In this podcast episode of In The Company we talk with coach, speaker and author Kemi Nekvapil. From starting her career as an actor on British TV, Kemi leapt to becoming a yogi and baker in Indonesia, to pioneering the raw food movement in Australia. She now coaches women to nourish themselves beyond the food they eat, to live empowered, fulfilling lives by embracing more than their dress, their age and their appearance. Kemi is the author of Raw Beauty, and her latest book is The Gift of Asking. We talk with Kemi about how she learned the gift of asking, and how we can ask for what we want with more confidence.

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Show Notes
The Gift of Asking book


Kylie: You’re listening to In The Company, a podcast about humanising work and designing better working lives. Each episode is curated to provoke you to think more deeply about things that matter in your career and life, and how to build your toolkit for how to thrive as a human in business today. We explore how we work from the inside out. I’m Kylie Lewis and it’s great to be in your company. Welcome.

Today, we’re in the company of Kemi Nekvapil. Kemi is a coach, speaker, and author. From starting her career as a baker in the UK she moved to acting, which took her overseas. However, after some time, she went back to baking and cheffing, which then led her to Thailand, where she met her husband. Her husband and her ended up in Australia, and during that time, she pioneered the raw food movement. She now coaches women to nourish themselves beyond the food they eat, to live empowered, fulfilling lives by embracing more than their dress, their age and their appearance.

Kemi is the author of Raw Beauty Queen, and her latest book is The Gift of Asking. Welcome, Kemi.


Kemi: Thank you very much for having me, Kylie. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Kylie: Thank you. So Kemi, we’ve got a little bit of a chat going on today about asking, and about women and asking.

Kemi: Yes.

Kylie: And I’m really looking forward to diving into that. But before we get into that, I’d like to go back to young Kemi and what young Kemi liked doing as a child.

Kemi: Oh. Young Kemi loved playing with her baby dolls, but then realised that none of her friends were still playing with their baby dolls. So young Kemi hid her baby doll and thought, “Oh, I should probably do what everyone else does.” I was very creative as a child. As an entrepreneur now, I look back and remember that I would make little fabric bows with safety pins on the back that I would sell for like, one pound or something to friends at school, and we sort of forget that actually we have these entrepreneurial things from a very early age.

Loved riding my bike, having secret games. I was a scrumper as well, which is … scrumping is another word for stealing other people’s fruit. So I grew up in Kent, and that’s known as England’s country garden, and so I would get up on my sister’s shoulders or she’d get up on mine, and we had friends and we’d just kind of steal people’s pears and then run off into the bushes and eat them, and that was the highlight of the day. That kind of old school fun and play, and were told to come back when the street lights were on. So, yeah, I just loved being outdoors and making things. Yeah.

Kylie: Yeah. And so that’s something that you’ve actually brought into your adult life?

Kemi: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I’m definitely consider myself to be a creative and a maker, as well as lots of other things.

Kylie: Still a scrumper?

Kemi: Still a scrumper, yeah, actually I am. Oh my goodness. I actually still am. Yep, at 42, I still steal people’s fruit. I have my own beautiful veggie garden and fruit garden, but I do have surrounding neighbours and we all give each other licence to steal each other’s fruit. And there’s the unwritten law around fruit. If it’s over someone’s fence and wall then you can take it, but you’d never go over someone’s boundary. So I have more boundaries to my scrumping these days.

Kylie: With a bit more permission, kind of [crosstalk 00:03:18].

Kemi: Yeah, bit more asking. Yeah. Yeah.

Kylie: Bit more asking. Very good.

Kemi: Yeah. That’s right.

Kylie: Kemi, you’ve had a bit of an unusual childhood, and I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind just giving us a bit of a background as to how you grew up.

Kemi: Yeah, okay. So no one can see this on the podcast, but I have Nigerian heritage. But English-born, and in the ’70s, when I was born, if you were well-to-do middle class family, which my parents were, it meant that one of your options was that your children went to England to be educated, and it all comes from colonisation, and that’s a whole other podcast. But they really believed, “Okay, if my children are gonna be anything, they’re gonna be the lawyers and the doctors of Nigeria. We’ll send them to England to be educated and they’ll come back.”

And it didn’t really work out that way for a lot of families. What actually ended up happening … It wasn’t under any sort of government system, the fostering. It was basically my mum knew someone that knew someone that knew someone. And what ended up happening was a lot of Nigerian ended up getting lost, and my sister and I were very, very lucky. I’m the eldest of seven, but we were all fostered in pairs. So by the time my brother came along, we were too old to be fostered, but … So I grew up with my sister that’s three years younger than me, and we had five different foster families growing up.

We were separated at foster parents number four because we got home one day from school and there was an eviction notice on the door, and my foster mother had disappeared and we didn’t know where she was. So we stayed on a friend’s floor that night. We went back to school and my headmistress then looked after us, and then we went into care, so it was now official. And I was asked, “What do you want to happen to you?” And I just said at that point, “I don’t want to live with my birth mother.” Because I didn’t know her at all. We’d spend holidays with her, but I didn’t know her, and I didn’t wanna go and live in Nigeria because I didn’t know Nigeria. And so at that point then, they said to me, “We’ve actually found a foster family for your sister but not for you, or you can go into a children’s home together. So you can either separate or go into a children’s home.” And I said, “Well obviously we’re going to a children’s home together. There’s no way that we’re gonna be separated.”

And we had an interview with the guy that owned the foster home, and he actually said, “Considering your circumstance … ” We’d been homeless for six months by this time. So we weren’t on the streets, but we had no fixed abode. We were just on friends’ floors, rotating around. And he just said, “If you come into this children’s home, you’ll be on drugs or pregnant within a year, so I’m actually not gonna take you.” And I really consider him to be probably one of the biggest angels that ever graced my life, and so my sister and I were split up, and that was very emotionally challenging, and it did get bad enough for me that I did try and take my life at that time. I was 14. Because I didn’t know what life would be like without her.

And I arrived with [Sue 00:05:58] and [Russell 00:05:58], who … I was 13 years old. I had two plastic bags of belongings. And I went out the next day with Sue to get some underwear and various things that I needed, and I had an experience where she was asking me what it was I wanted. What sort of underwear I wanted. And in that moment, I realised that she was asking me to choose, and I look back on that moment and it’s a real anchor point for me, because I feel like that was the moment when I felt like I was actually asked to choose what I wanted for my life. I mean, it was only knickers, but you know, it was really symbolic to me, and I remember thinking, “Wow, if this is what choice feels like, then this is what I’ve got forever.” And I really know now, looking at the work that I do now as a life coach, is that experiencing having a disempowered childhood, and really creating a life for myself where I feel like an incredibly empowered woman, and then being able to create that space for other women.

