59: Passionately Growing as a Nurse Coach- Aaron Williams, BSN, RN, HWNC-BC

About Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams, BSN, RN, HWNC-BC
Aaron grew up as an inquisitive kid from rural Greenville, CA, then moved to suburban Northern Virginia before junior year of high school where he discovered some pretty significant social anxiety from being a country boy- now in the busy suburbs outside our Nation’s Capitol. 
He found his way through community college, finally choosing nursing as a major & transferred to George Mason University for a BSN.  In 2021, 13 years after beginning his career in Virginia, the sick-care model had been made much more apparent/unbearable, & a questioning attitude seemed to no longer be considered a good attribute where he was. 
The pandemic policies, & censorship created enough moral distress for him to retire from bedside after 15 years, & for him to leave Hawaii once again, with integrity intact.  He settled back in Flagstaff, AZ, with his lovely wife Angela, & quickly became obsessed with gardening, & learning how to grow clean food (in a very challenging environment) to live healthier lives. 
He established his business: Elevated Nurse Coaching, LLC in January 2023, & have been enjoying the ups & downs of entrepreneurship, as he helps his clients work towards their health, & life goals holistically.  His passion lies in helping people connect with nature, with spirit, & his favorite way of doing this is encouraging gardening, or mindful nature walks. Having a coach through the process of building a practice has been essential, Aaron is sure of it!

Contact

aaron@elevatednursecoaching.com

59: Passionately Growing as a Nurse Coach- Aaron Williams, BSN, RN, HWNC-BC Highlights

Ah-Ha Moments

“It’s your creation. And you can take it any direction you want. I’m taking it to the gardening, the nature side, the reconnecting with spirit, reconnecting people like me, who get in their head and think too much and don’t, you know, don’t get in their heart or their body and listen and pay attention to what’s going on and what you really need.” ~Aaron Williams, BSN, RN, HWNC-BC

  • How does the phrase ‘not knowing’ sit in your heart?  What could happen when you allow having to know it all, to separate from your all-knowing personality?
  • There are many ways to share your gifts in Nursing and in your community
  • Find the things that fill your soul, and allow you to heal
  • Hands in the soil… grounding, earthing, growing, forest bathing, connecting spirit to nature
  • Take a course in gardening, volunteer at a community garden and/or co-op to learn more about growing your own food, and how getting hands in soil and nurturing can help you heal
  • Healing Touch and energy work can open possibility, we are all energy
  • Resistance is real, it can slow you down, lean in, be courageous
  • Roots vs. wings… at different times in your life you’ll be grounded and other times you’ll need to fly

Links and Resources

Elevated Nurse Coaching, LLC website

More about Wetiko

Integrative Nurse Coach Certificate Program

Canny Nurse Program -Cannabis Nursing Program 

 

 

59: Passionately Growing as a Nurse Coach- Aaron Williams, BSN, RN, HWNC-BC Transcript

Nicole Vienneau  00:00

Welcome, everyone, to Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! My name is Nicole Vienneau. I am your host, and I’m also a Board Certified Integrative Nurse Coach. And I am excited because our guest today is Aaron Williams. He and I have a lot in common. We live in the same state. We are both recovering burned out Nurses.

We are both blossoming Nurse Coaches. And the only thing we don’t have in common is that Aaron is a high country extreme gardener. So I’m looking forward to our connection today! And I know all our listeners are also looking forward to this.

First of all having Aaron on the podcast, we’ve only had one other, or two other, we’ve only had two other men on our podcast. So I am thrilled to have Aaron on the podcast because he has a wealth of knowledge and also to share the ways in which men are using Nurse Coaching as well. So, welcome, Aaron.

Aaron Williams  01:05

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Nicole Vienneau  01:07

So Aaron, I know you listen to our podcast, and you know that we love to go down history lane and learn a little bit about why you even chose Nursing in your life.

Aaron Williams  01:18

Yeah, so my story isn’t super unique. I think I was just right out of high school not interested in college, I was going to be a construction worker, make that money, $7.25 an hour. Ended up hurting my back. I found out oh, I really do need to go to college. So went through seven different majors, ended up in psychology. These are majors, not degrees.

Just keep switching it up. And psychology had interesting… it just captured my with the fascination of human behavior. Once I learned the extreme length that you have to go to to get psychology degree and or money, I kind of kind of backed off a little bit. What else do I want to do? But during that psychology class, there was a volunteering experience required.

