Nicole: I also thought a guy was going to save me, a job was going to save me. And when I needed a hero most, I had to become one. And I needed to realize that the best and most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.
So, I’m looking at my righthanded wedding ring, diamond ring right now that I bought for my damn self. And maybe I’ll have another ring on the other hand who knows? But there will always be this ring. It has to be there first before anything else.
Rachel: Yes, I am 100% with you and I’m like, preach it to all of the people from the hilltops and the mountaintops and the rooftops…
Nicole: All of the tops.
Welcome to the Hello Seven Podcast. I'm your host, Rachel Rodgers, wife, mother of four children, a lover of Beyoncé, coffee drinker, and afro-wearer, and I just happen to be the CEO of a seven-figure business. I am on a mission to help every woman I meet become a millionaire. If you want to make more money, you are in the right place. Let's get it going.
Rachel: Guys, I am so excited about today's interview. I'm talking to my friend Nicole Lapin. We connected through our agent, we have the same agent, and it's been exciting to just develop this friendship. She is somebody who keeps it real on a level I really have never seen before.
You are going to see that in this interview where she shares, really, details about her childhood and aspects of her journey, including landing in a psych ward of a hospital after becoming a New York Times bestselling author.
There is some really juicy info in this interview and there are so many valuable lessons to be extracted about trying to be Superwoman, right? We are all very ambitious women. That's why you listen to this podcast, because you're ready to become a millionaire or you already are. A lot of times it can lead to burnout, and so Nicole keeps it really real about what it takes to build an empire.
I'm so excited for you guys to hear this interview. Nicole is constantly in the press and she actually started out as a news anchor. She's been on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg. She's also been a finance commentator on Morning Joe and two amazing New York Times bestselling books, as I mentioned, Boss Bitch and Rich Bitch.
Her latest book, Becoming Superwoman, is really about how to find balance in the process of becoming a rich bitch. That's what we're going to talk about today. You are going to love this very juicy interview with Nicole Lapin. Please enjoy.
Rachel: Nicole, when I read this book, I was fucking blown away and you really started it off with a bang.
Nicole: With a bang, momma. There’s not other way to start a book.
Rachel: And that’s kind of how your life started off, with a little bit of a bang in your childhood.
Nicole: I mean, a little bit of a bang? The hand that I was dealt, I should have been a crack whore in an alley. Like, if we’re being real honest, that wouldn’t have surprised anyone based on the circumstances. And I just played it the best I could and I think I won.
Rachel: Yeah, I think you’re definitely fucking winning, for sure. And I can relate to a lot of your story. Not all of it, but there are certain parts of it that I completely relate to and that happened in my childhood too. So, could we start by – tell us that story. Give the readers the short version and then of course, they need to go out and buy this book because y’all need this book. But start with the little bit of how things started out, or how you start out the book, with where you wake up.
Nicole: Oh, girl, so we’re not doing any foreplay? We’re just getting right into it. Okay.
Rachel: Let’s get right into it. And honestly, wait, let’s talk about that for a second. You did that in the book too. You sort of started and said, like, here’s why I can speak on this and here’s why I can relate to where you’re at on this topic, you know, right at the beginning. And I think that’s really good too because people, you know, I just shared your bio, people know how successful and incredible and amazing you are and how well-known you are.
And so, they think you must have had this perfect childhood and there were picket fences and the suburbs and a silver spoon and all kinds of shit – people make a lot of assumptions about the past based on where they see us right now. So, I think it’s important to show them that you do relate to where they’re at and for them to hear about the journey that you’ve been on and how successful you’ve been despite some of the challenges. Because that’s what they need to know is that they can be successful despite the challenges.
Nicole: Totally. And I love when people underestimate me. It’s my favorite, and just assume I was born with that silver spoon. I’m like, girl, I barely had a spoon with food in my mouth growing up, mam. And they’re like, your daddy must have made a phone call for you to get to CNN when you were that young, blah, blah. I’m like, bitch, my daddy was dead. No, nobody did anything for me. I didn’t get a handout. I didn’t have any connections. I didn’t know anybody.
I moved to New York when I was 25. I was an anchor on CNBC, all these other anchors had husbands who were hedge fund managers, they were in this world, they went to the prep schools. I knew nobody. I just met one person to the next. And you know what? I just figured it out the hard way.
I didn’t go get my MBA. I went to the school of hard knocks and, you know, for me, writing Becoming Superwoman, I wasn’t going to write another book. I was like done after one book. After Rich Bitch came out, I was like, I’m closed for business. We have the same book agent. I told Steve, I was like, “Nope. Nothing is coming in or out of the book vag again,” because everybody makes birth analogies. It’s like giving birth. It’s called an epidural. It’s true, when you go through this. But then you look at the kid and it’s so cute you’re like let’s do this again. But it’s no joke.
