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FindingME Podcast

overcoming feeling stuck

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Connect with Nikki
her book: A Power of Your Own
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PART 1 (1st half of conversation)

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Leith: [00:00:00] So what I love to start my conversations off and this actually makes you mentioned something in your book that I just thought was so great. And I'm going to quote you here. In order to move forward, I had to go back before the world taught me what I could or couldn't do, and who I could or couldn't be. So I would love for you to step back to that place of, you know, your childhood, I'm assuming, and tell me a little bit about, excuse me, about the community that you grew up in and what you remember most about it?

Nikki: [00:00:35] Yeah, I always like to share the story of when I was about seven years old, and I love to write. I was lucky, my mom was a school teacher, and she taught us to read and write from a really young age, so I loved reading books, I loved writing. I have this old journal that my grandmother had given me that I would just scribble stories about anything and everything, all of my day to day experiences would inform the stories and I just love to write, and I remember that back then I would just think, oh, when I grow up, I'm going to be an author. And they didn't question it, I didn't think that might not be possible for me, I was just like, that's what I'm going to do. I mean, I definitely did have phases as well, when I was like, I'm going to be an ice skater, and I’m going to be a pop star. But I think there's something really lovely and innocent about our childhood ambitions when we don't realize that we're going to grow up. And certainly, statistics show that when we're in our teens, there are a huge number of influences that persuade us that we're not good enough. And a lot of teenage girls fall into that low self-esteem trap, which I definitely did. And I think as well, as you grow older, you start to become aware of the weight of responsibilities as well, I'm supposed to do this, I'm supposed to go to university, I'm supposed to get a degree in something that will then qualify me for this career. And what I discovered is that being an author isn't really a set career path. And so I kind of began to mold my ambition to suit where I thought that I wanted to go. In the beginning, it was journalism, and then it was marketing. And then, as part of my entrepreneurial career, it was copywriting, and now it's kind of marketing strategy. But I keep coming back to that communication piece, which is the writing piece that informed me so early on. Side note, published my first book last year, as you had mentioned, and, you know, it took me that many years, I turned 40 last year, finally put pen to paper, and wrote the book that I'd always wanted to write. But I find it so interesting that it took me kind of so many twists and turns and I was kind of close, but never really fully gave myself permission to create the thing that I really wanted to create. And it always makes me think of one of my favorite Oprah quotes, she talks about the fact that there are no wrong paths, there are none. There's a unique calling in your life. And so essentially, what she's saying is, it doesn't matter which twists or turns your life takes, you'll find your way to where you're supposed to go. And, you know, I definitely don't have any regrets when I look back at my life, even though there are times when I acted in a way that I wish had been more loving of myself. I definitely think that everything I experienced shaped who I am today. And I would say that a lot of my self-development journey, and even my entrepreneurial journey has been about unlearning what I learned, you know, when I was a teenager, when I was in my 20s, what I thought was true about myself, a lot of it has been about unraveling those old beliefs and really understanding who I am at my core and understanding that I am worthy. I've always been worthy. And if I want to write a book, I can write a book. And it doesn't matter what anybody else says. It doesn't matter what anybody says in terms of how it's supposed to be done, you know, I can choose my path, I can take that first step and I can do the thing that I want to do.

Leith:  [00:04:09] Yeah, I mean, that sounds I can relate to that a lot. And you mentioned the idea of giving yourself permission. But I've found that to be hard when you're not in a place to do that. So can you walk back a bit in your journey and tell me what led you to a place where you were willing to give yourself permission to write this book as an example.

Nikki: [00:04:32] What I've discovered in myself, and I think it's very true of the rest of us as well is that at the same time, as we are grappling with self-doubt, there is simultaneously this deep understanding of what we're truly capable of. And this usually comes up when we're thinking about something that we really want to do, like writing a book, like starting a business, like moving from the UK to the States, which I did at 28. There's this excitement and then there's this fear. And the excitement is, I think this is the way I'm supposed to be going. And the fear is that I don't know if I can do it. And so what I have found is that we can create a more loving relationship with that fear. And we can even ask it, you know, what are you trying to show me? What are you worried about? What can we address together? What can we put in place to mitigate any risk that we might be taking, and at the same time, continuing to pay attention to that excitement, that sort of thrill of this is my calling, this is my purpose, this is the direction I'm supposed to be going in?

