Cascading Leadership - The Show

Recovering From Severe Trauma on the Path to Reinvention and Achieving Career Success

March 12, 2023 Jim Season 3 Episode 14
Cascading Leadership - The Show
Recovering From Severe Trauma on the Path to Reinvention and Achieving Career Success
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Navigating the Career Path - Staying True to Yourself & Unlocking Success


Dr. Jim and Natalie Coulson discuss the importance of staying true to oneself and why anonymity is not a virtue in the modern world. Natalie works with entrepreneurial thinkers to help them find their personal brand, no matter if they are still in a corporate environment or have made the transition into their own business. 

They discuss the keys to getting ahead in the modern world and how people should navigate their career path. Natalie encourages people to stay true to themselves and to not be discouraged by the corporate world. With her help, people can find their own personal brand and make the most of their career.

She believes that getting their mindset right is fundamental, as it sets them apart from others and helps them feel better. Natalie has chosen this niche because it follows her own journey and she understands how transformative it can be. In the conversation, Dr. Jim digs deeper into why Natalie chose this niche and her experience with it.

In this conversation, Natalie and Dr. Jim discuss the differences between the mindset of a corporate employee and an entrepreneur. Natalie points out that many people in her generation were taught to go to university, get a job and do as they were told. But this doesn't lead to either happiness or success - especially not in expensive cities like Sydney, where houses cost 3-4 million. 

To be successful, Natalie explains that having an entrepreneurial mindset is essential - one that is open to taking risks and embracing uncertainty. This means breaking free from the constraints of corporate life and being willing to take a leap into the unknown.

Natalie and Dr. Jim discussed the concept of entrepreneurial thinking. They noted that it is not something that is taught in school and that it takes a certain amount of risk to embrace it. However, it does not have to be an all or nothing equation; it is possible to have a corporate job and still pursue entrepreneurial ideas. 


00:02:00  Empowering Corporate Employees to Elevate Their Brand and Move Into Entrepreneurship

00:03:43  Mindset Shifts for Entrepreneurship

00:10:44  Professional Journey and Highlight Moments

00:12:10  Navigating the Financial Services Industry and Experiencing Stressful Workloads

00:15:42   Mental Health Crisis and Breakdown

00:17:07  Mental Health and Self-Belief

00:21:32  Re-Building After a Breakdown 

00:23:12  Embracing Failure and Quitting Things for Growth and Thriving

00:30:36   Reframing Priorities and Learning to Say No

00:36:00   Exploring Personal Branding

00:40:14  Re-evaluating Traditional Paths to Success

00:46:09  Finding a Mentor and Building an Attraction Model

00:48:09 Own Your Story and Take Time Out to Reflect

Music Credit: Maarten Schellekens - Riviera

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Natalie Coulson 

[00:00:00] Dr. Jim: welcome to today's episode of Cascading Leadership. I am your friendly neighborhood talent strategy nerd, Dr. Jim. And today we are in for a phenomenal episode on the overarching topic of career navigation. We're gonna learn some critical things in this episode. First of all, we're gonna learn why staying true to yourself has to be central to your career story and career navigation plan. We're gonna also learn why there isn't any virtue in anonymity, and we're also gonna learn what are the keys to actually getting ahead in the modern world.

[00:00:34] Dr. Jim: I have a feeling that we're gonna be getting rid of some erroneous beliefs throughout the course of the conversation, and the person that's gonna guide us through this journey and all of these learnings. Joining us from Australia, from the Land of Oz is Natalie Colson. Natalie, welcome to the show.

[00:00:50] Natalie Coulson: Thank you. Gins. Great to be here. 

[00:00:52] Dr. Jim: One thing that I will ask I, I've only had a couple of guests on from Australia, how many things right now in your [00:01:00] backyard exist that can kill you? That's the first thing that I think our listeners wanna understand or know.

[00:01:05] Natalie Coulson: There probably are some spiders and we've got some bushlands, so like some forest next to the house where there's probably snakes. But you just don't see them. Okay. So you don't think about it. 

[00:01:14] Dr. Jim: I'll I'll be on high alert to see if there's a huntsman spider that's walking across your back wall, carrying the spare or something.

[00:01:21] Natalie Coulson: They're like our pets. Like they are not gonna hurt you. . 

[00:01:24] Dr. Jim: Okay. I'll take your word for it. I Want you to set the stage and get our viewers and listeners up to speed on on what you're up to these days, what you're doing now, and then we'll start into the convers.

[00:01:36] Natalie Coulson: I'm working with entrepreneurial thinkers to help them to elevate to find their personal brand. And it goes beyond that. I work with people who are still in a corporate environment or they have made the transition into their own business.

[00:01:50] Natalie Coulson: They may be quite established in their own business. So it does go between those two or those two sort of extremes. But it's about owning their story, owning who they are and [00:02:00] elevating. Going to that next level. So whatever that is for that individual. 

[00:02:04] Dr. Jim: It's an interesting niche that you've car carved out. And I know that there's a story behind it, but in, in broad terms, why did you opt for picking this niche? You're talking about current corporate employees and talking to them about building their brand and then moving into entrepreneurship.

[00:02:23] Natalie Coulson: It really follows my own journey. And so it's just a pathway that I understand really clearly and I understand what the challenges are. And a lot of those, what I have discovered, like you can teach or you can learn through various courses tactics.

[00:02:37] Natalie Coulson: So how to write, how to develop a digital marketing plan. You, there's so much content now on YouTube, you can pay for courses and while all of that is super useful and is important, getting your mindset right is fundamental. And I feel like that word is actually overdone as well.

[00:02:56] Natalie Coulson: But it's getting, once you [00:03:00] realize and really get clear on who you are, everything else is just smooth. You don't have to be perfect in your content marketing or digital or understanding how it all connects together because those things will develop as you go. , but getting clear on your story, I have just learnt and embracing that is what people notice and it's what sets you apart from others and it actually just feels good as well.

[00:03:27] Natalie Coulson: So really, I've picked this niche because it's the journey. I've taken it and I understand how transformative is. 

[00:03:33] Dr. Jim: That's a great bit of insight and I'm gonna keep digging, and this is what I do in conversations is that I just dig into things. I'm like a little badger or something like that.

