Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What are your hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeves? Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.
“Yeah, I am normal! I do normal people things like hiking and playing basketball. I enjoy anytime I get to spend with my friends and family, especially if it involves playing games in the yard. I am definitely one of those competitive people that always wants to play games… sometimes I end up playing alone because of it.
“I travel all over the country doing comedy and I will say I am very partial to the south. Memphis might be my favorite city in the country. I love Chicago and I also hold a deep belief that the best place to be during the summer is Seattle.
“My pet peeves… when people don’t wash the backside of dishes, that drives me crazy.”
Can you tell us something about you that few people know?
“I don’t think I hide too many things, but I will admit that I love musicals and not many people know that or expect it.”
Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?
“I do. I just released a short documentary series we made over the last year where I got to interview people over the age of 80 and ask them all types of questions. It was an awesome experience; we started in Seattle and they are hilarious. Now we are focused on finding the next city to film in. It’s called 80 For 80 and available on Amazon Video and YouTube.”
Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Can you describe two that most impacted your success and why.
“I will say I am one of those people that has a wonderful example of how to work hard and be strong as a woman in your career: my mother. I absolutely am shaped by both of my parent’s work ethic, so I’ll cheat and say my mom first; we go way back.
“Next, I had the pleasure of being an athlete my whole life. I played basketball into college and I learned so much from each coach that I had, but my college assistant coach Kristen really changed the way I did things. Not only was she a hard-working coach and player, but she approached everything with such compassion and kindness for others that I am reminded all the time how important that is when dealing in any business. We are all still people that deserve compassion and respect, especially when we are working hard. I think we can forget that in the heat of the moment — underneath all the business and success — we are just people who want to be happy and the balance of work and life are so important.”
Leaders always seem to find ways to overcome their weaknesses. Can you share one or two examples of how you work outside of your comfort zone to achieve success?
“To be honest, none of my career really makes sense on paper. I was an athlete all the way through college. I had never done anything on stage or as a performance art. So, doing stand-up was a huge step outside of my comfort zone, but it just felt like I was meant to do it.
“Every time I had a presentation in class, all the way through school, I had to make a joke first or I would freeze up. I knew how to talk to my teammates and make my friends laugh and that was about it. T
“Being in front of people still scares me and I can be very shy in real life, but when I’m on stage now it is very comfortable. I would also like to think my ability to say I’m going to do something and stick to it helps me get around some of those weaknesses. I am really proud of the new projects I have created because I had an idea, was terrified to ask for the money, got the money and now it’s here. Just a bit of feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”
The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Can you give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place (some might call this reframing the situation)?
“I have to reframe situations every day. I wake up every morning and am reminded of what hasn’t been done or what bad thing might be happening. So, I actually spend time writing every morning, moving past the obstacles, finding a positive thought or mantra and then meditating. It can seem like a lot of work sometimes, but it makes me feel so much better and then I feel like I can much more easily attack the day.
“Say what you want about meditation — it’s difficult and feels silly sometimes — but it has helped me tremendously in being mentally tough. A reminder that those little things that feel like the end of the world, in fact have never been the end of the world.”
What are your “3 Lessons I Learned from My Most Memorable Failure”?
“I think the most important thing to learn from any failure, especially the big one, is that it’s okay to fail; even necessary sometimes. I think every time I fail I know better how to approach the next thing and make it better.
“I’m not sure it is my most memorable failure because it wasn’t an acute thing, but my basketball career ending in the middle of college left me in a situation where I had only ever prepared for this one thing. That is when I started doing stand-up. So, as cliché as it sounds, my biggest failure brought me to my greatest success.
“Finally, I think the lesson learned most from failure is that you are stronger than you realize, every time. When something goes wrong or gets worse or is lost, you will always be able to take care of yourself, but you don’t really know that until you have to. It’s okay to fail, it may very well bring you your biggest success, at least something better because you learn from your mistakes and no matter what, you are strong enough to figure it out.”
What unfiltered advice can you give aspiring stars regarding how to avoid common mis-fires in starting their career?
“No one knows what they are doing. This is the most important thing I have come to learn. The guy who is telling you ‘exactly what you should do’ will be asking you advice in a year. Everyone is out here guessing, trying to do the same thing; trying to create something people will like and then hoping that they do.
“So, be nice. Every person you meet can potentially be a fan or a friend or help you in some way or you them. So just be nice as much as you can, even to the people who want you to feel small or bad about yourself. Be nice to them too, they probably need it more.
