ForCollegeForLife Podcast Ep 5: Donovan Nichols


Casey Cornelius (00:02):

Hey everyone. And thanks for joining the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife Podcast. My name is Casey Cornelius, and I’m the founder of ForCollegeForLife. And I have the thrill and pleasure of getting the opportunity to interview our team here at ForCollegeForLife our speakers, our consultants, and get to uncover some of the things that they’re most passionate about their stories, their journeys, and along the way what’s been really cool for me is I get to learn more about them as well. Even folks who I’ve known for years and years and years like today’s guest. Before I bring him to the mic though, let me go ahead and tell you a little bit about Donovan Nichols. He’s a passionate educator, optimistic innovator, servant leader, caring speaker, husband, father, and fun seeker. I like that part since 2008, he’s inspired thousands of people across the country as an inspirational speaker on topics such as pay it forward.

Casey Cornelius (00:55):

Servant leadership, leadership development, organizational development, overcoming obstacles, and goal achievement Donovan received the prestigious 20 under 40 award, which recognizes 20 leaders. Who’ve distinguished themselves in their community and serve as a role model for other young leaders. Donovan loves sharing wisdom with new emerging and experienced leaders of all ages. This doctoral Stu student utilizes his education in 15 years of work experience in higher education to help individuals see the world from a different perspective, discover solutions to their challenges and unlock their potential Donovan enjoys spending time with his wife, Alicia, sonsD, Sawer and Knox and their four dogs, Vegas dues, Chloe and Tate. Let’s get ’em all by name. He loves playing guitar, singing, taking photos and solving a Rubik’s cube. We’re gonna get more to that here. Just a second. So without any further ado, let me go ahead and bring to the mic. None other than Donovan Nichols, Donovan. Thanks for being here today.

Donovan Nichols (01:55):

Hey Casey, thanks for having me glad to be here.

Casey Cornelius (01:58):

This is fun. So like, you know, pulling back the curtain here a little bit Donovan and I have known each other for decades, like this is non exaggeration, we’ve known each other for decades, but I’m really curious to get into some, some questions about your journey, things that, you know, maybe I’ve known, or maybe I assumed to know and kind of unearth a little bit of your, your motivation and, and the reason that you do the things that you do. The first one is probably most obvious. And it’s probably one that you’ve gotten quite a bit over the last year or so. So after 15 years in higher education, what inspired you to to step away?

Donovan Nichols (02:38):

Yeah, so a lot of people go through what they call a midlife crisis. I like to call this my midlife innovation and what occurred was after 15 years, I just didn’t feel as though I was continuing to develop to my fullest capacity. And there’s just pieces about the, the job that were becoming a little bit stale to me. Even though I loved what I did, I loved being able to work with students in, in student involvement and leadership. That was my favorite part. I loved the teaching aspect of it, but I just needed something different. I also noticed that I was having a severe lack of work life balance. I had my son’s Sawyer who’s you know, just the pride and joy of my life and then also Knox. And, and so as I was starting to raise them, I recognized that staying late nights at work weren’t as appealing to me as they were, when I first started and I was a young new professional. So I was looking for something different, you know? And so I, I, I wanted to figure out who I was because I’d always identified myself as a student activities professional. And so I needed to take a step back and really redefine who I was, understand that I’m caring human that wants inspire people to reach their full potential and live balanced. So what does that look like for me in the future

Casey Cornelius (04:01):

Know, I, I’ve heard you reference this idea of work life balance a few times, and, and I know it’s also a topic that you speak on consult on, but it’s also something that’s been on the forefront of a lot of people’s minds sort of sense the pandemic, right? So, you know, whatever we call it, the great resignation of the great, you know, reorganization or however we wanna reference it. Is that in, in your opinion, at the heart of what’s going on specifically in higher ed, but sort of in all industries, as people have really started to redefine what that balance might look like.

Donovan Nichols (04:35):

Oh, for sure. You know, the pandemic started in 2020. And what I say is that, you know, the, the pandemic gave people perfect vision, you know, 20, 20 vision of what was most important, what is most important. And people recognize that, you know, they’re, they’re working a lot and defining themselves by their work, but they’re missing out on some of the really important things in their life that add value to, to their lives. And as I’ve been doing some research on work life balanced, I’m, I’m recognizing that a lot of people have different versions of what work life balances and, and many people see balances. This, you know, equalness between work and life. And, and I want to redefine that where work life balance is really about a healthy distribution of your time, your energy and your commitment along with your meaningful achievement and enjoyment in what you do.