I think, for those of us that are privileged, and when I say privileged I mean every time we go to the cupboard we have food, we have a roof over our head, that we’re actually safe, considering a lot of women in the world. That even though we have incredible liberation, we don’t necessarily feel empowered. And I think there are very big forces at work to have women not feel empowered, and I think there’s reasons for that, and some are obvious and some are not so obvious. So for me to be able to work with one woman at a time or a few women at a time to just say, “No, do you know what? Actually the thing you’ve always got is choice.”
So that’s how my childhood has really linked into the work that I do, that I do now. Yeah.

Kylie: Yeah. Incredibly so.

Kemi: Yeah.

Kylie: And through every kind of trial, there’s a triumph to be seen in that. But at 14 to be faced with such an incredibly hard situation to be put in …

Kemi: Yeah, but do you know what’s really interesting, is that when you’re in it, and I’ve heard other people say this that have kind of had … I don’t know how you put it. Interesting childhood, or challenging childhoods, or … is that you kind of … I definitely spent my childhood in emotional survival mode. There was no doubt about it. I didn’t dream about what I was gonna do when I grew up. I didn’t dream about my wedding dress. I didn’t. I was just like, “I hope I have the same mum and dad tomorrow. And I hope I can be good enough that I won’t be passed on again.” And also for me as well, being a black child raised in a white family in white England, there are other complexities around that as well, which also speaks a little bit to asking.

I think we can always choose. It’s interesting sometimes, my clients will say to me, “I wanna get the lesson, I wanna get the lesson. What’s the lesson in this?” Sometimes I have to remind them, “We have to feel it first.” The lesson doesn’t have to come while we’re in it. It’s a disservice to try and, “Oh, well we’ll just put the icing over the top and it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. The lesson is … ” And actually, we don’t know what the lesson is until sometimes years, decades later. And so I choose, but I think we choose our lessons. There’s not like, one lesson. I think we get to choose what is the most empowering lesson that can move us forward at that time. And so I have chosen that one of the gifts of being fostered … there’s a few. One was I didn’t have one particular family telling me who or what I should be. So I didn’t have this burden of, “I will only be loved if … ” you know? It also meant I didn’t have anyone really rooting for me or batting for me, though.

And the other thing is that I know what it’s like literally to be in somebody else’s world. To step into somebody else’s space where you’re a complete outsider, and to be able to observe it to see how it works, and as a coach, because my job is to create a space where no one feels judged and there’s no agenda, I definitely feel that having that childhood has really benefited me in being able to create that space for others.

Kylie: Knowing just absolutely how imperative that is, for people to be able to show up in the world.

Kemi: Yeah, fully.

Kylie: I mean, that’s amazing to me, when we’ve had this conversation in the past, to think how did you actually survive that and be able … I’ve heard of post-traumatic stress disorder. And now there’s the post-traumatic thriving. That kind of flipping of the gap there.

Kemi: Yeah, flipping it over.

Kylie: Like in times of great hardship, some people will carry the trauma with them for their whole lives and some people will use it to thrive. And I definitely put you in that second [crosstalk 00:10:18].

Kemi: And we’re thriving, and yeah. I don’t know, I just think … I don’t have long. And look, and there were … It’s funny you should mention post-traumatic stress. I wouldn’t necessarily name it that, but there were things that happened to me. So when I was a young teenager and my friends would go on holiday, when I was a young teenager my friends would go on holiday, I would sob in my room for days and days because I thought I might never see them again. When I arrived with my last foster family, I had a self-harming thing where I’d bang my head against the wall constantly. Constantly. And it was kind of like I needed people to know how much pain … I needed to demonstrate the pain that I was in. And I would test , which is very, very common for foster children, is to test your foster parents. To see do you want me? Do you want me? Do you want me? Do you want me?
So there were definitely lots of things that I took on in that survival, and … yeah.

Kylie: I’ve heard that saying before that people need their pain recognised.

Kemi: Yeah, absolutely.

Kylie: Otherwise they stay in the pain, and it’s that hurt people hurt people.

Kemi: Yeah.

Kylie: It’s sort of like until someone recognises what I’m going through, and acknowledges me and what it’s going through, it will persist.

Kemi: Yeah. Absolutely. And it’s interesting. I think Brené Brown does a beautiful … where we talks about empathy and this idea, for a lot of us, if someone comes to us with their pain … and my observation is that a lot of people can’t be with other people’s pain because they’re not willing to be with their own. And we just can’t meet it if … So what we do is we go, “Oh no, it’ll be okay. It’ll be okay. It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine.”

Kylie: Diminish it.

Kemi: Yeah, yeah. Or, “Well just do this, and just do that, and just do that and then it’ll be fine.”

Kylie: Advice. Yeah.
Kemi: “It’ll be fine.”

Advice. The other thing as well I speak about when I run retreats, although the hug … and it’s really interesting because when we hug someone, we think that we’re … hugs are great. I love a hug. Who doesn’t love a hug? But if someone is in something emotional, sometimes hugging them actually shuts them down. And I think, once again, it goes to asking. We can always ask, “Would you like a hug right now?” It’s amazing how many times people say no. Because they wanna be allowed to feel it. Just knowing that you’re there, they just need to know you’re there, but they don’t need you to kind of envelop them so then they can’t have the experience that they need to have for that time. And you’re right, it will keep coming back. If we don’t feel heard it will keep coming back, and the more it has to keep coming back the uglier it gets.

Kylie: Yeah, so there’s two things that you’ve just said there that remind me of in a work environment when we show up as someone in pain, and people not knowing how to respond to us, and us kind of just freaking out because we’re not knowing how to deal with us. But also as leaders, the importance of us doing our own work so that we can sit with somebody who is in pain and not shy away from it, not try and diminish it and not try to fix it, but just be with them in that moment so that they can be seen.

Kemi: That’s right.

Kylie: It’s just … it’s powerful. And that second point about asking people, “Would you like a hug?” As opposed to just assuming that, or in the Brené training that I did that was something that we were encouraged to identify in ourselves, is how do I like to be comforted? And for me, I’m a big hugger, so I … But maybe after I’ve been an emotional mess …

Kemi: Yes, first, yeah. Yeah.

Kylie: Yeah. So we absolutely do have preferences for how we prefer to be comforted, because it might just be someone holding your hands or rubbing your back, or just …

Kemi: Making you a cup of tea.

Kylie: … sitting next to you.

Kemi: That’s right. And that’s like the whole love languages idea, in the same way that we all like to be loved in different ways. And instead of guessing, trying to guess our partner’s or spouse’s or children’s way to be loved, that we can actually ask them, “What does love look like to you right now?”