“Also, don’t get too drunk. That’s important.”
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
“Oh… that guy… this is a hard question… I mean other than the jokes I do about him on stage I would say that I learned that sometimes the people who are trying to push you down the hardest are the ones that are the most confused or insecure. So, don’t take things personally. Yeah, I learned not to take things personally from my worst boss.”
What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?
“I would say I’m still searching for the most effective efficiency hacks, but when you are working on things where you don’t have a boss I would say structuring your day or setting aside times specifically for work is most effective and then taking breaks.
“I go 90 minutes at a time, wearing the same hoodie, with the hood up. Then I get up and do something else for a while, go for a walk, meditate, watch something funny; just relax. That 90 minutes is always far more productive than I expect and then it makes it easier to relax because you aren’t thinking about it during that time. And do it in the morning, get it over with. Then you have more time to relax or if it strikes you with inspiration you have more time to come back to it and keep going.”
All actors or musicians have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the “2 a.m. moment.” It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Can you describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges?
“You mean this morning? Ha. This happens to me a lot. Most of the day you can feel good because you are working on something, you are on stage, you are doing the things that will contribute to your future. But when you wake up at 2 a.m. on your air mattress in the studio apartment you share with someone who should get checked for sleep apnea, you get flooded with the thoughts of what you don’t have yet, where you are not yet.
“I have recently found the idea of just feeling good to feel good. I always thought it was dumb when people would say ‘just think of rainbows and kittens’ or whatever, but the intent behind that actually makes sense.
“So, in that 2 a.m. moment I do my best to meditate and visualize things that do make me feel good.: spending time with my family and friends, being on stage and the audience loving it or even what some of the exciting things will look like when we are ‘there yet.’
“Those make me feel better. They make me feel good for no real reason and if you can master that (you’re amazing) it will make the tough moments pass so much faster. Also, you won’t be stuck in your 2 a.m. moment forever. That is always true and can be comforting if you let it.”
Nobody likes to fail, and we sure don’t like to admit we failed. Can you describe a moment when you confided your most closely-held business issues/problems to someone close to you, and how the conversation(s) helped you work through the issue?
“Everyone is going to have an opinion about what you should or should not do, but I feel like their opinion is not what you are looking for. When I have confided in anyone about my work, or anything really, I become more aware of how I actually feel about the situation. Did their opinion make me mad? Did I agree with them and have an epiphany of something I never thought of?
“Confiding in others has always helped me figure out what exactly I am wanting or feeling as opposed to what I should do differently. Often times, I bounce ideas off people just because I feel I need someone else to also go “yeah! That’s a good idea!” when I was already feeling that way anyway.”
What’s on the drawing board for your next venture?
“I am constantly touring around the country doing stand-up, so that will continue. We are focused right now on moving forward to filming 80 For 80 in other cities, so that is my main focus, I love the idea of being able to compare the stories from different parts of the country. While doing those things, I still write and release one guided meditation a month called Mellowing Out with Monica on YouTube and Facebook and have a weekly podcast called the HugLife Podcast on the Podaholics network that I love doing with my co-host Mike Coletta. So, continuing all the things I have now while moving forward with new film content!”
What did we miss? Feel free to share any other thoughts or advice on overcoming failure, initiatives you’re currently supporting, any other relevant information you would like to share with the readers.
“I think it is important to reiterate how important people are and there are moments lately where it seems no one remembers that. I can’t do my job without people there. I can’t put out anything if there weren’t people to watch it and I sure as hell can’t survive life without people in it.
“Doing 80 For 80, that was the biggest overall theme between all the episodes, their relationships and families and close friends they remembered the most and they were the most significant parts or changes of these lives that have been lived so fully.
“Your close people help you through failure, they help you through success and their presences makes everything possible. It’s really difficult to do these things alone and that has become very apparent to me over the last year and a half. It is all so much harder alone. Find good people, be there for them because you’ll need that patience and support later.”
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
“Everything is just my name luckily. Instagram @monicanevi, Twitter @MonicaNevi, facebook.com/MonicaNevi, Snapchat @MonicaNevi or just venmo me money. That’s good too. They all stay up to date. My live show dates are always on my calendar on MonicaNevi.com.”
This was really awesome! Thank you so much for joining us!
Originally published at medium.com