So I did a… went over to a Nursing home and just spent some time with the elderly there. I had no idea, but I fell in love with it. I had no idea that was gonna happen. They were playing Singo, it was something simple. I would go there every Wednesday, and I got my hours done. And I think I could be a Nurse, and kind of talking with some of the Nurses around there.

And it’s not… wasn’t a glorious place for Nurses, but at the same time, it could see they seem relatively happy. And I went down the rabbit hole of travel Nurses. Oh, so much money and freedom. And this is back in 2007, so it wasn’t really as much money then. But the portability, the job security, it really was attractive to me.

And my wife, actually, girlfriend at the time, suggested that I check out Nursing. So, I did. I finished my prereqs there and then transferred over to George Mason, where I was lucky to kind of slide into a new grad position at the Inova hospital system, which is very nice hospital system in Virginia.

Excellent backgrounds. And as soon as I could, got as far away from DC as possible. So that’s kind of the Northern Virginia bubble. It just wasn’t for me. So, my wife also became a Nurse. And then we moved to Hawaii. That was after being told you can’t move to Hawaii, you can’t just do that.

I think it was a landlord… landlady that told me that. And there’s one thing I love, is when people tell me I can’t do something. I just… I guess I’m defiant in that way. So, we packed up, we made plans, it was going to be a three to six month endeavor, just as staff Nurses, and we ended up staying there for four years. And it was wonderful.

I moved back to Flagstaff, my folks are here. And then quickly found out Nurses don’t get paid very well here. There’s only one hospital and that’s all I’ll say about that. But the fire was lit for early retirement. I stumbled upon that one night on a slow night shift, like how do I retire early? And this was only seven years into my career.

And then one thing led to another and you gotta get a high paying job if you’re gonna make money and get out early. That was one strategy. And we went back to Hawaii, rented out our house, got a little creative. We’re back in Hawaii for five years until our move back here about a year ago. So it’s been quite a journey, big backstory in what led us to leave Hawaii.

But we’re very, very happy to have our house, and it’s paid off. And really looking into a more self sustaining lifestyle. I don’t really believe in complete self sustaining because I think creator is kind of involved in that, we don’t have control over everything. But what I can control, I’m trying to. So that’s my health, my inputs on my food. It’s been very liberating. Although the chickens are incredibly loud.

Nicole Vienneau  05:18

You said your story wasn’t all that exciting…

Aaron Williams  05:21

Sounds pretty boring to me!

Nicole Vienneau  05:21

Oh, no, well, I’m sitting on the other end of this thinking oh man, you thought you were gonna be a construction worker and weren’t even gonna go to school. And then you had all of these choices, obviously a lot of choices that you had to make if you were thinking about seven different degrees… or seven different majors.

And, you know, discovered psychology and were really intrigued by human behavior. And then you know, things lead down the path to discovering Nursing. And your wife now, and she’s a Nurse. And you travel to different places, end up in Hawaii of all places. And then you said there was a little bit of a journey to get back to Flagstaff. Is there anything that you wanted to share within that story?

Aaron Williams  06:06

Oh, boy, yes, there is. So it’s kind of how I found INCA or INCA found me and drastically changed my path. So it was 2021. I don’t know, you could just… you can start at 2000. I was in a journal club. I’m a very… I was a very active employee. I was in the unit councils, journal club. Good student. I tried to be a good employee, I tried to support the mission.

I tried to do all that. I feel like I did a pretty good job. Journal club was great because we could critically appraise articles, any articles. This was a progressive /CVICU. It’s kind of a blended tele ICU unit, I’m in tele for 15 years, so that was kind of what I called home. It was a mix of ICU Nurses and tele Nurses in this journal club. We had reviewed… reviewed some pretty powerful medicines.

One being the Pfizer vaccine— it looked incredible— 95% effective. I decided I just wanted to wait to see a little bit more data because it seemed a little too good to be true. And the next… one of the next articles we had reviewed was about the meta analysis of Ivermectin. And that also looked like it had some promise. Not nearly as impressive as the Pfizer vaccine.

But it was very interesting to me. And then just about a week or two later, it pretty much got canceled. And then within a month or so, I think, it was attributed to Joe Rogan inventing horse paste. So it’s kind of gone from a life saving medication for other things to just a demonized thing. And it just was very weird.

