Nicole Bensen

Create Your Own Happy Ending

Three years ago, I launched my dream of running luxury retreats for women all over the globe.

In the world’s most-ironic timing, day 1 of being a travel entrepreneur (March 16, 2020) was day 1 of shelter-in-place in the Bay Area.

Newspaper articles during COVID.

At first we thought we’d be home for three weeks…then six weeks…and you all know where this story goes. No one was booking travel was quite a while.

As I reflect on the past three years, I wanted to re-share this Instagram post and caption from March 2021:

Quote by Gay Hendricks: "If I cling to the notion that something's not possible, I'm arguing in favor of limitation. And if I argue for my limitations, I get to keep them."

One year ago today, March 13, 2020, I willingly handed over my Google employee badge, corporate credit card, and Macbook Pro, and said goodbye to a part of my identity I was fiercely proud of. I was leaving behind the free food, my favorite on-site chiropractor (I’m lookin’ at you, Dr. Rob!), and my dream job, but mostly I was saying goodbye to a feeling of belonging to something special. I was a Googler. I was part of a group of insiders who were changing the world. I admired my smart peers, and I truly loved my work. So, why leave?

Well, I was burned out. My gmail inbox was the last thing I saw before I went to sleep, and my phone was the first thing I picked up when I opened my eyes in the morning. I raced to quickly answer the ping of an IM, and valiantly aimed for inbox zero.

Was this expected from others? Was this something I did to myself? Honestly, probably a combination of both, but I was skilled at keeping all those balls in the air, I told myself.

When a family member was diagnosed with cancer, and I broke down crying in a 1:1 with my manager as I was trying to request a day off for their surgery, I knew something had to give.

I understand working at this magical place, and being able to walk away from it, comes from a place of privilege, and I’m not asking for sympathy, but I’m sharing my story to tell my fellow, privileged, corporate peers that wanting more does NOT make you selfish. Wanting something different is not bad. You don’t have to do what you “should” or what society, or your friends, or your parents say you’re “supposed to do.”

We get one life, and if we ARE privileged enough to have the opportunity to make choices, why should we not choose ourselves and our dreams? To see what’s possible? To impact the world in our own way? I’m not saying I have it all figured out, and there are definitely parts I miss about the big G, but I wake up happy every day, and grateful to be the one testing my limitations.

While the first year of being an entrepreneur has not turned out how I had imagined when I turned in my resignation, I am so proud of being brave enough to put my mental health first and to take a leap into the unknown.”

My hope is that sharing my story inspires you to continue creating your own plot twists, heroes, and happy endings.

thanks for being part of my journey.

P.S. Did you see that the dream I had three years ago is finally happening? The Intentional Indulgence Retreat in Switzerland is scheduled for October 7–12th.

If you know now you want IN, please fill out this form ASAP because the first 5 women to join will save $1000 off the pay-in-full price. (And yes, there’s a payment plan option too!)



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