[00:03:43] Dr. Jim: So what's particularly interesting about what you said, you, you touched on it and you played it off as it was cliche, and then that's the concept of mind mindset and Yes. I think one of the areas that I'm curious about is when you think about the mindset that somebody's living in a corporate environment [00:04:00] and the mindset that they need to shift to in an entrepreneurial environment.

[00:04:03] Dr. Jim: What's the scaffolding that you're bringing bringing along and teaching and coaching these folks that are looking to make that transition that a lot of people might not be aware of. How is being an entrepreneur from a mindset perspective different than the mindset that you have as a wage earning, employee?

[00:04:20] Natalie Coulson: So many of us, particularly in Gen X and I'm sure some millennials too, and certainly the older demographics we've been taught to do as we're told to study, get an education or maybe get a trade. But for most people that I associate with it was getting an education, going to university, ticking all the boxes and then you land on a job and you are then told what to do.

[00:04:43] Natalie Coulson: You have KPIs, you've got set holidays. So many people are frustrated by that. Those constraints. And we've realized actually that does not bring happiness and it actually doesn't even bring success. In a city I'm based in Sydney and houses are, three and 4 million [00:05:00] around where I live.

[00:05:01] Natalie Coulson: And you can't actually afford to live here, will not live well on, if you'd followed all those rules. So that is, that's the that is the problem. But the opportunity. Is when I talk to people and I hear them say when I was on holidays or when I was taking my yoga class, or when I, they have all these dreams and things that they're, and it's not as simple as following your passion, but it is noticing problems that you actually feel passionate about solving.

[00:05:33] Natalie Coulson: And that is not something that we are taught at school. And many of us, not everybody, but many of us have that, but we just haven't been taught how to embrace it or even embrace the risk associated with that. So that's what I'm talking about with entrepreneurial thinking. Some people are very happy being in their corporate jobs and that structure really works and that there's nothing wrong with that either.

[00:05:54] Natalie Coulson: But I wanna work with the people who actually are. Content with that. They wanna bust out. They [00:06:00] know there's something different, something better for them. 


[00:06:02] Dr. Jim: One of the things that I want to make sure that viewers and listeners are gathering from this conversation that it doesn't have to be a binary all or nothing equation.

[00:06:12] Dr. Jim: One of the things that I often talk about with members of my team is, you, if you're really thinking about yourself as a business, as a c e o and having that owner's mentality, one of your primary responsibilities should be diversifying your revenue streams. So you have, your W2 job that gives you a steady paycheck and your benefits and all that sort of stuff, but there's a whole bunch of other skills and things that you have interest in that could easily be monetized from a product perspective.

[00:06:41] Dr. Jim: And those are different product lines that you can monetize and the value in doing that. Is that you're never really beholden to any one thing and you have multiple contingencies that you're building on the fly. And who knows if some, if you hit on something that you're really passionate about, that could be [00:07:00] the primary thing, and then you move other o other things and reprioritize. . I don't want people to misconstrue the message and think, oh, it's an all or nothing equation. It's actually multiple options that you can use to build this out. 

[00:07:13] Natalie Coulson: And that's why I like to use the term entre entrepreneurial thinkers because yeah, you can have a corporate.

[00:07:20] Natalie Coulson: Or you can be an intrapreneur. And which is highly valuable for the person running the business as well to come up with these transformative ideas and different ways of bringing revenue into the organization. And I spent a lot of time in sales and that fosters that sort of thinking. And I was quite happy being a sales professional in a job.

[00:07:40] Natalie Coulson: So that's fine as well. And yes, you don't, you could be running a side hustle. You could have consulting or coaching clients on the side. It doesn't, yeah, it doesn't mean all or nothing for sure. Not everyone's in the position where they can just leave their job and it's just not feasible for.

[00:07:56] Dr. Jim: One of the guests that we've had on the show earlier [00:08:00] mentioned that when you're mapping out your overall career trajectory or any decision making process that you're going through, it's always good to have what he called. This is Phil Rank, he's the c e O of Lean Alaska.

[00:08:11] Dr. Jim: And what he said is, when he was transitioning from military life to civilian life, one of the things that he thought about was I need to build a pace plan. I need to have, a primary plan, an alternate plan, a contingency plan, and an emergency plan. So if you look at yourself at the dusk level as a c e, you should be on the fly working those things all at the same time, so you have the maximum amount of flexibility to pursue what you wanna pursue.

[00:08:39] Dr. Jim: So I think what you're doing is really great stuff, particularly because a lot of people Regardless of generational demographics have been conditioned to believe that there's one path to success. And success is only defined in one particular way. And usually that means you're born, you get a bunch of [00:09:00] degrees, you go, find a corporate job somewhere, and then you work there until you die.

[00:09:04] Dr. Jim: Great stuff so far, Natalie. Thanks for sharing that. I wanna wind the clock. So you didn't start out doing this stuff. I wanna build out some context and have you share with the audience. When you look at your, your early life, your early career life, and you map that journey out, what did that look compared to where you are right now?

[00:09:24] Natalie Coulson: I was the child of school teachers, so I was a hundred percent a people pleasing rule follower. Which gave me a lot of structure. I quite enjoyed it. Didn't have a problem with that at all. I didn't feel controlled. So yeah, I followed the traditional path. And yeah, got my university degree, got a graduate certificate, started off in magazine publishing as a journalist and then worked in.

[00:09:47] Natalie Coulson: As an account manager. But what happened is I, and it's very typical for Australians to wanna go and work abroad. And we are so far from the rest of the world, but yet we feel mentally that we're living right beside you. [00:10:00] So I went across and lived in Canada so I was in Toronto, Canada for a number of years and built my career there.

[00:10:07] Dr. Jim: I'm giggling because when you said you live you're born and raised in Australia and even though we're far away from everybody, we think we're right next door. And I was like, oh, you guys are the Canadians of the south and then you end up going Canada,

[00:10:20] Natalie Coulson: Yeah it just various reasons of why I ended up in Canada, but I found a lot of opportunity and a lot of scope to build my magazine publishing career in Toronto. And it sounds very quaint probably for your listeners, but. That epitome, the epitome of my success was I was flying across Canada meeting different clients and bringing a lot of revenue in for the publication that I worked for.