And then there was a lot of social pressure, coercion, a lot of demonization of people who just wanted to wait for some answers or for some more data, or for getting questions answered, which was the first time in my career that I can remember where a questioning attitude was no longer acceptable. It was like a verboten topic. And that just didn’t sit well with me.

I have always had that strong, inquisitive, borderline, defiant attitude of questioning and thinking. So it led me to some real hard choices, and just shaming by family and friends. It was pretty traumatic just to never have lived through something like that before and then to be on the other side of that, being demonized. It just created a huge amount of moral distress.

So I think my wife and I, we made our minds up and we’re gonna save some money. We’re gonna go back to Arizona, and we’re just gonna live a simpler life because we can’t… we don’t feel aligned with this system. I think it was August 3rd of last year… was my last shift at the bedside.

We made that big transpacific move and it’s all complicated because pods don’t ship door to door. It’s a big deal when you move to Hawaii so pack light. We were blessed and privileged to live among the islands for better part of nine years, so very grateful for that.

But prior to moving, a critical part was stumbling upon… I think it was September 2021, that was peak division, rage, hate, whatever you want to call it, for shaming individuals who were waiting on that. That’s when I found INCA or I don’t know if INCA— Integrative Nurse Coach Academy— email found my inbox. I don’t remember how it happened, but we were drawn together and it was literally like the last day to enroll for that fall semester.

And I just did it. I just felt like something right, because I’ve always kind of wanted to go to kind of natural health, holistic health. I didn’t know anything about Coaching, but it just felt right. It did feel like the future because in addition to pandemic policies, I’ve just been seeing conflict after conflict of interest on talking about the food industries, supplement industries, like, it’s pretty amazing to see what is pawned off as American health.

And I was clearly conflicted, so I had to get out. So that was our plan. We set a plan, made some money, and moved back here. I think I left on good terms. I definitely feel like a lot of relationships got weird. And I tried to salvage what I could, but I had to be myself, I couldn’t apologize for something that didn’t feel wrong.

It’s really helped kind of form who I am today, I think, in terms of integrity, and willing to really consider the options. And don’t forget to breathe. I was so tight, everything was so tight during these times. It took the better part of a year, I’m still healing, but that was the beginning of my healing journey.

The INCA program, just the first semester was absolutely powerful, having that Coaching container, which was my first experience of group Coaching or any Coaching, really. It was perfectly timed. And the only safe, truly safe place that I could go to tell people how I’m feeling, not just vent, but just to explore like, am I going crazy?

Because there were a lot of us that were thinking like that, initially, like, are we the bad people? Or are we just the same people with the questioning, you know, wanting to see the science? And yeah, it was perfectly aligned. And then that was cohort 36. Holly Kapusinski— an amazing instructor— was my cohort… or where your… practicum? Is that it?

Yeah. She led that beautifully, with the real powerful healing circles and just kept… I say chipping or chiseling away, but it’s not really chiseling, it’s softening, I guess, of I was so defensive, I was so angry. That started to lay the groundwork, the tools that we got in curriculum, to really allow for being okay with not knowing, because I was always after the truth and waiting for the truth and searching for the truth.

And you can really get lost in life and lose out on a lot of other important parts if that’s your only laser focus. So it gave us tools to maintain a little bit more balance, and also piqued my interest in energy work. I had never… I’ve always been a hard science guy, I don’t want to say macho guy, but very much typical American male, except for the Nurse part.

This really was the way to explore vulnerability, which I had never done before. So I cried. There were many tears, not all in the class, but it allowed me to feel like A: I’m not going crazy. B: I am an important person. And C: I still have these gifts to give. Like I don’t have to tap out of Nursing completely because of my lack of alignment with the system, the crappy food they serve and all of that.

There’s still a huge part of Nursing in me that I can’t let go. So I’m finding new outlets to let that out now, and that’s basically the segue from Hawaii to Flagstaff. I had an image of Kurt Russell in that 1980 or 1990s film Escape from LA. There were certain policies that made us think we wouldn’t be able to leave the islands, but it didn’t get that bad. So we just couldn’t eat out for a couple years.

Nicole Vienneau  14:42

It sounds like that time in your life, this major transition, you know, first of all, the unknowing that you touched on, being inquisitive and asking questions and just wanting to wait a little bit, seemed like a very difficult acceptance at that time.