Leith: [00:05:42] Yeah, I think that's very true. But what I found is over time I repress that excitement. And I got to a point in my life where it's like; I don't know what excites me anymore. And I've had to sort of go back, and I don't know if it's unlearnt things, or just rediscover? But can you talk a little bit about how you sort of, I guess, foster that excitement? And I don't know if you put the fear at bay or how did you manage that?

Nikki: [00:06:14] Well, I would say, when it comes to feeling that excitement, for me, it's a very bodily experience. So I often tell the story about when the opportunity came up for me to move with my career from the UK to the States, and how when the thought first floated, across my mind, my heart skipped a beat and my stomach turned out, but like, I remember feeling that very visceral reaction to, could I move to a different country where I don't know anybody, and I haven't a clue what my life might be like there. But I would also say that there's a lot to be said, for comfort, and safety. And if those things feel really good to you, you're not doing yourself a disservice by staying in that place. Like, if that's where you want to be, it’s okay. I mean, we hear so much about moving outside our comfort zone, and I think that's great. But you don't have to do that, you know if you're comfortable where you are, that's okay. And if there's a part of you, that feels like you might be destined for more like there's something else you're supposed to be doing, but you haven't quite figured that out yet. One of the things that I always recommend, and it's something that one of my earliest mentors recommended to me when I was first entering the world of business for myself, is you're allowed to make everything an experiment, you don't have to have everything figured out. In fact, I always say, none of us have it all figured out. You do not have to have it all figured out, from day one, from step number one, from ground zero. You get to experiment and see, let me try this thing and see if I like it. And if I hate it, I'm never going to do it again. And if I like it, that might be an indicator that I'm headed in the right direction. And I'm going to keep going this way. And I'm going to keep you know, even if it's not necessarily excitement, just that curiosity, pursuing curiosity of the unknown, and kind of feeling it out and giving yourself the space and permission to do that.

Leith: [00:08:16] Yeah, I love that part in your book, where you mentioned that. And that's been a big thing for me, is just following that curiosity. How did you on your journey learn to, I'm assuming, be curious again, or like, put all those conditioning aside, and be curious about you?

Nikki: [00:08:38] Yeah, there's a Harvard Business Review article that talks about the fact that when it comes to, for example, applying for certain jobs. Guys are most likely to apply, even if they don't have all the qualifications, whereas women are likely to hold back and think, well, I don't check all the boxes. And so this your question, is something that I've mulled over quite a bit because I have, again, going back to the idea of thinking, I think I want to do this thing. Oh, but I'm not good enough. Oh, but I'm not qualified enough. Oh, but I'm not ready enough. I definitely experienced those thoughts and feelings. But again, there's something in me that tells me I think you should try anyway, I think you can do this. My first job at 22 was as a marketing manager for a company in the UK and I didn't have any marketing experience. I didn't have a marketing background. But something told me I think I can do this. And I went for it, I got the job, and I did it. I knocked it out of the park for the next five years. When I moved to the States, the same thing I don't think I could that's insane. Like, I don't think I could move to the States. And I did it and I think that's the key to experimenting/taking action is, we don't know if we can or if we can't until we take action. And so whenever I've had that kind of inkling, I have always taken that next step forward and found that courage in myself. But I also do think, more recently, this is something that has occurred to me because I've had some really great conversations with my dad. And in the UK, you can leave school at 16. He left school at 16, academics weren't his thing. He got his first job as an apprentice. And he would just put himself forward for things that he wasn't qualified for because he had this sense of, 'I think, yeah, I think I can do this. There's sort of self-assuredness, I would say. And that way, he got some really big pay rises early on in his career, he kind of worked his way up, worked his way up, and ended his career, as he's retired now, but as a company director. And so I like your question because it makes me think, maybe I do see so much of myself, I see so much with my dad in me, and it makes me think maybe it's because I'm his daughter. And there's that sort of almost audacity or yeah, self-assuredness just really being prepared to take that step and see if something works out and to have that confidence in yourself. And I don't know how we cultivate that necessarily. But again, I think, if there's something that you want to do, and it's just a small thing, do the thing. And then if you do it successfully, that success is going to prove to you that you can do the thing. And of course, at the same time, we need to be thinking about our relationship with failure. And instead of seeing failure as proof of our unworthiness, realizing that failure actually is just a clue, a hint, a lesson, and something that can kind of turn us in a different direction.

