Taking back your power
with Kemi Nekvapil
Far too often we give our power away to other people, including in the space of money.
In today’s episode, I chat with Kemi Nekvapil about how you can take back the power in your life.
In this Episode:
- 07.14: How do people give away or have their power taken from them
- 11.48: Reclaiming your power through Kemi’s 5 principles
- 17.57: The benefit of taking back your power
- 21.50: The narratives Kemi addressed around money
- Kemi Nekvapil Website
- Kemi Nekvapil Instagram
- Kemi Nekvapil LinkedIn
- Kemi Nekvapil YouTube
- Clare Wood Services
- Clare Wood Instagram
Kemi Nekvapil is one of Australia’s leading credentialed coaches for female executives and entrepreneurs, author and a highly sought-after international speaker.
She has studied leadership and purpose at The Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan and trained with Dr Brené Brown to become a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, working with teams and organisations to create daring leaders and courageous cultures.
Kemi is a facilitator for The Hunger Project Australia and a regular interviewer of industry icons including Elizabeth Gilbert, Martha Beck and Marie Forleo and hosts the number one ranking podcast The Shift Series.
With a level of compassion and wisdom only gained through extraordinary life experience, Kemi is a powerful advocate for connected, value-based living.
Kemi is a mother of teenagers, a wife, an endurance athlete running 42km-100km races, a dedicated gardener and aspirational flower farmer.
About the Book
With years of experience working with female clients to help them fulfil their potential, Kemi has witnessed how often women neglect or give away their power, and in doing so sacrifice a life of true joy and fulfilment.
She has just written her third book – POWER; a woman’s guide to living and leading without apology, published by Penguin Random House.
In this inspiring guide, Kemi provides the tools and reflective coaching practices that will help you to:
- Break free of the ‘good girl’ mould and prioritise being strong over being nice
- Feel more ownership over the narrative of your life
- Set boundaries and feel less overwhelmed
- Overcome the need to people-please or compare, so you can run your own race
- Get comfortable with being vulnerable or asking for help
- Increase your self-worth
- Heal from experiences of discrimination, trauma or grief.
By following Kemi’s five-step process centred on the principles of Presence, Ownership, Wisdom, Equality and Responsibility, you can tackle life’s challenges, be unapologetically yourself and build a power practice that serves you.
Far too often, we give our power away to other people, including in the space of money. In today’s episode of the podcast, I chat to Kemi Nekvapil about how you can take back the power in your life.
Hello, and welcome to The Clare Wood Podcast, where myself and incredible guests share about money mindset, financial successes, and how to manage your money in a fun and practical way to create wealth and abundance in both your business and your life. I’m your host, Clare Wood. I’m a business coach and a money mentor. I strongly believe that money has the power to positively change the world. I can’t wait to help you transform your mindset around money, create a love of numbers, and build the business of your dreams so you can live a life of financial freedom, giving, and global impact.
A big warm welcome to the of podcast, Kemi. I was just saying to you off air how long I’ve been looking forward to having you on my podcast. So it’s wonderful to have you here today. Thank you for joining us.
Oh, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here, Clare. Thank you for having me.
Well, before we get started on the big chats that we’re going to have today, could you please share who you are and how you help people?
Okay. My name is Kemi Nekvapil, I am an executive and personal coach, an author, and professional speaker. And I work with women in all areas of leadership in diverse industries because I want to live a diverse life, so I like a diverse coaching practice. And I’m also an aspirational flower farmer.
Flower farmer? I did not know that about you.
Oh yes. It’s a new thing. We can get onto that a little bit later, but that’s part of this idea of living a diverse life. And I believe that as a coach, it’s important for us to learn new things and to be able to create and live in into the things that we want for ourselves. How can we create the space for other people to do that if we’re not actually doing that for ourselves?
I love that. How fantastic. Well, we are definitely going to dive into that. But before we do, I’d love to dive right back. You’ve got a book called Power. But before we talk about the book, I’d love to maybe dive a little bit back into your upbringing and a little bit about why you’ve decided to share your story in this book.
