J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 77.
N: But when this time came around, I'd started to have flashbacks and it all started to come back into my consciousness. So I've gone into this place of complete fear, but with the knowing that I had to do something in order to get onto the other side. So I went really, really deep into my spiritual practice. I started to apply the tools that I knew from positive psychology and actually did the work on myself in order to… to get through to the other side; and not just get through, Jen, but actually come out on the other side shining.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: Hey everyone, welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women. I spoke with Mary Hyatt last week and she talked about how to live life fully alive. She shared her story of going through a divorce, realizing she was drowning in unhappiness and how she's been able to find herself again and live that vibrant happy life that she wants to live. That episode is a must listen, so if you haven't listened to it yet, be sure to go back and do so. And while you're there, be sure to subscribe to Vibrant Happy Women and share the episode with your friends; share every episode with your friends, in fact. I want you to know that the Vibrant Happy Women podcast is part of the Vibrant Happy Women movement. Every woman should be able to grab her life by the horns and take responsibility for her life and happiness and live a life she loves. And that's why I want you to share this with your friends. Whenever you next see a friend or 2, just say, “Hey, give me your phone,” show them where the podcast app is, show them how to find Vibrant Happy Women and show them how to subscribe. This is a movement and we're changing lives together.
On today's episode, I'm talking with Niyc Pidgeon who endured the trauma of a rape on the way to an airport; when she thought she had just called a cab, it turned out not to be what she thought. And Niyc went through the struggles and the fear and the darkness of that and was able to climb out of that pit and find the light. Now she teaches other women how to do the same, and we're going to get to talk with her about that. And this is a very inspiring episode. I kind of felt like at the end of it, you know, if Niyc can go through what she went through and make it out on the other side, it's so inspiring for all of us because we all struggle with various things, whether that is a rape or another kind of trauma, and we can come out on the other side. That is what we do as vibrant happy women. So let's go ahead and dive into this episode and I know you're going to love it.
I'm talking with Niyc Pidgeon today, and as a positive psychologist and success coach, Niyc is on a mission to help a million women change their lives using positive psychology by the year 2020. She recently won Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the UK, is currently living in Los Angeles and proudly travels the world speaking, coaching, and helping women create more joy personal power and unstoppable success within themselves and their businesses. Niyc's first book, ‘Now Is Your Chance’, is a 30 day guide to living your happiest life using positive psychology and published with the world's largest mind body and spirit publisher Hay House. Congratulations! And that book’s available for pre-order now, right, Niyc?
N: That's correct. Just very recently finished actually, so it's been a big passion project, a lot of work, and I'm very excited to be able to share it with everyone.
J: So what's the book about?
N: It's a 30 day guide and it gives you a roadmap to creating more happiness within your life with a practical tool or teaching every single day for 30 days. So my intention is that I bring together the science side of things with the spirituality side of things, as well as my personal experience and my professional expertise to really give the reader something that they can practically do every day in order to shift them from where they are right now up to where they want to be in terms of their happiness.
J: Nice! In 30 days; that's awesome! Well, so do you have a quote you'd like to share with us? I don’t know if it's from the book, but any good quote you'd like to share?
N: I do have fun I love from the book actually, and that is, “Beautiful flowers blossom in adversity.”
J: Everyone has adversity, so tell us your story of… of a hard time and how you were able to blossom.
N: So, for me, if I look at what my rock-bottom was and, I mean, I've had a few of these moments in my life, but more recently and the… the most kind of traumatic of these rock bottom's was one evening when I was laying in bed asleep in my bed in Newcastle upon Tyne, which is where I'm from originally, and I actually woke up from a really horrifying nightmare. And I was in this place where I was terrified and I… I was in bed and I had this… we call it a duvet cover in England, I don't know what you call it in America, but like a… a blanket or a comforter and it had these gorgeous flowers on it. And in this moment, these flowers looked like demons to me. So I was in this place of complete fear, it was awful, honestly. It sounds funny when I… when I say it, when I recall it now, but it was so terrifying; and the reason that I was having these moments of fear and terror was because I was working through the… the process of dealing and healing a time when I was raped. So I'd been on holiday in Spain and I was going to the airport and I got into what I thought was a taxi, and it ended up not being a taxi, it ended up being 2 guys that were in the car that actually raped me on the way to the airport.