Leith: [00:11:53] Yes, I totally agree. And I also found when I was in the corporate world, that there was so much focus on the things that you weren't very good at, like, you know, you get your reviews and it's always like, these are your areas to work on. And so you're always feeling like you're working on things that are hard for you, versus why not focus on things you're good at, and then outsource the things that you don't enjoy, and somebody else might enjoy them. And that thinking drives me crazy a little bit now that I see that. But when you're in it, it just felt like always focus on the things you're not good at. I don't know have you had that experience? 

Nikki: [00:12:34] Yeah, I mean, I'm a big believer in that. And I love helping people tap into their strengths and really notice, you know, what kind of work lights them up. And so when it comes to managing teams, I love having that conversation early on and saying, well, what do you love to do? What kind of work lights you up? And let's get you doing more of that. And I think that's such a really refreshing way to lead.

Leith: [00:13:00] Yeah, I love that. But also going back to your comment about just having the audacity or the confidence to take a step. Has your experience, you know, have you gained that over time? Or do you think that's always been with you? Or is that related to like how you see yourself also as worthy to take that step or worthy to benefit from what you might get in that step?

Nikki: [00:13:30] Yeah, that's a good question. And I would say that I was really lucky to grow up with a mom and a dad who really loved me and modeled for me what it meant to do your best every day. And so I learned to stretch myself, I wanted to get those high grades; I wanted to get into a great university. And that whole journey, by the way, was a bumpy one. But that definitely helped. And I realized that not everybody has access to that, which is why I say that I'm lucky. And so what do you do if you didn't have that? You know, even though I did have that, I did grow up with really low self-esteem. And I think a lot of that was shaped by my experience at school, where I never quite fit into any one group. And, you know, I wasn't the most beautiful, I wasn't the smartest, you know, and that's how you begin to evaluate yourself. When you're at school, you kind of hold yourself up against other people when I say that, we still do that, as adults. We go on to social media and Instagram with it. Well, that person is doing more than me, that person is doing things better than me. And so, I think really my lifelong lesson has been to take time to really come to a true understanding of who I am and my call. And in recent years, meditation has been an incredible way for me to do that. And to always prioritize self-love above everything else. I think that's something I didn't really understand, or I didn't really get for many years. And I was in therapy for many years as I came to grips with what that meant. And again, I'm lucky that I'm fortunate that I have a therapist on speed dial, you know, she's there if I ever need her, what she calls a top-up session. But that really helped, and I think that is so much a part of it, I'm definitely not somebody who's a fan of hustle culture and pushing through your doubts and kind of whipping yourself into action. It's more a case of understanding who you are at your core, loving that person for everything that you are, everything that you bring to the table, really owning your power, your strengths, your skills, understanding that all of your lived experiences, have informed you, has brought you where you are today, have taught you things about yourself, about what you want, about what you don't want. And really embracing all of that as you move forward from that place and understanding that whether you do or whether you don't, it's okay. Whether you take that next step or you don't take that next step, its okay. You do you and, you know, surround yourself with, you know, if it's not supportive parents, you know, if you have supportive friends or supportive communities, something that I've been very intentional about throughout my entire entrepreneurial career is surrounding myself with other women business owners, because they have shown me so much. I think oftentimes we think that we are the only ones struggling with something. And what that cultivation of community has shown me is that's absolutely not the case. And I would say that my biggest message to anybody is, no matter what you're going through, no matter what you're struggling with, you are not alone. And so it can be so helpful to find those people who get it, who can reflect back to you what you're truly capable of so that you can keep taking that next step if that's what you choose to do.

Leith: [00:17:21] Yes, I totally agree. And that's like a big motivator for me creating this podcast. And what I think is also showing me too is sharing. Our stories are so valuable, because people can then really feel like they're not alone. 


Leith: And I'd love to hear it like you talked a little bit about there about, you know, having a hard time with self-esteem. What made you change or like seek out help? Or how has that journey come along for you?

