nicole bensen

Next Level You: happier, more resilient, confident and calm

- Small, live, online workshop
- 2021 schedule tbd
- join the waiting list to be the first to know when registration opens

Next Level You:
happier, more resilient, confident and calm

- Small, live group, online workshop
- Sign up below to join the waiting list and be the first to know when registration opens summer 2021.

Let’s create your
happiest life

Invest in yourself with this 6-week program, and walk out with a toolkit full of ways to be happier, more resilient, confident and calm. You’ll be better-equipped to achieve your goals and dreams without sacrificing your wellbeing. It’s time to live your best life.

It’s your turn

I'm ready now!

Next Level You: happier, more resilient, confident and calm

This program is for you if you are feeling overwhelmed and want someone to kindly hand you step-by-step instructions of ways to be happier and less stressed. Maybe the strain of the pandemic, working from home, missing your friends (and social hours!) have added even more to your already full plate. You’re doing your best to juggle work and home, with little to no capacity for your wellbeing needs. You may not feel you have the time or mind space to add yet another thing to your to-do list, but you know “nothing is going to change if nothing changes,” and you want help now.

are you Ready to change your life?


My research and science-backed exercises and tools helped me get to a healthier mental place, and now I’ve had the honor of supporting people who work in tech, real estate, education, entertainment and consulting, in companies including Google, Apple, Netflix, Cisco, KPMG, Dropbox, Signifyd, and San Jose State University. I would be honored to share these practices and insights with you too.

— Nicole Bensen, Founder of Tentacles and Tea and creator of Next Level You

How can Next Level You
help you?

top answers from previous participants


By providing you with a wide variety of tools to try. No wellbeing practice is one-size-fits-all, so you get to experiment with several, then narrow down to a few that really work for you.


Interacting with a small group, live, online gives you an additional layer to increasing your wellbeing that watching videos or 1:1 conversations can not.


Giving you dedicated time each week where you must show up live (sessions are not recorded) allows you to prioritize your wellbeing.


Learning from someone who was a professional for many years in the corporate space immediately provides common language and understanding. (Perf, OKRs, KPIs, P0s, anyone?)

“I want to say it’s been life-changing, and I know that sounds silly...”

“If you're feeling overwhelmed with no time for yourself (like I was), you're going to benefit even more by signing up for Next Level You. The workbook is still something I pull out. It’s been helpful to look at the things I was trying as part of the workshop homework and realizing six weeks later I’m naturally doing some of these things week-over-week. I want to say it’s been life-changing, and I know that sounds silly, but it brings me immeasurable joy to practice some of the things I learned. I now write gratitude letters every single week!”

— Victoria Kroll, Product Support Manager at Google, Non-profit President for The Junior League of San Jose, Wife and Mother

but guess what...

I agree these tools are life-changing, because they changed mine.

Hi, I’m Nicole Bensen, Founder of Tentacles and Tea, and I’m bringing my expertise as someone who worked for nearly a decade at a fast-paced, tech giant in Silicon Valley, who knows what it’s like to spend all day in strategy and planning meetings, to put out fires, to go through performance reviews, to hire the right people, to manage a team, then play email catch-up and do a fair share of my core work at night.

My last corporate role was managing a wellbeing program for executives, while I juggled life with two school-aged kids—and I ended up experiencing burn-out myself (and I loved my job!). Ironic, no? 

Connect with a small group (5–15) of people at a similar place in life, and go through a “choose-your-own-adventure” style of learning together. During the program you will be handed so (so!) many tools, and YOU have the power to select the one to try that week. You know your life, your motivations, responsibilities, and goals, so you're the best one to experiment that sounds fun, easy, doable and exciting.


next level you

Increasing happiness with mindfulness and gratitude is intentionally the foundation for this six-week course. The tools we’ll practice are simple yet powerful, and the benefits continue to grow over time, so I want you to have these first. We’ll do an exercise to boost your mood in one minute, and we’ll talk about things to do to increase your level of happiness for the rest of your life.