Donovan Nichols (05:30):

And, and this is in four different quadrants of your life. So looking at work, family, friends, and self, and, and so as I was a new professional, you know, putting all my time, energy and commitment into work was where I got my meaningful achievement and enjoyment. But later on in life, as I had a family, my meaningful achievement really comes from hearing my son, say new words, and being able to have full blown conversations with him as these learning sentences. And, and that’s where my enjoyment comes from. So my balance in work and life is going to be changing and everybody’s changes over the course of time. And so I think a lot of people after the pandemic are, are realizing that and starting to take a step back and say, what, what should my life be like, what is gonna give me the most meaningful achievement and enjoyment in what I do,

Casey Cornelius (06:22):

You know, Donovan you and I shared this in, in common, having, having worked on college campuses and then leaving. And what’s interesting to me, and I, I guess I’m curious as to your insights on it is for me, it was eight years ago, like eight years ago, I, I left campus based higher education and and, and began speaking full time. And there was a stigma I think, associated with it then, right? Like when, when friends, colleagues, you know, people that I’d known across the country, there was sort of a, like, you know, why are you doing this? It seems to be that the last, oh, couple years pandemic times has sort of eliminated that stigma for people leaving their quote unquote career in finding a different path. Are, are you seeing that as well? Like, are you hearing that when you talk to folks?

Donovan Nichols (07:14):

Yeah. I, I do think that that stigma is definitely not there and, and it’s almost expected <laugh> if you’re not redefining yourself. Right, right. Really looking at what’s, you know, meaningful to you. People are like, oh, so you must have a really good job because you are staying, you know, there is research out there that says, you know, 50% of people are currently looking for a new position. And student affairs research showed that 75% of people in student affairs leave before the age of 35. Wow. And that’s before the pandemic. Right. And so, you know, now there’s this, you know, the great resignation, there’s a lot of people that are starting to look at, okay, how can I redefine myself? I think the hard part is once, you know, when I was in student affairs for 15 years, you now define yourself by your career.

Donovan Nichols (08:03):

And so it’s hard to see yourself doing something different because you do you know that with that shift in that transition, there’s a, there’s a lot of anxiety. There’s a lot of questioning yourself, wondering if what you’re doing is right. There’s the financial, the situation with, you know, if, if you have a family, how am I going to do this financially? Yep. And I think a lot of people actually, during the pandemic with a lot of the stimulus and relief that came out through that process gave people that opportunity financially to redefine the direction of their career.

Casey Cornelius (08:38):

And I, you know, I remember having this conversation with you in, in one of the cool things about these, these podcasts that I, I get to, you know, sometimes I wish that I could have hit record on conversations I’ve had along the way. But I remember saying to you, look, you’re gonna wake up in a few weeks and you’re gonna look in the mirror and go like, oh my goodness, what did I do? But you have to trust that you did this for the right reason. And I know that, you know, the sort of post campus based time for you has been a, an interesting transition both personally, professionally, so forth. But it really, in, in a very similar experience that, that I had is you had been speaking all along as well, right? Like you’d maybe even been speaking longer than you had been a canvas based professional. So like how, how did you get started with speaking?

Donovan Nichols (09:28):

When I was a student, I was at the university of Toledo in a program called leadership. UT it’s now called Loveless leadership, but in 1999, I would sit in this class and, and they’d have a lot of people come in and talk about leadership. And as I was watching them, I just sat back. And I was like, that seems really cool. I would love to do that. And I, I think I would be good at it. So I put that on the back burner and just said, I want to do that, but I need to have something significant to share. I need to have some sort of insight, some sort of life experience that’s unique and different from other people that is gonna be something that, you know, individuals want to hear. So I, I let that simmer on the back burner. Well, in 2005, I joined AmeriCorps, which is similar to the peace Corps.

Donovan Nichols (10:15):

It’s like domestic peace Corps. You stay in the United States and it’s about fighting poverty in America. And through that, I was working with a leaving learning community in the residence halls at the university of Toledo. And it was based around service learning and the students were going out doing service, but I didn’t really feel like there was this connection and understanding of what it truly meant. And for them to be really lifelong servant leaders. And I loved the movie, pay it forward. I said, Hey, let’s watch this movie. And then we’ll just do a dialogue afterwards. I did that held this reflection session and light bulbs just went off with the students. And then I had a hall director come and say, Hey, can you do that for all of the resident advisors on campus? So I did it with the a hundred plus resident advisors.

