A Time To Lead, A Time To Follow: Chasing The Next Thing With Nicole Walters - Jen Hatmaker

A Time To Lead, A Time To Follow: Chasing The Next Thing With Nicole Walters

Episode 03

Episode 3 of the “For The Love of Women Who Built It” series features the feisty and funny Nicole Walters. At just 28 years old, Nicole was a top-selling executive at Fortune 500’s and was managing multi-billion dollar business relationships for an S&P International healthcare organization. With a six-figure salary, first-class flights, and fancy hotels, she thought she had arrived. She shares with us that her  real “arrival” came when a family crisis jolted her into the realization that “life was too short to be comfortable, but unfulfilled.” She made a bold, and very public move (in front of 10,000 people on Periscope, no less) to leave her comfortable corporate situation and embark on a new course to “help everyday entrepreneurs live and work in their purpose.” Nicole shares how the tough experiences of “always being the minority,” allowed her to build a platform that welcomes people of all races, shades, and colors, ethnicities, and faiths, and how getting to “the next thing” revealed her true purpose.

Episode Transcript

Narrator:  Hi everybody, my name is Remy. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast, with your host Jen Hatmaker, my mom. She writes books and speaks to crowds. But she mostly loves talking to amazing people, every week, on this podcast. Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoy the show.

Jen:  Hey everybody, it’s Jen Hatmaker. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast. Super glad you’re here today. We are in the middle of a great series called For the Love of Women Who Built It.

We’re just talking to amazing women who have built amazing ministries, or businesses, or spaces, companies, and they are interesting and they are smart, and they’re ambitious and all these conversations are giving me so much life. Today, you’re just going to be so happy that you downloaded this podcast, because the next hour is going to make you laugh, and it’s going to move you. I have the most wonderful guest on today.

So today, we’ve got on Nicole Walters. Now, if you don’t know about her, let me tell you just a bit about her before we start our hilarious and fun and awesome talk. When she was just 28, she had already been this top selling exec at Fortune 500 companies. She was managing multi-billion dollar business relationships, so she had everything you could ever think you would want, on paper. Just a six-figure salary, and all the first class, and all the fancy hotels. She had the thing. She had success, but she just wasn’t happy. Her job, it fed her family, but it did not feed her soul, in other words.

So, she realized, okay, this is it. I don’t want to go out like this, and so she literally quit her job … You maybe have seen this. She quit her job, live, on Periscope, and built her own company. Her own company where she empowers other entrepreneurs, and she has these amazing systems and programs, and she walks you through every step of it from idea to fruition, and she’s incredibly successful showing other people how to get paid for using their God-given skills and talents.

Also, she is hilarious, absolutely hilarious. You’re going to see, she’s fun,–a personality bigger than life. She’s got a husband, she’s got three adopted daughters, and she’s 32 years old, and just out there killing it. So, you are going to love, love, love Nicole, so help me welcome her to the show.

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All right, Nicole Walters. That’s an Oprah. I just-

Nicole:  I love it. It’s good. You do a good Oprah.

Jen: Did I? I’m so glad to have you on today, and I’m serious. I was just sort of explaining your bio to my listeners, and I told them you guys are about to be so happy to meet Nicole. I just think you’re amazing. Thanks for coming on today.

Nicole:  Oh my gosh, thank you for having me, Jen. Jen Hatmaker, not Hat-McKer, ’cause I’m telling you, I was like, I know that I’m going to say this wrong, like it’s in my head that it’s Hat-McKer. That’s like the classy French version, so-

Jen: You know what? You’ve given me a lot of just like kindness, and compassion, and empathy in my heart because for my whole married life, I’ve had that last name for 24 years now, and anytime I go anywhere and, “Okay, so what’s your name?” “Jen Hatmaker.” “Can you spell that?” I’m like, “I really think you can. I think you can-”

Nicole:  I trust you. I support your efforts-

Jen:   “… I just want you to trust yourself. I want you to trust how it sounds in your ears, and it’s just how it looks.”

Nicole:  Like, I’ll review your work, but let’s just go ahead and give it a stab.

Jen: I believe in you, like, this is your moment to nail Hatmaker.

Nicole: Right, right? Meanwhile, I’m getting on a podcast and I’m like, “I want to have my life together. I’m going to pronounce her name classy. It’s going to be Hat-McKer.” Everyone’s gonna be like, “This girl is smart right from the jump.”

Jen: Nailed it.

So, we wanted you on this series. You know, this is a powerful series. It’s Women Who Built It, so I mean, talk about we’re surrounded right now by women who are just killing it and just slaying in so many ways, but we wanted to have you on. We only had a few spots, ’cause we’re just watching you and proud of you, and just feeling really impressed by your gumption and your moxie.

So, just for everybody listening (and we’re going to have all these links up, so you can see the actual video), but you were absolutely destroying in the corporate world, right? [BUMMER. We couldn’t run down that exact video but here’s a link to Nicole’s Periscope page where you can check out her other videos.]

Nicole:  Thank you, yes. It was so much fun.

Jen:   Like, but just unhappy-

Nicole: Oh.

Jen: … and so I would love for you to take everybody back to that season of your life, kind of you’re in your 20’s, you’re right out of the gate, successful, like in a really traditional way. What was your work, what was the rub, because on paper, you had it all.

Nicole:  Yeah. Yeah, that’s the truth. Well, I come from a blue-collar background. My dad was a taxi driver, my mom was a secretary at a boating insurance company, so we didn’t have a lot. I grew up in D.C. in this one bedroom apartment, and I slept on the couch till I was 12, so because I had these humble beginnings, my parents had big dreams for me. They had aspirations … and my parents are immigrants, (they’re from Ghana, West Africa), so my dad, of course, is like, “So, my daughter, you are going to get a big office, and business cards, and many secretaries.”

I mean, like, he had goals, and I grew up with these goals in mind. So, I think like many of us, we all have ideas that society sort of put on us for what we should be or what we should do, or the path we should follow, and I was just checking off the marks. I was like, my parents are gonna be proud. I’m gonna glorify God today, you know? I’m gonna do my thing.

Jen: For the glory of God.

Nicole:   That’s right. You’re gonna see my light, you know? That sort of thing. And then sure enough, I get the office. I get the cards. I get the travel. I get the first class. I get all the things, and I am blessed. I’m grateful for it because coming from the humble beginnings, it’s more than I could have ever imagined, but the truth was, when you finally get it all, I’m a big believer that sometimes God makes you comfortable so you can realize you’re uncomfortable.

Jen: That’s good, yeah.

Nicole:  I had all the things, and sure enough, I was like, this isn’t enough. I’m not making use of my best gifts, and I have more to offer. I realized I liked the work I was doing, I just didn’t love the people I was doing it for.

Jen: Yeah, that matters.

Nicole:  And it matters. So that was when I knew it was time to make a shift.

Jen: So, you had this sort of side passion, right? And realizing you’re thinking, this is what’s inside me, this is what I’m craving, this is what I’m envisioning, but sometimes, I think for a lot of us who are sort of dreamers or entrepreneurs or visionaries, sometimes the leap between those ideas in our head and putting boots on the ground to make it happen, it can be challenging, and you went all the way for it.

Nicole:  Oh yeah.

Jen: You didn’t even do it in a subtle way. So, tell everybody how you transitioned … Transitioned? That’s a real kind word to say how you just like dropped the mic and walked away.

Nicole:   Yeah, pretty much. I mean, I legit think I pretty much dropped the mic.

Jen:  You did.

Nicole:  I had been going online and kind of sharing my journey, and helping people off and on for about three weeks.

