BW 095: Living a life by design, not default.

tips widow interview Apr 30, 2024

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You can find Nikki here:   





The Transcript is below.

Content warning: Different kind of Cancer, psychotic. Death

Nikki is a widow and coma survivor based in Cambridge, UK. After experiencing two major traumas in quick succession, Nikki took a step back to reassess her life and business. Now, she's a strategist, mentor, and motivational speaker who believes that everyone can find richness beyond just money, and that life should be designed, not defaulted into.

Through her talks, Nikki shares her experiences and offers wisdom and advice to help people who may be going through similar challenges. She also provides insight into her own journey of overcoming grief and the struggles she faced before and after losing her husband. Witness how she navigated her grieving journey, and learn from her resilience and determination.


  • Find support,
  • Accept Help 
  •  make sure  you have time for your family.  make sure you hold space for yourself as well.

  • you have to be willing to carve out time and space for yourself to be the best human being you can be for other people. 


 ''I've created a life for myself. I call it a life by design and it's all about making good choices with my life. Whether it's my work, my health, love, play, it's all, it's about making good choices.''

'' I think we owe it to the people that we lost to live,'' 

 ''Living a Life by design  not by default. ''

''We can never, we can't know what tomorrow is going to bring,''

''We don't move on we move forward''


The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at  



Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones


I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!



Twitter | @brave_widow

Instagram | @brave_widow

Facebook |

YouTube | @bravewidow

You can find Nikki on:


Instagram @straight_talking_strategist



Emily Tanner: [00:00:00] Hey, Hey, and welcome to episode number 95 of the brave widow show today. I talk with Nikki stock, a fellow widow, and someone who has. It's just an incredible story. I saw her post in a mutual Facebook group and even though her post was two or three sentences long, it immediately resonated with me and I knew I had to get her on the show.

So we are going to dive into Nikki's story and I can't wait for you to hear some of the things that she has to share with you. Before we dive in, if you are listening to this and you have not signed up for coaching, you have not. Join the brave widow community, then I don't know what you're waiting for, but you need to join, join a strong community of widows who are walking this crazy journey of grief together and helping each other take the next step to [00:01:00] move forward.

I was talking with one of my personal coaches about this. Just this past week, and one of the things we talked about is that we have widows in a multitude of stages in several different stages. Some are in a stage of devastation, you've lost your person. You may feel like there's no hope. You may have no idea how you're ever going to find joy again.

You may be in a different stage of widowhood where you are no longer in survival mode and in the devastation and in that phase, but you've moved into a phase where you feel almost like a toddler again, like you're taking one or two steps to move forward and grief just smacks you back down, which is super frustrating and starts to make you feel that.

It's pointless creating a life that you can enjoy again. You may be in another phase [00:02:00] or stage of widowhood where. You are creating a life that you love. You're trying new hobbies. You are trying new things. We have widows who are becoming authors for the first time, who are starting businesses or side hustles or picking up new hobbies, testing things out that they enjoy.

And you may be in a totally different phase of widowhood, where you're You are ready to date again, and you want some help navigating this emotional roller coaster of dating and apps and ghosting and people that want hookups and all of this crazy stuff. So, as I was talking with one of my personal coaches, you know, one of the struggles that I have is.

Painting the picture of this beautiful, wonderful, amazing life that can be waiting for you that you can enjoy and explore [00:03:00] when you're in a phase that has seemed so far away. It's like telling someone who wants to start up a new business, Hey, you could start your own business and make a million dollars a year.

Like that just seems so impossible, so far away. It's almost hard to believe. And so what coaches have to do at times and what business owners have to do at times is paint a picture that feels more realistic because having a life that you love and you enjoy and that you're thriving in may feel really far away.

From the place that you're starting and so vulnerably, I'm just going to share with you. That one of the things my coach encouraged me to do is not this, this big, beautiful goal of having this life that you love of waking up every day with joy and love and gratitude and not having that overshadowed by sadness and sorrow and [00:04:00] desperation.

Maybe not starting with that and saying, oh, you can achieve that if you work towards this goal. Which you totally can, by the way, but by saying, you know, as your coach and as part of your brave widow community and members, we are going to hold your hand and walk you step by step in the direction of a future that you want.

So that you can move forward. We're not moving on. We're not leaving your person behind. We're not closing a door on those memories and those moments and those years and the wonderful experiences that you've had. We are moving forward and keeping your person's spirit with us as we do that. Can you still create a life that you love on your own?

Can you still achieve really amazing things without [00:05:00] having a strong community, without having a coach? Yeah, you can. It might take you a really long time to get there. It might take you longer than it did for me, and I know for me it felt like it took long enough to get to a point where That felt possible and became a reality for me.