Donovan Nichols (10:56):

And then I had some students come up and say, Hey, can you do this with my leadership group? Hey, can you do this with my residence hall floor? And that’s when I was like, maybe, maybe this is it. If I have people asking for me to come speak, then maybe I have something here and wanting to do the ethical thing. Thinking that pay forward was trademarked. Because of the movie I did some research found out that the movie was actually based on a book. I reached out to the author, not thinking that I was gonna get a response and Katherine Ryan Hyde thought author pay it forward, responded back, said you know, if you wanna speak on this, just send me a video so I can see what you’re speaking about. I did that. She gave me her blessing and I started to speak on, pay it forward in 2008 first gig was at Dominican university in Chicago.

Donovan Nichols (11:44):

And at that point I became a national speaker cause I was living in Vegas. And so then you become this national professional speaker cuz somebody paid you once out of state. And so that was really inspiring and exciting. And then it just kind of snowballed from there. I would speak at conferences and then people would say, Hey, come speak for us. And then later on, actually, because I had reached out to the author, she asked me to be on the pay it forward foundation board of directors. And so this, you know, trying to be ethical in the situation, worked out really well for me in the sense of it connected me was such an impactful individual and allowed me to connect with other people throughout the country on pay it forward. And then I had gotten involved with international pay it forward day, ended up becoming the co-coordinator for international, pay it forward day, which is now celebrated in over 80 countries. And, you know, through that process, I would just go on and speak about, pay it forward. That took a little bit of a hiatus. And as I, you know, progressed in my student affairs career but then when I decided to leave student affairs, you know, you know this story, but you contacted me and we’re like, Hey, you ever thought about speaking full time? And I said, yeah, I, I kind of have let’s let’s chat. And the rest is history.

Casey Cornelius (13:01):

What I, what I love about your, your telling of that thought of it is that I think every professional speaker has a light bulb moment story, right? Like the first time someone said, Hey, can you speak to this group or this group? Or can you come to my campus? And what’s funny is how we could all share how little preparation we had when we said yes, like we didn’t know how much to charge. We didn’t like none of those other kind of things, but the, the draw of it, the you know, sort of the, the, the magnetic nature of like, this is a message that I wanna share. What’s really cool is that you were able to, to connect with the person who had written the book, the, the pay it forward book, because, you know, as, as we sit here today for, for students who might be listening, younger folks who might be listening, the world was a different place in 2005, 2008, like emailing someone saying like, Hey, I read your book. You might actually get a response from that person like that. That was a, that was a legitimate thing. It’s a little harder to do now. But that’s really cool. It’s really cool that you you, you had that, that similar experience of becoming in national speaker.

Donovan Nichols (14:12):

I wanna, yeah. Now, now I, now I’d have to slide into our DMS.

Casey Cornelius (14:15):

That’s right. Which looks completely different. Right.

Casey Cornelius (14:18):

Completely different. I know you talk about some other things too, so I, I wanna, I want to hit on some, some things that are of most of interest to you. I think that the one that always like, like my eyes light up, when I see you do this is the work that you’ve done with Rubik’s cube. And I, I, I know, you know, for me personally, solving a rubiks cube is, is if not impossible, nearly impossible. And I know that you teach people how to do it. Like kind of, especially those who think that, that it can’t be done, like people like me. So can you talk a little bit about how, why, what the, what the impetus of that is and how you use this, this little game, this little thing from what the eighties to, to teach some, some really big lessons.

Donovan Nichols (15:06):

I got the opportunity to teach a leadership course for roughly 40 freshman a year, and I would teach ’em in the fall and spring semester. And I always, I mean, since a little kid, I always thought about being a teacher and I wanted to do something unique and different and, and teach people in a way that was an experience they had never experienced before. You know? And, and so throughout life kind of like the speaking gig, I put it on the back burner and waited for the stars to align and for this opportunity to come well. I had been married before and was going through a divorce and just, you know, hit some pretty dark times in life. And you know, I decided I wanted to do something unique and completely different that I had never done before. And something to prove to myself that life can be anew.

