#7 - Nicole Unice on how to get unstuck and experience growth in adulthood

April 4, 2023
60
 MIN

Episode Summary

In this week's episode of The Aro Podcast, Joey talks with Nicole Unice, a coach, communicator, and author who brings 20 years of leadership, pastoral, and counseling experience to her work. Nicole's honest and relatable approach to speaking and coaching resonates with audiences in both faith and leadership environments. During the episode, Nicole shares insights on why change is challenging but achievable, and how adults often need more help with change than they realize. She also explores the three common areas where humans tend to get stuck and offers practical tips on overcoming them. Whether you're looking for personal growth advice or want to gain a unique perspective from Nicole, this episode is a must-listen.

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Episode Transcript

Nicole Unice (00:05):

If I, if I go to my kid and say, I raise my voice at you. I'm sorry, but I told you three times to do that. Yeah. And you didn't. I just made it. I didn't actually apologize. It's not even an apology. That's so, learning how to separate it. I love to help people unlink crucial conversations from apologies. Like, if you were wrong, based on the person that you wanna become, just do the reconciling conversation. Don't do the, we need to fix this other thing, cuz you, you've just realized that you need to fix that other thing.  

Joey Odom (00:32):

Welcome back to The Aro Podcast. It is your good friend Joey Odom, co-founder of Aro and today I sat down with Nicole Unice. If you don't know Nicole Unice, you're about to know her and you're about to love her. Cuz we had an amazing conversation talking about a full gamut of things we had, I feel like a kind of introspective discovery session for myself. And she had such great stuff that you're gonna love to hear. You're gonna want to check her out. But for now, please sit back and enjoy my conversation with Nicole Unice. Listeners, the miracle moment is here. You see, we have a renowned speaker, coach, podcaster, and author. And yes, she'd be the first to tell you she's got issues. And she fully recognized the struggle is real, but she's also brave enough to step in when you throw your hands up and say,  help, my bible is alive. I am of course listing off several of her great books. Joining The Aro Podcast today is my new friend Nicole Unice. Nicole, welcome to The Aro Podcast. 

Nicole Unice (01:37):

I don't, do you think that you're the first person who's done that? Because people love to make a pun out of all book titles. <laugh>, you just, you missed one, but we'll let not let it go. So, but it was pretty strong. It was pretty strong and I always like, makes me laugh. So, 

Joey Odom (01:53):

So that wasn't original and that was not original, in other words. 

Nicole Unice (01:56):

I mean, it was still, it was still strong though. Like you just came in with a really strong voice. So I, It was great. So this was awesome. Strong voice did.

Joey Odom (02:03):

Alright. What book did I leave off? You gotta correct me. 

Nicole Unice (02:05):

You left off Help My Bible's Alive, which really working that one in to the myths, it's the one that doesn't fit with the others. So, 

Joey Odom (02:12):

Oh no, I said it, I, let's, let's, let's review the, say the tape. I said she's brave enough to step in when you throw your hands up and say, help My Bible is alive. 

Nicole Unice (02:21):

Oh my gosh. I, well that was a perfect experience that we just had. That's related to the miracle moment because I stopped listening to you cuz I was thinking about what I was gonna say back to you <laugh>. And look, I completely missed your intentions. Excellent. That was an amazing job. Best ever. Loved It.  

Joey Odom (02:36):

Well, best best one ever. Well, thank you for joining us. We're done for the No that Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Nicole. I don't, I don't exactly even know where to start. You do, you do so much. And you know, author, speaker, leadership coach, podcaster. I, I wanted to, I'm intrigued by your coaching. I wanted - I wanna start there with your coaching. I wanna hear a little bit about your first, who your primary audience is, um, who you're speaking to, and then I have some specific questions on that and how that works. 

Nicole Unice (03:04):

Sure, yeah. If I, if I can, I'll back up just a little bit. Sure. In my story, um, like many of us, I, this is not, I had no intentions to find myself in this position. I, I just didn't even know that this is like a job that people do. But, um, what I do know, and when I have, and I think I love asking people this question as well, like, what, who you wanted to be when you grew up. Like what were you passionate about? And when I look back in the rear view mirror of my own life, I find that the thing I've always been really passionate about is the question of can humans really change? Like, can we really grow? Like can we transform beyond our childhood, beyond our temperaments, beyond whatever that, you know, those patterns in life might be. And so my career, I started in fitness. 

(03:49)

I was in full-time fitness, like, can you change, you know, then I was a therapist, so I was kind of engaging the like, can you change in the sort of psychological mental health space? And that was a Christian counseling degree, so kind of combining theology. And then, um, I'm now a pastor and coach. So it's sort of that same thread, even though there's many different jobs and it, it appears many different ways. I think the heart of my vocation has always been the same. Um, so seeing life as different assignments that God can give us a vocation, we can have this like passion that might be inside of you that you've been built with, but the actual assignment can change. Huh. So I find my current assignment is really in leadership spaces where I help teams and leaders understand the culture that they're in, their own personal transformation, and then how that affects the teams and organizations that they lead. So my day job, so to speak right now, is really doing that work consulting with churches, nonprofits, companies in that space. Um, and my passion project continues to be writing and, you know, communicating in whatever aspect I have the opportunity to do. So. 

Joey Odom (04:59):

Okay. I wanna, I wanna drill into that question and your, your basic question is, which is, can humans really change? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what have you found there? 

Nicole Unice (05:08):

Um, change is really hard, but not impossible. And we need all the help that we can get. And I actually think that the great story of every human's life is their story of overcoming and transforming. Um, most people minimize their story, um, unless they have like a very dramatic, you know, kind of objectively dramatic story. They kind of feel like, no, I'm just a normal person doing normal things. But I actually think that everyone's story is epic and incredible. It's just a matter of mining what that is. That is that, you know, story of overcoming that story of transforming. Um, but I think people, especially adults, like we need way more help than we think we need. Yeah. Like, we really need a lot of help. And most of us come to a place where we, we think, I kind of am already supposed to know this. 

(05:59)

I'm supposed to already have it together. I'm, I'm already supposed to know how to do like, emotional resilience, even though literally none of us has ever learned or been in any class. Right. <laugh> that you'd learn that, um, maybe you had an amazing parent who was able to navigate and shepherd you through that, but most people ha don't have that. Um, so we get to adulthood and we think, oh, I feel some shame around this cuz I feel like I should already know how to do this. Which is also how people feel about their work. But in reality, all of us are like just figuring it out. And if we have the humility to engage and be like, oh, I can grow, I can learn in this area, then were set up for really amazing things. 

Joey Odom (06:40):

That's an interesting term that that that that concept of supposed to, I'm supposed to mm-hmm. <affirmative> I'm supposed to, it's all, it's all, you know, it's, that's probably a, a, a sibling to should. And I heard my, recently I heard someone say, which I love, they said, Hey, I said, should. And they said, hold on, don't should your pants don't, should your pants. Which I thought was great. But the, that concept of supposed to, that's a, that's a real inhibitor. And almost when you start saying that to yourself, you start going down to your point, a shame spiral mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you say, gosh, I'm supposed to know something, but I don't. And then you feel down on yourself and it's so counterproductive. Is that one of the questions I had about your coaching was you talk about people getting unstuck <affirmative>, which I like that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I would love to hear your perspective going a little bit deeper on the supposed to or, or shoulding your pants. Um, and then even deeper into what are some other ways that people are getting stuck and how do they get unstuck? 

Nicole Unice (07:30):

Yeah. I mean that's a, I I love and think that that's a big, I think it's more a part of almost everyone's story. Some people are really aware of it, some others aren't. A friend and colleague of mine that we work together a lot, we've been exploring this idea of what's every leader's shame story. Because every leader has like this other part where they're like, I have this relational failure, or I had this le you know, occupational failure and I haven't really reconciled that. And what happens when we have failure, which inevitably we all do, we we have to cover somehow. If we're not gonna heal from it and redeem it, then it's gotta be covered. And so then we end up with more posturing, more striving, more trying to prove that we're something or somebody. And it's just not, it doesn't really lead to a joyful life. 

(08:20)

It doesn't lead to a well-paced life. Um, and that's a lot of people's story. You can still be out there doing great things and, and great things are happening, but maybe internally you're not experiencing that same level of really feeling like you're content. You're at a pace that's sustainable, you're really enjoying, um, the ups and the downs of life. So a lot of times when people get stuck, I was actually just leading a group last night and we kind of talked about the three areas that I think that we can get stuck in. It's if our values are out of alignment, like, so we either are unaware, everyone has values, it's just a matter of whether you are naming them or not. W we're either unaware of what our values are or we're living out of alignment with what they are. That's the first one. 

(09:05)

The second one is resiliency. We are not really, we have, we don't have the skills and we haven't intentionally grown in the skills of emotional coping. What I do with setbacks, how I understand failure, what does self-care look like. And then the third one is boundaries. So boundaries are the energy and resources that we have to offer the world. And we either, we either live outside of our boundaries consistently, or we aren't even aware and haven't done the work to understand what our emo what our resources are. The energy management system that we have. All of us have treasures to offer the world time, money, gifts, emotional capacity, which by the, by the way, is finite <laugh>. It's not an emo. We don't have an, we don't have an unlimited resource of just engaging emotionally with life. So if I don't have a proper understanding of boundaries, values, or resiliency, those are the places where people end up getting stuck. 

Joey Odom (10:02):

I'm curious you, this, this gets a little personal question, but how are you on those three boundaries? Terrible and resiliency? Gosh, are you, gosh, 

Nicole Unice (10:11):

Terrible. No, I mean, <laugh>, I'm growing. I doubt, let me say that I'm growing. Yeah. Oh, that's, I'm not terrible. I'm not terrible because I, but you know, I, I once was, I had a friend who was a math teacher and he was a middle school math teacher, like a eighth grade math teacher, super cool guy. Like just the, the kind of guy you would wanna have, like teaching middle school math. And I said to him like, why do you teach math? And he's like, because I was so bad at it, <laugh>. And I thought that's actually what makes the best teacher. Yeah. When teachers are intuitively good at stuff that they're teaching, they're not usually that good at teachers. And so the reason I'm really open with my, I try to be really vulnerable and open with my own life. And you know, my first book was called She's Got Issues Like was because I think that people who are open with the way they struggle in life are better teachers than people who intuitively are good at certain things. 

(11:02)

Yeah. So for me, this has not, this has not come intuitively. It's required work and yeah. The understanding of how to live an intentional life and why do I need to name values? And I tell, you know, people I've went through, I've been through a big transition in life in the last, like many people have in the last four years. Sure. And one of those things was naming a personal value, which was so basic, a basic personal value. And realizing I need to engage again in a very intentional process of aligning my life around this value. And I just wasn't living according to that value. And because of that, I was, you know, experiencing physical stress. My body was under stress. I was having like, you know, sicknesses and things happen that would weren't normal. I was out of a accord with my emotional capacity. 

(11:51)

I was burnt out. I, you know, like I wasn't experiencing joy and even just four years ago had to realign. Like, what does that personal value and what does life need to look like in order for me to live into that? And changing, making changes like that is incredibly difficult because we often have to make sacrifices. We have to step out in faith, we have to do really hard things and we usually need a lot of support. And I had support, I had coaching and counsel and spiritual direction. And so the work I do comes out of my own like doing that. And I would say in this season, I feel like I'm sensing a restoration to that alignment around those things. Yeah. And what that brings is clarity and confidence. It doesn't mean that life is easy and that's really important. I'm like, life is not an up and to the right. 

(12:35)

Like positive psychology says, if you just do these things, life's gonna go like this. You're just gonna flourish in every area. I'm like, that's patently untrue. Like it's completely ignores reality <laugh>. But clarity and confidence can be, I can even name that I'm in a hard season and I'm choosing to adjust my life around this hard season. And I will feel, I can feel peace in that, you know? Um, doesn't have to mean that it's great. It doesn't have to mean that it's exactly what I want it to be, but I can still have like peace and contentment and even joy in it. 

Joey Odom (13:09):

I I love that. And you said something early, and I think this ties into it. You said something that was interesting. You said you get to a point where you can enjoy the ups and downs of life mm-hmm. <affirmative> in how do you, this is related to this. How do you enjoy the down? How do you actually, there's one, it's one thing to be aware. You're in a tough season. It's another thing to know you're fighting through it and hey, it's war time and get, get your war head on. There's, it's an entirely different concept to enjoy the downs of life. What is, how do you en <laugh>, how does one go about enjoying the downs of life? 

Nicole Unice (13:37):

Yeah. I mean, <laugh> often it's enjoyed in the rear view mirror, right? Like it's after you've gotten through it. But resiliency is the ability to look back at difficult seasons and say, what is it that I learned or experience that I never would have otherwise? Yeah. Like it's, it's not, it's not being superficial or fake. Um, it's not saying like, I'm gonna put my my game face on and act happy when I'm not. But it is the ability to say there is a silver lining to every season no matter what. Yeah. And I, I may not know what that is right now, but I can, I might, I'm gonna be able to look back and see that something beautiful can come out of this time. One of the things that grows in hard seasons is our heart. Um, if you allow hard seasons, if you actually live in them, your heart expands for other people. 