?I’d been a blogger before that, but I knew I wanted to open my own consulting firm. I wanted to be in a position to help people do what I was helping these corporations do every day, but I wanted to give that power to the everyday entrepreneur.

So, in doing this live online, I started on Periscope live, and now I do a lot of Facebook Live, and I was on there, and people were like, “So, are you ever gonna quit? I mean, ’cause you’re out here saying all these things work, but you’re still working your 9:00 to 5:00.” And I was like, “You know what? You’re not wrong,” you know?

Jen:  Yeah.

Nicole:  So, sure enough, I picked a quit day, and I called up my boss, and I said I was going to quit my job. I went live to tell people I was going to be doing this that day, and everyone was like, “Oh, no, no, no, no, no. That’s really cute, however you’re gonna stay on the line and we’re gonna see the whole thing.”

Jen:  Whoah.

Nicole:   So, I quit my job live online in front of 10,000 people, and it was my first viral video. It actually was watched by over 200,000 people in 24 hours.

Jen:  Yeah, oh yeah. Yeah, that’s news worthy.

Nicole:  Yeah, that’s crazy. It was crazy.

 Were you nervous?

Nicole:   Oh my gosh. Was I nervous? Jen, right now I’m sweating. Right now, my deodorant is failing, okay? Like I sweat perpetually. I was in fear. It was one of those things where of course you’re nervous because even if you’ve made a plan, even if you’ve made structure, even if your faith is set up in the shiniest of ways, you still are jumping into the unknown, and you’re just praying that it’ll all work out.

So, I had just adopted and taken on three girls, and it’s just … it was a situation where a lot was riding on it, and leaving the familiar for the unknown is never without fear, but I’m glad I did it.

Jen: Right. Oh, that’s good. That’s so good. I think that’s the beginning steps of any of, really, our dreams coming to fruition. I think it’s funny, a lot of people who are sidelined holding their dream in their hands, but afraid to move into it, often are probably going to look at somebody like you with a wild, wildly successful history, and a personality to match it, and think, “Well, for her, she’s probably just fearless.” And it’s not true-

Nicole:   Oh, no.

Jen: … It’s not true. There is an element of risk. There’s a potential for loss, no doubt about it.

Nicole: Yeah. Oh yeah.

Jen:  You don’t have guarantees when you sort of step away from what is solid and move into what’s just possible at all. I kind of think, I’m going back to your parents. I like that you mentioned your parents, and I like when you slip into your parents’ accent. That’s real-

Nicole:  That’s what they sound like.

Jen:  You’ve done that on your videos and they like make me cry. So, your parents immigrated from Ghana, but you were born here, right?

Nicole:  Yes, I was born in Washington, D.C.

Jen:  Yeah, and so, I saw that your given name was a Ghanaian name-

Nicole:  It is.

Jen: … and so tell us about the journey … ‘Cause I’m getting somewhere, between your given name to becoming Nicole.

Nicole:   Sure. My given name is Nana, which is a title that’s given to royalty or the lead matriarch in the Ghanaian society. I started off as Nana, and that was the name that I’d used all through my childhood and growing up, and everything I was doing, but the truth was when I finally quit corporate America, I started to apply to jobs with the name Nana, and people weren’t responding.

Jen: Wow.

Nicole:  It was very difficult for me to get work because my resume, Nana just wasn’t as appealing, I guess, or people just kind of didn’t understand. So, my mom switched it out to Nicole, and we switched it out to Nicole-

Jen:  Wow, you picked Nicole out of a hat.

Nicole:  Yeah, Nicole. She actually said when I was born, she was going to name me Nicole, but my dad was like, “No, we’re going to give you a name that’s reflective of your African pride,” ’cause that’s my dad for you. I mean, this is the guy that at my wedding, one side of it was people in full on African head wraps, and then the other side of it was people in like Jewish yarmulkes, because my husband’s Jewish. I mean, it was a sight to see, okay?

Jen:  So amazing.

Nicole:   It wasn’t a sight, it was a full on event. In any case, yeah, my dad, he had his heart set, but I went by Nicole Walters, and sure enough, the people started picking up the phone, and I started getting these job applications, and since then I’ve been Nicole.

Jen:  You know, that makes me so mad.

Nicole:  Jen, I mean, your last name is Hat-McKer, so-

  What do I have in my hands?

Nicole:  What do you have going on?

Jen:  That’s just really interesting commentary on people’s sort of racial and ethnic-

Nicole:  Perceptions?

Jen:... perceptions, yes.

Nicole:  Sure, sure.

Jen: Because your credentials are identical between both of those resumes-

  They’re identical.

Jen:...the only thing you swapped out was that first name.

Nicole:  Yeah, and it’s true. But I will also say, it makes it … I spent my whole life saying it’s Nana, just like you call your Grandma, spelled the same way. Don’t abbreviate to Nan, like, you know? And when you say Nicole, it’s a little easier. I usually just say without the H, and there you go.

Jen: It did just get easier for you. That’s a fact. Although listen, I would have given my right arm to have a Nana as a name. My name is Jennifer, which is obviously the same name every single person my age is named.

Nicole:  Right, right, right.

Jen:  If you were born between 1973 and 1975, your name is Jennifer, 100%, so-

Nicole:   And if you think it isn’t, it secretly is, so just letting you know.

Jen:  It is. If not, it was the second place name, I promise you. So, I would have killed to be Nana Hatmaker. Are you kidding me?

Nicole:  So true.

Jen:  But I love how you talk about your parents. I love their dreams for you, their dreams for themselves, obviously, to immigrate over and make a go of it just sort of in a blue collar setting.

Nicole:  Oh yeah.

Jen:  I read that sometimes it wasn’t easy for you.

Nicole:  Oh no.

Jen:  Like, a one bedroom apartment, bagged school lunch, occasionally your only meal of the day-

Nicole:  Yeah.

Jen:…But there’s something about watching two parents just work hard and grind it out. I mean, it obviously raised you right.

Nicole:  Oh, I mean, it was a real inspiration. I spent most of my time in the passenger’s seat of my Dad’s car, or of his taxi, riding around and kind of talking to the passengers who were D.C.’s elite, because I was in D.C., so it wasn’t just your random people hopping in to go to the airport, it was … My dad’s picked up Marlon Brando, he’s picked up Bob Dole.

Jen:  Weird.

?Nicole:  I got to sit in the car with some of the biggest politicians and the fanciest people, and I would ask them, “How did you get this? What’s it that goes on in that building?” I was very precocious, and I swear I was cute. But you know, I was engaging in these conversations and the big thing I was always trying to fill out and that I get to do now for a living is I help people figure out how to get from that front seat to the back seat. What is that gap between what I want and what I have? And what do I need to do to get there.

?So, I just look back on that time and it was preparation for what I get to do now to serve others.

Jen:  Oh, that’s awesome. What a powerful city to learn in, to kind of observe in and grow up in. I think that’s amazing. So from there, you went to college. Where’d you go?

Nicole:  Yeah. I went to the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Jen:  Yeah, I’ve heard of it. I think it’s gonna make it. I think that university is going to succeed.

Nicole:  Yeah, it’s okay. It’s a lot of money-

Jen:  Yes, yes.

Nicole:  It’s a lot of money, but fortunately I had a scholarship, so-

Jen: That’s amazing. I’ve got a daughter who’s got her eye on … All her favorite schools are in the Northeast, and we did a college tour last summer throughout, and we’d sit down … This is just off topic, but we’d sit down with the Dean or the whoever at the end of the thing, and they’d start going through, “Let’s discuss some of your financial options,” and at that point, I just died. I died on the floor every time.

Nicole:  Oh my gosh. Yeah, I’m just like I can’t even. Like, you want me to pay a house for a piece of paper?

