Our positive running story this time is on Jessica Lea Nolette. Jessica is an entrepreneur, runner, and blogger whose mission is to fuse mindfulness into tech tools. She is the CEO of My Mindful Motivation LLC, owner of Flask Lounge, and co-founder of Mindbosa—an app that helps people set goals, save money, and do more of what they love. Jessica is one of those rare people that you connect with who radiate enthusiasm, passion, and mindfulness, all at the same time. I was also very touched by her story about her pug, Bella, and knew we would hit it off. We had the chance to catch up with Jessica recently, and this interview is the result.
Can you share a brief background on your running history to this point?
I was very athletic and played several sports when I was in school. Unless I was chasing after a ball or being timed to run to the mailbox, I despised running. In 2014, my sister asked if I wanted to run the Miami Half Marathon with her. I thought she was out of her mind. In true competitive spirit, I secretly started running wearing my indoor soccer shoes, two sizes too small.
At this time my pug, Bella, was quickly losing function of her back legs. My veterinarian thought she had degenerative myelopathy, which is a progressive spinal cord disease found in older dogs. My dad built her a wheelchair with PVC pipes, a leather belt, and duct tape. Bella is 16.2 years old today. She is happy, hopeful and always hungry. She continues to be my inspiration leading me to run several half marathons (United NYC Half most recently). In 2016, I ran The Chicago Marathon as a charity runner for Team Paws in her honor.
Next up on my calendar is The Maine Cancer Foundation’s Tri for a Cure, which will be my first triathlon, and I will be running The Berlin Marathon this fall.
What has been the most satisfying race for you on every level, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and why?
The Chicago Marathon. I would never have predicted my life’s journey would lead me to start running and furthermore complete 26.2 miles.
2015 was a challenging year for me. My world was rocked by a diagnosis of Lyme Disease. While seeking treatment for wrist pain, all sorts of strange things began happening to my body. My brain felt inflated, as though it couldn’t fit in my head. I would wake up with joint pain in different locations and even sweat through clothes and bedding multiple times a night. I was scared and thought for sure I was dying.
Luckily I was diagnosed early. After months of hardcore antibiotic treatment, I was in the clear. This experience fueled my passion for running even further. Not only would I run The Chicago Marathon on Bella’s behalf and for an organization I’m passionate about, but I would run to overcome this terrible disease that invaded my body. I would represent my friends, family and all those who supported me through this time.
In my blog, I share stories of people who inspire me and others. I often make the connection between negative experiences becoming a catalyst for positive growth. Bella’s handicap, my wrist surgery, and Lyme Disease changed my life for the better. If Bella can persevere on two legs, so can I. I recognized my unhappiness and burnout from bartending, working late nights, and battling anxiety/depression from drinking. My wrist thankfully pulled me away from bartending. I also stopped drinking after being diagnosed with Lyme and started a yin yoga and meditation practice and began learning about Buddhism.
You recently launched a web application called Mindbosa. Can you tell us how your web application came to be, and your vision for how you see Mindbosa developing?
While training for The Chicago Marathon, I began saving $1 for every mile I ran. I was able to pay for my trip to Chicago with the money I saved and also donated a portion to Team Paws. This outcome was motivating and rewarding. It inspired me to create a way for others to save money through goal-oriented earning, which is what caused me to create My Mindful Motivation LLC and the development and launch of Mindbosa (Mind, Body, Save).
With 62% of people living in the United States having no savings or emergency fund, my objective is to help people save money and achieve goals. I believe in the ability to fuse mindfulness with technology and to create a free platform to inspire personal and financial growth. I’m creating what I hope to be the PayPal of wellness and mindfulness.
You are the CEO of My Mindful Motivation LLC – what started you on the route of becoming an entrepreneur, and what are your biggest visions for the future of your business?
I love challenges. If I’m not learning, I’m not growing. If I don’t take risks, I will have regrets later. I do have big visions for My Mindful Motivation LLC and Mindbosa. I’d love to seek funding and have an opportunity to build a business and company culture centered around mindfulness and helping people worldwide. Being and living in the present moment is very important to me. I’m focused on one day at a time. It’s easy to dream big and cast far in the world of tech startups. First, I want to learn and listen to our first customers. I want to build an experience that forever changes the future of how we save money and achieve our personal goals.
You are also the owner of the Flask Lounge, a neighborhood bar in Portland, Maine. What do you enjoy most about how the bar has changed over the years, and run us through a typical day for you there.
I opened Flask Lounge in November of 2007. Flask started as a neighborhood sports bar serving homemade, pub-style food, but after year one, Flask patrons spoke. We evolved into an entertainment venue featuring live/local entertainment with bands and DJ’s of all genres. Flask is an inclusive bar and home to many people. We raise thousands of dollars each year in support of local non-profits, charities and members of our community. My goal is for Flask to become a charity bar. I would like to donate any profit back into our community.
Flask keeps me on my toes. There are no dull moments in the bar business. I do the ordering, scheduling, shopping, managing, entertainment booking, licensing, bill paying, public relations, social media, website design and the fixing of everything that breaks on the regular. It comes as no surprise I burned out performing all the owning/operating duties while also bartending frequently. I’m happy to have freed my evenings and created the time necessary to follow a new path and develop My Mindful Motivation LLC and Mindbosa.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur, and what did this teach you?
Being an entrepreneur is a difficult endeavor. As a woman in the bar/entertainment business and now also in the technology industry, I’ve faced many challenges, such as being harassed, bullied, belittled, and threatened. I’ve learned to maintain my softness whilst developing a thick skin. I’ve also learned the importance of breath and pause. Many decisions do not need immediate answers. Many reactions can instead be thoughtful or proactive responses.
Can you tell us one thing that is uniquely Jessica that no one would know by looking at you?
I am a 3rd-degree black belt in Taekwondo. Inspired by “Karate Kid”, I started Taekwondo classes when I was 5, and I earned my black belt when I was 10. I competed nationally and was training for the Olympics. My career ended abruptly after tearing my hamstring at a World Cup Tournament.
If you had your choice of anywhere to run in the World, where would you choose, and why?
South Korea. I would love to explore the country responsible for creating Taekwondo, which shaped who I am today.
If I could share 1 message on your behalf to the World, what would it be?
Inspired by my yin and meditation instructor: May your thoughts, actions, and words not only benefit you but all those around you.
What are your running and life goals for 2018 and beyond?
To keep running and living a mindful and present life. I hope to spend as much time with my family, friends and with Bella as possible. I’d like to continue to step outside my comfort zone, face new challenges, make lifelong memories and never stop exploring, dreaming, creating and setting limitless goals for myself.
My baby clock is ticking. I’ve thought about having a child for quite some time. I know my family and friends will be happy reading this. You never know, 2018 could be the year!
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I love meeting and making new connections! Send me a message!
Jessica Lea Nolette
Mindbosa (Mind, Body, Save)
My Mindful Motivation LLC
We wish Jessica every success with her Mindbosa app, with all her other mindful projects, the Flask Lounge (got to pay a visit there!) and to the continued fortitude of Bella!
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