Next Stop… Shark Tank. Or Not.

My daughter adores the show Shark Tank. Not me. It gives me anxiety to see someone break out into a nervous sweat as they deliver their carefully crafted pitch, only to have Mr. Wonderful tell them their idea sucks. I can hardly stand to watch it with her.

I look over at my daughter and she’s practically salivating, taking mental notes, piping up with “The Sharks are right Mom, that idea will never make it.” or “Yep, they blew it. They should have gotten a patent years ago.” Can I remind you, my daughter is 12?

Well, no worries, I won’t have to deal with Jordan going on Shark Tank anytime soon. She’s in seventh grade and she doesn’t even have a business.

Oh wait. Scratch that last part.

I spoke at a luncheon a few weeks about my breast cancer journey and happened to mention Jordan’s coffee cup cozys. One of the women in attendance is the owner of Kiser Bar-B-Q and their new store, Shop Athens Ohio. They carry all kinds of fun products (food, pint glasses, jewelry, t-shirts, home decor) that are all made in or inspired by Athens, Ohio.

Two days after the luncheon, I got a phone call. “Nicole, I have an outstanding idea!” My eyes nearly rolled… usually people’s “outstanding” ideas cost me something in the form of time or money. I cautiously listened. “We would like to carry Jordan’s cozys in the store and sell them online nationwide.”

My little Shark Tank wanna-be took the bait: hook, line and sinker. She was all in. But in true entrepreneurial fashion, she asked the store to carry her entire line of Cozy products: microwaveable bowl cozys, notebook covers, and of course, the coffee cup sleeves.

img_7874All of the products will be made exclusively in pink. A portion of the proceeds will still go to Susan G. Komen to help women in Southeastern Ohio, but Jordan will also be using part of the money to pay for her own materials (YAY! I’m off the hook!) and to begin a college savings account.

You guys this is all so exciting, I should be thrilled. But I’m not. I’m terrified. Okay, I’m a little thrilled and a little terrified.

What if I mess this up for her because I don’t know the legalities of running a business? What if I mess HER up by allowing her to do something that becomes overwhelming or tiresome?

Instead of breaking out into a nervous sweat, I’ve decided to tell myself what I would tell you. If we were sitting down having coffee and you were pouring out your heart to me about this big opportunity that has come your way (a new job or a new home or a new family member) these are the things I would say to you:

1. It doesn’t hurt to try. Well, it might hurt a little, but nothing that can’t be healed.

2. When you’re not sure what to do next, just do the next right thing.

3. Remember you are surrounded by loving, kind people who want to help you succeed. Let them.

4. Failure isn’t a swear word. Henry Ford’s early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he successfully launched the Ford Motor Company. R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store hit it big.

5. I’m here for you. (Well, this one is odd because I can’t really be here for myself, but I would TOTALLY be there for you. And I’m certain if Jordan and I need a soft place to land, you’ll be there for us, too.)

We all have big decisions to make in life. Sometimes we meet a fork in the road and either path would be fine. It’s hard at those intersections to know which path we should follow. But here’s the thing, I’m certain that God is in control and if we’re supposed to be heading in a particular direction, He will get us there– even if we take some detours along the way.

I don’t know if Jordan’s ultimate destination is Shark Tank or not, but it sure will be fun following her, wherever this new endeavor leads.

You can order cozy products at or shop in person at their new store next door to Kiser’s at Eclipse in The Plains.

I Failed Jesus

I fail every day. More to the point, I fail Jesus every day. You might think that’s a bad thing, but I don’t.

Why? Two reasons.

First, notice, I didn’t say “I fail people every day.” I do. I snap at my kids and renege on promises. I’m a person just like you’re a person, so I’m messing up all the time. The thing is, I’m not here to please people. I’m not here to hold myself against the measuring stick of some foggy or shifting system of right and wrong. Lying in bed and thinking about the ways I may have potentially mistreated someone would tie me up and weigh me down with miles of invisible steel chain links.

There is only One that I aim to please, and that is Jesus. If you go to bed at night and confess, “Jesus, I’ve failed you today. I was impatient and emotional and lots of people may have gotten caught in the crossfire, but it’s You I’ve truly failed. Please forgive me” then that’s a good thing. That we can control. We can throw ourselves on the mercy of God and be forgiven. We can allow the Holy Spirit to say to us, “Yep, you screwed up, but I still love you. Try again tomorrow.” There’s great freedom in failing Jesus, because He just keeps forgiving us! Again and again and again!

The second reason I think it’s not such a bad thing to know you’ve failed Jesus comes from a truth I heard in church yesterday. My pastor was talking about Peter. If you’re not familiar, Peter is the follower of Jesus who denied knowing Him when Jesus was about to be crucified. Jesus came back, forgave Peter and basically gave him the job of growing the church.

Peter totally failed Jesus. But God used him after that failure in a huge way.

Here’s the truth: God builds His Church by showing mercy to people who have failed Him. 

Isn’t that exciting? We’ve all failed Him and we all get a second chance! Or a third chance! Or as many chances as you need! When we finally get to the point of desperation where we will stop what we’re doing and listen to Him, He will begin to use us to strengthen the people around us.

Why do you think I talk about kindness all the time? Because I was a hot mess before God came into my life. It’s the kindness of God that leads man to repentance (Romans 2:4) and it’s the kindness of God that made me want to become someone I could stand being around. I can’t help but share that with others.

Friend, if you fail Jesus, and you know it, rejoice! You’re on the right path. Then say you’re sorry and get ready for Him to use you in a mighty way. You might still mess up, I sure do, but at least we’re heading in the right direction.

Inside Edition Story

Well, ready or not, here it is: the first photo of my breast cancer journey! (Yep, you’re about to see a naked picture of my cancery breast.)

CBS’s asked me to do an interview on how I found my breast cancer. They also asked if I could share a few photos with them of myself and my family. I’m not sure they were prepared for what they got. I imagine the poor producer who opened the email attachments… I sure hope they weren’t eating breakfast. Surgeries and naked breasts are never fun to look at while you’re eating lunch, even when they are taken by brilliant photographer, Ann Fredricks.

The producer and reporter chose one of the less grisly photos to highlight. It’s the one where you can see the greenish shading and the dimpling of the left side of my breast caused by the tumors pulling on the skin. Graciously, the production team pixelated my nipple.

Today’s action step (after you watch the video and share it with everyone you know) is to look at yourself in the mirror. After you check out your hair, makeup and those runaway eyebrows, please be sure to check out your breasts. Maybe you’ll be able to find on your own what it took a trip to the doctor’s office for me to discover.