Jen:  It’s crazy. It’s madness.

Nicole:  It’s crazy. No, we-

Jen: I’m like, that can’t be right.

Nicole:  Oh yeah, I know. I mean, like adopting three girls, and they’re ages six, 15, and 18, and what is a college fund? We got an 18-year old when she was 15, and now she’s in college, so it’s like out of pocket. That was part of my inspiration for my quit day, ’cause I was like, “I gotta make more money fast. I gotta pay for these kids. What am I gonna do? “

Sure enough, fortunately, our 18-year old is like of the nursing persuasion, so college makes sense for her, ’cause I can’t teach her that at home, but our middle one is a creative, so we’re like, we just want you to be great at whatever you do. You don’t need a piece of paper. We just want to make sure that you’re trained accordingly and that you’re dedicated. So, maybe it’ll be sending her to Paris to apprentice some artist. I don’t know, but we’re into the unconventional thing because we just want to make sure our kids are their best selves.

Jen:  I love this conversation. I wish more people were having it. I think some of the non-traditional routes are absolutely the right routes for so many kids, for so many kids who are going to be trade oriented or skilled oriented-

Nicole:  Absolutely.

Jen:  Not everybody’s meant for the classroom, but it’s such a … It’s what they hear in school. The only option, the only way forward, the only possible path to success, and it’s simply not true. I’ve got a couple of kids too that I’ve got my eye on in this family. I mean, I have five. It’s like a zillion kids, so-

Nicole:  You’re like, “I got a couple kids that I got my eye on.” I was like, “Jen, whose kids are you looking at?”

Jen:  Right.

Nicole:  I’m here like, “We gotta talk about some stuff. We’re about to flip this interview around. Are you looking at the neighborhood’s kids, like, ‘Well, you’re not going to college.’ ‘Hey, Tim down the street, you better get a trade.'”

Jen:  Kid, it’s life skills, all right? Let me just lay out your path for you.

Nicole:  Oh my gosh.

  I know. I’ve got a couple of really book smart kids, and a couple that just do not thrive in a traditional classroom setting, so we’re having those exact same conversations too-

Nicole:  Absolutely.

Jen:  So, back to college. So, off you go to Johns Hopkins. I mean, whoah, that’s amazing. What an opportunity and what an experience. But you did say that you experienced some of the pain of racism.

?Nicole:  Oh yeah, sure.

Jen:  It took you by surprise, which is interesting, so I’d love to hear how you navigated that, and how you are learning to navigate that with your girls now … and is that still something you have to balance and work through and maneuver through in your career?

Nicole:  Yeah, I mean, I would definitely say that I’m … One of the things that’s cool is we joke about our house being like the United Nations of all houses because we’re a little bit of everything. I’m married to a Jewish lawyer. I’m an immigrant who was born in the United States, so I’m definitely American, and I went to all prep schools in D.C., but I was the poor kid. So I really can experience so many different worlds, and what’s great is, the blessing in that all is I uniquely fit in in a lot of different spaces-

Jen:  Totally.

Nicole:  … so I mean, I can hang in the boardroom, and I can also hang at the farmer’s market. I’m not afraid to do the hard work because that’s how I was raised. I went to school in Ghana for a year, so I know third world poverty, but then I’m also very familiar with what it’s like to fly first class flights and do that sort of thing.

So, one of the great things is it allows me to get into most areas where people may not be used to seeing a face like mine, or get on stages where they tend not to have people who may look like me as often, and present a perspective where we can all connect and we can all unify, and where we can all share in the same story. That’s been sort of a powerful and pleasant part of what I get to do, is that I may be the only brown face in the room, but I’m also everybody’s best friend, you know?

Jen:  Totally.

Nicole:  And people have that comfort to be able to ask me some of the tough questions and know that I’ll receive them.

Jen:  That’s good.

Nicole:  I’ll go and do some events, and people will tell me, “I don’t really want to start a business, but I did adopt two girls from Ethiopia, and I actually have a question about your curly hair, and can you help me with that?” And I’ll just, “Absolutely,” you know, “What can I help you with? And here are some products, and here’s what you can use.” It’s just a blessing to be able to know that I can be a warm, safe place for people to have conversations that might be tough, because I can really relate to so many different perspectives.

So, I look at my tough experiences of being in an environment where I was always the minority, and I’m able to say, that was a battle training ground because now I have a platform and I get to use that to welcome people of all races, shades, and colors, ethnicities, and faiths, to see what God’s doing in my life, and the fact that it’s possible to live this very diverse and tolerant life, and be positive and welcoming. So, it’s all good things.

Jen:  Wow, that is so generous. That is such a generous outlook.

Nicole:  Oh yeah, well I like people too, so that helps, you know?

Jen:  That does help. That does help. But you know, a lot of my black friends, they’ll tell me, the white people just wear me out. They’re like wearing me out, like save me from the white people.

Nicole:  Right, right, right.

Jen:  I’m like, it can get tiring, and it can get lonely-

Nicole:  Sure, and I mean there are moments. I think that as a person who tends to look at stuff with humor, I mean, I like to laugh, and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt of their hearts. If you just don’t know, you just don’t know. It doesn’t excuse that you don’t know, we should all be trying to educate ourselves and try to get better, but most of the things I like to approach with humor, so I call … I’ve got my richly “melanated” rich friends in my community, and then I have my lighter brighters.

Jen:  Lighter brighters.

Nicole:   I’m the lighter brighters. We treat that with humor, so when I talk about my penchant for wigs, I’ll say these ones are for my melanated ones, lighter brighters, I need you to stay back.

Jen:  Stay back.

Nicole:   You know? Or we get to have those conversations and bring some humor to it, and I think that sometimes laughing is the best way to address some of these things, even though they’re a very serious thing and they’re very real things, but it creates a platform where we’re all labeled to kind of do it in a way that actually makes progress.

Jen:  Oh, I could not agree with you more. These are really super important conversations, but they’re tender-

Nicole:  Oh yeah, they’re tender.

Jen:  …you know, they can be really, really fragile, and rightly so. This comes with the backing of centuries of pain and inequality, so it’s real, but I love what you’re saying, and I’m just going back through the mental Rolodex of some of the most powerful conversations I have had in a diverse room about racial equality and healing, and in the mix, in every one of those, somewhere, is humor. Someone is giving us permission to laugh and be awkward, and say something inappropriate-

Nicole:   Be awkward.

?Jen:  … and just break the ice a little bit so that we’re not clutching our pearls so tight that we can’t make any progress, make any headway. I really love everything that you just said. I’m gonna stitch that on a pillow, and I’m gonna put it on my bed.

Nicole:  Oh, I love it.

Jen:  I would love for you to tell everybody a little bit more about what you do, ’cause the company that you have built is really great, and I’m telling you right now, that a lot of our listeners, they’re gonna run their little feet to their laptops and look this up because you meet a need in a really unique way, that is exciting and innovative, and empowering. So, tell everybody just a little bit about your company.

Nicole:  So, I just want to say, Jen, you are a self-esteem boost. I am legit going to take this podcast and download it to my Alexa and listen to it while I’m showering, and at the exact moment I get out of the shower, I need to hear, “You are unique and innovative.” Like while I’m looking at my love handles and … I’ve lost a lot of weight, but everything is still shaped like a Tonka Truck. When I have that moment, I need to have Jen Hat-McKer’s voice saying to me-

Jen:  You are special, smart-

Nicole: …You are so wonderful. Listen, your products are good. I just need that in my life.

Jen:  Everyone’s gonna want them.

Nicole:   Everyone’s gonna want them.

Jen:  Your star is on the rise.