So why not fast track that why not have a group of people who are cheering you on who are sitting with you in the sadness who are celebrating with you when you have successes and milestones and you start to feel like a person again, like you can do this. Again, so if you, if this resonates with you at all, if you're interested and you want to join, go to brave widow.

com and you can work with me. You can work with me one on one as your personal coach. You can join the brave [00:06:00] widow membership community, and you can go through some of the self paced courses. You can join our calls that we have every other week. Right now we're doing them on Mondays and just. Hanging out together, sharing experiences, you can post in our private Facebook group or in our online community forums and connect with other widows.

Like, there is so much waiting for you in the community, or if you want more of an intimate, private, one on one VIP experience, then you can work with me personally as your coach. I would love to work with you and coach you. All right, let's get started. Let me introduce Nikki to you, and then we will dive into her story.

Nikki Stock is a multi award winning business mentor who specializes in growth. Her early career was spent in sales for BUPA and American Express Travel Management, [00:07:00] where she routinely exceeded expectation, which included winning Business Travel Sales Manager of the Year and achieving sales of over 10 million pounds in under six months.

Nikki With her life and business partner, she was appointed the UK distributor for a household American brand, which you will know the name of as soon as she shares that in her story. And in seven years, she grew the business from 75, 000 pounds to 5. 5 million pounds. During this time, she won the prestigious Hollis Award for her cause related marketing campaign with NatWest Bank and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

But the universe had other plans, and a short time later, Nikki's teenage children had to experience their mother in a coma for two weeks with a life threatening illness. And in 2012, the untimely death of their father, deciding to focus on her recovery [00:08:00] and support her children through their exams. Nikki single handedly remodeled the loss making business she had bought the year before and grew it to a turnover of 1.

4 million pounds in just over 12 months. This enabled the business to be sold at a profit and provided the capital to start her new marketing company with the aim of helping female entrepreneurs optimize their business and their lives and embrace their passions. Alongside this until September of 2022, Nikki ran the women in business network for Cambridge and Suffolk areas.

And in 2021 was recognized as one of the top 100 most influential women in East Anglia by NatWest bank. Nikki now works solely as a mentor to female entrepreneurs, realizing that more female entrepreneurs need mentoring and accountability with a straight talking strategist. She has also founded Rich beyond money for [00:09:00] women who appreciate the value of a balanced life where she advocates living a life by design, not default.

This inspirational community brings together a team of supportive group of female business owners who lift an experienced.

Who lift and inspire each other every day and share knowledge each month through net mastering a hybrid of networking and mastermind. Nikki's two children are now adults and she spends her time between her home in Cambridge Shire and her house in the Jallan Valley in Spain with her new partner, Living New Adventures.

She can be found skiing in the winter, loves the game of tennis, and is a bit of a gen fan. Nikki will share during the interview and also in the show notes where you can find her. Um, her most prominent place is her Facebook group, Rich Beyond Money. You can also find her mentoring at NikkiStock. com. I [00:10:00] love when widows become entrepreneurs, authors, side hustlers.

I love when widows become entrepreneurs. business builders, whatever you want to call it. This is incredibly inspiring to me. I love how Nikki mentions a life by design, not by default. And I can't wait for you to hear her story. Let's dive in.

All right. Hey, hey, welcome back to another episode of the Brave Widow show. Today I have with me Nikki Stock, and I'm really excited for you all to hear about her story and her journey Some of the amazing things that she's experienced good and bad in her life.

So Nikki, thank you for coming on the show today. I'm very glad to have you here.

Nikki Stock: Thank you, Emily. I'm delighted to be here. You know, what a great podcast. I've listened to a few episodes and I wish it was around a few years ago.

Emily Tanner: Oh, thank you. Well, Nikki, if you don't mind, if you would share [00:11:00] with our audience some about your background and your story.

I know when you posted in a mutual Facebook group that we're in, just a few sentences that you share really inspired me to want to reach out to you and to see if you would come on the show. So I know it's going to resonate with a lot of our listeners too.

Nikki Stock: Yeah, so, I'm Nikki. I live in the UK. I also live in Spain and I became a widow, um, 12 years ago at the age of 48.

So not young, young, but not old. And it certainly wasn't, on the life plan as it isn't for any of us, my partner had a very rare blood cancer and, his treatment was incredibly aggressive. So it was, although they were telling us that it was, treatable, but incurable, you know, initially they told us that, you know, maybe if he could get a stem cell transplant, it would buy us perhaps 10 years.[00:12:00]

But that didn't happen. So, um, prior to him getting ill, we had a really successful business. And you guys will know it out there. We actually bought Banana Boat Suncare into the UK. Emily's smiling. So I'm guessing, yeah, so you'll know a banana boat sun care. So we actually took your lovely brand into the UK and we put it all over the UK.

That was our business for, um, about seven years. I think we, we, I don't know what it is in dollars. But in in UK pounds, we kind of had the business about 7 million pounds. So it was a really lovely business. And we just literally lost that just before Colin was diagnosed, it got sold to another company. So imagine if you if you will, we've had a really good business, we've been really well paid.