[00:10:44] Natalie Coulson: And what was my absolute highlight was, I think I was like six o'clock in the morning up. It wasn't anything very attractive, but I was on a flight paid for by my company going to New York, and I thought, here is this girl from, and I'm not from Sydney, so I'm [00:11:00] from outside of Sydney, so from this small town, and now I'm flying to New York on, on somebody else's I'm getting paid to do it.

[00:11:07] Natalie Coulson: So that is, that was the, absolute highlight and the peak. I wasn't earning, Multiple six figures or anything. It was a modest, good salary, but a modest salary and I thought I'd made it. But yeah, a bit more about my story beyond 

[00:11:19] Natalie Coulson: that . 

[00:11:20] Dr. Jim: It's interesting that you frame it that way cuz when you describe it that way, and if I am a disinterest at third party, hearing about that, small town person growing up go to a whole different country, work in high powered, publishing you're with without the drinking and the sexual harassment you're describing like the Mad Men type life, flying all over the place and meeting.

[00:11:43] Dr. Jim: That sounds, phenomenally cool. And at that point in in your life I don't think I would've thought any differently either because, I have similar experiences when I was younger where I was like, oh, wow, this is pretty cool.

[00:11:56] Dr. Jim: I've I got other people paying for my trips to go meet interesting people. Awesome. 

[00:11:59] Natalie Coulson: [00:12:00] And they would say to me just make your meetings on a Friday or a Monday, and I would literally get paid to take people to lunch. And I was like, what is this? And I loved it, and it was great customer service.

[00:12:10] Natalie Coulson: So I can understand it from a. Perspective now, but yeah, it was like they said, oh, just go for the weekend. Just book it Monday and Friday. And I was like, this is insane. Yeah. So yes, it was pretty 

[00:12:20] Natalie Coulson: good. . 

[00:12:20] Dr. Jim: So I think at the surface level and probably at a deeper level, it's a pretty solid set of experiences.

[00:12:25] Dr. Jim: But give us a view into the actual workload and stress that you encountered in doing that amount of traveling. I'd imagine, Toronto to New York is no big deal. No. In, in publishing, you're all over the place. So what did your days and weeks look like? 

[00:12:40] Natalie Coulson: I have to say I just loved that job.

[00:12:42] Natalie Coulson: The stress was really that I had a target, and that it really took a hit around, I'm going back quite a few years now, I'm dating myself, but around the G F C, the global financial crisis when it was really difficult, that's when all of that sort of petered off. But up until that point, look, there was a [00:13:00] lot of there was a lot of money in financial services, so these big financial clients, as long as you gave them attention and provided value I can't say the stress was massive, it was always 

[00:13:11] Natalie Coulson: there.

[00:13:12] Dr. Jim: One of the things that, that I'm curious about when you're primarily dealing with the financial services, That particular sector doesn't exactly have a glowing reputation. They're, I hate to paint with a broad brush, but I think I think there are certain financial institutions in that sector that's usually in the news like almost every week for doing something that's not right.

[00:13:32] Dr. Jim: So when you are looking at your career in this trajectory, serving this industry, which can be a little slippery, how did you reconcile that with sort of your values, internal values in terms of getting things done? Because I'm sure there were instances where there you have to like look away and get stuff done just because that's what the client wanted.

[00:13:53] Natalie Coulson:

[00:13:53] Natalie Coulson: think because the publication was reaching Canadian financial advisors they had, I [00:14:00] think actually the laws there are stronger than they are in Australia. I'm not sure about American laws, but. Was impressed. It's the Wild West . Yeah. I was impressed with, clients like Royal Bank, for example, at this time.

[00:14:10] Natalie Coulson: Okay. Just to throw one in there. And I thought the way they showcased their values, like during the financial crisis was really impressive. So that was just a glowing example of something good where they actually, I think doubled their ad budget, their ad spend during that time when everybody else just disappeared.

[00:14:30] Natalie Coulson: Because they wanted to say, look, we're here for you. We are gonna go through this with you. 

[00:14:33] Dr. Jim: It's it's an interesting contrast. It's great that you didn't necessarily have the experience that I was referencing because if you look on this side of the border, on the us, basically it was US financial institutions to cost a crash.

[00:14:45] Dr. Jim: So yes, you knew that there were all sorts of, like really. I'm gonna use the English word dodgy stuff. Yes. That was going on. So it's interesting that the Canadian financial sector I is set up differently, so that's cool. You weren't really in in [00:15:00] an environment where you had to sell out your values to get stuff 

[00:15:03] Dr. Jim: done.

[00:15:03] Natalie Coulson: No, but I was certainly not flying to New York anymore at that point. Yeah. No, that all 

[00:15:08] Dr. Jim: stopped. You're going through all of that experience. Things are looking pretty good. That sounds pretty interesting. You're navigating a financial crisis and it seems like, things are things are in good shape.

[00:15:17] Dr. Jim: And then what happened? 

[00:15:18] Natalie Coulson: Yeah, things started to take a turn in my personal life. So I had a child around that time as well, but Yeah, things just really started to take a turn and through a combination of, I don't like to talk about it in great detail, the cause, but it's more, cause I think there is a whole reason, a whole range of reasons people have health crises or breakdowns or massive setbacks.

[00:15:42] Natalie Coulson: So I think there's a whole, yeah, so I don't necessarily wanna talk about the cause, but I can tell you what happened. I ended up deteriorating pretty quickly over the course of about a year or so where I got, anxiety I just basically couldn't keep up with my life.

[00:15:58] Natalie Coulson: And that [00:16:00] included my job my personal relationships. Clearly what I can look back in hindsight is everything had to crumble so I could rebuild it. So I can see that in hindsight, but at the time, it was anxiety and then the depression kicked in. And I had a very different view of what, one should do.

[00:16:19] Natalie Coulson: I just have my whole understanding of mental health and health in general is so different now that it's really hard to talk about it with my lack of understanding back then. But I just kept pushing myself harder. You end up taking meds, you do what you're told, get counseling, but I ended up going to a psych ward, so I ended up just, I literally felt like I had hit a wall.

