Blue Ocean Life Nation Interview Series: Michael Nicklin

Michael Nicklin is an Intuitive Life Transformation Strategist @KiConscious and a Consulting Producer for film & television @VortexianMedia based in Los Angeles, CA.  As a Consulting Producer, Michael provides producing entities with strategies to infuse authentic cause-focused philanthropy into their project business plans and pitches. He believes that ‘smart giving is sound business’, often overlooked in the development process. Prior to founding KiConscious, Michael was a talent manager and agent for fifteen years, guiding the entertainment industry careers of more than 400 artists.  He was also a well-recognized on-air TV personality serving as a consumer trends and products news contributor, and appeared on network and cable news programs and talk-format for over a decade. 

Michael Nicklin Blue Ocean Life interview

Thank you for sharing your story with us. What is your professional background? How did you end up with this career?

My professional background seems much more typical by today’s standards than it did when I was busy getting my business degree. I started my first business while in my junior year of university, then acquired my second business before graduating. The foundation for my life as a serial entrepreneur was set in stone.  I was modeling while at uni, and had the opportunity to become a managing partner at one of the agencies that represented me.  I took the leap, business skyrocketed, and after a decade I opened a second agency to serve the LA market.  Then, after an extended break from the industry, I launched a talent management company. (That break from the industry was about fifteen years, during which I developed new businesses and acquisition strategies in the burgeoning technology sector.)

Having worked with artists for most of my life, I became increasingly disinterested in the transactional aspects of the entertainment industry and was far more interested in the ascension of careers via strategic blueprinting; and most importantly, the psychological wellbeing of artists. 

As I contemplated closure of the management company, I developed the KiConscious™ brand by merging my 30-plus years of entrepreneurial and start-up experience and artist management with my innate spiritual gifts and modality proficiencies (tarot, reiki, channeling, crystals) to create a consultative system for personal transformation for those who want to live a more integrated, balanced, conscious, and fulfilled career and life. 

How did you begin your remote work journey? 

During the time I stepped away from the entertainment industry, I was a motivational speaker and trainer.  Nearly all of those in-person engagements were scattered across the US and required air travel, averaging more than 100 trips per year for nearly a decade. With each workplace lasting a day or two, and my satellite office being an aircraft, I found myself quickly redefining the concept of ‘home’ and ‘workplace.’ I then became a contract strategist for a multinational corporation based in Sydney, Australia. That remains my all-time favorite workplace and commute.  Work and wanderlust have taken me to more than 80 countries, and technology affords me the opportunity to work remotely to render geography mostly irrelevant to my work life. 

Where do you see yourself in the next year? 

Though I fully understand the context of the question, I am going to run with my interpretation as an intrepid traveler. Iceland, Norway, Scotland, England, France, Spain, France, Namibia, and South Africa.  The flights are booked. 

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What tips do you have for others who are working remotely? 

My Top Three Tips:

(1) Beware the assumption that working from home establishes more work-life balance. It can become challenging to maintain a healthy balance between productivity and self-care.

(2) Choose a dedicated workspace in your home, draw your boundaries and set your ground rules with your co-inhabitants, and work when you are most productive. When possible, try to create a schedule that not only suits your employer, but also compliments your optimal daily routine. 

(3)  Get out of the house. Take a walk or run. Connect with nature. Breathe deeply. Try to engage in the casual social interactions you often had with colleagues at the office. 

What is your self-care routine and how do you find time to integrate it into your daily life?

One of the most valuable self-care lessons I learned early in my life is that self-care is not selfish. It is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship with myself.  Therefore, I make the time, whether easy or challenging. My overarching goals for self-care are to feel taken care of mentally, emotionally, and physically. Mind. Body. Soul. 

My go-to focus is engaging in activities that are recentering, nurture well-being and reduce stress.  I spent most of my childhood at the ocean, in the mountains, or on the desert. Those have remained my go-to rehabilitative environments for my entire adult life. Numerous studies have found that spending time in nature improves mood, lowers stress hormones and reduces blood pressure.

I care for my body by minimizing chemical-infused foods, practicing mindful eating, and focusing primarily on plant-based cooking.  My peak performance requires peaceful sleep, and I try to get 7-8 hours. No caffeine after 4 pm.  Intermittent fasting. Lots of water.  Nothing earth-shattering here. 

My goal is to try my best to remain consistent with my self-care, whether it is a mud masque for my face or restricting my tv news watching. 

Putting yourself first is important to your overall wellness. Given this, what are your best holistic wellness tips? 

By definition, holistic health and wellness is the practice of treating the whole mind, body, and spirit – including our physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and financial health.  Experiencing peace within oneself is crucial to overall wellness. To do so, I quiet my mind through meditative breathing, then listen carefully to my inner voice.  I actively minimize toxic substances…and toxic people from my life. 

