Seeking joy, taking risks and finding a way, featuring Nicole Middendorf
When the world seems to be trying to hold you back, Nicole Middendorf has found that the best answer is to push forward even harder. She has found resilience and success in life and business by standing up for herself, seeking out new challenges, and taking the time to care for and nurture herself—and has come to a place where she now finds fulfillment in giving back.
“I feel like if there was dictionary that had ‘Nicole Middendorf,’ the [word] next to it would be “Resilient,” muses Nicole, a financial advisor from Minnesota. Her sprightly delivery of that statement betrays a far more serous reality of why she feels that way. Nicole is a survivor of domestic abuse and of three painful court trials against her ex-husband. She is now solely responsible for her children and of the eight-person business she grew from scratch. On top of everything, she also runs her own eponymous foundation, which supports survivors of domestic violence.
So how did Nicole overcome so many challenges? “I’ve always believed that out of the worst things in life come the best,” she exclaims confidently. To be more precise, though, Nicole says she dug deep to be resilient, to feel every emotion again, and to do the things she loved. “I rewrote my bucket list,” she explains. “I did one thing a month for a year,” including driving a race car at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It wasn’t long before Nicole changed the name of her bucket list to a “Live-it List,” which was much more in keeping with the theme of her personal journey. She then took things a step further by making “Live-it List” giveaways a part of her foundation, with the goal of “helping people be happy.”
I’ve always believed that out of the worst things in life come the best.
By executing and giving away “Live-it List” experiences, Nicole practiced a form of self-care, which is what she recommends to other women looking to build resilience. Also, she says, “Give yourself grace.” Other recommendations include: traveling, exercising, journaling and simply “reflecting to find joy.”
Success certainly did not come easy to Nicole. She insists that working hard, setting goals, making oneself accountable for those goals, and finding a network of people with similar values all contribute to success.
The most important lesson she’s learned though all of her hard work and personal challenges is that she is stronger than she sometimes thinks. It’s essential for women to understand their strength and take risks now.
Give yourself grace.
Her advice to women just beginning their careers as financial advisors is to get a mentor, who can provide encouragement and guidance. It’s also wise to have a niche, she notes, in order to stand out in the marketplace.
Nicole is deeply invested in women’s success, having gone through so many years of turmoil and feeling powerless herself. That’s why she always hires women interns, and actively seeks connections with women on LinkedIn. Perhaps most helpful, though, Nicole says that by sharing her personal story of survival with other women, she can inspire others to consider a career in financial advice.
Not surprisingly, Nicole has lofty goals for the future, including adding a woman financial advisor to her practice and expanding into the Florida market in 2021. Two more items to cross off her Live-it List.
Q+A with Nicole
What is your name?
What is your hometown?
How long have you been in the financial services industry?
What’s your theme song?
“‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ by Bon Jovi.”
What or who inspires you?
“Travel, Reflection, Writing, my mom, my kids, my mentor, John Goodman, even still after his passing.”
What are two charities close to your heart?
- “The Nicole Middendorf Foundation, which focuses on domestic violence.”
- Financial Literacy
Follow along on social media with #RJWomen.