[00:16:44] Natalie Coulson: So like this I don't know, something snapped and I've heard other people talk about this, but I absolutely maxed out everything. So I had zero, energy left for anything. And so what that led to was, yeah, I [00:17:00] was suicidal. Like it was really hard to imagine given the person I am now and the person I was before.

[00:17:07] Natalie Coulson: But I just couldn't keep up with myself. . And so yeah, I ended up lots and lots of therapy and psychiatric treatment over the course of about a year until I was, I ended up moving back to Australia and just had to completely rebuild. And I'm not just talking rebuild as in get a job and reconnect with family, but it was like rebuild my brain because I just, there was no way I could live the way I had before

[00:17:33] Natalie Coulson: So that forced me to stop and think what's important? And that, of course, that didn't happen immediately either, but that is where that led because you just can't leave the 

[00:17:43] Natalie Coulson: way you did. 

[00:17:43] Dr. Jim: One of the things that I'm wondering about is, this didn't happen all at once.

[00:17:48] Dr. Jim: It was a cumulative series of things that, that built up over time. When you look back and think about it, did you feel all of those things building or was it just, let me just get [00:18:00] through it. Let me just get through it. And you j and one day you just couldn't 

[00:18:02] Natalie Coulson: So I remember consciously thinking I dunno how to get off this treadmill. And it's the treadmill that you were talking about before where we've been taught to play by the rules and go to work and be there at a certain time and deal with your kids and all your relationships and you've gotta fit it all in somehow.

[00:18:18] Natalie Coulson: So there's a combination of, doing as I was told and trying to keep up with that. So keeping up with the people pleasing and the rules and the the life plan the traditional life plan and oh my gosh, I've gotta just, I've gotta get through it because I didn't think I couldn't see a way out.

[00:18:35] Dr. Jim: This ties into some of the mindset conversations that we were having earlier where, you know, people of a certain generation who have grown up a certain way. And you, I you and I are similar in terms of generationally. We've been constantly told throughout our entire life, you just gotta tough it out.

[00:18:51] Dr. Jim: He's got a, he's got a stiff upper lip and all that other stuff and generally it's color within the lines and all of this sort of stuff. And I'm sure you [00:19:00] experienced the same thing too. And frankly, a lot of that stuff is just not productive, 


[00:19:04] Natalie Coulson: Was outdated. Yeah, I think it, it did work.

[00:19:07] Natalie Coulson: When I think back to my parents they're in their seventies now, but I think it, look, it did work for them. But that. They are rules that worked for the previous generation. I'm not even sure that they were. Look, I think that comes from the generation before them and they saw all these opportunities and, I think about the advance, it's a much bigger conversation of course, but like the advancement of women and, my grandmother never worked.

[00:19:29] Natalie Coulson: And to think that now, women and it's not just women. I know men, it's your parents. We've gotta look after the home. No one's really the boss. It's good that there's a quality a hundred percent but then we have to do everything at work as well. It's just, it's too much. 

[00:19:43] Dr. Jim: Your comment on it's too much, especially framed against, the past pa pandemic and whatever else might be coming next is important because that's one of the big shifts that's happened is that, you have your own reprioritization [00:20:00] story that we're gonna talk about, but.

[00:20:02] Dr. Jim: Everybody coming out of this the pandemic is doing the same thing. I want to I wanna talk more about, your efforts to rebuild. So you went through all of this trauma and you had to reset.

[00:20:14] Dr. Jim: So that whole resetting process, how did you even start?

[00:20:18] Natalie Coulson: It was basic survival to begin with.

[00:20:21] Natalie Coulson: And when I look back, I think look, I did have the self-belief. I didn't stay in that hospital bed. I didn't stay in the life that was breaking me. I had to look, I was told further to your point before I was told never to quit. So quitting was bad, and so I had to just realize look, if I'm going to live, I need to quit

[00:20:39] Natalie Coulson: Like I need to quit everything. And I knew, and it was the first time that I'd really paid attention to my intuition because these are words that I was just never toy either. And it's now, it's so central to who I am. I just so weird. I think that like concepts, like intuition are just not even taught.

[00:20:55] Natalie Coulson: But yeah, I just started to pay attention and it was like where am I going to be able to [00:21:00] not only survive, but rebuild my health and survive on my own terms? So those were the thoughts that came to me. I distinctly remember lying in a hospital bed in Toronto looking up at the gray sky. It was November.

[00:21:13] Natalie Coulson: And thinking, I've gotta get outta here, but I can do it and whatever happens, I can do it. And it really went up from there. . And so it was trying to go back to old habits to begin with. So I did try and I did, look, I worked in the magazine publishing industry back in Australia for a bit. But it was very clear that nothing was a good fit.

[00:21:32] Natalie Coulson: So nothing felt quite right. But I think with any sort of change you just have to accept as well. It's that radical acceptance concept. Everything's gonna feel a bit off for a while. But it was understanding that yeah, it was about finding a new support network. And that, it's not like going to I don't mean like psychiatrists and people like that.

[00:21:56] Natalie Coulson: But just. Like people who are going to just accept me for who I [00:22:00] was, flawed and in my opinion at the time, and not successful. A massive failure. These are all words that would go through my head. My family relationships had broken down, so I just, I was on my own, but I yes, it was just really starting from nothing.

[00:22:15] Natalie Coulson: I had some savings, thankfully. So it's just getting a, literally getting a job. And when that job didn't work out, it was trying the next thing. 

[00:22:24] Dr. Jim: One of the things that's gonna be important for our listeners and viewers to wrap their heads around is when you're in this rebuild mode, how did you use your understanding of yourself and your understanding of your values to inform your decisions moving forward, be it career, personal relationships, whatever.

[00:22:44] Dr. Jim: How did you tie back down into your value system to move forward? 

[00:22:49] Natalie Coulson: To be completely honest, I probably didn't even know what my value system was at that stage. But what I knew was, what was making me feel ill I would get terrible [00:23:00] headaches and so I, it was like my body became really sensitive to negative energy or anything that was the wrong direction because I'd had this period of rest and a ti a chance to become centered.

