This leap story is about choices and connection, freedom and humanity. The freedom that you take when you realise your life is created by your choices, and the humanity you claim when you’re connected to yourself and those around you.
Today Kemi Nekvapil is a life coach. But her path to there was laid first by working as a baker, actor, chef, yoga teacher, raw food advocate and author, across three continents. Kemi is a seasoned leaper, having just returned from taking a year off with her family to caravan around Australia.
Kemi’s work to empower women to choose a life bigger than their fears, is undoubtedly fuelled by her own experiences in living with fear. You’ll read in Kemi’s story that as a young child in England she bounced around the foster care system until she landed with a couple who gifted her the power of choice at the age of 13. Connecting with just one or two people who honour your humanity, who hold a future brighter for you than you can see for yourself, and provide a safe place from which to jump is the essence of a transformative carer… and life coach.
As human beings we can only survive when we are connected with other humans – were are biologically wired for connection. Kemi’s inspiring live event, Flourish 2016, is taking place on April 16th at The White House, St Kilda (Victoria, Australia). This is a unique and empowering event for women that draws on all of Kemi’s learnings from across her leaps, to experience a form of beauty that is fuelled by mind, body and life nourishment.
GIVEAWAY! We’re giving away a double pass to Flourish 2016 – Ignite your Personal Power and two copies of Kemi’s book Raw Beauty to one lucky kin (valued at $500). Tell us in the comments below or on Instagram why you want to go and tag the person you’d like to take with you. Good luck!
What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
There was nothing I wanted to be when I grew up. My childhood was one of emotional survival, dreams were not part of what I thought about, but I have made up for that as an adult.
What did/do you study?
I have studied many things, I am a voracious learner. I have studied bakery, the art of being a chef, the joy of being an actor, the bliss of training as a yoga teacher in India, the thrills and emotional spills of being a mother, and I am always learning the mastery of life coaching.
What has been your most scary/courageous leap you’ve ever made (preferably in your business/career/life direction)?
There have been a few; it is important to keep life exciting! Leaving a successful and growing career as an actor in England to go and work for a man that I had met once in a pub, as a chef at his resort in Thailand for no pay was a leap. I then went to India and did my yoga teacher training.
What were you doing before you made your leap?
As an actor I was working within an industry that many people love; I was earning a large income, travelling for work and pleasure, being seen in all the right places and having lots and lots of fun. I was ‘living the dream’, but I was not passionate about what I was doing. I struggled with the wonderful opportunities I was being given and this feeling of wanting more. I felt selfish and foolish. I did not know what I wanted, but I knew that spending most of my working days pretending to be someone else was exhausting for me. It is an art to transform yourself into another person and I deeply respect that art; many actors find it exhilarating, I found it exhausting.
Who have been the biggest 3 – 5 influences in your life, in terms of your career and doing work?
When I first saw Oprah on TV, I was 14 years old. She showed me that as black women we can defy the stories that have been created for us about who we should be and what we should do, and my life work now is to empower all women to believe this.
My fifth set of foster parents Sue and Russell Price whom I landed with when I was 13 years old: they gave me the power of choice, the biggest gift I have ever been given.
My bakery teacher Tony Dawes, who nourished my spirit, my possibilities and demanded only the best from me.
My husband Emrys Nekvapil, because he has agreed to share my life with me, and in partnership we facilitate each other’s work and life goals.
My children. I want to inspire and empower them to live a passionate fulfilling life, by my living a passionate and fulfilling life.
What did you have in place before you made the leap?
Nothing. Nothing but faith. I followed my gut. I knew that despite the lack of support I had from some very important people that I loved and respected, if I did not leap I would be a passenger in my own life, and that was much more scary to me than leaping into the unknown or the sense of loneliness I was feeling. It took me 18 months from when I decided I did not want to be an actor to actually leaving the profession. I felt guilty, ungrateful and selfish, and this kept me going to auditions and ‘living the dream’.
What was your defining ‘I can’t do this anymore’ moment that lead you to the leap?
It was a beautiful summer in London and I had just bought my first property, which I was renovating. I am interior design obsessed and I was in my bliss. At this time, I had not quite left acting. I had told my agent I wanted to leave the profession, but she had asked me to stay on a little longer. I agreed, not because I wanted to but because she believed in me and I did not want to let her down. I had been called to an audition for a major TV series, a regular role, and as the casting directors were asking me polite questions like, ‘How has your summer been?’ I remember saying to myself ‘You don’t care how my summer has been, and I really do not want to tell you. In fact I do not want to be here.’ I had this huge rush of resentment and overwhelming sadness. I felt like a fraud, and I felt I was selling myself out. I did not even try in that audition. I left the room and burst into tears. That was when I knew I had to leave.