Nikki: [00:17:56] Yeah, it's been a long journey. But I would say that one thing that I noticed when I started my own business is that, the way that I felt about myself was holding me back. I could see that, I could see that I wasn't moving forward, I wasn't doing the things that I wanted to be doing. I also didn't talk about this too much, because I don't want to give it too much focus. But for about five years, I was in a really unhealthy and toxic relationship that for the majority of that time taught me that I wasn't good enough, taught me that I didn't deserve to go after the things that I wanted. And that I should continue to play small because that's all I was worthy of. And again, it took me taking action and starting my business anyway. And moving forward anyway, for me to realize, oh, I can do this. I actually am worthy. And yeah, I don't know if that answers your question. 

Leith: [00:18:53] Yeah. No, that's good. So you obviously went through a very tough time in this relationship. But you decide to start your business anyway, maybe even though you had a lot of doubts around that, by the sounds of it. Did you also seek help, like through books or therapy? You spoke about therapy, but were it at about that time? Like, did you hit sort of a low and then you, like, how do you go from hitting a low point to getting, you know, that first step to getting out of that feeling? 

Nikki: [00:19:24] Yeah, I definitely hit a low point and probably a series of low points. And you know, those low points don't necessarily completely go away. But when you begin to make healthier choices for yourself, they definitely disappear somewhat for longer. And therapy was important for me, reading books, you know, even if it wasn't necessarily people in the beginning, connecting with people online who inspired me. Who was showing me what was possible and I think that is so important as well, finding those role models and not being intimidated by them but understanding that if they can do something, you can do it too. There's absolutely no reason why you can't. And, yeah, I mean, it's hard, to sum up, because it's not something that happened overnight. It's not like I read this book, and I saw a therapist once. And then I was like, 'Hey, I can do this, I'm amazing'. It has been a lifelong journey and that journey is continuing. I do not have it all figured out. I do second guess myself. I constantly worry if I'm headed in the wrong direction, you know, those things never ever go away, they never ever go away. And I do think that it's part of the experience of being human, is that we're always going to question whether we're on the right track, we're always going to question whether we're doing the right thing. And something I always say is, we can do it the best we can with what we have. And that's going to mean something different for everybody. It's going to mean something different for you, depending on where you are in your life. But that's all we can do.

Leith: [00:21:12] I love that message. Because you're right, I beat myself up for a long time thinking I just made poor decisions are made mistakes. I just thought for a long time, I was just making a bad mistake after a bad mistake. But now I've come to this realization that I did the best with the information I had at the time, and letting that go and being okay with that, for me that's been a big part of the journey. And so now I don't beat myself up so much anymore, and I don't get bogged down or the energy isn't drained for me for that. So I can use that energy to make better choices now based on the information I have to move forward and yeah, I love that. Like you say, it's just this ongoing journey, and accepting that I don't know, for me has been big. 

Part 2, 2nd half of conversation with Nikki

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Leith: You sort of touched on this at one point, the experience of loving yourself. I mean, I think that comes across, or had you ask me that 10 years ago, I would have thought that was just a very self-centered sort of approach. I mean now obviously, I see it differently. But what's your journey been like in sort of accepting who you are, and just having a love and appreciation for that person? 