Yeah. Well, people can’t see me because this is an audio podcast, but I am an English woman. Hopefully, they can hear my accent. I am English. I have been here in Australia now for nearly 18 years. But I have Nigerian heritage. In the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, tens of thousands of Nigerian children were fostered out to white families in England. And for the reason of that is partly colonization and partly all of our parents thinking they’ll make… Well, not thinking, but in that context, knowing they were making the best decisions for their children, because they had been told, “If you want your children have decent education, they need to go to England.” I also believe that some children were fostered in America as well, but obviously, I was in England, so that’s my narrative. Which meant that I had five primary foster carers, and then including my mom who I’d spend my holidays and things with, I had six primary carers growing up. Growing up in England in that time was not easy as a black person, as a black child, and then especially had, are being white parents. I feel very blessed in that my first set of foster parents and my last set of foster parents, they just were beautiful, beautiful people. Which doesn’t always happen for foster children, but I had that attachment in those first seven years. One of the most devastating moments of my life was having to leave that family. But then I arrived on the doorstep of my last set of foster parents when I was 13 years old. Pre-COVID, they were here every single year for 16 years for four to six weeks. It’s who my teenagers call grandma and grandpa. And they call my birth mother Nana. They’ve got different people.
So that is my grounding. We can lead them to how that works with the book. I started writing down some stories. I have a great author friend that said to me, “Look, with your third book, what’s happening?” And I said, “I don’t know, it’s kind of circling.” I said, “I feel like the third a book is there, but I’m not quite sure what it is yet.” And she said to me, “Why don’t you start writing down some of your stories, your lived experiences,” because she said, “I like to hear your lived experiences.” And I said, “Oh, okay, if you like that, then I’ll write it down.” I said, “Okay, I’ll write the book for you.” And she does get a big acknowledgement at the end of the book because it was her seeding that had me start to write stories. And what I realised was how much race had impacted my feelings of powerlessness in navigating the spaces that I had to navigate, and also then add gender. So then I was writing these stories around what it feels like to have your power taken away from you because of your race, or because you’re a woman, or both. As women, we’re very strategic, so also I know that we also give our power away because we know that is the smart move in that moment. And then how have I over time built up my power in those times and either I gave my power away or I was made to feel powerless.
So the book is a collection of my personal stories, but also of 14 women that I have coached over the years around when they have given up their power consciously, when it’s been taken away, and when they’ve built and how they’ve rebuilt their power again. And then because I’m a coach, there’s coaching questions all the way through the book. Because one thing I know Clare is, there are different ways of engaging in personal development. And I know that you’ve done a lot of personal development and you create spaces for other people to do that. One thing I know is, it’s kind of like, “Ra!, ra!, ra! 21 days to your power!” Blah, Blah. That is not going to work. What I know is that we will step in and out of our power all the time. I have teenagers, sometimes I can go about my day feeling like, “Yeah, I’ve got this, I’m in my power,” then my teenager can say something to me and I’m sobbing in the bathroom.
So it’s not about this idea of, you’ll read this book and you’ll have your power forever. But what I can guarantee is that this book gives us the space to look at, “What happened? Why do I feel powerless? What is it I gave away? What was taken from me? And how do I build that up again, and again, and again and again?”
Yeah. So much to go into here. So let’s step right back. As a coach and also in your own life experiences, what are the primary ways that people do give their power away or have their power taken away from them?
How do people give away or have their power taken from them
Great question. There are so many chapters in the book, and it starts, “The power of.” One because I know that you love talking about money and that’s how you support people, so let’s go with money. There’s a chapter called The Power Of Money. So I know as a woman, and I’m also married to a white male. So what I was very much taught, and I think actually to be honest, because the world was set up for whiteness and set up for white males. So I think regardless of ethnicity in ways, that’s a lot of women’s experience of the patriarchy and around money.