N: And after that happened, I went through a type of PTSD called rape trauma syndrome where I actually repressed what happened. But when this time came around, I started to have flashbacks and it all started to come back into my consciousness. So I've gone into this place of complete fear, but with the knowing that I had to do something in order to get onto the other side. So I went really, really deep into my spiritual practice, I started to apply the tools that I knew from positive psychology and actually did the work on myself in order to… to get through to the other side; and not just get through, Jen, but actually come out on the other side shining.
J: Tell us more. I mean, so many women have traumas and struggles, and what are those spiritual tools you're talking about?
N: So, for me, one of the most powerful as always being meditation and that's whether I've been in a phase of healing trauma or I've had an intention to manifest something amazing. Meditation has always been something has allowed me to connect in with myself and my… the highest version of myself, and to really find faith in asking for guidance outside of myself as well. So in that time when I was feeling fearful and scared, I was doing cord-cutting meditations and I was calling upon like angels and doing angel meditation, and that is really where I found the… the comfort and the… the support in the process. Another process that I've used which is I use every single day, I mean, I use these 2 processes every single morning in my morning ritual, and it… it really helps you to grow and it helps you to… to love every ounce of your life. So I use gratitude every day and it's a tool that I developed called the gratitude run page. And it's super simple. You just take a notepad or a piece of paper and you write out a page of things that you're grateful for. And you get into a stream of consciousness and you just allow these thoughts and these feelings and these ideas to flow and pour out of you. And that's something that helped me because it allowed me to see the good things that I had around me. And even in that moment when I was lying in bed and I was… I had woken up from the nightmare and I was so scared, I managed to find gratitude for the process. I managed to find gratitude for the fact that one day, I knew I would be able to… to even be on this… be on this show today and share this story to help so many other people. So even the bad things that happened to us, we have to find gratitude for them on some level.
J: So, Niyc, you talked about feeling grateful and seeing the good. So, many women have experienced a trauma or a rape or some… some type of sexual assault, I've heard the number as 1 in 4, so I think we need to talk a little more about this. We know that women feel kind of like to blame or guilt or there's a victim mentality, all of these things that can really hold women back. How did you work through each of those feelings? How did you experience those and… and come out on the other side?
N: I think what's interesting in my process is that the first thing was complete repression that it had ever… ever happened. So when you’re in that phase, it… my coping mechanisms were working too much, over exercising, and cramming my life full of so much stuff to keep me distracted that I wasn't actually processing the emotion. When I did remember, I had the sense of desperation and all I wanted to do was for somebody else to tell me how to work it out. And I remember going to my counseling sessions and, for me, the emotion that I saw, it wasn't… it wasn't necessarily guilt, it was more desperation and confusion about the path ahead because I felt like I would never feel good again. So, for me, I was… it was awful and I would cry in the car on the way to my counseling sessions, and when I got there, I would say to my counselor, Sue, (unclear) [10:18], I would say to her, “Just please tell me how to go through this. Please tell me what I need to do.” And she used to say to me, “Niyc, you're here and it's a… the process is centered on you so it's going to come from you. You're going to work out how you're going to find your way through.” And, for me, someone saying that, it filled me with panic because I just couldn't see the path ahead at that time.
N: And I think the pain that you feel, you… you need to face it. So my… I did a lot of that healing work with the crisis, but then afterwards, there is still a residual that I had to do the work on for myself. And that's where the gratitude practice came in because I managed after some time to be able to find some level of gratitude for that experience because it has allowed me to be so much stronger as a woman, it has allowed me to serve my clients so much more powerfully, and it’s allowed me to find the strength in myself and see the strength in other women when they don't see it in themselves.
J: Hmm, wow. And it takes me back to your quote, “Beautiful flowers blossom in adversity.” As awful as that is, gratitude for that experience to some extent, that's impressive. So how long did this process of healing take for you?
N: It took around about 2 or 3 years, which seems… I can imagine that an actual short amount of time compared with a lot of people that struggle over the years and don't say anything about the fact that there's been domestically abused or sexually abused. Because a lot of this is shrouded in shame or they remember a different version of it and they're not able to share it. And I think I was supported by a lot of really, really great people around me who encouraged me step by step to really move through the process; whether that was my parents first of all who encouraged me to go and speak with a professional or whether it was one of my coaches that helped me start to share my story on stage, even being able to talk about this now, a year ago, I wouldn't have been able to have this conversation with you. But it's come to taking small steps and focusing on… not focusing on myself, almost self-sacrificing in order to be able to help other women see that this stuff is… as awful as it sounds, it's actually normal. That statistics that you said before, we could go out for dinner with a few girlfriends and there would be one of us at our table that had experienced this type of violence in our lives before.