Donovan Nichols (16:02):

And so I was watching pursuit of happiness will Smith had solved the rubs cube as the character in that movie. And I was like, that’s it. I want to do that. And so I, you know, got on YouTube, learned a bunch of ways to solve it. And then when I got this job teaching the leadership students, I decided that their final exam was going to be solving the rubs cube and then writing a paper on how solving it was like leadership. So first day of class, I would give all the students a rubs cube and let them know that challenge. And I would ask, how many of you, you know, I’d see those deer headlights of people were like, oh my gosh, are you kidding me? This guy is off his rocker. And I asked, you know, how many people think they can solve it?

Donovan Nichols (16:49):

And only about 50% of the people said that, yeah, I could solve it. You’d have that student that would go home that night, learn how to solve it, come back the next day, be ready. You’d have other people that had some confidence and were like, yeah, I could do it. And then other people that are like no way, and I actually have one story of my student, Megan, who she went home the very first day and went to her mom and was just sobbing and said, mom, I have to drop this class. There’s no way that I’m gonna be able to solve this. And I’m gonna fail the class. And she had just defeated herself before she had even tried. And luckily her mom convinced her to not give up, which was just, you know, incredible advice. And she said, you know, Megan, you really need to just give this opportunity to try and, and put your heart into it.

Donovan Nichols (17:34):

And later that semester to Megan’s mom had found out that she had cancer. And now Megan was the one telling her mom to not come up and through the process, not only did Megan master solving the cube and not giving up, but she was helping other people solve it by the end, oh, while supporting your mom on this cancer fighting journey. Wow. And, and Megan, you know, it’s great, cuz her mom is in remission. She’s doing well. And Megan said that she learned that she is capable of more than she ever realized. And that’s, that’s why I do it because not only I, I teach leadership lessons, I teach about values. I, you know, the cube is a great example of, if you can learn the technique to solving a cube, you can, you now have the technique to achieving any goal that is seemingly impossible to you.

Donovan Nichols (18:37):

And I go through kind of all the steps of that. But the biggest thing is for people to walk away with more confidence that they can achieve something that they, they never thought was possible. And there’s a, a song that I love by Jason. Moaz, it’s called look for the good and the line is everything seems impossible until it’s done. And with that, you know, once you’ve solved something that seems impossible to you, it unlocks this door of opportunity in your life where you start to look at the world in a different way and say, what other seemingly impossible goals can I accomplish now?

Casey Cornelius (19:15):

I think what’s really cool to, to meet Donovan. First of all, thank you for, for sharing that for sharing Megan’s story as well. I, I, I can tell that it’s, it’s touching to you even, you know, even now I remember the first time I saw you use the Rubik’s cube to, to teach a lesson like this and you were solving it as you were talking, like, I, I don’t wanna give away any trade secrets or anything like that, but like you were solving it and when you were done talking, you like did the final click and it was done. And I remember, you know, my jaw dropped, of course. And then someone said to you, did you know that you were going to be able to do that? And you were just like, yeah, of course. And, and I, I think that there’s something really, really neat about that. And that’s, it’s like you say, it’s, it’s a confidence that comes along with knowing that this thing is not impossible to the point where you can speak and be solving this puzzle at the same time. Like that’s a really cool thing.

Donovan Nichols (20:17):

Yeah. That that was not easy. <Laugh> I spent hours and hours and hours literally lost my voice, you know, that I, I had absolutely no voice, you know, practicing. Yep. But it’s, you know, we, we hear a lot about growth mindset and grit and resilience. And I think those three things are super important for students in accomplishing, you know, graduating college or accomplishing any goal in, in their lives. And so I call it competence, cube, those three things, growth mindset, grit, and resilience. And it takes those three things in order to solve the Rubik’s cube. It’s about believing in your ability to change and adapt to something and, and be able to accomplish it. It’s the grit of not putting the, the cube down. If you are gonna put it down, you’re just going to take a break and you’re coming back to it.

Donovan Nichols (21:13):

But it’s, it’s, it’s trudging through the hardships and, and not knowing if you’re gonna be able to accomplish it. You know, when I, I did that during the session, I had no clue if I was gonna be able to solve that or not. And I didn’t know if my jitters were gonna get to me. I was just, you know, hoping that I would do it, you know, I had that, that desire. But it was, it was the resilience too, of, you know, as you’re learning it, you’re going to fail. You’re go, you’re going to be able to learn how to overcome those obstacles. That could be your defining moment of saying, you know what, I’m not gonna do this anymore. You know, I’m gonna throw the cube against the wall, watch it, smash the pieces, throw it in the trash and not think about it again. Or are you gonna continue to say, Hey, you know, I can’t get it today, but I can at least get one more piece today than I got yesterday. And every day is going to be a new piece. And as long as I just focus on what I can accomplish, instead of what I can’t, that’s gonna give you the ability to move forward and accomplish your goals.