And then all of a sudden, we don't have an income coming in. And [00:13:00] Colin bought another business out of administration. Um, but then he started to, you know, he was just not feeling well, in, uh, coming up to Christmas and he'd been into hospital for some surgery on a shoulder injury he had. And it was at that point I noticed a lump on his neck, which then, you know, having gone through the diagnosis with the doctors, we found out it was a blood cancer.

So that's when, you know, our lives imploded. And I know, you know, some people will be experiencing, um, you know, a very sudden death, whereas we, we had kind of, we kind of had time to plan for it. But as far as he was concerned, it wasn't an option. He wasn't going to die. So from my side of this, the, you know, the story, it's very tricky because you're dealing with somebody every day that's having treatment that is.

Head in the sand, not thinking that the worst is going to happen. Meanwhile, [00:14:00] you're there thinking, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? Worst happens. How, you know, and I couldn't have that conversation with him because he wouldn't have it. So I didn't have the benefit of making plans.

Emily Tanner: Yeah, and and how do you balance that hope of we all know death is inevitable, but there's hope that you might have 10 more years together, or there might be a miracle and he's cured.

And so you want to live in that hope and faith that that's possible. And at the same time plan for. But what if that doesn't happen? We know that we have a serious diagnosis here. How, how did you even wrestle with that in your own mind?

Nikki Stock: Yeah, I mean, I kind of had a bit of a split personality. So when I was with him, I was just supporting him in his decisions and what he wanted to do.

And as I say, he was very much, I am not going to die. I am not going anywhere. [00:15:00] And he wouldn't really, I I'm the sort of person that as soon as I'm told something, I will investigate it to the nth degree. And I was attending conferences all over the world virtually on this particular cancer because I wanted to be so informed.

So that when the medical professions were saying, well, we're going to try this, I could say, actually, have you tried that? Or, you know, there's a new protocol going happening in Las Vegas at the moment, and it's an immunotherapy. So can we get hold of this? So for me, I was very much the practical person.

And for him, he was, he was just going through that grim determination. I'm not going to let it get to me. I'm not going to die. So I am not going to talk about it. So I was having to make plans in the background as to what I would do if the worst happened. Now, unfortunately, my story takes a bit [00:16:00] of a turn for the worst.

Because, um, he'd been battling for about a year, just over a year, and he'd got into a very good remission. Um, and we went skiing. We actually managed to get away for a family skiing holiday, which was fabulous because the children had had a really bad year. You know, my partner was diagnosed in January, their grandmother was diagnosed with womb cancer in the February, and their father, grandfather was diagnosed as psychotic.

In the March, so I had three people that I was looking after. And I would do three hospitals in three countries in one day. Now, you know, the UK is considerably smaller than the USA. So it wouldn't be quite as much driving from county to county. But, you know, I would do, an hour down to my parents, pick my mom up.

Drive an hour to her hospital, spend an hour there with the consultant, drive back again, pick my [00:17:00] father up, drive 20 minutes to his hospital, spend another hour with their consultant, drive back and then drive back to my house, which was an hour away to pick my partner up from his hospital appointment and bring him home.

And then I would go into the field behind my house and literally scream. Because that, the frustration,

Emily Tanner: yeah, that had to be just mentally and emotionally exhausting. Yeah, on top of having lost your business and your income and trying to figure out what you're going to do. They're balancing, taking care of all of these individuals, plus being there for your children and then.

Even having a moment to yourself to evaluate this, almost like this hurricane that you're in of all these things happening at once. Like, it's just incredible. That you were able to survive that and that, you know, [00:18:00] you did some of the things that you did, but what, how did you just, what would you say to someone who's in that storm today?

And who's wondering, I don't know if I could, if I can keep doing this. I don't know if I can keep do it again the next day. Like what got you through each of those days?

Nikki Stock: Well, um, I don't know how far you got with my story, but I actually didn't survive it. I actually got very, very, very ill, um, and ended up in a coma on life support.

And I was dying myself. So I think the relentlessness of what was going on. And the fact that I was, looking after all these people that put me in the coma that put me at death's door. But I think you just have to. Dig as deep as you can and and and keep your your eyes on what are the priorities and my priorities were keeping the the house and and the children's lives [00:19:00] as normal as possible, which you know how normal is it when you've got two sick parents and two sick grandparents is it's pretty hard, but also.

using your support network. Now, I was really, really lucky. I live in a small village, and so one of the ladies in the village decided that she would, every Monday, no matter what, on her way to work, drop off what she liked to call chemo cake. So every Monday I would undo my front door and on my bench outside my front door, there would be a cake tin with a chemo cake in it.