So women, we’re not allowed to want money, we’re not allowed to generate money, we’re not allowed to own money. And we’re given the story that, “Oh, I can’t really do money. I don’t know money.” And I write in the book, the very vulnerable relationship that I’ve had with money. Having had six different families, I witnessed six different ways to engage with money, which ranged from, you can lie about money, you can steal money, you can be deceitful about money. To, where your money goes is what you value and what you care for. That money can be used to empower and elevate other people. That money is a means to freedom.
So I had all of these messages. And over years, I’ve had to unpick, what of that has worked? What of that hasn’t worked? What has kept me small? And what allows me to have a sense of power around that? When my husband I would have conversations about money, I would leave the room in tears a lot of the time, because I went into the narrative of, “I don’t do money. I was in the lowest grade at maths at school. I can’t do this. He knows better than me.” But I felt powered over, even though that wasn’t his intention. And so I realised, and this is the power principle, it’s broken up into five principles and the last one is responsibility. And I realised that I have to take responsibility for the gaps in my knowledge around money. I can keep blaming him that he’s doing this thing to me or he’s making me feel this, but I realized I want to be empowered around my money. I’m a business owner, I have a great income. I’ve earned it, I work for it, and I want to know how to manage it. And so I was giving my power away because of old stories. And I realised for me to feel powerful in these conversations, I need to fill in my gaps. So that was how I stepped into power.
Another way for women, and I talk about this in the book, the power of words, will say, “Oh, sorry to interrupt, but I thought that maybe…. ” And I share in the book, I was working with a tech CEO, a senior leader who knew her stuff, but she would always say, “I think that maybe, I think possibly.” I said to her, I said, “Do you know what you’re talking about?” And she said, “What do you mean, do I know what I’m talking about?” I said, “Because you sound as if you don’t know what you’re talking about, but I know you’ve been working in this industry for 20 years. So talk to me about the, I think.” And she shared, she goes, “Oh, I knew very early on being in tech as a woman that I could never actually own my opinions, that I had to soften them around people.” And I said, “The level of management you are in now, is that how you want to continue speaking, or is it possible that now you could own where you are?” And she said, “It’s interesting because yes, 100%, I feel I can be powerful in owning, but for me to get where I wanted to get to in senior management, I had to minimize my language.” She said, “But now, I do not want the women coming up behind me to be apologizing every time they have an opinion.” And so that was the work that she chose to do. And we worked together on her taking out, “I think,” as opposed to, “I know from experience that if we do A, it’s going to give us B.” So they’re just two examples of how we give our power away in different areas of our lives.
Oh, I love that. And I talk a lot about the power of language when it comes to money, because to your point, particularly, I see this a lot with women, “I don’t understand money.” And it’s like, the more that you’re telling yourself of that story, the more that that’s what you are creating. And it’s something that I’ve had to learn to be very conscious of because in my household, there was a lot of, “We can’t afford that. We can’t afford that.” And so with my kids, I’m really conscious that the way that we talk about money is really positive.
I actually did a post on this the other day that my kids one day said, “We’re really rich.” And I had a bit of a giggle, because I thought, “By a lot of people’s measures, we’re probably not.” But they have that, that’s how we are talking about money. I love that. So that’s really fantastic to identify those two ways that people do give away their power. In the book POWER is actually an acronym for some other things that you want to really come through in the book. So can you expand a little bit more on what POWER actually stands for?
