Seeking Center: The Podcast

How to Be An Awesome Human: Edit Your Thoughts, Struggle Less + Thrive - Episode 90

November 27, 2023 Robyn Miller Brecker, Karen Loenser, Nataly Kogan Season 2 Episode 90
How to Be An Awesome Human: Edit Your Thoughts, Struggle Less + Thrive - Episode 90
Seeking Center: The Podcast
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Seeking Center: The Podcast
How to Be An Awesome Human: Edit Your Thoughts, Struggle Less + Thrive - Episode 90
Nov 27, 2023 Season 2 Episode 90
Robyn Miller Brecker, Karen Loenser, Nataly Kogan

When you meet an awesome human, you want to share them with the world, or at least we do! Meet Nataly Kogan, best-selling author, storyteller, entrepreneur, thrive mentor – and AWESOME HUMAN. Her mission is to activate all awesome humans to struggle less, thrive more and unleash their unique gifts in the service of others! She’s even written two best selling books  about this, Happier Now and The Awesome Human Project – and just released her third book, The Awesome Human Journal to guide you on a journey to become a better friend to yourself!

Nataly came to the US as a refugee from Russia when she was 13 and over the next 25 years, built a successful life and career as a finance and tech exec and serial entrepreneur. But, she did that at the expense of her well-being. Seven years ago she suffered a debilitating burnout which led her to find a new way of being in the world.

Today, she activates hundreds of thousands of awesome humans and leading organizations with science-backed practices to thrive through change and challenges, and live and lead with purpose and joy.

How’d she bring herself back to life and find true happiness? How can you? We’re going to talk all about it!

In addition to Nataly's books, she has a 5 week online course called "The Emotional Fitness Boost," leadership and development programs, individual mentorship, team coaching and her podcast, The Awesome Human Project.

Visit for more from Robyn + Karen, plus mega inspo -- and the best wellness + spiritual practitioners, products and experiences on the planet!

You can also follow Seeking Center on Instagram @theseekingcenter

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

When you meet an awesome human, you want to share them with the world, or at least we do! Meet Nataly Kogan, best-selling author, storyteller, entrepreneur, thrive mentor – and AWESOME HUMAN. Her mission is to activate all awesome humans to struggle less, thrive more and unleash their unique gifts in the service of others! She’s even written two best selling books  about this, Happier Now and The Awesome Human Project – and just released her third book, The Awesome Human Journal to guide you on a journey to become a better friend to yourself!

Nataly came to the US as a refugee from Russia when she was 13 and over the next 25 years, built a successful life and career as a finance and tech exec and serial entrepreneur. But, she did that at the expense of her well-being. Seven years ago she suffered a debilitating burnout which led her to find a new way of being in the world.

Today, she activates hundreds of thousands of awesome humans and leading organizations with science-backed practices to thrive through change and challenges, and live and lead with purpose and joy.

How’d she bring herself back to life and find true happiness? How can you? We’re going to talk all about it!

In addition to Nataly's books, she has a 5 week online course called "The Emotional Fitness Boost," leadership and development programs, individual mentorship, team coaching and her podcast, The Awesome Human Project.

Visit for more from Robyn + Karen, plus mega inspo -- and the best wellness + spiritual practitioners, products and experiences on the planet!

You can also follow Seeking Center on Instagram @theseekingcenter

[00:00:00] I'm Robyn Miller Brecker and I'm Karen Loenser. Welcome to Seeking Center, the podcast. Join us each week as we have the conversations and we, through the spiritual and holistic clutter for you, we'll boil it down to what you need to know now, we're all about total wellness, which to us needs building a healthy life.

On a physical, mental, and spiritual level, we'll talk to the trailblazers who'll introduce you to the practices, products, and experiences that may be just what you need to hear about to transform your life. If you're listening to this, it's no accident. Think of this as your seeking center and your place to seek your center.

And for the best wellness and spiritual practitioners, experts, products, experiences, and inspo, visit theseekingcenter. com. 

Robyn: When you meet an awesome human, you want to share them with the world, or at least we do. Today you will meet Nataly Kogan, best selling author, storyteller, entrepreneur, thrive mentor, and awesome human. Her [00:01:00] mission is to activate all awesome humans to struggle less, thrive more, and unleash their unique gifts in the service of others.

She's even written two best selling books about this, Happier Now and The Awesome Human Project. And she just released her third book, the awesome human journal to guide you on a journey to become a better friend to yourself. Nataly came to the U S as a refugee from Russia when she was 13 and over the next 25 years, built a successful life and career as a finance and tech exec and serial entrepreneur.

But she did that at the expense of her wellbeing. Seven years ago, she suffered a debilitating burnout, which led her to find a new way of being in the world. Today, she activates hundreds of thousands of awesome humans and leading organizations with science back practices to thrive through change and challenges and live and lead with purpose and joy.

How'd she bring herself back to life and find true happiness? How can you? We're going to talk all about it. Hi [00:02:00] Nataly. 

Nataly: Hi Nataly. Hi. Hi. I'm so happy to be here. Hi awesome human. Hello awesome humans, everyone listening included. 

Karen: Every 

awesome story starts with an awesome journey. And I think that's where we should definitely start with you, 

Nataly: Nataly. Yeah, and I always start there too, because for me, Even though, my refugee experience happened 34 years ago in 1989, I always say it is who I am.

It was the defining, not just an event in my life, but it is who I am every day. So I love starting there. Growing up, I never thought I'd be hi, Nataly Kogan, empowering awesome humans. What? No. I, Hello. so I grew up in the former Soviet Union and we're Jewish and Jews were officially and severely persecuted there.

And so my parents and I, they tried to get out for a while, but finally in 1989, we got permission to leave, along with 470,000 other Russian Jews came that way during, 89 and 90. Not a lot of people know [00:03:00] that. And so we left we were allowed two suitcases per person and 200 per person.

That's it. So do the math. That's 600 and six suitcases. Everything else was considered government property. We gave, we didn't have that much stuff or money, but we gave it all to our family. And we spent two and a half months in refugee settlements that the Americans had set up in Italy, applying for permission to enter the U.

S. as refugees. And whenever I talk about this, I always, in my head, it feels like a movie I saw, because part of me, I was 13 at the time, so very much aware of what's going on. And very shaken by it, but of course, refusing to admit that, because why would you admit that to your parents? But it was, it's a surreal experience.

So we lived in this refugee settlement with all these other people applying for permission. My parents had to go through a couple interviews with the INS and eventually with the CIA, because my dad was a scientist. And I think they were interested in that. And they had set up a school [00:04:00] for us. But it was the summer and why would you go to school when you're a refugee and like your parents are so stressed out?