Nikki: [00:22:36] Yeah, I would say first of all it's not about ego at all, which you and I both know now, right? But it definitely isn't about that. And it isn't about anything that you can decipher in your head. And this is why you're asking such incredible questions. And sometimes it's difficult for us to intellectualize these things because you know, I'm a big over-thinker, I love to really look at something from every angle. I can tell, I think that you might be as well; you like to really think things over and that can serve us really well. And there are also times when we need to get out of our heads and into our hearts. And that's the place from which I know that I'm worthy. That's the place from which I know; I can truly love myself and serve others from that place. And you know, even this last couple of weeks, I've been feeling very stressed. And it's been interesting because I've been asking myself, why are you feeling this way? Like, can we put our finger on it? And, you know, I could put it under the umbrella of work. But I also realize that it's easy for me to fall back into some old patterns of not using my voice, of not setting healthy boundaries. I write about those in my book. And again, those things don't go away, it's a lifelong practice and so I'm feeling stressed and feeling agitated. And I'm living and working for my head. So what is this telling me and just becoming much attuned to those emotions, and even how tense my body is? You know, how clench my jaw might be? How tense my stomach might be? Or the head of the tension headaches are real and just okay, these are all signs that maybe I've moved away from that grounded place, that heartless place and I need to slow it down. And I need to ask myself, Nikki, what do you need? And I need to put that thing first, whether that's a yoga class, a meditation, taking a long walk in the sunshine was my rescue. You know, it's so easy to move away from that and I noticed that it negatively impacts how I feel, how I work, how I operate, how we interact with others, my loved ones. Every time I move away from that place, and sometimes we don't realize until we're pretty far away, and we're stressed and snapping at everybody. And the slightest thing is kind of making us aggravated. But when we're there, it really helps to become the observer and realize, oh okay, I need to go back home, I need to really get back to, you know who I am at my core and spend time with me and taking care of me so that I can better serve from that place.

Leith: [00:25:33] Yeah, I love that how you talk about the physicality of it and you're right, getting out of your head is so important. So what are some examples of things that you do when you realize that you, you know, you're not in your heart, your best place? Like, what are some of the things that you practice that help you get back to that?

Nikki: [00:25:54] It's a good question to ask, because as I mentioned, I'm literally doing that for myself this week, so I can tell you. So the first thing that I did was sat down with my partner and I had a very frank conversation. And you know, it kind of bothers me that when I really speak from my heart, I cry. So I cried a little bit, and you know, had some tears. But I said I've been feeling really agitated, for the last couple of weeks. And I've been trying to put my finger on why. And here's what I think it is, and here's what I think I need to do. So there's kind of then that accountability piece, and it doesn't have to be a partner, it could be your best friend, it could be a therapist, in fact, that's next on my list. Let's go towards my amazing therapist, and talk it out with her. And she's very good at kind of affirming and helping me to get back on track or just kind of shifting my perspective on things. Reminding me that I'm in control, reminding me that I get to choose how I work, who I work with that kind of thing. And then looking at the practices. So meditation is something that has been life and business changing for me, and it's something that I haven't been doing recently. So it's probably not surprising that I feel this way. Because if I was dealing with such a heavy play at work, and I'd been meditating every day, I can guarantee I wouldn't be feeling so stressed out about it. So this morning, I went onto my favorite app Insight Timer, and I found a meditation that specifically was geared toward feeling agitated. And one of the exercises she took us through was going back to a time in your life when you were a child, when you felt agitated, and kind of sending love to that child version of yourself. And you know, actually have you approach them and put your arm around them and its okay. And I realized then that kid, that younger version of myself, didn't know how to use her voice, didn't know how to advocate for herself. And so I was able to go and say, “Hey, it's okay, you've got this.” And here's what I might say if I were you in this specific situation. And it helped me realize coming out of that, that's exactly what I need to do right now. It's been such a process such a journey for me to find my voice and speak up for myself and advocate for myself. And now I'm realizing, okay, that's the next step. I need to speak up, I need to reset or communicate my boundaries, I need to figure out a different way of working that honors me and honors my well-being.

Leith: [00:28:31] Oh, I love that. I mean, you talk about boundaries. I think that's such a key part of this whole experience. I mean, part of being human and respecting yourself and your boundaries. What are some of the boundaries that you've learned over time that had been really valuable to feeling more heart-centered or feeling more love for yourself?