Casey Cornelius (22:20):

You know, I, I hear you talking about these things and it, it also reminds me that, you know, some of your work is also on the area, the, the topic of ability. And I know that, you know, you have shared and, and some of your work again is, is on this topic of, of your own personal journey, having a invisible quote, unquote, invisible disability. Can you talk a little bit about that? Like what that’s what that experience, you know, talk about resilience and, and grit and determination, all those other kind of things, what that has meant for you?

Donovan Nichols (22:57):

Yeah. So I had lived a life where I had always thought my brain was a little bit different. But I just, you know, thought, well, every everybody’s brain is, is a little bit different. So I just, you know, didn’t pay much attention to it. But later on, I had met with a student actually in my leadership class and he came up afterwards and was asking for an accommodation and it was for a learning disability. And it really gave me pause, cuz I looked at the student I’m like, this person is brilliant. They’re super engaged in class. I would have no clue that they had a learning disability. And so then that kind of clicked and I decided to go and get tested and found out that I have ADHD inattentive type and alerting impediment. And, and so then it, it kind of all clicked.

Donovan Nichols (23:54):

And I looked, you know, back and over my entire life. And I was like, gosh, things make sense now. And, and I’m in my doctorate program. And one of the classes that we had was about different student development theories. And I picked disability theory because I wanna know more about it. And as I was researching it, it talked about how, at least one in 10 college students report having some type of disability, but over half of the students eligible for accommodations do not inform their college, that they have an impairment that qualifies them for disability services. And as I was reading that stat, I was just like, oh my gosh, why don’t they, why don’t they get help that they need? And then I sat there and I was like, wait a minute. I’m one of those 50% that never got the sport that I needed.

Donovan Nichols (24:41):

Right. Yeah. And I, you know, and part of it was, I just, I had always heard in my life these stigmas about, oh, ADHD, isn’t really real, you know, people just use it as an excuse because they can’t pay attention. And I internalized all of those stigmas. And, and so now after learning a lot about this and learning about how my brain works and that it works differently, it’s helped me to be so much more productive because the ADHD will never go away. It is something that is not curable. It is something that I will live with my entire life, but I can learn how to utilize it, you know, to my benefit or to minimize the hindrance that it might cause in different areas. And so as I’m learning this and recognizing that not a lot of people are talking about it.

Donovan Nichols (25:36):

And, and because I, you know, it is this invisible disability, I can hide it and I have my entire life. I actually just had lunch with a student and disclosed to them that I had ADHD and they had no clue. And they’ve known me for a couple years now. And I think it only does a disservice to people of us not talking about this. Because there are students like me that, you know, waited 37 years or will wait that long or forever not talking about it or not getting tested or the appropriate accommodations because they’re scared of how people will look at them. They don’t want to be seen different. They don’t want to be treated different. However, you know, the accommodations are helpful, you know, and I always, I, I had a hard time at first ha allowing the accommodations because I felt like I was getting a disadvantage that, you know, I was taking advantage of the system and it, and it really like affected me in my head of you know, to, to, to come to terms with it. And so I think that’s where I, I want to have more of this conversation with people. So individuals can find out if, if they do have it and if they do to get the appropriate resources in order to be successful,

Casey Cornelius (26:57):

I think what’s most interesting to me, Donovan, you sharing your, your personal narrative on this topic is twofold one, the invisible nature of it, right? So for, for those people with disabilities that are not invisible, that are, that are clearly visible. We, we don’t think anything of reasonable accommodation. Like if, if someone is in a wheelchair and elevator is absolutely a reasonable accommodation, we don’t say like, Hey, you just gotta take the stairs just the way it is. But when a disability can be invisible, then it allows the, the individual to have some choice in terms of disclosure. But as you, as you point out like, this is me getting super nerdy, who’s going to be the least likely to disclose well, people who are at the age and stage of their life at most college students you know, they, they don’t wanna seem different than their peers. They, they don’t want to seem like you know, they’re, they’re getting an advantage as you, as you discuss, but then also just the concept of help seeking behavior. I mean, I, I assume you would agree this not just as related to ability or not, but even the, the discussion of help seeking behavior is a relatively recent one as it relates to mental wellness, substance use all those other kind of things. Does that all play into this discussion as well?