So the kids I'll never forget we ran around and so we were in a little town called La Disponay just about 45 minutes outside of Rome and it's on the water But I remember, me and a bunch of their kids my age We were just running around all day and the goal was how to not get hungry and we didn't make a giant deal out of this but our parents had no money, whatever aid we got, it was spent we had to rent an apartment, so we shared one apartment with another family and so my mom gave me food in the morning, and then we ate in the evening , I remember I was dying for a slice of pizza, because we didn't have pizza in Russia, but I couldn't get a slice of pizza.

 My husband and my daughter and I went back to La Dispoly six years ago. And you can bet there's a picture of me on Instagram. If anyone wants to go far, I ate the most giant slice of pizza you have ever seen in your life. it was the best slice of pizza I've ever had. And it has nothing to do with its taste. so eventually, after two and a half months, we got permission to come, so we got official refugee status, and so I began my American [00:05:00] dream on welfare in the projects in Ypsilanti. It's about 40 minutes outside of Detroit. And on one hand we were elated to get permission, but you can imagine, was 13 years old, I didn't really speak English, the English that I did speak, I spoke with this horrible accent, and you know how kind everyone is in 8th grade sea of compassion, so I looked weird, I only had two outfits, and they were weird, and, so the whole thing was a nightmare for me, not that I let on, but it was bad, and, I think one of the hardest things is your parents are not your parents anymore, because they're clueless, and that's really hard they are clueless. People were making fun of me and my dad for the same things at work, so it was a really hard time, but I had one thing going for me I have always loved to work hard, I love working hard, I don't know I think part of the joy of being alive.

So I was like, okay, I'm gonna work really hard I'm gonna achieve all these things and Then I'll be so happy and I'll be able to take care of my parents and I'll achieve the American dream and I was very conscious of this so I Did that I did [00:06:00] all the things I mean I worked really hard but obviously I learned to speak English without an accent and I graduated and First in my class from Wesleyan University, where my daughter is now a sophomore, which is crazy.

I had a series of incredible jobs, out of college. I went to work at McKinsey, the super fancy cannot get into a consulting company. And I became a venture capitalist at the ripe age of 25 and an industry with fewer than 6 percent women, and I started companies and wrote. Books and I was on TV and I married my college sweetheart Avi and we had a beautiful daughter, Mia and a beautiful home and a beautiful neighborhood outside of Boston.

Like all the things I even bought my parents a Mercedes, all the things and happiness just didn't, I just couldn't, it was always out of reach. And in retrospect, I realized it wasn't just happiness. I wanted to feel that I have succeeded.

In this life that I was given and I just didn't feel that whatever I achieved. I was like, that's not good enough. You could do more. You could do more then eventually I hit a wall. And 7 years ago, I went through a really horrible burnout. I think burnout doesn't quite capture it.

It was [00:07:00] just a breakdown of being I just. Could not push any more the way that I had. Did you have 

Robyn: whispers of that? 

Nataly: Yeah. The answer is yes. I probably had screams. But as probably many people, I'm really good at putting my fingers in my ears when it's my inner voice and being like, no in retrospect, everything is very clear.

But at the time. I was not someone who had any self awareness around my feelings. It's just not anything I was ever taught. I just didn't think that was important. of course I was aware that I was struggling. Of course I was aware that I wasn't sleeping more than four hours a night and I was exhausted all the time.

Of course I was aware that I always felt this sense of dread, I was aware of these things, but, I assumed that was the right way. Because my assumption was, if you're going to do anything meaningful with your life, you have to struggle. Remember where I come from. Russians, we're fantastic at this, right?

It's a national culture. And on top of that we're Russian Jews, and I think a lot of cultures have struggled. But I grew up in a family where... To [00:08:00] struggle was a good thing. It's a virtue. My mother is a classical pianist and she would always tell me like the greatest pianists they are and the composers they suffered.

So I was aware, but I assumed I was doing it the right way. And it wasn't until about a year going in and the irony of all this, I had started this company called Happier after leaving the corporate world I started Happier because in my search to just feel a sense of okay ness inside, I came across all this research on gratitude, which we can talk about. And it helped me and I am someone when I learned something useful, I have to share it. I don't say this as an accolade. It's just who I am. I'm like a natural teacher, I think.

So I was like, okay, let's start a company. And we built this gratitude app, happier app. And it became really popular and all kinds of wonderful things. I say this as context, like I am a CEO, a founder of this company that is helping hundreds of thousands of people feel better. I feel awful, and yet I'm assuming it's the right way to be, and then everyone around me starts asking me if I'm okay all the time, and I [00:09:00] find that really annoying.

 And I didn't interpret any of it as a warning sign. I interpreted as, look, I'm doing something really meaningful with my life. 

Karen: I'm thinking about you as a refugee and that perspective as a young child coming to a place from fear, right?

You're fleeing a place from fear. So it makes perfect sense that your measure of success would be to eliminate that fear by acquiring and doing and creating this resume, That defined who you were solid ground that people could look up to you. When did happiness actually become a goal versus all of those things?

And how did you define that for yourself? When did you give yourself the privilege 

Nataly: of thinking about happiness? You're absolutely right. And, I was recently working, I mentor women leaders and entrepreneurs, especially those who are burnt out or in transition. And I was talking to one of them recently, and she's a first generation Chinese immigrant.

So she didn't come here as I did. Her parents did, and I was telling her a [00:10:00] little bit of what I just shared, and she said, Oh, my God, I never realized and she is if I gave you her resume, we'd all be asleep by the time we get to the end of it. It's so impressive. But just to resonate with what you shared, she said, I just never realized that all this overachievement was a way to earn.

My way in to okay, now I belong here. So I didn't really understand this until just a couple years ago but there was breaking point So in my burnout there came a point where I could no longer function. It was very scary. I was a mom to 11 year old My marriage was completely broken.

I don't think my husband and I really spoke more than two words to each other for years. We were living here and trying to parent, but when you're going through something like that, it's everywhere. I had to lay off my team and we shut the app. My world came to a standstill. This was during when you started Happier, 

Robyn: thinking that, 

Nataly: You're doing 

Robyn: something.

Yeah, this 

Nataly: is going to lead to And I, exactly, and it was for everybody, so that's the irony so I did my TED talk in Boston in 2013, [00:11:00] 10 years ago and it's a great talk it's very popular, it's helped a lot of people, and the thing I say because I do a lot of speaking now, and I put up the photo of me on stage and I say, this is what burnout looks like.

Because I was really, I don't quite remember that day very well. I was really sliding towards a really dark place. And this isn't a long winded answer to your question, Karen. There came a point where I stopped. I couldn't push anymore. There was no willpower. And it took me several years.

It was very awkward. We can talk about I didn't know what I was doing I was googling things like how to feel better But somewhere in that there was this opening that oh my god. Hold on. I'm a human being And I was, 40 years old, so I just want to give people context, oh, I'm a human being, and I have these emotions, and I probably should take care of myself, it's okay if I sit on this couch for half an hour and read a book, like literally at this rudimentary level, and as I worked on this, and I also did a ton of research, because I'm, my dad's a scientist, I'm a research junkie, I just [00:12:00] didn't know how to feel better, and I had a teacher, and which came to me in a very circuitous way, who became my spiritual teacher.