Nikki: [00:28:54] Time is a huge one, it's huge. And a book that a coach some years ago recommended to me was really immensely helpful in that regard. It's called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less and it's by Greg McKeown. And I believe another author who I'm blanking on right now. But one of the lessons that I read in there was so smacking your forehead off that I thought, oh of course, and it said something to the effect of you get to own your time. If you don't lay claim to your time, somebody else will. And it was such an epiphany moment; I suddenly realized that I had constantly been falling into that place of pleasing everybody else. That I hadn't looked at my calendar until actually when do I want to have my phone calls? When do I want to schedule meetings? I just read an article in Entrepreneur Magazine earlier this week, and it was talking about this company that has moved from their on-site location to working from home. And one of the things that I've implemented is no meeting Fridays. And I thought, Oh, that's good, that's a good one. So I've gone into my calendar and I've looked ahead, and I've started to call off Fridays, because why not? Because I'm in control. And I know that is not necessarily for it doesn't necessarily feel true if you work for somebody else. But you still get to set boundaries, you still get to say, "Actually, I can't at that time, or that meeting time doesn't work for me.” And so that has been a huge lesson. And you know, sometimes people do push back. So people have said to me in the past, you seem really busy, or it's kind of hard to get ahold of you. And what they mean is, I don't necessarily as soon as I get the email, drop everything and answer it. I don't necessarily schedule out my days with back-to-back calls anymore. Or I try not to sometimes, you know, things go that way and I need to reset. I have phone calls within specific hours, there are a few hours each day when I have phone calls, and soon no longer on Fridays. And that's just the way it is. So if you try and get on my calendar, it's kind of hard to do that. And sometimes I make exceptions. And other people might not like that fact, but I've got to protect me first, I've got to take ownership of my time. And I've got to realize that if I have a day with back-to-back calls, at the end of that day, I'm going to be so stressed, I'm going to be so agitated, I'm going to just feel like giving it all up. I can't let myself get to that place. So it really is, you know, advocating for myself, owning my time realizing that I'm in control, I get to choose. It's one of the things that I say so often to my clients like you get to choose. And sometimes it might just be a small thing. But I think, and that's why my book is called, A Power of Your Own. Because of all of this, everything that we're talking about today comes back to owning your power and understanding that power is not given to you by anybody else. But you can choose to take ownership of that power that's already within you anytime that you like.

Leith: [00:32:15] Yes. Oh my God, I love it. I love that. I mean, you also had this other quote that I absolutely loved from your book, A spark may be a little thing yet it can set the world on fire. I love that. Oh, my God, is that yours?

Nikki: [00:32:34] It was mine. But I was influenced by someone else.

Leith: [00:32:37] Oh, that's okay. You just build on another idea. I love that.

Nikki: [00:32:42] But I think I was inspired by somebody else, that actually is on my dedication page. And that dedication page is to all of my nieces. It's to a girl that I mentor who lives locally. And it's to my partner's two amazing girls, and they're all under the age of 21. Some of them are still really little. And I think that my intention when I was writing my book was for them to read it at some point, even if it's too young to right now, and feel inspired and feel empowered and feel like more was possible for them. And so that's why I dedicated the book to them. And that's really, as I was writing the book; I definitely had them in mind throughout. Because I think it you know, again, going back to the idea of role modeling for others what's possible, I think that there are some very liberating messages that we can deliver to younger generations. And I think we can also in us walking our talk, show them that more is possible and that they have more potential than they think.

Leith: [00:33:47] I love that. I mean, you talk about your nieces and being a model, a role model. I'm trying to think of what my question is, but what is it that you're doing for them? I have young kids too, and two girls and you know, what is it? I mean, I think is you know walking the talk is a big one. Is there anything else that you've learned in your process that you've been helpful in?

Nikki: [00:34:15] Yeah, I would say that. Because I had this experience of not really feeling like I had a voice or not really knowing how to advocate for myself. My kind of go-to fallback, if you will, is to in conversation with these girls, certainly, the older ones are to be affirming, to let them know that it doesn't matter what they choose or what they may be felt that they did wrong, or, you know, just constantly reflecting back to them, it's okay. And not to get stuck in that shameful place. That's something that I discovered is actually there's a whole chapter of my book dedicated to it. It's something that I discovered through therapy, is that a lot of us get stuck in ashamed place. We do something we kick ourselves for it, and then we're stuck, and we cannot move forward. So the first thing we need to do is forgive ourselves. And it's really important to me that I never, it doesn't matter how old they are, you know, I never want to talk down to them, I never want to make them feel like they're not just as smart. There's something that I always say to my mentee, I say to her, you know you have good gut instincts follow those, you know, just reaffirming to her that she should listen to her intuition. And she's a really good judge of things rather than being very prescriptive. And that's actually how I coach and strategize with my clients as well. I joke that I always have an opinion. And I definitely when it comes to strategy, please I can definitely give you some very practical tactical tips. And at the same time, what I really want you to do is to listen to what your gut is telling you, what your instincts are telling you and to follow those and to allow the process of discovery to be that experiment, and not to put so much pressure on yourself to do the thing that you really want to do perfectly right out the gate because it's just not realistic.

