Nate shares his experiences while traveling around the world, euphoric childhood memories, and why experiencing people makes him happy.
Nate Nichols is a creative monster and the Founder and CEO of Palette Group. He prides himself in making sure he nails people’s names the first time he talks to them (makes any conversation go better.)
To Nate, happiness isn’t a thing. Happiness lies in people and the experiences you share with them. It’s when stars align, people are together, smiling in a moment that is magic. He’s had the pleasure of traveling a lot throughout the past couple of years and he’s realized, a city is a city is a city. What really makes any place he visits are the vibes and genuine qualities of the people he meets.
It isn’t always easy to connect with people when he’s traveling; Nate went to Malaysia recently which was the first time he felt he couldn’t engage with anyone he met (Did you know you can’t kiss in public there?!) From being a black man with dreads—a rarity there—to feeling no common vibes, he was able to reconcile things slightly by appreciating the local design aesthetic and visiting a speakeasy with his travel buddies. Nonetheless, when Nate is visiting somewhere new and he can’t connect to the surroundings, he makes the surroundings connect to him by seeking the things that already make him happy. Like black coffee or a cheeseburger.
Nate doesn’t think connecting with people has much to do with language. He found he was able to connect with people in Paris with just a smile, a big goofy smile that comes from a sincere place with good energy. This is precisely how he went about communicating with his girlfriend’s German parents, who know very little English, the first time he met them. They went on vacation over holiday and shared connections that went beyond just language.
Occasionally, the joy of visiting a new place will have less to do with people and more about what he’s seeing and the memories it brings. Nate found Barcelona beautiful, looking at palm trees and watching the elderly dance in the park. Those moments helped him realize how beautiful and fulfilling life can be. It was there that he experienced a perfect moment, remembering his childhood in foster care, and the euphoric summers he shared with his foster family. He searches for those feelings of euphoria everywhere he goes.
That’s because Nate is still that 9 year old foster kid that dreamed a dream and as an adult made it happen. He attributes a lot of this to finding the value of community as a teenager. From playing football, to selling t-shirts he helped design, he felt fulfilled and happy by the team dynamic and also creating economic value. This is what his led to his current life being all about community. He works with creative savages who contribute to helping make a world with the values they all find important.
As a mentor, Nate shares his experiences as a black business owner with kids—but first he lets them know he is not a rapper. He didn’t have many role models as a kid and wants to be the type of mentor with a door for a kid to knock on, not just someone on a TV screen. Now he’s also happy to see his friends who are amazing humans doing the same thing. Occasionally, he’ll use social media as a tool to help share his ideas or raise crazy amounts of money for a non-profit … just by posting a picture!
One thing’s for certain, Nate is optimistic we are headed towards building stronger community. We could have stopped at love instead of hate, at pros instead of cons, but since we have pessimism, he hopes we use our values and communities to keep moving forward.
What else makes Nate happy? Dancing with his girlfriend—and his girlfriend in general, the color green, and the song “Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers. You can learn more about Nate by visiting his Instagram, Twitter or simply searching his name on Google. You can learn more about his creative agency, the Palette Group by visiting their website.
Links / Read / See / Hear
>Ordering Coffee in Paris, the Mouth
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.