Kylie: Yes, yes.

Kemi: “Oh, it doesn’t mean me, as a mother, it doesn’t mean me putting you to bed every single night. It actually means me sewing the button on your shorts.” Do you know what I mean?

Kylie: Yes.

Kemi: So it’s like, “Oh, okay, that kind of frees up some time.”

Kylie: Acts of service.

Kemi: Yeah.

Kylie: That’s mine.

Kemi: That’s mine. I think a lot of mother’s love language is acts of service.

Kylie: Yes, yeah. Yeah. And bringing that back to a work context, I just found out about that. I was recording an interview with an online entrepreneur and he said, “We actually have done our love languages in our office.”

Kemi: Oh, great.

Kylie: “And so I actually know that the HR guy, he wants to be hugged. When he wants to show appreciation. He’s a hugger, whereas [John 00:14:45] in accounts, he likes me to stand up in front of the whole company and give him praise.” And so they actually did that within their team, which was … I thought that’s phenomenal.

Kemi: I think any tools that allow us as human beings to be able to honestly and authentically connect with each other is always gonna be a good thing. I think it’s … I don’t know. Yeah, I’m gonna use the word ridiculous. I think it’s ridiculous to have, example, a work environment and you have people come in with all of their stuff, from zero to whatever age they are, and you literally just throw everyone into a situation and go, “Okay, get on with it.” And not expect for people’s stuff to come up, and to not inquire, and to not have those uncomfortable conversations with people, and to not … this is something, the other day and American woman who was talking about having that uncomfortable conversation at work, and that she felt that as a CEO, it was her job to have the uncomfortable conversation, because how could her employees grow if they didn’t know they were doing bad work?

And she’d experienced it before. She was trying to be a nice CEO and hadn’t had a conversation. Ended up sacking the person, and then it just haunt … because when she said to him, “You’re fired.” He said, “Well, I thought you liked me.” Because what she’d done, instead of having the uncomfortable conversation, she decided to be nice instead. And she said, “And that really taught me the lesson that I had done him a disservice. I didn’t give him the opportunity to actually become better. I waited until it got really, really bad and then I could fire him.” So I just think there’s so much opportunity, whenever you have human beings in a space, for us to be human with each other.

Kylie: Yeah, and we’re not taught how to have those hard conversations, and we do rock up in an office, as you said, we’re all thrown in together with all of our baggage that we’ve experienced. All of our how we’ve grown up and-

Kemi: Yeah, survival techniques, all the stories we’ve told ourselves, the modelling. That we look-

Kylie: Unresolved things.

Kemi: The power struggles. All of this stuff, and then it’s like, “Okay, great. Let’s look at our bottom line.”

Kylie: Yes. Yes.

Kemi: It’s like, “Yeah, but I’m surviving.” Or whatever it is.

Kylie: Yes, yes.

Kemi: “My dad’s dying right now, so I don’t really care about the bottom line.” How can you bring the human into that space?
Kylie: Well, this is what this podcast is about, and why I’m talking to people like you because you do coach women in all areas of their life. You’re a life coach, but life doesn’t begin and end … There’s no boundary between life and work. It is part of who we are and gives meaning to our life. One of the questions that I wanted to ask you was given were you are now in your life and the work that you do, one of the questions that I ask people often is I’d like to know some of the things that you believe in. Sort of three beliefs that drive who you are today, given your lived experience.

Kemi: Okay. I believe that I am responsible for my life. 100%. So I don’t believe anything is happening to me. I don’t take on being a victim of anything. So yeah, so I would just say that I am responsible. If I want my marriage to work, it’s up to me. If I want my children to something, it’s up to me.

I believe in empowerment over help. When we empower the other they get to use their resources, they get to tap into who they really are. When we help, we normally have an emotional attachment to how it’s gonna turn out. And I used to be a helper so I know the difference.

And what else do I believe? Oh, I believe in the power of nature. Being in it, smelling it, and for emotional wellbeing, for creativity, for time out and just for awe. Just to be in awe, to just … to be able to look at a bee on a piece of lavender and just go, “How does that work that that honey’s gonna come soon?” Yeah, I believe in the power of nature.

Kylie: And you’re out in it often.

Kemi: I am.

Kylie: When you look at your Instagram feed, you’re out in the world. Running ultramarathons through the hills and …

Kemi: And it’s really interesting. I had somebody say to me, a fantastic friend and colleague say to me the other day, “Kemi, you’re a real yes person.” And it really shocked me because I actually consider myself to be a no person, so that I can say yes to the things that are important. I was an actor, I love acting. I love it when I’m speaking. I love being on stage, but I have very strong introvert tendencies, so I could be part of a running group, but I did it, I tried it once and two minutes into it, I was just like, “I really hope this person’s gonna stop talking to me soon.” And thought, “No, running is a solo thing.”

And I have running friends I now run with on training runs, but after I while I just say to them, “Ladies, I’m off.” Because I just need to commune with the trees. And my work, as well, I work on my own. I have my assistant that comes in once a week, but otherwise I’m actually on my own and I really, really like that. Then I’m really charged when the family come home at the end of the day, and I’m very, very mindful of how I fill my cup so that I can be of service to other people.

Kylie: And in being of service to other people, you are a coach. So could you talk a little bit about your work that you do as a coach, and how you arrived at this being a thing for you?

Kemi: I suppose it arrived … and facilitation and coaching is different but I look back on it, like I was talking about entrepreneurial things, I look back and I first started facilitating when I was 14. So when I arrived with my last set of foster parents, they actually ran a drama workshop and I started doing drama workshops with children. And one of the reasons why I’m coaching now is because I was doing the whole raw food thing and I loved it, and I would spend a day with a group of women sharing with them raw food, and how it’s great to add this life to your life, and the difference it has for clarity and energy, and I would-

Kylie: Alive food. [crosstalk 00:20:42].

Kemi: Alive, yeah. Alive to your life. Exactly. And I would say to them, “This isn’t about diets.” I’m not a fan of diets. I think they’re one of the best ways of disempowering women, but I would still have women come up to me with some version at the end of, “Okay, I really got all of that, but does celery or cucumber have more calories?” And the more I kept hearing that again and again … and I just thought, “This is massive.” And it started to make me feel incredibly anger and upset that I was also surrounded by women in my life that were successful in so many ways, whether that’s successful in their career path, or successful as mothers, or successful within their communities, it was all about the last five kilos, or any version of that. Or the wrinkles, or the … and I just thought, we don’t have long here on this planet, and if we want our epitaph to say, “She made it to a size two.” That’s gonna be really disappointing.

