Today’s podcast features Natalie Ledwell, the brilliant co-founder of the revolutionary Personal Development company “Mind Movies”. Natalie and I discuss the importance of redefining failure, as well as the critical role identity and taking responsibility play in stepping into the next version of who you want to be. I’m excited to introduce you to Natalie and her incredible work, including her mission to empower 10 million adults and kids all over the world to lead lives fulfilled with joy, happiness and passion – the lives they were destined to live.
In addition to her successful company, Natalie is an authentic and internationally renowned motivational speaker, the best-selling author of the book “Never In Your Wildest Dreams”, Law of Attraction guru, and host of “The Inspiration Show” and “Wake Up TV!”. Natalie is working on her new transformational TV program for women, as well as a groundbreaking program entitled “PD for Kids”, a powerful children’s curriculum designed to help them establish a strong foundation for the rest of their lives. Learn more at www.mindmovies.com.
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Redefining Failure with Natalie Ledwell
It’s going to be very special episode because I’ve got a very special guest, which I’m really thrilled about. She is an amazing woman doing some incredible things. She has been doing incredible things for a length of time and has had a number of transitions as she calls them, we call them pivots. They’re really elegant. That’s one of the beautiful things is even when we’re pivoting or transitioning and it’s messy at the time, in retrospect, I think we always feel like it was perfect. It’s always leading us to exactly where we are which makes it a very elegant transition when we have that objectivity. Without further ado, I have Natalie Ledwell with us. She’s absolutely amazing. Natalie, if you don’t mind introducing yourself to our community. I’m sure a lot of people know you anyway through your work as one of the co-founders of Mind Movies. If you can catch us up on yourself and some of the things that you are up to today that would be terrific.
I’m one of the co-founders of Mind Movies and we had had quite the wild ride with that company. We went from not knowing anything about the internet, from going hardly being able to turn on the computer and I didn’t even know what YouTube was back in 2007. We went from that level of unknowing to building a multimillion dollar company in a few short years through just sheer determination and basically applying everything we knew from all the businesses that we had before. We’ve had nine years of great ongoing success. It was really interesting because from the outside looking in, it would look like I had the most amazing life and I did. A great marriage, Glen and I had been married for eighteen years. We were financially free. The original Mind Movies, we were ticking off everything on my bucket list like there was no tomorrow. I’ve been on Safari in Africa or staying at a seven-star hotel, the Burj, in Dubai and being really generous with our family. Everything that we had dreamed for ourselves, we were just going through the list and ticking everything off. We had fantastic set of friends. Life was amazing.
I remember one weekend, we were in New York. I had a fantastic weekend in New York. That’s one of my favorite cities and we come back to San Diego. We walked into the apartment. Glen pours me a glass of wine, he’s standing and he goes, “Our marriage is over. I’ve actually met somebody else.” To be honest with you, it was surprising in that moment but it wasn’t a surprise. I had been unhappy for some time and we both had been unhappy for some time. Even though at that moment it was a little bit of a shock, my instant reaction was relief that it was over because I’m like, “This has not been working for a while.” We had an adult conversation. I was like, “What are we working with here? Who else knows?” I went into automatic mode and went, “We don’t want our friends to have to choose between us. I don’t want them to hate you. I don’t want them to feel sorry for me. We both want this to happen. You meeting someone else is not the reason we’re breaking up. It’s just the catalyst of the event. There’s plenty of other reasons behind that. Let’s navigate through this in a way that’s going to be loving and respectful to each other,” which is what we did.