Nicole:   Oh my gosh. Your skin is so clear today, Nicole. Like, I need that. I’m gonna need to record that in my phone after we get off of here. I need this.

Jen:  I’m like you, I love people. It’s just real, I just do-

Nicole:  You’re the best. Oh my gosh.

Jen:…and so that’s how God made us, man-

Nicole:  Oh my god, I love it.

Jen:… A lot of my friends roll their eyes at me like, “Gah, everybody’s not that great.”

Nicole:  But you’re just so nice-

Jen:  I’m like, “Yes they are.”

Nicole:  No, I totally get it. I get it. So, yeah, I’m really blessed. I love what I get to do. When I worked in corporate, my job was to help these companies develop products that would sell, help them take their core skills, so if it was an insurance company, what is it that we offer, and how can we tailor it and make it best for the marketplace.

Now that I do that for everyday entrepreneurs, it’s a lot simpler sounding, but it’s the exact same thing. I take people’s core best skill, their God-given skill, and I show them how to package that and turn that into a product. So we all have an internal calling. I like to align it with 1 Peter 4:10, that we’ve all been given a specific gift that we’re supposed to use to serve others, and whatever that thing is inside of us, we’re supposed to take that, package it up, and God wants to pay us to be able to do this in big ways …’cause money’s an earthly thing, right? But He wants to make sure we have the ease to be able to perform and serve in the way that He has for us.

So, I’m excited ’cause I get to do that, and I get to do it using corporate strategies, like the fancy pants things that we all feel might be out of our reach, I get to show you how in a simple, funny, entertaining way, how to apply those very same things to just make your business blast into the stratosphere. It’s so much fun.

Jen:  That’s so awesome. Give us a sampling. Here are some of the types of women that I have worked with recently … Or it’s not just women. Is it just women?

Nicole:  No, it’s not actually. I get a lot of fellas too. Yeah, so-

Jen:  Yeah, you can-

Nicole:  Yeah, so-

Jen:…But you do have a lot of women, so here are some people that have come to me and saying, “I have this little idea.” What are some of those things?

Nicole:  Some of the funny things is like, I’ll get women, and I think bigger families are on the comeback, at least that’s what my husband’s trying to sell me, is he wants a son.

Jen:  Ah, yes.

Nicole:  So, bigger families are on the comeback, and so I’ll have a mom who’s like, “Yeah, you know, I feel like all I ever do are make sandwiches. I just make sandwiches. My whole life is prepping lunches, cleaning laundry, and I don’t know how to turn that into a business.”

And I’ll say, “Well, you know what? I bet you there are 10 other families on your cul-de-sac, and 10 other moms that are feeling your same pain, where if they could just get back the hour and a half that they spend every day making lunches and prepping meals, that you already have down to a science … maybe we could turn this into a business.”

And of course, the moms will look at me and say, “What are you talking about?” And then I’ll say, “No, it’s a real thing.” So, this mom had it down to like a conveyor belt system. She could make lunches for her eight kids in about 20 minutes, and healthy balanced lunches. I said, “Well, you know what? Let’s take some orders. Let’s test this out. Let’s set up a website for you, let’s get you all functioned and ready to go in a business fashion, but then let’s go to your neighbors and take orders.”

She now makes lunches for her entire subdivision, goes around and delivers them afterwards, and makes about $5,000 a month.

Jen: What?

?Nicole:  That’s all she does, and she makes lunches. So, it’s like, I was doing this anyways, and now I do it en masse, I buy in bulk, and it offsets the expense. So, she’s the lunch brigade. She makes the deliveries. These other moms now have their time back, they get to drink wine, they get to have a healthy, wonderful, delicious, balanced lunches for their kids, and they don’t have to worry about it. They’re not eating the crumb that comes out of the school lunch system.

So, it works out really beautifully, and she’s beyond happy to get to be home and use her skill in order to bless others.

?Jen:  I love that you used that as an example, because I think sometimes women, when they think about being an entrepreneur, or about building a business, there’s sort of a mental fixation that that business has to look a certain way. It’s gonna be very corporate in nature, or it’s going to be an international non-profit and save the world, right?

Nicole:  Right, right, right.

Jen:  The scope and scale of it is gonna be something that would literally never occur to them, but yet that’s sort of the narrative that we’re fed, that it’s always really big and really fancy and really important. But I love that you just used an example of everyday life, ordinary life. Like this could literally be a business that provides income for your family doing stuff you already do-

Nicole:  That’s absolutely right.

Jen: …or stuff you already know how to do, or stuff you love. I’m sure you get some people that come in and say, “I want to do something different. This is what I love, but I’m doing this right now.” So you sort of walk them through that transition of building new spaces, right?

Nicole:  Yup, absolutely. One of the first things I always tell everyone, and anyone who’s listening who might be saying, “Well where do I start,” is you need to have a website. I mean, oftentimes, we think to ourselves, “Gosh, what I need to do is start creating my bows or I need to start making my jams,” and things of that sort, but your website is your digital storefront. It allows you to have a place to send people whenever they want to interact with you or your product, or learn more. Or if you put a store on there, to actually make a purchase.

Nowadays, you don’t need to have a shop on Main Street, you can actually just have a shop on Web Street. You set that up, and people will now have a place where they can go and purchase and interact, and give you their money for the great things that you’re making. So, it’s a simple place to start, but it’s a must nowadays.

?Jen:  What’s one of the most interesting or random or hilarious or surprising businesses that someone built under your leadership?

Nicole: Oh, so, I’m glad you asked this one. And by the way, you ask the best questions. I have done a bajillion podcast interviews, and I’m like, “girl, like what are you doing right now?” This is so good.

So yeah, the best business, or the … not the best, the fun, weirdest one, is a wreath maker. And get this, it’s a guy, right? So, it’s a guy who makes wreaths, and we scaled him as of the past two months into a million-dollar business-

Jen:  No way.

Nicole:  … and here’s how he started. It’s crazy pants. So, it’s a business where he actually makes wreaths out of bows. So, they’re these fancy, decorative front door wreaths, and overhangs … I’m obviously not crafty. I don’t even know what these things are called. They’re like overhang things that are like decor things. So, he basically goes live online, makes these wreaths, and then he will show you how to do it yourself.

He was like, “You know, I want to expand this into something that more people will be able to do at home.” So, I was like, “You know what you need? A subscription box, ’cause people are already looking into … you know, they buy whatever you’re recommending. They’re buying the ribbon, they’re buying the supplies, let’s package all this stuff into a box for them-”

Jen: Oh, smart.

Nicole:  ” … send it out every single month, and then get them on a subscription so now you have recurring revenue of people buying every single month your wreath making subscription box, a wreath of the month. Instead of you actually making the wreaths yourself, because then, you’re exchanging time for money. You can only get paid for as many wreaths as you can make.”

So, now he has this DIY wreath box, and I know there’s some people on right now who are like, “I could use that.” So, that’s what he does, and I never in a million years would have ever thought, oh my gosh, I’m gonna make someone who makes wreaths into a millionaire, but you know what? It’s possible, because business is something where, especially if you’re aligned with your passion and your purpose, I mean, you can truly make as much money as you’re willing to receive, as long as you pursue it.

?Jen:  Oh, that is so fascinating. I also really super loved your craft descriptions in there. That would have been how Jen Hatmaker would have done it too, like, some like overhangy parts, and some bow things.

Nicole:  Oh my gosh.

Jen:  That’s precisely how I would have described that. What a great example. I was reading about you, something you wrote, ’cause you’re such a go-getter. It’s innate in you and that’s obvious, but something you said was, “I think being an entrepreneur is something you are from birth-”

Nicole:  Yeah, oh yeah.