(14:32)

You generally become less black and white about life. Like all of a sudden everything that, that is our, like meritocracy, individualistic consumer culture that says like, if you do these things, you will get this result. When that doesn't work for you, you become a person whose eyes open to the hardships and reality of life in a way that grows compassion and grows grace and makes you like a more loving person. And honestly like a better person in every aspect of life. It makes you better in your family, your marriage and your leadership when you are not a person who thinks like, Hey, if you do these things right, it's gonna work out this way. And that's why when leaders go through massive failures, which by the way, I don't know any, uh, strong leader who by their mid forties does not have a cataclysmic failure 

Joey Odom (15:24):

Yeah. 

Nicole Unice (15:24):

Or hardship or break like in their story, which has been really interesting to me to, to think about and wonder about that, um, and wonder what's happening in us when we go through something like that. But I can look back and say, wow, I'm grateful for that because yeah, my capacity to have compassion and to know that there's a lot of mystery in life and to not rush to solutions and conclusions in people's lives mm-hmm. <affirmative> is much different now. 

Joey Odom (15:57):

Uh, I wanna make sure that wasn't hyperbole because I think it was really profound you said that every strong leader by their mid forties has had a massive failure. Is that, did I hear that right? 

Nicole Unice (16:09):

Yeah. I mean, it's my sample size. I'm not saying it's, maybe I shouldn't say every say. It's, 

Joey Odom (16:13):

It's a good, it's a big sample. It's, it's a, yours is a big sample size. Yeah. It's 

Nicole Unice (16:17):

A big sample size. And you know, there's this whole concept of vulnerability that courage is being the one to be vulnerable first. Yeah. And in opening up oftentimes, let's say sharing your story with others, what you discover is the other person is like, oh, me too. Like, I went through that. And so in a, in a difficult time in my own story, I was seeking counsel, right. Seeking support. And as I sought that support, I get these stories back. And these are people that I'm like, this person's amazing. Like, this person has it all together. This person's leadership story has definitely been up and to the right. Like, my experience of them is that way. Yeah. And yet time, after time after time, I hear these stories that are like, I have this relationship that hasn't reconciled. I have this hard thing that I can't even explain. 

(17:10)

My family's been through this incredible challenge that we continue to go through, but we're, you know, not public about it. Whatever that like, sort of touch of suffering is, is maybe the best way to call it. And it's, I don't know, maybe I'll write about it sometime, but I'm like, what's going on in us that maybe makes that like a necessary part of the journey to, to break into like a full, um, leadership to fully live intentionally. So I don't know if I, it's certainly not everyone in the whole world, but yeah, sure. A shocking number of people that I did not expect, let's put it that way. 

Joey Odom (17:45):

That, uh, when I, when I've gone to, to counseling or therapy in the past, one of the most comforting things that I've, that I've experienced in that was when I would describe this complex situation that I was in to my therapist mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And she gave it a title, she gave it a name mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which told me that the fact that it has a title means that other people have gone through it. And that may be of mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I don't remember exact her exact words on anything, but that concept alone was so reassuring to me that yeah, I'm not alone. That others have been. And, and to your point here, not only have others gone through it, but leaders and people and you're in good company and you said something that was brilliant there, you said it's maybe a necessary part of the process. Yeah. 

(18:23)

You know, what a, what an interesting, but you know, again, like you look at people, um, you know, like people who live in Hawaii, they, the kids running on the rocks and stuff like that and they, cuz they have such, you know, feet that are conditioned to it. Where if I were to go walk on it, I'd, you know, I'd be ouchie the entire time. <laugh>. But it does require, requires that difficulty. It requires the pain to go through it. Mm. Um, one of my favorite song lyrics, um, is, uh, by a Mumford in a Mumford and Sun song and it says, A brush with the devil will clear your mind and strengthen your spine. Mm. And so these not a full on encounter with the devil. Right. You don't want that. But a brush with the devil is just that little reminder that, hey, this is, this is how you get a little bit stronger through it. 

Nicole Unice (19:00):

Yeah. Yeah. Oh man. I know. It's good. And I, yeah, it is a mystery on why, why that would be a necessary part, but maybe it's just part of the human experience too. Yeah. Right. Like, uh, the human experience is actual mountains and actual valleys and seasons of summer and seasons of winter. And how do we make space for that? I'm, I'm doing a series right now on Ecclesiastes on my podcast and it's real challenging cuz you're engaging with these big questions of like, does any of this really matter? Right. And I'm like, how pertinent to our day for, for all of us to engage with, how do I rightly number my days? Really? Like, what does it, what does real life look like? How do I make space for pain? Like we talked about, like how do we enjoy hard seasons? Like maybe we're not gonna enjoy them, but maybe, how do I have compassion for myself? 

(19:51)

Yeah. In hard seasons, like, a small example of that is I've come to learn, and I had a mentor like sort of lead me through this. He said, anytime you have mountaintop experiences on a weekend, so let's say you're like leading a conference, leading retreat, whatever, do not make any decisions the following week. Like, that was like this, like make no life decisions. And I would add to that, that my other thing that we've both of us have talked about is if you basically, if you preach on a Sunday, expect a bad Tuesday <laugh>. And it's, it's, it's like a little, it's a little axiom. Like, hey, leader or person, if you're gonna have these big incredible experiences, expect the down. Like don't be surprised by the down. Don't be like, what's wrong with me? Cuz of the down. What if you actually plan for it and you're like, you know what, after a big expenditure like that, I'm gonna be really tired, probably emotional on Tuesday. So maybe I make space and care for myself by just riding through it and not trying to make that go away or piling my schedule so that I'm just like burnt out and frustrated and worn out and not good for anyone. So those are little examples to me about maybe growing in intention and resiliency is that kind of care and grace for our own humanity, like our own frailty and limited capacity. 

Joey Odom (21:11):

I love that. It reminds me of the, it, it's a great saying and action and it's been, you know, used a million times, but that, you know, the, the phrase that makes a happy person sad and a sad person happy, which is this too shall pass. You're on the mountaintop, you're gonna go to the valley, you're in the valley, you're gonna go to the mountaintop again and not being the type of person, my brother, uh, Jacob says this not being the type of person who believes that the situation you're in currently is the situation you'll be in always mm-hmm. <affirmative>, those type of people who just get their, their feet taken out from 'em again and again and again. And just knowing that it's gonna pass, that every every storm in history has passed except for the one that's currently happening. Right. It's, it's gonna, it's gonna move on no matter what. 

Nicole Unice (21:54):

Well, and that actually helps you, like rightly number days of flourishing too. Like it's, it's actually a ba able to say like, I wanna, I don't wanna ho I don't wanna take this for granted. Like, I wanna be fully in like I wanna celebrate too, which is another thing leaders are bad at. It's just like actually being present in like, isn't this great? Like, isn't this cool that we're even doing this right now? You and I like how great, how amazing. And then that lifts your heart right. In those good seasons as well makes you present there. 

Joey Odom (22:24):

That is true because the, the, the way that people usually look at it is, it's almost a ho hum Even when things are great, you say, well it's the, you know, the valley's coming Tuesday. You know what I mean? <laugh>. And so it, it is good. What a good thing to have both the knowledge that it's not always gonna be this good, but that it's good right now. Yeah, that's okay. You can have both of those, right? Yep. 

Joey Odom (22:44):

Yep. Exactly. That's so 

Joey Odom (22:45):

Interesting. I wanna talk, so you've written, you've written a lot of books, but I wanna talk about your most recent book, the Miracle Moment and the subtitle there, how tough conversations can actually transform Your Most Important Relationship. So, so I wanna begin, what, what is the i'd, I'd love to have background on the book, but, but the, the title itself, what is the Miracle Moment? What is that term? 

Nicole Unice (23:04):

Sure. Yeah. So The Miracle Moment is a term we came up for to talk about the moment, not the moment of sort of avoiding being missed in a conversation, being dismissed, being discouraged, being un misunderstood because that's inevitable. Like that's gonna happen no matter what. Like, we're not gonna get rid of that cuz we're human beings. It's the moment after the moment, like what happens next after that moment when you have that sort of feeling like, I want to give up or blow up or shut up. Right. Like, that's kind of how we usually react in conflict or how we react in a conversation where we just feel seen or heard. Yeah. What, what would happen if in the moment after that moment you were different and not that your partner was different, not that your coworker was different, but what if you were different in that next moment? So basically we, we dissect everything that goes into being different in that next moment as a human being. And what that can do, especially in your, in your love and work is sort of my, my unofficial subtitle is like, how to Get what you Want in Love and Work. Because that's really what it's about, is we want people to know and hear and see us, and we want to move toward our desires. And oftentimes it's the communication of that that gets sort of wonky and mist in those relationships. 

Aro Team Member (24:26):

We hope you're enjoying the show. Let's take a quick moment to hear from one of our members about how Aro is impacting their life.

Aro Member (24:32):

I am really competitive, so I like to track and see how much time I spend off my phone versus my husband. And I really like the weekly Aro recaps and the groups within the app that collectively show how much time we've been off our phone together as a family. I think though, what I love most is the gentle nudge that the app gives others in our household when we put our phone away. Like, I don't have to tell my husband to put his phone down and pay attention, all I have to do is put my phone in the Aro box and he gets this little notification saying, Hey, I just started an Aro session. And it's a subtle invitation for him to do the same. 

Joey Odom (25:14):

This is such a common thing that almost seems, it's so amorphous, it's so huge, how, how to handle something like this. How did you, how did you come to this topic? And then how did you begin to gain clarity on that? I love, by the way, those three that give up blow up show up how, what, what precipitated this? And then what was the, how did you begin to get your arms around such a, such a, a huge topic. 

Nicole Unice (25:35):

Yeah. Um, you know, the same way a lot of, a lot of, I think good books start is it's out of an actual problem that you're in. Yeah. Yeah. So I was starting to work, uh, you know, I had my own experiences of, you know, I was, I worked at a growing church for almost a decade, very fast growing. Um, so lots of change, lots of scale, and that I had been in that experience and then I had now been in other experiences where I'm with these, all these other people as well as relationship coaching in my own background as a therapist. And I just had this moment where I was like, huh, good people with good intentions who want the same things, who have, who like blow it up. Like it just, it, it goes vastly wrong. And I think one thing that I noticed as I was the per, you know, I'm sort of the person who's outside of the experience, but I'm deep in it. 

(26:26)

This is the, the sacred gift of counseling, coaching, whatever leadership is. I'm now really involved sort of in this like very vulnerable, intimate space with two people. I'm not the person. So I'm hearing and experiencing their dynamics and also in most cases, talking to them individually. So I sort of know each of them and I see it come together. And you, I I was having these moments where I'm like, wow, like it feels like someone should be the villain. It feels like someone should have bad intentions and that's why everything's going wrong. But in reality it's not. It's great people with great intentions who a lot of times actually want the same thing, but something about the tools in the toolbox when it comes to communicating are so lacking that they can't move forward. And so what came, what happened was I was like, interesting. 

(27:15)

I'm seeing the same thing. Like I've seen this in therapy, I've seen this as a relationship coach, I've seen this as a leadership coach. I'm now working with teams and I'm hearing their different perspectives and I'm like, wow, this person thought they said this, this person heard it completely different to the extent where they're like traumatized by it. Like they're like quitting their job or they're, you know what I mean? Like, they basically don't trust the person at all. Like it broke their trust completely. But I know like, that is not what the person intended. This is weird. So I just started gathering basically all the tools that I've used over the last 20 ish years in all those different environments and said like, what really matters here? Like what are the steps that you need to take to change the way that this happens? 

(27:58)

Most of us just, we don't have a lot of communication tools. Most, most people, they've got like one or two tools in their toolbox, <laugh>. Like, they got nothing. They're like, uh, I, you either understand me or I withdraw and give you the silent treatment, and then maybe you say sorry, and then we just don't talk about it again. <laugh>. Like that's, and they're like, and that's what my mom did. So that's the only thing I know, like Right. We just don't have lots of levers to pull or like ways to engage. And so I thought like, what if we just make like a relationship one-on-one book that puts a lot of tools in people's hands and says like, Hey, you can use these in any of these environments and they're probably gonna help you do better than you're doing. Now. 

Joey Odom (28:37):

I'd love to hear about some of those tools. <laugh>, you know, what are, what are some of the, what are some of those? Like, go into that and, and to your point, when someone intends one thing, they, someone else hears the other thing. Can you give us some examples, some of those tools that you, that you'd, um, discovered and uncovered when writing the book? Yeah, 

Nicole Unice (28:51):

Yeah. I mean, the one, you know, the one that I say, like, if it was my dying day and I was like shaking someone's shoulders, and I'm like, if you could just hear one thing, like, this is the only thing I need you to know about your life. Um, this is the one that I say, um, because it, I'm so passionate about like, people taking their agency back, if that makes sense. Their, their like ability to change. And I, I wanna say to them, Hey, who is it that you wanna be when it's your 90th birthday party? And people are toasting you and they're not talking about your accomplishments, they're not talking about your relationships. They're actually like saying, you, you are this person. Like what words do you want them to say? Okay, it is your responsibility to move toward that. So no more saying, this person's making me impatient. 