Leith: [00:36:13] Yeah. No, I love that listening to your gut. And only you know what's right for you. I think it's so important. Often I asked my kids, well, what do you think like when they asked me? And then listen to their answer, like your answer is worthy. And it's important that you think about what or why this is the right answer for you and follow that. I mean, just because I have a different answer doesn't make me right, because I'm the mom either like that.

Nikki: [00:36:46] And that's something that you even see playing out in workplaces now. So when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, you know, seeing how some companies are implementing reverse mentoring schemes. So you might be an older guy with a bunch of experience, running companies, leading people. And you might have somebody come in who's in their 20s, who just has a completely different way of looking at the world. And so if you lead from that place of thinking, I know everything that there is to know. And you're not vulnerable with your leadership, or you're not open to inputs from different people, you're going to do yourself and your organization a disservice. So I think keeping in mind that all of us brings something to the table. All of us have different and unique lived experiences and perspectives because of how we've grown up, because of the different people that we've run into the conversations that we've had the books we have read, you name it. And yeah, so I think it is really important. And I think whether you're running an organization, whether you're raising a family, you know, keeping that openness, and recognizing that none of us have it all figured out. None of us have all the answers and just being kind of more open and inclusive, I think is really nice. And of course, there's sometimes I'm sure as a parent when we have to lay down the laws that work.

Leith: [00:38:08] Yeah. But I think you're right, when the example you give in the corporate world is often you don't feel listened to have been my experience. And you know, as I get older, and I'm learning all these things. That's something that is important to me, for my kids, or for the people I work with is to actually listen and not just, like, physically listen with a question or a judgment in my head the whole time. But actually, listen to the words they're saying. And then curiously, ask questions about if you don't think it's right, or you know, you have another experience, ask them questions so that they can think it through. I found that to be really a great way of going about it.

Nikki: [00:38:56] Yeah, a client of mine just wrote a book called 'The Art of Caring Leadership' and it's all about how leading with heart uplifts teams and organizations. And a huge thread that runs throughout the entire book is this idea of creating cultures of listening. Because so often people just don't feel listened to, they don't feel valued, they don't feel seen, and they don't feel understood. And so again, whether you're a leader in an organization, or you're running your own business, or you're in a career and you know, somebody else's leading you, I think that listening skill is so important and sometimes you might learn a thing or two that you can then take and run with or like you said, asking really curious questions can often be great practice as well.

Leith:  [00:39:52] Have you read the book Time to Think?

Nikki: [00:39:54] No, but it sounds amazing.

Leith: [00:39:56] Okay. Written by a woman named Nancy Kline, she's actually British and she writes about your actions are only as good as the thinking that you put in beforehand, and really write about creating an environment that is best conducive to thinking. So whether that's in a group or whether that's individually or one on one. It's really interesting how, you know, I site like you and I are doing right now, letting people finish their sentence, asking curious questions. All of those things come together and I just thought it was just an amazing concept. So simple, but so important.

Nikki:  [00:40:43] Definitely. Yes. I wholeheartedly agree.

Leith:   [00:40:47] Yeah. I mean, I think she also works in corporations, too. But yeah, especially in the work environment, where there's a sense of hierarchy, and some people know better than others.

Nikki:  [00:40:59] Yeah. And that's actually one of the words, one of my guiding words. I have a few efforts, faith, mindfulness, and intention, which are kind of my touchstones if you will. And the intention piece, I remember one year, I decided, I don't know if you've ever heard this idea of having a word of the year. So that particular year, I was like, instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, my word of the year is going to be intentional. And it wasn't until I got to September. And I took a 30-day meditation challenge. And I really began to slow things down that I could become more intentional with the choices that I made. And I think that really speaks to what you're talking about as well. I think that, especially in the States, but I know that it's not exclusive to the States; we have to be; go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Work! Work! Work! Work! Work. And you would think that during a pandemic, that would slow down that we would take the pressure off people, but it hasn't happened. And so there is literally a parallel mental health pandemic happening and people are burning out. And it's a lot and so to be disruptive by intentionally slowing down, taking a breath, asking those curious questions, figuring out is this really a priority? Figuring out what do I need to do? What boundaries do I need to put in place to protect me and make sure that I can be my most productive self and not burn out? You know, these are all things that I think, swim in that intentional ocean and are so important for us, again, no matter who we are, no matter what we're doing.