Jen:  … I think when you’re someone that always has trouble with authority and the regular–

Nicole:  How’d you know? We did not talk about that. Get out of my life, Jen.

Jen:  So true. Well, I mean, I’m obviously bringing this up ’cause I identify with this. “But when you’re always thinking outside of the box, when you’re always saying there’s got to be a better way, and I think I’m going to be the person to do it, then you’re probably born to be an entrepreneur.”

And I like that because I think there’s a lot of people that don’t necessarily have an obvious personality that looks like that, but there’s something in them that is constantly looking around the room going, “I could do this better.” Or, “this piece is missing, and I could do it.”

So, I’m interested in your work, ’cause you work now with so many, so many dreamers. Do you see a mix of entrepreneurs that some have kind of that rebel vibe, that you’re not in charge of me, I’ll do what I want, I’ll quit on Periscope, so help me … and some who don’t, but still make it after all?

?Nicole:  Sure, absolutely. Honestly, the thing that everybody shares is that thing you’re talking about here, where they know that they kind of are looking at things differently, and they want to know if that’s something worth pursuing. It actually manifests in a way where part of why they’ve come to my door is because they’re saying to themselves, “Is it okay for me to do this?” They’re looking for permission in a lot of ways, because they’re saying to themselves, or they’ve already started testing it, and they’re not seeing the result they want, so they’re questioning, “Am I crazy? ‘Cause I swear that this isn’t the right way.”

Entrepreneurs, we are that person who looks at the system and says, “I feel like I could do it better,” or we look at a method and we automatically modify it. So, we’re the ones that look at the recipe and we’re like, “Ah, I’m swapping this out, and I’m trying this.

Jen:  Totally.

Or we look at the fitness routine and we’re like, “This is really great, and I appreciate what they’re saying, but you really want to do squats here instead.” We’re always trying to come up with our own system that we know is tailored, and elevating whatever we’re looking at. That is actually a sign that you are good, that you’re ready, that you’re effective, that you’re innovated, and that you have something that can be monetized, and that you can get paid for.

Too often, we say to ourselves that that’s not what that is. We think that it’s so different that it’s not okay, and we beat ourselves up, like, “I’ve never seen anything like it before, so it’s not a valid business idea.”

Jen:  Totally.

And it’s like, “No, that is a business. That’s like exactly what it’s looking for.” Steve Jobs looked at a cellphone and said, “You know what would be great? If this didn’t have buttons.”

If you think about crazy he must have looked in front of his team saying, “Let’s take the buttons off this thing,” and now, if I give my kids a phone with buttons, they ask me if it’s a laptop. They’re like, “What is this? You hate us, Mom? You hate me?”

Jen: That’s a great point.

?Nicole:  I’m telling you, the very thing that makes you weird is exactly what makes you perfect for the business.

?Jen:  I love that. But you know what’s interesting, while I’m listening to you talk, I’m curious to hear your take on this because I think men, largely, are given that message from the time they’re little, that you are a creator and you are going to be an earner, and you are going to be successful. And I’m not positive that girls and women are getting the same message, and I wonder if you see a disproportionate response to those urges. Do you find that women have kind of a complicated relationship with ambition and with-

Nicole:  Oh yeah.

Jen:  …You know what I mean? Men are like, “Yes, I’ll do it, I’m the alpha in the room.” Where women are looking for permission, like you just mentioned. Still, it’s like, “Will somebody tell me that this is okay, or that I can do this?” What do you see in the field?

Nicole:  Yeah, it definitely is a manifestation of both. What will happen is you’ll have women who despite being told that we’re bossy and not bosses our whole lives, we’ll still manage to accomplish all the things because we’re doers. I mean, who’s going to do it for us? The kid’s crying, we’re going to get up and handle it. That folds over into so many other places, and what will happen though is because we’re so used to that existence, we end up minimizing what we’ve actually accomplished, and it manifests into this thing called imposter syndrome, where we often will have trouble internalizing our own greatness.

?We’ll spend a lot of time questioning whether or not we’re actually capable. We will take all the things we’ve accomplished and said, “Ah, well, I just got lucky,” or “Oh, they gave me a compliment, but you know, I just threw it together,” or “Oh well, they bought my product, but they didn’t really have a lot of options.” Something like that. We just always want to water down our greatness, and it’s unfortunate when that happens because the truth of the matter is the sum of your life, everything you’ve been through, the experiences, the challenges, the degrees, all of those things, are the reason why you’ve earned the good things that come to you, and those deserve to be celebrated. It’s also the tools that will get you more great things in the future. So, it’s unfortunate that we’re wired that way because we aren’t told that there’s a direct correlation between our work and our results.

?The same way it is with guys. Guys, they’re told, you do the work and you get the results and you earned it, because that’s what you’re expected to do.

Jen: Exactly.

Nicole:  For the guys in my community, they do still struggle with some imposter syndrome things where it’s like, well, I’m the man and I’m supposed to provide for all the people. I will coach them and say, “Listen, your wife’s the one with the talent here. What you need to do is support her. Your job may be to be the head of operations, or the slay at-home dad.” That sort of thing, you know?

Jen:  Yeah.

Nicole:  Like, there may be a plot twist for you, but understand that that specific role is the one that is contributing to the bigger picture. My husband, he’s an attorney, but he works from home, and he is home with the kids. He is the primary parent, if you will, ’cause I travel a lot. It doesn’t mean I don’t have mommy guilt about that, I feel weird, because I also like my kids in addition to love them, but he’s good at it, and he’s effective. He’s a better disciplinarian. I’m the one who’s like, “Are you crying? Oh, what we need is ice cream. We collectively need ice cream.”

He’s the one who’s like, “Yeah, no, let her. She’ll be fine.”

Jen:  It’s true.

?Nicole:  You know, what’s great is we have a marriage, a friendship, love and a partnership, and he knows to give me my rein to do what I want to do, and I also know that as my husband, my partner, and the leader in our household, if he puts down his foot, I listen, ’cause he doesn’t do that often, you know what I mean? So that balance, I think is important to encourage and nurture so that everybody understands that their role is essential and it is important, and that you are capable, and you don’t have to ask permission and question the things you have, ’cause you earned them.

Jen:  That’s so good. I just don’t hear this enough. I don’t hear it enough. I especially don’t hear it enough … you know, my world is so largely Christian too, and so there we get a double portion of guilt, if you will-

Nicole:   Sure, sure.

Jen:  …there’s a very typical stereotype of women injected in that community, which has a really tricky relationship with success and roles. But what you’re saying is the truth. It’s just the truth. There are plenty of us with gifts to bear on this earth, and sometimes it looks one way, sometimes it looks another, sometimes it takes off, and that’s good, and it’s wonderful, and I love this empowering message that you are bringing to these dreamers and these men and women with these fabulous ideas.

Jen: I want to ask you something else. I’m a little bit of a builder too, so I’m just relating very much to everything that you’re saying. So, a lot of us during the building season of something new or something great, those first weeks, months, even years can be bananas.

Nicole:  Yeah.

Jen:  You’re doing everything that you later will have an assistant for. You’re HR, you’re sales, you’re marketing, you’re your web guy. You’re everything, and then obviously when you start to grow and expand, sometimes you can start to build your team a little bit and do some delegation, but in the midst of all of that … and work is so fulfilling for me, and so I love work. I love what I do. It’s not a drag for me, so I enjoy being in that space. I’m a hard worker too, just like you are, so I have to sometimes shake out of it.

So, sometimes in the middle of that sort of busy building season, the last person on the list to get an ounce of care is our own selves. We just neglect ourselves. There’s no other way. Our bodies, our health, our free time, our sleep, all the things that are going to put enough gas in the tank to see us through. So, I like this recent part of your story. This is why I say all this.