We’re still business partners. We’re still best of friends. We trust each other more than any other person on the planet. We were able to do that because we’re like, “This is what we both want.” Of course I’m upset, it’s ending your marriage. I was completely lost too. I have lost my identity. I remember the first week, each morning I would get up and drag myself out of bed and I would just walk along the waterfront in San Diego. I would just keep walking until I have felt good enough to face the day. I remember I would just ask myself, “I don’t even know who I am without him.” It’s always been Glen and I for so many years. I’m like, “I’m lost.” It was maybe the Thursday or the Friday. I always listen to books when I exercise. I was listening to The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer at the time. I hadn’t heard anything all week and then finally Thursday, something comes through and it says, “When you understand the enormity of what God is or what that spiritually is or that entity is, you’ll realize that this is just a moment in time and this moment will pass to the next moment. It’s one moment out of millions of moments you’re going to have the rest of your life.” I’m like, “I see that. I understand that.” I had a sense of what that was.
I shifted my question. My question shifted from “Who am I?” because I have no idea who that is to “Who do I want to be?” Now I’m probably better off than many women who are facing a divorce or a separation in midlife. Technically, midlife to me is anywhere between 40 and 70. It is the second part of our life. It’s like, “I have a great platform. I’m already doing meaningful work.” What was really interesting is that especially the last year of our marriage, I kept getting this message coming through that I’m wasting time and it didn’t make any sense to me. I’m like, “Look at my life.” What was happening is that because I was unhappy, I was drinking every day, not excessively but definitely enough to numb me out so I didn’t have to face what was going on. Back then, Glen was getting the blame for everything, “It was his fault. I couldn’t outshine him because he is the man and he needs to be the star.” The questions that I asked myself were, “Who do I want to be? What was my contribution to this situation?”
Once I lost my scapegoat, I no longer had someone else to blame for my situation. I was like, “I have to step up and take responsibility myself.” I knew that there was some yearning or something inside of me that was going, “You need to do more. You need to step up more.” I’m like, “I have to do this myself.” I call that internal journey. I would have to say. I did the Hoffman Process. I don’t know if you know much about that but it is a gnarly process. Six and a half days, hand over your electronics. They leave no stone left unturned. I actually walked out of that a completely different person. Glen and I would talk about different issues in our relationship, but we’re only talking about the symptoms. We never got deep enough underneath to go where this is coming from. After doing the Hoffman Process, I’m like, “I understand my childhood programming now. I understand why I have certain behaviors. I understand why I do certain things and things that ways and how that manifested in my behavior with my marriage.” Glen also did the Hoffman Process a few months later. Between the two of us, we would really dissect and understand how we drifted apart. Now, we’re able to have this amazing relationship between the two of us of mutual respect and love. We’re just not in love anymore but we still love each other very much. It’s been incredible.
Since then, it’s like, “If I’m stepping up into something new, what does that look like?” The first thing that happened after we separated is my first book Never in Your Wildest Dreams hit the bestseller mark on Amazon. We did a big campaign for that. I was approached by these two random women. I didn’t believe them at first. They sent me an email, “We want to speak to Natalie about being on a TV show” and I’m like, “Sure. That doesn’t happen.” They came back and go, “We really, really want to speak to you.” I was on a cable TV show called Wake Up! which is a consciously awake talk show. We had about five episodes before the wheels fell off that project. I’m working on a new show right now which is called Chat with Nat, which is definitely live coaching and introducing new healing modalities with my Australian humor and jokes and things. We’re going to rewrite the way that a show like this is distributed and how it is created. They’re the types of topics that most people won’t talk about. I have no problem being able to approach them. When we’re talking about everything from ageing and from dating to sex to marriage, to our health, everything, we’re not leaving any stone left unturned.
The show, in essence, is about women in transition in various ways. You gave us a great example of that. I don’t know that it’s terribly common that when you’re in an eighteen-year marriage and your husband or wife walks in the door and says, “Let’s sit down. Let’s have a talk. This thing that we’re calling a marriage is over.” Many men or women that are in that situation would too quickly or too easily turn the mirror on themselves and want to understand what their responsibility was for that outcome. That’s a big transitional point. That’s a pivotal moment right there for you as a human being.