Thank God she didn't say the word spiritual at the beginning. I was in no way open to this. What is this woo bullshit? No. She was very smart. For two years, not a word. She was brilliant, Janet. I write about her in my first book. But, somewhere in that, I realized that what I had to do first was To care for myself as a human being and that I couldn't do any of the other things that are still important, making an impact, helping people, sharing my gifts with others, that I had to feel okay first, that I had to take care of myself as a human being.

And that became, very reluctantly, my goal, to figure out how could I have a supportive relationship with myself. Because I was in a very abusive relationship with myself. And then that became my work and a big part of what I've done. And so when I talk about what, at the core of what I discover, it's that.

It's, we have to create a [00:13:00] supportive relationship with ourselves. And that's what I call emotional fitness, it's a skill of getting through life's challenges with less struggle. How do you do that? By creating a supportive relationship with yourself. By treating yourself as a human being.

By learning how to work with your emotions. By learning how to choose better thoughts. That's what I ended up learning, and I'm still learning. And happiness comes from that, like happiness is one of the outcomes of that. So is your ability to succeed. And we can talk about I've redefined success.

And my next book is about a completely new definition of success. But it began there, Karen, that became the thing that I realized I had to learn how to do. I 

Karen: think so many people can resonate with that, because it's so easy to define yourself by things, accomplishments. It's what society looks for on Instagram, Like that's what success and happiness looks like to people. But as Robyn and I always talk about, it does come from that work that you have to do on the inside and really redefining 


that means to you.

Nataly: Redefining. And again, I think it's, exactly as you said, So many people, we [00:14:00] think externally, As you said, work within yourself. And we think, I thought that if I do enough things on the outside, it's somehow going to fill this void that I feel inside. I wasn't even aware of those exact words, but something like that. But it's quite the opposite, right? Once I learn how to have a supportive relationship with myself.

 I flourished in so many ways, I launched this whole new chapter of my career, I wrote books, I've done hundreds of talks that have helped so many people, I work with leaders, I get to have interviews with amazing humans like you, I started painting and my art brings people joy, like on and on.

But it was the opposite first I had to create a supportive relationship with myself. So I talked about that Actually you will be some of the first to hear it because I'm about to publish this on my website I really over the last couple years developed this model of thriving and to me thriving has three components and the first one the Foundation is creating this foundation of emotional fitness, creating the supportive relationship with [00:15:00] yourself, and then figuring out what are your unique gifts, and then figuring out how to share them.

And that to me is how we thrive, but we have to begin with the emotional fitness as our foundation. That's why I call people awesome humans. It's very intentional I think every single human being is awesome because we have something so unique to contribute. Each of you, every single person listening, you have something so unique to contribute in this lifetime.

That's the awesome, but you're also human. Like you have all kinds of emotions and being human is really challenging and your brain gets in the way with all kinds of beliefs and habits and negativity bias and lenses and you have to deal with other people, which is challenging. And the only way to unleash your awesomeness is to honor your humanness. that's the lesson. If you want it in a sentence, that's what I learned. only way to unleash your unique gifts, which is what I believe we're here to do is by first Treating, honoring yourself as a human being and taking care of yourself as a human being. 

Robyn: I personally think about the fact that we're spiritual beings having a human experience.

And we came here to do that on [00:16:00] purpose, and I think we all start out as awesome humans, even before knowing that, And so it's reconnecting with that greater purpose. 

Karen: Nataly, just on that point though, about you were saying having a supportive relationship with yourself, can you just give An example.


Yeah it's ultimately very simple. In any given situation, you can choose A thought you can choose the way you talk to yourself. You can choose to Honor an emotion in a way that helps you to move forward with less struggle or more struggle And that to me I feel like is a very clear barometer.

So I wrote a post this morning about holiday stress because we're in our marathon of thanksgiving to the holidays and I wrote the post that you know holiday stress is not inevitable. You have choices and to give really specific Examples is you can choose to focus on the positive aspects of your day Or you can choose to focus on what you did wrong, how someone annoyed you, on how overwhelming [00:17:00] everything is.

Wherever you put your attention, it's either gonna help you struggle less or struggle more. You are actually in charge. And one of the core, things that I really want everyone to hear is none of us can eliminate challenges in our lives. We cannot. Life is challenging and challenges will always come.

But all of us can reduce how much we struggle. Because struggle is your inner experience of a challenge. And those choices that we make, those lenses that we use, the way that we talk to ourselves when things are hard, are just some examples of how we can either cause ourselves more struggle or less struggle.

And that's it. That's the whole gig in a very simple way. The way to support yourself is to help yourself struggle less because life is hard enough. in retrospect, even what we've just talked about, During my life, before I burnt out, whenever I was going through something difficult, which is often because I'm a human being, we all do, I would just add struggle.

Because I would berate myself, I would criticize myself, I would focus only on the negative things. That increased my struggle. That is [00:18:00] not a supportive relationship. And if you think about, I think it's really useful to think about how do you treat someone you love? my books are dedicated to my daughter Mia.

Because In a way, she was my teacher in this without anything other than her being in my life. But I'll never forget, I think I tell this story in Happier Now, where we live outside of Boston, so winter is a horrible, it's really cold, and we have a garage, but I forget why we left the car we had to leave it overnight outside.

And it was morning, we were running out to school, and we run to the car, Mia and I, And it's so cold, it's so slippery, we get there and I realize I forgot the keys inside. And I go, oh, bad word. And then I say, I am so stupid. And Mia's standing across from me on the passenger side and in that moment I catch her glance.

And it was like a slowdown. Everything went slow time. And in that moment I realized, what if she had forgotten the keys? Would I berate her like this? No! It's not like I'd be happy. I'm not asking anyone to be a positivity [00:19:00] Pollyanna. I hate that. But I would not be like, Oh my god, Mia, you're so stupid!

I say something like, Ugh! Okay, that's so annoying, run back, something like that. But it was one of the turning moments where it was so clear to me that I can either treat myself like I treat someone I love, Mia, which again, doesn't mean that it's always everything is amazing. You're amazing. No, but it's intention is to reduce struggle or I can keep treating myself the way I have been.

So I love the question, Karen, but it really. It's very simple. It's not easy, but it is very simple and everyone listening I think that once you hear this I just invite you to actually I call this struggle awareness It's a practice in my book just start becoming aware of when you are putting yourself into more struggle That in itself is giant 

Robyn: I was just gonna ask you you just answered with me out me asking Because I 

think that's the biggest issue is that Most 

people Aren't self aware enough to notice it.

