Hi, I’m Nicole!

I am DONE with overwork and exhaustion.

I’m the founder of the Defy the Trend coaching community. I support change agents and evolving organizations who want to make change from the inside out. I approach you as the unique individual that you are in my group and individual coaching, yoga and meditation classes and downloads, in engaging online and in-person trainings and team building, write a useful and entertaining blog, help you create a burnout-proof life through my mini course AND my Defy the Trend coaching community.

Purple watercolor images says I'm here for the change agents who are tired of being tired.

My Burnout Story

One of the most important things about me: I cannot resist making change.

It’s just who I am.

I learned that people really liked to hire me for this quality – to start and lead innovative new programs and initiatives, and put to rest some past programs that had reached the end of their lifespan.

That was pretty great for getting hired. Not so great for the long haul.

After some months or years, I would start to get traction with the change that they said they wanted. But soon the pushback from stalwart supporters of the way they’d always done it would begin to make noise, and the support for change would wane.

I honestly loved what I was doing, even with the resistance. But I got really exhausted and burned out.

Good thing I learned very early that I needed to take care of myself to survive and even thrive in these stressful situations. I discovered yoga and meditation in 2004 and haven’t looked back since. I am now a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-hour level and I have done specialized training in breath (pranayama), meditation including iRest yoga nidra, restorative yoga, and trauma-sensitive yoga, and am also a Reiki Master. My personal yoga practice has grown and changed with me and my ever-changing needs. Most often, you’ll see me teaching and practicing restorative yoga and meditation geared toward bringing you (and me) real, deep rest.

In addition to this yoga and meditation stuff, I went from being a Pulitzer-aspiring journalist right out of college to feeling the wild and totally unexpected call to Christian ministry in the early 2000s. I went to Chicago Theological Seminary, graduated with a Master of Divinity, and then was ordained in 2004 in the United Church of Christ. I worked with at-risk youth, then transitioned to and fell in love with coaching, training and supporting people who were exploring their own life purpose and calling in executive level roles at the regional and national level in the denomination.

Smiling Nicole Havelka with long purple hair, black sweater and gold necklace.
Tan watercolor images says I know in my bones that I am called to help you resist racist, patriarchal structures through radical acts of rest, kindness, and grace.

My identities

Since I often invite you to go to uncomfortable places to acknowledge how the racist patriarchy is contributing to your overwork and burnout, I will do the same:

I am a straight, single, cisgender, white, U.S.-born, neurotypical, educated woman who grew up in Nebraska of all places. (No, I don’t know how to drive a tractor.) I recognize and admit that I have many points of privilege and strive to continue recognizing how that impacts the ways I relate to others. My experience of being bullied for being a smart girl in a “larger” body was in many ways a painful gift: That experience made me passionate about creating spaces where ALL people feel welcomed, respected and honored. Honestly, that makes all those middle and high school years of putting up with mean girls worth it.

A few more things about me: I am an Enneagram 8 (The Challenger), an ENFJ on the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, and a Leo sun sign, a Capricorn moon and a Libra rising. I prefer Apple products, carbon-framed bikes, spending time outside near water, the window seat, audio books, and Julia Child’s recipe for shortcrust (aka pie crust). I struggle to understand why some of y’all love flavored fizzy water so much.

Pink watercolor images says you are worth of rest. Simply for being you.

My Values

Spider web


Reading books, taking classes, listening to podcasts and all that other knowledge stuff is great, but nothing beats being supported and transformed in intentionally diverse communities. That’s why community is at the heart of everything we do here at Defy the Trend.

Feet up on sofa with a green mug


You are worthy of rest simply for being you. You don’t have to earn it or work until you hit burnout for it. Rest is how our bodies heal, rejuvenate and recover. In a world that values us only for our work, rest is a radical act of resistance against the racist patriarchy.

picture of hands holding delicate white flower


The internet is full of talk about self-care, but how about creating caring communities? I value communities that make space for rest, create humane schedules with clear priorities, and cheer us on as we resist the social forces that tell us to work, work, work.

Picture of dried flowers with the words hope, peace, care, and live


Let’s ask a question rather than turn to judgment. Wondering about something or someone that is unfamiliar or strange keeps you open to new ideas, which will help you continue to grow and change. Otherwise things just get stagnant.

Photo of white fluffy dog running across a bridge


It means “from the heart.” As we work to change our families, our communities and the world, we must first change ourselves. We must have the courage to take time for regular reflection, rejuvenation and rest so that we can look outward and effect real change..

My Beliefs

Aligning our values with our actions

In everything I do, I work very hard to practice what I preach. Leading with my values usually means I have to take the harder road, and I’m good with that. I expect those I work with to do the same.

Affirming that ALL are worthy of rest

Have you noticed that I say this a lot? The world will not tell you today that you are worthy of rest. But I will. You are worthy just by virtue of being you.

Creating supportive, yet challenging communities

I value communities that both are able to meet you wherever you are in your journey and challenge you to grow into the fullest, most spectacular human you are meant to be. That’s what I work hard at every day at Defy the Trend.

Are you a change agent, too? Come join me in the Defy the Trend Coaching Community where we create a meaningful, evolving and burnout proof life together.

Smiling Nicole Havelka with long purple hair, black sweater and gold necklace.