I was in a place where I was blaming him for everything. I very quickly realized that as soon as we blame something or someone or something outside of us, we lose all power to do anything about it. It wasn’t until I was willing to sit in the responsibility and owning up to my part in what was going on that I was able to shift the way that I am with Glen, the way that I looked at my marriage. I still don’t see it as a failure, even now. We still have a close relationship but we want different things. I don’t know when you get married in your twenties, whether that’s someone that you’re going to end up with for the rest of your life. Sometimes we’re lucky and we do and sometimes we’re lucky and we don’t. Either way, that’s whatever path that we’re on. When I look at the path that I’m on and what I need to do and how I want to step up and how I really feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose in such a spectacular way. I know that I couldn’t do it if Glen and I were still together in a relationship.
[Tweet “As soon as we blame something or someone, we lose all power to do anything about it.”]
I want to circle back to the pivots that are happening for you right now, but not so much to close the loop but tie something up for me. When Michael Singer writes about gaining that perspective, it is liberating for certain to know that this is just one moment in time in a vast eternal sea if you will of moments. It also is a way to see that there is no failure. On that level, what could be defined as a “failure,” a marriage or a business or anything that we might otherwise look at as sunk cost or a failure of sorts when the perspective is in the eternity, in the sea of all the moments of this life and wherever else our spirit may reside, how can any one thing that we judge as good, bad or otherwise be considered a failure? It’s just a part of our living experience and the evolution of ourselves, our soul. There’s no question it seems that your soul has evolved and grown as a result of this transition out of marriage at that moment to that particular person and into the life that you’ve been creating ever since then. Tell us a little bit about that because I am really excited about the things that you are up to including the fact that your business is still growing. You’re still serving. You’re still looking to evolve that model so that it can help more people.
I did a ceremony with a shaman a few years ago where I felt like I had a God experience, let’s just say that. I really felt like I was one with the universe and had an understanding of what that was. When I heard that message come through my headphone from Michael Singer, I was like, “That’s right. I remember that.” I remember when I went through that ceremony, that also changed me. That process also helped me to go through the process with Glen. When you understand the love that is, that entity is or for whatever we want to call it, I remember coming out of that ceremony laughing really hard going, “All this drama, all this craziness that we have in our life is so inconsequential. It means nothing when you understand what that is.” Having that insight before going through this process with Glen was really, really helpful. Having that reminder from Michael a few days or a week or so after our separation happened, I was like, “That’s right.” There is always another step. There is always another way.
What was really important for me is that I made sure that before I face my day, I was in at least a neutral emotion. I didn’t go into the day from a negative point of view. There were a couple of days where I just stayed in bed. I’m like, “I’m just going to stay here. I don’t need to move. I’m just going to feel this and move through this.” I think it’s very important that we do feel the emotions that come up for us so that we can process them and get them out if we’re suppressing them, which is part of what I was doing through my marriage. What I identified is that when I was young, my biological mother left when I was three. I do remember an incident of seeing dad crying and I’m like, “I have to be the strong one.” I learned from a very young age to shut my emotions down, which is helpful in some situations but not if you’re having problems with your marriage. I did start to understand that about myself.
[Tweet “There is always another step. There is always another way.”]
When I shifted then the question to, “Who do I want to be?” that’s when I started to get excited. I couldn’t ask that question until I had got myself out of these lower vibration or emotions into something that was more positive. Believe me, it wasn’t joy and it wasn’t happiness. If anything, it was either neutral or at least it was peaceful or something. At least it was on the positive spectrum before I could start to even think about what was going to happen from there. That’s when I decided to move to LA. I had a little bit of a buffer. I love Glen but I’m like, “Honey, I love you but I just can’t see you every day. You’re not going to help me. I need to spread my wings and step out into something that’s a little bit more my style.” The thing is all my friends that were living in LA were all transformational leaders. I really made a point of surrounding myself with people that were positive, that were supportive. That really helped me get through that point in my life. Without them, I don’t think I would have been able to do that with the amount of ease and grace that I did, which was really important.