And that would be the best thing because when he came back from hospital he like have a piece of cake. If people were coming to visit, I didn't have to think, Oh my God, I've got nothing in. I always had cake in the house. So that was fabulous. Another neighbor of mine came over and said, How can we help you?

How can we help [00:20:00] you? And I couldn't think of anything. But then her husband said, Well, would it help if I did your yard and did your lawn? mowed your lawn, trimmed your trees, just kept on top of the garden. And I thought, gosh, yeah, that would be amazing. And then his wife said, well, I'll do your laundry. You probably, you don't have time to do laundry.

How'd you have time to do laundry and iron the children's school clothes? And I didn't have time. So every Monday she would come over and take the laundry basket. And then two days later, she would bring it back full of ironing and you know, it was just really accepting help from others, which a lot of us are not very good at doing that.

We just kind of say, well, we'll just get on with it. We can do it all by ourselves.

Emily Tanner: Yeah, it is a tough pride thing. I think that we have as humans. And to your point, sometimes it's just a lack of clarity. Like, we don't know what to ask for. We don't know what the other person is willing to [00:21:00] do. So I think it's really remarkable that they gave you some suggestions of, well, how about I do this specifically?

And then you were able to say yes or no, you know, based on what they were suggesting. So take us through that part of your story where you're living this day in and day out, that it just had to feel like some sort of endless cycle that you would probably never get on the other side of. How did you go from that to being up in a coma and being up Being at the point of being at risk yourself,

Nikki Stock: I think I just, and so this is what I'm going to say to the people as well.

You know, if you're in that situation where, um, you are with a very, very sick person, prioritize your self care, you cannot pull from an empty cup. And I think, you know, I probably lost sight of the fact that my cup was getting [00:22:00] emptier and emptier. So, um, I got to the point where I was literally exhausted.

My hair was falling out. I lost weight. I wasn't sleeping really because he would be so ill that I was waiting for him to wake up with a fever and then having to rush him into hospital for antibiotics. So sleep was something, you know, I dreamt of, I really dreamt of sleeping again. It was like having a newborn in the house.

You know, I'd literally just get to bed and then he'd say, Oh, and I think, Oh, right. Okay. Up. So, um, yeah, what happened was I, um, dropped him off one day to have, um, a blood transfusion. And as I was leaving the hospital, a senior nurse. who I knew came up to me and she said, you're not well, Nikki. And I said, Oh no, no, I'm fine.

I'm just tired. And she said, no, you're not tired. You're not tired. She said, you are [00:23:00] worse than tired. Your lips are going blue. I can see your lips are blue. Go to your GP, go to your physician and get tested, get checked out. There's something not right with you. I can see it. And so I went to my doctor that morning I was lucky to get an appointment, and they started to run some tests on me.

And by the time I'd come from the test room back into my doctor's surgery. He was on the phone calling an ambulance to get me into hospital. Um, he thought I was possibly having a heart attack. Wasn't really sure what was going on, but what he did know was I was very sick.

Emily Tanner: And what was going through your mind?

Like I would imagine I, I would be thinking, what else? Like, I can't, this can't happen to me too, but when you're in the moment, it's different. So what was, What was going through your mind? I

Nikki Stock: said to him, I can't go to hospital right now. [00:24:00] Because I've got to go and sort the children out and I need to go and pick up Colin because he's having his platelets and I'm, I'm too busy.

And he said, you have to go now, you have to go now. So at that point you get into that so I negotiated not going in the ambulance I said look can I get a friend to take me if I go in an hour. Will that be okay? And he said, well, you have to go in an hour. You need to be there in an hour. So I got home. I phoned round everybody sort of said, right, you need to go and pick up Colin from the hospital.

Can you pick up the children? Just explain that I'll be back later. Or so I thought, um, and just organize everybody. So I kind of got it all organized and went off to hospital. Um, and then within about an hour of being there, I had to go and have a chest x ray. And I kind of knew it wasn't going to pan out well when I'm standing having my chest x ray, and then there's not [00:25:00] one, but not two, not three, but there was four radiographers, all standing looking at my, my, my, my scans.

And you could see, and then you could see them looking at me and you know they're supposed to not really show any motion. Like this one woman's like, almost shaking her head saying, how is she even upright? What they could see was that my lungs were literally not working. They, instead of looking at the normal shape as lungs, as you and I would know them, they looked like two blocks of concrete.

They were completely rectangular and they were hardly moving. So I was admitted to the ward with all the older people that can't breathe. And I didn't actually see my partner again for almost three weeks because within three days they put me into intensive care, on a ventilator. That was on the Friday I went into intensive care on the ventilator [00:26:00] and he hadn't been able to come and see me because he wasn't allowed to go into hospital because his immune system was compromised.

And eventually I think he got to see me on the Sunday night by coming in very late at night and through the back door and being sort of going through the underground tunnels to get to me. And then he had a telephone call much later that evening saying, um, we need to move her. We need to move her to another hospital.