Nicole:  I know, I was like, where is Jen going with this, because I’m here like she’s about to put me out there. Okay, everybody.

Jen: Listen, you fairly recently, you decided to take care of yourself in a way that is really inspiring, really phenomenal. You prioritized it. So, I would love … Would you tell everybody just a little bit about your health journey. You look amazing.

Nicole:  Thank you so much-

Jen: Like, so smoking hot.

Nicole:  I appreciate you.

Jen: What made you decide to do that, ’cause you could have not. I mean, you’re busy enough-

Nicole:  I could have not. No, it’s true-

Jen:  …you’ve got three daughters.

Nicole:  …and I didn’t. Yeah, I didn’t for a while, so-

Jen:  Yeah, can you talk about that a little bit?

Nicole:  Yeah, so I’ve lost 63 pounds, because this is a podcast, so people don’t see what I look like-

Jen: Dang.

Nicole: … which is also why I shouldn’t even really do podcasts, ’cause I’m not making use of all of God’s gifts, ’cause my skin is radiant-

Jen:  That’s amazing.

Nicole:  … you know, like honestly, it should always be video because blessings, right? No.

Jen: That’s so good.

Nicole:  No, but seriously. Yeah, I’ve lost 63 pounds, and I’m feeling healthier, better, happier. I’m more engaged with my children, I sleep better. I mean, it wasn’t easy, obviously, and I think that was the first step to actually losing weight, realizing, oh, everybody hates to run. And no, salads are never that good-

Jen:  Never.

?Nicole:  … A salad will never be better than a Krispy Kreme donut, that’s just real life. It’s okay because you have to understand balance and proportions, or portions, and then also understand that I’m in it for the long game, right? I get one body, and-

?Jen:  That’s it, yeah.

Nicole:  … My purpose and my mission is so important that I have to show up as my best self. The turning point came for me when … I started this journey, gosh, in June of last year, but the turning point happened a little before that, really in March, where I felt like I’d improved a lot of stuff in my business, meaning like my business was kind of running. It was very easy to put on the back burner, but my kids were doing great, and I felt like I had products I was happy with, clients that were happy, and it just felt like, gosh, well what am I going to do to up level? Where am I going to get to the next thing?

It’s very easy for us to say, okay, well I need to buy a new system, or I need to buy a new tool, or I need to take a new course, or I need to do something like that, or buy a new book, or whatever. The truth was, I was like, you know what, I’ve got self-improvement to do. What can I do to make myself better? So, the first thing I did was I went to therapy-

Jen: Yeah, totally.

Nicole:  … I was like, you know, I just haven’t spent any time actually … And I know that therapy is one of those things where in church it’s even like a funky thing, where people are like, “Why don’t you just talk to your pastor, girl?” It’s like, I do talk to my pastor, but I also need to talk to someone who’s like a brain doctor, the same way that I don’t go to my pastor for a scab on my foot-

Jen:  Exactly.

Nicole:  … I’m also going to go to someone that God ordained with the skillsets to know how to examine my brain.

Jen:  Amen.

Nicole:  So, I went to a therapist, and I sat down with her and I said, “Look, I need to unpack some stuff, like anxiety, stress. I’m a new mom and I worry about being good at that … and I’m also carrying all this weight, and I haven’t prioritized it. Why don’t I care about myself, ’cause this is with me all the time. Let’s talk about this.”

After unpacking a lot of that, I mean, I was so renewed that I said, you know what, a lot of my feelings around my weight were I just felt like I wasn’t good enough to shed this weight, that it was almost a protection. If you’re going to be the chunkiest girl in the room, you better be funny too. You know, it was kind of one of those things where it was like, let me just … I was leaning on my other skills so I could ignore something I didn’t want to work on at the time.

Jen:  Totally, wow.

Nicole:  Yeah, so what ended up happening was I finally said, “Enough is enough. I’m good enough with or without this weight. And if I know that I’m good enough with it, then heck, I can definitely be good enough, if not better without it, and let me see what I can do.”

So that started with eating better, because working out is not my ministry. Let’s not tell stories here, God is watching-

Jen:  It’s not my gifting either.

Nicole:  … I needed to learn how to put down a donut if I’m going to tell other people to be their best selves. So, I started there, and then sure enough, when the weight started coming off, I started engaging in a little more activity, and then after oh my gosh, about 35 pounds, I thought it was appropriate to start making everyone on Instagram jealous, because that’s the real reason we do it.

Jen:  Sure, let’s tell the truth.

  Let’s just tell the truth. No, after about 30 pounds, I started feeling more comfortable talking about it because I had to get really okay with the fact that my after picture is real. My after picture is really me. It’s not just about my before picture. I don’t have to be ashamed of it.

Jen: That’s good.

Nicole:  So, I started sharing it and putting it out there, and I’m excited to be living in the after. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.

Jen:  Good for you.

Nicole:  Thank you.

Jen:  Did you say 63 pounds? That’s like, you’ve lost like a fourth grader.

Nicole:  Yes. Oh my gosh. When I pick up my daughter, my six-year old, I’m like, oh my gosh, I used to carry you around. No wonder my knees hurt. No wonder my blood pressure was high. No wonder I was pre-diabetic. No wonder-

Jen:  Totally, yes.

Nicole:  … I mean, there was a reason for all of that weight, so-

Jen:  You had to get all new clothes, didn’t you? Isn’t that amazing?

  Oh my gosh. Well here’s the thing that happens, your brain doesn’t catch up with it as quickly as your body maybe fits, so I had to have other people tell me, “That’s looking a little big on you.” Or, “You don’t need to cover that up as much,” or “Girl, it’s okay to burn your Spanx. The situation’s working fine.”

Jen:  Seriously.

Nicole:  I went to an event. Not even kidding, went to an event, and my Spanx line was showing, which I’ll readily talk about it. I’m like, listen, Spanx, holy water, duct tape. I’ll do whatever’s necessary to look right in my dress, you know?

So, I’m wearing these Spanx and it’s showing, and then finally my assistant was like, “You know, you could just take off the Spanx. The dress will probably still look okay.” And I was like, “No, no. Spanx are like a warm hug, you know? I need them.”

Jen:  Very warm. Like an inferno.

Nicole:   Right, like an inferno. So, I finally take them off and I’m like, hey, it still looks okay, and my Spanx aren’t kind of peeping out underneath. Okay. I felt really good about it, so-

Jen:  That’s amazing.

Nicole:  Yeah, transformation, you know. It is.

Jen: That’s so great. So, a lot of your changes are just semi-permanent then, right, just an overhaul of the way you’re gonna eat-

Nicole:  Oh yeah. Oh yeah, I mean, and that’s part of I think the mindset shift too, is there isn’t a trick. It’s not like I did some magic formula.

Jen: It’s not.

Nicole: It’s not. A lot of it was education, so I learned a lot about …’Cause I didn’t know. My parents are African, so they’re literally like, “Hey, we have food, let’s celebrate.” You know what I mean?

Jen:  Totally, let’s call the neighbors.

Nicole:   Like, “And you better eat that too, girl.” It wasn’t like let’s count the calories in this stew. My mom, she’s like, “Calories, what are calories? Nana, you need to eat this rice. I made you rice.” You know? That’s how my mom is, so and portions are, this bowl.

Jen:  Right.

Nicole:   So, I had to educate myself, ’cause I realized growing up, and a lot of people who follow me on different platforms, they grew up the same way, even here in America, where it’s like, “Clean your plate-”

Jen:  Of course.