And so I started coaching women in just what was happening … kind of something I think the Universe just says to you, “This is the thing.” And then I decided to become credential two years ago, and the reason I became credential, there’s quite a few reasons. One, there are a lot of coaches in the space and I do think that a lot of people can contribute to others in lots of ways, but I really wanted for myself to become the best coach that I could be, a credentialing body that was behind me that was kind of keeping an eye on me. On the work that I do.

And that I have a very strong base of ethics and guidelines that I follow. So I might have a client that will come to me and we’ll have our first … well, they won’t be a client yet, but they’ll have a first session. We’re just checking each other out, “Can I be of service to you? What support do you need?” And if I need to, I will say to them, “I don’t think either one, that I am the coach for you, or I don’t think it’s coaching that you’re after. I think that maybe what you need at the moment is a counsellor or something else.” I wouldn’t have been able to have done that seven years ago when I first started coaching because I didn’t have those very clear boundaries about what that is.

My job as a coach, and the way that I explain it to people is that I work with the woman wherever she is. She will share with me what her goal is over here, and then we work together in the gap. And so that can be anything. So my day, I had an incredible day yesterday with my clients. I had a full day of clients, and I went from someone who’s about to go overseas and was in complete overwhelm of how you pack up your life in a month to live in another country, to someone who is starting a brand new business from scratch, has just left her career for a certain amount of time, to someone else whose parent is currently dying, and dealing with those family dynamics within that space. And then somebody else who needed to find out what tiles it was she wanted for the bathroom.

Started with the bathroom tiles, and she came in saying, “I can’t believe this is what I’m talking about.” And for me to just validate and say, “This is what is happening for you right now in your life.” I think that middle class guilt is a really good way of us not doing anything either. What ended up happening around the bathroom tiles is what she got was that she struggled with making decisions, because she’s scared of failing and getting it wrong. So one thing I love about the coaching process that you start somewhere and you have no idea where it’s gonna end up. No idea at all.

Kylie: Ask questions for which you don’t have answers.

Kemi: Yeah. Absolutely. And not supposed to have the answers. It’s not my job as a coach to give advice. That’s what a consultant does. It’s not my job as a coach to take people way, way, way back in the past and stay there, that’s what counselling and all of those great other healing modalities are for. And sometimes we need to go into the past as coaches, but only in service of the future. We don’t hang out there for too long.

It’s good to know, and I get to create the space where people can fail and be vulnerable, and also with women what’s interesting, to sometimes say, “How are you gonna celebrate that achievement?” It’s like, “What do you mean? Why would I? Why would I celebrate that?” Especially entrepreneurs. But also to say, “Own that you’ve mastered that. I invite you to own that actually you are really organised at work and that was why you got that promotion. It wasn’t luck. It wasn’t just because Sally was sick that day. It wasn’t. It’s because you put in the hard yards. You were recognised and this is the prize.” And it’s great to be able to have that space and to go on that journey. It’s very intimate.

Kylie: Yeah. I mean, you work exclusively with women.

Kemi: I do.

Kylie: Because of …

Kemi: Because we’re awesome. Because I feel, as a woman, I have that lived experience. I have had people say to me, “Oh, I think you should work with men.” I wouldn’t not ever work with men. It’s not about that. Men are great. I’m married to one. I have a son. But if I met a man and he wanted me to be his coach, and we gelled, and we connected, and I felt that I could be of service to him, then I probably would take on that guy as a client. But the reason that I love working with women is because I believe that we are all in it together, and even though we’re coming from different background, different experiences, there’s something about womanhood that is a shared experience for all of us.

Things like when we get to a certain age, our hormones are going to make a difference to whether or not we wanna make dinner that night. We need to, for women that are incredibly successful and ambitious, we can do it and I believe that we should, and I’m incredibly ambitious as well, but not at the expense of ourselves. And that was the old male model. Men can succeed really well focusing on one thing, but … And it annoys me. It annoys me, but actually I’m not gonna have a good day at work if my husband and I aren’t getting on very well. And I’m not gonna have a good day at work if I know that my daughter’s a bit stressed about something or … So for me, it’s how do I look at what’s important and then how do I focus on those things, and have some level of harmony from hour to hour. Let’s not look at it as life balance or … What does balance look like today?

Kylie: Today.

Kemi: What does balance look like today?

Kylie: Just today.

Kemi: Sometimes what does balance look like this hour? If you’re really in overwhelm, okay, in this hour, balance looks like not having toast. Balance looks like having a piece of fruit right now. It’s like, what does that look like? Or balance is right now having the toast with the chocolate spread, and the peanut butter and the cup of tea, because that is actually what I need right now to have everything else work in the day. This is not the area to beat myself up because there’s other stuff I need to be doing today. And I do, it’s where I see my childhood as a privilege because I know what it’s like to not own your life, so I … my experience of how I live my life now, it’s like a game. It’s not always fun, but it is a gift and a privilege to be able to direct the course of how your life goes. To the point that you can.

Kylie: Yes. So coming back to the choice you have, so you might not choose the circumstances in which you find yourself, but you certainly have a choice about how you …

Kemi: How you can react.

Kylie: How you can react.

Kemi: And also how even … I love that quote, which kind of is that. But also I think, and this is about the difficult conversations, we think that, “Oh, I get to choose how I react and I’m going to go to higher ground right now.” You might think you are, but when you’re in it you actually don’t, and then to be able to say in that difficult conversation, “That is so not what I meant to say. Can I just start again?”

Kylie: Brilliant.

Kemi: And to just have that space to then go, “Okay, what I meant to say … ” To start conversations off where you can actually say, “I know that sometimes when I speak to you, you feel manipulated, and I know that sometimes when I speak to you, you think that I’m patronising. I do not want any of those things to show up in this conversation, so let me know if you’re starting to feel that way and I’m gonna start again.” And that can only come from self-awareness. When you know, “Okay, my survival technique is that, and if I’m feeling threatened or I’m feeling vulnerable, I’m gonna pull that out of the bag.” We can kind of give the person we’re talking to a pre-warning. This is what I do, this is what it looks like, let me know if I’m doing that. Because what I’m committed to is that you and I are connected through whatever it is that’s happening.

Kylie: There’s a great technique in some of the training that I’ve done which is about circling back.

Kemi: Right.

Kylie: It’s that idea of maybe you’ve had a conversation, and maybe in the moment you haven’t realised how you’ve landed on someone until you’ve had a chance to step back from it, and giving yourself the grace to circle back and say, “You know that conversation that we had yesterday? I realised that I said this and I thought about it, and it’s not what I really meant.”

Kemi: Meant. This is what I meant.