Reclaiming your power through Kemi’s 5 principles
Yeah. 100%. So when I was writing the book, I suddenly realised, “Oh my goodness, there are themes in some of these stories.” And then I looked at the word power, because power, it’s a little bit amorphous. There are so many different forms of power. So I was like, “This is about women creating an internal power that can never be taken away. So what are the aspects that we need to hold onto?” So regardless of our titles, regardless of the external power, that is put onto us, or that we may even aspire to, what is the internal power? So P stands for presence, O is ownership, W is wisdom, E is equality, and R is responsibility. So then presence is this idea of, unless we are present to ourselves and present to others, we miss some of the fundamental ways that we connect to ourselves and each other as human beings. Ownership is around owning our stories and owning our narrative and allowing our stories to honor us. Because if we betray ourselves with our stories by hiding part of ourselves, then we don’t get seen by people and we all be seen. So that’s what O stands for. Wisdom is around this innate wisdom that we have. Some of us it has been trained out of us, 100%. But I raise my children, we personally… and I get that everyone gets to raise their children however they want, but my husband I decided that we would not do stranger danger with our children, that we wanted them to intuitively understand who people were. Because I still to do a lot of public transport. We moved to Melbourne, and I said, “I don’t want a car. We don’t need a car. I just don’t need a car.” So for about seven years, we didn’t have a car in Melbourne. We were on the trams, on the buses. Some of my best conversations on those days were with complete strangers. And the case with my children is while we did gratitude at the end of the day, what was the highlight? “Oh, when we met that man on the tram and he said… ” So I didn’t want them to think that every single person that they met was going to harm them in some way. And I wanted them to be in contact with their intuition and their inner wisdom around who was safe and who was not safe. Because we know that statistically it’s not strangers on trams that are more likely to harm our children, it’s the people that we led into our homes. And then there’s equality. So yes, 100%, for those of us that have means and resources, not just financial means, but time resources, other material resources, knowledge resources, that yes, we can use those resources to build up and empower the equality of others.
But I think for a lot of women, we miss the equality that sits within us. That we must be able to get to a point, or at least aspire to be at a point that no matter what room we find ourselves in, that we are equal to every single person in that room. And I’ve had the privilege to be in rooms with incredible, well-known, highly successful people. And as a facilitator for The Hunger Project, I’ve also sat in rural villages with leaders who are leading their communities. When I sit there, I don’t think I am better than them and I don’t think I am lesser than the people that are deemed as highly successful within our world. And so how do we nourish that equality within us?
And then finally is responsibility, which to be honest, Clare, that is my… I think if we as individuals can take four responsibility for our lives, that is when our lives change. When we stop blaming other people, when we can step… Because maybe in some situations we have been victims, 100%, certain situations make us victims. But a victim mindset is different from that situation. So then we can decide, “Okay, I don’t like what’s going on in my life and I’m going to take full responsibility for what gets to change here. Even if it’s challenging and confronting, it’s on me and I’m going to make the move.” And so the final power principle is responsibility because when we bring all that together, that creates a form of power that can never be taken away from us.
Yes, yes, yes. I love that. Like you said, a lot of times when our power is taken away from us, we feel powerless, but taking back responsibility and ownership is how we take the power back.
It’s like saying, “Okay, this has happened, but what am I going to do about it?”
Yeah. 100%. And maybe depending on the situation, it’s not even a case of, “What am I going to do about it?” It’s like, “Who do I need to ask to support me to do something about this?” Yeah. Because the reality is as well, I know being a minority here in Melbourne, in Australia as a black person, there are some spaces where it’s not safe for me to take my power back on my own. Actually, do you know what? That’s probably not the case now for me, for where I am in my life, I feel safe enough in the spaces that I’m in to do that. But there have been times in the past that it would not have been safe for me to use my voice, where it would not have been safe for me to give an opinion about a certain topic.
And so I know that for a lot of people, that isn’t always the case. So sometimes it’s the case of, “Okay, who are the people around me that can support me to build my power back in this situation?”
Yeah, yeah, no, I love that. So it’s seeking out. It’s taking responsibility for either taking the power back yourself or going, “What is the resources that I need to be supported through this situation?”
100%. And part of the book is the power of community. Who are the people that surround you? Can you show up as yourself with all of the light and shadow that we all are as human beings. I talk about the communities and the people that you spend your time with, do they give you energy? Do they drain energy? Do you feel that you have to hide parts of yourself to belong? What parts do you have to hide? What is the impact on you of hiding that? Which goes back to, we’re not in our power if we feel that we’re not fully seen for who we are.
My next question follows on perfectly for that, which is, what does it mean when we do take back our power? What impact does this have in our lives? What is the benefit of taking your power?