So I 

Nataly: love this like I wasn't like I wasn't again like [00:20:00] i'm not teaching this from some kind of Pulpit like I wasn't and so it's one of the practices, something that my signature in my work, because this is the only way I could do it, is to boil down these ideas into very simple practices, but they are incredibly powerful.

 my favorite compliment, and I hear this now from tens of thousands of people, is, when you talked about that practice, or I read it, I just didn't think it would make a difference, and it's changed my life, because It's the simple things we do consistently that cause the giant changes.

So that's the simple practice. I call it struggle awareness. Just become aware, like the next time that you're feeling like really overwhelmed or you're feeling really negative or really down, just pause and just ask yourself, is the way I'm thinking about the situation causing me to struggle more or less?

Am I talking to myself right now in a way that's causing me additional struggle? And then from there you move into a skill which I call acceptance. I focus on these five skills. And acceptance is not, I used to hate this word. Oh my god. I used to think acceptance is let everything go as it, oh my God, no, I'm an entrepreneur. That's not what acceptance is. [00:21:00] I was ignorant. Acceptance, the way I define it is really about seeing things clearly as they are, including how you are feeling, how you're talking to yourself, what the challenge is. And then from that clarity saying, okay, given how things are, what's one thing that I could do to move forward with less struggle.

What's one thing that I could do? And turns out, the thing that is always in our control a hundred percent of the time is the thoughts we choose to focus on, how we choose to treat ourselves, how we choose to talk ourselves. There may not be anything else you can control. Everything else could be your boss, your husband, it's not usually, but it could be that there's nothing you can control.

You're sitting on a plane, That is late by three hours and it's on the tarmac and everyone is mean and there's no air conditioning and every like bad situation, objectively bad. In that situation the only thing you can control is how are you talking to yourself, what are you focusing on, what are you doing with your feelings.

And I promise that if you can choose to focus on thoughts that [00:22:00] fuel you, if you can be kind to yourself, if you can honor all the emotions that come up, a. supportive relationship with yourself, that horrible situation is going to feel a little less horrible. I 

Robyn: Think it's no coincidence When we think about the fact that you were a refugee and you struggle, it's this is like mind blowing, because here you are today, really talking to your 13 year old self, as well as millions of people and helping people struggle less could it be more meaningful, honestly. 

Karen: you just put it does simplify it so much and makes it not woo. Although we still love our woo, but it makes it actionable. It makes it very concrete, something that you can practice. No one's going to get it right every day, all the time. By the way, I have to say I've been grinning this whole conversation. You just have that wonderful way Nataly to just really bring up everybody's energy. say 

Nataly: practicing what you preach saying that that means the world to me but the thing, as my daughter would say, to turn this into a teachable moment, for everyone [00:23:00] who has a teenager who's listening, that everyone just nodded, because we parents are amazing at this, like something is going on, maybe something funny, and we go the next time this happens, so my daughter has this thing, she's to me and my husband, when we do this, she's guys, No, hard no on a teachable moment right now.

So we're like, okay, hard no. But she's not here so I can just do it. I wasn't always like that. Now, I believe at the core, this is who I am. it's something, I am an activator. I'm an elevator. I do elevate people around me. But I couldn't do it as much before because I would bring a cloud with me very often.

Usually not to outside people, usually the cloud was reserved for, my close friends, my husband, my daughter. But I do want to mention that because we do live in a culture, and I had to battle through this, where focusing on yourself is selfish. Taking care of yourself is selfish.

Self care is selfish. Doing what brings you joy is selfish. And not only is this the message, this is like what I internalize, what we internalize. The reason that you've been grinning, the reason that [00:24:00] I elevate your energy and everyone listening is because I take care of myself, is because I am in a supportive relationship with myself.

So I'm turning this into a teachable moment for everyone listening. I say this often Taking care of yourself is the opposite of selfish. It's your responsibility to every single person you interact with. If you're in a hostile relationship with yourself, you're actually hurting people you love. I was hurting my team.

I was hurting my family. Not intentionally. But because, I was such a mess inside and I was so unkind to myself, what do you think I brought to them? Not all the time, but often. I snapped, I brought this darkness, we were talking before, my husband, we've been together for 27 years, so our whole lifetime.

And he was on my podcast recently, we did a little surprise, he came on when my journal came out a couple weeks ago. we just said you can ask us any questions you want we do a live audience, somebody said, Avi, can you talk about how Nataly used to be before she went through, what she just shared.

And Avi, we like make a commitment [00:25:00] to be really open about including with others and He said, look at her background. And so the background, where I do the video, like I'm right now surrounded in bold colors because I paint and I paint really bright, bold pictures. I only started painting after I burnt out, he said, Nataly is color.

Like she can be wearing all black, which is like I do often. I wear yellow on stage, but I like black. I'm a New Yorker. So he said, but it doesn't matter. We just live in a world of color now. And he said, her art is. the the literal representation of that. He said, the way it was before, there was a lot of grey in our life.

Not black. And Nataly always had all this energy, and I'm an idea person, I was always starting things. He said, but there was a lot of gray and now there's just a lot of color. And I just want everyone to hear this, that this isn't because I wake up every day and I'm like, okay, how can I make the world colorful?

It is because this is who I am. I believe this is who everyone is in different ways. And now I honor my humanness enough that I actually can. This is one of my gifts. people say you have this energy. That's one of my [00:26:00] gifts, but it was locked in before. Because I put all these layers of self hatred and struggle and all kinds of things on top of it.

And that's a giant part of my mission is to help people recognize that, that is actually our first responsibility. We have to begin inside ourselves. And so much of your work is 

Robyn: also based on neuroscience and research that you've done. Can you talk a bit about that and some of the practices that someone can put into action?

Nataly: Yeah, of course. So one of the things that I started to really get into early on in my research, and I'm still completely I love learning how the human brain works and My daughter is a neuroscience major, so now we just get to geek out together. 

And giant kind of discovery for me that I want to share is that the human brain has a lot of defaults that we assume as given. But actually, Very few of them are towards happiness or joy or well being, your brain's number one job, actually it's only [00:27:00] responsibility.

It's to keep you alive. And that means a bunch of stuff. That means that your brain always looks out for possible danger. And before, in our environment, that meant physical danger. A pack of wolves is running at you, the brain is really good, like loud noises scare us for that reason, because a loud noise means a predator coming.

So before we had a lot of danger in our physical environment. Now we have less, but the brain interprets psychological danger exactly the same. my boss emailed me to say, Hey, can we chat? My brain is like, Oh my God, you're getting fired. That's it. That, things like that. that's a really important thing to know.

Your brain is always looking for possible danger. And that means it has some defaults. For example, the human brain has what's called a negativity bias. Our brain. Focuses much more on anything negative and remembers negative more than anything positive. Why? Because danger usually is negative. It has negative stimuli, so your brain really wants to pay attention. It's good to be alive. I like being alive. It's a [00:28:00] wonderful thing. However, the downside of that is that your brain is lying to you about your life. It's like you're walking around with one eye closed because it's exaggerating all the negative stuff and it is ignoring a lot of good stuff, especially if it's familiar.

