Nicole Seawell was a high-achieving attorney when her first baby plotted his own course by arriving three weeks early. Now with three teenage boys, she’s learned how to navigate the unique personalities within her family, channel her peak productivity, and ultimately guide others to do the same.
“My professional life kind of went topsy turvy,” she says about her jolting start to motherhood. “I didn’t value the supporting role enough. Once I did, I realized I’m actually excellent at supporting others to get done what they want to, and that has taken me from a good attorney to a great one.”
Nicole found her sweet spot when she “worked one leg in the business world and one leg in the legal world,” because she liked the fast pace of business.
“Where I found my special power was being able to be in both worlds,” she says.
“I was born under a productive star,” says Nicole, adding that she’s been told by Tibetan monks and Guatemalan ancient women that “I have a way of tuning into my ancestors’ wisdom and youth energy.”
“I’m able to see the path forward in any situation.”
Today, that means weaving together her work as an attorney with her husband’s law firm and her coaching business, Sailor’s Sweet Life, which is named after her golden retriever.
“I can’t have a more supportive partner in my legal work than the father of my children and my co-creator in life,” she says.
The ability to tap into prime opportunities for creativity and productivity has also helped Nicole’s coaching clients. In fact, she’s learned it’s not about dramatic, sweeping changes.
“Really what they’re looking for is helpful tweaks,” she says. “Inherently they are them, and they want to stay that way, but they want to be a more productive, more enjoyable version of themselves.”
It Takes a Village
At the root of Nicole’s mission to help families maximize joy and decrease stress are tools like Enneagram to learn about the unique personalities that can form our families and support systems.
“Ninety percent of the time you have good intention by people,” she says. Instead, “it’s miscommunication; people speak to one another like they’re speaking to themselves” that causes tension and stress within a family.
“There’s no better way than honoring each other by speaking to that person or acting with that person the way they want to be treated,” she says.
For Nicole, learning about her sons’ different personality types has been a game-changer.
She recalls feeling frustrated, thinking at the time, “I don’t understand, I’m doing the same thing” as a parent, until she realized, “they’re three different people.”
“It was like a light shone upon our family and so much stress disappeared,” she says.
As a fellow fast-talker, I found my conversation with Nicole energizing. But with her boys she’s learned to change her cadence and count in her head to give her son 20 seconds to respond.
“So much with teenagers is letting them talk when they want to,” she says.
Even so, Nicole believes that every stage of parenting comes with its own challenges. She believes the “enjoy every minute, it goes so fast” reminder commonly dished out to parents of young children is “cruel advice.”
“It is magical, but it’s absolutely exhausting,” she recalls.
And if you don’t love every stage of parenting, Nicole doesn’t believe that mom guilt is necessary either.
“Spare yourself all of that and be your own champion by arming yourself with tools that help you get through it,” she says.
“Along that whole spectrum, if you know you and if you’re doing this with someone else and you know them, this can be so much more of an enjoyable journey.”
As an achiever married to a perfectionist, Nicole and her husband took the time to learn about each other’s personalities and communication styles.
“We conscientiously–when they were real little–figured out how we work well together and how to honor that,” she says. “I can see when I trigger him and he can see when he triggers me, and then as your kids grow you can pull them into the fold.”
She also believes this insight can be applied to other caregivers and extended members of the family.
“Our mentors, our people who teach us, are all over the place in our lives, so being open to that is really important,” she says.
How this Mompreneur Makes it Work
Self-care as a goal can feel intimidating until you know yourself and “what feeds your soul,” says Nicole.
“I love being in nature and that’s one of my coaching principles to reset the heart and reset the mind, but also to open us up to creativity,” she says.
Nicole takes a “brisk walk” early each morning and in the evening with Sailor, no matter what the weather brings in her home of Colorado.
“Unbelievable solutions come and brainstorming that you didn’t think was possible,” she says about recommending afternoon walks to her clients.
She incorporates the “science of timing” in her practice and to plan out her day, based on the book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink.
“On the whole, the way that the world operates and the way that the majority of humans do is that you have an uptick of analytical activities first thing in the day,” she describes.
“There’s a slump that we all kind of recognize around lunchtime.”
According to statistics, more mistakes are made in mid-day surgery, and “judges are more cantankerous, less likely to be compassionate in the afternoon,”￼ says Nicole.
“Afternoon is good for creative, restorative activity, quiet work, collaborative work,” she says.
As a parent who experiences the daily “witching hour” with my boys, I wasn’t surprised to learn that around 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., we all get an energy uptick.
Fortunately for Nicole, she has plenty of it to go around, which she channels into “nourishing” her teenagers after school and at dinner time.
While the path through each stage of motherhood looks a little different, Nicole believes that there’s wisdom to be gained along the journey.
“This is an amazing set of skills and experiences that you’re having,” she says about parenting young children.
“It won’t be forever but put that framing on the whole ride–that you’re an amazing supporter–and you’ll have so many wonderful opportunities.”