We need to go and put her on, um, something called ECMO, which is a complete lung bypass. And, um, they said, if we don't move her, she'll die tonight. And she may die on the journey, but if we get her to the other hospital and we can get her on ECMO, we might be able to do something for her. So he said, yeah, take her, move her, see what you can do.

And so they did. And that's when they then put me into a [00:27:00] coma and completely bypassed my lungs. And I had 17 lines going into my body, 17 lines going into my neck of antibiotics. And obviously they were pumping the blood out of my main artery through the machine to oxygenate it and then they were pumping it back in.

And that went on for weeks. Went on for a couple of weeks, to the point where They've been called twice to say goodbye to me because I was just so I just wasn't really responding I was really poorly. And then after two weeks. They thought, oh, she's still here. Why is she still here? You know, she should have been long gone.

And at that point, they had a meeting and they said, look, we're just going to take her out of the coma. And then we can see their actual words were what we've got left. Wow. Yeah, and that meant they were telling [00:28:00] him that I probably wouldn't remember him. I probably wouldn't be able to talk. I definitely wouldn't be able to walk, and I would have to have a good six to nine months rehab to get back to where I was.

Emily Tanner: Where were your children at this time? Like, I can't even, I can't even fathom what's

Nikki Stock: And you know, bless his heart, my son, on that Monday night, His dad hadn't had his, his dad was refusing his chemotherapy because he didn't want to go into hospital for four days. So he, his dad was just having some chemotherapy at home, and they'd forgotten to give him the anti sickness tablets.

So my son, age 13, was up all night with his dad with a bucket whilst his dad was being sick, and then literally carried his dad upstairs to bed and put him to bed. And at that point my, my, partner phoned his sister [00:29:00] and his sister moved in to look after them all. She said it was the hardest thing she's ever had to do.

She said it was just because she's walking into my house that I run, you know, I know where everything is. I know, you know, the dance clubs, the afterschool clubs, the football, everything, you know, I did everything and she knew nothing. All sorts of elements of my life imploded then, you know, my son didn't have any school school food for two weeks, because I hadn't topped up his cashless catering system, because I was unconscious.

So I couldn't, but he him being him didn't want to worry his aunt. So he didn't say anything, and it was only when his friend's mum came round and said, Dad's not had any school dinners for two weeks. He's been sharing with Ryan. Did she know that she should have been topping up his finger? But nobody knew.

And yeah, they, they would [00:30:00] wake up in the night and they would see, and I would literally leave a piece of paper outside my daughter's bedroom door saying, gone to hospital. Get yourselves to school. Because they would never know when they went to bed, whether they would wake up in the morning and we would be there, or whether we would had to have gone in because Dad was poorly.

So they had it really, really, really hard, really hard. My, my son's first suit. It wasn't for his prom. It was for his dad's funeral.

Emily Tanner: I can't even imagine just not knowing every day. And just seeing family member by family member go through all of these different things. That, I can't even imagine how difficult. And just don't daunting. That is just just getting through the day. Um,

Nikki Stock: I don't think I think when you're in it, when you're actually in it, you don't think about it [00:31:00] because all you're thinking about is I have to survive this day.

And then I'll offer, you know, and I, you, I didn't think about any of it. Until much later, till after, once I got better and , I came out of hospital weighing, I don't know what it would be in kilos, a five stone, really tiny, tiny person. My daughter had to go and buy me children's clothes because everything was hanging off me and he died 10 weeks after I came out of hospital.

So we never got to kind of celebrate me getting better. We never got him to his transplant. And, you know, he, he died on the Sunday and I went to our, our business on the Monday to see our staff and say to them, look, you know, he's gone. I'm in charge now. Not quite sure what we're going to do because I really didn't have a clue about this new business.

So bear with [00:32:00] me. And then that was the next battle was to. Once the funeral was out the way, I then had to work six days a week to get this business that we bought out of failure. You know, we'd only just bought it up to a level where I could then sell it. And that took 18 months. So I didn't really process everything that had happened until 18 months after the event.

And during that time, all I could focus on was the business And getting the children through their exams, because it was a, it was a really big time, Lucy was sort of in her senior year at school ready to go off to university. And Dan was sort of coming up 16 then. And so they were, you know, that was all I did, even for another year and a half was the business and the kids so I still didn't really do me for 18 months.

And then [00:33:00] when I sold the business, that's when I sort of hit the wall. That's when I actually did come crashing down. And I remember I woke up one day And I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't get out of bed. And I just wanted, I just didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be there. And I remember phoning my friend and she wasn't there.

And I was just thinking, I'm, you know, I'm not sure I'm going to, I'm not sure I'm even going to be here when the kids get home. And I went through, I went to the village, went to the village, barefoot, didn't put any shoes on. Just ran through the village to another friend's house who works for the Samaritans.

