Empowering women to live and lead without apology is at the centre of Kemi Nekvapil’s work.
One of Australia’s leading and best-known coaches for executives and entrepreneurs, Nekvapil is an author and an internationally-recognised speaker. She also hosts the number one ranking podcast The Shift Series.
If there’s anyone familiar with the possibilities of personal growth, it’s Kemi Nekvapil. As a child, Nekvapil grew up in England and lived with five sets of foster parents, an experience that taught her to embrace change and ultimately supported her many different career transitions.
Nekvapil first trained as a baker before becoming a chef. She then pursued drama school and worked on TV before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company. Right when most people might sit comfortably as an actor, Nekvapil decided to follow her heart and go back to the kitchen to work as a chef at an International Resort where she met her husband and subsequently moved to Australia.
As a result of navigating these varied experiences as well as from her own work in coaching, Nekvapil has serious wisdom to share on how to live an empowered life of personal growth.
She also has a lot to say on rethinking the idea of ‘power’, and recently published Power, A woman’s guide to living and leading without apology, featuring a five step guide for women on how to build power.
After recently profiling Nekvapil for our podcast series, Moments That Make Us, we wanted to share more on the valuable insights we learned from her conversation with Shivani Gopal.
Relationships are for a season, a reason, or a lifetime
Something Nekvapil attributes to her childhood living with multiple foster families is her strong ability to create family anywhere she goes and to build relationships that ignite and empower.
“I very much believe in the idea that relationships are for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. And I love that because one thing it has taught me is to be very present in the relationships that I’m in.”
Nekvapil knows in a world of professional and personal growth, we will let go of people and people will let go of us, but if we can accept that, we can enjoy more nourishing experience of life and relationships.
Create your identity from new experiences
Nekvapil’s diverse career is a testament to her evolving identity. She believes that to grow, we should be constantly creating ourselves.
“I’m an endurance runner, and I have this idea that the woman that starts on the start line is not the same person that’s going to cross the finish line.”
She stays open to new experiences and keeps re-evaluating the narratives she believes about herself. This includes examining family, societal, and gender overlays that may begin to cloud her personal view. She asks herself what narratives she may need to recreate or let go of and says that this personal development work is an ongoing process.
Be present instead of faking positivity
There is power in owning what is going on and letting go of the need to be positive,.
“I never positivity-bomb anyone. I believe it is so much more powerful for us to admit exactly what is going on. When that whole positivity movement came into play, I didn’t really know what it was about and it didn’t really resonate for me.”
Rather than faking positivity, Nekvapil says we should strive to be present and able to own our feelings.
You’re worthy without having to prove it
Nekvapil has spent many years feeling the need to hustle for her worth and has no intention of doing that anymore.
She does not need to waste time proving to anyone that she’s worthy of being in a space.
In one instance, she was asked to do a speaking event for 400 men in finance and felt a trigger around the prospect, thinking, “Will I be the only female in the room? Will I be the only person of colour in the room? Will I be safe in the room?” There used to be a time when she’d have thought to say “yes” to such an event, but now, she would just say “no”.
Step into your power
Women have power and can rebuild it at any time, Nekvapil says.
“I know that as women, we have had an internal power for eons. It’s why we were burned at the stake. It’s why there are certain tools that are used in war to make sure that women feel powerless. It shows that we have this innate power.”
Nekvapil hopes that more of us can think about the difficult decisions we’ve had to make in life and realise these involved taking ownership of our own stories, and tapping into our innate wisdom.
“When we can step into any of those principles, we are already stepping into a form of power,” she says,