Nadine Robinson is a Founder, Journal Therapist & Life Coach of NPNarratives Ltd. With a profound commitment to making accessible and impactful therapeutic services a reality, Nadine’s mission is noble and transformative. Her dedication extends to empowering individuals within vulnerable communities while actively working to dismantle discrimination within institutions and organisations.
Nadine’s expertise in expressive writing techniques and her coaching skills are a game-changer for well-being across multiple dimensions – mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. She’s not just an educator, coach, and advocate; she’s a guiding light eager to share her wealth of knowledge and experience.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your professional journey/venture/initiative and what inspired you to choose this career.
My journey through childhood was a blend of pure joy and the quest to find my place. School brought encounters with bullies, shaping how I presented myself in different spaces. I oscillated between being an extrovert, sometimes a performative version of myself, or shrinking to fit in with those around me. Ironically, amidst moments of isolation, solace embraced me in the world of books and writing. Whether through journal entries, poetry, or prose, these became my haven. Exploring stories beyond imagination sparked an enduring curiosity within me.
Entering motherhood unveiled my creative soul. All my pre-motherhood accomplishments intertwined with creativity: graphic design, fine art, and makeup artistry. At twenty-two, expecting my first son, Leo, life took an unexpected turn when I found myself pregnant with my second son, Reno, within a year. Despite the surprise, I embraced this twist, navigating the journey of nurturing these little souls. When Leo was diagnosed with a rare cancer at two, life took an even more challenging turn, coinciding with my father’s own battle against the illness. Amidst the whirlwind of treatments and appointments, I grappled with the roles of motherhood and caregiver. Sadly, my father passed away in August 2010, but by the grace of God, my son triumphed over his illness, now a healthy 16-year-old. Motherhood didn’t pause there; I welcomed my daughter Kaleah in 2011, marking the beginning of a new chapter focused on my passion for teaching others.
Driven by this passion, I embarked on the path to becoming an educator. Returning to college, pursuing courses, and striving towards a university degree unveiled a rediscovery of my own self. Balancing education, parenting, and partnership, I gradually unearthed the core of my being, shedding layers that obscured my essence. Through these transformative years, I learned invaluable lessons in finding harmony and balance in my daily life. Each step brought me closer to embracing the authentic me, beyond the roles of a mother and a partner. This marked the start of a season of self-discovery and revelation of my true essence.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
Motherhood and education emerged as the twin pillars that bestowed upon me purpose and grounding. Engaging with individuals from diverse walks of life, some of whom remain integral to my journey, became a profound blessing. As I neared the culmination of my undergraduate studies, the news of expecting my fourth son dawned upon me. Undeterred, I pursued my academic pursuits with fervour, meticulously balancing my schedule.
However, January 30th, 2017, altered my trajectory abruptly. Rushed to the hospital in the dead of night, I faced the onset of labour at a mere 22 weeks gestation. In a divine twist, I birthed my son, Rome Aziah, whose fleeting 26-minute existence left an indelible impact. Amidst grappling with personal loss, I ventured into marriage, earned my Bachelor’s in English Literature and Media, and embarked on a Master’s journey in Black British Writing.
Navigating the labyrinth of grief as a newlywed, fate delivered another unexpected chapter. A positive pregnancy test ushered me into a realm fraught with challenges. In August of that same year, an excruciating déjà vu unfolded. Rushed to the hospital once more, I discovered that my son, Shakur, had transcended within the confines of my womb—stillborn. The inexplicable nature of this tragedy overwhelmed me, yet an unwavering belief in a greater purpose sustained me. I sensed my sons had chosen me for a reason, a reason yet to unfold. Amidst this heartrending phase, the greatest lesson emerged—the embodiment of gratitude. Despite their physical absence, my sons bestowed upon me a profound spiritual legacy. They bestowed upon me firsthand the transformative power of love and an unbreakable bond with others. Love transformed from a mere sentiment into an actionable force.
Despite the emotional tempest, I persisted in my studies, completing my Master’s without delay or deferment, safeguarding my sanity in the process. Departing from academia, my path diverged from conventional teaching. Immersed in the annals of Black British history, my passion crystallised—empowering those of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora to navigate a world entrenched in the yardsticks of Whiteness. I envisioned advocacy for our communities to revel unapologetically in their Blackness. Thus, the genesis of NPNarratives sprouted from these impassioned beliefs before it flourished into its present form. In 2020, when the world ground to a halt, my life took a different trajectory. Despite the pandemic’s grip on the globe, my world was blooming. Arieh, my sixth child—my lockdown miracle—entered the world in July 2020. Inspired by this new chapter, I embarked on crafting a platform, NPN journals, not just to showcase my writing but to weave circles of sisterhood among women sharing similar life journeys. This venture became my professional offspring, flourishing in tandem with my newborn, fostering them both with an ardour that revealed an evolving version of myself. Over the ensuing three years, my existence underwent profound shifts. I navigated divorce, endeavouring to construct a sturdy foundation for my family within our altered reality. Amidst the haze, NPN journals metamorphosed into NPNarratives and eventually evolved into its current entity, NPNarratives Ltd (NPN for short).
