February 1, 2016  |  Boston & Cambridge Entrepreneurship Financial Health Health UpTogether Fund

Nicole Gunn

Three countries, two suitcases, and one love lead me to my perfect trifecta. The epitome of my zodiac sign, Leo – the fire sign, I have struggled for years as I buried my flaming spirit. Twelve years ago I embarked on a new journey. I moved to my third country with two suitcases in hand to be with the one true love of my life. Being a wife to a hard-working husband and mother of two rambunctious boys, I have always sought to ensure that I engulfed myself in the community that helped in shaping my family. Meeting Latisha Scott (FII Family) who introduced me to FII, afforded me the opportunity to explore not only deeper-routed community-building opportunities but also launched my personal journey of rediscovering the dormant fiery qualities that lied within me. My success in launching my dream salon within a year of being involved with FII lead me to believe that there was more to the FII concept that I originally thought.

Witnessing my friend’s journey initiated my ripple affect. All of a sudden my dreams didn’t seem too far-fetched. But my natural reaction was to immediately think of life’s responsibilities. I was employed as an administrator at a higher education institute to fulfill fiscal responsibilities for her family. Beneath the surface my flame remained ignited but stifled. I had a horrific full-time job encouraging young adults to pursue a higher education at a cost I knew was unjust for most to repay, and I didn’t like it. Testing the waters, I decided to embark on my dreams of entrepreneurship. I became a travel agent with Evolution Travel. I worked both jobs for a few months, quickly realizing that being a travel agent was the fuel to ignite the dormant spark. To explore this further, I took initiative to seek mentorship and guidance from David McCovy, Founder of Evolution Travel. When he told me “Nicole you have options. If you have a dream and are willing to work hard for it, nothing and nobody can stop you but yourself”. This resonated, and opened up my eyes to what could come out of being a business owner. At this juncture, I had not just vastly changed my reality in the physically sense of separating from her job, but also had to leave my old mindset behind. I took a leap of faith and resigned from my full-time job.

With an entrepreneur mindset, support from my husband and faith, I have completed my first year in business. Although it has not brought in the same income, this experience has proven that I am capable, and that I need to maintain a level of resilience to achieve long-term success.

Alongside my business, I had also been able to accomplish one of my original goals of living a healthier lifestyle. My highest weight was 256lbs. I gained weight over nine years and with my pregnancies. The more my weight increased, the more significant health issues arose, such as gestational diabetes. After the birth of my second son, I was diagnosed as a type two diabetic. This was my wake up call. I applied for FII’s health match and family time resources. With these resources, I was able to make my health and family a priority, and would be held accountable to provide proof of my accomplishments. Through the health match, I consulted a personal trainer. This was a great jump-start and has grown to my love of fitness. I also focused on my nutrition that lead to starting the Herbal Life Program. Herbal Life is a nutrition program that teaches you weight management, portion control, and healthily foods and snacks options. This combined with remaining active has lead to a total of 47lbs weight loss. This is one of the first things I have started and stuck with. My commitment has been undeterred. I feel good from my head to my toe, and have built the confidence I was lacking. This has helped me to build the best version of myself. My children and husband have seen my determination and are extremely proud of me.

Through the family time resource I have managed the challenges of raising millennials who are often tied to their tech toys. Although I takes full responsibility for enabling this behavior by providing them with Ipads, I also realized I needed to rectify it. Being raised in a family-oriented environment, I wanted to re-instill these values in my family. The FII resource allowed me to plan a biking trip and a family obstacle course, which eventually lead to my family’s investment in family bi-weekly outings, which also incorporated physical activities and supported my health initiatives.

Everyone has a spark. Testing the waters to find your fuel despite ones insecurities is necessary to ignite your flame. Anyone can have his or her own trifecta.

I would like everyone to know there are options and you can live a life that you enjoy. Don’t get stuck in the rut of a job just to pay bills. Your life means more than just that. Ensure to take care of your health and family, and most importantly, have faith.

Launched my dream salon after only a year in FII.

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