An Interview with Debbie Nicol: Author & Entrepreneur
Sylvia: Welcome Debbie. Please give our readers an introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Debbie: Thanks Sylvia for inviting me to participate in your author interview series. My name is Debbie Nicol and am the Founder and Managing Director of ‘business en motion’, a Dubai-based business consultancy and learning company which works with a tried and tested toolkit for strategic change management initiatives, moving organizations and leaders ahead across the Gulf region. In parallel, I am the creator and author of ‘embers of the world’, a contemporary model and toolkit for change, contextualized in today’s changing world.
Being Australian and having resided across four continents for the past twenty years, I find solace and spirit in the world around me, and am finally living my dream.
Sylvia: Wow, how awesome to travel the world and reside in some great places. You are lucky to have experienced that. What inspired you to write your first book?
Debbie: I have two books that were written fairly close together, “Traveling Embers” and “Corporate Embers” that were inspired by some real challenges I was facing in my life at the time. I was trying to make sense of the continual disconnection I witnessed that seemed to be at the heart of most personal and corporate failure. Sometimes the leader was not connected to him/herself, the people were disconnected from each other, or the team was disconnected from the organization. In my role as an HR executive at the time, I found myself constantly battling misalignment and people who honestly didn’t understand (or want to face) that it was a result of their disconnectedness. This, on top of the global recession and a couple of life-threatening situations (one health related and one mother nature induced) triggered the birth of a whole leadership process model and concept called ‘embers of the world’ and the books flowed from there (but not before a lot of soul-searching).
My story is interspersed with highs and lows, like most people, and peppered with some personal pain and stagnation. Luckily for me, the universe pulled the rug out from underneath my feet (I clearly wasn’t strong enough to do it myself), took everything from me that I thought was important, including my bodily movement, and provided me the most unique opportunity to stop, look, listen and feel – after all, I could no longer hide behind the excuse of ‘busy-ness’ as a reason for not facing ‘who I had become’. This started a long and thorough cleansing process, allowing deep and meaningful self-discovery and the sheer beauty of connection to myself that I would not have previously known was possible, let alone sought.
I guess the inspiration to create the ‘embers’ concept and to write Corporate Embers, could be best described as a balance of reactivity and proactivity, contributing to both inner and outer healing of myself, others and the organizations I worked with.
Sylvia: Wow, very interesting! So, it sound like this experience forced you to be in tune with your mind, body and spirit. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Debbie: Yes! When we stop, look, listen and feel, take time out and peel those layers back which are deceivingly and convincingly representing who we are, we start the journey of discovering the real self, most often an entity we have moved very far away from. Not doing this results in living a lie; wearing a mask and wasting energy all round… a situation in which effortless alignment simply doesn’t happen. Conversely, true alignment allows an inner voice and knowing to help one make effortless decisions and find resources and solutions easily in life and business that will serve all equally.
Sylvia: Now that makes sense! Do you have any advice for other writers?
Debbie:Write from the core – allow it to flow and be in a space of connection when doing so! You are purely the chosen mechanism for the words to come through. This way, the intended message and your passion will be felt by the reader, leaving an indelible mark on each person who chooses to engage.
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Debbie: ‘embers’ truly sells itself. Word of mouth and client referrals are really becoming its lifeblood. In other words, those who have experienced the ‘embers’ leadership model and engaged with it become the voice of ‘embers’, spreading the message to where it needs to go. However, I do use traditional and online marketing as well, such as websites, newsletters, PR in local media, speaking engagements and social media initiatives like this current virtual blog tour. We’ve really just begun to actively promote Corporate Embers so we’re not sure which efforts will be most successful.
Sylvia: Why should we buy your book?
Debbie: Corporate Embers generally appeals to an evolved or evolving corporate leader. It offers an opportunity for a reader to reflect. It’s not simply a book to read, which is why it is often referred to as a reflection tool (along with its companion workbook). It supports the foundational phase of the ‘embers’ change model. It facilitates reflection and eventually connection, bringing you closer to yourself, forging authenticity and trust. It also allows vulnerability to emerge in a safe environment, yet simultaneously with the inner voice of intuition guiding you gently. I know that seems a lot for one little book but I’ve had people tell me that as they’re reading about my personal experiences highlighted in each scenario, they’re thinking about their own situation, which is exactly the reaction intended when using a reflection tool.
Sylvia: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Debbie: Oh yes, definitely! It’s in ‘the chair’J. I live on the 32nd floor with panoramic views over the famous Dubai dancing fountain, right next to the tallest tower in the world, the Burj Khalifa. ‘The chair’ is in a corner that seems to draw energy from the consolidation of Dubai’s amazing growth and vibrancy. When I place myself in ‘the chair’, words and ideas simply flow effortlessly. I feel such an alignment between ‘the chair’ and a vortex of energy, yet have no real evidence to prove it exists… just a feeling. I’ve learnt not to question but rather to accept it!
Sylvia: Sound breathtaking! What projects are you currently working on?
Debbie: My dream is for ‘embers of the world’ to be actively contributing to people’s lives and personal and organizational leadership, adding a new dimension of ‘being’ into their ‘doing’. To achieve this, the project is in the midst of rolling out a major marketing initiative, of which contributing to your women authors and entrepreneur community is a part. I can also divulge a sneak peek into a possible future for ‘embers’ where the concept and change model is now being implemented as a focal point in a solution to address a major international social issue – fingers crossed that the spark of ‘embers’ can finally make its mark on the scale intended – internationally.
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Debbie:‘Connection’ is my power word. Without connection we are but an empty vessel!
Sylvia: To connect with others is vitally important.
“When you are trying to connect with people, it’s not about you — it’s about them. If you want to connect with others, you have to get over yourself. You have to change the focus from inward to outward, off of yourself and onto others.” – John C. Maxwell
Debbie, thank you for sharing your story! Please share your social media and book contact information.
Debbie: You are welcome. Your readers can find me:
- Corporate Embers on Amazon:http://amzn.to/U7KH7l
- Corporate Embers on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/corporateembers/
- ‘embers of the world’ website: http://www.embersoftheworld.com
- ‘embers’ on Twitter: www.twitter.com/leadershipember