Kylie: “And I just wanted to check in with you because this was actually my intention, and where were you at in that conversation when we had that?” and so having that language to even say, “It’s okay to circle back.” And that a relationship is a series of dialogues. It’s not a one-time go at it. And it’s an ongoing-

Kemi: And fumbling, and messy and all of those things. I think our need to get it right the first time is, we just don’t do ourselves or anyone else any service.

Kylie: Yes. And in your work with women in particular, I remember hearing … I think it was the lady who started Girls Who Code, and she started it because she could see that when she was trying to do something as a girl, that idea of perfecting it first time round was what crippled women in particular from then pursuing the next stage of it, so they’d drop out of it, whereas boys are taught to be brave. So girls are taught to be perfect. Girls are taught to be brave.

Kemi: Yes, yes. And also perfect and not rocking the boat in any way.

Kylie: Compliant.

Kemi: Yeah. Be compliant and be available all the time. You are a good girl if you are constantly available and you don’t rock the boat, and you’re perfect. That’s heavy. That’s like a burden. That is a burden that so many women are having. We’re living with that every single day. All the time, and I speak about that a little bit, you know, the curse of the good girl. And I mention it in my first book, but I’ve gone into it deeper in the gift of asking because I believe it is the curse of the good girl that has us not ask. For me, from my lived experience, especially to be a black child in a white world, you just be very grateful for what you’ve got. I remember it being said to me enough times that it kind of stuck. People say to me, “You’re one of the black ones, but you’re a nice one.” Or, “You’re one of the black ones, but you’re a good one.” Or variations of, “You should be grateful for what you’ve got,” which basically meant because you’re being brought up by white people, you don’t have to live in Africa.

So one of the things for me, writing this book, was to really look at what my asking journey has been, and the impact it’s had on me of just be good, and just be quiet and don’t rock the boat. And look, and it still rears its head sometimes as a 42 year old woman, because sometimes I, living in Australia, living in Melbourne as well, maybe it’d be different if I was in Alice Springs or something, but where I’m in Melbourne, is that generally I am the only person of colour in the room, in the rooms that I circle in.

And so when there are certain issues that come up or not pointed out, I know that I am the one that has to call it because no one else is going to. And sometimes I still have that feeling of like, “Oh.” You know? You don’t wanna be the aggressive black woman or the angry black woman. It’s what Michelle Obama, you know, Obama speaks about this idea of, if you are a black woman and you have an opinion then you are immediately angry. So therefore we don’t speak. Which actually then forms another form of anger because we don’t have a voice, you know?

Kylie: Oppression on oppression on oppression.

Kemi: Yeah, that’s right. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Oppression on top of oppression on top of oppression. Exactly. And so it’s and not that, within the book, it’s not that we go from never asking for anything to then asking for everything that we’ve ever wanted, but that we all have a history around asking. We all learnt something.

I interviewed nine women. Some of them live in Australia but they’ve come from different countries, and it was so interesting to ask them the question of, “What did you learn about asking as a child?” And for them to tap into that and to see that for some, you just didn’t ask because it rocked the boat, and that sort of thing, but for some asking was weak and you had to be self-sufficient, and hearing other people spoke about, “I cannot believe that they asked for that. How greedy.” And greedy was bad, so therefore they would never ask. And how that manifested in their relationships as young women, how that’s manifested at work, knowing that your male colleague is getting paid so much more than you and they’re not good at their job, and you are, but not being able to ask because you don’t wanna rock the boat.

And the impact that has on all … It’s not about the money. For me writing this book, I really have discovered in speaking to women is that asking is equated with self-worth and worthiness. It’s not that we ask so that we can have everything that we want. Sometimes it’s good that we don’t get what we want. There’s another opportunity waiting. But the idea that we are worthy enough to ask, is the message that I am really hoping that women get from reading this book, and that we can ask for anything.

And for some women, asking … I had a friend I took to Bali a few years ago and she said to me, like a month later we were chatting, she goes, “When we were in that café and that waiter asked you and you said, ‘Oh, I’d like the avocado but I don’t want the egg, but could I have that instead of that?'” She said, “I was looking at you just thinking, she asks for anything. I would never ask for that.” And for some of us, if we’re paying for a service, and I like good service, having been in hospitality I appreciate incredible customer service. And I run my business the same. If I’m paying for something, I have no problem in asking. I have no problem in asking.
But there are many women that would never, even if they don’t even like the avocado, they just won’t ask to either not have the avocado or to change the avocado for something else, and that all comes into, “I don’t wanna be a burden. I don’t wanna appear greedy. I don’t wanna make a fuss.” And it’s like, but you’re paying. It’s your meal. And then there are other asking like asking for a hug, asking for more time, asking for sex, asking not to have sex. One of the things that’s really shocked me in my research in my research for this book was I was presenting in front of 150 women, and I asked them, “Who here … ” And it wasn’t a question that I knew I was gonna ask. It was just the space that I was in and the energy that I was getting, and I said, “Who here has only had sex when they have wanted to?” And of the 150 women in that room, three of us put our hand up.

And I wasn’t speaking in the realm of abuse or rape or anything of that, and I know that if I’d asked that question as well, because I’ve worked with women enough to know that there would have been a lot of hands that would have gone up if I’d asked that question as well, but just within your relationships. And who was unable to ask for something else like chocolate or a hug instead? And I talk in the book about a woman that I met that said to me, “The reason I date men is so that I can have a hug, so I can have that physical intimacy, and the only way to do that is to have sex with them. And I would never ask that for a hug. That would be weird.” So it’s interesting even what we will do to not actually ask for what it is that we want.

Kylie: So what’s the alternative? How do we get over ourselves and in a self-compassionate way, rather than a beat ourselves up because I’m not a good asker?

Kemi: Yeah, that’s right. There’s no beating up. There’s no time for beating ourselves up. There are so many other people and things that are trying to beat us up all the time. One of the thing that [inaudible 00:35:44] asking processes within the book, and the first one is to look at our asking. Because we don’t ask ourselves these questions. So to be asked the question, “What is your relationship to asking?” It just has little light bulbs just go off. And then within the book, we just sit with that for a while. There’s nothing to do. You don’t have to ask anyone anything. You just sit with, “What is my relationship to asking?” We then go out into the world and we just see it. We just start to clock.

And one way that I say to understanding when you know when you’re not asking for something is to look at what are you constantly complaining about? What are you tolerating? What are you gossiping about? What do feel resentful about? Where do you feel like your ship hasn’t come in again or that you’ve missed the boat? All of these, what I call the costs, are all really great inroads to look at, and what am I not asking for.

