For years, Nicky Rowbotham has put pen to paper to journal her ideas. It’s a process that grounds her and helps her to make things happen. Now she’s empowering others to live their best lives as she shares her techniques.
Nowadays it seems pretty much everything’s digital … so to find an entrepreneur who’s equipping us with analogue tools to help us turn our dreams into reality is unique – and really quite refreshing.
Cue River Club’s Nicky Rowbotham … she launched her business, Inspired Change, to give people tools – in the form of journals and notepads – to focus on their intentions and, ultimately, achieve their goals.
‘My whole concept is about providing analogue tools for a digital age. As soon as we go online, digital distractions are everywhere and we often lose focus on our intentions. A physical journal keeps us focused,’ explains Nicky.
There’s an array of journals and notepads to choose from on her online store. ‘I offer the Inspired Change journal which supports goals, focus and productivity; the Gratitude Attitude journal which focuses on a daily gratitude practice to become more present; and a range of notepads to help support your journey.’ You’ll find a grid-dot notepad, Make Magic Happen; a checklist notepad, Feed Your Focus; and a Goals and Gratitude notepad for those who are looking for daily balance and focus without committing to a journal. ‘My products are all undated, so this means you can pick them up whenever you need them. No more blank dated pages for the weeks you missed staring at you in judgment.’
She speaks from experience. Nicky’s been journaling for years … in fact, she can trace it back to her teenage years. About five years ago, she started writing into her blank Inspired Change journal. She describes her moments with her journal as a ‘meditative way to start and focus’ her day. ‘Journaling grounds me and there is something about putting pen to paper that has always helped me make things happen.’
It’s unsurprising then that, when nudged with the idea to share her journaling method with others while sipping coffee one Sunday morning, Nicky reached for her pen. In just an hour, she’d scribbled it down. ‘It was an intuitive moment that I never questioned.’ In the days that followed, she fleshed out her business plan. ‘I’ve always had an entrepreneurial flair, inspired by a great example in my mom who ran her own events company.’ Luckily, she was connected to the right people ‘to make it happen’. ‘When I said “yes” to the idea, the rest just flowed.’
Nicky says she finds journaling helps her to be more intentional, focused and grounded. ‘I get less distracted by others’ priorities as I am crystal clear on my own.’ She’s intentional about plotting out her goals and small milestones in bite-sized steps every month so she knows what she needs to do to achieve them. ‘Planning is the magic as, occasionally, the plan shifts. Life happens and I may have to shift some of the smaller goals from month to month, but I stay focused on what I want to achieve.’
She says practising gratitude is a recent discovery. ‘I used a gratitude journal to help turn my health around over the last two years and support my mindset after a recent health scare. It naturally became the next journal that I launched.’
She’s found that many people want to be more intentional in bringing about positive change in their lives.
If you’re thinking the process of journaling and practising gratitude sounds a little too time-consuming, think again. Nicky’s a busy woman. On top of running her Inspired Change business, she heads up operations and technology for certain businesses in a financial services company. She has an honours degree in accounting and, in 2011, she completed her Master of Business Administration at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. And yet, for years, she’s managed to find the time to journal every morning. ‘The beauty of my journals is that they have a blend of space and structure, so the process takes only five minutes a day. No more staring at a blank journal wondering what to write. You have enough prompts to nudge you, but enough space and freedom to tailor the process to you. Both my journals have a morning and evening section, but you can complete both in the morning if that is easier for you.
‘I find my magic time to make a journaling habit stick is first thing in the morning when the house is quiet. Sitting down with my first cup of coffee and my journal helps me focus, get grounded and start my day right. Everything flows from there.’
‘Flow’ is a word you’ll hear Nicky use often, and so it’s unsurprising – and really quite appropriate – that she used it in the title of her new book, 7 Steps to Finding Flow – Flip the Script on Stress, which was released in February. Nicky describes it as a ‘surprise lockdown project’, aimed at helping others find a path out of the stress cycle that many are locked into.
For Nicky, life’s about balance … so on weekends, she makes time to reset by exercising, exploring, reading on her veranda and catching up with friends. ‘I’m a single woman with an amazing group of friends who are like family, as my family is spread out all over the country and the world. I’m greeted at the door by my rescue cat, whom I adopted from the SPCA eight years ago. Pre-Covid, I normally had an adventure or overseas travel planned as, after working overseas in my 20s, wanderlust became my wing-woman and I’ve been fortunate to visit all seven continents and almost 70 countries internationally. I love taking the path less travelled and enjoy less commercial or popular destinations, preferably where the Wi-Fi is weak!’
Her life’s motto is ‘magic, moments and memories’. ‘I am a firm believer in experiences and connections over “things” and believe that magic is found in the small things in life. I live this out by investing more in experiences and time to connect with others, whilst being present and really appreciating the moments that are really special.’
Details: Follow @inspiredchangejournal and @nickyrowbotham on Instagram, and shop the wonderful range of journals and notepads on the Inspired Change website: inspiredchange.co
* Text Daniella Graham & Kym Argo. Photographs: derrynschmidt.com & @chelsandco.studio (Instagram)
Flip the script on stress
Seventy per cent of us spend most of our day in a state of stress. Our nervous systems are in a position of fight, flight or freeze. With the constant pressure, the weight of perceived expectations and the drive to be ‘always on’, many of us live with an energy and nervous system that feels like a tightly clenched fist, rather than an easeful, gently unfurling hand. And staying shackled in this state of overwhelm and stress has far-reaching consequences for our health. We often only pay attention when illness strikes, having tuned out all the messages our bodies were sending us along the way.
According to Nicky Rowbotham, author of 7 Steps to Finding Flow, health whispers until one day it screams. In the book, Nicky points out that while we can’t avoid stress, we can deal with it differently and access better health, energy and balance. And she shows us how to move from being overwhelmed and ‘locked in’ by stress to a more easeful, resilient and aligned life. Nicky, who’s worked with many highly motivated and driven entrepreneurs and professionals looking to fulfil their potential and live their best life – not just at work – helps you learn what’s truly behind your stress, how it impacts your energy, hormones and nervous system, how to move your nervous system into a state of flow and how to make choices that support your energy, by living in harmony with your body. Health whispers until one day it screams. Let’s not wait for the scream! Tracey McDonald Publishers, R260.
Ready to find your flow? To win one of three copies of Nicky’s book, simply visit the Get It Joburg North Facebook or Instagram page, find and ‘like’ the 7 Steps to Finding Flow – Flip the Script on Stress post, and tag a friend in the comments section. Entries close April 26.