J: Well, I appreciate your vulnerability, it's just so touching; and I love your courage. So I know that some women listening are going to want to connect with you just… just to know more about how you did this. Where could they find you?
N: They can find me across all social platforms at Niyc Pidgeon and also on my website which is niycpidgeon.com as well.
J: Okay, awesome. And we'll have a link to that at jenriday.com/77, our show notes page. ‘Niyc’ has a really cool spelling, it's N i y c, and then ‘Pidgeon’ is how you'd expect. So how did you get your very interesting name? I love that, because I have named my kids with interesting names, so it's fun.
N: Yeah, definitely. And it's a question that I always get asked, and it's actually got a bit of backstory behind it because my name… my birth-name is Nicola.
N: And when I was 12 years old, I actually got really, really badly bullied at school to the point where I attempted suicide.
N:I mean, after that had happened… I mean, looking back on that, that was like a kid going through that, like breaks my heart and… and I would never want that to happen to anybody's children. But looking back on that, I was searching for .
N: And something that I did was I actually changed the spelling of my name so that I put a ‘y’ in it where there wasn't a ‘y’ before. And it was something that gave me almost like this new persona, this new ability to show up in the world, and it's actually formed a huge part of my brand now. So the book, ‘Now Is Your Chance’, came through a meditation; the title for that book and if you look at the first letters of ‘Now Is Your Chance’, it's actually N i y c.
J: Oh, yes! That’s so great!
N: So that wasn’t intentional but it came to me in a meditation, I was like, “Oh, that's really interesting.” And it's a powerful message because, “Now is your chance to show up and change and achieve happiness,” and it's both within a moment and getting present, but also choosing to actually take the action as well.
J: So for those listening and… and, you know, your books are not quite here, but it will be soon, what advice or tips would you have on taking our chance, you know, seizing that ‘now’ that we all have?
N: Hmm, I feel like happiness is all about raising your awareness and that has to be a gradual process and it has to be an intentional process. So when you decide to make a change, it's about showing up in everything that you do because how you do one thing is how you do everything. And I believe that putting these tools and these practices like gratitude, like focusing on your strengths, like moving your body some more, it all opens us up to that extra sense of awareness, that extra ability to function at a new level and to hold ourselves accountable at a new level as well. So, for me, taking the action is as much about this big bold moves as it is about the small incremental daily habits and changes that we put into place as well.
(Interview resumes) [19:41]
J: Is there anything else you want to talk about like related to your work or what you're doing?
N: I… the thing that I feel most aligned with at the minute, it's the work that I do with the United Nations. So they appointed me as an ambassador for that One Bracelet campaign which is coming to end violence against women; so I'm one of our supporting partners. And it's really allowed me a space to have more of a voice. I think when you come out of any trauma or even when you're working in your own personal growth, voice is something that is so important. And it's comes through for me in a number of different ways. It's come through learning market and getting more confident with social media. It's come through my kundalini yoga practice where I chant a lot during the meditations. It's come see me having crazy dance parties in the kitchen where I'll be able to express myself. But in terms of alignment with my mission and my message, the work that I do with the United Nations has given me that space to really show up for women and to start to take a stand and be a voice for all of those women that, at the minute, haven't found theirs, and to really create energy and create momentum and create conversations around these things. Because you and I have a missed conversation even today isn't normal, people aren't having these conversations at the dinner table and it's something that needs to be spoken about.
J: Yes. Well, how did you make your journey from, you know, that day on the way to the airport, you know, you made it through that, but how did you get to where you have this connection with the UN?
N: So that’s been through my work in my business. So I work as a success coach or female entrepreneurs that are looking to grow themselves and grow their businesses. And my whole intention and message is that we work on… yes, we work on the business strategy, but we also work on the woman. So we work on the mindset, we work on helping her create more joy, more personal power, and unstoppable success. And I've actually been looking for a charity to donate the pre-order proceeds for my book to. So now is your chance, that book, all of the pre-order proceeds are going to charity and they're going to support United Nations women.
J: Oh, nice.