[00:23:12] Natalie Coulson: It was like I was just highly intuitive. So I didn't put words around those values until much later, but it was like I just had this radar of what was going to be good for my healing . At the time it was survival, so my healing's, survival. But then over time then it became growth and thriving and success because ultimately that's what I wanted and what everybody 

[00:23:35] Natalie Coulson: wants.

[00:23:36] Dr. Jim: So as you're framing this out on the fly and building out what you know, the values should look like. How did you reframe how did your intuition or feelings or, tuning into negative energy and all of that, how did that help reframe your prioritization of what you tackle and what you don't tackle?

[00:23:58] Natalie Coulson: I just learned to quit things [00:24:00] because I was so used to taking advantage of opportunities and saying yes and. I'd gotten to my mid thirties at this point, and so it, I think it is a time when you can be a bit more discerning anyway. But yeah, I just learned to say no to things and that just was what ended up shifting me into better situations.

[00:24:21] Dr. Jim: It's interesting that you're saying that by the time you got to your mid thirties, you learned to quit things, and from your perspective, you're saying that was actually easier to do at that time than it would've been earlier? I would've thought the other way around. Because as you get older, you have like more responsibilities and more things to tie you down.

[00:24:40] Dr. Jim: That's on a narrow path. 

[00:24:41] Dr. Jim: Tell us a little bit more about that. 

[00:24:43] Natalie Coulson: I I absolutely, massively failed. I, I was not , I was not in the same relationship. I was not in the same career path as, as strongly as I had been. I had to embrace failure, so I had to reroute, I think, and I'm grateful for that because had I [00:25:00] stayed in the path I was on and I, and had I managed that in a healthier way, I wouldn't have had this opportunity.

[00:25:07] Natalie Coulson: So I learned firsthand the absolute benefit of failing . So yes, it wasn't ideal that I had to do it in such a dramatic way, but that is people I work with. So clients have all had some level of what they perceive as failure, or what they perceive as a setback. It can be health related as well, or it can be something else.

[00:25:28] Natalie Coulson: But that's where we have this opportunity for post-traumatic 

[00:25:31] Natalie Coulson: growth. 

[00:25:31] Dr. Jim: So there's something really interesting about what you're referencing in what you just talked about and, part of your story is about the weight of the conditioning, about not quitting things.

[00:25:42] Dr. Jim: And then you just mentioned that one of the learnings that you grabbed onto, after you had to do the reset was embracing failure. And those two things for a lot of people are really strange concepts to even consider. Why should [00:26:00] we be embracing failure and why should we be, removing the stigma about quitting things?

[00:26:05] Natalie Coulson: I don't advocate for quitting everything in your life and starting off somewhere fresh. It's not necessarily, look, it can be great, but it's not, what I'm advocating. But just, yeah, it's better if it doesn't get to that point.

[00:26:15] Natalie Coulson: What I, the analogy I like to think about is if you think of a plant, like some sort of shrub in order to allow that shrub to flourish to produce fruit or amazing flowers, you gotta prune it back. So you need to cut off the dead stuff. So that you can grow. And it's really the same with us.

[00:26:34] Natalie Coulson: So it's not following that one path that's like leading to nowhere anymore and getting like old and dry, like some are, branch, it's, if you can see that it's not leading you in the right direction, it, there's, it's understanding that you need to cut that off so you, it's important to quit so that you can grow.

[00:26:53] Natalie Coulson: If you look at babies, like they need to, if you watch them learn how to do everything [00:27:00] learn to walk like they're failing constantly. And it's an analogy I've seen and heard many times that it's just, it shows how our attitude towards failure somehow changes at some point.

[00:27:12] Natalie Coulson: And it really shouldn't because we all need to embrace trial and error. And giving things a go, we're not gonna be great at it at first. So we do need to cut things off when they're no longer working and then embrace the spirit of giving things a go and knowing that we're probably not going to be amazingly successful to begin with.

[00:27:30] Dr. Jim: Another interesting contrast in what you just described, and I think your gardening or plant analogy is is pretty interesting when we think about it. So you talk about the idea of pruning and then we also talked earlier about, the cultural conditioning that we can do it all.

[00:27:47] Dr. Jim: We can have it all. What I wanna understand is how do you get to a spot where you break away from your people pleasing nature and are able to say no without having [00:28:00] the guilt associated with saying no? 

[00:28:02] Natalie Coulson: I think like anything, it's practice. So it is taking time out for yourself.

[00:28:08] Natalie Coulson: I do understand that is challenging, but it means say no to certain certain activities that you, so staying don't go out just because you feel like you should. Actually, that's a really key point. Don't do anything that you feel that you should do things where your heart is really in it.

[00:28:25] Natalie Coulson: Yes, we've all got things like family obligations and things like that, but it's finding that time. So that could be. I know for a lot of people it's getting up at 5:00 AM I'm not one of those people, but I do find times at, between, sometimes I have nights where it's between 10 o'clock and midnight and I have this creative time, that's what works for me or getting out for a walk.

[00:28:47] Natalie Coulson: But it's in really important to take that time. I think for, oh gosh, for decades I was on this like treadmill and I literally was on a treadmill, like after work, three nights a [00:29:00] week, four nights a week, I'd be on a treadmill. Because I, I had my morning routine, I had my job and it was all just slotted in.

[00:29:06] Natalie Coulson: I didn't have to think. So it's really important to take the time out and look. It can be a more solid practice, something like meditation. Could be going to a yoga class, but anything where there's no chatter and so you can actually hear your own chatter. And then it's starting to pay attention to that.

[00:29:23] Natalie Coulson: It could be journaling, but taking note of what you really want which is a bit strange at first when you've been told to follow up a path or you've been told to do things a certain way and say yes and meet your KPIs and all of that. Not saying you don't meet your KPIs, but maybe you don't wanna be in the job where you have to meet those KPIs.

[00:29:47] Natalie Coulson: Maybe there's a better job. So it's listening to those voices. We've all got that chatter. 

[00:29:53] Dr. Jim: One of the things that I take away from what you just said and I can relate to it on a number of different levels, is you [00:30:00] really need to listen to yourself. And you talked about intuition earlier, you need to listen to yourself about what do you enjoy about the aspects of your job, because no job is perfect, but there are elements of every job that you enjoy.

