So, who am I? 3 little words that communicate the biggest question any of us can ever be asked.
For me, answering this question is a life times work, because the person we all think we know best, we actually know the least. And that's because, unless you got really lucky when you were growing up, we are not taught to understand ourselves, to be curious about ourselves, nor to observe ourselves and as a consequence we struggle to understand and connect at a deep, authentic and truthful level with others too.
Instead we are taught to study subjects that can be proved beyond reasonable doubt, are tangible, logical and quite frankly, easy to write down, assess our competence in, communicate and pass on through the generations. We are given an intellectual and physical education, but not an emotional one - interestingly the most important of all and one I would argue, that is the easiest to teach and actually does not need to be written down, simply demonstrated through our actions and behaviours. Indeed, if we were all to receive an emotional education, I believe that we would avoid much of the loneliness, self sabotage, suffering and human conflict we currently live with. As Carl Jung wisely said:
"The privilege of a lifetime, is to become who you really are"
And I believe the ability to become who we really are is dependant on each of us receiving an emotional, as well as an intellectual and physical education. An emotional education is one where we are taught how to understand, observe and to be curious about ourselves and others, to ask the question, why do we respond to certain things in a certain way, what are our core values, what really brings us joy and perhaps most importantly of all, who were we before the layers of life were painted upon us? And the reason that these and other questions are so important, is that as human beings we are all effectively the walking wounded. No matter how much our parents and families loved us, our teachers supported us and our friends held our hands, we will all have encountered hurt, betrayal, rejection, failure and suffering to a lesser or greater extent, it is an indisputable part of being human. And therefore all of us will have our own unique triggers, truths and beliefs moulded by experience. If we can understand and accept this, we can start to look at ourselves and others with far more compassion and kindness, because we can begin to look beyond the behaviours to their root causes and therefore speak to the inner, vulnerable part of ourselves and others, rather than the egoic, superficial facade so many of us remain trapped in for much of our life. As Wayne Dwyer so touchingly said:
"We have a choice, we can be right or we can be kind".
And I have no doubt that we have all been driven by the need to be right and as a result suffered conflict, regret and loss. And therein lies the real tragedy, because being right blinds us to seeing what is really going on at a much deeper and more truthful level. We are so immersed in proving our point that we fail to see the wounds of the other, nor our own, both of which are driving a set of behaviours at odds with one another, when in truth we are just 2 vulnerable, traumatised people trying to find a safe haven. It's a little bit like having a cut that you ignore and it gets infected, but the problem is because you did not acknowledge the cut, you did not know you had it, nor that as time goes on it is getting worse and causing more pain and more toxicity. Therefore you learn to live with that pain and it becomes your identify, because how can you heal what you do not know is there? It is only when you lift up your covers and have the courage to look below, that you finally see the cut and understand that in order for you to be free from the pain and return to your true, peaceful self, the cut must be cleaned and allowed to heal.
Often our wounds are discovered when they are triggered by others actions or words. We can know this by observing our behaviour in an objective, kind and non-judgemental way. It is important to understand what what elicits an angry, fearful, defensive or judgemental response, that is precious information we can use to start to really understand ourselves, how our life experiences have shaped us and how we can move beyond them so that each new experience is just that - it is not prejudiced by those that have gone before, we can choose a different response, we can choose not to respond and we can choose not to allow it to inflict yet more wounds. Ultimately, any negative response that 'puts your hackles up', brings a knot into your stomach or pushes you into a justification of some sort, is being driven by a fear of something. As Ram Dass profoundly said:
"When I am afraid of something, I come up as close to it as possible and I notice my resistance. I allow myself to just notice the resistance, because the resistance intensifies the fear - there's no doubt about it. Get as close to fear as you can, noticing the boundaries of it, just being with it, seeing it as it is".
And it is through the act of allowing yourself to truly see your fears, to get up close to them, that you can liberate yourself, through simply seeing the raw, unfiltered truth, recognising your wounds and understanding yourself just a little bit more.
So, answering the question 'who am I?' is a life times study for me and that is why I would simply say I am a student of life, exploring all that it has to offer.
I am an explorer of life - a mother, home-maker, student, writer and passionate campaigner to change our approach and attitude to mental health, the menopause, sustainable living, death and grief.
