Thrive Thursday: Andrea Shields Nunez on burning out & starting over with career non-negotiables


Welcome to Thrive Thursday. Each week I will be featuring a conscious & creative woman who has made self care a non-negotiable part of her life, love and business. Self-care is not a perfect practice but it is necessary for a thriving life. This series spotlights women who are dedicated to #fullnessfirst because they know exhaustion & depletion are not the way forward.

I believe there is Genius in every living room across the nation. I believe there are scores of women looking for “another way” to bring their dreams to life. Women who want to live, breathe & create at a natural, elegant pace.  A harmonious balance between life and work allows us to live fully, while also freeing up the time and energy so we can come together and co-create a thriving new world for all Beings.

This series illuminates the power of exquisite self care as holistic fuel for elegant & effective productivity. As we return to lifestyle practices that support the unstoppable power behind a well nourished woman, we simultaneously create a more loving & harmonious world.

Meet Andrea Shields Nunez

AndreaShieldsNunez As a Career Liberation Coach, Andrea helps people who are dying to do work that's meaningful to them discover what truly lights them up so they can begin to live their legacy NOW. She work with people who are ready to go deep, come out of hiding and put in the work to uncover what they were meant to do in the world.

Her vision is to create a movement of people who have created the freedom to live and work as their true selves, and who serve as guides and mentors to help others do the same.

Are you a Budding or Established entrepreneur?

I’m a budding entrepreneur. I started my coaching practice exactly a year ago, but am still working a full-time job so the wheels can feel like they’re moving very slowly at times.

Are you a Mother? If so, what ages are your children?

I am a mama. I have two feisty little girls, 5 and 3.

Do you consider yourself to be a spiritually conscious/awakening woman?

Funny, I never would have called myself a spiritually conscious person in the past, but entrepreneurship has opened up so much for me. My spirituality, long, long dormant, has definitely been reawakened in the past 12-18 months.

As an entrepreneur, when did you realize self-care must be written into your business plan and why?

It was about 4-5 months into my business, I was doing a trade with someone who was going to shoot videos for my blog. We had blocked off a day in which I was hoping to knock out eight videos in one sitting. It did not go quite as well as I had hoped and I was very, very hard on myself for not being able to perform at what I considered to be a pro level. There were tears, recriminations and lots of doubts about whether I really had the chops to create the business I wanted to have.

Shortly after that, I had a webinar scheduled, along with the launch of a group coaching program but I was SO not ready for either of those things. I was just following everyone else's blueprint without really asking if this was right for me at the time. I was also doing everything myself and was in way over my head. I had back to back all nighters trying to get all the tech worked out and just crashed and burned. I had to postpone the webinar and didn’t sell any spots in the program. I was crushed and emotionally exhausted.

By the end of that month, I was in such a state that I knew something had to change. I stopped doing everything – blogging, social media, networking, all of it. I saw very clearly that I was headed in a direction I did not want to go and I needed to reframe all of this in a way that honored the life and business I wanted to have. How could I tell my clients to honor their non-negotiables when I wasn’t honoring mine? I really had to start over, in a sense, putting the self care first and building out from there.

A woman who creates from fullness honors rhythm & ritual in her life. Can you share how you manage your business with the changing tides of your inner being – with who you are as a woman?

I’ve started to really take notice of when I need true down time. There’s a difference between being tired from a busy day and truly needing to step away from things for a bit. And I believe this changes with the energy of each woman’s rhythm, so I make a point not to schedule things that are going to need my full concentration and attention during times when I know I won’t have it in me to give that. It’s all about paying attention to yourself and your body, which is really the ultimate form of self care.

What are your non-negotiable self-care practices that put your well-being first in life & business.

Daily meditation – even if it’s only five minutes. I’m a thinker, an analyzer, so I absolutely need that time to clear my head.

Listening to music. Music was a huge part of my life when I was younger. I’m not a musician but I am a deep and true music lover. Somewhere along the way, I had gotten away from listening to music regularly, but I’ve brought it back and listen to what I call my “soundtrack” on the daily. I feel like I’ve gotten back a part of myself that I had lost.

Time with my friends. I’m fortunate to have an extraordinary group of people in my life and I absolutely adore them. It can be very challenging to make the time once you have kids – and a side business! But the connection I have with each of them is so vital to my emotional health, I just couldn’t make it without them.

Alone time. I’m a pretty solitary person at heart. I’ve traveled alone quite extensively and remember spending hours and hours playing by myself as a kid. As an introvert, this is how I re-energize myself. I simply can’t be patient, creative, thoughtful, giving – all of the things I need to be as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, coach, employee – without good chunks of time that are my own.

A housekeeper! This is my latest and one of my most beloved self care non-negotiables. I’m so much more patient, relaxed and present when I’m home now that I don’t have all of the cleaning hanging over my head. It’s been a true lifechanger!

Let’s go deeper  – we live in transitional times where many women are building a business & parenting while also in a spiritual awakening journey. There are times when self-care is not enough to alleviate the transitional symptoms of a woman’s soul unfolding so that it’s business “as usual.” What have you learned about yourself and building a business during transitional times, as a conscious heart centered entrepreneur?

I love this question!! I’ve learned that I’m both weaker and stronger than I thought. (Forgive my vacillation – I’m a Gemini!) Weaker in the sense that I had been hiding these vulnerable parts of myself for so long, toughly putting on the game face, and burying myself in busy so I wouldn’t have to look at who I really was, which was/is a fractured and scared  person who (gasp!) needs other people! But strong in the sense that doing this work – figuring it out for myself, actually – has allowed me to tap into an inner metal that I really was never certain I had. I feel a thousand times more vulnerable and more invincible than I ever did before started my business.

Riding the waves of a dynamic and creative life, our point of balance is constantly adjusting.  What aspects of your nature tend to challenge you the most around maintaining balance in life & business, if you are not mindful?

I often think I can get more done in a given amount of time (such as eight videos in one sitting!) than I actually can. Then, when I still have several things left undone, the in completions cause a lot of low – and sometimes very high - level stress. I essentially set myself up for failure with an impossible to do list. It’s not helpful, but it’s a trap I regularly lead myself into if I’m not constantly vigilant about slowing down and letting go of what isn’t truly necessary for me to be happy, at peace – and on top of things.

How has your life & business changes as a result of placing self-care a non-negotiable foundation? 

The most obvious change is that I feel more aligned with my business. It’s easier for me to talk about what I do and what I hope for other people with sincerity now that I’m walking my talk! I’ve created new partnerships, and feel a greater sense of ease and patience with regards to my business.

On a deeper level, I’ve gotten to know myself better. Tuning in and asking myself, “What do I need right now?” has been an extraordinarily powerful change for me. Sometimes the answer is not what I would have thought it would be, and what I need is something so small, so easy to give myself but the impact is enormous. I’m able to be more open and loving with the people I care about because I know my own needs are met.

I’m not looking for someone to give me permission to take care of myself. It’s a given. I’m taken care of because I’ve set my life up in a way that supports that. It’s what I wish for everyone!

You can get a feel for Andrea's philosophy on career non-negotiables via her free tip sheet: Top Five Job Search Mistakes to Avoid – If You Want to Find Work You Love, available here: