Bevin Niemann answers the question:
What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?
Thank you, Phil, for inviting me to be a part of this segment. I think particularly right now, it's so important for us to work towards being in a state of gratitude. We can look out into the world and see that there's a lot of scarcity or fear right now. And I think this has really helped me today to center myself and ground myself as I got ready to have this conversation with you.
And I want to go back to when I was in my early twenties, I was a college student working two or three jobs. I was kind of hustling to pay all the bills and to make it all work, putting myself through college. And at some point I realized even though I had been a straight A student, honor roll student all the way through elementary and high school and into college, I realized I was extremely burnt out. So much so that my last semester I actually just stopped going to class. I reached a point where I could not do one more thing and I actually ended up with Fs on my entire report card. And I remember at that time feeling a lot of shame and guilt about that, and feeling unworthiness and like, "Okay, I couldn't finish what I set out to do." I was about three years into a 4-year program. And then I just realized, "I feel like I just need to go to work and I need to focus on one thing."
And so I found this position with an organization called Girls Inc., and it's a nonprofit organization here in the United States. Their mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. And that was a really important message for me to receive as a young woman at that time. I had grown up in a family where that was accepted and that kind of thing was honored, but it really reinforced for me. And I just began teaching. I began running a community center, and I learned so much, I grew up throughout my twenties, and I did that for about eight or 10 years.
And then our CEO at the time, Tonja Eagan, she reached out to me and she said, "I see that you have so much potential and I really want to be able to promote you within the organization. I want you to be able to go higher in your career. And yet one of the things that's holding you back is not having your college degree." And this is what I think they would call one of those crucial conversations. I was really startled by it, kind of taken aback a little bit. And then I realized this was really coming from a place of love and caring. And she said, "I want you to do this so much that I'm going to allow you to flex your hours and flex your days off and so forth so that you can arrange your schedule." And that is exactly what she did. She wrote me a letter of recommendation to be able to get back in. And actually, because I had failed my last semester, I had to stand in front of a group of faculty and talk about what happened and why I knew that I could be a different kind of student, which is a very humbling experience can I say.
So at one point I had this person at work who was this leader who was mentoring me and nurturing me and uplifting me and saying, "I want you to do this." And then it's like going back and facing those parts of your life where maybe you feel like you made a mistake or you get to have a do-over. You get to try something again. And they readmitted me into the program. And this time I was in my early thirties so I was literally as old as some of the professors. That's who I hung out with more so than the other students. And I really approached school from a very different perspective. I had a lot more maturity. I understood things and it just seemed to flow. I wasn't burnt at all; I was working a full-time job and going to college in the evenings and on weekends. And it seemed to flow forward. And so I learned a lot from that, that sometimes when we get to a place where something feels so depleting, it's okay to stop, it's okay to allow yourself to fail, if you will, to try something else to redirect your energy.
And then once I realized around 40 that I was a highly sensitive person and empath, it kind of all made sense. Because as an HSP we can get really overstimulated... our nervous system, we feel under pressure, we process things really deeply so we need more time, we need more time to think about things. And we need more time maybe to do projects but when we do, we do it very, very well. And I realized also that I'd had this tendency to kind of get into that perfectionism standpoint and try to do everything perfect. And it was all about getting the straight A grade rather than actually absorbing the material and taking myself as far as I could, and why I appreciate Tonja so much — and she and I are still in contact today; as a matter of fact, we had a phone conversation recently — is that she looked out and she saw a person who had a lot of potential. And she didn't want one thing, one decision or one thing that happened to me when I was 10 years younger to impact the rest of my life.
And I can't really quantify and say how much getting that degree has helped me to move forward. But I think it was more about my own self-confidence and realizing that you can always start again. You can always go back and change the energy, shift something that didn't flow right the first time. And that sometimes we're not ready for things that we think we're ready for, and that's okay too if we try it and then we realize we're not ready. And so I just respect her and honor her so much.
This was a turning point in my life and in my professional career to go on and really value education, because I did; I come from a family of teachers. But that moment in time when she just decided, "You know what, I'm going to do this thing and I'm going to give this accommodation." She didn't have to, right? She didn't have to do that for me; that was something that she chose to do. And I'm just so grateful that I dedicated myself later to mentoring others and being able to pass that on. I had an opportunity in the same organization to create an internship program and bring young women and young men in from the local universities and give them meaningful projects and things that they could put on their resume, and sit down with them and do that mentoring and teach them.
And so when one person takes that time to do that for us, then we get inspired to pay it forward, so to speak. We get inspired to do that. And I hope that the people that I've mentored are now paying it forward for others who are following in their footsteps. So this is why I think it's so important — when we have that opportunity and we see that there's just one thing that could really help someone, could really shift and make a change in their life, we should step forward and do that.
And I just want to give a personal thank you, and I've expressed this to her several times, of how much that meant to me, that she provided me with that guidance — and that little bit of a nudge, a little bit of a coaching nudge so that I could go on and complete something that was really important for me to complete.
Bevin Niemann is a Life Purpose Coach for intuitive empaths, lightworkers, and conscious leaders. If you’ve been asking, why am I here, how am I meant to serve? You’re on the right track. It’s time to discover your purpose, master your gifts, and create a life that lights you up. She specializes in helping holistic, wellness, and spiritual practitioners launch and expand through soul mission discovery and intuitive business development.
She’s the 2-time host of The Shift Network’s Evolved Empath Summit, which has reached over 60,000 empaths from 105 countries. Her writing’s been featured in the Shift Catalyst, Mind Body Spirit Network, Conscious Reminder, and Spiritual Biz magazine.
Bevin is the founder of 1 Million Empaths, a global community for those who care deeply about our world. She’s bringing together a planetary grid of empaths, lightworkers, and conscious leaders to meet their tribe, master their gifts, and make a difference.
Click here to visit Bevin’s website: Perceptive Souls: Guidance for Empaths & Highly Sensitive People.
Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.
This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 10: Imagining a Post-Pandemic World