Mindfulness has become something of a buzzword over the last few years, but very few people actually know what it is! Or the benefits that it can bring to your life. One woman who does is Nicola Forshaw, founder of Mindfit, a provider of Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence training to schools, businesses and individuals.
Nicola says; ‘Mindfulness is a practice. It is a way of being. Mindfulness is not a religion, doesn’t take a lot of time and can be practiced anywhere, sitting on a bus, walking to work, at your desk, cooking at home or even socialising with your friends. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to your thoughts, emotions and body sensations in the present moment non-judgementally and with compassion.’
‘When we do this it allows us to create some space in the mind to respond skilfully rather than habitually. This can lead us to making wiser decisions. Mindfulness is a way of being that can help us to build up emotional intelligence skills such as resilience, focus and compassion for our self and others.’
At Mindfit, Nicola works with CEO’s, executive teams and staff to improve wellbeing, performance and company culture. She also works with schools, colleges and universities teaching both teachers and pupils mindfulness to improve their emotional wellbeing, focus and attention, teaching ‘how to live in the present moment’ and cultivate attitudes of positivity and kindness.
Prior to setting up her own business Nicola worked for 15 years in corporate sales and business development in telecommunications, advertising and sports marketing. But it wasn’t until 2008 that Nicola found mindfulness after she began meditating to help her cope with stress and depression that she was facing. ‘The practice was key in transforming my mind set, and my life!’ Ever since then Nicola has been studying meditation, personal development and mindfulness, and in 2010 she decided that she wanted a career change. ‘I had two objectives, it had to be something I was passionate about and it had to be something that would help others. Ironically, the idea came to me whilst meditating! I wanted to teach others how to find peace and happiness, which lead to me becoming an accredited mindfulness teacher.’
Nicola got in contact with her local growth hub broker The Women’s Organisation and was directed to tailored business growth support through our programme; New Markets 2 and began working with Business Adviser; Janine Hyland. ‘ I benefited enormously from my one to one mentoring with Janine who has shown genuine interest in the growth of my business and has been brilliant to work with!’ Nicola worked with Janine and had one to one meetings as well as an away morning with her to help her plan her growth strategy.
For Nicola one of the biggest barriers when starting her business was the lack of start-up capital. To solve this problem Nicola decided to continue working full-time whilst she started her business simultaneously. ‘For the first couple of years I had to continue working whilst studying and practicing mindfulness during evenings and weekends. This was very tiring, especially with a young baby, thinking back it was such hard work but definitely worth it!’
|Mindfulness in the workplace
|Nicola has always juggled many different things and is dedicated to finding the perfect work/life balance. ‘I’m a working mum so I have to fit my business around my young daughter. So like most working mums there can be a lot of juggling. But when it’s your passion, it doesn’t feel like work!’ And even within the business Nicola admits that there are a lot of different areas to contend with; ‘There’s so much to think about when you’re running your business; marketing, social media, accounts, networking, business development – and that’s on top of the most important work of all which is the teaching!’ – But Nicola says that her own mindfulness practice has helped her enormously to cope and also achieve her goals, she sets aside 30-40 minutes each day for this.
Now Mindfit is going from strength. Nicola says; ‘We are working with national as well as local businesses and the number of clients we have has quadrupled since last year with 98% of the attendees rating our sessions as excellent! We are now working with larger groups, I recently taught a session at Liverpool Hope University that was attended by 140 people! I am excited about taking the business forward in 2017 and have lots of plans to continue to bring mindfulness and meditation to a wider audience and help people lead happier, healthier lives.’
If you would like to find out more about Mindfit, you can do so by using the contact details below!
Feb 2018 update…
Since working on the New Markets 2 Programme Nicola’s business has continued to grow, seeing significant increase in her turnover, and building an impressive client portfolio.
Over the last 12 months Nicola has been implementing a mindfulness programme at Merseyside Police.
Nicola told us “It’s a great opportunity to work with an organisation under immense pressure to change mindset and culture in a positive way”.
Thanks to unbelievable feedback Nicola currently has a further 5 courses commissioned with Merseyside Police and she is finding waiting lists are often needed as the staff can see what a positive impact the programme is having.
Nicola commented “As the police officers are learning how to let worry and tension go, they are not only improving their health and well being, but their productivity is increasing.”
On the back of the success in Merseyside, Nicola is due to start working on a similar project with West Yorkshire Police, and is positive about the direction her business is going in.
And if you’ve been inspired by Nicola’s story and would like to find out how we can help you start or grow your business through our programmes part funded by European Regional Development Fund, then get in touch with us! We operate as a broker for the local growth hub meaning we are available to give advice and guidance whatever stage your business. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org ring us on 0151 706 8111