If you’re hesitating at the words “mindfulness and gratitude,” that's great because you're leaning into the uncomfortable, but I also want you to know there are no guided meditations or floor cushions needed here. The things I share are super practical and simple.  

Here’s What You’ll Learn

Increasing happiness

Module 1


One of the most powerful ways we can build resilience is by offering ourselves compassion. You might be wondering, “What does compassion have to do with resilience?” Self-compassion is strongly-associated with emotional wellbeing, ability to cope with challenges and lower levels of anxiety and depression.

We’ll also spend time on overthinking or ruminating thoughts, and various ways to stop those spirals to view things more objectively. One participant said using these tools to get out of an over-analyzing loop has helped her sleep better!

Building Resilience

Module 2

Imposter Syndrome, or having an Imposter Experience, is one of the most common challenges I hear from friends, peers and participants. We’ll dig deep on this topic, talking about how and when this tends to show up, and learn different practices to overcome those moments.

We’ll also spend time examining common cognitive distortions and learn ways to become aware, first, and then how to develop more realistic thoughts.

Module 3

We’ll talk about how sharing accomplishments can be helpful for your career and personal life, and we’ll flip it around to talk about failure, values and uncovering core beliefs and fears to understand drivers behind seeking accomplishments.

The practices in this module have been helpful for those who lean on external rewards or accolades to determine self-worth. 

Worthy beyond accomplishments

Module 4

Imposter Syndrome

I used to wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety. My hands would shake, and my heart rate would increase when I thought about work, or my ever-growing, never-ending to do list in life. I chipped two teeth, and my dentist told me I was too stressed out! I went to a therapist, a psychiatrist, and then to another therapist. I read books; I went to retreats; I took courses.

I’m taking my lived experiences, my corporate knowledge, my research, my training background, my passion for positive psychology, and I’m sharing the tools I personally used to get to a healthier mental and emotional place, so you can have my blueprint to living a more meaningful, connected and happy life too. 

We all deserve the chance to pursue our best life. I’m not saying I’m perfect, or that I have it all figured out, but my life today is better than it was a year ago, and a world of difference better than before that. I am so passionate about taking research-backed, simple ways to be happier, more resilient, confident and calm and using those tools to create my happiest, most-fulfilling life.

i’m not special. i’m a corporate woman who burned out, got mentally healthier, and am now on a mission to spread sprinkles of happiness around the world, and i would be honored to share these simple practices with you because you can and deserve to live your happiest, most-fulfilling life too.

it wasn’t always this way...

Your future self is going to thank you.

“Next Level You is a way to connect with other people, learning how to take on life’s challenges, or even your own, personal, internal challenges, and from a research perspective hear, ‘This is why this may work for you,’ or ‘This is why THIS one might work for you.’

It’s  a course that is grounded in facts and research and also has a community aspect.”

— Ashley Mills, Management Consultant in Healthcare Technology

“This course made my business dreams come true! I made six figures, and I couldn't have done it without Kate!”

Kind words


“I’ve picked up so many tools to level up my self-confidence! I loved being a part of this. This couldn’t have come at a better time. Also learned different practices on how to stay calm—which I need because school starts next week!”


Yes, It Really Works

“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend your sessions. The information, practical tools, and connection with the other ladies was exactly what I needed at this point in my life. Thank you.”

michelle called the sessions “a gift.”

“The most valuable thing you presented for me today was actually the thing you said about, if ruminating/over-thinking was actually working, you would have solved the problem by now. That was such a simple concept, but my mind was blown. The overall value I think your program offers is showing how, as humans, we are very much alike. We are biologically wired and have evolved to perceive certain things as a danger to us even if it really is not something life threatening. And that even the highest achieving people can feel like frauds and make mistakes. So much good stuff that your program puts out.”

sabrina was already experienced in MBSR and still “learned so much.”

“I am a senior program manager for a large Bay Area tech company. That means that I live in meetings and finding time to dedicate to this workshop (without checking email or slack or texts) felt impossible. I took the leap, moved meetings, and made the commitment and although I had some busy days while taking the training, the reward was worth the time investment for sure!