And so, I thought I was going to be a TV person, have a book, check the box. And then Rich Bitch became a thing. It became more of a thing than I expected. I thought I was just going to send it for the holidays and Christmas and Hanukah and call it a day. I didn’t think it was going to be a big part of the business.
And so, when it was, Boss Bitch basically popped out, if we’re continuing with this analogy, like in the cab on the way to the hospital on the way to give birth. I didn’t even know what happened. It came out really quick. It was two years later, two Marches later. And for this book, I had sold a different book actually and I went through this complete emotional, mental, physical breakdown that stemmed from severe burnout and an emergency admittance to the psyche ward that made me rethink everything.
And I called Steve, our book agent, I’m like, “So, we have to talk about this.” He’s like, I get it, just take a beat, take care of yourself. And I was like, you know what? I have a responsibility, I feel. I have a platform where if I’m going through this then I know other women are. And I’m the girl who preached boss bitchdom and badassery to other women. And if I am at my own personal rock bottom, then I know other people are feeling the same.
So, that’s where this book started. It started from outward appearances seeming like I was on top of the world. My second book had just been birthed into the world. I had a nationally syndicated show. I had all the things, I looked really put together. But inside, I wasn’t as put together as I looked.
Rachel: Yes, isn’t it funny how that happens, to so many of us? And then we think we have to hide it. We’re like, “Oh, I can’t be looking crazy,” so either we disappear or we go into hiding or we just keep saying shit that we no longer believe in, you know. I think there’s a lot of that.
And also too, let’s just talk about the reality of being a woman in our society. We have to be put together. We have to be perfect. We have to be the best at everything always, you know. We can’t half-ass it and still get the job, you know.
Nicole: Yeah, you whole-ass all the things. And I think that’s where the danger really is because we also compare ourselves to the bets versions of all aspects of our lives. So, if we’re writing a book, we’re comparing ourselves to all of the top authors. If we are getting our workout on, we’re comparing ourselves to the fitness blogger who works out for five hours a day. If we have kids, we’re comparing our mom lives to some mommy YouTuber who bakes bread and homeschools her kids. That’s just actually not realistic.
We all have a different set of circumstances. We all come from different places. But this comparison, we know in theory that comparison is the thief of joy. But it’s so great to just indulge yourself in that and I think there’s a real danger there because we’re trying to be superwoman, the character, who does it all and is it all and tries to be all things to all people. But what ultimately happen is that you’re nothing to yourself. And that’s where I had a huge wakeup call where for so many years I was talking about career and making money and all the things that you talk about.
And I loved it. except for the fact that I realized that self-care is the biggest asset or liability in your career. And yeah, you can network your face off and you could negotiate your ass off and do everything that I had talked about for so long and in my books. But if you are in the hospital, if you have an emergency admittance like I did at four o’clock I the morning or whatever, I was with my assistant and my shrink at the time, where I had to cancel everything, nothing else matters. I was like, “Cancel tomorrow, cancel the next day, I don’t know…”
Rachel: Cancel my year. I’ve got to focus on healing myself. It’s so true and I had a moment like that too and it was so funny because I totally relate, to use this phrase superwoman, and I love that you reclaim it in this book. Because I remember when – it was like 2013, I had a baby and then kind of like how you birthed two books back to back, I birthed two human babies back to back. And so my kids are 19 months apart, but I had my daughter Riley, and then right after, had my son Jackson. And I had just had him.
It was a high-risk pregnancy. I was on bedrest, all the drama. And at the same time, I decided, this is a great time to launch a product, you know, a digital product, as you do when you’re a fucking overachiever/workaholic. And that’s kind of how I distracted myself from the fear that I had and the worry that I had about this pregnancy and really hoping that my son would be born safely and full-term. So, I distracted myself by working and creating Small Business Bodyguard, which is a digital product that I created.
And of course, we also had to move. So, I moved across the country, had a baby, and created and launched a brand new digital product and also while running a law firm, by the way I was doing all this, within a two-month period. And it’s kind of like, no wonder you had a mental breakdown.
I remember, it was almost like I could hold my shit together to do the launch. We did the launch. It was an $80,000 launch. It was the most money I had ever made at that time in my life. I was delighted. You know.
Nicole: You should be. That’s awesome.
Rachel: So, I had the launch, and then right after that, we got into our house – we had to stay at my sister’s for two weeks, you know. And then we finally got back into our house, because we had rented it out to tenants and had to kick them out, all this drama.