And I'm hammering on her door, sobbing, and her husband answered the door and he said, What's happened? I just need to speak to her. And he said, She's not here. She's, you know, she's at work. And he, and [00:34:00] you know, so this poor guy's got this sobbing wreck of a woman on his door step. And he said, she'll be back in an hour and a half.

What? And I said, no, it's fine. I'll go home. I'll go home, but you have to send around, you know, you have to send around. So she came round and she sat with me for an I would say six hours, at least six hours whilst I cried and was angry and, you know, just got it, everything that I'd been holding in for more than 18 months, maybe two and a half years, all just came out at that point.

And I think once I'd Got it all out and realized, you know, and started to process it. That's when I realized that, you know, life had to change and I had to start. Looking after me. I'm like, I was looking after my kids anyway, but really looking after me because if I wasn't whole and [00:35:00] back together, then I wasn't going to be any good to anybody.

Emily Tanner: Yeah, and you make such a really great point about when you're in it, that you're in survival mode and you're worried about everyone else and everything else and just. Going through the motions and at some point reality sets in, um, and usually for widows that don't even have this additional trauma of things that you've, you've gone through.

It's this transition from I'm running on adrenaline. I'm getting all the paperwork done. I'm notifying all the agencies. I'm, you know, getting things switched over in my name. Like, I'm doing all of these things. Things, but I'm not slowing down enough to really process it. And at some point it either catches up with you or you slow down long enough.

And reality sets in that, Oh, this isn't a bad dream. Like this is real. [00:36:00] This is really happening to me. And. There's no going back and so it's just this odd shift that I see a lot of widows go through and I did myself of Now I have to breathe and just let it all out and start to begin to process these things But some people go through that for years before they get to the point where they actually start to process what happened to them

Nikki Stock: Yeah, and I think that and it's hard and I think it's really difficult for the people around you.

I'm sure you found this. People don't know what to say to you, you know, and that's all really some some people will say I'm really sad. Other people will just avoid you because they don't know how to process it because when you are widowed much younger than your peers, it's just not how they expect things to pan out so.

They don't know what to say. And I, I certainly felt for a period of time, certainly the couples [00:37:00] around us melted away a bit because I was the extra person at the dinner table, the extra person at the event. And, and I was a reminder, a horrible reminder that they'd lost their friend. So, yeah, it is very, very, very hard.

But what I've done is I've moved, I, you know, what I, I decided, um, quite some time ago, and it was quite organic, but it kind of works, is I've created a life for myself. I call it a life by design and it's all about making good choices with my life. Whether it's my work, my health, love, play, it's all, it's about making good choices.

And I've, I've re, you know, recalibrated to some extent. And, you know, I always wanted to, I lived in Spain when I was younger and I always wanted to live in Spain. So now I have a house in Spain and I spend. [00:38:00] Half my year there and half my year here. And so I'm, I'm living, I think we owe it to the people that we lost to live, if that makes sense.

I think a lot of us live a life by default.

Emily Tanner: Yeah, when I, when I read that, um, in part of your story, it really struck me because I try to talk often about creating the life that you want, creating the life that you love, you know, really embodying who you want to be in the future and being the person that proactively rebuilds that social circle.

You know, rebuilds those interests and hobbies and takes that proactive stance, but the way you phrase it with creating a life by design is such a beautiful way. And I would love for you to share some about that in how do you go from emerging out of this devastation and the [00:39:00] chaos and just, you, you had to have come up like a whole new person through all of this.

How do you go from just being in shell shock and. What feels like devastation to being at the point where I hear you mention in your story, well, I was lucky I had this. I was lucky I had that. And now I've created this life by design and this beautiful things. I, I want for my future. What, what was that bridge over the gap and in getting there?

Nikki Stock: I think the bridge was that, you know, I didn't ever want to feel how I felt when I was going through what I went through, which was. totally out of control I'm not a control freak, but I do like to be, I like to know where I'm going. I like to know what's happening. And when you're on that rollercoaster of [00:40:00] terminal illness, You never, ever, ever know, and you get these false promise, you know, you get this false hope.

I hope this is going to happen. It's not going to happen. And so you get used to being disappointed. And you get used to being let down and you get used to waking up every day, worried and scared and anxious and all those things have a profound effect on our bodies, mentally and physically. And so I made a conscious and also because I've been so ill myself.

And I have residual stuff from that, you know, I'm very immune compromised and everything else. I made some real decisions that I was going to stay fit. I was going to stay healthy. I mean, if I shared a picture of you, for you, of me 12 years ago, I look five times my age. Then I look about 90 because I was just [00:41:00] so ill.

