Niki Taylor

Embalmer and Member of the Fire Service, Teesside

Sector: Fire Service

Niki Taylor balances working as an embalmer during the week with a role in the fire brigade – and says it’s vital to step out of your comfort zone and “live in the now”. 

Where do you call home? 

Home for me has never really felt like one specific place. I feel like over the years, where I call home has changed with the different stages of life I have been through. I’ve always been open to change, so saying home is in one place when I am continuing to grow would be wrong of me. I think home could be anywhere I want it to be! 

Tell us about your role?  

I work as an embalmer during the week. The thing I love the most about this job is that I’m relied on by families to carry out the last act of service for their loved one, and make sure it’s done in the most respectful and dignified way. 

I’ve always gravitated towards challenging situations, which is why I joined the fire brigade this year. I enjoy the responsibility of facing high-pressure situations for the good of my community and the fact I am trusted to do so makes me feel valued by the people around me.  

How did you get to where you are today? 

I’ve always forged my own path in life and tried to stay true to myself by doing the things that make me happy. When I decide to do something, I break it down into small steps, make lists and work hard to try and achieve my goals. Like most people, I wasn’t always in touch with who I was and, as I got older, I realised how important it was to live life for myself and focus on things that mattered to me the most. 

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

My biggest obstacle has always been doubting myself and my abilities. At times in my life, I have felt stagnant in my own personal situations but the more new things I do and learn, the more I’ve realised I can do anything if I push myself enough and step out of my comfort zone. Stepping out into the unknown can be one of the scariest things we face as humans, but for me it has always been the most rewarding thing. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

After being at my lowest and feeling like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, I knew I had to make positive changes in my life to make a healthier, happier version of me. After working away with an emergency deployment team, I met many inspiring people who made me realise that anything in life was achievable if I wanted it and was willing to work hard enough. As I’ve grown and experienced new things, I have realised that nothing in life comes without bumps along the way and everything I achieve comes with dedication, patience and time.  

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

My advice to someone else would be to follow your heart and if something doesn’t feel right, try to make positive changes. Make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, listen and trust yourself and, most importantly, be who you want to be. Take advice carefully and make your own path in life. Life can be challenging and in a world surrounded by the pressures of social media, be the person and live the life you want – not the life that is expected from you. Step into the unknown and if you fail, learn and keep growing as an individual. The hardest things in life don’t come easy, otherwise they wouldn’t be worth having. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

The one thing I would say to my younger self is to live in the now. Being able to live in the moment is a hard thing to master but once you understand why this is so important, you won’t ever want to not live by it. “In today’s rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just being.” This is a quote from Echart Tolle who wrote the book The Power of Now, which helped me get to the place I’m in today and inspired my way of thinking. 

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

Three words I would use to encourage a positive path would be “you’ve got this”. These words resonate with me more than anything else. I’ve had them said to me many times and I’ve encouraged other people by saying it to them. Everyone has it within themselves to achieve anything they want, so another three words would be “believe in yourself”. Trust the process and take the bad with the good. 

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