So, we finally get back into the house and it’s like, okay now’s a good time to have a breakdown. I wouldn’t even allow myself really to breakdown until I was back in my home. And as soon as I was back in the house, I remember, it was the weekend when we moved in, it was the first day back at work, and I was supposed to show up to these calls for clients and get contracts done and do all these things, and I called my assistant sobbing and was like, “You’ve got to cancel things. I can’t do this. I can’t even explain why I can’t do this. I can’t do any of the things.”
And I called my friend from law school, had him pick up my whole law practice, paid him to just take care of everything and took a month off and laid on the couch and watched Downton Abbey and tried to, like, get back to a state where I could function, you know.
Nicole: And how do you feel now?
Rachel: I mean, now I feel fucking amazing. But I’m pretty sure I also was postpartum and didn’t know it. So, I think that for sure played a role in all of that. And it was like, lots of therapy and pilates. And I don’t think I really cured myself of workaholism probably until I got pregnant with my third baby. Because once I had three kids, then it was like, I can’t be a workaholic, I don’t have the space or time or room in my life.
And it was really uncomfortable and I had to get to a place where I sort of got back to that. So, any-who, I’m 100% with you and I do think I agree with you, we have a responsibility as women who are successful and are building significant wealth to say at the same time that we say, like, go get your money, go make shit happen, no fucking excuses kind of that, having that conversation on the other side of that is, self-care, self-care, self-care all fucking day. I don’t care how boring it sounds or how uninteresting it is or how not boss bitch it sounds sometimes.
It’s like, yes, go see your therapist on a regular basis. Yes, go to pilates every morning. Yes, cancel shit so you can go to pilates, you know what I mean? Work on your shit. You better put the fucking phone away. I love that you talk about digital detox because I fucking hate this device sometimes.
I have an enormous house and so what I do is leave it downstairs in the master bedroom far away from everything. And that way I just forget about it. I forget it exists all weekend and it’s my favorite. So, anyway, I’m sorry. Can you tell I’m obsessed with this book?
Nicole: Why are you sorry about it? I’m so happy about it. yes, can you be my spokesperson? You have a new side hustle you didn’t even realize.
Rachel: Oh my gosh, but seriously, so you had these two successful books back to back, you’re riding the wave of that success, and then you wake up in the psyche ward and you’re like, holy fucking shit. Then what happens next? What is the journey to recovery?
Nicole: You know, I just, like you, thought I would be happy when I got to a certain level of success or I got a certain salary. And I would ultimately get there and there was almost immediately another there. I never got my brain to the other side of happiness or balance. And I self-prescribed for years, not drugs or alcohol, to hide from a super-traumatic upbringing that I didn’t even know that was trauma.
You just know that that’s your reality. You don’t think it’s weird or different or fucked up or anything, until it ultimately kicked my ass. And so yeah, I worked and then worked some more and you can’t run from it forever. And no matter how much success you get or how much money you make, like, there is no external solution for an internal problem.
And I found that out the hard way. And I’m not one to quote Jim Carey very often. He’s not like super-on-brand. But he said something that I ended up putting in the conclusion of the book that I couldn’t find another quote that did the same sort of justice to this concept. And he said, “I hope everybody becomes…” I think it’s something like this, I’ll maybe butcher it, “I hope everybody becomes rich and famous and gets everything they ever wished they wanted so they know that’s not the answer.”
Rachel: Yes, I’ve seen that quote and I’m obsessed with that quote and I totally agree. And honestly, one of the ways that that manifested for me is I was working towards having a big beautiful house and hitting seven figures in my business and that was something that I was so focused on for years. And then once I had both of those things, it was almost like I allowed myself to rest for a moment and then I started thinking, well I have to have another goal. What’s my next push? What’s my next thing?
And then I had this third baby and was postpartum again and it was just such a reality check, once I got those things, that that wasn’t it. and I remember my best friend, Robert Hartwell, made me cry because, you know, I was talking about, it was a year before I hit seven figures, I’d just missed it. I was super close but didn’t hit it.
And I remember talking to him on the phone and crying about it and he was like, “That is just a number. And you know, once you hit that number, it will be anew number.”
Nicole: 100%. I was like, I want to be an anchor on CNN and I will die a happy woman. I used to be quoted in all these little newspapers when I was in local news starting in South Dakota and Lexington, Kentucky and all these places where I said, If I could say, “Nicole Lapin, CNN,” before I die, I’ll die a happy woman.
And getting there at 21, I’m like, okay, I’ve got to come up with new goals. And those new goals became other ones. And I think the age-old question, can women have it all? Absolutely, but only if you define what it all means and stop changing the definition on yourself and stop moving the goalposts constantly. I don’t think we can do it all, but we can have it all if we define what that is.