And that, you know, caused you to feel like you were lost in the system in a way, you know, and lost yourself, it sounds like, for a time, and yet still didn’t lose yourself because you knew it wasn’t a place you wanted to be anymore. It wasn’t serving the right way that you wanted to show up in the world anymore.

And similar to my story of figuring out, you know, I couldn’t be in the system anymore, yet I still wanted to somehow stay within Nursing. And, you know, I didn’t know at the time, you know, what else could I do? And all of that. I just knew that it was in part of my DNA, in a way, that I that I wanted to stay in Nursing.

So, you know, your discovery and exploration of however you found Nurse Coaching, that it opened up a way for you to be able to explore yourself and your needs with some softness. You mentioned you were so tight, everything was tight. And then starting to learn some tools that were opening up and relieving some of the pressure and relieving some of this tightness.

And maybe I’m imagining, you know, kneading the dough in a way, you know, creating some softness and being open to that. Yeah. Thank you for sharing the story. We all need to hear stories. And they just support us in our own thinking as well.

And that there are so many ways in which we can go. And we have choices that we make. And so now you have arrived a year ago in Flagstaff, and creating this new life, learning the beginnings of Nurse Coaching, beginning to heal. And this is where we are now. So tell us a little bit more about that.

Aaron Williams  17:07

I’ll tell you that I was also a snow bum over the best winter of my life. Record snowfall up here in northern Arizona. So we got our season passes and just snowboarded a couple times a week. This was, I guess, later on, like December-ish, January, we started getting big snows.

That was highly therapeutic because it feeds my extreme need for speed, agility, strength, thrill seeking. That’s very much me, the extreme sports guy, not ball sports guy. That was incredibly healing, just to have the first… also the first winter of our lives in five, six years. So we had not seen snow and it was just like, the first time you see snow is so magical.

That was very healing. Also, we had been working hard on building raised beds. We weren’t going to try to garden last year, but we just wanted to get things built because we had all these plans. I also love to work with my hands, carpentry, and I just can’t stop building stuff. It’s therapeutic for me. Not a career though.

So we started building a greenhouse from Growing Spaces— incredible company, builds these dome greenhouses that you can pretty much put anywhere and theoretically keep things above freezing. And it gets real cold here and windy. It’s already survived 80 mile an hour winds, so that’s good.

And we’ve just kind of been tinkering in there, didn’t start growing food until spring, but just really getting our hands in the soil. And everything I do with gardening I seem to associate with living or Coaching or something. There’s always metaphors and analogies and it’s super cheesy, but it just keeps coming.

You know, like hands in the soil, grounding, earthing, like really connect with spirit, connect with nature. And then the soil microbiome, just learning about how important that is because we had none. We’re like a fresh start C. Diff. patient. You know, when you start with fresh dirt, fresh soil, we gotta wait for that mycelium, for those good bacteria to start working together to allow these plants to unlock the nutrients.

And that was a lot like us. We just had to get some new soil. Oddly enough we’re near another volcano, we always seem to live near volcanoes. But yeah, so that’s created kind of a piece, a slice of Hawaii, is what we were trying to create.

We got a banana, some ginger, I’ll have a hibiscus in there too. So we’re trying to get a little bit of tropics going up here, just kind of like… it’s more of a she shed than a man cave because there’s more feminine energy with plants, but I put enough carpentry in there to make it a little manly.

Nicole Vienneau  20:05

I love that. So tell us more about your vision for using gardening and Coaching together.

Aaron Williams  20:13

Well, it actually stems from…

Nicole Vienneau  20:17

Stems. Get it?

Aaron Williams  20:18

Yo! I didn’t even try that one! Wow, that’s good. You caught me. So there’s… while I was in Japan, I learned about shinrin-yoku. So it’s forest bathing. Japanese term. And it’s just about immersing yourself in nature, even if it’s just for a few minutes, to really connect. And it’s really about connecting spirit.

So we are so disconnected right now with our digital deluge. Our attention is constantly being mined by our smartphones or other screens or programs. Digital dementia— it’s a real thing and we’re seeing it in younger and younger populations. We really just kind of came up with gardening as a way to kind of get away from that, away from technology, away from all of those things.

And with forest bathing also, I mean, whether you’re out in the woods, or you’re in your own garden, you’re going to be connecting with nature. And there’s some really solid research on this. And then there was another term I came upon. It was a Native American term called wetiko.

