Unconventional Mentor no. 5 - Nicole Antoinette

"Where we spend our money is a real time vote for the kind of world we want to live in"

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I can’t remember how long I have been following Nicole Antoinette or how I first found her, but her work has played a huge part in my own personal development journey and has been hugely influential in me making the changes in my life needed to start my journey to quit the 9-5 and work for myself. Through her I have found other inspiring people to follow and learn from, as she brings amazing guests onto her podcast, and every episode includes so many other links to podcasts, films, books and events. It even led to me attending the World Domination Summit in 2016 which has really changed my life (more on that to follow.) She sets herself big goals (she is currently hiking the PCT, you can follow her journey on Instagram) and isn’t afraid to talk about failure or changing her goals when they no longer serve her.

I do remember that the first thing I found was her blog called A Life Less Bullshit and I loved how Nicole got straight to the truth with everything she wrote, and she was really honest with her own experiences too. None more so than when she announced in 2015 that she was not only stopping her blog but deleting everything she had written because it no longer served her. My first reaction to her deleting the blog was one of shock, why would you just delete all your hard work? But now, three years on, Nicole has produced so much more work that I don’t even notice that the blog doesn’t exist anymore and the things she is producing are even better than before. It really was a lesson in letting go to grow!

After deleting her blog Nicole turned her attention to her podcast Real Talk Radio. It was the first podcast that I had ever listened to and it set the bar really high for all other podcasts.

“The goal is for each episode to feel like a sigh of relief, reminding you that we’re all just doing the best we can, and that no matter what we’re in this together.”

In each episode Nicole interviews different people about their lives and focuses on the downs as well as the ups, talking about what has been hard for people to do, what they have had to sacrifice or compromise on and what they have learned about themselves along the way. The truthfulness of the conversations is what I find so inspiring. For the last few years I have been setting myself bigger and bigger goals, and at times I have been struck down with imposter syndrome thinking that I am not good enough to achieve my dreams. Listening to these podcasts I have realised that everyone experiences setbacks and not feeling 100% confident all of the time. Knowing that I am not the only person to doubt myself has been a huge help.

The guests that Nicole features come from all walks of life, and in recent seasons she has tried to include a really diverse range of people. This means that the conversations are so educating about how other people experience the world. I can only know what it is like for me to experience the world, as a white, straight, educated, financially stable, able bodied woman. But I can understand how other people live their lives and the challenges they face that might be different to me, perhaps even things that I take for granted, by listening to their stories, and Nicole does an excellent job of ensuring that the people she brings onto the podcast have many different and diverse stories to tell. It has certainly made me think about the privileges that I have and inspired me to continually look at who I follow on social media to make sure I am not only seeing a narrow view of the world.

What is even more amazing about Nicole’s podcast is that it is 100% listener funded. Nicole has always been really open about how she makes money in her business and funding the podcast has been something she has talked about at length. At first, she sought out sponsors from companies that she believed in to fund the show, but this didn’t feel right and so she decided to set herself the goal of the podcast being 100% listener funded. When she announced this, I decided to sign up right away. It seemed like a no brainer, I had got so much from the conversations that Nicole and her guests were having, so why shouldn’t I pay for that? They have invested time and emotional labour to tell their stories and I am benefiting from that, it just seemed wrong that I should get that for free. In a world where so much content is available for free many people don’t want to pay for it, but I pay for TV programmes on Netflix and articles in magazines, why not podcasts?

Supporters of the podcast pay $8 or more per 8-episode season and get access to the behind the scenes chat on Patreon, a weekly email, a book club and being part of the community. The community even happens in real life, and in August 2017 I attended the first Real Talk: Live! Event in London with some fantastic women. It was amazing to meet Nicole in person and she curated 4 hours of honest conversation and I left feeling inspired and motivated. The Real Talk community really is something special.

Mentor Advice: If you want to change the world you have to do something about it

The advice that I take from Nicole Antoinette is if you want to change the world you have to do something about it. Nicole talks a lot about how "where we spend our money is a real time vote for the kind of world we want to live in" and it is such a simple but effective phrase to remember. Nicole has created an amazing community of Real Talk Radio supporters. You can hear their passion and enthusiasm by listening to the outros of the podcast which feature supporters of the podcast, I’ve done one and it was so much fun. All of us want the podcast to continue so we are supporting Nicole with our $$. At first, Nicole wasn’t sure if she could hit her target of the podcast being 100% listener funded, but she believed that it was an idea worth going for and it paid off. Her current funding goal is to gain enough support to pay all of her guests to appear on the show and I have no doubt that she will achieve it. What Nicole has shown is that each of us can make a small change in the world that collectively has a big effect. Whether it is where we choose to spend our money or our time, or how we decide to interact with someone we work with, every small action we take has an effect on something else, and over time a small act becomes a big one.

You can find out more about Nicole Antoinette on her website and you can find a list of all her podcasts and the show notes (she writes amazing notes of all the things mentioned in each episode) here.

To follow her journey on the PCT then visit her Instagram page