, I am sending you an extra dose of love.

Miss you Daddy. Happy Fathers Day in heaven.

Love + Gratitude-


PS: If you want to read more about my awesome Dad, you can Google Dr. Victor L. Kovner. He was quite a bad ass on so many levels.

Clean Eating Challenge blog Passion Squared

7 Lessons From My Clean Eating Challenge

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Unknown origin

This may be the most honest blog I have ever written, and as promised, here is my experience from my 28 day clean eating challenge. While I choose to share a lot of my life experiences, one area I have not talked about often is my life long battle with eating disorders. From the age of 12, I was forced onto the scale for my morning weigh in, and that quickly turned into a daily recording of my weight, which catapulted into anorexia, bulimia, as well as taking insane amounts of amphetamines and laxatives, all before I graduated high school.

You see, self worth, esteem and love have never come easy to me. The reasons are unimportant, that is for me and my therapist to sort, but what is important is the understanding that we all are walking through life with old beliefs, fears, and stories we tell ourselves about who we are, what we are and why we are.

So when I was approached by a dear friend to try something new, I was scared. This was not about the extra weight I have been carrying for the last several years, no, it was about the what if… what if I fall back into my old behaviors, what if I fail, what if I can’t, what if… And eventually, I said screw the what if’s, I need to do this.

My Why
Why did I say yes this time? Several reasons, but mostly because I had a major health scare at the exact time I was losing my sweet baby Zen to cancer. Around that same time, I had a family member with a very similar health scare, but in this case, it was not a scare, it was real. Hello universe, I can hear you.

Lastly, and probably the most motivating factor, was that I am in the empowerment business. And I pride myself on walking my talk, and being my true authentic self, and that fact was, I was broken and feeling, well, not empowered. So how the heck can I help others if I am not helping myself? That was the last straw. As the great Friedrich Nietzsche said, “he who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Here are 7 of the many lessons I learned on this 28-day clean eating challenge…

1. When you are ready, you are ready, and not a moment sooner.
It’s really not about the program, the outfit, the timing, the Fitbit, the app, the shoes, the deal, whatever. No, it’s about when we are ready, and not a moment sooner. Bummer, I know, I was really hoping just wearing my Fitbit would make me stronger. #not

2. Desperation is sometimes the only thing that will motivate us.
We are all motivated by different things; this is both a personal lesson and a leadership lesson. And sometimes desperation helps. For some it may not, but being aware of what motivates us, and others if we are a leader, matters.

3. We are not the old stories we tell ourselves.
OMG if we could all just erase those old tapes we play, man, would life be different. But that is not how it works. So whatever you need to do to calm that self talk, do it. Whether its meditation, breath work, therapy, affirmations, espresso shots, dancing, playing on Snapchat, whatever, until we learn how to become present and shut those voices out, we will live in a perpetual state of self sabotage.

4. Clean eating is not easily accessible to all. Easily is the key word.
Now I know this is going to be controversial, and I am ONLY speaking of my experience. Part of my clean eating challenge was a Facebook Group, and while I did not engage often, (I’m not a joiner), I did see how many struggled with finding “organic” foods and other things the people in metro areas had access to i.e. Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sprouts, etc. And while some things are available on the Internet, it just was not easy for many. Being in So Cal, I have access to all the best stores, and can get fresh avo’s and berries all day long, at a fairly affordable price. And let’s not forget, the cost. Organic is generally more expensive, and I did spend more money on food than I ever have. Again, its not impossible to eat clean, not at all, it’s just not easy. It takes focus, mindfulness, creativity, and a budget. And for those of us who are not so awesome in the kitchen, there is no doubt it’s a bit more difficult. And that is the truth. Again, not easy, but possible.

5. Trust your gut, literally.
There were certain things I was asked to do that I did not. First was weighing myself and taking measurements. Nope. Not gonna do it. Why? Its not healthy for me to do so given my history of eating disorders. I trust my gut. It knows if it feels good. I was asked to remove caffeine from my diet. Nope. Never. Gonna. Happen. I’m not addicted to caffeine, I had to go without it for 35 days in rehab, no problem, but I enjoy my morning espresso, and have no desire to remove it from my life. Lastly, there was a portion of the program that required a certain drink to take daily, upon looking at the ingredients; I determined it was not healthy for me, so I declined. Again, your body knows. Be open, but be sure everything passes your own gut check.

6. It’s not about the product or program, its about willingness and action.
Willingness to take action is the bottom line when making any change, in business and in life. And while some programs or products may be better than others, at the end of the day, it all comes down to our decision to take action. Always.