I spent 25 years as a management consultant, shaping and delivering lots and lots of organisational change. Following a period of PND after my 3rd child, experiencing acute grief after losing my father and entering an early and rather severe menopause, I decided to re-assess my life, my priorities and start to get to know myself a little better. I choose to change a lot of things. I decided to focus on being a home maker, raising my children and finding a simpler way to live. And I'm glad to say I have. My world is a little bit like the 'good life', I live in the countryside in a very old cottage, with my husband, 3 children, a menagerie of animals and an allotment. I've fallen in love with sustainable design and recycle/upcycle whatever I can get my hands on, including many of my clothes, I discovered a love of writing, returned to studying, became a volunteer, started my spiritual practice and embraced the great outdoors.
It's fair to say that my life now and who I am becoming is a long way from where I started, which is good because it means I'm much closer to returning home - to who I am really am, leading the life I really want to.
I am passionate about finding ways to help us all live more sustainable, meaningful and simple lives, to help us define what our individual success looks like, to live more authentically and truthfully and to be our 'whole' selves.
"Your biggest fear is not spiders or sharks - it's you. It's the fear of expressing who you are - lest someone actually see you.“ James Victore
And that is where the real problem lies, if we do not allow our true selves to be seen, we will never lead the life that we are meant to. And that leaves us with something far worse than fear - regret.
So I feel the fear and do it anyway - each and everyday.
On a practical level that means:
1. I volunteer at my local hospice, I am studying to be a soul midwife and I campaign to change our attitude and approach to death.
2. I write about everything and anything - experiences, observations, learnings, frustrations and challenges. I show up and own up, my life is not shrouded in silence, shame or illusions, I share all that I am, to enable others to do so too.
3. I am a student of life, constantly learning about other ways to live our lives, both at work and play, to share that knowledge and to help create a more meaningful and sustainable reality for all.
4. I actively embrace an eco friendly lifestyle and share my ideas, learnings and style to help others do so too, to encourage us all to express ourselves through our surroundings and style and at the same time, respect our planet by recycling and up cycling.
I’m an eccentric trying to make the most of my life and that of others, each and every day.
Nikdavis.com has a facebook group, a place to have a conversation, about difficult and sensitive issues - the menopause, grief, addiction, depression, judgement, shame and anything else lurking in the shadows that needs bringing out into the light . To use our collective knowledge to help others tread where they may not have been before. Our rules - be kind, be honest and be you x https://www.facebook.com/groups/285898015282
I have also been extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to talk to so many interesting, kind and open people about this mad thing called life. A few of those podcasts are below, shared with a genuine hope that they can help someone, somewhere.
An open and honest discussion on transformation and what it means at an organisational and personal level and how we need to embrace our human messiness to truly embrace transformation.
103 The Eye is the award-winning community radio station. I was delighted to be interviewed by Ling Pang. We discussed PND, the menopause, depression, truth, being vulnerable, our need for genuine connection and this mad thing called life. Enjoy x
I am sincerely hoping this is of help to others - a podcast I recorded with the delightful Kevin Guthrie, as part of radio Newark’s mental health and well being series.
I’m a sharer - I share all of my experiences, good and bad. I share because not sharing hurts me and it hurts others. It feeds a false reality, where people are hoodwinked into living up to a set of standards, that simply do not exist. I share because I don’t want anyone else to feel alone, isolated and broken.
I guess in a nutshell, nikdavis.com is about helping organisations and people, to redefine what makes us all a true success, to live more authentic, purposeful and truthful lives, to be whole and to be able to lead from the heart with vulnerability, empathy and trust.
"Nik is an exceptional human being who I would wholeheartedly recommend without reservation. She brings a real passion and drive to everything she does. Nik has an amazing ability to connect at a deeply human level with others. She inspires people to achieve more than they thought they could. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Nik successfully balances a focussed, results driven approach with high level people skills. Her level of insight and emotional intelligence is a real gift, and she shares these gifts freely and selflessly in order to benefit others. Nik achieves all of this with a relaxed, warm and friendly manner which makes her a joy to work with." Kevin Miller Managing Director, Apex Human Resources