Donovan Nichols (28:21):

Definitely. you know, I, I think I I’ve had mental health issues in the past as well. And, and, and currently, do you know, you still question yourself a lot and, and so it’s important for you to have conversations, you know, whether it’s with a, a counselor, a therapist, whomever can help you through that process. And I see a lot more students doing it on college campuses. Our counseling centers are just wall to wall, packed with people getting help. And, and it’s an, a good problem to have in the sense that people are seeking the help. But the, the issue is why are we here? You know, why, why are we struggling so much? And I think we really need to start finding out what are the root causes of some of these issues. And I think, you know, one of the roots could be this invisible disability of you sit here and you’re, you’re like, I’m not as good as other people because that person can read 10 times faster than me or that person is, you know, can do X, Y, Z, better than me.

Donovan Nichols (29:27):

And, and part of it is you just don’t understand how your brain works and how it works differently. And I think knowing how my brain works has given me so much more happiness with myself and also a feeling of accomplishment of, I know that I struggle and other people, you know, I I’m a straight a student. I got a 4.0 in, in my PhD program, but that’s because I spend three times as long as other people trying to get things done. Right. But I do those in the shadows and I don’t let people see that. And so it just looks like to have it together when, you know, internally I don’t, I’m, I’m working through it.

Casey Cornelius (30:06):

Listen for those who are, are tuning in who’ve, who’ve hung with us throughout the podcast so far, if you wanna learn more about Donovan’s programs on, on these topics. And I think you can hear from him not only the passion, but also the, the depth of knowledge on these topics, please make sure that you check out for college for I, I know a lot of the work that he does is in keynote workshop, but also his consultation work as well. Right. So if you’re a professional listening to this, you’re like, oh, we really have some issues around work life balance on our, on our team, or we’re interested in learning more like about invisible disabilities and how to support students and staff members and community members who, who are going through that experience as well. Please go ahead and check out this work. Donovan. I, I wanna get you outta here on on some, some lighter questions. I think some, some opportunities for folks to get to know just a little bit more about you. You ready for ’em

Donovan Nichols (31:05):

I’m ready.

Casey Cornelius (31:05):

Okay. Here we go. So I, I, I know that you are you have, you have two beautiful little boys and four dogs. It sounds like. So this one is, is purely hypothetical, of course, but let’s imagine for a second that you have an entire day to binge watch anything. What, what do you choose?

Donovan Nichols (31:26):

I love like murder, mystery things. So anything like your date lines, 48 hours, anything that’s like this, you know, puzzle that you have to solve? I guess it goes back to

Casey Cornelius (31:41):

The, yeah, there it

Donovan Nichols (31:43):

Is. I love to solve puzzles and I love to try to figure out something before they get to the end of the show. So I could just watch those type of shows on end.

Casey Cornelius (31:54):

When sidebar, when, when you were a kid, do you remember the, the, you would come on at night, like unsolved mysteries? Do you remember that show? Oh

Donovan Nichols (32:00):

Yeah. The worst scared the worst outta me. The worst part of that show is they didn’t leave you with an answer. <Laugh> right. So like, I love the show where at the end you finally figure it out. And you’re like, okay, that’s what I thought it was. Or, oh, that was a surprise ending. But when they’re just like, oh, we haven’t found the guy and you can be your neighbor. That’s terrifying.

Casey Cornelius (32:19):

<Laugh>, I’m, I’m laughing. Just because if, if you’re too young to, to recognize, first of all, a couple of things, one, it only came on at night two, I’m gonna forget his name, but the host, his voice was like, searingly, scary. Like he talked and you were like, oh my God, it just gives you the chills, even thinking about it. And then you’re right. Like they would go through this elaborate mystery and then just be like, and we don’t know what happened. So tune in next time. And there would never be a, like a resolution to it. So you’d be like, okay, maybe it is my neighbor. I, that, that just brought back so many memories, man. All right. Second question. Here we go. So what is the most used app on your phone?