(29:40)

This person's making me frustrated. I can't have this thing because of this person. You've gotta decide within yourself who you wanna be. And then when you're in a conflict, you can ask yourself, what would it look like for me to become the patient person that I say I wanna be? Like, how am I gonna engage in this conversation? It's a completely like one way experience where now every relationship that you're in is an opportunity for you to grow into who you're becoming rather than an impediment or an obstacle on your way to who you think that you're trying to be. Hmm. It cha it truly like that mindset shift changes things remarkably because now it's like, oh, what opportunities did you have today to grow in becoming an open-minded person? Well, I had to deal with a really judgmental person. Well, how did you do in becoming a more open-minded person? So now it's all on me to start to think about the tools I have and the ways I engage. And when we get our agency back in frustrating relationships, things r I mean, things really do change. It's remarkable. Does that make sense? It 

Joey Odom (30:44):

Makes, it makes so much sense. I don't even know where to begin on, on that whole concept because it's transformational. And, and you said, you know, you, you, when you begin to identify yourself as a certain thing, you become more like the person you identify yourself to be. You may not be that if you say that, you become more like that. Um, I think, uh, so my, uh, r o co-founder Heath Wilson, he, he and I and our wives were going to a football game one day and his wife was running behind and Heath is just a prince of a person and he's, he's was so patient all the time, but his wife was running late. So it was, it was my wife, me and Heath sitting in, in the car waiting for Misty to come down and she's running late and he said, gosh, we're gonna be late. 

(31:24)

We're gonna be late. And she gets in the car and I'm fully expecting him to react. Like I would be like, Ugh. You know? Yeah. We're gonna be 15 minutes late. Exactly. And you know what he said? He said, oh, you look really pretty. Yeah. That was it. And as a result, she felt great about herself. She was probably expecting, you know, oh, I'm running late, but instead you look really, that changed everything. And what that did for me, it makes you wanna be more like that, but like the be more like the person you admire. Yes. In some ways. And so if you almost like third party, it, well, I know someone I admire do this. Like no one would, no one would want to be like the type of person who's impatient like that. Yeah. And it's just so, it, it's, that's just such a transformational concept, especially with kids. I mean, I think that's one thing if a kid <laugh>, if a kid from that, you know, I know you have kids is I, I'm, I'm curious if that's, if that was for you, if that's a, that that sense of personal responsibility, if that was kind of a cornerstone of your parenting mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, and what you'd seen. 

Nicole Unice (32:20):

Yeah, I mean definitely. I mean, Joey, like, if you think about it, can you think of a word for yourself like that you would want someone to say about you at your 90th birthday? 

Joey Odom (32:28):

I, I, the, the word I, the word I want is present. The, I want people present people and, and, and because Nicole, I struggle with it mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because I'm always, my mind's always somewhere else. And because I am mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, I'm, you know, stealing glances at my phone or, but I want people when I'm, when I'm, when I'm with them, to feel, for them to feel like they're the most important person in the room. Because you hear, you know, you hear people say when they've met Bill Clinton as an example, they say it's like the whole room disappeared and he was just there with me. And you think, holy crap, what a superpower for someone Yeah. To be like that. So I think that would be it for me would be, yeah. Would be that what, what, what's your word? 

Nicole Unice (33:05):

So I, yeah, I would say, I mean, present is one of those like values that I talked about that changed my life. Cuz I was like, how do I start to be present? What am I doing that's keeping me from being present? So present is definitely one. I think, um, open-hearted has been another one. Like, and the reason I asked you, Joey, what yours is, is because then you've got that thing, right? So you're like, okay, yeah, this is who I wanna become. I have like a, a metric now that I'm looking at life. And then you can sort of take the next step in the toolbox, which is to become your own scientist. So this is another sort of concept is, and in the book we call it curious, not condemning. So now I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be curious about myself. I'm gonna be like, okay, I wanna become this person who's fully present. 

(33:50)

And now, rather than like rolling into a shame story when I'm not fully present, I'm gonna say, Ooh, I'm gonna be my own scientist. I'm curious, let's rewind the game tape. What happened then? What was going on with me? Like when I showed up that way and I was, I snapped, I was impatient, I spoke over them, whatever, I interrupted what was going on with me. So now I'm able to start this process of thinking about the way that I live my life. I, in a way that's not shameful. It's not saying like, you suck again, you messed up again. It's actually saying, Ooh, I wonder, like, let me think about the factors and the variables that create a space where I'm being more present. So you mentioned your phone, right? Yeah. So you're like, oh, I know one thing. Like if I, if I've scheduled too many things in a day and I've made like back to back, what I find is that I'm not present in anything. Now you may, that may still happen sometimes, but at least you're starting to become aware of what are the environmental factors? What are my relationship factors that I need to, like, think through and put in place so that I can start becoming this person? Then conflict becomes, um, just a piece of a growing edge in your life. Yeah. Rather than like this big scary thing that you don't know how to handle. 

Joey Odom (35:04):

I love that. And I'm sure this was very, you, you chose this specifically, but being that scientist becoming your own scientist mm-hmm. <affirmative> that, that removes the emotion from it. Scientists are not emotional, scientists are factual. You look at the data, you look at the facts, and then you can make your assessment. And so that I'm, I assume that helps if you look at it as I'm going to analyze this as opposed to judge this, then it can become, it continue to become more productive as opposed to just jumping down a shame spiral. I, I was, I <laugh> I interrupted myself, I interrupted myself in my own mid-sentence to my daughter because I looked at my phone the other day and I've told that story probably 10 times and it's mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think why Nicole even just talking about this and I'll send you the therapy bill after the show <laugh>, is, is that I haven't fully processed that moment. I tell that story again and again, almost jokingly because I haven't really thought through it. I haven't really processed through that. I, I feel bad and it, and it, and it's become shameful to me. Mm-hmm. Even though I'm talking about it lightheartedly, it's become shameful to me as opposed to me actually analyzing it and thinking about what would I, what can I do differently next time? How can I become the scientist as opposed to going down a little bit of shame spiral. 

Nicole Unice (36:09):

Mm-hmm. Yeah. I mean I think this is where like naming reality and then understanding that we're, we're, we're all kids on the inside trying to find a way to cope and make the world okay. And being able to say like, man, I looked at my phone in the middle of talking because being important makes me feel okay about myself and I chose to feel important over to feel present. And that's because it's part of my story. You know, I never felt valued maybe as a kid or whatever that story is. Like this is just, this is just a part of my story, but I don't have to be that person anymore. Yeah. And that means I get to go back and say to my kid maybe something that no one's ever said to me as a child. Like, Hey, you know, dad was, dad was, you know, sort of confused about what was important at that moment. 

(37:00)

And I want you to know that you're the most important thing to me. Sometimes I'm gonna have to be interrupted by work, but I always want you to know that I wanna always be listening to you when you're talking. And it's this, it's this built rebuilding of trust, right. Which is Yeah. Is what we talk about in the miracle moment all the time. Like, there's a whole chapter on like, how do you learn how to apologize correctly? Like, you don't apologize with excuses on the end. You don't apologize with like, I was gonna listen, but you know, you you actually just say, um, I'm sorry I was wrong. What can I do to make it right? And that's it. And that's part of like deciding, oh, I'm trying to become a person who's present so it doesn't actually matter the environmental circumstances that led me to not be a person who was present. 

(37:40)

I can deal with those separately. This is a, a, a mistake that people make in marriages a lot. And actually bosses make this mistake a lot too, where they do something wrong and they say, I was sorry that I did that wrong, but here's what you did to contribute to me doing that thing wrong. Yeah. Those are two different conversations and they should be had separately. The first conversation is there's no excuse for me raising my voice because I don't wanna be a person who raises my voice. It actually doesn't matter if you were trapping my leg off. I don't wanna be a person who raises my voice <laugh>. So I was wrong when I did that. I lost my temper. I'm sorry. What can I do to make it right now? I might later in a separately in a discipline kind of situation, be like, Hey, um, it's not okay when I tell you three times to do something and you don't do it. 

(38:24)

Yeah. So we're gonna need to talk about how we're gonna make that better. Right. So, but if I, if I go to my kid and say, I raised my voice at you, I'm sorry, but I told you three times to do that. Yeah. And you didn't. I just made it. I didn't actually apologize. It's not even an apology. That's okay. So learning how to separate, and I love to help people unlink crucial conversations from apologies. Like, if you were wrong based on the person that you wanna become, just do the reconciling conversation. Don't do the, we need to fix this other thing. Cuz you, you've just realized that you need to fix that other thing. And I tell a story in the book about that where I like snapped at my husband during covid. I was like, at the coffee pot, he like asked me to go on a walk with the dogs. 

(39:01)

And I was like, do you think I have time to go for a walk <laugh>? I was like so wrong. Like, he was so gentle and so kind. It was so obvious that I was wrong, but I had to be my own scientist Right. And ask myself, well what was I thinking? What was going on in my head? Yeah. And what is happening inside of me? And later that night, or even the next day, we did go on that walk and I said, Hey, I was wrong to snap at you. I didn't wanna do that at all, but I actually did realize some things that I haven't told you. I'm really anxious about this book. I, this was the, it was actually the miracle moment, which is funny, but it was due <laugh> really anxious about this book. I feel resentful because it feels to me like I'm responsible for the kids during the day and you just go into your office and close the door, which is perfectly okay. 

(39:44)

We haven't even talked about it. But it turns out I feel resentful about that. And I haven't told you. And most of my resentment is related to this insecurity about being able to hit this deadline because I just, nobody expected us to be in Covid. So he turns to me and he is like, well, why don't I book you a hotel room for the weekend and you just go away so you could spend time. It was like this beautiful Wow. Reconciling like the conflict actually created connection. Yeah. Because I worked through it on my side of things and as it turns out, my husband and I want the same things. We both have good intention. You know what I mean? Like, a lot of times we start feeling like a person is the problem when in reality like, we're, we just need to learn how to be more vulnerable to communicate more clearly. Yeah. To invite, you know, that kind of conversation. It was just this really, really cool moment that came out of me snapping at him at the coffee pot in a way that I didn't even realize what I was feeling or thinking. And I needed to do the curious, not condemning, like, okay, it wasn't right to snap at him, but obviously something's going on with you, so let's process what that is and then engage in what you need, you know, and ask for what you need, which is what happened on that walk later that day. 

Joey Odom (40:52):

That's almost where, you know, back to the earlier question, how can you enjoy the lows? There's, there's one way you just gotta know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if there's something, there's something great. If you can embrace it, there's something great that's gonna come outta that because it's almost Yeah. Yeah. You, in, in some ways there. I I would be curious if you hadn't blown up, if you would've tried to just kind of half feel those emotions or half process them, you wouldn't necessarily Oh, definitely had an opportunity to really do a full scientific deep dive on yourself. Right. Without 

Nicole Unice (41:15):

These Absolutely not. I would not have processed it at all. I'm not a person who likes to process emotion, I like to avoid it. So it takes messing up. I mean, you know what I mean? It takes Yeah, sure. Snapping at the kids, it takes being anxious or whatever controlling for me to realize like, oh, something's going, Ooh, red flags. Like I should pay attention. This is a big stop sign for myself. And the only person responsible for understanding my emotional world is me. I, I can't wait for someone else to figure it out for me. I that it's not their job. It's my job to say, okay, what's going on and how can I communicate what's going on? Um, without expectation necessarily. Like I didn't have the expectation that my husband Dave was gonna like, fix my problem. But it turns out yeah, it was even better than I expected. Like, his ideas were better than I would've had for myself. You know? 

Joey Odom (42:03):

I love that. Gosh. Do you, I want to transition to something else. Do you have another 10 minutes? 

Nicole Unice (42:08):

Uhhuh <affirmative>? I do. Yeah. 

Joey Odom (42:09):

Uh, for, and we'll come back to it at the end, but, but the miracle moment, let me just plug that right here. That is, that's some app transformational stuff. I hope everybody goes and, and buys a copy. You, you've, you are currently doing how to study the Bible. It's an ongoing podcast and you just finished, let's Be Real. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I want to go, I want to go to the very last episode, episode 100 where you ended it. And I would, it's probably, I think it's 18 minutes, 15 minutes. I I think everybody should listen to that because it was, it was such a lesson in ending something. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It was a, it was a beautiful thing. And I remember, I remember George Washington talked about, um, when he, when he stepped down, he, he thought that that was one of the most powerful things he could have done is show how, how you end things and how you show, show how you transition power. 

(43:00)

Um, it all, I almost thought this was worth starting the podcast just so you could end it <laugh> the way you did that. It it was, it was so beautiful and I think it, it, it applied to relationships and you know, how do you, you know how to know when it's time to end something and, and without intention, it's easy to let things end badly. <laugh>, you, you are going to laugh at me. I remember hearing a line on the Bachelorette several years ago. Excellent. Winner one <laugh> we're one of the bachelors. Said, I just lost all credibility, didn't I? I'm done. <laugh>. 

Nicole Unice (43:31):

I love it. I'm like, are we also quoting Hamilton? Because like, do you want me to sing part of Washington's song? Cuz I will. I mean, okay. 

Joey Odom (43:38):

So that's 

Nicole Unice (43:38):

Hamilton's Hamilton's a big deal in my family. 

Joey Odom (43:40):

Well, you know. Okay, so I'm gonna back up real quick. When you were talking about your own personal agency, there's a line where, where Burr sings, he goes, I'm the one thing in life I can control. Yeah. And, and I, I use, I've used that with my kids a thousand times. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cause we all love Hamilton. We say that and you're right. When, when, um, the, uh, the Washington scene on Enus. That's funny. We have a little Hamilton, uh, little Hamilton going right now. So this, so I wanna you, you walk through three things and I don't know if you recall them. Mm-hmm. So I can remind you if you can't, but, but you to Oh, the bachelorette line. Anything That's good. Anything good that ends, ends badly was the line for the bachelorette. 

Nicole Unice (44:12):

Ah-huh <affirmative>. 