Nicole:  … and if you are lucky enough to have a steak and potatoes, eat that steak and potatoes. No one’s talking to you about how many calories in a pat of butter. We didn’t grow up that way, so now that was able to educate myself on that, and furthermore, how these foods affect my body … like if I eat pasta and I feel super tired, it’s probably because there’s something going on with the digestion of it all-

Jen: That’s good.

Nicole:  … I’m not some super scientist, but I gotta pay attention.

Jen:  That’s so good.

Nicole:  Yeah, now that I have that information, I’m empowered to make better food decisions, and if I do want to eat pasta, I still eat pasta, I’m just aware that I’ll need a nap and no one should judge me. So, it all comes together.

Jen:  Let me live. If I want to have a bowl of pasta on a Tuesday, for crying out loud, I’ve got to live my life-

Nicole:   It’s like what it is. Put it on my calendar. Put it on my calendar.

Jen: Brandon, when I brought Brandon home, we were in college and he was just my boyfriend. I’m sorry, Brandon is my husband-

Nicole:  I know, I was like, oh-

Jen:  Who’s Brandon? That’s my husband, and I brought him home like just everybody’s gonna meet my boyfriend, Brandon, and my Dad brings out … This is how I ended every night of my entire childhood and adolescence. It’s like, it’s ice cream time. That’s just what we do. So, my Dad goes into the kitchen and he’s dishing out all of our ice cream bowls, and he brings a bowl to Brandon, and Brandon looks at me and he’s like, “Who is this for?” I’m like, “You.” He’s like, “Who’s gonna help me eat this half a gallon of ice cream in my bowl?”

Nicole:  Oh my word. Oh my word.

Jen: I’m like, “Bro, get a spoon.”

Nicole:  I know, go in. Lucky you.

Jen: You need to like show up right now. You’re trying to impress my parents? Don’t be looking at me like you can’t put down that much ice cream.

So, listen. I definitely want to talk real quick about … I love it when you get your video on. That makes me real glad, and I cackle-

Nicole:  Oh my goodness.

Jen:  …I think I mentioned it earlier, but one of them that I love, and I saw it when it came out six or seven months ago, it’s when your daughter, your oldest daughter had gone to college, not even that far, like 25 minutes away-

Nicole:   Yeah, it’s really close.

Jen:  … and it’s the first week of school. She ghosts you for three days on your texts and phone calls, like just no response.

Nicole:  I almost died.

Jen: Of course, you did. And so, this is just so hardcore that it thrills me to my bones. You and your adorable husband literally got in the car, and you drove yourself to her college-

Nicole:  It was his idea.

Jen:  Was it?

Nicole:  I just want to say for the record, people think I’m crazy. It was his idea. He was like, “I have not heard from her.” And I was like, “So what do you want to do?” Most people think … The thing is, we’re an interesting pair because he’ll have an idea, but he’s like calm and collected. He’ll just show up and just kinda be like this is what’s happening, and I’m the type where I’m like, “Why do you hate our whole family?” I get in my-

Jen:  Just go off the rails.

Nicole:  …I go off the rails, and he just kind of watches me and he’s like, “Gosh, it’s fine, it’s fine.”

Yeah, we went down to her college, and we made these great fliers that said, “If you see our daughter misbehaving, we’ll be happy to … Just tweet me at @NapturalNicole with photo evidence and I’ll be happy to buy you a pizza.”

Jen:  That’s too much.

Nicole:  We went to her dorm and we got her pizza, or we brought her bananas, and we just wanted to find her. We wanted to make sure she was okay. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve got free time, honey. I’ve got free time, I’ve got Snapchat, like my job is to professionally be around you, so I am here keeping my eye on you-

Jen:  I even wrote down … That was my favorite line in your whole video when you’re like, “Look, all I have is time and disposable income. I’ll be here all day. I’ll be here tomorrow.”

Nicole:  That’s it. That’s right. I have nothing else to do. I will be here tomorrow. I mean, we can hang out. I will sit in the quad. I am paying for this school right now. I’m allowed to be here, you know what I mean? So, that’s what that looks like.

Jen:  It was so amazing.

Nicole:  Oh my gosh.

Jen:  Respect.

Nicole:  My whole neighborhood probably thinks I’m crazy, ’cause I had a second viral video that happened like maybe a month later, where I was freaking out about my kid, taking my kid to the bus stop.

And I met all my neighbors, they don’t talk to me. I’m a mess, so I need all your parenting tips. You have to help me, Jen. Save me, Jen.

Jen: Oh, it just makes me so glad. It’s really weird, isn’t it, to navigate young adulthood as a parent.

Nicole:  It’s so weird.

Jen:  There’s not a template in front of me to look at and know exactly what to do. One minute they’re in your house, you literally know where they are every second of every day, and then they’re at college not answering your texts.

Nicole:  Right.

Jen:  It’s just … But yet, I’m paying for your life still, bro.

Nicole:  Their whole life. And like-

Jen:  I paid for that Uber, I paid for the bed you’re sleeping on-

Nicole:  Yes.

Jen:…and so, where does Mom end and the kid begins, and that line keeps getting pushed, but I just find it one of the trickier seasons of parenting that I can remember, is trying to figure out how to both launch them and hold them responsible to all that we’re giving them during that season.

Nicole:  Yup.

Jen:  Just drive to your campus. I mean, that’s one way to handle it.

Nicole:  That’s one way. Well, the thing is, my parents are African. So, it was one of those things where you get one pat on the butt when you’re growing up, and my mom can now stop me with a death glare across the room, you know what I mean?

Jen:  Totally.

Nicole:  That’s the thing that we were kind of doing. It was a different situation, especially with adoption. There’s even additional levels of things to navigate-

Jen:  Of course.

Nicole:  …and so with our daughter, we adopted her a little older, so she’d already spent years taking care of herself, hustling for food at the grocery store. I mean, she’d been through an entirely different world of experience, so for some people who are like, “Oh my gosh, you’re a helicopter mom,” they don’t realize that she had to understand that out of sight does not mean out of mind.

Jen: That’s right. So good.

Nicole:   We still care about you when we don’t see you. You are loved. You belong somewhere and to someone, and it’s important for you to understand that even though you’re over there, we will be here in a minute because we’re worried about you, and we love you, and we care about you. You aren’t alone. We did that once, and after doing that once, I mean, she checks in with us definitely every other day. She called during this podcast interview, you know?

Jen:  Of course.

Nicole:  So, she’s on it, you know, and it’s because she knows that somebody cares about her. Kids carry themselves differently when they know that they’re loved, and we want to make sure she never ever forgets that.

Jen:  I love that so much. You know, my youngest two are adopted. They’re Ethiopian-

Nicole:  Love it.

Jen:  …and we brought them here when they were five and eight-

Nicole:  Wow.

Jen:  …so they were also a little bit older. I mean, old enough to have a bank of memories and hard experiences-

Nicole:  Definitely.

Jen:  They’re 12 and 14 now, but listen, these kids also know how to game the system. Let’s give them some credit. My son Ben, who’s an eighth grader and just as charming as the day is long, I mean it’s just too much, that kid, but he’ll tell me to this day. He’ll say, “You know what, Mom? If I have an assignment, and I feel like I don’t know how to do it or I don’t want to do it, or I haven’t spent enough time on it, I’ll just somehow make my essay about being adopted.” He’s like, “I’ll just play that card.”

Nicole:  Brilliant.

Jen:  I’m like, “Ben Hatmaker, bro-”

Nicole:  Brilliant.

Jen:  He’s like, “Mom, I get an A every time.” I’m like-

Nicole:  ‘Cause who’s gonna say? Who’s gonna say?

Jen:  Gaming the system.

Nicole:  Who’s gonna say, “Oh no, we don’t align with that experience. Your experience is irrelevant.”

Jen:  We don’t like that. That’s a C minus work right there. Yeah.