Donovan Nichols (33:02):

I ha well, besides, you know, text messaging, cuz I text with my family and so many people all the time. I would have to say Amazon we, oh, shop a lot through Amazon every time we’re talking about something or need something. It’s look on Amazon, see if it’s there. So that’s kind of a, a guilty pleasure, but there’s one app I started to, to use recently. That’s called CORU it’s K O R U and it’s a mindfulness app. And so I’ve been really practicing mindfulness for the last four weeks because I’ve had some severe anxiety and and, and so I’m trying to get past that and it’s been extremely helpful. I’m just happier, get angry less you know, somebody cut you off. It’s just like, nah, hopefully they get to where they’re going safely. You know, it’s

Casey Cornelius (33:57):

Like, sounds like something everybody needs. Yeah. It’s

Donovan Nichols (33:59):

Change in, in perspective. So I was, I was part of a study on our campus for mindfulness. And so for the last four weeks we were doing it and I got to use this app for it. So that was really cool.

Casey Cornelius (34:09):

Cool. CORU K O R U, please check that out. All right, here we go. Donovan, who would you most want to have dinner with?

Donovan Nichols (34:18):

So be besides my family, because we love getting together just randomly all the time. If it was outside of my family, I would say Jason Mora. Mm. He is my favorite musician. I actually have a friend Mona te who is the percussionist for JSM RA which is super awesome. I knew her before, you know, she got that gig. But I just love his lyrics. He’s such a positive, inspirational person. He has his own unique style. So I would love to just sit and, and chat and have the dinner with him,

Casey Cornelius (34:57):

Tag him in this podcast. Let’s see if we can make this happen. I mean, you never know it, it, we, that

Donovan Nichols (35:02):

Would, that would be sweet.

Casey Cornelius (35:03):

I’d love make it could happen. It could happen. Right. All right. Donovan, what do you do to wind down? Do you have any specific rituals or things that, that you might do that say, okay, now is the time that I go from being busy, hectic, so forth to now, I’m just going to relax. What do you do to wind down

Donovan Nichols (35:21):

A couple of different things? You know, one is the, you know, watching TV hanging out with my wife, doing that. I, I do like to just pick up a rubs cube and solve it that kind of lets my mind just be at ease. But you know, one thing that I really love is, is spending time with my sons, whether it’s holding knocks in my arms and him falling asleep and just feeling so comforted or if it’s, you know, ha hanging out with Sawyer and, and playing whatever he wants to play. And at first, you know, I’m, I’m rigid and it’s like, Hey, don’t get that sand outta the sandbox in a, and over the course of time, I let him break me down to the point where it’s like, ah, who cares if there’s stand outside of it, we’ll back man up. You know, I need to be, I need to learn more from him than he needs to learn from me right now. Just I need to have fun and enjoy life and recognize that the relationship between me and him is gonna be so much more important than me saying no to something that he wants to do. And just making sure that he, I, I support him in whatever way, but make sure that he’s safe in doing it.

Casey Cornelius (36:35):

I love it. That’s fantastic. That’s awesome. All right. Finally, final one. We’ll get you outta here on this. How can listeners best connect with you? Is there a particular app or platform that you prefer?

Donovan Nichols (36:45):

So I used a lot of the different social medias Facebook. So I’m on, there is Donovan on Twitter and Instagram, it’s at Donovan Nichols, and it’s spelled Donovan. It’s just do no van really easy. I drive a minivan so easier to remember.

Casey Cornelius (37:06):

Ah, there you go.

Donovan Nichols (37:06):

There you go. And then also LinkedIn but I’m Donovan T as in Thomas and Nichols. So Donovan T Nichols on LinkedIn. So any, you know, any one of those you can get to me or Donovan, If you go on there, you can get connected to all my platforms, learn about all my sessions and, and about me.

Casey Cornelius (37:27):

I love it. Donovan, listen, I, I know that we’ve known each other forever. It seems, but even, even just in this conversation, I’ve learned something new about you. I, I I appreciate your, your transparency and, and also the topics that you talk about. I think that they’re so, so important. Again, folks, if, if you’re not yet familiar with Donovan’s work, check him out for college for speaking workshops, consultations, retreats you know, obviously if, if any of these topics resonate with you or your teams we would love to be of service. Thank you so much for, for tuning in hope you enjoy these podcasts. Please do the thing that you’re supposed to do with podcasts and like, and share and subscribe. And all of the other kind of stuff is, is we get to, to, you know, pull back the curtain a little bit and what we do here at, for college, for life, the people who make up our team and we hope you enjoy it. Hope you continue to tune in and appreciate your support until next time we can’t wait to hear from you. Have a good day.

Donovan Nichols (38:25):

Thanks, Casey. Have a great day and everyone live balanced.

Casey Cornelius (38:29):

There it is. Bye everyone.


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