It’s so important and part of what we teach and what is pivotal to me are the ways that you take care of yourself; how do you care for yourself, how do you love yourself. Part of that is really being careful about your energy. About what are you feeding yourself energetically, what are you feeding your mind and other parts of yourself and even physically. It’s so important that we do love and nurture ourselves unconditionally which is a major, major work. It’s probably the work of our adult lives. Something we call matching up or matching down has been really powerful for me is that when you move to LA to be around friends that were thinking and behaving at a certain level. Their energy was at a certain level, you were matching up. It’s like playing tennis. You play with a better tennis player, you match up to that player. If you play with a worse or a lesser player, you start to play down. It is so crucial what you feed yourself in the way of the environment that you’re in, the people that you’re around, the thoughts that you start your day with. You wanted to create some neutrality to begin with at a minimum. That’s why spiritual practice and the morning rituals that you have, that I have, that we each teach are so vital to just get off on the right foot.
Another interesting thing that came up for me as I was listening is Michael Brown. In Michael Singer’s work, we love The Untethered Soul. I’ve been recommending to a lot of folks, Michael Brown’s work, The Presence Process, which is another really incredible work integrated. He even distinguishes that word healing as one that he shies away from anything that’s healing related. It’s very intriguing to me. I’ve been thinking about this a lot that how much do we buy in to the idea that we’re broken or that we need fixing or that things are wrong that need to be corrected when we use the word heal? That’s so prevalent in our industry. That word is everywhere.
I’m not throwing the word out entirely, but it’s been a distinction for me. I’ve always said, intuitively more than anything, it’s just come out of me to look at people and say, “This is great. Come to one of our programs. You want to be in a live event. Leave your cell phone at home and immerse yourself for a day, three days, six days, whatever because there’s nothing like it from us from the standpoint of being able to do deep personal work for sure.” At the same time and this is the really interesting paradox, you are not broken. “I’m not wanting to enroll you in a program because I think you are broken and you need fixing.” It’s a very interesting fine line between those two things. In any event, you have certainly transitioned yourself in these beautiful ways.
Natalie, I’d love to know really about your own rituals or practices. It seems like that’s a big part of how you’ve been able to match up to a higher frequency of being so that a marriage that ended after eighteen years isn’t in your backpack. You’re not carrying that weight around with you. You’re not carrying around the weight of pressure. It seems like from business stress and things like that, you’re light and so authentic and willing to be even vulnerable. More often when I see you, that’s the way I see you, is somebody who is willing to speak from your heart and say what’s true for you. That’s a beautiful freedom.
The biggest gift that I got from the separation with Glen is to have a relationship with the essence of who I am, my soul or whatever you want to call that. I was completely disconnected. I was completely disembodied. Being able to create that relationship again for me is a daily practice. I have a foundation to everyday. I start everyday pretty much the same unless it’s a weekend and we’re doing something else. Normally what I do is when I wake up, before my eyes are even open, I always ask the question, “What am I doing today? What’s going to make me closer to my goal? What do I need to focus on?” As we’re waking up, we’re still inside a brainwave activity. I feel very connected to the collective consciousness at that time. For me to ask a question while I’m still waking up and lay there long enough to hear an answer is a really important process for what I do during the day.
Then when I get up, I get ready and take Bella out, my little puppy, I take her out for a walk and that’s when I do my Great Falls. I live on the marina so I get to walk around the water. It’s not necessarily going through a list of things, it’s seeing in the emotion and the vibration of gratitude. For me, it’s so easy. I’m one of eight kids from my country town in Australia. The fact that I get to live here and do this work and have this life, brings me to tears most days. I still pinch myself. I do my Great Falls then I bring Bella back and go to the gym. I have a paddle board so when it’s warmer, I go out in the water and she comes with me. I’m always listening to an audio book, some kind of education. I find that when I’m doing that while I’m exercising because I have a whole lot of endorphins going as well, that’s just when I start to sparkle lots of fantastic ideas especially if I’m out in nature exercising out there rather than just being in the gym.