And I don’t remember which tribe or which language that is in, but it basically was talking about a mind virus, about a sickness that they saw in the Westerners that came over when they were just slaughtering Buffalo for no reason just for sport. They associated a sickness, because we had no connection with nature, no connection with spirit. And that really stuck with me.

I don’t know when I discovered that term. But I feel like that truly is our problem right now, what we’re seeing in the world. People are not connected to spirit. I am an infant in my own spiritual journey. I’m only less than two years into this… I call it an awakening, I don’t know what else to call it,  it’s just when one thing after another just start to aha, whoa, just starting to see the world a little differently.

And then just having powerful things happen. And this includes using some of the modalities and tools from INCA, like affirmations. I did not believe that that was possible. And here I am about a year in, doing affirmations, and many of them are coming true.

That is possibly… I mean, I’m not 100% sold on it, but I think it helps. Like, I know that “I have a fixed up house” is not a great affirmation, but I’ve been saying it, and I’ve been fixing up my house, and it’s been happening.

Nicole Vienneau  23:06

It’s working!

Aaron Williams  23:07

Yeah! I have a thriving garden. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re well on our way. And we’re learning tons of lessons. I should mention anybody interested in real gardening should reach out to their local university’s extension office. Master gardener programs are amazing.

They’re fairly cheap, not super hard, and you will learn a ton. But even better than that, volunteering at a community garden where people grow things in your area, that is so much more helpful because, particularly at 7000 feet, where we go from six degrees to 100 degrees, it’s very challenging to grow things.

So if you can connect up with people, especially community gardens that are tied in with co-ops and help support the community with real clean food. So the place I’m volunteering is called Colton Gardens. It’s connected to the Museum of Northern Arizona. And fantastic people out there, just loving being there. That is a healthy microbiome of soil. And that reminds me of another term, which I’m trying to run with here, is terrain.

So it’s kind of this was as in COVID, as in gardening. Like if your terrain is shitty, you’re not going to be able to garden very well. You know, like, if your body is not in good shape, you have metabolic syndrome, not going to do well with COVID. It’s kind of most things in life. So, it’s just so similar to me. I see so many similarities.

Nicole Vienneau  24:45

Really appreciating this awareness of how much we’re connected to nature, and yet a lot of our society doesn’t really allow us to be. And the way that we, you know, we’re inside all the time, and we are working at our computers with weird lighting, you know. And yet, right outside my window right now I see beautiful Saguaro, and some of the plants that I tend to on a daily basis, and my hummingbirds. They’re not my hummingbirds, but you know.

Aaron Williams  25:22

We share them.

Nicole Vienneau  25:23

We share them. And, you know, just some of the spirituality that is in nature when I am just taking a moment here to look out my window, and how much peace it brings my heart, and my mind, which is always busy. But and it helps me to slow, slow down and appreciate. And then you bring the connection of being in the dirt and bringing the microbiome into the conversation, and how connected our healing can be when we come into nature.

Aaron Williams  25:59

Yeah, it’s super powerful. And then I’ll throw one more thing in, is I just recently started inoculating each seed I plant, not each seed, but the ones I care about the most, the expensive ones, or the fancier varieties. I will inoculate with my saliva, that’s my own microbiome, before I plant. And I try to have only positive thoughts when I’m around that.

I try to, you know, give it compliments. Yes, I talk to plants. Yes, I hug trees. Dad’s a forester, he’ll be proud. But yeah, just that little bit of… it’s you, it’s part of you, and it’s growing with you. And it becomes so much more powerful. There’s a connection there. I’m pretty sure all of my plants that I’ve done that for are happier.

I haven’t been running any RCTs or anything like that. Simple observational stuff. But it has been phenomenal to see what is taking off and what is not. It’s all about, you know, tapping into intention and energy and all this stuff that I didn’t believe was real until I took three levels of healing touch and really had my mind blown wide open on what I actually feel and see going on in front of me.

Whereas intellectuals, people who get stuck in their head like me, it’s so easy to just be cynical and doubtful and all that. But if you just open up for the possibilities, it’s… for me, it was healing touch one. And I was at somebody’s house, and we’re doing you know, just some field repatterning, some basic.