Next Level You is an intimate workshop with Nicole and a very small group of soon-to-be friends where you learn about why your brain does some of the things it does and how to stop it from doing some of the things that make it harder to enjoy yourself, your job, and your loved ones.”

erin is falling alseep easier by implementing some of the tools she learned.

Everything you know has gotten you this far, and let’s be real— you have gotten far! You’re a successful person who has overcome challenges and celebrated career wins. But if you’re anything like me, you could use help to get to the next level without losing yourself. 

The next level for you might be a promotion, or spending more time with your family. It might be a career change or picking up that hobby you used to love.

When I think of next level, I think of enjoying whatever it is I’m doing. Being present, being grateful, and yes, still being driven. My program helps you with those core life goals, so you can pursue whatever comes after.

You just want someone to tell you what works. To hand you some proven ways to thrive, to get space to breathe and make intentional decisions.

You’re ahead of the game by even being on this page. You’ve taken the first step. It would be my privilege to hold your hand on the next step.

You’re in the right place.

take my hand.
Let’s do it together.

Know what an Amygdala Hijack is and three steps to to stop it in its tracks

Be more aware of when you fall into an overthinking trap and be able to quickly get to productive thoughts

Have a bigger community of like-minded humans who are also working to create a life they love

Have a simple, actionable plan in place for getting over an Imposter Syndrome experience

Have tools to get happier in one minute, and to increase happiness over your lifetime (!)

Uncover core beliefs that are holding you back from achieving your goals

Register now

By the end of the program, you will...

By the end of the program, you will...

“Nicole is amazing. She is well-researched and experienced and besides being an absolute delight of a human being, she really offers so much. Treat yourself to some long-term strategies. One of the most notable impacts is my ability to break out of spirals. I am a chronic overthinker and over-analyzer. The workshop helped me to stop the spiral and move out of it with several different methods—I’ve used a bunch of them at different times. I fall asleep easier by shutting these spirals down!

“Nicole is absolute delight of a human being.”

—Erin Watson, Senior Program Manager, Bay Area

Following that one-liner highlight from your client's testimonial you are going to want to add the entire thing hear to really drive home how awesome people think your course or product is.

— Sarah

“I mean, there are basically no words! My business has totally changed!”



I’m Nicole, your new happiness and wellbeing coach, supporter and friend.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband, two daughters and three cats. I love animals, the sound of rain, red lipstick, baking (especially macarons), Redwood trees and rocking a themed circle skirt (bring on the quirky, holiday prints!), and I’m here to answer any questions you have about Next Level You.



“To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”

“We don’t have to do all of it alone.
We were never meant to.”

— Brené Brown

What makes the Next Level You program special?

IT’s a tasting menu of wellbeing activities

You’ll connect with a small group of people at a similar place in life, and go through a “choose-your-own-adventure” style of learning together. Each week you’ll learn about a variety of tools, and then YOU have the power to decide which one to try that week.

Participants have raved about the number of options and have loved the freedom to choose. You know yourself, your motivations, your obligations for the week, and your life the best; you’re the best person to choose the experiment that sounds fun, easy and exciting.

The program works if you do the work, and you’re more likely to do the work if it’s something you think you’ll enjoy. If writing in a gratitude journal isn’t your thing, maybe taking a walk in the woods is. You might choose to spend 5 minutes once that week, 5 minutes per day, or 1 hour once during the week; again, it’s all your choice.

I’m here to be your guide, to give you the choices and the research, and to support you in getting happier, more resilient, confident and calm. My joy is knowing you found new tools to use the rest of your life.

Therapy is when a licensed therapist works with you to examine and break down your past events to clear the way and support you in a positive path forward.

How is this different from therapy or coaching?


Example: “Can you think of a moment from childhood where you felt this same way? How did your relationship with your mother influence the way you raise your own children?”

Coaching may briefly acknowledge your past stories, but it’s predominantly about looking at your present state, your desired future, and having a coach ask pointed questions for you to create your own next steps and path forward. My coaching is a personalized approach, and no two sessions are the same. We’ll tackle what’s most important to you that day.


