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Movers and Shakers | Nikki St Paul | Breathing Mindful Coaching

Nikki St Paul, the founder of Breathing Mindful Coaching, is a Mind, Body, and Breath Coach. Her holistic coaching and training approach integrates breathwork, coaching, and mindfulness meditation.

Nikki is certified as a life and breath coach and is an accredited mindfulness meditation teacher. Breathing Mindful Coaching focuses on supporting female founders who are ‘always on,’ helping them slow down, pause, and rest through 1:1 coaching, workshops, and rest experiences.

The aim is to achieve sustainable success and thrive in both business and life. Nikki is on a mission to redefine rest, emphasizing that success and ambition need not come at the expense of joy, fulfilment, and well-being.

What inspired you to start your own business?

December 2022 was a fork in the road that could have taken me in many directions. Due to redundancy, I had a choice whether to continue building an 18-year career in the Pharmaceutical Industry or forge a new path. In hindsight, this event I didn’t see coming was the catalyst for starting my own business.

What were the first few steps you took to get the business up and running?

My first year in business was a year of personal learning and development combined with organic business building. Over the 12 months, I completed my life coaching, mindfulness meditation, and breath coaching qualifications. I started with the bigger picture to get my business up and running. I visualised what I wanted my business to look like using images, words, and pictures. I’ve used this to help steer decisions I’ve made by asking myself whether they are in or out of alignment with the vision. Many of the technical aspects of starting a business were new to me.

I joined the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to get guidance on the legal and financial steps I needed to take. It was good to know that I could pick up the phone to ask a question or drop an email. FSB also provides a range of templates for new business owners and access to local and online networking.

How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?

Planning is a non-negotiable for me, as what is not scheduled does not happen in my world. Trying to keep things in my head and hope I remember is a recipe for disaster. So, whilst I’ve always planned my activities, there was room for improvement regarding tracking progress and refining the plan.

I levelled up my planning in 2024. This January, I set my goals for the year, and every month, I review them, with a deeper review at the end of the quarter. I set my 3 priorities weekly and measure how I did on Fridays.

When it comes to staying on track and motivated, it’s important to stay close to my emotions and thoughts, as they will impact my actions. Breathwork is a tool I use to change my state to my advantage. I call on breath practices to boost my energy, balance my mood, find focus and relax.

Are there any sacrifices you’ve had to make as an entrepreneur?

As an employee in an organisation, you rely on a consistent monthly income that hits your bank account on a set day. This ‘ safety blanket ‘ is removed when you leave this behind to set up your business. You get to learn how to live with a level of uncertainty, especially in the early days. In my view, the safety blanket worn in corporate is not real, as there are no certainties with any position or role.

What has been the most amazing day in your entrepreneurial life so far?

It’s an amazing day every time I get to onboard a new client. It is a day when I am reminded why I do what I do. What I enjoy about my life as an entrepreneur is the variety and the fact that no two days are the same. This is surprising, as previously I liked to know what lay ahead, but I’m learning to embrace the present moment.

What has been your scariest moment?

I don’t know if I’d call it scary, but it was definitely a wake-up call. Running your own business means you have no one to look to for the final say, the buck really does stop with you. It was a defining moment when it dawned on me that no one was telling me what to do and how to work. It was all on me.

You can look at this in one of two ways, either as empowering or hair-raising. When I first started, I found myself like a rabbit caught in the headlights on many occasions. I was trying to figure out step 10 when I really needed to focus on the next best step.

As a Mind, Body & Breath Coach, I know the importance of strengthening the connection between the body and mind. So much of what we see around us is body obsession, and yet many of us are disconnected from our bodies and taking up permanent residence in our heads.

I like to say that the body is often a taxi for the mind. We live in the past or the future, both of which we cannot change. When making a business or personal life decision, I go inward first. I seek the answers from my body and mind – mixing logic and reason with what feels right within.

How do you work on making your business grow?

The most vital asset in my business is me. I’m the business engine at this early stage when I don’t have a team. If I neglect to take care of myself, the business will suffer. Because of this, I prioritise daily micro-breaks. Is it easy? No. But I know that energy management is critical.  I can’t keep drawing from a bank account that is in overdraft.

I have invested in building my mindset, skills and habits as a business owner. As I mentioned earlier, the quarterly strategic reviews ensure that I reflect on what has gone well and what I can improve.

What is the best thing about being your own boss?

My definition of success has evolved. I won’t sit here and say that it has nothing to do with money. Money gives me the ability to live a life where there is freedom, variety, and choice. The choice to spend my precious time on this earth doing the things that matter most with those who matter most.

What are the challenges of working for yourself, and how do you tackle them?

As a one-woman band, it can be lonely if you don’t build a community and have support from loved ones. I’m fortunate to have both. I’ve sought out different communities for different purposes. I’m part of a weekly accountability and coaching group, a virtual co-working space so I can implement and get the important stuff done to build my business. I prioritise in-person and virtual networking events and have built a supportive group of fellow women in business in my local area.

A word of warning: not all communities or networks are created equal, and not every community will work for your vibe. So, I advise anyone starting their business to figure out what they want the community to support them with, and then check out a few events and see what feels right.

What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business? And who was it from?

One of my mentors and coaches said these words to me, and I repeat them daily. I even have it on the poster on the wall above my desk.

It’s up and down on the way up

This resonated with my journey so well. If we think the journey to entrepreneurship will be linear, we’re in for a rude awakening. It was a game-changer when I got to grips with the fact that there would be many zigzags and that it would ebb and flow. It allowed me to ride the wave and know that when I’m in a dip, there WILL be a peak on the horizon.

What are the three books, websites or resources (professional or personal) that you would recommend to other business owners?

  1. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
  2. Side Hustle Pro, a podcast by Nicalia Matthews Okeme. 
  3. Time to Think by Nancy Kline

What other passions do you have away from your business? How do you relax?

I used to think that relaxing and resting meant sleeping, napping, or binge-watching my favourite show. Thanks to the great work of Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, I know that resting and sleeping are not the same and that rest is multi-faceted.

There are seven types of rest. Physical rest is the one we recognise the most, but we also have mental, creative, social, sensory, emotional, and spiritual rest needs. I take my rest game seriously and schedule time for it daily. It doesn’t have to be hours; it can be minutes at a time, several times a day.

My philosophy when it comes to self-care is that micro moments matter. It is easy to dismiss the 5 or 10 minutes that appear in the day and quickly fill it with more action. I like to use these golden moments to take time for myself to BE, rather than sending an email.

You can connect with Nikki on social media: LinkedIn

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