And actually, I was just assessing, and I got paired up with a pregnant girl. She was very pregnant, like concerningly so, like she’s gonna pop. So I was just kind of assessing, going over the belly. My hands got pushed up, way up, by something. And I can only say it’s the energy of that kid. I had never felt anything like that.

I was not on any drugs. This was very, very real. And that was kind of my wake up moment. Because I was just level one, I was like, okay, I’ll take the class with you, I’ll be there, I’ll figure it out. And then I just fell in love with it. And I do still practice, mainly just on family. But considering going on those higher levels, because that’s a lot of work, but it’s some magic there. And we do do some of that with our plants here. So, energy is real.

Nicole Vienneau  28:39

Energy is very real. We are all energy.

Aaron Williams  28:43

Absolutely. That’s funny that the curriculum, it was actually one of Barbara Dossey’s books that I was studying for the holistic boards that really opened my eyes on quantum physics. Because I love science, like real science. And quantum physics is one of the most real sciences out there.

And it was… I forget who’s famous experiment or what atomic particle it was, but when you were looking at it, they wouldn’t do something, but then when you walk away they can measure that these electrons are doing different things. Like, there was there was something going on there, clearly.

Just more evidence of energy is real, you know, particle versus waves. And that’s long been in my mind. Like, I feel like such a particle, I need to go with wave. Being a surfer, that kind of… that stuck with me for a while. But yeah. I don’t know where I was going with that.

Nicole Vienneau  29:46

I think it’s just the waves of continuous learning, the journey that you’re on, and exploring, being able and open to the possibilities of exploring. Whereas you’ve mentioned in the past you had not been open.

Aaron Williams  30:01

Yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  30:02

You had been more of a black and white, you know, just tell me the facts. Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts. And this awareness of and letting go, almost, of some of that to be able to be open to the possibilities, it’s an interesting and a good place to be.

Aaron Williams  30:24

Yeah, I’m happy things worked out in this wonderful way. It’s, like I said, it’s just the beginning for my Coaching and my spiritual awakening, really. They say you’re most fit to serve the person you once were, right? So I’ve heard that in the Coaching world, in the space, and still trying to reach out to that person.

But what I’ve learned is that they won’t find you, you have to go find them. It’s really, you can put up your sign, you can open your business, you can build a website, you can make your business cards all pretty, but until you actually reach out— there’s many different ways of doing that— unless you have a vast network of friends and they’re piping people to you, you gotta go get them, you gotta go find them.

And that’s been a hard lesson to learn because there’s been a lot of resistance coming up. And I have hired, I am in a group Coaching container, and I do have a wonderful mentor. Those containers that support people are absolutely crucial, because I’ve had so many sidetracks or resistance or just recently, wanting to quit, and it wasn’t a real quit, it was just like, oh, man, I’m not getting anywhere.

It’s it’s a ride. And it’s the ride of entrepreneurship, which a Nurse that’s been clocking in for 15 years, it’s an adjustment. So about six, seven months in, it is still like, you’ve got to push, got to do the reps. But the beauty is, it’s yours. It’s your creation. And you can take it any direction you want.

I’m taking it to the gardening, the nature side, the reconnecting with spirit, reconnecting people like me, who get in their head and think too much and don’t, you know, don’t get in their heart or their body and listen and pay attention to what’s going on and what you really need. That being said, I have not niched it down.

Everybody says niche down, niche down. Like, I’m not ready. I love serving everybody. So, I have two main populations that I’ve been serving. One is my kind of Nursing network on Facebook, and the other through my mentor— she’s very well connected in the community— suggested that we give some health talks or workshops to senior centers.

So initially, I was resistant, like, why would I want to do that? Who am I to give a talk at a senior center? But I’ve been going to these, like, PESI and MED-ED, all these continuing education classes on clean living, pharmacy is your kitchen, all these different amazing speakers. And I’ve kept all my notes. And I sit in the front.

I’m one of those people that firehose information at my head every day. Come in on health stuff, health tips, new studies coming out. It’s just… it’s been lighting me up to continue to find a way to make a meaningful difference and connecting people with where they want to go.

So I still have quite a journey to get a particular niche, but these workshops have helped me reconnect with a population I love. Geriatrics are amazing. They’re my favorite people. I know you too, right?

Nicole Vienneau  33:56

Oh yeah, definitely.