Leith: [00:42:40] I want to sort of slowly wrap up here. But as we come to the end, in this past year since the pandemics we've been experiencing this pandemic, what has changed for you? What has been your experience?

Nikki: [00:42:58] So where do I start? I want to say that and I do not want to make out that it was a great year and you know I actually made it very productive. That's not my style at all. I did manage to write my book. And I also experienced some disruption when it came to the clients that I was working with, who suddenly panicked and didn't have the same budget that they had before. Honestly, even though that was really painful at the time, it gave me the shakeup that I needed to remember that I had been prioritizing other people's ambitions, prioritizing what other people wanted, and it reminded me to put myself first again, it reminded me to ask myself, Nikki, what do you want? What do you want to create? Long story short, we're just over a year later and I'm in the middle of the process of creating a new signature program and it feels so exciting to me that I have a lot of impatience around it, I want to have it all figured out tomorrow, but I know it's going to take me a while. But I don't think I would be in this place today, if I still had that stability, that security. I feel some trepidation like we had talked about before; I feel a lot of excitement. I think that if I was still doing what I was doing before, for all the people I was doing it for, I would not be feeling excited. But I also wouldn't have been feeling scared. And so sometimes that's the kind of decision that we need to make. Do I want to feel safe and secure right now? Or do I want to feel excited and alive and scared? 

Leith: [00:45:00] Like a good scared, maybe like just an unknown scared maybe. I mean, you spoke about that in your book about just being comfortable with the unknown.

Nikki: [00:45:09] Yes, I talk about it in terms of wading through the unknown. And that uncertainty is a constant, it's always there. We never again, I've said it, like a million times during this conversation, but we never have it all figured out. We don't have all the answers at our disposal. So uncertainty is a constant and getting comfortable with that is probably one of the best things we can do for ourselves. And, you know, there's also no reason that you can't have security and be doing something scary and new and exciting. And actually, that's often the way that I've operated instead of kind of, I think it's Tony Robbins that says talks about burning the boats. So you have no recourse, no way back doing that, you know, I'm a big believer in if you need a side hustle so that you can experiment on the side do that. If you need to continue working in this way with these clients, while you figure out what your new program needs to look like, do that. It's okay; you can have security, and be experimenting at the same time. 

Leith: [00:46:12] Oh my gosh, I love that. I mean, I think that's a great place to sort of wrap things up, and thank you so much for sharing your journey because I think that's just so wonderful to hear how you've overcome these places of feeling stuck. And as you point out, this is an ongoing journey and we're all going to find ourselves stuck many more times again. And so, thank you, I really appreciate this, and thank you for putting out a book so that we can all learn at our own pace. So tell me where's the best place to get your book and to find more about you?

Nikki:  [00:46:48] I keep things very simple. So is my website. And actually, there's a page on the website for my book and you can download a free chapter so you can kind of get a taste. And I'm on social media pretty much everywhere at Nicki Groom. 

Leith: [00:47:03] Great. Okay, thank you.

Nikki:  [00:47:05] Please connect I'd love to hear from you if you listen to this interview, and you enjoyed what we shared. And let me just say this is one of the best interviews I've ever done. And I feel like, in the beginning, I always cracked open a little amount, and you kind of cracked me wide open until I'm spilling out. So this was really lovely and this is definitely one of my favorite topics, just self-development, how we can love ourselves more how we can give ourselves more grace and so thank you so much.

Leith:  [00:47:33] You're welcome. That just lifts me up. So thank you. I love that. Thanks again. We'll be in touch.

Nikki: [00:47:41] Okay. 

Leith:   [00:47:41] Thanks Nikki. 

Nikki:  [00:47:41] That's great. 

Leith:  [00:47:41] Bye.

Part 2 of conversation with Nikki
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