How many of us pour ourselves a cup of coffee in the morning and then the next thing we know it's empty? We don't remember drinking it. That's your brain ignoring the familiar good thing. Like, why does it need to care about your cup of coffee? There's no wolf hiding in there. Literally, that's the logic.

Negativity bias, which can tremendously increase stress, increase anxiety. I really was driven by my negativity bias. Your negativity bias also applies to yourself, When you wake up in the morning, do you go Oh! I look amazing, and I did everything I needed to do. No, we don't do that.

The negativity bias is Oh my god, Nataly, here's a wrinkle there. Yesterday, I had a freak out because I realized I have all this gray hair. That's the negativity bias. It's not like my brain woke up is Hey, you don't have a headache. But on days you have a headache, the brain is Oh my god, it's the worst headache.

So negativity bias is one example. [00:29:00] There's so many other things about your brain. For example, one of my core practices. And so just on the negativity bias, the best way to balance that out is with gratitude. So a daily gratitude practice. I love, I have this little practice. I call it morning gratitude lens.

So you begin your morning. Maybe it's right before you brush your teeth or right before you open your laptop. It's good to connect it to something. Think of three really specific things you're grateful for, maybe jot them down. And the specific thing is really important, I work with audiences all the time and I'll say to people tell me something you're grateful for and people will say wonderful things.

My family, my dog, coffee. And I tell them, you know your brain if you say this every day for a couple of days, that's just a bunch of Whatever. It's too general. The brain will start to ignore it. So you want to be really specific like instead of saying I'm grateful for my family I could say I'm so grateful that right now my husband and my daughter are in the car on the way home and I Get to see her in an hour, That's a specific thing So be really specific with your gratitude, but the key is to really also be consistent The other thing about your brain and my other [00:30:00] really core favorite practice is what I call edit your thoughts. Your thoughts are not facts. Your brain is not an accurate reporter of reality.

It's very much an op ed writer, okay? Your brain has a lot of opinions. There are more than 80, 000 data points in your environment at any time. There's no way your brain can take them all in, so it chooses. How does it choose? Using its negativity bias. It pays attention to things that might be alarming, or dangerous, or just like really in your face.

So it takes in those selective data points, and then it makes up a story about them. Also, more negative than positive, because it wants to make sure that if there's any hint of danger, you're protected. So we have all these Negative stories in our mind, that's why uncertainty is so hard for us humans, because in uncertainty the brain can't find any data points, it just really makes up stories oh my god, what if this happens, what worst case scenario.

So you have to remember, you are the editor of your thoughts. So when your brain gives you thoughts that cause you stress or struggle or overwhelm, any things that we just talked about, edit your [00:31:00] thoughts. Two questions. First is this thought true? And by that not do you believe it's true, but do you have facts to support it?

This is a very humbling exercise. If you're really struggling, take out a piece of paper, write the thought. actually, this practice is in the Awesome Human Journal. I give you a template for it. You write your thought at the top, then you divide the page. The page is divided into yes facts, stories.

And literally, what are the facts you know to be true about this? And then, it often turns out that very few facts. It's mostly stories. The next question is this thought helpful? This is a very powerful question going along with this thought, does it help you struggle less or more? Does it make you feel crappy about yourself, or does it fuel you? I've never had anyone say yes. Yes, this thought where everything is going to be awful and I'm awful, it's very helpful. No. And so you ask those two questions and then you get an opportunity. What would be a more productive, supportive thought? And so is this thought true? Is this thought helpful? What would be a more helpful thought?

This editing your thought practice is life changing. I [00:32:00] will go and actually say this and it has nothing with the fact that I made it up because that's one of the ways that you enter into a supportive relationship with your thoughts. You stop just receiving whatever your brain gives you on autopilot and going along.

You actually take control. I've written a lot of books. My editor is an integral part of what everyone reads at the end. And so when you edit your thoughts. You're in a position to then choose thoughts that fuel you, that support you, that motivate you, that reduce struggle. And so that's some of my geeking out on the brain, but also some of the core practices and this edit your thought practice.

It is absolutely life changing. I'm 

Karen: literally writing this down to put on sticky notes on the monitor for my computer because is a great way to catch yourself. And it is a good way to really action those thoughts right then and 

Nataly: there. So helpful. 

Robyn: actually use those types of questions with my daughter who struggles with anxiety.

And I love the way you put it for others, , because you shouldn't have to be diagnosed with anxiety to think about things that way. We all have those types of thoughts. And so to [00:33:00] be able to have that practice of editing them is key now more than ever.

That is. 

Nataly: Huge. 100%. 

I was thinking too about, 

Karen: again, we've been doing a lot of work, Robyn and I, on just how traumas from our childhood are imprinted within ourselves. And we don't even always know that we are carrying them around. Obviously you, in your childhood, you have An actual real story to validate where a lot of that, fear is coming from.

But I think going back even to the science and the biology of all of that within ourselves, 

It is 

work that we actually physically mentally have to do is to identify maybe where some of those fears come from, because that's really what gets stuck within ourselves. And that becomes that Beating yourself up, those negative thoughts that we tend to carry around with us. And 

Nataly: so I think about that a lot. How, what 

Karen: better teacher could there be than somebody? In your experience, really, who had that real story of fear and just trying to become something that made sense.

And yet we're carrying around sort of these inward thoughts [00:34:00] that really negated a lot of that. it's true of all of us, but I think it's always about going back to our stories from when we were younger and how we were taught to believe about ourselves and then catch ourselves doing that.

Nataly: Edit your story the same way you edit your thoughts, the whole section about this in my book, The Awesome Human Project of our stories. dictate how we choose the choices we make, the relationships we have. And I think it's really important to find that balance between acknowledging our stories, but also not being ruled by them and realizing that they're not entirely.

Correct that we actually get to choose. I gave you a version of my story, But it's not like I reported facts, right? There were all kinds of emotions and all kinds of conclusions. I drew from that and that was a giant discovery and revelation for me and not something I accepted easily but as I started to really reflect on the story of struggle because that was my life story, is struggle, everything, a struggle, I [00:35:00] struggle for everything, it was always me against the world, Nataly alone climbing mountains, it's like Einstein's quote the most important choice we have to make is do we live in a friendly or unfriendly universe, and I just, unfriendly universe, again, I had every reason for it, Russian Jew, immigrant, all this stuff. and it's ongoing, but it's been very interesting and revealing and powerful to reflect on that and say I don't know, that's a story, but I don't know, was it me against the world? Actually, I had a lot of people who would show up to help me. Yeah. Interesting. Was it always everything I did?

Did it always require me to beat my head against the wall? Actually, no. I got a bunch of opportunities that came out of left field that honored, my abilities and skills, but were definitely not things I expected. And reflecting on that, and by the way, like my ego hated doing this. My ego really wanted to be the one who did all the things and overcame all the suffering.