Example: “What is a goal you’re working toward? What strengths do you have to help you get there? What action will you take this week?”

In Next Level You, you’ll learn about many (25+) tools and exercises, backed by research, so you’ll have a variety of items to choose from, experiment with and incorporate into your life for mental and emotional wellbeing. It can partner well with both therapy and coaching, or stand alone. Unlike therapy and coaching, this is not personalized to your needs, but an existing program built to help with your wellbeing.


Example: “Here are 12 ways to increase happiness. Which one sounds like the most fun to you? Try that one, and next week we’ll talk about how your experiment went, then dive into ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome.”

Example: “Here are 15 common cognitive distortions, or filters, we might unconsciously use as we view the world. Do you recognize any you have used? Let’s go through the STAR worksheet together to help you examine and challenge those thoughts.”


hours per week




tools in your pocket


one-on-one sessions

This is for you if...


You’re looking for a spiritual or meditation program.


YOU want to go deep on one tool for six weeks. (Next Level You is a "tasting menu" of wellbeing resources.)

you’re committed to showing up on time, on camera and present for yourself every session.

It’s probably not for you if...

YOU can’t set aside email, ping and your phone during class. (emergency plan in place, of course)

YOU’ll try a new wellbeing practice each week. (always your choice on tool and duration)

YOU want to watch the recordings later. (to promote psychological safety, sessions are not recorded.)

you’re excited to have a weekly 30-min connection call with a partner.

YOU'RE NOT WILLING TO experiment with tools that sound silly or too easy to make a difference.

you want to expand your community of open-hearted people.

What *actually* makes you happy (might not be what you think!)?

What core fear is holding you back?

How to stop over-thinking and over-analyzing?

Which cognitive distortions are impacting your emotions every day?

How to beat Imposter Syndrome?

How to change your mindset about “failure?”

What if this is your opportunity
to finally figure out:

How different would your life be?

How to feel worthy outside accomplishments?

What *actually* makes you happy (might not be what you think!)?

What core fear is holding you back?

How to stop over-thinking and over-analyzing?

Which cognitive distortions are impacting your emotions every day?

How to beat Imposter Syndrome?

How to feel worthy outside accomplishments?

How to change your mindset about “failure?”

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the schedule?

We’ll meet weekly, for 6 weeks, 2 hours each week

How many people will be in our group?

Next Level You is intentionally a small group of 10–25 to create more community and connection.

Will these be recorded?

To foster a psychologically safe space, the sessions will not be recorded.

I’m in! What’s next?

What’s the format?

A mix of instruction (~65%), group and individual exercises (~20%), and sharing/discussion (~15%).

I’m not comfortable sharing in groups; is there an option to just observe?

At this time there is no option to just observe. You’re here because you’re looking for ways to increase your wellbeing. Happiness and wellbeing are skills you can grow, but like any skill, you have to practice. I respect your boundaries, and there might be times I urge you to lean into the discomfort and to experiment with tools and sharing, but you will never be pushed to share something you are not comfortable sharing; I may ask you to practice in another way. In order to promote psychological safety and community I ask for everyone’s confidentiality, trust and experimentation.

I may be creating a video course in the future with this content; please shoot me an email if this is something that interests you. I believe the live interaction with other participants adds a rich layer to your learning; however, I know this is not possible for everyone.

What is the refund policy?

Due to the interactive, live component, a refund will not be offered once you have attended a session.

A transfer to a future program is allowed if you let me know two weeks before the first session.

If you have hesitations or questions, please email me to schedule a 15-minute video chat. If we’re not a match, I’ll do my best to share other resources to help support you.

Is this only for womxn?

Most of my Next Level You participants identify as female; however, I welcome all genders and identities.

My corporate workshops and #IamRemarkable sessions are also open to all.

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Dear Nicole,

Questions? Comments?
Words of encouragement and delight?

I'll be in touch as soon as I can. If you haven't heard from me in three business days, that means there may have been a submission error, so feel free to email me directly at

Thank you, my friend!