When COVID-19 hit, I was laid off from my job, which I had been dedicated to and in love with for some time. The lay-off wasn’t expected, but what to do with the feelings after? I was unsure how to carry that weight. I spent a lot of time wondering where to go next. “It’s a pandemic, should I even try to apply to jobs?” “I’ve always wanted a PhD, maybe that’s a good idea?” Or, my personal favorite, “I don’t think I want to work. Do I have to?”
Then someone close to me suggested I do something that I have wanted to do for years: start my own business. About six months into me starting this venture (which had been successful so far), and a lot of learning, I saw that Nikki Groom published a book that focused on women harnessing their power and navigating their dream jobs. What great timing!
Nikki Groom is a Rhode Islander who is originally from the United Kingdom. She is a private adviser and also runs the Movement Makers Mastermind, a yearly accelerator for female leaders and rising entrepreneurs, and hosts the Movement Makers podcast. She also has a really cool dog. I’d always heard about Nikki in various Rhode Island networking groups. So, when I was offered the chance to read and review her book, I jumped at it.
The book is called A Power of Your Own: How to Ignite Your Potential, Uncover Your Purpose, and Blaze Your Own Trail in Life and Business and it focuses on just that: getting out of your own way and figuring out what’s best for you and your business.
I’ve spent a lot of time with this book. It’s a quick read and its lessons are all incredibly poignant, but they take a lot of time to really sit with, especially if you’ve been constantly bogged down by detrimental self-talk (“I can’t start my own business, I’m not good enough.”) or in my case, substantial imposter syndrome. I think the thing that no one tells you when you decide to work for yourself is that you’re doing it all. And on top of it, you’re managing a difficult employee: and it’s you. In the world of 9-5s, if you mess up, you hear about it, and if you do well, sometimes you hear about. But as a business owner, you have to learn how to give validation to yourself. Nikki addresses that in a way that helped me see that sometimes you need to get out of your own way.
As I began the book, I found myself skeptical. That’s not because of Nikki’s work whatsoever, but because of my own penchant for cynicism. I was immediately terrified I had picked up a book that was for “girl bosses,” and the stereotypes of multi-level marketing schemes, and I started to feel a little more afraid when Nikki cited herself in the Introduction. But then this line hit me: Many of us settle for a life that’s smaller than our dreams despite having so much more to give (29).
I did not need to be read that way, especially by a book.
If you have ever thought of starting a business, you’ll find that there are hundreds of Facebook Groups of people who kind-of-sort-of-maybe want to strike out on their own, and then coaches who are in-your-face and telling you that you have to do this to make more money or you need to “just trust yourself” with little to no direction. Nikki, to be frank, is not here for that bullshit. She’s here for self-evaluation and doing the work, which means confronting the horrible things you tell yourself that hold you back, harnessing the good things, and then turning it into power. It’s not about leaving it up to chance, it’s about trusting yourself, which is something I had not considered. I mean, she even tells her readers that you have to take care of yourself in order to produce work you are proud of. And as for my slight shade when I mentioned that Nikki cites herself – it’s for good reason. After you read the book, read Nikki’s articles or start listening to her podcast — you will not be disappointed.
And just a quick aside, I have to share one of the strangest “Rhode Island moments” that I’ve ever had. The first book review I ever did was for Leah Carroll’s beautiful Down City, and lo and behold – Nikki cites another article of Leah’s in A Power of Your Own. They don’t know each other – and they’ve both got those lovely Rhody roots.
Combined with real-life examples and a full-on chapter about the fact that you will fail, and that it’s your choice to work that failure, A Power of Your Own has helped me confront many things that were holding me back from my business, and also, limiting beliefs that I held about myself, especially after spending so much time in the 9-5 world. I recommend this for anyone who is even thinking of leaving their job, or those who already have. I also truly believe that anyone who feels stuck in a rut at work will greatly benefit from this as well. You don’t have anything to lose, only power to gain.
A Power of Your Own is currently available on Amazon with a five-star rating, but please support your local bookstores and order it through them.