[00:30:13] Dr. Jim: So maybe there's an opportunity to focus in on that one area. So for example, like I'm a sales leader. I've always been in, sales or sales leadership roles. And in my current role, one of the interesting things about this role is the first time even though I've run large teams and had large p and ls, I was always frontline with the team from a production perspective.

[00:30:36] Dr. Jim: This is the first time I've been in a role where I'm not in the game and it's really difficult. Because I'm not super strong on the granular operational details. I'm a big picture. Here's the space that I run in. So let's get from here to here. And I don't really care how you do it. As long as you're not irritating customers, you're not being unethical and it's good for the company, just go figure it out.

[00:30:59] Dr. Jim: And that's how I [00:31:00] lead. But I wasn't prepared for the level of granular detail from an operations perspective. And I found out, oh, I really don't like this operation stuff. It's like way too much minutiae for me. I'd rather be in a role where I'm like leading from the front end, at least in influencing the sale if I can't be in the middle of it.

[00:31:18] Dr. Jim: So when you're talking about, learning how to say no, pruning things and listening to yourself, that's what connected with me in how you're describing it. Because we should be actively looking at and identifying. What is it about this particular thing that really like lights my fuse?

[00:31:36] Natalie Coulson: Sometimes we've gotta do the stuff we don't really wanna do to get to the point of something we, we do really want. So like that I understand what you mean by detail because I've hired a virtual assistant, but I have to onboard them. So I'm doing a lot of this detail to teach them the detail, but I really don't like the detail, but I know that there's a bigger picture and so it's that bigger picture.

[00:31:58] Natalie Coulson: The contrast to that [00:32:00] is there was this collaboration I was working on and I kept getting look, academically the collaboration was a great idea. And I, but I would have these thoughts. I would think it would just nag at. Ah, are you sure? Ah, but what if this happens? And it's not. There's a difference between that and fear.

[00:32:17] Natalie Coulson: But it was just this nagging like, dunno, like I, I think this is a bit off. And so finally, like my , it was earlier this week. My BS radar was so high was something else. And this is what I mean by tuning into energy and intuition. I just knew like I snapped, like I just couldn't do it. So I said, I just was very upfront with them.

[00:32:35] Natalie Coulson: And I said I just don't believe this is going to work. We're not aligned. A couple of reasons and they were completely fine with it. So that was saying completely no to an opportunity potential opportunity. Versus, that little discomfort that you have to go through to get to a, something bigger, some that, that's the difference for me.

[00:32:52] Dr. Jim: Even with that example that you gave, it ties back into some of the things that we talked about earlier in terms of you need to identify and [00:33:00] really latch onto what your rooting values are, and then make sure you're in alignment with everything that you move forward, as much as you can be with with the decision making process.

[00:33:11] Dr. Jim: You've gone through this reinvention process, but one of the things that we didn't touch on in that process of reinventing, or we didn't touch on in great detail is how did you reframe your priorities as you're coming out of the backend and rebuilding, like how did you shift what was important and how did that inform sort of your path forward into the role that you're in now?

[00:33:35] Natalie Coulson: So once I started to go out in business on my own then it was realizing my priority was not working like crazy hours, even wasn't even earning a ton of cash at the beginning.

[00:33:46] Natalie Coulson: It was about working with people I wanted to work with. It also meant just accepting that I actually had to go and work in a restaurant for a while. Like I just worked in a as a waitress and which I had done in my student life. [00:34:00] But that actually yeah, it, that really helped to just it, like the priorities just evolved naturally because I literally would feel ill if I tried to take on too much.

[00:34:12] Natalie Coulson: My body had just become so sensitive to overdoing it. 

[00:34:15] Dr. Jim: What's particularly interesting about your journey is, know, you had this arc you had to rebuild. And in that rebuilding process a lot of what you do now is informed by what you learned in that rebuilding process.

[00:34:31] Dr. Jim: And the one thing that I'm really interested in is, and a lot of the work that you do now, it's focused on helping, corporate types or corporate adjacent types build their own brand. And oftentimes when we talk in terms of brand and people as brand a lot of people will crinkle up their nose and, think, oh, you want to be an Instagram influencer or something like that.

[00:34:53] Dr. Jim: I wanna level set and have you explain why it's important to, [00:35:00] regardless of what you do to start that brand building effort. Why is that important? 

[00:35:05] Natalie Coulson: The important thing is to reframe how you think about branding.

[00:35:09] Natalie Coulson: Because branding, I had made this mistake myself thinking that branding was about logos and colors and fonts. And yes, that is the visual aspect of a brand, but a brand has all of this strategy stuff in behind it as well. So the very, so there's the brand strategy, which I would call the mindset as an individual where you identify like really clearly your purpose.

[00:35:35] Natalie Coulson: So what's driving you? And I think that can get confusing too, because I'm not talking about your entire life purpose. That's so overwhelming. So it's about in line with whatever you are envisioning. If you are taking personal branding in a business or a work context, which is how I do it, it is understanding your purpose and what problems you're solving and what you are really driven to [00:36:00] achieve as an entrepreneur or as somebody as an employee.

[00:36:03] Natalie Coulson: And then it is maybe doing a vision board. So understanding your vision, writing goals down. Like I've got a massive whiteboard here that I'm always like scribbling on. And then what is your, what's your mission? These are all the things that companies do, but you can apply them to yourself as an individual.

[00:36:20] Natalie Coulson: What are you on a mission? So I'm on a mission to help entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers to find their voice because I felt silenced for so long and I know what it's like. But finding your voice is how you connect and how you align with. The right opportunities, the right life for you.

[00:36:36] Natalie Coulson: And then it is really getting clear on values. So when I first thought about values, I thought of things like, oh, I'm reliable, I'm approachable. Those are all super boring. Everybody should have those things. No, it is getting down into your life story and understanding, what were the pivotal moments?

[00:36:55] Natalie Coulson: What were the things that have happened to you where you've had to [00:37:00] show character or something there was a huge shift. These can be good things or they can be bad things. So for me, what came out of the experiences I've had is that resilience is very important. So that's a core value. Because of the way, experiences I've had respect.

[00:37:17] Natalie Coulson: I only work with clients that respect me and I only work for I only work with people that I respect. 