And yeah, I don’t know where you were at that year, was it 800K, 900K? Whatever the fuck it was, was it that different than a million bucks, you know? Listen, I’ve figured out a lot of things; I haven’t figured out the marriage and love and other parts, but I’m assuming nothing totally changes the day you get married and before that, right? It’s just a technicality.
So, that million bucks, you were crushing it already and it’s just this mind-fuck that we keep having that we are so goal-oriented and that we try to be this superwoman. And what I wanted to be was a super-space-woman; that woman who put her oxygen mask on first before helping others. And they don’t say that on the plane because, sister, I live on a plane now, so I hear it a lot. They don’t say that on the plane before takeoff just to waste time. It’s totally true. You cannot be of service to anyone else if you’re crashing and burning yourself, end of story.
Rachel: I totally agree. And it was during my personal breakdown period when I had someone say to me, “Oh my god, you’ve moved, you had this successful launch, you just had a baby, you’re superwoman.” And I remember thinking to myself, I don’t fucking want to be. How can I not be superwoman?
And I remember, since then, I say to people all the time, I say to my time, I say it to people when they overschedule me, I say it people all around me, like, I don’t fucking want to be superwoman, which is why I’ve become a master delegator. And that is my way of handling it is I hire more people. All my peers who have similar business, they don’t have 10 people working for them. I’m like, I’ve got 10 fulltime employees.
Nicole: Interesting, okay.
Rachel: That’s my way of dealing with it is, like, yes I still can accomplish a lot. I can still be super-ambitious, but I’m not fucking doing everything, you know. And that’s been how I’ve solved it. But also, there’s that and there’s a shit ton of…
Nicole: 100%. I mean, I used to say, like, if I had a meeting opportunity or whatever, it was a breakfast meeting and I had my own thing scheduled, I’d be like, yeah I’m totally free, no big deal, I didn’t have a workout or whatever scheduled. But if you and I were having breakfast, I’d think one thousand trillion times before canceling. But we don’t think about canceling on ourselves.
Like, I had a date with myself. I’m so quick to cancel on myself and so I literally put a ring on it because I also thought a guy was going to save me, a job was going to save me, and when I needed a hero most, I had to become one. And I needed to realize that the best and most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.
So, I’m looking at my righthanded diamond ring right now that I bought for my damn self, and maybe I’ll have another ring on the other hand, who knows? But there will always be this ring. It has to be there first before anything else.
Rachel: I’m 100% with you and I’m like, preach it to all of the people from the hilltops and the mountaintops and the rooftops…
Rachel: Yes, and I think people just, when you are striving for something and when you’re like, you know, years ago before you had that CNN behind your name and before I hit seven figures or whatever it was that my goals were, it would be hard for us to believe at that time that, like, if you just actually increased the amount you’re taking care of yourself so much more, then you’ll be able to increase your capacity to make success happen for yourself. And it’s actually a super-important ingredient and people don’t think…
Nicole: They don’t because if you don’t have actual equity or you think sweat equity is going to be the equivalent of that and you work your face off – and I think sitting in front of your computer for 18 hours, you think, okay well I’m running my business so if I’m not doing something then we’re not making money, which is, you know, I have a whole mean girl inside my head where I still tell myself that.
I’ve figured out a lot, but I still have shitty days. I aim for progress, not perfection. So, if I have more good days than bad days then I’m winning. But you think I’m just going to outwork everyone else, and there’s a point of diminishing returns. I use a lot of business jargon in everything that I do just because I think money is a language like anything else, I just figured out how to speak this language.
And it’s not that complicated when you do, but there is a case of diminishing returns. Like, if you look at your computer for 18 hours a day, your eyeballs will bleed. You know. To be fair, you have to get to a certain point where you can really – you have to work your ass off for a certain period of time before you burnout because that’s the definition of burnout.
So, I don’t know, honestly, if you’re just starting out in your career, you can totally indulge yourself in this self-care. I think you always should. I know this might be a controversial thing to say, but if I didn’t work my ass off in my 20s, I wouldn’t have this platform that I have today.
So, I would be lying to you if I was like, “No, right out of college, go to Bali like I’m doing next week.” I just think you have to get to a certain level. Like, I’ll tell Ariana Huffington like, I love sleep as much as you do, sister, but if you slept in your 20s, you wouldn’t be Ariana. And so, I think there’s a time and a place to grind. And then there’s a time and a place for rethinking your priorities and rethinking what balance looks like to you.