Aaron Williams  33:57

They’re amazing. I’ve learned more from them than anyone else in life. And I take their lessons to heart, especially at bedside, so many lessons. They’ve really allowed me… one thing I’ve learned is these senior centers are starving for activities a lot, like several of them, some of them are better than others. But these people are bored.

And just trying to… I think we started in June with Brain Health Month, focusing on different things you can do, active little things, you know, baby steps, like we start in Coaching, and I was able to see a difference. I was able to actually have a few people reach out to me for some discovery calls, some support.

And it was really nice to just not be attached to the outcome, that was more of a community service. How do I use my knowledge? How do I continue to help my favorite people? Yeah, well, I’m kind of figuring things out and it’s been great. I was just asked… I think I’m going to be giving talks at the community college as well.

So, it’s new doors. And another piece of this was I am morbidly afraid of public speaking. So, working on that, to just push through that discomfort, because that’s what I’ve learned I have to do in life to get better and to have more peace. It’s hard. But it is through challenge that we grow.

Nicole Vienneau  35:20

Through challenge that we GROW. Oh, get it?

Aaron Williams  35:24

Yep!

Nicole Vienneau  35:29

So, this is exciting because you are overcoming a fear of public speaking, going out, showing up in the community in different ways to your favorite population— the geriatric, the older age, active aging adults. I guess we are all in that boat.

And you make a really great point, because you have years of being interested in certain things and learning about those things. And I kind of attribute this to many of us who are, you know, continuous learners, which is great. Keep learning those things. And share them with people!

Because we’re learning all of this stuff, and we’re, in essence, we’re scared sometimes to get out there and go out there and do something with it. But it’s almost kind of selfish in a way, because we’re just keeping it for ourselves then, because we’re just not leaning into the resistance, not leaning into that feeling uncomfortable, when we could, and we do have the skills and knowledge to do it. So what are your thoughts about leaning into resistance?

Aaron Williams  36:40

Well, am I allowed to curse on here?

Nicole Vienneau  36:43

Yeah, of course, we can bleep if it’s really bad.

Aaron Williams  36:45

Yeah, you can bleep it out if it’s bad. So, there was a program I started called 75 Hard. It’s a ridiculous fitness program, mental fitness and physical fitness. And the guy who created it, he had a term for the ego. So, that little voice on the shoulder who’s always telling you, you don’t need to work out today, you don’t have to wake up now, whatever it is.

He calls that the little bitch voice. So whenever I hear that little bitch voice pipe up, I just… I lean into it, and I say, you know, not today, you’re not winning today. Pipe down, quiet down. But kindness, you know, I don’t want to be mean to it, because it’s always gonna be there. You can’t disappear your ego, or at least I haven’t figured out how.

That goes with all that you’re not good enough, you know, that whole cycle of entrepreneurship of “I’m awesome, I got a client!” “I’m terrible, I have no clients this week.” And it’s just a constant roller coaster. And when you lean into that resistance, things just, they’ll happen. Sometimes you’ll fail, but you’ll be failing forward.

If you do nothing, you’re exactly where you started, or behind. So it’s really, for me, having a mentor, having a Coaching community or a Coach is essential for starting this. And I would recommend anybody who’s thinking about starting a Nurse Coach, LLC or other business, to definitely have that support unless you are just super hustler, already had some businesses under your belt, you know, just super extrovert, you might have an easier time.

But I’m an introvert, knew nothing about business, thought I could just start a simple one and keep it simple. There’s a lot. But yeah, absolutely worth it. And, again, just beginning, and super grateful to be here, and be able to get to do what I do and make that impact in people’s lives.

Nicole Vienneau  38:45

I’m glad you’re here with us and doing that too— impacting people’s lives. So in our last few moments together, I love to ask the question: what is on your heart that you would like to share with us today?

Aaron Williams  39:01

Oh, wow, I might have already given that away. But yeah, that is all about leaning in. So lean into that resistance. I think it was a… it was an Insight Timer quote today that I read, it was change happens regardless, or change always happens, but growth is optional. And that was a John C. Maxwell. I think I misquoted it, but essentially, you can do nothing, or you can lean into the difficult and grow. And that’s where growth happens.

Nicole Vienneau  39:34

We have to choose the possibility. Staying the same or leaning in.

Aaron Williams  39:39

On that note, I’m going to add: roots versus wings. So that was another thing, like at different seasons of our lives. Like, I had to grow wings and get out of Hawaii. I’m very grateful I got to live there, but that was kind of our traveling and experiencing time.