[00:37:23] Dr. Jim: We're scratching the surface in some of this brand conversation, but I already know that there are gonna be people listening and watching this and thi and saying all this brand stuff is great and all that's, Hey, I just want to keep my head down and just get stuff done.

[00:37:35] Dr. Jim: I don't really see how this is relevant to me. Why put myself out there? How would you respond to people that are either thinking or saying that out loud? 

[00:37:43] Natalie Coulson: I don't believe that everyone just wants to have their head down and I think we've all got goals. We've all got things that we aspire to.

[00:37:50] Natalie Coulson: So it's focusing on those things. And look, if you are thinking about your KPIs and the job, the specific job that you're doing, then it is thinking about the [00:38:00] clients you are working with or the projects that you are working on, it's thinking about the next job that you might want in two or three years time.

[00:38:07] Natalie Coulson: It doesn't mean you have to be an Instagram influencer or even post on LinkedIn or Twitter every day. But it's about having that profile. On LinkedIn it's about having a decent headshot. So you look like a, the credible indivi. Credible, yeah. Individual that you are. So you have a better chance of securing that next opportunity.

[00:38:27] Natalie Coulson: that's the benefit for somebody who's quite happy with the status quo at the moment.

[00:38:32] Dr. Jim: I think the one thing that I pick out of what you just mentioned is that even if you're somewhat happy with being low key, when you look at the world today, it's a relationship economy. So if you're e even if at a baseline level, you're not really a, an out there person, I think it's important for people to be able to, without talking to you, understand who you are, what you care about, why that's [00:39:00] important, and how you help.

[00:39:01] Dr. Jim: These are the four pillars that I talk to my team about, of individual contributors, about if you're not communicating these things at scale, then more often than not people are gonna be ignoring you or not really wanting to build a relationship with you. And that's critical because when you look at the, how the world is oriented now, it's more so about the relationships that you're building over time and at scale than anything else.

[00:39:27] Dr. Jim: So how would you respond to my thought process, or at least my four pillars of the value of establishing your brand and communicating that out loud, even if you're low key and the benefit that it gets you? 

[00:39:38] Natalie Coulson: That's right because whenever you meet with somebody in any kind of capac business or or you know the capacity to do with your job, people are always going to Google you.

[00:39:48] Natalie Coulson: And you know what often comes up first is LinkedIn. And so you want them to be able to find you and get a really quick snapshot of who you are just to make, in particularly if you're in sales [00:40:00] role, just to just so that first meeting that you have is a smooth and successful one.

[00:40:05] Dr. Jim: Really interesting conversation so far, Natalie. And I think I think any one of these topics that we've covered, we could I could probably talk about 'em forever and listen to you talk about 'em forever.

[00:40:14] Dr. Jim: I think the one thing that I want to dig into a little bit is there's a whole generation of people, there's probably multiple generations of people who are still operating in a way where it's, Hey, if I want to get ahead, I need to get, go to the best schools, get a bunch of degrees, find, a nice label corporate organization to work for, and then just keep my head down and work hard and I'll be successful.

[00:40:40] Dr. Jim: How do you respond to that sort of thinking and why do you believe, or why would you argue that sort of thinking isn't relevant to today's world? 

[00:40:48] Natalie Coulson: If that pathway feels good, I would continue down that pathway. And it is not one place that you would exit off that pathway to be an entrepreneur [00:41:00] or to be a modern thinker, but it's at that point, wherever that lands where it dust doesn't feel right, it feels off.

[00:41:09] Natalie Coulson: That is how I would change the status quo and how I think it's no longer relevant. There is huge merit in getting a great education and getting a great corporate job. It's how we learn to work with other professionals and it's a great foundation. But where the issue and the opportunity is when you've been in that kind of corporate role for a long time and you're feeling really dissatisfied and it's not aligning with your other life goals, that's when there's a chance to.

[00:41:36] Natalie Coulson: Have a rethink. And I think it's I know when that started to happen for me, I became really scared and that's what caused me to feel very anxious. Cause I was no longer going down this path or I felt I couldn't continue down that path. But that is really an opportunity to get to listen to yourself and to start taking note of what it is that you actually wanna do.

[00:41:59] Natalie Coulson: What [00:42:00] actually feels good because there could be a different way of living or even a different role could be in a different industry. So what I would advocate for is to take time out. So don't take on too many commitments. I was always programmed to have loads of extracurricular activities and be very social, and there just was no time to think.

[00:42:23] Natalie Coulson: So take time to think and begin to listen to intuition. And start to observe other people that you admire, other people that are maybe living a way that is, starts to feel more aligned, even if you're still going and doing that corporate job. It's about thinking about which corporate job you'd prefer or knowing that there are choices and there's an opportunity to grow in a different way.

[00:42:51] Natalie Coulson: Cuz there are plenty of other people already on that path. And that's also a really key sign that, the [00:43:00] traditional path is not the only path . 

[00:43:01] Dr. Jim: The interesting thing about what you just mentioned is that there's sort of two pathways or two distances that you have to travel at the point where you feel like things are off. And then you have to get to a space where you can evaluate the choices that are available to you.

[00:43:19] Dr. Jim: I think a lot of people get stuck in bridging that gap. So how would you recommend some things that people can do to bridge that gap ?

[00:43:27] Natalie Coulson: I would start looking towards a different network. So start to, it can be as simple as following people online. So learning from people that, so start taking note of who you admire, and it could be people in your local area going, having a coffee with them, start to pick their brain and work out.

[00:43:48] Natalie Coulson: And once you've identified where you wanna go, like that is, as you're saying, that is the hardest part. But then those people will give you loads of insight in their [00:44:00] journey. I'm sharing my journey but everyone who is what you deem as maybe successful or in a different following a different life path, will also have their insights.

[00:44:10] Dr. Jim: The value of the network build can't be understated because when I look at some of the things that I've just done in less than a year I was kicking around launching a podcast late part of last year, mainly because the organization that I was at didn't wanna do thought leadership at the organizational level.

[00:44:28] Dr. Jim: So I just bootstrapped it. So I asked everybody in my network, Hey, I'm trying to do this. How would you recommend I actually get from here to here? And I got a bunch of advice. Google is always helpful. And then, the next part of it was I want to I'm starting to see a lot more people do live shows.