The benefit of taking back your power
Well, we all have innate power. The Oxford Dictionary definition of power is the capacity or ability to act or do something in a particular way. So the moment that we feel we have power, we are in the driving seats of our lives. Otherwise, we’re living by default. And a lot of people do that. I remember when I read Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, one thing that really stuck out for me in that book is where he talks about climbing the ladder and then realizing the ladder is up against the wrong wall. And I think, unless we’re willing to live with intention, which is being in the driving seats of asking ourselves the question, “Why am I here? Is this where I meant to be? Am I enjoying why I’m here? What is missing?” All of these questions that allow us to step back into our power and realize, “Okay. I take responsibility for my life. I am present to my life. I take ownership for my life. I have an innate wisdom that will guide me through my life. I’m equal to create my life in the way that I want to. And I have the power to create equality for others.”
Yeah. So this is talking about taking back the power. It’s not just about you, right?
It’s then about the impact that this then has, the ripples that it creates across your circles?
100%. Because we see the form of power in the world that is about the individual, that’s everywhere. It doesn’t take much to see where that form of power takes place and the impact on everyone around us. So that if power is the ability to act or do something in a particular way, we get to choose. So if I have power, what am I going to do with it? How do I get to do something in a particular way? And I think for most women, not everyone, because it’s not like women are the better gender at all. There are definitely women that have taken power and run with it to do their own thing. And they’re completely within their right to that. It’s their life. But I also think there’s a large majority of women that also take their power to do something that somehow supports others, even if it’s power within the school playground. I’m not talking about CEOs or boardroom, I’m talking about if you are a mother in a playgroup, it’s funny, I’ve got teenager and I can’t even now remember what that area is called. Is it the playground? Probably my teenagers are hanging out in the playground, but doing different things than the age of your team, you know what I mean? But if you’re in that school playground and you as a mother, the way that you interact with other mothers or if you see a child as being treated in a particular way, that you with your power as an adult gets to actually elevate the power within that child, that there are opportunities all the way to look at, how do I want to act in this situation? If I was to do something in a particular way in this situation, how do I want to show up in the world? If I’m about to be responsible for this situation, what would I do next? So there are opportunities in all areas of life where we give up our power and we can build our power.
Yeah. Love it, love it, love it. So let’s come back and talk about my favorite topic. One of my favorite topic is money.
Yeah. Money, money, money.
And it’s interesting because I do talk a lot about money people, and I’ve witnessed some of my relationships changing as this has become something that I’m talking about a lot and there’s a reason for that. And it’s because people have a belief about women and women and money. So let’s dive into this a little bit. When you were sharing earlier that in your relationship that you didn’t feel like you… Talk to me about the emotions, why did you not feel that you knew about money or you wanted to learn about money?
Well, none of us are taught about money at schools, maybe that’s changing now, but I definitely educated in the ’80s and then I wasn’t taught about money at school. I very much had the narrative, and like I said, I have many narratives around money. So I also had one of my foster families, all I heard, “We can’t afford it. We can’t afford it. We can’t afford it. We can’t afford it.” I’ve never said that to my children. Once again, empowered language, that’s things like, “We’re choosing not to buy that.” And now we’re there in their own money stories around what money is. Oh, definitely shamed, I should know about… Actually, I don’t know if shame was there at the beginning. I don’t know if shame was there that much in my relationship with my husband, it was more that I was giving away my power to him, but I know for myself and for clients that I’ve worked with and in the past, there’s a shame around money. I should know, and because I don’t know, I’m not going to do anything about it. I should know and I don’t know, so therefore, I’m just going to hide what I know. And I think for anyone listening to this, if you have that feeling around shame and money, it is one of the most empowering things to understand your money and to find someone that can support you, that there’s no judgment.
So many financial advisors, especially female ones understand the narrative that we as women have around money that women with money are greedy, women are selfish, women don’t know about money, you shouldn’t show your money. Well, another thing, you know what Clare, another thing as well that gets me a little bit is that women that have created their own wealth or that have money for whatever reasons, that we’re somehow meant to then somehow apologize for it by constantly declaring that we’re building orphanages in every country in the world, as opposed to, oh, and I just buy shoes with my money, which I think we should be allowed to do if we want.