Joey Odom (44:13):

And you're saying interesting. Without intention it's easy to let things end badly. So you gave three, three thoughts on what to do if you're ending something. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you recall those? Can you, can I 

Nicole Unice (44:24):

Gimme one? I mean, I think I remember the first one was like Yeah, evaluate the why, like, why you started 

Joey Odom (44:29):

And that was, is that the first one? So, so it is and it was so freaking good. Like, and I'll and I'll remind you cause I want to hear you elaborate on it. You say, you say you go back to that why, why did you start the thing that you're now ending? Why did you start it in the first place? And then you said, what, what is the why? And does the why still apply? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, will you elaborate on that? That was so brilliant. 

Nicole Unice (44:50):

Yes. First of all, I really think it's important for people to know I'm actually super sad about the podcast because it, this makes it, that's sound like it was an easy thing to do. And darn it, if people don't come up to you, like, I must have had five people in the last four days be like, I'm so sad about the podcast. I'm like, well, you and your 20 friends are sad about it. But I was just, I just can't keep doing it. And, and so I wanna say that cuz like, just because it ended and I know it's, it was the right thing to do and a hundred percent is the right thing to do, I still am really sad about it. Yeah. Because whenever you're a creator and you create anything, you know, it's, it's hard to let it go. It just is. 

(45:23)

Yeah. Even though I know it was the right thing. So I wanna name that as a reality. Yeah. Because maybe it'll make it even easier for people to engage with asking those questions. But I had to put on again, like you put on your scientist hat and you say, I need to evaluate this from the most dispassionate position possible because good things often do keep us from better things. And I knew, I could sense in my heart there is no space for new vision. That's what was actually happening is I've gotten to a place where I've added thing after thing. They started because of Covid. They didn't start out of a 10 year strategic plan where I knew this was gonna be the thing. It was like these things started out of a season of change. Yeah. And they've come more and more have come. 

(46:10)

Right. And then you get to a place where you're like, do I have fresh vision? Do I have enough space for fresh perspective? Do I have excitement about do I have any of that kind of energy left? And I just didn't and I didn't feel like I was in a place where I, I needed, I still need that energy. Yeah. I'm not like in an institution that I'm building that I didn't need that. So, so I know that like, having that dispassionate perspective is important. But I do wanna name is actually still hard. So, but this is what really helped me with let's be real. I was like, okay, wait, why did this start? Because we all leaders and people, we do stuff because we wanna solve a problem, right? Or we wanna answer a question. And I've started a lot of things that's a big part of my ministry and, and, and vocational career. 

(46:54)

And all of those things have started from a problem. Like, I started writing because I looked at the bookshelf and thought there's nothing here that I would give to a person like me. Like I'm in the bookstore and I'm like, this stuff doesn't land for me. And here's the thing that why is no longer true? Like, huh, the publishing industry has changed in the last 12 years and that's not true anymore. But then I had to ask the question, so is my why still relevant or has the why changed? And does this thing still meet that why? So for publishing that answer is yes. Like the why's different. I'm different. Yeah. So I can answer that why and continue to do the thing. But for let's be real, it was like, what's the why and has the why changed? And it, it had, it had changed and I didn't have a new why. 

(47:41)

So then it's like, well then what, what's behind this? Well, it makes me feel good. I like, you know, yeah. What is, what, what, what, what am I serving? What am I doing? So tho I, I actually think it would be, I, it's important for people to do that. I have, I have a friend who would say, don't plan on anything for more than 18 months, which is short. But generally, I think it's great to sit and ask yourself like, these things that are in my life, like, is the why still there? Has the why changed? And is it still one of my like, top par priority wises? And if the answer is like, yes, the whys changed, and no, there's not a new why, then we have to ask them, why am I then the, what am I doing and why? 

Joey Odom (48:20):

Uh, th that, that whole, that was a, that was the one that that really stood out because if you could have that constant evaluation, and you even said you would, you had done that process before on the podcast and you determined, yeah, the why still applies, so we're gonna keep doing it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and you walk confidently in that. And so it's just that constant reevaluation of that, um, was really powerful. And you just touched on this, and this was one of my questions because your third point was celebrate what has been mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you celebrate, you celebrate the experience. And my question for you was something you touched on, and you talk about celebration, but is there room for mourning? What do you do? What about the person who's going through something that may be a difficult thing they're walking away from, they're ending something. And how does mourning that ex, how does mourning the loss of that experience or the ending of that experience, how do you properly process through that? 

Nicole Unice (49:08):

It says, if you knew what my next book was about, which you don't, so, oh, come on now. That's kind of fun. But, wow. So my next book coming out next year is about, it's called Not What I Signed up for, and it's about navigating unexpected seasons. And there's a, I'm actually like editing the chapter right now on loss. So I do, I think that navigating loss is super important, um, because a lot of times we relegate grief to death. Like that's where you can grieve. And we don't actually understand that there are seasons of mourning that come. Honestly, I think they come linked to seasons of joy because we have that season of joy or that season of flourishing and then that all good things come to an end and we've gotta move past it and through it. And how do we do that? 

(49:55)

Well, well, I think the way we do it well is we allow ourselves the human gift of mourning and of loss and of naming loss and of not trying to make loss go away. So one thing that people often do is they try to quickly to like redeem loss or to say like, yes, this thing happened, but it's leading me to this thing. And they don't, they're not actually processing. It's just like you with your phone. Yeah. You know, you're like, I'm telling this story all the time. Like it's a lesson learned. And I'm not actually like letting myself be like, oh man, I never, I'd be the kind of person who would do that to my kid. And I definitely am that kind of person. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Like, I just wanna like take a moment to like feel that and then to receive grace, receive forgiveness, move forward. 

(50:36)

But I think with things that we end, there needs to be a space to say, that was good and it's over. And it may never be like that again. Like I can be sad about that. Um, one gift that I felt like people gave me have given me in different seasons is being able to name That was wrong. That that happened to you. Hmm. That's it. Not that was wrong, that that happened to you and, but it, but it's great because like God has good things for you in the future. It's just like letting it be just naming a lot of people need help. Um, that happened in counseling a lot too, where, where someone would tell me a story of hurt or trauma and part of the counseling technique, but really like the human technique is to stop and say, I am so sad that that happened to you. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Like, and the feeling I have when you, I'm gonna pick up your emotional, like the feeling I have when you tell me that story is, I'm sad and I'm angry for you. And like, actually letting that be enough and just letting someone feel validated that they've been through something really hard and you don't need to fix it, is incredibly healing for people. Um, 

Joey Odom (51:47):

It, it, uh, to me, I think if someone were to to, if I had gone through something and someone just did that to me, that what they've just done has given me permission to feel it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. Exactly. Doesn't, doesn't that just open up like, hey, you go ahead and feel it and be pissed off and you Yeah. And you, and you process through it or be, or then be sad or whatever it is. But that permission to feel and how many of us just walk around without the permission, especially when it comes to grief or you've been violated or whatever. Just Yeah. To feel it with no, no agenda beyond that. 

Nicole Unice (52:18):

Exactly. It works on the flip side too, cuz the other thing is, is people often don't feel permission to celebrate. Like, to say like, it is amazing that you did that. Like, I, I don't know any, like, that's incredible. I just, I'm, I just have so much respect for like what you did, you know, like whatever that thing is. People don't also feel that like the feeling of joy, of, of pride, good pride. Like, you know, just really wholesome pride in accomplishment because we've been made for both of those things. Like we're made for joy and we're made for mourn and we give each other a gift when we make more space for that emotional expression. It's so vulnerable. It's intimate. And that's what people are like real freaked out <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. In our culture, we're in such a disconnected world where we just, we see each other through screens and we consider that social interaction that when we're like, oh, this person sees me and they see this deep thing in me that is this vulnerable, true essence of who I am. It is such a gift because it grows us as human beings. Yeah. It grows our trust and our love for each other in a way that I think is how we were designed to flourish. 

Joey Odom (53:26):

I, I think of this as a dad, and I think about even when I am telling my kids that I'm proud of them. So if they came, if my, you know, daughter did great in a volleyball match or something like that, it would, I think that my inclination would be to almost tie a lesson even to my celebration of them. So something like, Gianni, you just, you played awesome. See what happens when you work hard. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, no, no, no, no. Don't just leave the second just, you did amazing. Period. Right. And it's, it's almost like we're, we're tying addendums to every little thing that we say, whether it's celebration or mourn or whatever it is. And just rather than just letting it be that that's, it's apparent. I think they're a million. 

Nicole Unice (54:02):

Well, and, and, and I would say, I'll give you one little reframe for that too. That is my fa like I <laugh> for being a counselor. I and a pastor, I literally never read one parenting book. I was like, I, I don't wanna rename, but I, there's one parenting book that I loved, okay. Ooh, this's. This little tiny book call, it's not even like a popular book. It's called Different Children, different Needs. And it's based on basically doing a little bit of an understanding of like, what do you think your child's disc profile is like, it just gives you a little bit of observation to do and then what you are, and basically some of the pitfalls and your personality types, how they might come together and some of the opportunities. But in there there's this little bit that these guys write about their counselors and they write about this idea of connecting your praise to a character virtue that you see in your child. 

(54:50)

So it's not a lesson learned, but it's more like, oh my gosh, you were amazing in that volleyball game and I know I've seen you work so hard and that kind of hard work is integrity. Like you have integrity. And so it's, it's taking, so it's not cuz what we don't want of course is for our kids to hear us praise their accomplishments and for them to translate that to mean when I'm doing, when I'm successful, dad loves me, right? Yeah. But we, we want them to see like, it's not the a that I care about, it's the fact that I saw you so diligently doing your work. Like Yeah. That aspect of your character is diligence and that is incredible. So you're like celebrating character, you know, it's like what you just said. Like if your, if your kid said to you like, dad, you didn't pick up your phone once when we went on our ice cream date, that's you being present <laugh>, I'm so proud of you. 

(55:37)

Yeah. Cause you were present. Right. You know, cuz it's what you wanna be, right? Yeah. So I love, I I always pass that on, I pass that on to managers cuz I'm like, we, we never outgrow that. Like connect what you've seen to a character virtue that you are celebrating and give them, give that gift to your kids, to your mentees, to people that you like. Name. Like, when, when you do that thing, like, I grow, I'm encouraged to my faith because you're so patient. You know, that's, it's like what you said with your friend when he complimented his wife, right? 

Joey Odom (56:06):

Yeah, that's right. And then to your point, it that reaffirms their identity, so then they become more like that person that they identify themselves as. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I didn't prep you for this question and with my apologies, but we ask all guests this 

Nicole Unice (56:20):

Question. I love, I love crazy questions, <laugh>, 

Joey Odom (56:22):

It's not even crazy, but we, it's a little lid introspective. We, um, you know, The Aro Podcast is all about conversations with people who strive to live intentionally and you're clearly, um, in that category. So I'm, everybody has a little bit of a different, different definition for this word. And, and, and I'm curious, what does, what does intentionality mean to you? 

Nicole Unice (56:43):

Um, it means trying to care about my life as much as I think God cares about my life. Oh 

Joey Odom (56:49):

Man, 

Nicole Unice (56:50):

That's what I would say. 

Joey Odom (56:51):

That's really good. 

Nicole Unice (56:52):

It's like trying to 

Joey Odom (56:53):

Care about myself, to care about my life as much as God cares about my life. 

Nicole Unice (56:56):

Trying, I got, I don't think I can even get close, but it's like, it's like taking life seriously without taking myself seriously is another way. I would say it like, like, wow. Like what a gift we have to live this life. And I can't believe I get to like, engage in it, you know, engage in it fully. So 

Joey Odom (57:19):

That's so beautiful. It's a great way to end. Um, I do want people will, I'm sure want to connect with you. We'll put all everything in the show notes as well, all 

Nicole Unice (57:28):

The things, 

Joey Odom (57:29):

But let spout 'em off the socials website, um, when people can expect your next book, all of that stuff. 

Nicole Unice (57:37):

Sure. So I do a, I do a weekly newsletter. I always like to tell people, like, if you want just little tidbits, I just do like a coaching question, a moment of inspiration, like a a, an intention. So that's called Real Talk. So you can find that on my website, nicoleunice.com/realtalk. Um, and I've got a book coming out next year called, Not What I Signed Up For, can't remember the subtitle. It's about finding courage in a season you didn't expect, basically. Um, and it's all based on the life, the biblical story of Joseph. So, um, really excited about that. Doesn't matter where you are in faith, like it just applies to what does it look like to walk through a season that you really never would've wanted. Um, and that comes out next year. So I'm excited about that. And you could, my name's really uncommon, so it's easy to find me on all the socials, <laugh>, <laugh>, so you can find me there. 

Joey Odom (58:27):

Absolutely. Again, all in the show notes, and I'll say it again, the miracle moment. I'll encourage people in the meantime, while they're waiting for your next one, absolutely. To, to pick that one up. Nicole, this has been just wonderful, delightful, valuable. Thank you very, very much for, 

Nicole Unice (58:40):

Uh, for your time. Thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate it. 