But if that's true, then going forward, I look at my life differently. [00:36:00] It's not all struggle. I expect people to come and help me out. This has been a really challenging year for me. I think it has been for a lot of people. I don't know, for our listeners.

Somehow I got through the pandemic fine. For me, this year was really hard, both personally, internally, and just my work wise. But because I now have awareness that actually, no, life is not a struggle, I can look at it as okay this year was tough, next year will be different. Versus, this year is tough.

Everything is challenging. Everything is bad. That's what life is, which is what I would do before, So you brought up such an important point because, and I'm going to say this, and realize this is somewhat a controversial opinion. But I think that many people are just letting their stories hold them hostage, and they're not moving on.

And whether it's real trauma that happened, or just challenges, when I hear people say, like, write a post about something, about a choice you can make, or something you can practice, and, I'll always have people who say, you know what I'm just like this. It's just how I am.

And I think that if you [00:37:00] ever think that, or it's just my life made me this way, I think it's worth examining. I don't think any outsider can tell you the right path, but I think it's worth examining whether your story, and that's again, I made it a big part of my book Is the story you believe about yourself in your life, just like the thought, is it causing you more struggle?

Is it helping you? Is it fueling you? Is it helping you to get where you want to go? Because if not, edit your story. There are no facts. Your brain layered all kinds of things on top and Again, this is something I am really working on because for me again, like this was a realization I've only fully accepted recently That I told myself the story that everything in my life was a struggle and while I've had many challenges and struggled a Lot of that was self inflicted a lot of that was from inside And actually a lot of people came to help me and a lot of wonderful things happen So going forward I want to tell a different story and that's to me is an ongoing process I don't think this is you do it once and you don't do it again, but I think that's [00:38:00] actually a giant thing because our stories can hold us hostage And I think that's a giant thing that I encourage people to examine.

Robyn: I've seen it in my own life so agree with you wholeheartedly and I think Perspective And awareness and what you talked about, which I had not heard of, and I'm so glad you brought it up negative bias and that is huge. all of this should be taught, in school, it would change.

It would change lives. You're changing lives now and . It would change it at an earlier age. 

Karen: What you said, Nataly, and how often even our 

Nataly: egos get attached to our stories, 

Karen: especially stories of things you've surmounted, got through this, I got through that. And there's a tendency, I think, at times to use that as part of your resume and I was just thinking about people who have had so much adversity in their life and the ones who tell the story from the point of view of they're dragging that story with them, they've become that story versus yes, that happened, but I learned this and I [00:39:00] would never have done this if it hadn't been for that, Just the whole story. Thank you. Dimension of how that story is told and then how that family feels coming from that person, but the influence that it has on you as the listener or friend or whoever you are in that situation. And so we have so much power to influence not only ourselves, but like you were saying earlier, other people's lives.

By the way we tell our story, the way we live our story every day. This has been, so enlightening. 

Nataly: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that. You asked really wonderful questions and that's how we get to the good stuff. One last thing on what you said, I think ultimately it comes down.

And this is maybe the most important thing I've learned is we always have choices. No matter what is going on, where you are in your life, what things are happening, you have choices. And I think that in and of itself is incredibly empowering because, by the way, research shows when you're going through something really hard, feeling like you have a sense of control is like the number one thing that will help you feel better.

And knowing that you can [00:40:00] choose. Internally, you can make choices, I think is hugely empowering. Now, I try to be really honest about this. Sometimes you don't want to make good choice. You just want to wallow, and complain and bitch. And I think that. Healthy dose of that is fine.

Again, I hate the positivity Pollyannas, but I think it's really important to just be aware that you're always making a choice if you're not making an intentional choice, you're making a choice, then you're letting your brain's default patterns take over, Your negativity bias has taken over your previous patterns.

Your brain is telling you stories, it's coming out of fear, et cetera, et cetera. So you're always making choices. It's either a default choice or intentional choice. And I think that's a very not everybody wants to hear that. because I think in some way this was definitely I speak from experience, it was easier, just an interesting word because it was really hard, but it was an easier story to tell it's just how I am, it's just how my life is, I just struggle, who I am.

It's more challenging choice to change, to say, actually, I don't have to, actually, right now. After I'm done listening to this podcast, I'm going to go say something supportive to myself, or I'm going [00:41:00] to ask myself what I need and do that. Or maybe I'm not going to spend the next half hour thinking about how annoying my colleague is, how annoying this is.

Maybe I'm going to think of something else, right? But I think that is the most important thing to recognize. We have choices. You actually are making a lot of choices all the time and I think most of that is really liberating. You can choose. 

Robyn: Yeah, and taking responsibility for those choices. . In your latest book, The Awesome Human Journal, you are actually giving people a guidebook to find their joy. 

I know you mentioned it and already dropped some knowledge on us and some wisdom in this podcast, but can we talk a 

Nataly: little bit more about it? Of course. when people ask me, why did you decide to do, cause it's like a workbook. It is a journal, but it's like a workbook.

There's all these templates and exercise and all kinds of things. And it is inspired by my book, The Awesome Human Project, but not based on it. There's 80 percent new material. And the reason when people ask me, why did you want to do a workbook or journal like this? And my answer is, I'm a little devious.

I want to make it impossible for you to not [00:42:00] practice. iT's useless if you're just going to read the words. And, because the change really happens in the practice. And so I have practices in all my books. I have practices in all my talks. I've never done a podcast without sharing a practice. People would tell me oh, I love your book, but I haven't gotten to the practice.

And I was like, you know what? I have an idea. I'm going to make something great. The only thing you can do is practice. And so that really was the it's been out for a month and a half now. It's been really wonderful to hear from so many people who, people send me photos of their pages, the templates filled out, and they tell me what it shifted, and I'm getting some really...

incredible feedback around what I mentioned before. Like this seemed really simple, but I just think this practice changed my relationship with myself or my confidence. So that's the raison d'etre for the journal. And so in the journal are three different sections. So you have your daily practice pages and they have six prompts and five prompts to help you practice the different emotional fitness skills, acceptance, gratitude, self care, kindness, and connecting to your sense of purpose.

And then there's Different [00:43:00] questions. So you have your daily pages, and then I have these practices for when you need them. So edit your thoughts, as we talked about. So I don't just have the description, I have a whole template in there that walks you through it, which makes it much more actionable.

I have everything in there from edit your thoughts to how to learn to talk to yourself like a friend. One of my favorite section of practices is how to tell a better joy story. And that's all around we all have these stories that we tell ourselves to deny ourselves joy. I love really bold jewelry and interesting clothes.

It's my thing. I love it. I'm an artist. It's how I express myself. But for most of my life, I just never was into that. And my story was... Great example of lying to myself. My story was, oh, I'm a refugee. I don't like to spend money on myself. Actually, no. Actually, I didn't think I deserve to feel great.