Men are allowed to buy cars, jets, socks, boats, whatever the things, no one comments on that. And yet, I think part of the shame around women having their own money and building their own wealth is also this idea of, well, if I have it, then I also have to apologize for it by saying that I’m doing good with it. Obviously, we all want to do good with our money if we can and if we have those resources, but I think there’s a narrative around that as well that could also shift that women are allowed to do whatever they want with their money.
I love that. This is something that I have really a story that I’ve noticed playing out for myself as well. If you are succeeding, if you’re doing well, you need to be showing, to your point, don’t worry, I’m doing good with it, I’m helping other people, I’m giving money away. And to your point, this is definitely something that becomes agenda-
Yeah. 100%. I think that there’s lots and lots of conversations and I think it’s not so much about how much money you have in the bank, it’s about learning about that money, just the basics. And I really want to share, I had a coach at one point and one of the most powerful things she did for me was set up a spreadsheet for me and showed me how to use that spreadsheet and how to put in the running totals. And I’m now at a point where I have a bookkeeper and an accountant and a financial manager of my husband and I. I don’t need to do my balance sheets every week, but I love it so my much now, knowing what is going in, what is going out.
I have an incredible, I call it money matters, which is my playlist on Spotify, and put on my headphones and I just do it because it reminds me every week how far I’ve come from this place of, I don’t know. I don’t get to know, I’m not allowed to have this, I’m ashamed about this, I’m judging myself about this too. I own this, I have created this, and it gives me a sense of power and a sense of freedom.
And what other ways have you seen women giving their power away when it comes to money?
Oh, I feel like I should ask you that question.
Well, one that came straight off the top of my head was around pricing and around having guilt and shame when it comes to, for example, I know that you’re a speaker, Kemi, you know that uncomfortable conversation that happens when people are like, “How much do you charge?” And I know a lot of my clients experience guilt, shame, judgment when naming their prices, is this too high? Am I being greedy? Is this something you’ve experienced yourself?
Oh my gosh, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think for those of us who are speaker and now I’m a professional speaker and it’s interesting, some people they have their businesses and then they’re happy to speak about that. But as a professional speaker who has trained in this, I’ve been doing it for over a decade now, my gosh, my journey around owning my worth, one is a female on stage, a woman of color on stage, all of those things.
So there’s quite a few chapters in the book around the value of worth, where I share a story where a client wasn’t going to pay me, I had terms and conditions in place, he wasn’t honoring those terms and conditions. I just woke up one morning and I felt so powerless. I felt taken for granted, I felt resentful, I was overwhelmed, I didn’t want to do the speaking engagement. I actually checked him with my husband who’s a lawyer to just check with him like, “I fulfilled my part of the contract, can pull myself out of this contract?” And he was like, “Yep, you can.” I called my coach. So once again, as we spoke about community, who are the people around you that are going to empower you and elevate you to step into your power? I was going to send an email after I spoke to my husband, after I spoke to my coach, I thought, “No, I’m going to call this man.” And I share in the book, it was probably the hardest conversation I have ever had to have in my business. It was so emotionally exhausting for me to go through that. And he tried manipulation and power over, and there was misogyny that showed up and emotional blackmail that showed up. And I just had to surf every single one of those waves that he was throwing at me. And I’m a big napper, after that conversation, I put down the phone, I just napped. I think I woke up like three hours later because it had taken everything to stand in my power and speak to what I was owed and what I was worth.
And in terms now, 10 years on, I don’t have difficult conversations around my fee. My fee is my fee. I do a certain amount of pro bono gigs a year where someone will come in and say, “This is my fee.” And I’ll say, “Look, I would love to be on your stage because I align with what it is that you’re doing.” The thing is with the speaking environ, the speaking industry is that there are lots of different ways to negotiate. And what I know for myself is that I’m happy to negotiate, but it just has to be a win-win for both people. I never want to negotiate, which I’ve done in the past, I’m talking from experience.