Joey Odom (58:43):

Absolutely. Thanks Nicole. I wanna repeat something that Nicole Unice said that I absolutely loved. She said it's important to begin with this question. Who is it that you want to be? And once you identify that, she said to become your own scientist, curious, not condemning, explore you becoming more like that person. If not, that's okay. How can you make those adjustments to become that person? I absolutely love that. I think that's something that I can apply today leaving this episode. I think you can as well. So thank you so much for enjoying the conversation I had with Nicole Unice. Make sure you check out all of her info in the show notes and we look forward to seeing you again next time on The Aro Podcast. The Aro Podcast is produced and edited by the team at Palm Tree Pod. Special thanks to Emily Miles for video and digital support.

Nicole Unice (00:05):

If I, if I go to my kid and say, I raise my voice at you. I'm sorry, but I told you three times to do that. Yeah. And you didn't. I just made it. I didn't actually apologize. It's not even an apology. That's so, learning how to separate it. I love to help people unlink crucial conversations from apologies. Like, if you were wrong, based on the person that you wanna become, just do the reconciling conversation. Don't do the, we need to fix this other thing, cuz you, you've just realized that you need to fix that other thing.  

Joey Odom (00:32):

Welcome back to The Aro Podcast. It is your good friend Joey Odom, co-founder of Aro and today I sat down with Nicole Unice. If you don't know Nicole Unice, you're about to know her and you're about to love her. Cuz we had an amazing conversation talking about a full gamut of things we had, I feel like a kind of introspective discovery session for myself. And she had such great stuff that you're gonna love to hear. You're gonna want to check her out. But for now, please sit back and enjoy my conversation with Nicole Unice. Listeners, the miracle moment is here. You see, we have a renowned speaker, coach, podcaster, and author. And yes, she'd be the first to tell you she's got issues. And she fully recognized the struggle is real, but she's also brave enough to step in when you throw your hands up and say,  help, my bible is alive. I am of course listing off several of her great books. Joining The Aro Podcast today is my new friend Nicole Unice. Nicole, welcome to The Aro Podcast. 

Nicole Unice (01:37):

I don't, do you think that you're the first person who's done that? Because people love to make a pun out of all book titles. <laugh>, you just, you missed one, but we'll let not let it go. So, but it was pretty strong. It was pretty strong and I always like, makes me laugh. So, 

Joey Odom (01:53):

So that wasn't original and that was not original, in other words. 

Nicole Unice (01:56):

I mean, it was still, it was still strong though. Like you just came in with a really strong voice. So I, It was great. So this was awesome. Strong voice did.

Joey Odom (02:03):

Alright. What book did I leave off? You gotta correct me. 

Nicole Unice (02:05):

You left off Help My Bible's Alive, which really working that one in to the myths, it's the one that doesn't fit with the others. So, 

Joey Odom (02:12):

Oh no, I said it, I, let's, let's, let's review the, say the tape. I said she's brave enough to step in when you throw your hands up and say, help My Bible is alive. 

Nicole Unice (02:21):

Oh my gosh. I, well that was a perfect experience that we just had. That's related to the miracle moment because I stopped listening to you cuz I was thinking about what I was gonna say back to you <laugh>. And look, I completely missed your intentions. Excellent. That was an amazing job. Best ever. Loved It.  

Joey Odom (02:36):

Well, best best one ever. Well, thank you for joining us. We're done for the No that Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Nicole. I don't, I don't exactly even know where to start. You do, you do so much. And you know, author, speaker, leadership coach, podcaster. I, I wanted to, I'm intrigued by your coaching. I wanted - I wanna start there with your coaching. I wanna hear a little bit about your first, who your primary audience is, um, who you're speaking to, and then I have some specific questions on that and how that works. 

Nicole Unice (03:04):

Sure, yeah. If I, if I can, I'll back up just a little bit. Sure. In my story, um, like many of us, I, this is not, I had no intentions to find myself in this position. I, I just didn't even know that this is like a job that people do. But, um, what I do know, and when I have, and I think I love asking people this question as well, like, what, who you wanted to be when you grew up. Like what were you passionate about? And when I look back in the rear view mirror of my own life, I find that the thing I've always been really passionate about is the question of can humans really change? Like, can we really grow? Like can we transform beyond our childhood, beyond our temperaments, beyond whatever that, you know, those patterns in life might be. And so my career, I started in fitness. 

(03:49)

I was in full-time fitness, like, can you change, you know, then I was a therapist, so I was kind of engaging the like, can you change in the sort of psychological mental health space? And that was a Christian counseling degree, so kind of combining theology. And then, um, I'm now a pastor and coach. So it's sort of that same thread, even though there's many different jobs and it, it appears many different ways. I think the heart of my vocation has always been the same. Um, so seeing life as different assignments that God can give us a vocation, we can have this like passion that might be inside of you that you've been built with, but the actual assignment can change. Huh. So I find my current assignment is really in leadership spaces where I help teams and leaders understand the culture that they're in, their own personal transformation, and then how that affects the teams and organizations that they lead. So my day job, so to speak right now, is really doing that work consulting with churches, nonprofits, companies in that space. Um, and my passion project continues to be writing and, you know, communicating in whatever aspect I have the opportunity to do. So. 

Joey Odom (04:59):

Okay. I wanna, I wanna drill into that question and your, your basic question is, which is, can humans really change? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what have you found there? 

Nicole Unice (05:08):

Um, change is really hard, but not impossible. And we need all the help that we can get. And I actually think that the great story of every human's life is their story of overcoming and transforming. Um, most people minimize their story, um, unless they have like a very dramatic, you know, kind of objectively dramatic story. They kind of feel like, no, I'm just a normal person doing normal things. But I actually think that everyone's story is epic and incredible. It's just a matter of mining what that is. That is that, you know, story of overcoming that story of transforming. Um, but I think people, especially adults, like we need way more help than we think we need. Yeah. Like, we really need a lot of help. And most of us come to a place where we, we think, I kind of am already supposed to know this. 

(05:59)

I'm supposed to already have it together. I'm, I'm already supposed to know how to do like, emotional resilience, even though literally none of us has ever learned or been in any class. Right. <laugh> that you'd learn that, um, maybe you had an amazing parent who was able to navigate and shepherd you through that, but most people ha don't have that. Um, so we get to adulthood and we think, oh, I feel some shame around this cuz I feel like I should already know how to do this. Which is also how people feel about their work. But in reality, all of us are like just figuring it out. And if we have the humility to engage and be like, oh, I can grow, I can learn in this area, then were set up for really amazing things. 

Joey Odom (06:40):

That's an interesting term that that that that concept of supposed to, I'm supposed to mm-hmm. <affirmative> I'm supposed to, it's all, it's all, you know, it's, that's probably a, a, a sibling to should. And I heard my, recently I heard someone say, which I love, they said, Hey, I said, should. And they said, hold on, don't should your pants don't, should your pants. Which I thought was great. But the, that concept of supposed to, that's a, that's a real inhibitor. And almost when you start saying that to yourself, you start going down to your point, a shame spiral mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you say, gosh, I'm supposed to know something, but I don't. And then you feel down on yourself and it's so counterproductive. Is that one of the questions I had about your coaching was you talk about people getting unstuck <affirmative>, which I like that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I would love to hear your perspective going a little bit deeper on the supposed to or, or shoulding your pants. Um, and then even deeper into what are some other ways that people are getting stuck and how do they get unstuck? 

Nicole Unice (07:30):

Yeah. I mean that's a, I I love and think that that's a big, I think it's more a part of almost everyone's story. Some people are really aware of it, some others aren't. A friend and colleague of mine that we work together a lot, we've been exploring this idea of what's every leader's shame story. Because every leader has like this other part where they're like, I have this relational failure, or I had this le you know, occupational failure and I haven't really reconciled that. And what happens when we have failure, which inevitably we all do, we we have to cover somehow. If we're not gonna heal from it and redeem it, then it's gotta be covered. And so then we end up with more posturing, more striving, more trying to prove that we're something or somebody. And it's just not, it doesn't really lead to a joyful life. 

(08:20)

It doesn't lead to a well-paced life. Um, and that's a lot of people's story. You can still be out there doing great things and, and great things are happening, but maybe internally you're not experiencing that same level of really feeling like you're content. You're at a pace that's sustainable, you're really enjoying, um, the ups and the downs of life. So a lot of times when people get stuck, I was actually just leading a group last night and we kind of talked about the three areas that I think that we can get stuck in. It's if our values are out of alignment, like, so we either are unaware, everyone has values, it's just a matter of whether you are naming them or not. W we're either unaware of what our values are or we're living out of alignment with what they are. That's the first one. 

(09:05)

The second one is resiliency. We are not really, we have, we don't have the skills and we haven't intentionally grown in the skills of emotional coping. What I do with setbacks, how I understand failure, what does self-care look like. And then the third one is boundaries. So boundaries are the energy and resources that we have to offer the world. And we either, we either live outside of our boundaries consistently, or we aren't even aware and haven't done the work to understand what our emo what our resources are. The energy management system that we have. All of us have treasures to offer the world time, money, gifts, emotional capacity, which by the, by the way, is finite <laugh>. It's not an emo. We don't have an, we don't have an unlimited resource of just engaging emotionally with life. So if I don't have a proper understanding of boundaries, values, or resiliency, those are the places where people end up getting stuck. 

Joey Odom (10:02):

I'm curious you, this, this gets a little personal question, but how are you on those three boundaries? Terrible and resiliency? Gosh, are you, gosh, 

Nicole Unice (10:11):

Terrible. No, I mean, <laugh>, I'm growing. I doubt, let me say that I'm growing. Yeah. Oh, that's, I'm not terrible. I'm not terrible because I, but you know, I, I once was, I had a friend who was a math teacher and he was a middle school math teacher, like a eighth grade math teacher, super cool guy. Like just the, the kind of guy you would wanna have, like teaching middle school math. And I said to him like, why do you teach math? And he's like, because I was so bad at it, <laugh>. And I thought that's actually what makes the best teacher. Yeah. When teachers are intuitively good at stuff that they're teaching, they're not usually that good at teachers. And so the reason I'm really open with my, I try to be really vulnerable and open with my own life. And you know, my first book was called She's Got Issues Like was because I think that people who are open with the way they struggle in life are better teachers than people who intuitively are good at certain things. 

(11:02)

Yeah. So for me, this has not, this has not come intuitively. It's required work and yeah. The understanding of how to live an intentional life and why do I need to name values? And I tell, you know, people I've went through, I've been through a big transition in life in the last, like many people have in the last four years. Sure. And one of those things was naming a personal value, which was so basic, a basic personal value. And realizing I need to engage again in a very intentional process of aligning my life around this value. And I just wasn't living according to that value. And because of that, I was, you know, experiencing physical stress. My body was under stress. I was having like, you know, sicknesses and things happen that would weren't normal. I was out of a accord with my emotional capacity. 

(11:51)

I was burnt out. I, you know, like I wasn't experiencing joy and even just four years ago had to realign. Like, what does that personal value and what does life need to look like in order for me to live into that? And changing, making changes like that is incredibly difficult because we often have to make sacrifices. We have to step out in faith, we have to do really hard things and we usually need a lot of support. And I had support, I had coaching and counsel and spiritual direction. And so the work I do comes out of my own like doing that. And I would say in this season, I feel like I'm sensing a restoration to that alignment around those things. Yeah. And what that brings is clarity and confidence. It doesn't mean that life is easy and that's really important. I'm like, life is not an up and to the right. 

(12:35)

Like positive psychology says, if you just do these things, life's gonna go like this. You're just gonna flourish in every area. I'm like, that's patently untrue. Like it's completely ignores reality <laugh>. But clarity and confidence can be, I can even name that I'm in a hard season and I'm choosing to adjust my life around this hard season. And I will feel, I can feel peace in that, you know? Um, doesn't have to mean that it's great. It doesn't have to mean that it's exactly what I want it to be, but I can still have like peace and contentment and even joy in it. 

Joey Odom (13:09):

I I love that. And you said something early, and I think this ties into it. You said something that was interesting. You said you get to a point where you can enjoy the ups and downs of life mm-hmm. <affirmative> in how do you, this is related to this. How do you enjoy the down? How do you actually, there's one, it's one thing to be aware. You're in a tough season. It's another thing to know you're fighting through it and hey, it's war time and get, get your war head on. There's, it's an entirely different concept to enjoy the downs of life. What is, how do you en <laugh>, how does one go about enjoying the downs of life? 

Nicole Unice (13:37):

Yeah. I mean, <laugh> often it's enjoyed in the rear view mirror, right? Like it's after you've gotten through it. But resiliency is the ability to look back at difficult seasons and say, what is it that I learned or experience that I never would have otherwise? Yeah. Like it's, it's not, it's not being superficial or fake. Um, it's not saying like, I'm gonna put my my game face on and act happy when I'm not. But it is the ability to say there is a silver lining to every season no matter what. Yeah. And I, I may not know what that is right now, but I can, I might, I'm gonna be able to look back and see that something beautiful can come out of this time. One of the things that grows in hard seasons is our heart. Um, if you allow hard seasons, if you actually live in them, your heart expands for other people. 

(14:32)

You generally become less black and white about life. Like all of a sudden everything that, that is our, like meritocracy, individualistic consumer culture that says like, if you do these things, you will get this result. When that doesn't work for you, you become a person whose eyes open to the hardships and reality of life in a way that grows compassion and grows grace and makes you like a more loving person. And honestly like a better person in every aspect of life. It makes you better in your family, your marriage and your leadership when you are not a person who thinks like, Hey, if you do these things right, it's gonna work out this way. And that's why when leaders go through massive failures, which by the way, I don't know any, uh, strong leader who by their mid forties does not have a cataclysmic failure 

Joey Odom (15:24):

Yeah. 