N: Now, before I'd actually… yeah, it's… it's amazing. Like, I'm so… I had this idea and I was in the movie theater in Malibu and the thought came to me. And I totally believe when we get these downloads, you have to act them…
N: … rather than ignore them. And it said, “Niyc, you've got to donate all of the money from your book to charity.” So off I went to find a charity, and you would not believe how difficult it is. So later this year, I'm going to Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson as part of the first ever women's entrepreneurship retreat there. And as part of that, I… I felt, “Okay, so I could maybe find somewhere within Virgin (Virgin Unite) that I could give this money to.” And we went back and forwards and we couldn't really find somewhere that was completely fully aligned with my brand and my mission. And then one Saturday night when I was in the house building a click funnel, a Facebook marketing funnel, as you do on a Saturday night in Los Angeles, I had this idea to just take a little look online and see what I could find in the role of… of women entrepreneurship and empowerment. And I came across United Nations women and in particular this campaign, One Bracelet, which retails a bracelet that you can wear to actually represent that you are raising awareness and you're aligned with this mission and message. So I reached out to them, had a few Skype conversations, I went to meet with UN in London, and we looked at how we could collaborate and work together based on my social media influence, which is over half a million now, and based on the messages that I've gotten the work that I do around the world speaking and presenting as well. So it was a really good fit and we… I knew that I could help them in terms of me having this voice and getting the message out there loud and proud.
J: Nice. And if we wanted to get a bracelet, where would we go?
N: You'd go to onebracelet.org.
J: onebracelet.org. Thank you; that's so fun. And what's something you're currently struggling with, Niyc, if anything? You sound like you're on your game.
N: It’s interesting because right now, I'm actually on a mini retreat because having just finished the book, it's kind of the end of one chapter and the… the opening of a new chapter. So in the lead up to the book, we’re working on a rebound, and I've hired some new team into the business. Now, there's 9 of us in the business now, so you… you… the stretch as an entrepreneur is really to be continually moving into the next highest version of yourself.
N: And these 2 things that we’re working on, the new rebrand and also the… the hiring of the expansion of the team, both challenged me to be a bigger person and a higher version of myself in order to support the way that that brand goes out, and also to… to lead my team as effectively as I desire to lead them. It changes when you from… when you go from a solopreneur to being a CEO and running a team. It's a lot more about helping those people in your team work to their strength, helping them be happy and making sure that they're… it's a well-oiled machine that functions as this living breathing organism in its entirety.
J: Do you still have moments of self-doubt and what do you do about those?
N: I do, and the self-doubt, it’s self-doubt with a little bit of fear, it's a little bit of feeling scared. But honestly now, I've had so many times when I've broken through fears that I know that, on the other side of that nervousness or very anxiety or the worry about, “Can I do this? Can I actually execute on this thing?” you've got to back yourself. You always have to back yourself because it could be anybody else backs you, but you've always got yourself and you've got to be your biggest cheerleader in order to continue to create the success that you both desire and you deserve; whether that's in your business or whether that's in life or in a relationship, you've always got to back yourself because your intuition is such a powerful thing. So I've taken some time and I really like meditated on these things that I'm working on. Sometimes I've had to move the energy around and I've had to go for a run or go for a swim or have a crazy dance party to really stop myself from overthinking and to connecting with how I feel about it again.
J: That's great advice. And you kind of know there's great things on the other side of fear; you have so much experience with it that you can push through mostly, huh?
N: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
J: Nice. Niyc, what is a habit, a favorite habit, that is most contributed to your success?
N: One of my favorite habits has to be my morning ritual. So this is something that has become a real nurturing practice in my life, and it's something that I've done in some sort of shape or form for probably about 5 years now. It started with fitness and nutrition and it's expanded into a 7 part ritual, which I teach through my high-end coaching program, that begins with when my alarm goes off, doing my gratitude rampage and getting into this real place of abundance and gratitude straight away, then moving into a meditation, then I will use my body. So I will do something, whether it's in the house or in the garden or wherever I am; press ups, star jumps, just moving that energy around and really getting that empowered feeling. Because when you move your body, you actually move your mood as well.
N: From there on, I'd go into a visualization. So usually it's… at the minute, I'm planning my book launch, so it's standing on stage, it's thinking about what the flowers look like, it's visualizing that whole experience and allowing new ideas and new feelings and new thoughts to come in surrounding that. I then do some written affirmations and then I speak out loud my goal. So there's a word… the word ‘abracadabra’, which you might remember from when you were young…
N: Abracadabra actually means, “I create what I speak.”