So for me, the point was right. Okay. What do I want from my life? I don't want to work seven, you know, 72 hour weeks or whatever it is that people do. I'm not going to kill myself. I'm not going to be influenced by the people in the media that say your business isn't successful. If you're not having a six or seven, six or 700, 000 turnover or million pound turnover or whatever it is, I am going to create something that is right for me.

for what I need. And I do not want to be overwhelmed. I do not want to be stressed. I do not want to not know. We can never, we can't know what tomorrow is going to bring, right? That's, that's a given. We can't know what tomorrow is going to bring, but we can put things in place that bring us joy, fill our cup up.

Keep us sane [00:42:00] and give us a more balanced life. So when I talk about life by design, when I teach life by design, um, it's a bit like if you ask somebody to build a car, you know, they draw it, they do a prototype, they test it, and they keep tweaking it. It's the same principle. But what we look at is we look at health, work, love, and play, and we look at your petrol tank tank, we look at your fuel gauge and we say, right, where are you?

On health, are you full? Are you empty? Where are you on play? And that's not just play, like having fun. It's like, is your work playful sometimes? You know, love, love. It's not just about being in love. Do you love your work? Do you love your friends? You know, it's the bigger picture and we have these gauges and we look at them and the idea is we don't want everything, you know, we don't work to be full and health to be [00:43:00] empty because that's not going to work.

But if we can bring them all in alignment, so they're all in that middle. That's when we get the balance. And so I made that decision that I was going to balance my life out. So normally I work three days a week because that suits me. Sometimes I work more, but it just depends what I'm doing. I make sure I have time for my friends.

I make sure I have time for my family. I make sure I, I hold space for myself as well. And I think as, as women, particularly women who are left on their own, we feel we have to do everything and we have to be all things to everybody. And I think we just to be, have to be very mindful that we can't, you can't sustain that forever.

You have to, you know. Be balanced. If that makes sense, does that make sense?

Emily Tanner: Oh, absolutely. And one of the things that I teach is [00:44:00] that at some point. When you are pouring from that empty cup, and you're not taking the time to carve out that space, it's going to manifest physically. It's going to come out in chest pains and stomach aches and insomnia and, you know, under eating or over eating and just, you know, Physically, our bodies will start to show things that we're wrestling with emotionally and mentally.

And so you can't show up as your best self for other people if you're running on fumes and you're running on this empty tank. And I know for me, like, I, I get irritable and cranky and resentful when, . I get in this martyr mode and I feel like I have to do all of these things and I should do this and I should do that.

But then I feel resentful because I'm not taking the time and the space for me. So I a hundred [00:45:00] percent agree with you that you have to be willing to carve out time and space for yourself to be the best human being you can be for other people.

Nikki Stock: Yeah. And you know, if you do that. It will pay you back in spades and you'll just be a nicer person to be around, you know, when you get your vibe when you when when you finally when you're in flow.

Now when you're in flow and you've got your vibe and everything else. It's like I was at an event. Last week, a big event in London, and I was sitting at the dinner table, just chatting to various people, and a lady at the other end of the table was just calling me over. She said, I need to talk to you. I never met her before in my life, and she called me over and she said, you have such an amazing energy and aura about you.

She said, I don't even know who you are. She said, but I have a re I have a strong feeling. You have a really interesting backstory, bit of a sidekick. And [00:46:00] I thought, yeah, here we go. Here we go. And I said, well, yeah, maybe I have, maybe I have, but I think I've gone from, you know, holding it all in once I'd let it all out and then kind of.

started talking about my story, I realized it is actually a very powerful story. It is quite inspirational. And I've only been telling my story for a couple of years because I couldn't, you know, I used to cry when I used to tell my story, whereas now I can tell it. And I want people to know that, do you know what, we will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, You cannot move on.

People will go, Oh, she's never going to move on. No, I'm not ever going to move on. You know, I was with that man for 23 years. He's the father of my children. And in fact, I will have this year, I will have been without him half as long as I was with him. So it's quite a long period of time, but you can move forward.[00:47:00]

And I think that's the key you can move forward, you can be happy, you can have a life, you don't have to feel guilty about it. And I think there's lots of different facets to this that we, we can get stuck sometimes, we can get stuck sometimes. I was talking to somebody again at an event at the weekend and It's a very, very new for her being a widow.

And she's still carrying the survivor's guilt, even though there's nothing she could have done about it. But she feels bad that she's still here and he's gone. What can you do? And I said, you know, you shouldn't feel guilty about this, you know, you should be living your life. And as a testament to him, really.

So that's my piece of it.

Emily Tanner: Yeah, and I think guilt and regret is really strong in grief and I went through the grief recovery method. That was [00:48:00] probably the best thing I could have done to get through that piece of grief and not survivors guilt because I felt like I'm stuck with all these kids and Nathan's having the time of his life, you know, he's in heaven like he's good.

Um, I'm the one picking up the pieces here, but more about guilt around. our last few days together of, you know, him being in ICU, me not being able to go, that just that separation and, just things that were left unsaid. And that's a really heavy weight to carry. Um, so my heart definitely goes out to, to that individual.