And so it’s not a book where it’s kind of like bam, bam, bam, you have to do this and then ask, and then ask, and then … It’s like, first of all, just sit in, “What is your relationship to asking?” And then looking at, “And what’s been the biggest ask that you’ve ever had in your life? And how did that turn out? And what did you learn from that, whether you got it or whether you didn’t get it?” So it’s just that … you know, my work is all about being gentle because I believe very much in action, but we need to be gentle with ourselves because this idea that women are broken and we need to be fixed, I’m kind of over it. I’m over it. There’s nothing to fix. We’re not broken, and so if we’re not broken but we wanna thrive in our lives, then there are lots and lots of tools, and lots of avenues for us to do that as individuals in a way that doesn’t make us feel like we’re doing something wrong.

Kylie: So is it like a muscle?

Kemi: Yeah. It is. It’s a muscle and you start asking when you feel ready to ask. Sometimes you have to ask when you’re not ready, and we can all work out … And that’s that beautiful super power of ours, intuition. It’s kind of like, “I’m really scared to ask this, but I know I have to.” You may not be ready. You may not feel comfortable. But you actually know, “Okay, I need to ask.” And, yeah.

Kylie: So one of the things I’m fascinated in the work that I do is the moment of choosing to do that. The very second we flick out of that, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. Okay, I’m gonna do it.” What do you think that is? What do you think happens inside of us that just goes … it’s kind of like the bungee jump. Standing on the edge. There’s no-

Kemi: Why anyone would do that, I don’t know.

Kylie: For some people, it’s just as scary.

Kemi: Yeah, absolutely. It is like that, and I think for different people at different times, it’ll be a different thing. I think that whole idea of what motivates you, pleasure or pain? Is the situation you’re in painful enough now that you have to do it, or are you so motivated by the pleasure that’s gonna come on the other side of it that that’s the thing that has to ask you? Unfortunately, I think a lot of people wait until it’s pain. Like actually it’s so painful now that I have to do something, and when we look back there were so many opportunities where we could have, but within that we weren’t meant to for whatever reasons, and then when we do ask, that’s the time that we’re meant to ask because that’s the time that we’re asking.

One thing that I’m really committed to is that people understand the difference between an insight and taking action. We can sit in this space of, “I know this about myself, and I’m very self-aware, and I know this, and I know, and oh, and I went to that course and I realised this about myself, and I realised this, and I realised this.” And then my question is, “Okay, so what are you gonna do about it?” I think that’s why a lot of people find themselves on kind of the self-help merry-go-round.

And actually it’s interesting because some people will put coaching within self-help, and some people say it’s very different than self-help. It’s self-development, and development as in that it’s moving you forward. I think it’s possible for people to go from self-help course to self-help … and never actually … We all have those people. We either know them or we know of them that go to every single course that there is, but you kind of feel like you’re kind of still in the same place you were 10 years ago, because what we know is that constant insight after insight doesn’t shift anything. It’s taking action that shifts things.

Kylie: And building that muscle.

Kemi: Yeah, and building that muscle. And failing and not getting it right, and then being really scared and trying it again, and then going, “I’m not gonna do that again.” And then doing it again, and then you realise two years, three years, four years, five years down the line, “I cannot believe where I am now compared to where I was,” as opposed to, “But it was a seven day course where it was supposed to fix me and I don’t feel any different.” It’s like, yeah, no, because the reality is it takes work.

Kylie: So what happens when you get a no?

Kemi: Oh, the nos can be gold. So there are, and I speak about this in the book, there’s actually a chapter called When The Answer Is A No. There’s counter-offers. Counter-offers are one of my favourite. So there’s all these different options. A counter-offer is, “Okay, let’s just talk about … ” because you know the work environment. Just say it’s about money for the raise. So the counter-offer is, “Okay, I understand that that’s not gonna happen now,” for whatever reason you’ve been told, it’s a no. Would you be willing to look at this again in three months? What is it that I would need to do to be considered to have that raise? To keep asking questions so you have the information to choose, and it may that what you’re told that you need to do to get that raise, you’re not up for doing. And that’s when you get to choose.

That when we ask these difficult questions and the answer is no … I had a client where had just come out of a relationship and she didn’t know whether it was on or off or on and off, and we worked through it and she decided that the action she was gonna take was to say to her partner, “Is this a no for now or a no forever?” A really difficult question to ask. And she asked and the answer was it was a no forever, and although she had to grieve, and she felt rejected and all those things, she now had a choice because now she could move on. “Okay, so now I actually have my personal power back because I know what the situation is and now I get to choose what it is that I get to do from here.”

Kylie: And I know where I stand.

Kemi: And I know where I stand. And the thing is, though, as uncomfortable as it is, many of us, in many situations, would rather be in limbo. We know we need the answer.

Kylie: Hiding.

Kemi: We’re just, yeah, just like, “Even though I don’t know if we’re together or not, this is kind of better than him telling me that we’re not together, even though I know we’re not together but I just can’t ask whether we’re together or not, because she might … ” There’s comfort in the not knowing, even though it’s costing us in lots of different ways.

Kylie: Until it becomes …

Kemi: Until it becomes unbearable. Or you see the person off with somebody else and then you know the answer, which doesn’t necessarily give you personal power because you didn’t actually elicit it from yourself. Like, “I need to know this for myself, as a human being that’s worthy of knowing, whether or not you just don’t love me for now and we need to work through things, or you just don’t love me anymore.” We’re all gonna be told at some point that someone doesn’t love us anymore. That’s part of the human experience.

Kylie: Or that we’re not needed anymore.

Kemi: Or that we’re not needed anymore.

Kylie: Or we’re not wanted anymore at work.

Kemi: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah.

Kylie: As we go through our careers, there are situations where career relationships end, or break up, or morph, or …

Kemi: Absolutely. And so it’s our sort of fear of hearing the no, we think that no is negative and no is actually what can give us personal power. It’s like, “Okay, so I’ve got the no now. Now what do I choose to do with that?”

Kylie: Yes.

Kemi: Another way as well, when you get the no, is to, like I said, check in to say, “Well, what are your concerns about giving me a yes?”

Kylie: Great question.

Kemi: “What are your concerns about giving me a yes?” Because the reason people say no is because they have a concern. Something, somewhere, and it may be because you haven’t been at the company long enough and we don’t feel that you have the … “Okay, so what it would take for you to know that I have what I need to take on that project?” There are many different ways of navigating, many different ways of navigating a no.

Kylie: What if you’re on the other side of being asked?

