Nicole shares her obsession with obsessions, the power of giving yourself permission to change, and why the balance between joy and fun makes her happy.
Nicole Antoinette is the host of Real Talk Radio, the podcast. A runner, self proclaimed ‘crazy cat person’, and pastry chef in training, she is currently getting into the habit of meditating every morning. She is super passionate about sharing stories with others, learning about how others do life, and having open and honest conversations.
It wasn’t easy for Nicole to determine what makes her happy (in her words, just because a question is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy to answer.) She believes her happiness lies in tying fun and joy together.
There have been plenty of times Nicole’s life has been centered around the fun, aka instant gratification—going to parties, hanging out with friends, reading erotica or following Hannah Shaw, the kitten rescuer, on Instagram. While these things are fleeting, living without them definitely isn’t fun. On the flipside, she feels like she is missing the bigger purpose when her life revolves around these things too much.
Nicole has found that the things that bring her lasting joy are often not fun in the moment or even easy to do. For example, she loves to run, but feels it sucks for the most part. While there are times when running feels like a dream, she’s usually happy to be done and would rather be sitting on the couch eating cookies. Still, it makes her push herself, helps her grow, and brings long term, profound happiness. The process of allowing herself to change is something she’s been obsessed with for a few years now.
Something else that makes Nicole happy is how other people live life. This is the main purpose of her podcast but is something she also learns from reading memoirs. It’s mind blowing for her to learn about people operating at a superhuman level. But she finds it equally interesting to talk with the person down the street about how we’re combatting social media addiction.
How did the discovery between joy and fun come about for Nicole? Her life changed when she decided to quit drinking and start running on the same day. Prior to that day she felt as though she was always chasing the next fun thing. Running, which was difficult for her from the beginning, made her push herself incredibly hard for the first time. This is when she realized she needed the balance between joy and fun. Her life has been very satisfying since then.
Balance doesn’t mean doing a little bit of everything to Nicole. It means accepting she is a person of extremes who gets obsessed with things. When she went back to school, the balance was allowing herself to be obsessed with school and putting running and her podcast on the back burner until she settled in. This is something that has helped shape the conversation she has with her podcast guests.
The question “What do you do?” isn’t a great one to ask according to Nicole. Many people may be working a job to pay their bills that doesn’t really interest them. Instead, Nicole asks her guests “What are you obsessed with?” This sparks a conversation full of joy and excitement about unexpected things such as furniture upholstery. She usually follows up with “What are you building?” or “What are you working toward?” She learns a lot about people from both of those.
It is really important to Nicole to have learned and continue to learn to be a full version of herself. When she started working for herself, she had a very rigid view of what her life was supposed to look like. Everything had to have a purpose. She tried to fit the mold of what others expected. Now, she realizes she doesn’t have to inhabit any type of identity or establish rules for herself. She now allows what is true to her to be true and nothing else. The nature of humanity is to change and she thinks everyone should give themselves permission to do that. No matter what that looks like.
We asked Nicole if she feels like she is an inspiration. She doesn’t think so. In fact, she thinks that word is thrown around too much—especially on the internet. To her, the real power lies in the change the inspiration can bring. She received an email from someone who followed her work for years detailing the changes she made in her life thanks to Nicole. This is what’s truly meaningful to her. It’s also what has kept her appreciating and engaging in honest conversation, no matter how hard that can be because it creates a ripple effect.
Taking a page from Nicole’s book, we asked her a few of her own questions. She is currently totally obsessed with making the best ever cinnamon buns. They are her favorite and she wants to make a version that makes someone’s mouth explode with delight. She is currently building a culinary education and building the best podcast that she can. On a more personal level, she is trying to build a different relationship with small, daily things that help build the bigger picture.
What else makes Nicole happy? Her cats, the movies ‘Love Actually’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’, her friend Zoe, and memories of Big Bird at her third birthday. You can learn more about her by visiting her website, Instagram, or listening to her podcast.
Links / Read / See / Hear
Jason Zappolo for editing and mixing this episode; follow Jason on instagram.
Orly Margulis for social media support; follow Orly on linkedIn.
Rocío Castañeda for ongoing support; follow Rocío on instagram.