7. Perfectionism leads to guaranteed self sabotage
OMG, if I said this a million times, I could not say it enough. The idea that we are supposed to be this vision of perfect that we have in our heads is probably the biggest thing that holds us back. I was asked early in the challenge if I had “cheated”. That right there is the trap. Cheated? What does that mean? You mean eaten or drank something not on the “approved list”? Who cares! We are not here to be perfect, we are here to be awesome, and whatever that means to you, go for it! Create your own rules, let your conscious be your guide, you know you the best.

Many have asked me what program I was on. Here’s the thing. As I mentioned in Lesson 6, it’s not about the product or program, and I do not recommend or endorse any program, cause that would be super subjective, nor am I qualified in that area, so it would merely be my opinion. And even with that, there are so many factors. But here is what I will do. I will tell you that it was that ONE person who approached me at the right time, held out her hand, and gifted me this program. It was her passion for what she believed in and my belief in her that was a big part of me saying yes. If you would like to learn more about the program I was on, please contact my dear friend Meghan.

And there you have it. Twenty-eight days of lessons. How do I feel? Awesome, clear, focused, strong and a tad bit hungry! Have I stayed on the program? Yes and NO. I have pretty much eaten a loaf of bread and a pound of butter since it ended. But I am holding onto the things that I learned about myself, which foods make me feel strong and which make me feel off, and I will continue on my journey of empowerment, grateful for the awesome days, and the not so awesome days. Learning each day how to best fuel my mind, body and spirit.

And a big shout out of gratitude to my girl Meghan, for showing up when I was ready, and not a moment sooner. And to all my family, friends and community for cheering me on every step of the way. Trust, I could not have done it without you, kinda like biz and life, having you on this journey matters a shit ton to me. Thank you.

Love + Awesomeness-

NOTE: While I was not paid or required to write this blog, I was gifted a 28 day program. Our agreement was if I was inspired to share my experience, I would. This is totally my choice in sharing my experience and in no way an endorsement or recommendation of any product or program. #transparency #authenticity

Delays + Denials

All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.  – J.M Barrie, Creator of Peter Pan


Here is the audio version of this post. It’s my first time recording on a new computer in my new space, so its a bit wonky, it will get better. Thank you so much for understanding and listening. Enjoy.

For the last 7 months, I have been overwhelmed with the process of selling my house and deciding where I would be moving myself, my canine babies and Passion Squared. Talk about an experience in patience and trust. OMG, there were days and weeks I was not sure I would survive.

Being overwhelmed by all the stops and starts and mistakes. Not knowing when or if, or as my therapist says, being in a forever “hallway”. Ugh, hallways, seriously one of the worst places to be. So why am I sharing this in my blog?

For months I have been thinking about how I would share my experience once I came out the other side. So here I sit today, finally out of the hallway and into my new space, and new chapter.

So what did I learn?

A delay is not always a denial.
When I think back on my life, I am so grateful for the things that did not go my way, as much as I am for the things that did. And many times, the things I wanted so badly, were not actually the best things for me. I trust that the Universe or what ever you want to call it knows. The more I learn to trust and pay attention, the more I see this as truth.

Life is one series of lessons.
When I choose to look at it that way, things get a little bit easier and actually become funny in a way. Cause seriously, many times, all I could do was laugh, in between tears of course. What makes life so awesome is the lessons, if we can see them and learn from them. Isn’t that why we are here?

Wants and needs are very different.
What I wanted was my house to sell in 5 seconds so I could get on with my life, no interruptions, nothing. Realistic? Hell no! What I needed was to trust that the people I put in charge of selling my house knew what they were doing, and that the perfect buyer would come, eventually. Patience is still not my strong suit. And I made a huge mistake choosing my first realtor. So I own my decision, make better choices, and move forward. And trust that if I do my part, my needs will be met. Even when it’s not on my perfect timeline.

What is right for you is not necessarily right for me.
This is one of the biggest reminders for me during this process. You see, I had to sit for a long time in my decision to buy a house in the first place. Looking in the mirror is never easy. I purchased a home because that is what I thought I was supposed to do. So many people told me that was what I was supposed to do. You know, the American dream thing? Well, guess what? That is total BS.

In looking through years of decisions I have made, I realized many of them were based on what other people thought. What other people said. Not on what felt right for me. So here I sit, realizing again that so much of my life was built based on others thoughts and opinions. Not everyone is meant to be a homeowner, or a business owner for that matter. For reals. We all have a path. We all have skill sets. But to assume what is right for you is right for me is what gets so many of us in trouble. With life, leadership, and even home ownership.

So today, as I sit in my new loft space in downtown LA, with all the sights and sounds, the energy, the aliveness, I am finally at peace. Knowing that this was all just another awesome lesson, in this crazy journey called life. And today, I am grateful for the delays and denials. I am grateful for everything.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)