We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicol Jean Southall and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicol Jean, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
We are so hard on ourselves. We often think if we don’t succeed based on our own high expectations, we fail. Many start journeys in life but never finish due to opposition or self doubt but those very thoughts are the thoughts that end up motivating me to keep going. It is what we do with that doubt that determines our success, to bad there aren’t guidelines that can help dictate the path we should take when we struggle with decisions. If there is doubt, than you keep going, that is the art of living. Going opens up opportunities and pathways to new beginnings. Those experiences aren’t worth missing out on. I have sat and thought about my life not creating and those thoughts leave me empty, a void. Give up when your heart no longer desires something, so until then you keep going. My art is my unspoken language, their was doubt that my voice wouldn’t be heard. The internal battles within myself at one point almost got in the way of allowing others to hear my voice… almost causing me to give up. I eventually found it within myself to let these expressions be heard. To embrace whatever reactions came my way and use that to create more through those emotions. That was a super long response but my point is that as long as the heart is still in it, you keep going. 

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I spent 20 years of my life as a surgical dental assistant. Spent my life serving and catering to the needs of others which I loved. It certainly is who I am but I wanted more. More flexibility, the ability to work as much or as little as I wanted, the desire to make a difference on a larger scale and really feel like I could help, educate, reach people, interact and be exposed to individuals differently than I always have been and make a difference. I have always loved the career choice that I made but it certainly had it’s challenges and those challenges began to weigh on me. Art has always been an escape for me. I didn’t start painting tho until about 13 years ago. It gave me what I was lacking in my everyday life, the need to express myself and reach those that understood. It was my unspoken language that spoke and waited to be heard. There are so many different ways to help and serve people. Art is something that reaches and speaks differently to whomever is exposed to it. The translation and Interpretation intrigues me. I love the fact that my art has reached people and left an impression. Fast forward two years ago my husband and I moved made a huge move from Virginia to Texas. I decided to make a career change and find a path that gave me the flexibility I yearned for. Aside from being an Artist and selling my work, I decided to become a insurance agent! Wow impressive right?! So exciting! I know it sounds boring but it really isn’t! Why did I get into that? I had already been exposed to insurance for two decades so naturally it was a great transition. I started out working for a private plan company. One thing about me is I don’t like being limited, I want to figure out how to help and reach people on a multi- tier level. After doing that for a little while, I decided to expand my portfolio to study products, partner up with a IHC Specialty Benefits. What a game changer that has been for me! I’m not kidding, like I pinch myself as to how unreal it is. Looking back, I was so complacent, always wanting different but never taking the steps to follow the dream. Im doing what I love. I have helped, educated, met so many amazing people through clients, networking, and amazing co-workers. The culture of my company is like no other. We are not only a team but a family. My art has had tremendous exposure among the community. I tell you that me making a leap the way I have, has opened up so many doors of opportunity beyond what I ever imagined. Art has been a major part of my life since I was a child. It has expand my mind, it has provided me with strength to overcome whatever came my way, it has become an expression and way to reach people, it has opened me up to opportunities and has allowed me to muster the courage to approach people and come out of a shell I had lived in for so long. That has helped me in my business, in connecting with amazing people, and has helped me to think differently giving me what I needed to work with people like I have. I hope to leave somekind of positive impression with all whom I encounter.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First stop is the Modern Art museum of Fort Worth all dressed up of course. Evening at SODA Bar or Waterproof lounge in Dallas. I have never been but I love big cities and nothing is more beautiful than being on a rooftop with a cocktail surrounded by city lights. The pictures look amazing. The thought already has me excited! Next day lunch at The Healthy Hippie Café in Watauga for the best Nachos ever and their Wedding cake cocktail is amazing. Gift shopping at Buc-ees, near Tanger outlet. haha ok that place made my jaw drop. Never seen a place like it, they have the cutest gift idea stuff. Downtown Grapevine on Main Street is my go to. Esparza Mexican restaurant in downtown Grapevine and of course wineries along Main Street. Shout out to Landon Winery, fantastic wines. Dinner at LeTerra Grill over in my neck of the woods ending with their oh so amazing chocolate bread pudding. Coffee at Axiom Cafe in Keller and driving to Eagle Mountain Lake to walk the trail to enjoy the crisp fresh air.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that have influenced me throughout my journey opening and closing many doors in my life. Joseph Simone, of Va Beach School of Art and Gallery, Virginia. He is a fantastic Artist and he gave me the courage to be heard. He opened my mind to creative possibilities that I never knew I was capable of. I’m also a Health Insurance Broker and ever since I joined IHC Specialty Benefits in Irving, I have met and had the pleasure of getting to know the most amazing group of people. Endless support and friendships! We are not just a TEAM of friends but also a family. My husband and family have also been supportive of my journey providing endless encouragement along the way.

Website: Www.nicoljeangallery.com
Instagram: Www.Instagram.com/nicoljeangallery
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolsouthall
Other: https://www.sbadvisors.com/advisors/nicol-southall/

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