Actually, it was about denying myself joy because I'm pretty smart. I could have figured out how to buy things inexpensively. And so I have this whole flow in there and you get to write, you get to figure out what [00:44:00] story you're telling yourself to hold yourself back from joy and get to write a new joy story.

And then I have all kinds of things in there. There are creativity practices because I think creativity is absolutely essential for living a better life. I have awesome human challenges. And then at the end, there's an SOS toolkit for those times when you're really struggling. So I have a whole section on how to begin to recover from burnout.

How to feel motivated when you're like, okay, I don't feel like doing anything and all kinds of things. So that's a little bit of a tour through the journal. If you go to my website, Natalykogan. com, you can actually watch a trailer where I walk you through it. You get to glance the whole thing. I say this I would love to hang out with every single awesome human in the world for a day because I feel like I could share a lot of these skills and improve their lives, but not that everybody would want a Nataly for the day, as my daughter would say, that's a lot, but I obviously can't do that.

So the journal. is one of my ways to do that and I hand wrote and illustrated the entire journal. I am not a professional illustrator and I definitely bit off more than I expected, but I [00:45:00] wanted it to feel like a good friend is giving you these practices, is making these suggestions and my whole kind of bigger why is, as you go through it, you become that better friend with yourself.

Karen: we didn't ask the question. About the awesome human project. Where did that come from? Such a unique title. 

Nataly: So the title actually, the whole idea of awesome humans. So I was working on the book and with my editor, I had the book, the whole thing was there and we didn't have a title.

And we were one day on a Zoom, because it was the beginning of the pandemic, and we were just talking and she started watching my talk videos. There's a lot of videos of my keynotes. And she said, hold on a second. What's this? At the beginning of every keynote, you get up there and you're like, hello, awesome humans.

She's what do you mean by that? So I explained it as I explained to you, and she said, hold on, I think this is a really key thing. And that kind of was the kernel of it. And then I realized that When I am someone who I have a bias towards action. My teacher, who I mentioned, [00:46:00] Janet, who I don't work with anymore, but I did for five years and really couldn't have worked through everything I did without her.

She said to me once, Nataly, When you walked into my office, you were in such a dark place and you had no faith that things could get better. But the one thing you had going for you is you were committed to trying, to doing the things. And that's who I am. Like, I just, I'm a doer. And so I realized that for me, recovering from burnout, it was a project.

I didn't call it that at the time, but I was like, I'm going to do this research. I'm going to try these things. I started making up practices for myself. And so I was like, hang on a second. I want to get people to do this awesome human project. And that's where the title came from. And so in the book, you actually have a five week project.

You can do it in five weeks. Some people do it differently, where you go when you learn these and practice these emotional fitness skills. And so that's where the title came from. And then I didn't think about it, but it launched this whole awesome human movement and the awesome human journal.

My podcast is the awesome human podcast. And I'm about to, [00:47:00] release the first limited run of Awesome Human Merchandise on my website. because I painted the cover of the book, and it's actually, I painted an Awesome Human logo, and so we have some hoodies and mugs with the Awesome Human logo and some some of my art.

And it became something bigger than the book launched something bigger, but that was genesis. 

Karen: I love that so much because just when I think about what does that mean, what is an awesome human. such a great framework for everything that you talk about, because it's not about credentials.

It's not about what I look like. It's a feeling. It feels like an unfolding. It feels like something that's continually changing. and it feels happy on top of it. So it's a perfect way to frame everything that you're doing, Nataly. One thing we didn't ask.

 Is where that, the color 

Nataly: yellow is. That answer is simple. I just really love yellow. And when my first book was coming out, Happier Now, we just went with yellow and I always wear yellow when I speak, I have a yellow closet next to me and my website is very yellow.

I always say, you should have a surgeon [00:48:00] general's warning if you hate yellow, do not. Continue. It's very yellow. It just brings me joy and I think the simplest way we can bring joy to other people is to do what brings us joy. 'cause then it ripples out to everyone.

Human emotions are contagious. So I just really love yellow. I love all bold colors, but I really just love yellow, especially neon yellow. That's my vibe. The brighter, the better, not that mustard yellow, but like the pure, the neon yellow. So if you ever see me speak, you can't miss me. Cause it's like this neon lady on stage.

I just love it. yellow, orange. They do activate their energetic, joyful colors. It's so interesting. Another thing, I never anticipated is how many people, for Instagram or my email or is seeing me speak and people will tell me, you're so brave to wear such bold colors.

I'm going to try it too. I never thought about it as an act of courage, but it is, I think it takes courage to really do stuff that brings you joy without thinking about what other people would say, or even to me. So I think it's [00:49:00] less about other people than judging ourselves. So I think it does take courage to do what brings you joy.

Robyn: And it also takes courage to try something new, which you mentioned already about painting, that you started painting after your burnout. And you say it's never too late, 

Nataly: Yes, I'm a giant believer in trying new things. The funny thing about the brain, actually, so the human brain loves to learn new things.

Learning new things is so good for you. It reduces all the reduces chances of dementia, reduces symptoms of aging, reduces stress. Increases well being. Helps you sleep. Improves self efficacy. I can keep going. So the brain loves, every time you learn something new, your brain has a party, like chemically.

However, the brain is also very good at preventing you from trying new things with all kinds of self doubt. No, you're gonna suck, Nataly. Don't paint. My brain was like no, what's up with this? Hello? No, first my brain was like, don't dare do it because that's a waste of time because that's not a productive activity.

What does it have to do with raising your family or having a career? So that was my joy [00:50:00] denial story for my life. Then after I had my burnout and I wasn't doing a career, I wasn't doing anything, I couldn't function. And I thought, okay, I'm gonna, maybe I'll try painting. My brain was like no, hello, excuse me, who do you think you are?

You're not good. You're not a trained artist. What if people hate it? So the brain loves to try new things, but it's also very good at getting in your way. So it is challenging. I get that. And that's why I have creativity breaks and exercises in the book to get you on it. And the thing I'll say about that is whatever the thing you want to try, that your brain is telling you maybe you're going to be really bad at it, don't do it.

I want you to do it for anti excellence. And what I mean by that is don't do it to become good at it. We live in a country, in a society, where we just have to become good at everything. Don't do it for that. Make your number one priority joy. Just to enjoy it. Deliberately be like I'm not gonna be good at this.

I'm gonna be happy doing it. And, by the way, you'll become better at it if you feel joy, because it helps you overcome challenges, etc. But, [00:51:00] that's my advice, and people say, Oh, I really want to try painting or drawing, but I'm horrible at it, or da.

And I say, fine, do a secret drawing. Don't show it to anyone. Paint in secret. Make a pact with yourself that you're not going to show it to a single person. I did that at the beginning. I'm just not going to share it. And I think we have to find these ways to liberate our judgment and make our brain feel safe so we can have that opening.