Nicole:  He’s a brilliant child. No, I told my daughter, I was like, “Listen, Mommy is an entrepreneur. What that means is I need you to graduate so we can have a happy ending to your book deal. I need you to get your life together, so I need you to get it together so you don’t mess it up for everybody.”

Jen:  That is so great.

Nicole:  She’s cracking up. I’m like, “You didn’t get that story for a reason. God gave you that experience for a reason, and it’s for you to have a great book, and an awesome Lifetime movie.”

Jen:  Oh my gosh.

?Nicole:  The funny part is though, our kids don’t take us seriously either, you know? I mean, my kids are like, “Mom, you’re like insane. You’re hilarious.”

Jen:  Totally.

Nicole:  They’re just like whatever, or they’re like, “All my friends follow you on Instagram, Mom. Ugh. Can you stop posting pictures?”

Jen:  Yes, totally. Mine too. Absolutely. They’re not impressed.

Nicole:   Yeah, it’s so funny.

Jen:  Okay, quick, I’m gonna wrap up with three questions that we’re asking all of our guests in this series, the Women Who Built It series.

Nicole:  Sure.

Jen:  Here’s the first one, and just fire it off.

Nicole:  Okay.

Jen:  Who is a person in your life that makes you a better person, a better leader?

Nicole:  Okay, so the appropriate answer is God, right? But the other answer is Oprah. And here’s why.

Jen:  Oprah.

Nicole:  Yeah, Oprah. I realize that she’s opened so many doors, and she’s made it not weird for someone to be called Oprah, so now because of her, if I walk into a room and someone says, “Oh my gosh, she’s just like Oprah,” it’s great because there’s like a whole explanation that goes with that, that I don’t ever have to explain. I’m just so grateful because she personifies what I want to be for other people so that when someone says, “Gosh, she’s like Nicole Walters,” they’re like, “Oh man, we want more of that.”

Jen:  Totally.

Nicole:  So, she’s the best.

Jen:  Oprah is just shorthand at this point, for awesome.

Nicole:  It is. For awesome, and I’m like, I’m here for that, and I want to be that for other people too.

Jen:  That’s not a bad answer. I grew up, I’m an Oprah kid. I grew up in the Oprah generation, of course, and so I’m like … She was our mentor. She led us all. She encouraged us all. I love Oprah so much.

Okay, how about this one. As somebody in leadership, do you consider yourself to be a good follower, and how does that affect what kind of leader you are?

Nicole: I struggle all the time to follow, just because I’m a leader. And so I will easily say, even when I’m in a leadership situation, like listening at a conference, I have to stop critiquing. I actually have to shift my brain from sitting there saying to myself, “Their speaking is not good,” or “Could I have done this better,” to saying, “Listen to what they’re saying, because there’s something to learn. They’re on that stage, and you’re sitting in the crowd. Pay attention.”

So, I regularly have to check myself, but then I’m also … The balance of it is, the minute I do that, I realize, oh my gosh, we’re all just people kind of making it up as we go. So, you know, it’s like-

Jen:  That’s honestly true.

Nicole:  You know, which is nice. So yeah, I struggle with following, as a natural born leader, but it’s something I constantly work on because it’s incredibly important.

Jen:  I like that honest answer. Okay, here’s the last one, and we ask every single guest this. This is a question put forth by Barbara Brown Taylor, who’s an Episcopal priest and just this very special, introspective, contemplative spiritual leader. So, she asks this, and this can literally be anything. The answer can be serious, it can be silly, it can be big, it can be small. Just whatever it is.

Here’s the question: What is saving your life right now?

Nicole:  Oh my gosh. What’s saving my life right now? Okay, I’ll just say the things that came to mind, ’cause now I’m going too long. It’s not like…first I was going to say Gas-X, just because I’m married. Like, I’m gonna be completely honest. I was like, I really feel like this saved my life. I was like, but is that inappropriate?

Jen:  Nope, it’s appropriate.

Nicole:  And then I was like, oh, having a separate bathroom for me to put on my Spanx, because ?if my husband ever saw me putting on my Spanx, I don’t think we’d still be married-

?Jen:  Oh no.

Nicole:  … So, then it was that-

Jen:  Nobody wants to see that.

Nicole:  … and then I was like, no, I’ve got to have a classy answer, like a classy answer. What is a classy answer-

Jen:  No, you do not.

Nicole:  …and I was like, my journal. My journal.

Jen:  No. Spanx and Gas-X are good answers for that question, and those are real.

Nicole:  Oh man.

Jen:  Those are real. Like separate bathrooms-

Nicole:   Hot mess express.

?Jen:  …If my husband saw me taking off my Spanx, I would have to murder him in his sleep-

?Nicole:  I don’t think we would be together-

Jen:  There’s no option-

Nicole:   I really feel like he would never be able to see me the same way again, you know? So, there’s that.

Jen:  It’s so … you know what? I’m with you on both of those. That’s how we keep our marriages alive and happy, right there.

Nicole: I love it, I love it.

Jen: Separate bathrooms, Gas-X. Okay, listen. Tell everybody real quickly, and we’re gonna have all these links put up, so we will link all this, but tell everybody where they can find you, where they can hear you, anything else, what you’re working on, anything else people should know about tracking you down.

Nicole:   Sure. Everyone can find me at NicoleWalters.tv … If you go there, you can see all my social media links, you can get access to all my programs if you have a business that you’re seeking to build. You can also get more information on my speaking engagements and places I’ll be, so NicoleWalters.tv. I also manage all my own social media, so if you just want to reach out to me, or if you really liked this podcast, send me a tweet, and I’d be more than happy to say thanks and respond with a selfie.

Jen:  That’s all I do. I manage all my social media too, which is why most of it is just like rambly garbage, so-

Nicole: Right, right, right, right.

Jen: Thanks for being on today. Thanks for being on the show. What a fun hour. I loved every minute of this last hour.

Nicole:  No, this was so great. Thank you so much for having me. It was a blessing.

Jen:  Yes, talk to you soon.

All right, I told you. I told you that you would love her. Funny and smart and spicy and interesting. Really, you’re gonna want to go over to see her website because anybody listening who even has a seed of an idea, just a germ of idea, and you need a little bit of gasoline poured on that flame, this is your person. Nicole is your girl.

So, as always, over on my website, JenHatmaker.com, we’ve got a podcast tab. Underneath that, we’ve got every single thing you heard in this episode. We’ve got all of Nicole’s links, her sites, her viral videos that we talked about, which are going to have you howling with laughter, pictures, bonus content, and obviously the transcript, ’cause sometimes it’s just great to read an interview after you’ve listened to it.

So, JenHatmaker.com will have all that for you, you guys. Thanks for being here. Thanks for listening every week. This is my favorite space. It’s my favorite thing I do. I absolutely love sitting here at my desk and talking to these fascinating people week in and week out. I just feel like the luckiest girl in the world, and we have the best listeners. Thank you for all your constantly wonderful feedback. It’s so great to hear from you, and I love that you love these conversations too, and it’s good to know that. So, we’re always paying attention to all of your feedback, everything you have to say, so let us know.

Also, subscribe to it, give it a review, give it a rating. That is also good for podcasting. So, anyhow, you guys, have a great week. This series is just rolling on down the tracks. What I’m doing is putting some fascinating women in front of you during For the Love of Women Who Built It, so you’re not gonna want to miss next week, and so I’ll see you then. Have a great week, everybody.

Narrator: That’s it for today’s show. Hope you enjoyed this chat. Be sure to subscribe to my mom’s podcast and give it a “thumbs up” rating if you like it. From the whole Hatmaker family, hope you have a great week and see you next time!

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