N: “So that which I speak, I create.” So it's all about everything that we say is bringing and that thing into our reality. So by reading out your goals in the morning, you’re actually encouraging those goals to manifest in the physical as well. So that’s a practice that has given me so much because whether you feel tired or if you feel hungover or if you feel unmotivated, you feel like you don't believe in yourself, after you've done that ritual, you feel empowered, you feel energized, and you feel ready for your day.
J: Awesome, that's really good; abracadabra.
J: And what's a favorite easy meal?
N: Favorite easy meal; I'm a huge fan of breakfast. It seems like a lot goes on in the start of my day now that I’m saying this back to myself. So breakfast, I love a quinoa protein bowl; so that would be quinoa oat or oat flakes with some almond milk heated up with blueberries, goji berries, a scoop of almond butter, a scoop of protein (vegan protein), and I sometimes put in some greens powder as well.
J: Yum! That sounds excellent. And what's a favorite kitchen gadget?
N: Do you know what I really love and I really miss because I don't have one? A garlic press. It's so frustrating (Laughs)… so frustrating when you try and chop garlic…
N: … and then all you can smell for the rest of the day is garlic on your hands.
N: So I really, really love a garlic press; which is a really random one.
J: And a favorite book.
N: Favorite book; I love the book that I first read which was… it was the first sport psychology book that I read and it was called ‘Mind Gym’. And it's… it's small book, it's not even a 5 in 5, and it gives you a short succinct tips about how you can develop a stronger mindset.
J: And the best advice you've ever received.
N: That would be to share my story. So I used to teach positive psychology straight out of the textbook because I live for science and I know how much people… it can give to people, but that used to be really boring. And I was scared to share parts of myself because I thought that it was arrogant or I thought that nobody would want to know and I was really nervous about it. And one of my mentors said, “Niyc, your story is so powerful. You've got so much, and the hurt can help people and you really need to start sharing it.” And it was when I started to get comfortable with sharing… and it doesn't necessarily just have to be the traumatic parts of it, it can be what's happened in your day that is giving you a teaching point, for example. And when I started to do that, it allowed me to more authentically serve my audience. It also allowed me to be more myself in every single day. And I think that's always a gift as a… as a human, as an entrepreneur, to be able to wake up in the morning and just be yourself.
J: Yeah, that's excellent advice; hmm, love that. Well, we'll have links and some notes about all of Niyc tips on our show notes page at jenriday.com/77. And now, Niyc, let's hear your happiness formula; we've had kind of little hints about it, but if you had to make it succinct, what would that include?
N: So I would say that happiness is the combination of gratitude, awareness, and growth. So being grateful for what you have, heightening your awareness, and also ensuring every day you're doing something that allows you to feel accomplished and you actually give yourself credit for the things that you do as well.
J: And finally a challenge for our listeners.
N: I would say like on that… on not final note of growth and accomplishment, every night before you go to bed for the next 7 days, write yourself a done list and reflect on all of the things that you've done in your day. Now, that might be going to pick up a friend for dinner so that they don't have to… to drive or get a taxi, it might be… or holding open the door for someone, it might be serving a client. There's no right or wrong, big or small, I want you to celebrate them all.
J: Great. I really, really loved everything you had to share today, and I want to thank you for being on the show.
N: Thank you for having me, it's been my pleasure.
J: Remember Niyc’s quote at the beginning of this episode, she said, “Beautiful flowers blossom in adversity,”? Well, I want you each to take heart and look at Niyc's example. She is beautiful and she's living a beautiful life, and we all can do that, no matter what's happened to us. And that's kind of an empowering thought to know we can let go of that darkness in that fear, and embrace the beautiful person we were born to be. I will be back on Thursday with a happy bit, a little bit of advice from me to you, and I'll be back again on Monday with a full episode and I'll be talking with PJ Jonas who is a goat farmer and a homeschool mom. And she is doing amazing things teaching all of her kids, all 8 of them, how to work hard and how to be independent thinkers and how to love each other; you know, all those skills we as parents want our kids to learn. So be sure to join me on Monday and you'll love all of the things and tips that PJ has to share with us. Alright, my friends, make this a fantastic week. And if you've found any value in the Vibrant Happy Women podcast today or in past episodes, please be sure to share the podcast with your friends. Show them where the podcast app is on their phones and show them how to subscribe; I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much for listening and I will see you next time. Take care.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.