Nicole Unice (15:24):

Or hardship or break like in their story, which has been really interesting to me to, to think about and wonder about that, um, and wonder what's happening in us when we go through something like that. But I can look back and say, wow, I'm grateful for that because yeah, my capacity to have compassion and to know that there's a lot of mystery in life and to not rush to solutions and conclusions in people's lives mm-hmm. <affirmative> is much different now. 

Joey Odom (15:57):

Uh, I wanna make sure that wasn't hyperbole because I think it was really profound you said that every strong leader by their mid forties has had a massive failure. Is that, did I hear that right? 

Nicole Unice (16:09):

Yeah. I mean, it's my sample size. I'm not saying it's, maybe I shouldn't say every say. It's, 

Joey Odom (16:13):

It's a good, it's a big sample. It's, it's a, yours is a big sample size. Yeah. It's 

Nicole Unice (16:17):

A big sample size. And you know, there's this whole concept of vulnerability that courage is being the one to be vulnerable first. Yeah. And in opening up oftentimes, let's say sharing your story with others, what you discover is the other person is like, oh, me too. Like, I went through that. And so in a, in a difficult time in my own story, I was seeking counsel, right. Seeking support. And as I sought that support, I get these stories back. And these are people that I'm like, this person's amazing. Like, this person has it all together. This person's leadership story has definitely been up and to the right. Like, my experience of them is that way. Yeah. And yet time, after time after time, I hear these stories that are like, I have this relationship that hasn't reconciled. I have this hard thing that I can't even explain. 

(17:10)

My family's been through this incredible challenge that we continue to go through, but we're, you know, not public about it. Whatever that like, sort of touch of suffering is, is maybe the best way to call it. And it's, I don't know, maybe I'll write about it sometime, but I'm like, what's going on in us that maybe makes that like a necessary part of the journey to, to break into like a full, um, leadership to fully live intentionally. So I don't know if I, it's certainly not everyone in the whole world, but yeah, sure. A shocking number of people that I did not expect, let's put it that way. 

Joey Odom (17:45):

That, uh, when I, when I've gone to, to counseling or therapy in the past, one of the most comforting things that I've, that I've experienced in that was when I would describe this complex situation that I was in to my therapist mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And she gave it a title, she gave it a name mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which told me that the fact that it has a title means that other people have gone through it. And that may be of mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I don't remember exact her exact words on anything, but that concept alone was so reassuring to me that yeah, I'm not alone. That others have been. And, and to your point here, not only have others gone through it, but leaders and people and you're in good company and you said something that was brilliant there, you said it's maybe a necessary part of the process. Yeah. 

(18:23)

You know, what a, what an interesting, but you know, again, like you look at people, um, you know, like people who live in Hawaii, they, the kids running on the rocks and stuff like that and they, cuz they have such, you know, feet that are conditioned to it. Where if I were to go walk on it, I'd, you know, I'd be ouchie the entire time. <laugh>. But it does require, requires that difficulty. It requires the pain to go through it. Mm. Um, one of my favorite song lyrics, um, is, uh, by a Mumford in a Mumford and Sun song and it says, A brush with the devil will clear your mind and strengthen your spine. Mm. And so these not a full on encounter with the devil. Right. You don't want that. But a brush with the devil is just that little reminder that, hey, this is, this is how you get a little bit stronger through it. 

Nicole Unice (19:00):

Yeah. Yeah. Oh man. I know. It's good. And I, yeah, it is a mystery on why, why that would be a necessary part, but maybe it's just part of the human experience too. Yeah. Right. Like, uh, the human experience is actual mountains and actual valleys and seasons of summer and seasons of winter. And how do we make space for that? I'm, I'm doing a series right now on Ecclesiastes on my podcast and it's real challenging cuz you're engaging with these big questions of like, does any of this really matter? Right. And I'm like, how pertinent to our day for, for all of us to engage with, how do I rightly number my days? Really? Like, what does it, what does real life look like? How do I make space for pain? Like we talked about, like how do we enjoy hard seasons? Like maybe we're not gonna enjoy them, but maybe, how do I have compassion for myself? 

(19:51)

Yeah. In hard seasons, like, a small example of that is I've come to learn, and I had a mentor like sort of lead me through this. He said, anytime you have mountaintop experiences on a weekend, so let's say you're like leading a conference, leading retreat, whatever, do not make any decisions the following week. Like, that was like this, like make no life decisions. And I would add to that, that my other thing that we've both of us have talked about is if you basically, if you preach on a Sunday, expect a bad Tuesday <laugh>. And it's, it's, it's like a little, it's a little axiom. Like, hey, leader or person, if you're gonna have these big incredible experiences, expect the down. Like don't be surprised by the down. Don't be like, what's wrong with me? Cuz of the down. What if you actually plan for it and you're like, you know what, after a big expenditure like that, I'm gonna be really tired, probably emotional on Tuesday. So maybe I make space and care for myself by just riding through it and not trying to make that go away or piling my schedule so that I'm just like burnt out and frustrated and worn out and not good for anyone. So those are little examples to me about maybe growing in intention and resiliency is that kind of care and grace for our own humanity, like our own frailty and limited capacity. 

Joey Odom (21:11):

I love that. It reminds me of the, it, it's a great saying and action and it's been, you know, used a million times, but that, you know, the, the phrase that makes a happy person sad and a sad person happy, which is this too shall pass. You're on the mountaintop, you're gonna go to the valley, you're in the valley, you're gonna go to the mountaintop again and not being the type of person, my brother, uh, Jacob says this not being the type of person who believes that the situation you're in currently is the situation you'll be in always mm-hmm. <affirmative>, those type of people who just get their, their feet taken out from 'em again and again and again. And just knowing that it's gonna pass, that every every storm in history has passed except for the one that's currently happening. Right. It's, it's gonna, it's gonna move on no matter what. 

Nicole Unice (21:54):

Well, and that actually helps you, like rightly number days of flourishing too. Like it's, it's actually a ba able to say like, I wanna, I don't wanna ho I don't wanna take this for granted. Like, I wanna be fully in like I wanna celebrate too, which is another thing leaders are bad at. It's just like actually being present in like, isn't this great? Like, isn't this cool that we're even doing this right now? You and I like how great, how amazing. And then that lifts your heart right. In those good seasons as well makes you present there. 

Joey Odom (22:24):

That is true because the, the, the way that people usually look at it is, it's almost a ho hum Even when things are great, you say, well it's the, you know, the valley's coming Tuesday. You know what I mean? <laugh>. And so it, it is good. What a good thing to have both the knowledge that it's not always gonna be this good, but that it's good right now. Yeah, that's okay. You can have both of those, right? Yep. 

Joey Odom (22:44):

Yep. Exactly. That's so 

Joey Odom (22:45):

Interesting. I wanna talk, so you've written, you've written a lot of books, but I wanna talk about your most recent book, the Miracle Moment and the subtitle there, how tough conversations can actually transform Your Most Important Relationship. So, so I wanna begin, what, what is the i'd, I'd love to have background on the book, but, but the, the title itself, what is the Miracle Moment? What is that term? 

Nicole Unice (23:04):

Sure. Yeah. So The Miracle Moment is a term we came up for to talk about the moment, not the moment of sort of avoiding being missed in a conversation, being dismissed, being discouraged, being un misunderstood because that's inevitable. Like that's gonna happen no matter what. Like, we're not gonna get rid of that cuz we're human beings. It's the moment after the moment, like what happens next after that moment when you have that sort of feeling like, I want to give up or blow up or shut up. Right. Like, that's kind of how we usually react in conflict or how we react in a conversation where we just feel seen or heard. Yeah. What, what would happen if in the moment after that moment you were different and not that your partner was different, not that your coworker was different, but what if you were different in that next moment? So basically we, we dissect everything that goes into being different in that next moment as a human being. And what that can do, especially in your, in your love and work is sort of my, my unofficial subtitle is like, how to Get what you Want in Love and Work. Because that's really what it's about, is we want people to know and hear and see us, and we want to move toward our desires. And oftentimes it's the communication of that that gets sort of wonky and mist in those relationships. 

Aro Team Member (24:26):

We hope you're enjoying the show. Let's take a quick moment to hear from one of our members about how Aro is impacting their life.

Aro Member (24:32):

I am really competitive, so I like to track and see how much time I spend off my phone versus my husband. And I really like the weekly Aro recaps and the groups within the app that collectively show how much time we've been off our phone together as a family. I think though, what I love most is the gentle nudge that the app gives others in our household when we put our phone away. Like, I don't have to tell my husband to put his phone down and pay attention, all I have to do is put my phone in the Aro box and he gets this little notification saying, Hey, I just started an Aro session. And it's a subtle invitation for him to do the same. 

Joey Odom (25:14):

This is such a common thing that almost seems, it's so amorphous, it's so huge, how, how to handle something like this. How did you, how did you come to this topic? And then how did you begin to gain clarity on that? I love, by the way, those three that give up blow up show up how, what, what precipitated this? And then what was the, how did you begin to get your arms around such a, such a, a huge topic. 

Nicole Unice (25:35):

Yeah. Um, you know, the same way a lot of, a lot of, I think good books start is it's out of an actual problem that you're in. Yeah. Yeah. So I was starting to work, uh, you know, I had my own experiences of, you know, I was, I worked at a growing church for almost a decade, very fast growing. Um, so lots of change, lots of scale, and that I had been in that experience and then I had now been in other experiences where I'm with these, all these other people as well as relationship coaching in my own background as a therapist. And I just had this moment where I was like, huh, good people with good intentions who want the same things, who have, who like blow it up. Like it just, it, it goes vastly wrong. And I think one thing that I noticed as I was the per, you know, I'm sort of the person who's outside of the experience, but I'm deep in it. 

(26:26)

This is the, the sacred gift of counseling, coaching, whatever leadership is. I'm now really involved sort of in this like very vulnerable, intimate space with two people. I'm not the person. So I'm hearing and experiencing their dynamics and also in most cases, talking to them individually. So I sort of know each of them and I see it come together. And you, I I was having these moments where I'm like, wow, like it feels like someone should be the villain. It feels like someone should have bad intentions and that's why everything's going wrong. But in reality it's not. It's great people with great intentions who a lot of times actually want the same thing, but something about the tools in the toolbox when it comes to communicating are so lacking that they can't move forward. And so what came, what happened was I was like, interesting. 

(27:15)

I'm seeing the same thing. Like I've seen this in therapy, I've seen this as a relationship coach, I've seen this as a leadership coach. I'm now working with teams and I'm hearing their different perspectives and I'm like, wow, this person thought they said this, this person heard it completely different to the extent where they're like traumatized by it. Like they're like quitting their job or they're, you know what I mean? Like, they basically don't trust the person at all. Like it broke their trust completely. But I know like, that is not what the person intended. This is weird. So I just started gathering basically all the tools that I've used over the last 20 ish years in all those different environments and said like, what really matters here? Like what are the steps that you need to take to change the way that this happens? 

(27:58)

Most of us just, we don't have a lot of communication tools. Most, most people, they've got like one or two tools in their toolbox, <laugh>. Like, they got nothing. They're like, uh, I, you either understand me or I withdraw and give you the silent treatment, and then maybe you say sorry, and then we just don't talk about it again. <laugh>. Like that's, and they're like, and that's what my mom did. So that's the only thing I know, like Right. We just don't have lots of levers to pull or like ways to engage. And so I thought like, what if we just make like a relationship one-on-one book that puts a lot of tools in people's hands and says like, Hey, you can use these in any of these environments and they're probably gonna help you do better than you're doing. Now. 

Joey Odom (28:37):

I'd love to hear about some of those tools. <laugh>, you know, what are, what are some of the, what are some of those? Like, go into that and, and to your point, when someone intends one thing, they, someone else hears the other thing. Can you give us some examples, some of those tools that you, that you'd, um, discovered and uncovered when writing the book? Yeah, 

Nicole Unice (28:51):

Yeah. I mean, the one, you know, the one that I say, like, if it was my dying day and I was like shaking someone's shoulders, and I'm like, if you could just hear one thing, like, this is the only thing I need you to know about your life. Um, this is the one that I say, um, because it, I'm so passionate about like, people taking their agency back, if that makes sense. Their, their like ability to change. And I, I wanna say to them, Hey, who is it that you wanna be when it's your 90th birthday party? And people are toasting you and they're not talking about your accomplishments, they're not talking about your relationships. They're actually like saying, you, you are this person. Like what words do you want them to say? Okay, it is your responsibility to move toward that. So no more saying, this person's making me impatient. 

(29:40)

This person's making me frustrated. I can't have this thing because of this person. You've gotta decide within yourself who you wanna be. And then when you're in a conflict, you can ask yourself, what would it look like for me to become the patient person that I say I wanna be? Like, how am I gonna engage in this conversation? It's a completely like one way experience where now every relationship that you're in is an opportunity for you to grow into who you're becoming rather than an impediment or an obstacle on your way to who you think that you're trying to be. Hmm. It cha it truly like that mindset shift changes things remarkably because now it's like, oh, what opportunities did you have today to grow in becoming an open-minded person? Well, I had to deal with a really judgmental person. Well, how did you do in becoming a more open-minded person? So now it's all on me to start to think about the tools I have and the ways I engage. And when we get our agency back in frustrating relationships, things r I mean, things really do change. It's remarkable. Does that make sense? It 

Joey Odom (30:44):

Makes, it makes so much sense. I don't even know where to begin on, on that whole concept because it's transformational. And, and you said, you know, you, you, when you begin to identify yourself as a certain thing, you become more like the person you identify yourself to be. You may not be that if you say that, you become more like that. Um, I think, uh, so my, uh, r o co-founder Heath Wilson, he, he and I and our wives were going to a football game one day and his wife was running behind and Heath is just a prince of a person and he's, he's was so patient all the time, but his wife was running late. So it was, it was my wife, me and Heath sitting in, in the car waiting for Misty to come down and she's running late and he said, gosh, we're gonna be late. 

