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Nicky Masson – A global force to be reckoned with (guest blog)

Interview and words by @chameleoninhighheels

When you speak to Nicky Masson, a friendly smile and inviting enthusiasm in her voice make you feel at ease immediately.  But there is also an air of calm collectednessabout her, a sense of empowering confidence that is infectious and inspiring. Nicky Masson is a business coach and mentor at Nicky Masson Global, helping individuals and businessesachieve their goals, get results and focus on a positive mindset.

I first met Nicky over four years ago at a local baby massage group where my little one had chosen to scream for the entirety of the course. We bonded over a shared determination to breast feed our babies and Nicky was giving supportive advice as a mum of two which I, as a first time mother was incredibly grateful for. 

We recently reconnected as part of Nicky’s exclusive Make It Happen membership program, which offers advice and coaching to new and existing entrepreneurs. I met her for coffee and flapjack to chat about her journey over the last 4 years, her business and life as a full time entrepreneur and mother.

When I ask Nicky how and why she embarked on her career as a business coach, I am taken aback by her candid honesty.  Nicky describes 2016 a key transitional stage in her life.  She got made redundant from a job role she had known for many years.  In response to this, she set up her own network marketing business but failed to make significant progress.  “My fear and anxiety stopped me”, she smiles shyly. “I had so many ideas but I just couldn’t apply myself.” A chance meeting at a webinar introduced her to her mentor and has been working with him ever since.  “It was a catalyst toacknowledge that I had to work on myself and change.  Theway we act and behave is a mirror to what’s happening on the inside. I realised that, if I can achieve it, then I can help others to do the same.

Does she think being made redundant has shaped the way she approaches her own business?  Nicky is thoughtful with her response and I can tell this delves into some difficult memories.  “I left a good job to be a mother and returned to find it had been taken from me.  Instead I had to do menial tasks that gave me the feeling of being neither wanted nor skilled enough, all because I’d had two babies and worked part-time.”  Recalling my own experiences of returning to work after maternity leave, I can empathise with Nicky’s recollection. She also sums up the emotional side of employment as a new mum perfectly: “As a mother you are vulnerable and dealing with so many emotions.  Being given the feeling you are not good enough anymore makes you question everything.  In the end I just felt numb and went through the motions.” She laughs, but it doesn’t come from the heart. “Ironically, by treating me this way, my employer didn’t get the best out of me anymore either.” Nicky suffered from postnatal depression and anxiety, something she struggled to comprehend and combat.  “I didn’t understand what it was, why I felt the way I did.  It wasn’t a good time.”

Has this insight into darkness helped her in her own development and that of her clients?  Nicky nods passionately.  “Through my mentor and the coaching process I got answers to who I was.  I believe that personal development is incredibly important in any business, yet most people don’t get trained and furthered that way. Most companies only focus on knowledge and skills.  However, 85% of how you work is about your attitude. If you focus on the positives and embrace change, you will thrive.”

I am interested in how Nicky combines running her own successful and growing business with being a mother to two young children.  I mention that a recent study conducted by the universities of Manchester and Exeter showed that full-time working mothers with two children experiences significant stress levels that could, in the long term, be harmful to their health (Barr, 2019, The Independent). Does she have any tips for other mums? “The biggest thing is managing and separating your time.  It’s all about focus: If you focus on your work you will get things done and, in return, you will spend less time doing it.  Likewise, once you are with your family, that’s where your focus should be.”  
Does she ever experience mum guilt, I ask.  “Yes, of course.  It happens to all of us.  When we work we think of our kidsand during family time we may want to check emails.” Her words resonate as I recall my own guilt since the day I dropped my babies at nursery.  How does she cope with her own mum guilt these days?  “I am getting better”, Nicky smiles serenely.  “I have created a better environment for myself with my business and I can help others achieve the same”. 

I feel it’s time for my million-dollar question: Does she believe that women can have it all? Nicky’s response is immediate, firm and delivered with such conviction I want to close my notebook and sign up for whatever course she wants me to sign up in the future.  “Yes, without a doubt”, followed by a pause, and I am not quite sure if I need her to elaborate.  However, she has an explanation up her sleeve.  “Women in general deserve so much more credit in modern society.  We are the ones who do all the juggling and wear the different hats. We do it all.  The important thing, however, is that we have to believe that we can have it all – if you don’t believe it, it won’t happen.” I wonder if Nicky still has moments of doubt or if she has figured it all out.  She laughs. “I constantly work on myself.  There are still things that hold me back and,as with everyone’s road to success, it’s work in progress.”  

We leave the café over an hour after our official interview has finished, reminiscing and ponder over where we are now. Nicky’s achievements and proven strategies have intrigued me to interview and write about her, something our past selves would probably not have predicted. What I can predict, however, is that there is a lot I have already learnt from Nicky, and can’t wait to implement her strategies.