Though I predominately use my mind to promote my holistic wellness, and I hesitate to mention any commercial products here, I use an amazing device called a BioMat ™ on a regular basis.  It is a ‘heating pad’ type device, often used my massage and physical therapists, that can aid its user to achieve deeper relaxation and sleep. The radiant heat is filtered through 17 pounds of small amethyst crystals that cover the surface of the mat. Natural crystals convert conductive heat into far infrared light. I combine my time on the BioMat ™ with meditation and visualization for a terrific holistic wellness regimen. 

What was the toughest challenge you faced during your career?

As a self-employed entrepreneur throughout my life, shifts in the economic trends and consumer spending made ‘reinvention’ a consistent essential.  I was used to a fast-paced schedule that varied every day. 

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I had just finished a two-year on-site consultancy on the Las Vegas strip, commuting on the weekends back to Los Angeles. I was at a turning point in my career – return to the pre-Las Vegas business model and routine, or create something new.  I left Las Vegas and went directly to visit my mom in Santa Barbara, CA for Thanksgiving. I discovered when I arrived, having not seen her for a few months and only spoken on the phone regularly, that her health had rapidly declined and she was no longer able to adequately care for herself or her home. 

Many years earlier, I had made my mom the promise that she would not have to move out of her home into any type of assisted living facility.  She was a very private person, always quite satisfied with her own company.  I know that she would have never supported the idea of me pausing my career to care for her.  The universe clearly paused it for me - so I simply assured her that I was working remotely while taking an ‘extended’ visit with her. I believe she knew the truth, but unspoken words allowed her to accept my geography without sacrificing her dignity.  I remained in her home, my childhood home, for just under a year until she passed.  

The greatest challenge I had ever faced in my career was the fear that when I chose to step back into it, that it would still be there.  I learned over time that, not only did I have no desire to step back into it, but releasing that fear enabled me to envision and identify new and exciting opportunities when the time was right. 

How did you get through that period? What advice for people dealing with similar difficulties?

My journey was mine and mine alone – unique to my situation.  I was in the perfect place in my life to care for my mom undistracted by career and remain focused on my role as son, companion, and caregiver.  I got through that period with a focused sense of purpose, compassion, daily exercise, maintaining a prolific vegetable garden, walking every day to interact with other humans, and reminding myself that I would have plenty of time for yet another career reinvention after this commitment was completed. 

Mental health and feeling good are crucial to maximizing performance. How do you prioritize your mental health? 

I actively practice mindfulness to combat my inherent attention deficit.  My mind processes data very rapidly, and I work to actively give my mind a break – metaphorically wiping the whiteboard clean and not immediately picking up the marker to re-clutter the whiteboard.  I am also very future-focused, and doing so takes me away from the present reality.  Unchecked, that can result in escapism. 

I was hiking last week in Temescal Canyon and came across a California Kingsnake on the trail.  My task orientation usually makes completion of the hike (destination) the task rather than using all my senses to fully experience my surroundings (the journey). I watched the gorgeous black, red and yellow banded snake retreat, then reemerge and slowly cross the trail, then slowly disappear into the bush. A minute could have passed. An hour could have passed. Time had been suspended in that time of mindfulness. 

I also discovered that I was allowing my mental health to be undermined by watching too much news programming, and reading too much of people’s vitriol on social media.  My goal is to stay informed about what’s going on in the world without deep-diving into every distressing headline or combative social media rhetoric.

Before the pandemic hit, you may have worked in an office or corporate setting, but what do you foresee happening now? How do you see companies allowing employees to work post-pandemic?

Every day, I am seeing new actions taken by companies relative to remote verses onsite work policies. Businesses are in recovery mode, tentative to take long-term actions too quickly having learned the lessons of unpredictability. Others are seizing this shift in culture to redefine the way they manage their human resources. While some companies used to offer the ability to work from home as a perk, it instantly became a new normal for businesses around the world. A recent study predicted that by 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month.  This will of course vary by geography, industry, and size of company.  

If you could have lunch with one person in the world, who would it be and why? 

My biological father. I was adopted at birth, and though I had the privilege of meeting my birth mother and siblings early in my life, I never met my biological father.  Though I have been told some minimal details about him, and his clandestine affair with my birth mother that resulted in me, his is one of the only stories that remains unknown to me.  I have often contemplated which facets of my personality, abilities, and interests were a result of nurture or nature.  It would be wonderful to share a meal, share stories, share philosophies, and more fully understand my origin story. 

If you could inspire a movement, what would it be and why? 

I would be most proud of inspiring an ‘Accept Social Change’ movement.  

Please list your social media handles so we can tag you. 

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