I think balance looks different for all of us at different times. So, if you’re looking at a woman at her desk for those 18 hours a day, you might think, she’s off-balance. Well, I don’t know, maybe she’s just focusing on her career right now and that’s balance for her.
Like, right now, I’m not dating. I’m not getting laid. And I can feel bad about it, but I’m not focusing on that right now. And so, I think we also have to forgive ourselves for what we’re not focusing on and be okay to say, like, right now I’m focused on building an empire. And that’s not going to be the same potentially in five years, but right now, that’s what it is and I’m going to own it, I’m not going to feel bad about it because I was just running around the country doing all of these panels with superwomen, like these founders and CEOs of amazing companies. And they were super-honest on these panels ad during these discussions.
The founder of Equinox, who’s a good friend of mine, Levinia, the founder of Sugarfina, we were all on this panel in LA and they said, listen, one of them Levinia had a baby and she gave her baby to a nanny and she was like, “You know what, nobody wanted to hear that he wasn’t my main priority. But at that point, I wanted to build an empire.”
And the other two women said the same thing. They were like, this is not the sexiest topic of discussion right now, but that was my priority. And a lot of people want to hear, no my baby is a priority, or whatever. Maybe it is. And then god bless you. But just be okay with whatever that true answer is. It’s only your truth.
And I think the most upsetting thing is when people say they value shit they don’t. if you value money and power and fame, fucking own that. Just don’t say something else. Because yeah, right now, am I focusing more on self-care? For sure. Did I have to get to a certain level in order to feel like I could do that and also fall on my ass? Yes.
So, when you said, “I have 10 people.” Like, girl, god bless you because I’ve had some really difficult hiring situations in the last few years where it’s really interesting, some of the young girls that I hire – and I’m not saying this across the board, but they’ll use my arguments against me, which is an unintended side effect of this whole book. They’re like, “I’m burned out.” I’m like, girl, you just came out of college. You’re not burned out. No. No. No, mam.
Rachel: I totally agree with that. I totally agree. It’s been interesting, I feel like my team has been sort of top-heavy. Like we’ve hired more the leaders of different departments first and then we started hiring assistants for each department. So it’s been an interesting journey in that sense and I have definitely had that experience of all the women on my team using my arguments against me in some ways. And I’m like, you know what, you come to write. Sometimes I agree with them. On the burnout thing though, I’m like, listen, you’re not fucking burnt out, cut it out.
Nicole: What you don’t see is when I had my launch party, I hired a tour manager, which was like, the first time anyone’s ever hired a tour manager for a book. Steve was like, “What? Are you a rock star?” It’s not on brand to have another burnout, so I need a lot of help for this book tour. But then she was just on for a week and a half and bitch left in the middle of my book launch party on my book launch day.
Like, what you don’t see on Instagram is my lashes getting soggy. I’m crying, my best girlfriend comes over, she sleeps in my bed with me. And she was like, I’m burnt out. It was too long of a day. I’m like, no girl, no. And here’s the thing; self-care is not just about pedicures and deep tissue massages.
Now, I’m here for it. You want to go to a pedicure and get a deep tissue massage, I’m all about it. But like, sometimes self-care is trauma therapy or going to the doctor or you know what, taking care of yourself and not the foo-foo way, and it’s different for everybody. And again, it’s different at every time in your life.
Rachel: Yes. I totally agree. When I think about my self-care, it’s going to pilates, which I do enjoy. But I have a health coach I meet once a week. I never want to get on with her, but then I’m always glad that I did, but I don’t want to. And she’s going to hear this and feed bad. You’re amazing.
Nicole: No, you don’t.
Rachel: I don’t want to. And then therapy too, I’m like, I don’t want to go but I know I have to. So it’s like, self-care is not just shit we enjoy.
Nicole: And you never regret a workout, which is what I tell myself all the time. And also, you never regret trauma therapy or – here’s the thing; there’s never a good day to – I do EMDR. And so there’s never a good day to do that, and I also have butt issues and intestine issues and I have to get colonoscopies like, every two years. This is a whole other discussion. But there is never a good day for colonoscopies. Never. It’s never going to be a good day.
Rachel: No, it does suck. I’ve had one. I do not enjoy it.
Nicole: That’s maybe why I’m single.
Rachel: It’s not. I don’t think it’s why you’re single.
Nicole: It’s not cute. You do it and you get through trauma therapy, you go through your shit and you feel better on the other side.
Rachel: Yes, for sure. And I also, just to speak to what you were saying earlier, one of the things I always tell my clients and that I always try to think of for myself is if I want to be someone who is running a 10 million dollar business in the future, what does that look like? What is she tolerating? What is she not fucking with? What is she not dealing with? How does she run her daily life?