When I come back, I have a great breakfast. I’ve actually just changed to a Paleo diet. I’ve given up sugar and dairy and grains. I have given up alcohol as well. I make sure that my system is clean and that my energy is strong. I don’t meditate first thing in the morning because I feel like I’m already connected. I actually meditate before I sit down to start work because what it does is it helps to clear my mind. It really gets me into a place of centeredness so that when I do sit down in front of the computer, I’m focused and I feel good. Every 90 minutes, I take a break. Whether it’s taking Bella out or a five-minute attention training or a little meditation or whatever that is. I’d like to take a break every 90 minutes so than I can keep my mind sharp and my mind fresh. Depending on what I’m working on that day depends on which Mind Movie I’m watching as well. I do a Mind Movie in the beginning of every year which is my general one but then I’ll do one specifically for health or for whatever project I’m working on. It really helps to keep me focused as well. I normally do that before I start working.
Give us a timeframe. When would you begin working with all the things that you’ve just discussed, what time is that typically?
I’m a morning person. I normally start working at 8:30 or 9:00. All of that is done before then. I wake up around 6:00 and that’s when I naturally wake up. I don’t have to force myself to get out of bed. Normally, I’m in bed by 10:30.
You’re getting sufficient sleep as well?
Yeah, very important. I’m an eight-hour girl, always have been.
This is super important because I really do think that much of the quality of our lives is really related to the quality of these practices, these rituals. They don’t have to be great, big, long things, clearly. They can be short and sweet but you’re feeding your mind and you’re feeding your soul and your spirit in a way that nourishes you, which is self-love and that’s the root of that. It’s taking care of your child self in a nurturing way.
I did a little thing on Facebook. I called it #ILoveMeWeek. I was just posting lots of photos, all the things I did in love for myself whether it’s bubble baths, getting a massage or going for a bike ride or making fresh juices or whatever that was. Everything that I did that week was in service and in love to myself. Rather than going, “I need to go on a diet and I need to take all these things out of my routine or start to take sugar out of my diet,” I’m not looking at what I have to take out or what I have to do. I’m looking at what I’m doing in service to myself rather than going, “I have to give up sugar and dairy.” I’m looking at my meals and go, “Look at this healthy meal that I’ve created for myself.” I’m focusing on the affirmative action and the things that I am doing rather than the things that I’m taking away, which makes a big difference.
That was a transition from pre-divorce to now, you’re more focused on loving yourself, caring for yourself, right?
Yeah. I have the ability to do so now, which is good. I have to look after me.
Natalie, thank you so much. For folks that want to find out more about Mind Movies, what’s the best website where people can find out more about you? Even the show that you’re going to be doing with women, what’s the best way for us to see you in action?
MindMovies.com is our main website. All the updates on the show and everything I’m doing is actually at NatalieLedwell.com. You’ll find out about my children’s curriculum that’s being touring schools around the world at the moment and how that project is going, as well as the TV projects and all the updates on the new book as well.
You’re amazing, Natalie. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Thanks again for listening. I hope you’ll share this podcast and comment on it. I’d love to hear your comments, your questions and topics of interests for upcoming podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel and follow us on social media if you haven’t already. Ciao for now.
Thank you for sharing. Looking at past programming is very important for one to pivot.
And intentionally creating your future programming is even MORE important! I’ve used Mind Movies for years, it’s really effective visualization work.
Thank you, Caelen!
Adam, this conversation was just the thing I needed today. As you know I started my pivot in February of this year and have been feeling stuck again. Natalie’s simple question of “what do I want” pulled me out of the “why am I not happy” area to an area I like to call “what brings me joy”. It is this piece that has been missing. I was made to experience joy…and that can be had anywhere and at any time. We will be talking soon.
So glad, Tracy! Sometimes it’s little reminders of where to put our attention that can get us “unstuck”. We love you!