And then roots— we’re really literally and figuratively putting down roots here because we’re just ready to, you know, have a simpler life and eat clean food that we know what went into it and take care of our bodies and enjoy nature and positively impact the lives of others. So that’s where we’re at, and super stoked to be here.

Nicole Vienneau  40:20

Thank you. All right, we are going to flip some questions that are quick answered questions.

Aaron Williams  40:30

Sure.

Nicole Vienneau  40:30

So no thinking too hard. Tomatoes or green peppers?

Aaron Williams  40:37

In terms of…? I don’t know what… like preference or…?

Nicole Vienneau  40:43

Just go with it.

Aaron Williams  40:45

Tomatoes.

Nicole Vienneau  40:46

And tell us why.

Aaron Williams  40:48

They’re easy to grow. They grow faster, and generally, more fruit. Based on my limited gardening experiences.

Nicole Vienneau  40:59

Which is another thing, going back to, you know, leaning into the resistance, here you’re starting to tap into nature and growing things. You’ve never done that in your whole entire life.

Aaron Williams  41:10

Yep. Yeah, I joked about not having a green thumb. But literally, it just takes practice for anybody. Anybody can have a green thumb. It’s you forget to water, and guess what? You lose your green thumb.

Nicole Vienneau  41:25

Turns into a brown thumb.

Aaron Williams  41:26

Yeah, pretty quick.

Nicole Vienneau  41:29

Definitely in the desert. All right. Let’s see. So, Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! Action is an acronym. It stands for authentic, curious, truthful, inspiring, open, nurturing. Which word stands out to you the most? Authentic, curious, truthful, inspiring, open, nurturing.

Aaron Williams  41:59

I’ll go with authentic. That one jumped right out.

Nicole Vienneau  42:03

Tell us why it jumped right out.

Aaron Williams  42:05

Well, this morning, I actually learned something about the samurai, Japanese samurai. Authenticity is their superpower, basically. Like without authenticity, the samurai is not… it’s just one of their highest regarded values. And I’m not doing that justice at all.

But one fact about samurais— authenticity is a big thing. And for me, being myself, which kind of crosses over into integrity too, but just gotta be yourself. If you try to be anybody else, that’s probably what was holding me back the most. In my first few months of trying to be a businessman, when I was putting out posts that were just not me.

Like it just felt raspy and not authentic. It just… I think I’m getting better now, but it still slips now and then. It’s going to take practice. But all you got to do is just pause and is this me? Is this really coming from my heart? Or is this coming from my head? And most of what comes from my head is not what I want to put out.

Nicole Vienneau  43:14

Love that. Coming from your heart, or coming from your head?

Aaron Williams  43:20

Coming from a 15 year tele Nurse, I’m very connected to heart, but I was also very much stuck in my head.

Nicole Vienneau  43:26

Yeah. And the healing continues.

Aaron Williams  43:30

For life. Yeah. That concept of healing journey, that was a big one for me too. And that’s a beautiful concept. Because so many people need help. Sometimes I think, oh, health Coaches are everywhere. And like, maybe, but Nurse Coaches are a little better suited. And with our experience, absolutely gives you way better perspective on certain things that people could maybe be doing differently if they chose to.

And then just… I see a lot of myself in my clients, like things that I’ve been holding myself back. And oftentimes it’s just giving in, giving into resistance. So, Joseph Campbell has a great quote; it’s essentially a choice that we have every day. Do I say yes to the serpent, or no to the serpent?

And you can take that to mean whatever you want. It could mean a lot of different things, but it ends up being kind of the same. It’s temptation, greed, laziness, whatever it is that your ego is telling you to do, which is avoid pain, seek pleasure, and don’t work too hard. That’s what your ego says, usually. What we’re kind of hardwired for. Yeah, it helps you break out of that.

Nicole Vienneau  44:50

Time to keep breaking out, right? Keep breaking out. Yes, keep healing, keep learning, keep growing, lean into resistance, lead with your heart, get in the dirt. Keep growing.

Aaron Williams  45:05

Absolutely. I could go into the growing stuff more. Anabolic, catabolic, I don’t know. Use it or lose it.

Nicole Vienneau  45:16

Yeah, exactly. Well, Aaron, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing all of your wisdom and all of your growth perspectives.

Aaron Williams  45:26

Thanks so much for having me.

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