I start to think about where I want to be and how that woman is maintaining that success. Not just reaching it but how do you fucking sustain it, you know? And then I start to think about okay, well how can I start to do that now? So I just hired a personal chef because I was like, well, 10 million dollar homegirl definitely got a chef. So I’m like, fuck it, I’m hiring a chef and it’s a lot of money and I don’t give a fuck because I just need to eat better and I need to not think about it.
Nicole: I mean, yeah. So do you know Gary V? So I put him on CNN for the very first time a bagillion years ago. When I started he was doing online stuff. But I saw him at a party and he had – he didn’t eat or whatever the stuff that was served. I mean, listen, it was a nice party. I’ll just go ahead and say it. It was at Dr. Oz’s house.
I’m not saying this to talk a big game, but it was a nice part. So he obviously had good food. But what Gary said to me, he’s like, “I hired a trainer to go around with me,” and I guess a chef. I don’t know, but basically he was like, this is an investment in myself, to take the nuts away from me on the plane, just because I’ll stress eat. I need that accountability, I need somebody there. It’s going to pay more dividends later on and so it’s an investment in what my business card is, which is my body and my brand.
And I get it and I think that whatever that looks like for you, whether it’s a trainer to go around and travel with you, which is expensive as shit, and be like, you have three minutes right now, do some squats, or whatever his person does for him. I don’t know.
You know what, if you look at the investment in that and the amount of money that you’re going to make because you’re in a better spot, then hopefully in theory – I’m not saying that it does. It’s gospel all the time that it’s going to offset each other. But it very well could. So I’m assuming like, getting your personal business card and your body and your mental state in order will probably pay for that chef and then some.
Rachel: Exactly. That’s how I see about it. And she comes twice a week and sort of cooks for the week. So she’s not here all the time, which is like, that’s what I’m thinking about. That’s my next level is having a full-time chef who’s here all day.
Rachel: So tell us a little bit about emotional wellness. What is that? Because I actually have never heard that phrase before.
Nicole: So I smushed it together. I tried to create my own little phrase but it’s emotional intelligence and mental wellness. And so for a long time, when I was going through the research and I was going through my own journey, I thought it was emotional intelligence that was the key to success.
And emotional intelligence is great, but it’s not enough all together. And mental wellness, I think you need both in order to find the most success because we have the equation wrong. We think that we’ll be happy when we get to a certain level of success, but actually, happiness brings us more success and not the other way around.
And I think we just have that equation wrong. And look, I was supposed to come out with this book in March because as I told you, Rich Bitch came out four years ago in March. Boss Bitch came out two years ago in March, and I thought okay, we’re going to wrap this whole trilogy up in a pretty little bow and it’s going to come out two years later in March.
And as I was going to print, as the book was going to the printer, I felt like I was on the verge of burnout yet again. I felt like I had imposter syndrome for the first time in a decade. I was like, oh hey girl, I missed you. And I thought, how am I going to go on a book tour and talk about balance when I feel like my life is hanging in it? And so I stopped the pub date. I stopped the printer or whatever you do, and…
Rachel: Stop the presses.
Nicole: Stop all of it, and I was like, I need to push this book out six months. And nobody gave a fuck if it was in March or in September. Only I knew that. And I said I have to go off the grid. I have to read my own book. And that’s literally what I did. And I was like, damn, this is good. Who wrote this?
And it was like I forgot everything. And that’s when I realized that balance can be used – I know you love words and semantics – can be used as a noun and a verb. And I think oftentimes especially as women, we use balance as a noun, like it’s something we find, it’s there, we found it, we good.
And it’s not, and I needed to reframe that and say balance should be used more as a verb because it’s something that’s constantly in motion. It’s something you constantly have to work on. And I’m the writer of this book where I’ve figured out a lot of ways to hack this woo-woo concept of happiness and balance, real brass tacks, actionable advice kind of way because it’s still in the business section.
I didn’t go over to like, the self-help section. This is fully how this affects your career. I am going to be a life-long reader of this book because it’s not something that you can say I’m cocky, I found this balance thing, I’m done. I had a lifetime, girl, of bad habits. Only a lifetime of good habits is going to be enough.
Rachel: Yes. I agree. Okay, so give us your top three tips for finding balance. Where should people start?
Nicole: So for balance, I came up with a companion journal for the book and this is not just to sell the journal. It’s something that I used as a way to start my day with gratitude, which is obviously a big studied component to balance and happiness. But I also wanted to figure out what balance looked like for me. Because if I held myself accountable to that definition, then I could achieve it.