I paint because it brings me joy. I don't know if I'm good or not. I don't, and by the way, the inner critic is in my head. Just cause I teach this for a living doesn't mean I'm not a human being. But the way to shift out of self doubt, it's just. Two ways, like , I'm not doing this to become Picasso.

I'm not doing this to get my painting in Modern Art Museum in New York City. I'm doing this for joy. And the other thing, the other way to shift out of self doubt, of when you want to try something new or something challenging, is instead of what will people think of me?

How will people judge me? How about, how is what I'm doing, how might this help someone else? And so you shift into what's called a pro social mindset, which is a very natural mindset for us. People were actually naturally that way. And all of a sudden, it's not [00:52:00] about, am I going to be good or not, what people think of me, or bad or good.

It's, hey, how is what I'm doing, how might it help someone? And I cannot tell you the number of people that I have heard from over the last five years, six years that I've been painting, who told me, Nataly, I started painting because of you. I started painting because of you and because you shared your journey.

What else do I need? That's it. That's right there. And again, this isn't about me. I just want to give everyone like angles and permission. That's a way to get out of self judgment is to think about, okay how am I doing this? How might it help or elevate or inspire someone else? And that's why, in my thrive model, foundation of emotional fitness, uncover your unique gifts, share them in the service of others.

That's what we're here to do. And so if I look at my painting, not as I'm trying to be the best artist in the world, Or whatever the words are, but I'm doing it because it brings me joy and I know it inspires other people to try new things. That's it. That's the whole thing. anD that leads to 

Robyn: what you're talking about, I know, in the future about redefining success.

And can you believe [00:53:00] that who you are now and what that means to you looking back at the Nataly Pryor? Isn't it just remarkable to you? 

Nataly: It is remarkable to me, going back to my teacher, she said to me this was a few years ago, as we were wrapping up our time together and She said, it's a miracle where you've gotten to and I hated that word because again, it felt like magic.

I was like Janet. No, it's not a miracle. And she said, hang on a second. I mean something very specific and I have a napkin because I finished a snack. I was on a call with her and I wrote this down on a napkin. She said, Miracle is not magic. Miracle is faith plus practice. And when you first walked into my office, you had zero faith.

And by faith in yourself, faith that you could feel better, faith in that you're not alone, that not just people, but there is this universe around you. And the way that I interpret that now, I think of when I say universe, the greater us, this one energy that we all come from. She said you had no faith.

But you were committed to practice and now [00:54:00] you have both and it is a miracle and so I love that definition of a miracle It's faith plus practice. And so if you're listening to this and you have no faith that you could feel better, that's okay You don't have to just begin to practice begin with one thing We talked about if you have faith and you're not into practicing make a commitment do one thing every day because that's the miracle, and everything I just talked about.

I still do it all the time. this isn't okay, I'm going to do these three things. That's why I hate these articles. Do these three things to be happy. actually, no, actually, we have to practice being human as an experience. Being human is hard. We have to do these things all the time, but the cool thing, and that's why I teach them as skills and practices.

Like I now have this toolkit. And I had a really not a good day yesterday. Like for, also for reasons and also not reasons. I don't know, it just sucked. And it's not like I'm immediately like, Nataly, let's have a better day. In fact, sometimes you just need to have a bad day.

But by the end of it, I was done with having a bad day and I don't really feel like doing it anymore. So I now have a toolkit. That I can go to, and I have choices, and I have control, and I can do certain things to shift. That [00:55:00] feels amazing. And that's the difference. The way that I describe it because I'm a visual person, I think the way that I used to be, I was like a boat on the ocean, but no anchor.

So if my life was okay, if the ocean was calm, I was okay. But then as soon as there was something, I was, I just went with it. Oh, I tumbled around and now I used to say, now I'm a boat with an anchor. No, I just realized now I'm the ocean, and I have choices and to choose which way I float and go.

I think that's the beauty of learning these practices, of learning about yourself, of connecting with yourself, of being a friend to yourself, of supporting yourself. It's not like you have some kind of one, two, three, and done, but you have these tools. And because I know myself, it's much easier to know which tool I need.

Before I was clueless. Now I'm like, okay, Nataly, here we go. We're telling a fatalistic story about this because this is where your brain goes, okay, how about we tell a different story? To me, that's the beauty again, people tell me like, do you have bad days? I'm like, am I human?

Yes, [00:56:00] many, because that's normal. But the thing that is fundamentally different is I have this toolkit and I can figure out how to support myself and make choices. And that's incredible. And that's the toolkit I'm trying to give to everyone. I just realized I have now a 

Karen: different. Definition of practice in my mind because I always talk about tools and practices and I'm 

always thinking practice is a 

way of doing things.

But now I'm looking at it as, practice is a way of 

trying things and 

You don't have to get it right every time it can just be this experiment. 

So you can try a practice of painting. You can try this practice of thinking. You don't have to do it all and you can just try it and 

little dribs and drabs along the way and see how it impacts you.

So thank 

Nataly: you for that. 100 percent. I love what you just said. That's a really beautiful way to think about it. 

Robyn: Thank you for being an awesome human and helping us honestly all look at ourselves as awesome humans because I don't think most of us give ourselves permission we don't have that lens.

And so that is such a gift. And I always say this about Karen, there's just this [00:57:00] energy and this light and you have that too. It's so bright around 

Nataly: you. Thank you. Thank you. I'm in company that brings it out, I'm in a company that makes it very easy to be who I am.

So I'm super grateful to both of you for that. Thanks 

Karen: so much for this. What an uplifting conversation, 

Nataly: but and with so 

Robyn: many nuggets that people can really. Start to practice and there are so many other ways, Nataly, that you have created for people to get happier and get in touch with their awesome human selves.

So in addition to your books, you have a five week online course called the Emotional Fitness Boost. 

Nataly: launching in January, it is my signature course, I've been working on it for a year and a half. So Finally here. So yes, just go to my website, Nataly Kogan. com and you can get on the wait list.

We're going to launch in January. It is the signature course about all the things we just talked about, and it has recorded components and live sessions and masterclasses and all kinds of [00:58:00] wonderfulness. I cannot wait for it to be out. 

Robyn: So exciting. And you also have leadership and development programs, individual mentorship, team coaching.

And your podcast, the awesome human project, and you can find everything, we talked about today, as Nataly said, on Nataly Kogan. com. And I want to point out that Nataly spells her name with a Y. So that's N A T A L Y K O G A N. Instagram too.

We are so grateful to be connected and to hopefully collaborate more in the 

Nataly: future. I really can't wait. Thank you again both for the generosity of your spirit and the openness and your engagement. Cause like I said, and your beings and your awesome, wonderful humanness, because To me, that's the biggest gift we give each other.

So thank you. It's an honor. Thank you. 

How to Be An Awesome Human: Edit Your Thoughts, Struggle Less + Thrive