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International Women’s Day and Motherhood (guest blog)

Keira is a 30 year old married mum of one from Leicester. Keira has a blog and is an active ‘insta mum’ – little Thea is two! (Links below)

Motherhood, Me and My Mum

As it was international women’s day. I decided to look at the main woman in my life and what Motherhood was like for her. Without her I wouldn’t be who I am today, I asked my lovely mum Jo about what it was like raising me and my brother, and what Motherhood means to her. I wanted to compare it to what motherhood is like for me and if there are any similarities.

Here is the list of questions I asked and both of our answers:

Did you see yourself being a mother when you were young? 

Jo: No, because I didn’t have the best upbringing and I thought this was the same for all children.

Keira: Yes, I always knew I wanted children. I grew up with lots of children and I was one of the oldest.

How old were you when you found out you were pregnant? 

Jo: With Alan I was 23 and with Keira 28.

Keira: I was 27.

Describe your parenting style? 

Jo: Kind, Calm and very patient. I didn’t have any patience before having children.

Keira: I would say I’m firm but fair, I think I’m a firmer than my mum was. We were never spoilt but I think we could get away with more.

Did your upbringing reflect on the way you were a parent? 

Jo: It made me a better parent; I was determined not to emulate the past.

Keira: definitely, I had an incredible childhood, if I can do half the things my parents did and still do for me, I know that I’m doing good.

Did you have any discussions about starting a family? 

Jo: Yes, we knew we wanted children after we were married but didn’t want to wait too long, so we started trying straight away.

Keira: Yes, I think we spoke about it quite early on. we both wanted to wait until we were married as that was our preference and it came up in conversation quite a lot.

How were your pregnancies? What was the best and worst thing about them? Any cravings? 

Jo: With Alan I was big, I had morning sickness and sciatica, I craved my husband’s homemade curry sauce. we didn’t find out his gender at the scan (I had 1 scan). With Keira I had a tiny bump, Extreme sickness and was sensitive to smells. no particular cravings. I also didn’t find out her gender at the scan (also 1 scan)

Keira: My pregnancy with Thea was actually very good at the beginning. I wasn’t really sick, I just had quite bad nausea. Everything went really smooth. I had quite a large bump with Thea and around the 7 month mark I was diagnosed with SPD. It was very painful and I struggled to do day to day tasks. It was so bad I was signed off work and basically spent the last few months in the bath. I didn’t really have any cravings. I absolutely loved feeling her kick, we also didn’t find out her gender and had around 5 scans.

What was your decision when it came to breastfeeding or bottle feeding and why did you choose this? 

Jo: I bottle fed both of mine, there wasn’t a lot of information when I was pregnant and bottle feeding was the done thing then. I didn’t feel the compulsion to breastfeed.

Keira: I always wanted to give breastfeeding a try, I had bought bottles and a steriliser just in case, but Thea latched straight away and have managed to breastfeed for 2 years.

Nap or Shower? 

Jo: Nap!

Keira: Definitely Nap

What advice would you give the next generation?

Jo: Put your phones down and spend time with your little ones as they are learning and growing. Remember every day with your child is a new day for both of you so enjoy every moment. Don’t forget to tell your children you love them.

Keira: Go outside and play! Get wet and muddy. Do what you think is right for you and your children. If you need help ask for it.

Favourite part of motherhood? 

Jo: Watching my daughter go through motherhood herself.

Keira: Every day Thea calling me mummy and giving me great big hugs and kisses.

So, there it is, it was actually really eye-opening sitting down and having a chat with my mum about being a mum. Before I was pregnant the word Motherhood was just another word that got thrown around, I didn’t really understand it. It wasn’t until I had Thea that I realised that Motherhood was so much more, for example: 

I didn’t realise that I would have a whole new identity, I would be called mummy from now on and I would be wiping up sick, snot, poop… you name it I have wiped it! 

My priorities changed. As soon as I found out I was pregnant my old priorities changed, in fact I can’t even remember what they were?

I have a whole new group of friends that I haven’t known for long, but I went through some tough times with, and are fully there to support me. I think this is generally true for most. You could also lose friends because you just don’t have time now that you have a tiny baby.

Also, you form opinions on parenting and all the different things that come with it like breastfeeding, bottle feeding, disposable nappies, washable nappies. The list goes on.

To me, Motherhood is unconditional love. It’s about putting someone else before myself. It’s about two mums looking at each other and not even having to speak, but just knowing what the other is going through. It’s about messy hair and sleepless nights, tea and coffee going cold and constant worry. 

Motherhood has been kind to me, I’m so blessed to have Thea, I have made some amazing friends through my journey and I would agree that it takes a village to raise a child.

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