And I know that's, that's a, A heavy burden.

Nikki Stock: It is, but you know, this thing about things that are unsaid when I was dying, I had a very nice time, if that makes sense. So I've been in my coma and I, when I came [00:49:00] out of my coma, um, my mother came to see me and she said, we have been so worried about you.

This is, you know, oh my goodness. It's just been awful. And I was actually quite cross that I was back because I said to her, I've had a really lovely time. And you can imagine my mother thinking, you haven't had a lovely time. You really haven't had a lovely time. And I said, no, I've had a lovely time. I've been with my, I used to call my grandmother nanny.

And I said, I've been with my, I've been with nanny. I said, it's been lovely. I've had a great time. And I remember having this whole on. I don't. In my hospital notes, they said a few times that I'd been very distressed because I'd been crying for my grandmother. And I have a very vivid memory of being with her in, in some other space and her just saying to me, you need to go, you need to go, you can't come with me and me being so distraught that I couldn't stay with her.[00:50:00]

So, you know, like, I do have that and I mean, you know, I do feel very, very strongly that there is an afterlife, and I do feel that the people that left us. No, they know all the things that we didn't say to them. Because we've, we've talked about them since, and you know, that's, that's my, that's my thing.

Some people think I'm mad, but for me, I know that he knows all the things that I didn't have a chance to say to him.

Emily Tanner: So Nikki, thank you so much for coming and sharing your story and just Being an inspiration for other widows that are out there, if someone wants to work with you, if they want to learn more about you, if they just really resonated and connected with what you had to share, you know, what, what's the best place for people to go and find you.

Nikki Stock: Yeah, I mean the best place you can find me, I hang out on Facebook a lot. I have a community called Rich Beyond [00:51:00] Money. , and it's for, it's not, it's not necessarily geared at widows. I've got a lot of widows in there, but it's for women who appreciate the value of a balanced life. And if people want to work with me on their life by design, reach out to me on Facebook, direct message me.

Um, that's one place to find me, or you can go on to Nikki Stock. And there's loads of details there where you can, um, connect with me because. When I'm not doing that, I am actually a business mentor and strategist. So I do do other stuff as well, but my passion, my passion is life by design. That's the thing that I, I just want everybody to be doing this.

It's the best thing ever.

Emily Tanner: I love it so much. And for everyone watching or listening, we'll put the links to all of the ways to find Nikki in the show notes. So you don't have to worry about writing those down. You can go back and find those later. Nikki, [00:52:00] again, thank you so much for coming on the show and, and sharing part of your story.

I really appreciate it.

Nikki Stock: Thank you so much for having me. It's, I mean, as I say, I wish you, I found you 12 years ago, but then you wouldn't have been doing it 12 years ago. So, um, fabulous. Thank you so much.

Emily Tanner: Thank you.

All right. Well, I hope you enjoyed hearing Nikki's story and what she had to share in some of the incredibly hard difficulties that she had to overcome and how she thinks about her life. Now, Nikki talks about creating a life by design, not by default, which is such a beautiful way to put it.

It's one of the things that I encourage you to do on any Pretty much every episode of creating a life that you love, creating the life that you want for yourself and for your future. Both of these concepts are taking a proactive approach. They're not sitting back and being [00:53:00] reactive. They're not Sitting back and saying, well, everything happens to me and I have no choice.

Yes, there are things that happen to us that we don't have a choice in those circumstances and in what happened to us. But we do have a choice in how we act and how we react to things. And we don't want to go the rest of our life. Just reacting being on the defense. Just whatever comes our way. Then we respond to it.

We want to take a proactive approach to healing and a proactive approach to living a life that we created or that we designed or that we aspire to have that power is in your hands. To do it, as Nikki mentioned, even if you are at the point where you haven't even processed your grief, time does not magically heal all wounds, time does [00:54:00] not heal you in part of your grief journey, you have to proactively approach it, you have to slow down, focus, and process your feelings and your emotions, or you are not going to get on the other side of grief.

Years, by themselves, only provide you with what you are doing. Time only compounds. What is so if you are healing if you are processing if you are trying if you are taking those baby steps Time will grow that and compound that and give you a beautiful result if you continue to be consistent, but if you are Distracting yourself if you are avoiding if you are suppressing if you are trying to hide from that time Compounds that time only makes more of what is and what you are [00:55:00] invested in.

All right. Thanks for joining me on this week's episode. I will talk to you next week.

Emily: Are you a widow who feels disconnected? Do you feel like you're stuck or even going backwards in your grief? Widowhood can be lonely and isolating, but it doesn't have to be. Join us in the Brave Widow membership community and connect. We teach widows how to find hope, heal their heart, and dream again for the future.

Find your purpose and create a life you love today. Go to bravewidow. com to get started.