So I gave myself points every day and this is how I came up with this journal concept of where I held myself accountable. So like a Weight Watchers system or the company formerly known as Weight Watchers, WW, I gave myself 10 points during the day and I said okay, give yourself these points.
It’s not 50/50 like this lady just did work-life balance. That’s so stupid and really crushing because what is this? Is this fun or is this work? I love bullshitting with you. It’s unclear. What bull is this discussion in? I don’t know.
So for me I was like, okay, come up with five things you value and give yourself these points. And so the only requirement is that you give yourself at least one point for emotional wellness, otherwise it will require all 10 points, like it did for me, because it’s so neglected for so long.
So right now, I’m basically – most of my points are in the book tour bucket and some in emotional wellness. And so I’m not an awesome friend right now and I’m not going on dates. But I have that clearly mapped out that that’s not what I’m focusing on. I can’t do all the things. I can have all the things, I just can’t do all the things, especially not at the same time.
And so coming up with that system for myself was really important. And then also we love to-do lists. I love to-do lists upon to-do lists. And crossing that stuff out is really cathartic. You feel real good about crossing it out. But sometimes it’s better to thoughtfully procrastinate.
And so I remind myself of the stuff I’m focusing on and working toward, and then I have my whole list of shit that I have to do for the day. And that’s basically a connect the dots. Because sometimes it’s better to thoughtfully and strategically procrastinate. Stuff that is not going to move you towards your goals.
Maybe you can pick up your dry cleaning on the way back or whatever, but is your time better spent doing something that’s going to move you towards your goals? Unless you have no clothes left in your closet, it might not be the best thing for you to do based on the stuff that you have as an option of stuff to do that day.
And so I think reframing, first of all, all the things at the end of every single step of all of my books, they’re all 12-step plans. I rethink conventional wisdom to help you think for yourself. So maybe procrastination is not okay for today, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It can be a good thing and it can be a great thing.
So I would say, just real quick, start your day with gratitude if you don’t already. I definitely feel the difference when I don’t. Start and end your day that way. Don’t look at the phone for the first hour when you wake up and the last hour before you go to sleep because I couldn’t sleep for so long.
I was an Ambien and Adderall cocktail for the longest time. I was like, how come I can’t sleep? Maybe it’s because I’m beaming a bright light into my eyeball from three inches away and scrolling on Instagram for two and a half hours to find my ex-boyfriend’s sister’s dog’s page. And so I think setting your day up for success and ending your day is probably the first thing that you should do to lead yourself towards emotional wellness, if it’s a foreign concept to you.
Rachel: I love that. And I love the idea of journaling, I love the idea of giving yourself points. I think that’s super important to start with gratitude. And one of the things that I do in the morning, a journaling exercise that my health coach gave me was to ask myself what do I need most right now?
And that’s actually been a challenging question because sometimes what I need most is rest and I have a day of appointments. And I’m like, well fuck, what should I do? And then I just start canceling shit. Obviously I can’t cancel everything but I will delegate or move things around if I can, if I realize actually, I really need to not do all the things today.
Nicole: Yeah. I mean, when I was going through a breakup, one of my girlfriends said that too. She was like, just give yourself a hug because we don’t treat ourselves anywhere near we would treat our best friends. If we messed up something at work, I usually say like, I suck, I’m the worst, I’m never going to work again, I’m going to die alone, broke and homeless in the gutter with cats.
I say the meanest shit to myself and I would never say that to you, best friend. I would say, baby, it’s going to be okay, you’re the best, you got this, whatever. And we don’t say that to ourselves at all. So she was like, give yourself a hug. If you want to look in the mirror, whatever, just say like, baby, what do you need right now?
And you’re right. The first couple times you do it, I’m just like, I don’t know what I need. Then you really tap in and it’s the same thing with eating. Again, I’m not expert in this but if you’re like, what do I want to eat right now? Not just like, do I want to shove in my face and stress eat. You’re tapping into really what those cravings are.
Rachel: Yes, like treat yourself instead of waiting for the knight in shining armor, treat yourself how you imagine the knight in shining armor would treat you.
Nicole: Totally. 100%. And I had a discussion with my shrink recently where we were talking about this last breakup that I had and I was like, I don’t know what to do this weekend. I wish he would have just given me a break, I was going through a lot of stuff. And she was like, you know what you’re going to do? You’re going to do the things that you wanted him to do.
Like, give yourself a break. That’s what you wanted him to do. Give yourself a break, girl. And so you know what, it’s taken me a long time to quiet that mean girl inside my head, but we all have one. She still comes out, don’t get me wrong. But I think it’s really taking control of how you talk to yourself and those old audiotapes or MP3s in your head, we all have the greatest hits. It’s just coming up with that new song to dance to.