Kemi: Yeah, as a woman. Another whole chapter dedicated to this, which actually starts with, “I couldn’t write a book about asking without a chapter saying we must be able to say no.” So checking in … a really small, very practical tool within the book. So I’m a coach writing the book but I’m not a coach in the book, which means that I do give tips and ideas, which isn’t really within the realms of what I do necessarily for my clients, unless I ask permission for them to give them advice. But one of them is just not saying yes in that moment when you’re asked. This is a really simple one. To just say, “I will get back to you tomorrow. On Thursday. On Sunday. In the week.” Space. So you can actually check in. “Do I want to do this? If I am doing it, why am I doing this? How long will this take me to do? What’ll be the impact on me, my family, my work, my other commitments if I take on this thing?”

So this kind of gives you time, and another one is suggesting someone that really would want to do that, so not in a kind of, “I’ll just get myself out of it and I’ll suggest Barbara.” But actually knowing that Barbara is looking for work, or Barbara is something, and that is something that she’d be really great at and just checking in with Barbara, “Someone’s asked me to do something. I can’t do it. Would you be interested? Can I connect the two of you?”

And then there’s just saying no. And then just not saying anything else afterwards.

Kylie: It’s a complete sentence.

Kemi: Yes. No is a complete sentence. I love that. Yeah. No. And what does make a lot of women feel better is, “I’m sorry I can’t do that for you. Thank you very much for asking me, but I’m a no.” So you kind of …

Kylie: Elegant.

Kemi: Yeah. Elegant.

Kylie: [crosstalk 00:44:58].

Kemi: Any guilt that you then have after that is your stuff from whatever, but there’s nothing in that sentence, in saying that, that makes you a horrible person, or nasty, or selfish, or any of those things. That voice that starts doing that, that’s for you to work with in another realm. But in that space of, “Thank you, I’m so honoured that you would ask me to do that. I’m committed to other things at the moment. I wanna really commit my time to what I’m already responsible for and I’m a no at this point.”

Kylie: So when you talk about that voice that shows up, that inner critic voice like, “You can’t say no. What if they don’t ask you again? What if you miss out? What if that’s led to something else and you’ve disappointed them, and what if they hate your guts now? What if they talk being your back?” You know, the whole soundtrack of that inner critic stuff. Do you help women work through that as a coach?

Kemi: Oh, absolutely. And it’s all about me just asking questions, so one of my favourite, I suppose, tools with coaching is where you just drill down, so it’s like, “So what would happen if you that?” So, “What would happen if you found out that they were talking about you? Okay, and then what would happen? And then what would happen? And then … ” And generally what we get to is nothing. Nothing would happen. Yeah. You would just feel uncomfortable. It wouldn’t feel nice, but nothing would happen. But what happens in you saying no is that you actually get to be with your family on the holiday that you have planned, without having to take on this extra bit of something because you felt that you wanted to be a good girl. It’s also looking at, you’re saying no because you can see the costs if you say yes. And sometimes we have to say yes continually until it gets so bad that we have no other option but to say no.

Kylie: And that’s the pain. Until it becomes very painful.

Kemi: And that’s the pain. It becomes so painful. And it’s not just painful for us, though. We sometimes … we underestimate how other people are being affected by us being completely overcommitted. But our children are affected, those of us that have children, our colleagues, our family, the people that we really love, the people that we really wanna dedicate our energy and our time to are affected when we are overwhelmed, and when we become resentful, and when we’re angry, they get affected to.

Kylie: So one of the things that I’ve worked through with a couple of my clients, as well, is when they get asked a lot at work to take on more, and more, and more, and more. And one of the tools that we have is to put down on paper everything that you’ve got on your plate at the moment, and to actually put it on the table and say, “Well this is everything that is on my plate right now. So you’re asking me for something else to put on that, so where do my priorities lie? What are my priorities now? What can I take off? What can we delay, defer, deny? We have the three Ds. How can we do that?” And put it on paper so it’s real and it’s not just me figuratively pointing stuff out of the air. It’s actually on paper, and so I’m not … it’s between the two of us, it’s not subjectively just with me.

Kemi: Just with me. Yeah, absolutely. And I remember actually … very old-school, but I do love Brian Tracy, and he spoke about asking this idea of saying to your … if you’re a boss or if you’re an employee. If you’re an employee, saying to your boss, “What am I paid for? What am I paid to do? What are the three things that I am actually paid to do? What do I need to turn out to be the best I can at this job?”

Kylie: My KPIs?

Kemi: Yeah. Yeah, kind of. Yeah, kind of. “What is it that I am here to do that no one else in this firm is doing?” And then for the boss, “What sort of leader do you need me to be? What sort of boss do you need me to be?” This asking thing again. So we’re not spending our energy trying to guess what it is that people need for us when actually we can just ask them. “What is it you need from me right now?”

My husband actually last night, he said to me … it’s a ritual that we have. He said to me, “How am I going as a husband?” Actually, he said, “How am I going as a husband and how am I going as a father?” Yeah, I think it was those two. “How am I going as a husband and how am I going as a father?” And we get to check in with each other, and to say, “Actually … ” And if anyone’s interested, I said, “Actually, you’re doing really great on all fronts right now.” Oh, and domestic. That was a third one. “And how am I doing on domestics?”

Kylie: I love that ritual.

Kemi: It’s so good because it means then that we’re working towards the things that are important to us, because our marriage is really important to us. We believe in working on it. We took our vows knowing that this is gonna be work and we wanna consciously work on it, and not wait until it’s so painful and then think, “Oh, what happened?”

Kylie: And imagine if we also did that in our working lives.

Kemi: Yeah, that’s right.

Kylie: If we front-footed it rather than just waited for the dreaded performance appraisal.

Kemi: Review. That’s right, exactly.

Kylie: Where it feels like … for me, I was always such a … I don’t have a good time with confrontation, and it always felt like something … I was always that harsher critic on myself than anybody else could ever possibly be. But I wanted to just touch on one of the topics you mentioned, or one of the words you brought up previously was about gratitude. About you should be grateful for X, Y, Z.

Kemi: What you’ve got, yeah.

Kylie: X, Y, Z. And definitely post-GFC and [inaudible 00:49:57], the western world kind of hunkering down during the financial crisis and just going, “We can’t control this so we’re just gonna work on being grateful for what we have.” But the problem with that, then, sitting in gratitude and marrying that with ambition for more. The straddling of those two things, being grateful for what you have and asking for me.

Kemi: Yeah. And I think this is the … there’s a difference between … You know, I have a very strong gratitude practise, and there’s a difference between being grateful for what it is that you have and also being grateful for what’s coming. We don’t have to have guilt. One thing that I know, all of my foster families until my last one were all working class. The one that was evicted, we actually lived on the worst street in that village. You know the one where as soon as you mention where you live, everyone just gives you that face. And so I know what it’s like to be the lower end of the poverty classes, I suppose, and to also be wealthy middle class. And poverty shame and middle class guilt doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change anything, and that’s why, for me, I’m committed to action again.