How did/do you overcome/work with the fear that comes with leaping? How do you decide to choose courage?
I think the idea that we overcome fear is an illusion. I do not believe we do, not in the sense that we are one day fearful and then one day we are not and all fear has gone. For me it was, and still is, very much about taking action, any action towards what we want. If I sat around waiting for fear to go, I would never do anything. Fear can be the driving force, the edge that is needed to take the leap. I was fearful that I would be a pawn to other people’s wants for me, and that fear had me leap. With each action the fear lessens, but then we are at the next place, the next level and another fear will arise. Another fear to honour, to dissect, to own and then onto action. I believe that courage is about taking action while being really scared at the same time.
What other leaps have you made in the past?
Leaving my life and my home in England while six months pregnant to move to Australia and live with my in-laws was a leap, even more so because I had never met my mother-in-law.
My family and I have recently returned to Melbourne after travelling around Australia for a year in a caravan; that was a wonderful leap.
What leaps didn’t work out? What did you do about it?
I think all leaps work out, even if not exactly how we might intend; anyway, I can’t think of one that didn’t.
What are you most fearful of? How do you deal with it?
Being a life coach I am working with women’s fears all the time, including my own. I use roughly the same process on my clients that I do for myself. What is the fear? Where does it come from? Is it real? What are the payoffs of staying fearful? What is it costing you to remain in this state? Is what you want bigger than your fear? The answer to the last question is the most important; that is the answer that will empower action or keep us exactly where we are. To be honest, I just ask myself the last question.
How would you rate your level of happiness about making your leap?
1 being sad, 10 being rad.
10. No regrets whatsoever.
What’s the biggest upside to making the leap?
I get to be authentically me every single day. I choose how my life is, whom I spend my time with, whom I work with, how I contribute to the world. I am in the driver’s seat of my own life.
What’s the biggest downside to making the leap? And how do you get through it?
Leaping from England to Australia while experiencing an emotionally intense pregnancy (pre–natal depression), leaving everyone and everything I knew behind felt like a downside at the time.
What unknown magic occurred when you took your leap?
After leaving my career as an actor to work for the man in Thailand that I had never met before, an Aussie traveller dined at the restaurant, and that traveller is now my husband.
What might be your next leap?
I am currently at the beginning of training for a 100km trail race. There maybe more limping than leaping, but I love endurance running. I started when I was 37 with 2km on my first run. Am I a little fearful? Yes, but the joy of doing something I never thought I could do far outweighs the fear.
What are your favourite words to live by?
Anything is possible if you want it enough.
Who do you admire who also made the leap?
I admire anyone who is willing to go for what they want, who is willing to take a risk. I am always quoting this from Bronnie Ware’s book The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. Bonnie Ware was a palliative care nurse for many years and found the most common regret mentioned by her patients was, ‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.’
A piece of advice for someone with an itch to leap?
Spend time with other leapers. Seek them out. Surround yourself with the fearless, brave, courageous ones; just being in their energy will show you new possibilities. Also, do not wait until you have enough, know enough; you are enough, and we all work it out as we go along. Life is a creation to be created, not a map to be followed or a ladder to climb.
Right now I’m:
Hearing: Olafur Arnalds – The Chopin Project and Jill Scott.
Eating: Lots of greens, Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubbie Ice cream.
Drinking: Peppermint tea with too much honey, vegan smoothies.
Reading: The Forever Whale, a story that touched my daughter deeply and she wanted me to read it, I was crying from the second chapter. From the Heart – a collection from Women of Letters. I am always reading. I love books, you can smell them, I am not a kindle woman however practical they are.
Loving: Life, being back in Melbourne, my garden, reconnecting with friends I had not seen for the year we were travelling.
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway to win two tickets to Kemi’s Flourish 2016 event and two copies of her book Raw Beauty. Comment below or on Instagram and tell us why you want to go and tag who you’d take with you. Check out the video below to find out a little more about Kemi’s inspiring work. xx
Love Kylie x
Content Kin eCourse
Content Marketing and Social Media for Business
Starts Friday 18 March 2016
The next intake of our ContentKin online course states 18 March. Take a seat with other curious, creative and entrepreneurial businesses (just like you!) and get the low down on the Of Kin digital marketing methodology: #contentkin
We’ve developed this step be step process to connecting with your tribe, locating people who believe what you believe, and finding the courage to post authentically and with heart. Courage to put yourself out there. Content that is authentic. Clicks for your biz.
We’re all about chasing the relationship, not just the numbers.
p.s. Want to know more before you commit? Watch our webinar recording of what we do, and then jump on board.
See you in class! xx