Throughout the ebbs and flows, through the chaos and triumphs, I’ve come to see myself as a warrior woman—a bearer of ancestral resilience and a beacon for those who’ll follow in my wake. These moments of loss, the growing pains, and the surge in confidence have woven a unique tapestry, one that defines my life’s narrative in a way I wouldn’t trade for anything else.
Tell us about your goals, interests, and role models.
In the upcoming chapter of my life, my aspirations are clear: to infuse more joy and tranquillity into my journey while steering NPN towards success redefined on my terms. The world often dictates its version of success through societal norms and social media standards. But for me, authentic success involves expanding NPN while actively centring myself within the communities I advocate for. The more lives I touch and positively impact, the more accomplished I feel.
Beyond this, I aim to delve deeper into my creative passions, writing poetry and self-publishing my works to offer solace to those navigating their worlds, hoping to eradicate feelings of isolation. Through my writing, I aspire to forge invisible connections that resonate deeply, sparking a transformation in readers’ souls, and encouraging them to embrace self-expression without inhibition or fear. When it comes to role models, mine transcend the typical responses—although my mother undoubtedly remains a guiding light. My role models are intertwined with the path I tread. They come in diverse forms, ranging from fleeting connections to cherished souls. Yet, if I were to pinpoint one overarching source of inspiration, it would unequivocally be my children. They embody pure reflections of myself, serving as constant reminders, even in their unawareness, that amidst the chaos of our world, beauty, love, and peace persist.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
One of the hurdles I’ve encountered in the entrepreneurial realm is asserting my presence and gaining recognition. This challenge stems partly from offering a niche service, particularly centred around my identity as a Black individual. This struggle echoes the persistent shadow of systemic racism within professional domains. I’ve grappled with feeling like an outsider in my field—coaching, mental health, and the like—especially as a Black woman. We’ve historically faced the barrier of expressing our true selves without scrutiny, dismissal, or being relegated to the margins.
To combat these feelings of inadequacy, journaling has become my sanctuary. I delve into my thoughts, unravelling the roots of my emotions and challenging existing beliefs. Simultaneously, I reflect on my journey, recognising the distance I’ve traversed and the invaluable lessons learned. This process empowers me to embrace my authentic self unapologetically. Despite its daunting nature, I hold onto the realisation that my inner strength defines me, rendering external forces powerless unless I grant them the authority to disrupt my essence.
What impact do you feel you have been able to create with your work so far and how would you want to grow in the next few years?
The essence of my work is best highlighted by its impact: facilitating a smoother and more comfortable journey for those ready to embrace themselves. There’s a misconception that a coach’s role involves providing answers, but that’s not the case. Rather, I act as a supportive guide as you navigate your path towards self-discovery and self-acceptance. Witnessing the growth, confidence, and newfound clarity in my clients has been incredibly rewarding. In life, it’s the meaningful connections we forge that enable true self-actualization. Fortunately, this aligns perfectly with my work at NPN—a conduit to bridge that gap. My vision extends towards a future where regular local and international retreats flourish, for there’s immense power in uniting people in the pursuit of healing and personal growth.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
My biggest accomplishment is the fact that I started. We can get so caught up in the accolades that we gather along the way, that we can lose sight of the fact that starting is the biggest win. It is a testament to my willingness to take a chance on myself, it is also a manifestation of all that I have to offer creatively, for example, my books Returning Home to Self, Unfolding with Ease, All of Me).
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
The transformation I envision for female entrepreneurs is rooted in the potency of uplifting each other. Regardless of industry silos, it’s about harnessing the incredible power of sisterhood within professional spheres. Embracing, empowering, and deliberately creating more room at the table for fellow women to stride alongside is a catalytic force that could redefine the very fabric of entrepreneurial dynamics.
Imagine the possibilities when women consciously champion one another, transcending sector boundaries, and weaving a tapestry of solidarity. This isn’t just about breaking ceilings; it’s about building an interconnected network of support where success isn’t a solitary journey but a collective evolution. It’s in this spirit of unity that the true transformation of the entrepreneurial landscape can flourish, nurturing an ecosystem where every woman’s triumph becomes a shared victory, fuelling inspiration and fostering unparalleled growth.
What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
The profound lesson that has shaped my life and become my guiding mantra is the belief that ‘everything begins and ends with you’.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
I firmly believe that women possess inherent leadership qualities. As we embrace complete autonomy over our actions and decisions, the undeniable strength we carry will command recognition and respect within the workplace. When we stand tall, assert our capabilities, and lead with confidence, the world will witness the formidable force that we naturally embody.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
I’ll conclude with this empowering message: stay true to YOUR vision. Your unique approach and perspective are unparalleled—no one else can navigate the path you pave in the same extraordinary way. Don’t be disheartened by obstacles, whether it’s the first, second, or hundredth challenge. Pivot, adapt, and forge ahead. And always bear in mind: there’s no concept of failure, only invaluable lessons waiting to be grasped.