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Meet Trailblazer Nicole Ayers

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Ayers.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nicole. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Growing up in the Atlanta area there were so many opportunities to pursue… it felt paralyzing for me, a people pleaser from a long family line that values hard work and education. I attended the University of Georgia with the intent of going to medical school but realized after two years that my passion was for mental health. It took a lot of convincing that mental health was the right career path. Mental health has been and still is very stigmatized in our culture.

I was married right out of college and began working on my master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling when my life took an unexpected turn and my own mental health plummeted. At 22, I found myself going through a painful divorce. I was financially broke, lost, and incredibly embarrassed watching everyone around me starting out so successfully as college grads. My own personal counseling gave me my life back and solidified my purpose in my early 20s.

Today, I counsel teens, young adults, and families in a private practice setting. Combing all of my interests, I also own and foster an online biz/community through Instagram to promote wellness and fitness as well as healthy living, healthy relationships, and mental health. Lastly, I’m a full-time Ph.D. student at Mercer University pursuing a degree in Counselor Education and Supervision. I love being on the go! I’m a believer that I can do hard things, and my life’s mission is to convince others that they can too.

Has it been a smooth road?
Oh my gosh, it’s been one big struggle to get to where I am today. My biggest struggles have been fighting my own inner battles of self-doubt, people pleasing, and often paralyzing anxiety. I consider myself to be just starting out in my career, and I find comfort knowing we’re all just figuring it out as we go. My mom, who I look up to as a very successful businesswoman, told me recently that she’s still figuring it out. So comforting!

Did I ever think I’d be here, no way! In my early 20s, I thought I’d be married with a couple of kids and a house by now. Never did I think I would run two businesses, leading women, and be working on a doctoral degree. No way. I think the magic is in the journey of fighting our own battles and showing up for our life. I try to live mindfully – one day at a time, one goal at a time, one semester at a time. And I’ve learned to set boundaries and not care so much what other’s think. I believe most goals and dreams never come to fruition because we’re too worried about other’s opinions or what others are doing. We compare way too much. When I let go of those things, my path forward becomes more clear… and then, I follow it!

We’d love to hear more about your work.
As an Associate Professional Counselor and Nationally Board Certified Counselor in Kennesaw, I specialize in working with teens, young adults, and families experiencing life transitions, anxiety, loss, disappointment, spiritual issues, and relationship/family issues. The primary goal of my practice is to create an environment of safety and respect for my clients to experience connection, heal hurts, develop awareness, and grow personally.

I also launched Nicole Ayers Wellness in 2018 through Instagram, separate from my counseling business, as a way to connect with other women through fitness, nutrition, and mental health awareness. My side biz was inspired after I left a stable job in 2018 to pursue solo-preneurship full time. I love creating a positive place for women on social media by sharing about mental health, self-love, and practicing vulnerability.

What sets me apart is my hunger for growth, authenticity, and knowledge as well as consistency. I am known for personal development – self-education outside of formal education. Although I’m a huge fan of formal education as well. I spend my time speaking at conferences, mentoring women outside of counseling, and completing my dissertation.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
My advice for young women starting out is to find what gives you purpose. Find what brings you fulfillment. For some women, this is being a mom and for others, it’s running successful businesses. Rarely is our purpose what someone else wants us to be doing. We must dig to find it for ourselves.

I found my purpose through a lot of trial and error. I’m still figuring it out. Ask yourself, is this thing bringing me fulfillment at the end of the day?

I also believe in doing what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. I worked 2-3 jobs for many years while interning for free. So many young professionals skip the hard work and the unpaid internship positions and go straight for money. The free labor, the volunteering, is where I found my passion. The 2-3 jobs… those provided rent and tuition money. Now, I get paid to do my passion! Be patient. Be true to your gifts. Know your worth as well.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ben Lipford Photography, Southern Frame Studio

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Dyann Matson Koffman

    April 11, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Nicole
    Your mom and I are firiends so that’s how I got your wonderful story. I shared it with my daughter Janna, also a young professional like yourself. We also have a home at Lake Lanier. I hope we can meet you someday soon.

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