(31:24)

We're gonna be late. And she gets in the car and I'm fully expecting him to react. Like I would be like, Ugh. You know? Yeah. We're gonna be 15 minutes late. Exactly. And you know what he said? He said, oh, you look really pretty. Yeah. That was it. And as a result, she felt great about herself. She was probably expecting, you know, oh, I'm running late, but instead you look really, that changed everything. And what that did for me, it makes you wanna be more like that, but like the be more like the person you admire. Yes. In some ways. And so if you almost like third party, it, well, I know someone I admire do this. Like no one would, no one would want to be like the type of person who's impatient like that. Yeah. And it's just so, it, it's, that's just such a transformational concept, especially with kids. I mean, I think that's one thing if a kid <laugh>, if a kid from that, you know, I know you have kids is I, I'm, I'm curious if that's, if that was for you, if that's a, that that sense of personal responsibility, if that was kind of a cornerstone of your parenting mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, and what you'd seen. 

Nicole Unice (32:20):

Yeah, I mean definitely. I mean, Joey, like, if you think about it, can you think of a word for yourself like that you would want someone to say about you at your 90th birthday? 

Joey Odom (32:28):

I, I, the, the word I, the word I want is present. The, I want people present people and, and, and because Nicole, I struggle with it mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because I'm always, my mind's always somewhere else. And because I am mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, I'm, you know, stealing glances at my phone or, but I want people when I'm, when I'm, when I'm with them, to feel, for them to feel like they're the most important person in the room. Because you hear, you know, you hear people say when they've met Bill Clinton as an example, they say it's like the whole room disappeared and he was just there with me. And you think, holy crap, what a superpower for someone Yeah. To be like that. So I think that would be it for me would be, yeah. Would be that what, what, what's your word? 

Nicole Unice (33:05):

So I, yeah, I would say, I mean, present is one of those like values that I talked about that changed my life. Cuz I was like, how do I start to be present? What am I doing that's keeping me from being present? So present is definitely one. I think, um, open-hearted has been another one. Like, and the reason I asked you, Joey, what yours is, is because then you've got that thing, right? So you're like, okay, yeah, this is who I wanna become. I have like a, a metric now that I'm looking at life. And then you can sort of take the next step in the toolbox, which is to become your own scientist. So this is another sort of concept is, and in the book we call it curious, not condemning. So now I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be curious about myself. I'm gonna be like, okay, I wanna become this person who's fully present. 

(33:50)

And now, rather than like rolling into a shame story when I'm not fully present, I'm gonna say, Ooh, I'm gonna be my own scientist. I'm curious, let's rewind the game tape. What happened then? What was going on with me? Like when I showed up that way and I was, I snapped, I was impatient, I spoke over them, whatever, I interrupted what was going on with me. So now I'm able to start this process of thinking about the way that I live my life. I, in a way that's not shameful. It's not saying like, you suck again, you messed up again. It's actually saying, Ooh, I wonder, like, let me think about the factors and the variables that create a space where I'm being more present. So you mentioned your phone, right? Yeah. So you're like, oh, I know one thing. Like if I, if I've scheduled too many things in a day and I've made like back to back, what I find is that I'm not present in anything. Now you may, that may still happen sometimes, but at least you're starting to become aware of what are the environmental factors? What are my relationship factors that I need to, like, think through and put in place so that I can start becoming this person? Then conflict becomes, um, just a piece of a growing edge in your life. Yeah. Rather than like this big scary thing that you don't know how to handle. 

Joey Odom (35:04):

I love that. And I'm sure this was very, you, you chose this specifically, but being that scientist becoming your own scientist mm-hmm. <affirmative> that, that removes the emotion from it. Scientists are not emotional, scientists are factual. You look at the data, you look at the facts, and then you can make your assessment. And so that I'm, I assume that helps if you look at it as I'm going to analyze this as opposed to judge this, then it can become, it continue to become more productive as opposed to just jumping down a shame spiral. I, I was, I <laugh> I interrupted myself, I interrupted myself in my own mid-sentence to my daughter because I looked at my phone the other day and I've told that story probably 10 times and it's mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think why Nicole even just talking about this and I'll send you the therapy bill after the show <laugh>, is, is that I haven't fully processed that moment. I tell that story again and again, almost jokingly because I haven't really thought through it. I haven't really processed through that. I, I feel bad and it, and it, and it's become shameful to me. Mm-hmm. Even though I'm talking about it lightheartedly, it's become shameful to me as opposed to me actually analyzing it and thinking about what would I, what can I do differently next time? How can I become the scientist as opposed to going down a little bit of shame spiral. 

Nicole Unice (36:09):

Mm-hmm. Yeah. I mean I think this is where like naming reality and then understanding that we're, we're, we're all kids on the inside trying to find a way to cope and make the world okay. And being able to say like, man, I looked at my phone in the middle of talking because being important makes me feel okay about myself and I chose to feel important over to feel present. And that's because it's part of my story. You know, I never felt valued maybe as a kid or whatever that story is. Like this is just, this is just a part of my story, but I don't have to be that person anymore. Yeah. And that means I get to go back and say to my kid maybe something that no one's ever said to me as a child. Like, Hey, you know, dad was, dad was, you know, sort of confused about what was important at that moment. 

(37:00)

And I want you to know that you're the most important thing to me. Sometimes I'm gonna have to be interrupted by work, but I always want you to know that I wanna always be listening to you when you're talking. And it's this, it's this built rebuilding of trust, right. Which is Yeah. Is what we talk about in the miracle moment all the time. Like, there's a whole chapter on like, how do you learn how to apologize correctly? Like, you don't apologize with excuses on the end. You don't apologize with like, I was gonna listen, but you know, you you actually just say, um, I'm sorry I was wrong. What can I do to make it right? And that's it. And that's part of like deciding, oh, I'm trying to become a person who's present so it doesn't actually matter the environmental circumstances that led me to not be a person who was present. 

(37:40)

I can deal with those separately. This is a, a, a mistake that people make in marriages a lot. And actually bosses make this mistake a lot too, where they do something wrong and they say, I was sorry that I did that wrong, but here's what you did to contribute to me doing that thing wrong. Yeah. Those are two different conversations and they should be had separately. The first conversation is there's no excuse for me raising my voice because I don't wanna be a person who raises my voice. It actually doesn't matter if you were trapping my leg off. I don't wanna be a person who raises my voice <laugh>. So I was wrong when I did that. I lost my temper. I'm sorry. What can I do to make it right now? I might later in a separately in a discipline kind of situation, be like, Hey, um, it's not okay when I tell you three times to do something and you don't do it. 

(38:24)

Yeah. So we're gonna need to talk about how we're gonna make that better. Right. So, but if I, if I go to my kid and say, I raised my voice at you, I'm sorry, but I told you three times to do that. Yeah. And you didn't. I just made it. I didn't actually apologize. It's not even an apology. That's okay. So learning how to separate, and I love to help people unlink crucial conversations from apologies. Like, if you were wrong based on the person that you wanna become, just do the reconciling conversation. Don't do the, we need to fix this other thing. Cuz you, you've just realized that you need to fix that other thing. And I tell a story in the book about that where I like snapped at my husband during covid. I was like, at the coffee pot, he like asked me to go on a walk with the dogs. 

(39:01)

And I was like, do you think I have time to go for a walk <laugh>? I was like so wrong. Like, he was so gentle and so kind. It was so obvious that I was wrong, but I had to be my own scientist Right. And ask myself, well what was I thinking? What was going on in my head? Yeah. And what is happening inside of me? And later that night, or even the next day, we did go on that walk and I said, Hey, I was wrong to snap at you. I didn't wanna do that at all, but I actually did realize some things that I haven't told you. I'm really anxious about this book. I, this was the, it was actually the miracle moment, which is funny, but it was due <laugh> really anxious about this book. I feel resentful because it feels to me like I'm responsible for the kids during the day and you just go into your office and close the door, which is perfectly okay. 

(39:44)

We haven't even talked about it. But it turns out I feel resentful about that. And I haven't told you. And most of my resentment is related to this insecurity about being able to hit this deadline because I just, nobody expected us to be in Covid. So he turns to me and he is like, well, why don't I book you a hotel room for the weekend and you just go away so you could spend time. It was like this beautiful Wow. Reconciling like the conflict actually created connection. Yeah. Because I worked through it on my side of things and as it turns out, my husband and I want the same things. We both have good intention. You know what I mean? Like, a lot of times we start feeling like a person is the problem when in reality like, we're, we just need to learn how to be more vulnerable to communicate more clearly. Yeah. To invite, you know, that kind of conversation. It was just this really, really cool moment that came out of me snapping at him at the coffee pot in a way that I didn't even realize what I was feeling or thinking. And I needed to do the curious, not condemning, like, okay, it wasn't right to snap at him, but obviously something's going on with you, so let's process what that is and then engage in what you need, you know, and ask for what you need, which is what happened on that walk later that day. 

Joey Odom (40:52):

That's almost where, you know, back to the earlier question, how can you enjoy the lows? There's, there's one way you just gotta know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if there's something, there's something great. If you can embrace it, there's something great that's gonna come outta that because it's almost Yeah. Yeah. You, in, in some ways there. I I would be curious if you hadn't blown up, if you would've tried to just kind of half feel those emotions or half process them, you wouldn't necessarily Oh, definitely had an opportunity to really do a full scientific deep dive on yourself. Right. Without 

Nicole Unice (41:15):

These Absolutely not. I would not have processed it at all. I'm not a person who likes to process emotion, I like to avoid it. So it takes messing up. I mean, you know what I mean? It takes Yeah, sure. Snapping at the kids, it takes being anxious or whatever controlling for me to realize like, oh, something's going, Ooh, red flags. Like I should pay attention. This is a big stop sign for myself. And the only person responsible for understanding my emotional world is me. I, I can't wait for someone else to figure it out for me. I that it's not their job. It's my job to say, okay, what's going on and how can I communicate what's going on? Um, without expectation necessarily. Like I didn't have the expectation that my husband Dave was gonna like, fix my problem. But it turns out yeah, it was even better than I expected. Like, his ideas were better than I would've had for myself. You know? 

Joey Odom (42:03):

I love that. Gosh. Do you, I want to transition to something else. Do you have another 10 minutes? 

Nicole Unice (42:08):

Uhhuh <affirmative>? I do. Yeah. 

Joey Odom (42:09):

Uh, for, and we'll come back to it at the end, but, but the miracle moment, let me just plug that right here. That is, that's some app transformational stuff. I hope everybody goes and, and buys a copy. You, you've, you are currently doing how to study the Bible. It's an ongoing podcast and you just finished, let's Be Real. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I want to go, I want to go to the very last episode, episode 100 where you ended it. And I would, it's probably, I think it's 18 minutes, 15 minutes. I I think everybody should listen to that because it was, it was such a lesson in ending something. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It was a, it was a beautiful thing. And I remember, I remember George Washington talked about, um, when he, when he stepped down, he, he thought that that was one of the most powerful things he could have done is show how, how you end things and how you show, show how you transition power. 

(43:00)

Um, it all, I almost thought this was worth starting the podcast just so you could end it <laugh> the way you did that. It it was, it was so beautiful and I think it, it, it applied to relationships and you know, how do you, you know how to know when it's time to end something and, and without intention, it's easy to let things end badly. <laugh>, you, you are going to laugh at me. I remember hearing a line on the Bachelorette several years ago. Excellent. Winner one <laugh> we're one of the bachelors. Said, I just lost all credibility, didn't I? I'm done. <laugh>. 

Nicole Unice (43:31):

I love it. I'm like, are we also quoting Hamilton? Because like, do you want me to sing part of Washington's song? Cuz I will. I mean, okay. 

Joey Odom (43:38):

So that's 

Nicole Unice (43:38):

Hamilton's Hamilton's a big deal in my family. 

Joey Odom (43:40):

Well, you know. Okay, so I'm gonna back up real quick. When you were talking about your own personal agency, there's a line where, where Burr sings, he goes, I'm the one thing in life I can control. Yeah. And, and I, I use, I've used that with my kids a thousand times. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cause we all love Hamilton. We say that and you're right. When, when, um, the, uh, the Washington scene on Enus. That's funny. We have a little Hamilton, uh, little Hamilton going right now. So this, so I wanna you, you walk through three things and I don't know if you recall them. Mm-hmm. So I can remind you if you can't, but, but you to Oh, the bachelorette line. Anything That's good. Anything good that ends, ends badly was the line for the bachelorette. 

Nicole Unice (44:12):

Ah-huh <affirmative>. 