Sometimes you feel so uncomfortable in that conversation that they’re saying, “But what about this? What about this? What about this?” And you’re like, “Yep, yep, yep.” And you put down the phone or you send the email and you’re like, “But I didn’t want those things that I’ve just negotiated. They don’t serve me in anyway, whatsoever.” So now for me, I negotiate. The first power principle is presence. I’m very present to, what does a win-win look like and feel like to me? I check in with the other person, what does a win-win look like and feel like for you?
Okay, so how do we work together so that we both feel, by the time we’ve negotiated this, that we both feel that no one is disempowered from this, that we’re both excited to collaborate and that we’re both happy to do this work?
Yeah. I love that. One of the funny things that I’ve noticed, I don’t charge for speaking at the time of recording this podcast, because for or me, I might, well, I’m promoting my business and it’s really interesting how I identify that’s then a money story that comes up to work through. So there’s so many different ways that your power comes into play when it comes to money with pricing, with being comfortable, in owning your money, and as you touched on earlier and in building wealth and building success. Why do you think that these things affect women and particularly women of color more than they would affect men?
The narratives Kemi addressed around money
Because the world was created for men. That’s it. That’s my answer. So anything that does… And it’s interesting, I talk in the book about internalized patriarchy. I sent out a text message to close friends and colleagues when I was writing the book and all I asked a question, it’s just a quick, I thought, “I’m just going to see.” I set out this question, what does your internalized patriarchy look like? And I asked people from age of 15, women from age of 15 to the age I think 54 was the oldest. There were things that came back to me that actually made me cry.
Do you want to share some of them?
Yeah. Men know everything. If anything’s difficult, then a man’s going to sort it out for you. I’m validated by the male gaze. I must be thin. I must have permission from a man. It just went on and on and on. And even just saying it, I can feel the emotion coming up because that is what we have to navigate every time we want to do anything that isn’t us looking pretty or standing by the kitchen sink or birthing children. Now, I was speaking to a client yesterday who has constantly chosen not to have children and the power she has to step into every time someone asks her, why you’re not having children, all those conversations around that. And my friend and colleague, Shelly Horton speaks about this so well of constantly choosing not to have children and how you can stand in your power as a woman to say, “This is my choice.” But the backlash that comes with that. So my short answer is the reason why women struggle to do anything that isn’t domesticated is because the world was created for men. As a woman of color, the world was created for whiteness. So we have to do the personal development work that allows us, like you said, that allows us to look at what are the limiting beliefs and internal stories that we have. It’s not that they’re not true, it’s not that racism doesn’t exist and that I’ve made it up in my head and therefore it’s just that, ah, I exist. I think these things, because structure have been created for me to believe these things.
Now, what is the work that I need to do to acknowledge those structures and systems and create places and communities and people of safety that can support me to either go directly against those systems within, this term talking about racial structures or racism structures, what is it that I need that I can break down limiting belief in a way that is safe for me? And then if you’re not a woman of color and you are an Anglo woman in the majority, depending on where you are, if you’re an Anglo woman in Africa, you’re not in the majority, that’s a whole different conversation, but even because the world was built for whiteness, even being an Anglo woman in other countries can still give you a level of privilege that you don’t have as a person of color, as a minority.
It’s so complex and it’s great that the world is having these conversations now, but for every woman, I think it was in my first book on my second book, I say, “It’s dedicated to,” and I think I say, “This book is dedicated to every single woman that is dead to ask for what she needs and what she wants.” Because just that in itself is power in a world that we are told to stay small and literally, physically even, stay small. I used to joke about eyelashes. Women can wear whatever eyelashes they want, whatever, but I do think that when you become this incredibly small, physically small being, that then has eyelashes so big that you can hardly see, I just remember thinking, “Oh my God, I want my eyes to see out of, as opposed to.” I think that’s what they’re for, but I’m just of a different generation. I look at my youngest and all of their friends and they’ve all got the eyelashes and all that sorts of things. So it’s not a judgment on that in any way, but I also feel as a woman in midlife now, I’m letting go of those things. I know that my validation and my worth doesn’t come from those things, the size of my waist or how appeasing my eyes look to others.
