In hindsight, Niyc Pidgeon’s personal journey seemed headed more towards tragic failure than towards the resounding success she is today.
Belying her impressive professional and business achievements, Niyc’s real-life experiences included a pre-teen suicide attempt, being brutally raped at 25 by a notorious criminal while on holiday in Spain, and mourning the painful deaths of seven of her friends (three of which died by suicide). These dark episodes happened even before the Newcastle (UK) native turned 30, a stage at which many millennials are partying, asserting their confidence, and finding their true calling.
Given what she’s been through, there was always a strong opportunity to just slink in the shadows.
But Niyc chose to shine instead.
In this interview, Niyc Pidgeon intimately recounts her inspiring story and gives practical strategies on how to turn your deepest trauma into the best teacher that will take you onto a path of relentless success.
Battle scars make you braver
It all started when she was a kid. Persistently targeted by high school bullies, Niyc decided to end it all one fateful Tuesday morning. Reeling from unbearable hurts, and too scared to go to school, she tried to take her own life by swallowing all the tablets inside her mom’s medicine cupboard at their home. Luckily, she was hospitalized just in time, pulled out of her class, and homeschooled for 6 months before being allowed to reintegrate with other kids at a new school.
“When I was 11, I tried to take my own life… I’d been badly bullied at school. I was homeschooled for six months before I moved to a different school,” Niyc recalled.
The new social environment proved better. But while Niyc survived, the trauma, uncertainty, and pain remained. With her near-zero confidence masked by being the hard-working, high achiever, Niyc struggled along as best she could, balancing two jobs to pay her way through her university studies, then finding her passion and moving on to study a masters in applied positive psychology at the University of East London.
A few months before earning her master’s degree in 2012, Niyc suffered a harrowing experience.
“I was locked inside a taxi on the way to the airport when I was on holiday in Spain. I thought it was a taxi but it wasn’t a taxi. I was actually raped on my journey to the airport,” she revealed in the interview.
According to a detailed recollection she shared with Marie Claire, her fingernails nails broke and bled as she futilely fought off the assailant with everything she had. The torturous ride ended at the airport, with her in a state of shock, tears, and terror.
How to find hidden gems in challenging times
Niyc learned as a psychologist that trauma can also be caused by seemingly trifling things — not only by momentous events like being wounded in war, but by simple things that we then put meaning around because they feel so painful at the time. In fact, one of her friends experienced trauma as a child when she was f not allowed to play in the ice skating rink because her mother could only afford to buy one ticket – for her sister.
Having also grieved the loss of seven friends (three of whom took their own lives), Niyc understands how much psychology impacts both personal and business success. So she decided to drive a positive impact in people’s lives using behavioral science, and her own personal experience. .
“When I look back, [traumatic experiences] have been some of my greatest teachers. And for that I’m very very grateful,” Niyc described how she reframed her evolution as an entrepreneur and as a person through the lens of positive psychology.
“If you were to write down all these bad stories, then people would say ‘Oh geez, she really had a very horrific time, a very hard life.‘ Yes, these things have been really really hard and they are some of the most terrifying experiences in my life. But because I have this desire to continually feel good and not sit in it for too long, I’m always willing to do the work on myself and for myself to grow.”
Ultimately, her academic training and personal experiences all aligned to turn her into an award-winning and highly sought after business mentor, speaker, author, and positive psychologist, especially by women entrepreneurs who struggle with different business and personal challenges.
“Science proves that talking helps people heal trauma and prevents things like suicide,” Niyc continued. “When you’re in that space where you can’t even think about getting through the next day, just having one designated person that you can reach out to is a massive, massive help.”
For many of her clients, both in business and personally, Niyc now plays that crucial role.
“I help other business owners find their strength when they don’t see it for themselves. Because I know that there’s a big fucking bright light at the end of the tunnel. And I know that you can get there. So I can be the person that they can borrow their strength from or borrow their self-belief from until they get there themselves.”
Thriving in a pandemic: Business lessons for millennials
As a kid, Niyc Pidgeon dreamt of becoming a speaker on stage. Having clocked in countless hours of media appearances, she eventually achieved that as a motivational speaker, best-selling author, and founder of a million-dollar business.
However, just like her personal life, businesses rarely get an easy pass on success.
She remarked, “Some people look at personal brands, influencers, coaches, or entrepreneurs and see the taglines… “Seven-figure business owner” and they think, oh it’s all gone right for her. Or she’s got it all figured out.”
“But actually, none of us have it all figured out all of the time. And definitely, when I first started, it was messy. Growing a business can be messy on the way up. I did a lot of trying and testing and figuring out what doesn’t work. Which is definitely an asset for my clients whereby I can teach them from the mistakes I’ve made and not only from the successes.”
Pandemic or not, here’s her advice for millennials looking to level up or start their own businesses:
- Look for what people need by identifying their problems and listening to what they want. Don’t just conjure things up.
- Use your own strengths (skills, passions, training, experience, etc.) to help people meet their needs and solve real problems.
- Take responsibility for your own actions. Be conscious of what you choose to do and not do.
- Your personal life is your business. It’s your responsibility to work on both so you can always show up at your best.
- Start your day right with a regular morning ritual. Niyc recommends meditation, thinking grateful thoughts, writing journal entries (daily goals, things you are thankful for, etc.), and listening to audios such as Abraham Hicks and Bob Proctor.
- Adversity is a time where entrepreneurs can really thrive. You can create amazing success not just “in spite of things” but often “because of them.”
- Seek continuous improvement. To breakthrough, remember that what got you to your level right now is not what will get you to the next.
The Ultimate Takeaway
Looking back on what made her discover psychology as her calling, Niyc recalled a conversation she had when she was 17. Niyc’s boyfriend then was a professional cricket player who described an important aspect of the sport if you wanted to win: players at bat are encouraged not to focus on opposing fielders who are meant to frustrate their gameplay. Instead, batters can focus on the gaps between fielders through which they can hit the ball and score runs.
Niyc connects this with how human psychology often plays out in real life. People can often tend to focus more on fielders (problems, what’s going wrong or what feels difficult in your business or life, etc.) instead of the gaps between them (opportunities, possibilities, etc.). But you have the power to change that.
Difficult business challenges and personal situations are real and can be debilitating. But there’s a way to get through them. And that’s what everyone gets to be focused on. If you’re a millennial, entrepreneur, or professional who is currently struggling, Niyc offers:
“I believe in you. All things are possible when you choose to take the next positive step today. It’s about taking one small step that will put you in the right direction on the trajectory of growth. [Just putting] one foot in front of the other makes the biggest difference over time.”
You can find Niyc and her award-winning best selling book “Now Is Your Chance: a 30 day guide to living your happiest life” at her website www.niycpidgeon.com and you can also find Niyc on instagram @niycpidge