Joey Odom (44:13):

And you're saying interesting. Without intention it's easy to let things end badly. So you gave three, three thoughts on what to do if you're ending something. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you recall those? Can you, can I 

Nicole Unice (44:24):

Gimme one? I mean, I think I remember the first one was like Yeah, evaluate the why, like, why you started 

Joey Odom (44:29):

And that was, is that the first one? So, so it is and it was so freaking good. Like, and I'll and I'll remind you cause I want to hear you elaborate on it. You say, you say you go back to that why, why did you start the thing that you're now ending? Why did you start it in the first place? And then you said, what, what is the why? And does the why still apply? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, will you elaborate on that? That was so brilliant. 

Nicole Unice (44:50):

Yes. First of all, I really think it's important for people to know I'm actually super sad about the podcast because it, this makes it, that's sound like it was an easy thing to do. And darn it, if people don't come up to you, like, I must have had five people in the last four days be like, I'm so sad about the podcast. I'm like, well, you and your 20 friends are sad about it. But I was just, I just can't keep doing it. And, and so I wanna say that cuz like, just because it ended and I know it's, it was the right thing to do and a hundred percent is the right thing to do, I still am really sad about it. Yeah. Because whenever you're a creator and you create anything, you know, it's, it's hard to let it go. It just is. 

(45:23)

Yeah. Even though I know it was the right thing. So I wanna name that as a reality. Yeah. Because maybe it'll make it even easier for people to engage with asking those questions. But I had to put on again, like you put on your scientist hat and you say, I need to evaluate this from the most dispassionate position possible because good things often do keep us from better things. And I knew, I could sense in my heart there is no space for new vision. That's what was actually happening is I've gotten to a place where I've added thing after thing. They started because of Covid. They didn't start out of a 10 year strategic plan where I knew this was gonna be the thing. It was like these things started out of a season of change. Yeah. And they've come more and more have come. 

(46:10)

Right. And then you get to a place where you're like, do I have fresh vision? Do I have enough space for fresh perspective? Do I have excitement about do I have any of that kind of energy left? And I just didn't and I didn't feel like I was in a place where I, I needed, I still need that energy. Yeah. I'm not like in an institution that I'm building that I didn't need that. So, so I know that like, having that dispassionate perspective is important. But I do wanna name is actually still hard. So, but this is what really helped me with let's be real. I was like, okay, wait, why did this start? Because we all leaders and people, we do stuff because we wanna solve a problem, right? Or we wanna answer a question. And I've started a lot of things that's a big part of my ministry and, and, and vocational career. 

(46:54)

And all of those things have started from a problem. Like, I started writing because I looked at the bookshelf and thought there's nothing here that I would give to a person like me. Like I'm in the bookstore and I'm like, this stuff doesn't land for me. And here's the thing that why is no longer true? Like, huh, the publishing industry has changed in the last 12 years and that's not true anymore. But then I had to ask the question, so is my why still relevant or has the why changed? And does this thing still meet that why? So for publishing that answer is yes. Like the why's different. I'm different. Yeah. So I can answer that why and continue to do the thing. But for let's be real, it was like, what's the why and has the why changed? And it, it had, it had changed and I didn't have a new why. 

(47:41)

So then it's like, well then what, what's behind this? Well, it makes me feel good. I like, you know, yeah. What is, what, what, what, what am I serving? What am I doing? So tho I, I actually think it would be, I, it's important for people to do that. I have, I have a friend who would say, don't plan on anything for more than 18 months, which is short. But generally, I think it's great to sit and ask yourself like, these things that are in my life, like, is the why still there? Has the why changed? And is it still one of my like, top par priority wises? And if the answer is like, yes, the whys changed, and no, there's not a new why, then we have to ask them, why am I then the, what am I doing and why? 

Joey Odom (48:20):

Uh, th that, that whole, that was a, that was the one that that really stood out because if you could have that constant evaluation, and you even said you would, you had done that process before on the podcast and you determined, yeah, the why still applies, so we're gonna keep doing it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and you walk confidently in that. And so it's just that constant reevaluation of that, um, was really powerful. And you just touched on this, and this was one of my questions because your third point was celebrate what has been mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you celebrate, you celebrate the experience. And my question for you was something you touched on, and you talk about celebration, but is there room for mourning? What do you do? What about the person who's going through something that may be a difficult thing they're walking away from, they're ending something. And how does mourning that ex, how does mourning the loss of that experience or the ending of that experience, how do you properly process through that? 

Nicole Unice (49:08):

It says, if you knew what my next book was about, which you don't, so, oh, come on now. That's kind of fun. But, wow. So my next book coming out next year is about, it's called Not What I Signed up for, and it's about navigating unexpected seasons. And there's a, I'm actually like editing the chapter right now on loss. So I do, I think that navigating loss is super important, um, because a lot of times we relegate grief to death. Like that's where you can grieve. And we don't actually understand that there are seasons of mourning that come. Honestly, I think they come linked to seasons of joy because we have that season of joy or that season of flourishing and then that all good things come to an end and we've gotta move past it and through it. And how do we do that? 

(49:55)

Well, well, I think the way we do it well is we allow ourselves the human gift of mourning and of loss and of naming loss and of not trying to make loss go away. So one thing that people often do is they try to quickly to like redeem loss or to say like, yes, this thing happened, but it's leading me to this thing. And they don't, they're not actually processing. It's just like you with your phone. Yeah. You know, you're like, I'm telling this story all the time. Like it's a lesson learned. And I'm not actually like letting myself be like, oh man, I never, I'd be the kind of person who would do that to my kid. And I definitely am that kind of person. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Like, I just wanna like take a moment to like feel that and then to receive grace, receive forgiveness, move forward. 

(50:36)

But I think with things that we end, there needs to be a space to say, that was good and it's over. And it may never be like that again. Like I can be sad about that. Um, one gift that I felt like people gave me have given me in different seasons is being able to name That was wrong. That that happened to you. Hmm. That's it. Not that was wrong, that that happened to you and, but it, but it's great because like God has good things for you in the future. It's just like letting it be just naming a lot of people need help. Um, that happened in counseling a lot too, where, where someone would tell me a story of hurt or trauma and part of the counseling technique, but really like the human technique is to stop and say, I am so sad that that happened to you. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Like, and the feeling I have when you, I'm gonna pick up your emotional, like the feeling I have when you tell me that story is, I'm sad and I'm angry for you. And like, actually letting that be enough and just letting someone feel validated that they've been through something really hard and you don't need to fix it, is incredibly healing for people. Um, 

Joey Odom (51:47):

It, it, uh, to me, I think if someone were to to, if I had gone through something and someone just did that to me, that what they've just done has given me permission to feel it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. Exactly. Doesn't, doesn't that just open up like, hey, you go ahead and feel it and be pissed off and you Yeah. And you, and you process through it or be, or then be sad or whatever it is. But that permission to feel and how many of us just walk around without the permission, especially when it comes to grief or you've been violated or whatever. Just Yeah. To feel it with no, no agenda beyond that. 

Nicole Unice (52:18):

Exactly. It works on the flip side too, cuz the other thing is, is people often don't feel permission to celebrate. Like, to say like, it is amazing that you did that. Like, I, I don't know any, like, that's incredible. I just, I'm, I just have so much respect for like what you did, you know, like whatever that thing is. People don't also feel that like the feeling of joy, of, of pride, good pride. Like, you know, just really wholesome pride in accomplishment because we've been made for both of those things. Like we're made for joy and we're made for mourn and we give each other a gift when we make more space for that emotional expression. It's so vulnerable. It's intimate. And that's what people are like real freaked out <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. In our culture, we're in such a disconnected world where we just, we see each other through screens and we consider that social interaction that when we're like, oh, this person sees me and they see this deep thing in me that is this vulnerable, true essence of who I am. It is such a gift because it grows us as human beings. Yeah. It grows our trust and our love for each other in a way that I think is how we were designed to flourish. 

Joey Odom (53:26):

I, I think of this as a dad, and I think about even when I am telling my kids that I'm proud of them. So if they came, if my, you know, daughter did great in a volleyball match or something like that, it would, I think that my inclination would be to almost tie a lesson even to my celebration of them. So something like, Gianni, you just, you played awesome. See what happens when you work hard. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, no, no, no, no. Don't just leave the second just, you did amazing. Period. Right. And it's, it's almost like we're, we're tying addendums to every little thing that we say, whether it's celebration or mourn or whatever it is. And just rather than just letting it be that that's, it's apparent. I think they're a million. 

Nicole Unice (54:02):

Well, and, and, and I would say, I'll give you one little reframe for that too. That is my fa like I <laugh> for being a counselor. I and a pastor, I literally never read one parenting book. I was like, I, I don't wanna rename, but I, there's one parenting book that I loved, okay. Ooh, this's. This little tiny book call, it's not even like a popular book. It's called Different Children, different Needs. And it's based on basically doing a little bit of an understanding of like, what do you think your child's disc profile is like, it just gives you a little bit of observation to do and then what you are, and basically some of the pitfalls and your personality types, how they might come together and some of the opportunities. But in there there's this little bit that these guys write about their counselors and they write about this idea of connecting your praise to a character virtue that you see in your child. 

(54:50)

So it's not a lesson learned, but it's more like, oh my gosh, you were amazing in that volleyball game and I know I've seen you work so hard and that kind of hard work is integrity. Like you have integrity. And so it's, it's taking, so it's not cuz what we don't want of course is for our kids to hear us praise their accomplishments and for them to translate that to mean when I'm doing, when I'm successful, dad loves me, right? Yeah. But we, we want them to see like, it's not the a that I care about, it's the fact that I saw you so diligently doing your work. Like Yeah. That aspect of your character is diligence and that is incredible. So you're like celebrating character, you know, it's like what you just said. Like if your, if your kid said to you like, dad, you didn't pick up your phone once when we went on our ice cream date, that's you being present <laugh>, I'm so proud of you. 

(55:37)

Yeah. Cause you were present. Right. You know, cuz it's what you wanna be, right? Yeah. So I love, I I always pass that on, I pass that on to managers cuz I'm like, we, we never outgrow that. Like connect what you've seen to a character virtue that you are celebrating and give them, give that gift to your kids, to your mentees, to people that you like. Name. Like, when, when you do that thing, like, I grow, I'm encouraged to my faith because you're so patient. You know, that's, it's like what you said with your friend when he complimented his wife, right? 

Joey Odom (56:06):

Yeah, that's right. And then to your point, it that reaffirms their identity, so then they become more like that person that they identify themselves as. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I didn't prep you for this question and with my apologies, but we ask all guests this 

Nicole Unice (56:20):

Question. I love, I love crazy questions, <laugh>, 

Joey Odom (56:22):

It's not even crazy, but we, it's a little lid introspective. We, um, you know, The Aro Podcast is all about conversations with people who strive to live intentionally and you're clearly, um, in that category. So I'm, everybody has a little bit of a different, different definition for this word. And, and, and I'm curious, what does, what does intentionality mean to you? 

Nicole Unice (56:43):

Um, it means trying to care about my life as much as I think God cares about my life. Oh 

Joey Odom (56:49):

Man, 

Nicole Unice (56:50):

That's what I would say. 

Joey Odom (56:51):

That's really good. 

Nicole Unice (56:52):

It's like trying to 

Joey Odom (56:53):

Care about myself, to care about my life as much as God cares about my life. 

Nicole Unice (56:56):

Trying, I got, I don't think I can even get close, but it's like, it's like taking life seriously without taking myself seriously is another way. I would say it like, like, wow. Like what a gift we have to live this life. And I can't believe I get to like, engage in it, you know, engage in it fully. So 

Joey Odom (57:19):

That's so beautiful. It's a great way to end. Um, I do want people will, I'm sure want to connect with you. We'll put all everything in the show notes as well, all 

Nicole Unice (57:28):

The things, 

Joey Odom (57:29):

But let spout 'em off the socials website, um, when people can expect your next book, all of that stuff. 

Nicole Unice (57:37):

Sure. So I do a, I do a weekly newsletter. I always like to tell people, like, if you want just little tidbits, I just do like a coaching question, a moment of inspiration, like a a, an intention. So that's called Real Talk. So you can find that on my website, nicoleunice.com/realtalk. Um, and I've got a book coming out next year called, Not What I Signed Up For, can't remember the subtitle. It's about finding courage in a season you didn't expect, basically. Um, and it's all based on the life, the biblical story of Joseph. So, um, really excited about that. Doesn't matter where you are in faith, like it just applies to what does it look like to walk through a season that you really never would've wanted. Um, and that comes out next year. So I'm excited about that. And you could, my name's really uncommon, so it's easy to find me on all the socials, <laugh>, <laugh>, so you can find me there. 

Joey Odom (58:27):

Absolutely. Again, all in the show notes, and I'll say it again, the miracle moment. I'll encourage people in the meantime, while they're waiting for your next one, absolutely. To, to pick that one up. Nicole, this has been just wonderful, delightful, valuable. Thank you very, very much for, 

Nicole Unice (58:40):

Uh, for your time. Thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate it. 

Joey Odom (58:43):

Absolutely. Thanks Nicole. I wanna repeat something that Nicole Unice said that I absolutely loved. She said it's important to begin with this question. Who is it that you want to be? And once you identify that, she said to become your own scientist, curious, not condemning, explore you becoming more like that person. If not, that's okay. How can you make those adjustments to become that person? I absolutely love that. I think that's something that I can apply today leaving this episode. I think you can as well. So thank you so much for enjoying the conversation I had with Nicole Unice. Make sure you check out all of her info in the show notes and we look forward to seeing you again next time on The Aro Podcast. The Aro Podcast is produced and edited by the team at Palm Tree Pod. Special thanks to Emily Miles for video and digital support.