Yeah. There’s so many, so, so many stories is in there that-
Oh, there’s so much, and I don’t have time for the glue. That’s the other thing, gosh, you’ve got to put them on, take the glue off. I don’t know. I don’t know.
Yeah. I have to admit I’m not very good with makeup or any of those. I would love to be though. There’s lots of like you said, there’s a whole history of patriarchy that exists and the way that we can change that is through people taking back their power and really starting to step into who they are, and then the ripple effects that has. And we know that positive changes happen in the world because people dare to stand up to be different and to have difficult conversations, and to start to change. The way things have always been done.
Yeah, 100%. And also the thing is I talk as well in the book that patriarchy doesn’t serve men either. There are also incredibly courageous men that are standing up and saying, “This doesn’t work. If I have to fit into this small box, that my value, my worth comes from leaving my home at 7:00 AM and coming back at 7:00 PM, and I have no connection to my partner, no connection to my kids, can’t look after myself, can’t engage in anything outside of work, then I’m out.” So it is definitely a model that has affected women the most and still does, but yet, men have struggled. Men, if I have to stay in this small box, I’m not allowed to share my emotions or when I’m struggling or when I feel disempowered, and then that leads to such hideous mental health outcomes for men, patriarch doesn’t work for men either. So like you say, it is about people, both genders or people of non-binary, standing up can saying, “Hey, this system that we’ve implemented over a long period of time, no longer works for anyone. So what do we get to recreate? How can we all feel that we have a sense of power within the structures that we can create into the future?”
And sometimes it starts with just the littlest thing, doesn’t it? It can be the smallest comment that starts to create a change in thinking, and the smallest like someone standing up for a situation saying this is not right, and that then starts to have positive impacts on all of the people who witness that moment of bravery.
Well, I think everything, to be honest, everything starts with the smallest thing. I share on my podcast that it’s one action at a time, that’s it. And that action, like you say, is that one time speaking up or that one time not doing what you would normally do, it’s the one action at a time that builds. And like you say, somebody else sees that action or the ripple effects of that action can then build into something bigger, and to create a form of power where more people feel seen and heard and validated and feel they belong in whatever space they want to be in.
Yeah. I love that. I feel like I could talk to you all day.
Let’s do it, come on. Let’s do it now, I’m ready.
We’ll do a day long podcast episode. I love it. We do need to rough up though, unfortunately. But Kemi, if people have been listening to this episode, loving everything that you were talking about, firstly, how can they connect with you and how can they get a copy of your book, Power?
Okay. The book’s called POWER: Woman’s Guide to Living and Leading Without Apology. So people can order if they go to kemibooks.com, that’s K-E-M-Ibooks.com, that will take you through to the book sellers and obviously, support your local book seller as well if that’s what works for you. And I think Clare, probably put everything in the show notes, to be honest. And I have lots of free resources. I have my podcast, the shift series, I have a self-coaching check in. So please check all of those things out, come and say hello on Instagram, happy to see you there, or LinkedIn as well.
I absolutely will put all of the links in the show notes, so make sure you do go and click and get your hands on a copy of the book. Kemi, we thank you so much for joining us today. We have loved having your wisdom here, and look forward to reading the book.
Thank you so much, Clare. Thank you for the work that you are doing in the world as well, and the space that you are creating for people to step into their power, through the lens of money and business. It’s incredible, what you’re doing.
Oh, thank you so much. Chat to you soon.
Thanks so much for listening. If you love this episode, please share it with your audience. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @clare_wood_coach. And also make sure you hit Subscribe so you never miss an episode. Have an abundant week, and I look forward to talking to you again next week.
About your host
Hi, I’m Clare Wood – I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, a reality tv addict, and a passionate business coach. I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life; because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two.