Rachel: Yes, I love that. And one of the things – for me, there were a couple of things. Community, like just having a bunch of boss ass bitches that I text on a regular basis and that I talk to on social media and we exchange things, and really paying attention to them. Cleaning up my social media feed and putting a lot of body positive people in that space and just people who are talking about some real shit and not all the glossy bullshit. That has helped.
So I just almost detoxed my environment and tried to manage my environment so that I’m not getting all these fucked up messages all the time which helps to quiet the noise in my head. As well as obviously, my own internal shit as well. So I agree. But it’s an effort for sure to quiet the mean girl.
So I did want to hit one more thing before I let you go, which was imposter syndrome. So you talked a little bit about how you were a news anchor at 21, which is insane. How did that happen and how did you handle imposter syndrome during that time where I would imagine it would be huge?
Nicole: Oh yeah. I mean, I started on the air when I was 15. I started as a business reporter when I was 18 on the floor of the Chicago Merc. I looked like I probably violated some child labor laws, I don’t know. But I figured it out the hard way and I worked up way quicker than I expected. And I never thought my badge was going to work at CNN. I actually just went back to CNN to do a segment for this book.
And I took a picture by the security desk where I would always hold my breath when I would put my badge, like, scan it through. Because I thought, oh, they’re definitely going to figure out how old I am. They’re going to find me out. My badge is just not going to work one day.
And I had this issue every single time I walked into the CNN center in Atlanta and obviously, it did work and I went there and I auditioned with a bunch of other girls and I did a whole screen test. And I deserved to be there. Nobody was telling me I didn’t, except myself.
And so the biggest enemy is between our ears and I would have never been able to tell you 10 years ago that I didn’t know anything about business when I started as a business news reporter. I lied and I faked it until I made it, and I’m super proud of that right now but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that for sure 10 years ago.
I wanted to look older, I put shoulder pads on, and tease my hair or backcombed it or whatever you call it down in the south. And I tried to act older and have more gravitas and it just takes a while to become comfortable in your own skin. Like the way I talk to you right now, minus the F bombs and all the things is how I talk on the air.
But it’s taken me a long time to do it because then you have that weird anchor cadence thing when you start like, if you watch on the news sometimes and people do that.
Rachel: Yes, I know exactly what you’re talking about.
Nicole: And then you just have to like – it takes a long time to just become yourself. It’s weird and that’s what I tell – when I help people try to go on TV or whatever, all of a sudden they become a whole other person. They put on a whole other outfit that they never wear, they do all the things different. I’m like, yeah, it’s going to take you a minute to just be yourself, but first, you have to get down with that person.
And that was part of this journey. You hear all these clichés like fall in love with yourself, like, love yourself. I didn’t even like myself. I didn’t even know myself. So that was what I had to accomplish first.
Rachel: Yes. Fall in love yourself, I love that. And I do think the self-care and the therapy and a lot of those things kind of help you do that, help you explore yourself. One of the things I do too is a ton of personality assessments. I’m kind of obsessed with them. Just because I’m like, tell me more about me.
I want to know more about myself, and sometimes those things help you to sort of see and sort of spin the different aspects of your personality as a positive. Because I think sometimes we’re like, oh, I talk too much, but how can talking too much be a huge asset for you, you know?
Nicole: Yeah, it’s reframing it. Your biggest problems into your biggest superpowers, and you can take the superwoman quiz at thesuperwomanquiz.com. It’s waiting for you.
Rachel: Yes, I love an assessment. Perfect. Okay, so tell people where else they can find you and if they were interested in working with you, how can they do that?
Nicole: They can fine me at Nicole Lapin wherever social media is served. Nicolelapin.com. And yeah, getting a colonoscopy every two years. Be there for that. And clearly we’re going to hang out so let me know when you’re around. I’d love to dig into all the things.
Rachel: Yes, absolutely.
Nicole: And let me know how I can be most helpful.
Rachel: Yes. And also, I’ll promote for you since you haven’t, but you’ve got Boss School, Money School…
Nicole: Oh we’re still on the show, okay, perfect. Yes, themoneyschool.com, thebossschool.com, thebalanceschool.com. Each of the classes are a companion to the course books. So the Money School takes you beyond Rich Bitch, the Boss will take you beyond Boss Bitch, and the Balance School takes you beyond Becoming Superwoman and we are done after this. Mama is closed for business. No more books, no more classes. I don’t know, I could change my mind. Talk to me in a few months.
Rachel: Yes, we’ll see what happens. But you’ll be busy reaching your next level, whatever that is for you. Love it.
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