So as I mentioned earlier, for those that have the privilege of food on our table and a roof over our heads, it is a gift and a privilege, and that we can be grateful for, that we can make a difference in having these conversations, whatever it is that … one person listens to this conversation that we’re having and thinks, “Okay. Now’s my time to ask whatever it is. Either for myself, for my community, for my children, for my parents,” whatever it is. That that is the thing, if we’re not having to worry about our base needs, that we then have the privilege to be able to go out and ask for more for others, for ourselves, in service of others and the planet. It’s the gift that we have, and I think this idea that, “Oh, I just have to be grateful.” That is a really great way of people not doing anything.

Kylie: Yes, and that’s-

Kemi: And being oppressed. People being … that’s how I felt as a child when my one … this particular foster mother, and she did speak like this. She would say, “You just be grateful for what you have.” That did not make me grateful. It made me quiet, and silent, and scared.

Kylie: Yeah, and so for me the paradox of gratitude is actually the gratefulness that you find in the moment, and not letting that be all there is.

Kemi: Yeah, that’s right, and it goes the other way as well, is that we can strive for something and then we’re in it, and then it’s like, we forget that we wanted this thing.

Kylie: Be careful what you ask for.

Kemi: Yeah, be careful what you ask for. We forget that we wanted it, so then we’re in it and we’re complaining, and we’re moaning, and then you look back and you’re like, “Actually, I asked for this.” And then there’s another level of gratitude. Like, “This isn’t what I thought it was gonna look like. A little bit harder than what I imagined, but thank you. Thank you. I wonder who I’m gonna be on the other side of this.”

Kylie: And it comes back to that self-awareness and choice piece again.

Kemi: Yes. Absolutely.

Kylie: So Kemi, I just wanted to wrap up with this conversation, which we could go on for hours about.

Kemi: I know, it’s gone so quickly.

Kylie: What are three things that you would like people to walk away from this conversation that we’ve had and the work that you’re putting out into the world?

Kemi: I definitely feel that the more that we can own that we are responsible for our individual lives, that gives us an incredible freedom of which to move forward and live our lives. It doesn’t mean that life gets any … I’m not a big fan of let’s all be happy. I think that’d be exhausting. It doesn’t mean that life is gonna be happier, but it means that you have ownership. And that’s a gift not to be taken for granted.

That as women, we are a whole being and we are allowed to love shopping, and wanna save the whales, and eat ice cream, and eat bowls of broccoli, and be with our friends, girlfriends, drinking champagne, and be on our own in the garden, and that we shouldn’t have to justify all aspects of ourself to anyone else. And the things that make us thrive, we’re allowed to have them. Let us thrive.
Number three, number three. What would be number three? No, I’m gonna say this and I’m gonna put a little caveat on the end. To continually get out of your comfort zone because that is how we expand. I don’t mean that we have to be constantly on the edge of our heart pumping every single moment of every single day, not wanting to get out bed. Like making a bath and you think, “Oh, I’ve gotta get out of my comfort zone today. How do I do that?” All I mean is sometimes getting out of your comfort zone, for some people, is smiling at a stranger. That is … And in that moment, in that exchange, you experience yourself as someone that now does smile, that connects with other people for no reason. Getting out of comfort zone, yeah, for me, is running 100 kilometres sometimes. But also getting out of my comfort zone is saying to my husband, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to say that.”

Kylie: The hard conversation.

Kemi: Yeah. Well, just admitting that you’re wrong can be tough. That can be out of the comfort zone. There are just different ways of getting out of our comfort zone. It’s kind of like, “What would I normally do in this situation? What if I do something different?” Like a little game. Just a little game. I think play, that would be my thing, maybe getting out of the comfort zone in the way that [inaudible 00:55:15] is play in your life more, with yourself and with others. Try something different.

Kylie: So Kemi, where can people find out more about you?

Kemi: People can find me at my hard to spell name, so I’m gonna spell it out slowly. So it’s Kemi, K-E-M-I, Nekvapil, which is N-E-K-V-A-P-I-L dot com. And on there, I talk about my work as coaching and speaking, and the events that I’m speaking at, but also there are free chapters of both of my books that people can download, just to kind of get a bit more of an idea of what I believe and what I’m committed to in the world.

Kylie: So the first book is Raw Beauty.

Kemi: Is Raw Beauty. Raw Beauty.

Kylie: And that’s seven principles-

Kemi: The seven principles to nourish your body, transform your mind and live the life that you want. And The Gift of Asking.

Kylie: The new one.

Kemi: The new one is a woman’s guide to creating personal power.

Kylie: I can’t wait till it lands. Thanks, Kemi.

Kemi: No problem.

Kylie: Now we’re gonna do something quick and fun.

Kemi: Okay.

Kylie: We’re gonna do …

Kemi: We’re gonna play.

Kylie: 10 by 10.

Kemi: Okay, 10 by 10.

Kylie: We’re gonna have a bit of a play, get out of your comfort zone.

Kemi: Okay, great.

Kylie: You ready?

Kemi: I’m ready. I’m ready. Let’s do this.

Kylie: All right. Take a breath.

Kemi: Okay.

Kylie: What I like about myself is …

Kemi: That I do what I say I’m gonna do.

Kylie: I beat procrastination by …

Kemi: Doing things.

Kylie: A song on my life soundtrack is …

Kemi: ‘Cause you’re free to do what you want to do.

Kylie: A book that changed me is …

Kemi: Oh, probably The Celestine Prophecy, which I tried to read it again a few years ago and it didn’t really work. But when I read it at 18, I literally thought, “Oh my goodness, people get a say in how their life goes?”

Kylie: Something everyone must do is..

Kemi: Oh, that’s a good one. Something everyone must do is … I don’t know. Run around. Run around in the rain naked.

Kylie: The world needs more …

Kemi: Women to speak up and own themselves and each other.

Kylie: And then fear and I …

Kemi: Hang out regularly.

Kylie: A phrase I live by is …

Kemi: A phrase I live by is … I have a lot of different things that I live by. Honour your personal integrity.

Kylie: Something that always makes me feel good is …

Kemi: Oh, there are so many things that make me feel good. I really love great pop music, so I’ve got two young 13 year old and 11 year old, and I’m the one that goes, “Have you heard this song? Have you heard this song?” And we have Saturday morning dance-offs, so I love dancing, I love music and I love singing. So that, yeah. That always makes me feel good. Moving my body always makes me feel good. Yeah.

Kylie: My legacy will be …

Kemi: “Other women experience themselves as powerful because she lived.”

Kylie: Thank you, Kemi. That’s great. Thank you.

Kemi: Thank you.