[00:44:45] Dr. Jim: So how do you do live shows and what's the infrastructure need? So you just ask people. So I think your point about find the network, I think a lot of the network already exists. You just have to a, you have to tap in and ask the questions. 

[00:44:58] Natalie Coulson: Things like, like [00:45:00] podcasts. Just listening to different people. There's the resources are there, it doesn't cost anything. 

[00:45:03] Natalie Coulson: Yeah. And I think I think one of the things that I talk about pretty often is leveraging the weight of collective intelligence. There's a whole wide world of people that know stuff and stuff too.

[00:45:16] Natalie Coulson: I ask questions and there's always gonna be people that, that tell you. You and I are halfway around the world and we met, we got together on LinkedIn and I was like, oh, you look like you have an interesting story. That's really all it takes is 

[00:45:27] Natalie Coulson: and that actually goes to my point, which is that being visible because by, by owning your story.

[00:45:34] Natalie Coulson: And yes, it takes time to really identify. You don't have to share every single detail either, by the way. But identifying what you've been through or what your, the really pivotal parts of your story and then sharing that. Look, it opens up, there's opportunities and it connects you with people and opportunities that are aligned.

[00:45:52] Natalie Coulson: And then that's just . It just 

[00:45:54] Natalie Coulson: explodes. 

[00:45:55] Dr. Jim: If 

[00:45:55] Dr. Jim: you're generally going about in the world with a generosity mindset and [00:46:00] an open mindset, I think it, there are things that will get in front of you that you never would've imagined. So I think that's a, that those are some really great points that you make.

[00:46:09] Natalie Coulson: To answer your question about how do you get from A to B? I'd find a mentor. So find, so yeah, do a lot of research, like there's no massive rush. Just do a bunch of research, figure out where you wanna go. And sometimes the mentor actually just appears in that at that time.

[00:46:24] Natalie Coulson: And there's a saying about that, isn't it? When you are, I don't know, I'm not even gonna say it but the, something from the karate kid, when you are ready. The teacher will appear or something. I'm not even saying it but, oh, it's amazing what you can, yeah, it's amazing what you can attract when you've made that commitment and you put that out there, whether you are religious person when you know to God or whether it's to the universe.

[00:46:45] Natalie Coulson: That's it does come back to you. 

[00:46:47] Dr. Jim: Actually touched on something that I talk about fairly regularly. So when I'm talking to my team and a anybody in my network about the value of, sharing openly, you're building, I, I mentioned those four things. [00:47:00] Who are you, what do you care about?

[00:47:02] Dr. Jim: Why is that important? How you help? These are the four pillars of how you move out in the world. And why is that important? The reason why I say you should be actively talking about those things is that you're building an attraction model out in the world for people that might be interested in those things.

[00:47:18] Dr. Jim: But if you never say anything and you never write anything and you don't show up, Nobody knows. 


[00:47:23] Natalie Coulson: That's right. And it's just conversation. So it's like we, we now have the power of not just going to a networking event or to, some sort of social meet in our town, but we've got the whole internet.

[00:47:34] Natalie Coulson: Yeah. So it's pretty incredible. . 

[00:47:36] Dr. Jim: Before we sign off I want to cover a couple of couple of CLO closing thoughts. So when we look at everything that we covered here and talked about, if you had to leave the listeners with one or two things that are absolutely critical that they need to be thinking about, what would those things be?

[00:47:52] Natalie Coulson: Think about your story. So you may not think you have, this some like amazing story, or you may think there are things in your story that are [00:48:00] too shameful to talk about. I know that was certainly me for a long time. Write them down. It doesn't have to be something that you share with other people right away, but just start to take ownership.

[00:48:09] Natalie Coulson: Write it down. Write a blog like anything. And look at where those pivotal times were because that starts to teach you a lot of things about yourself. So even the really challenging times. So that is one thing. So own your story and then you can start to see. Actually, I can really see where my strength, I showed my strength.

[00:48:28] Natalie Coulson: I, in my case I was very resilient. And connection is so important. For me, another value. So that led to building network. So that's one thing. Owning your story and then taking time out. To really think, don't disregard those that chatter in your head. Don't worry about imposter syndrome.

[00:48:45] Natalie Coulson: So there, there's always the negative oh, you're an idiot. You can't do that. We've all, we all hear that, tell that to go away and start to focus on the other thoughts that come and then share that with somebody. So write that down and that starts to become your reality. 

[00:48:59] Dr. Jim:

[00:48:59] Dr. Jim: [00:49:00] Natalie. Before we sign off, where can people find you? 

[00:49:02] Natalie Coulson: I'm always on LinkedIn. That's probably the easiest place. Natalie Colson. My website is amped up You can find me there. Or also on Instagram at dot coms. Oh, and I'm also on Twitter . I'm probably in too many places. . 

[00:49:16] Dr. Jim: You're also on TikTok?

[00:49:17] Natalie Coulson: I am on TikTok. I'm not doing much on TikTok at the moment, but but Twitter Natalie JSON. 

[00:49:22] Dr. Jim: Thanks for joining us and thanks for the awesome conversation. I'm sure the listeners and viewers are gonna take away a lot from the conversation. I know I have. You can find us on all of your favorite podcast platforms.

[00:49:34] Dr. Jim: We are under the cascading leadership handle on LinkedIn. That's our primary channel. You can also find us on YouTube. You can find us on. Facebook, you can find us on TikTok. We're not on Instagram because, sorry, Natalie, it's only for food picks and we don't do that . Thanks again, and we're looking forward to another great conversation down the road. 

Empowering Corporate Employees to Elevate Their Brand and Move Into Entrepreneurship
Mindset Shifts for Entrepreneurship
Navigating Professional Journey
Navigating the Financial Services Industry and Experiencing Stressful Workloads
Mental Health Crisis and Breakdown
Mental Health and Self-Belief
Re-Building After a Breakdown
Embracing Failure and Quitting Things for Growth and Thriving
Reframing Priorities and Learning to Say No
Exploring Personal Branding
Re-evaluating Traditional Paths to Success
Finding a Mentor and Building an Attraction Model