Two years ago I received a random email from a man named Jeremiah asking me about how my kids’ program could help children in Liberia.
Since then, we have been communicating, sharing ideas, and learning from each other. Most importantly, he shared his dream of having transformational leaders come to his school to inspire the children and young adults he teaches there.
You see, Jeremiah’s Vocational school is the only one in his area, and he was so determined to give back to his community that he ended up inviting me out to Liberia -
So after two years of back and forth communication, his dream (and my dream) came true.
And just a couple of weeks ago, I went to Liberia to meet him!
But this wasn’t the only reason I was there.
I also spent 2 weeks filming a new reality TV show called “Awakening Giants” with a group of transformational leaders doing humanitarian activities while filming the whole thing! It was so liberating!
But on top of all of that, I was there to start my first pilot program for the new version of my children's curriculum which will introduce personal growth studies to young kids in Liberia.
Needless to say, this has been the BEST experience of my life! And while I’m still trying to make sense of so much that happened, I want to make sure I share with you some of the life lessons I got out of this amazing trip.
It truly has made a huge impact on my life - and I hope it changes your life too.
Life Lesson 1: RESPECT is the only way to make this world a better place.
I think this was the first time I’ve ever traveled with such a diverse group of people! Among us, there was a lady from Texas, who’s a Republican and also a healer in the name of Jesus.
Then there was one of my good friends - a Puerto Rican married to another man for 24 years. Then we had an Indian-American, ex-marine, ex-drug addict; also with us a beautiful medium intuitive, then another friend of mine who’s a media expert, and last but not least a school teacher. It was quite the group!
As you can imagine, it was a very interesting mix of people from very different walks of life, different backgrounds, yet we all share something in common:
And that was help train teachers and better the lives of the young students in Liberia.
Regardless of religion, ethnic background, or political views, we shared the same goal and we agreed to honor it by respecting each other. Because at the end of the day, our message we wanted to deliver was the same - we just had different ways of delivering it.
So I ask you, are you a team player? Or do you prefer working alone? If you ever have to work with a group of people that don’t share your same beliefs, making respect a priority will help everyone achieve the common goal.
Life lesson 2: The secret to moving through the FEAR.
A few days after I got to Liberia, I had the honor of meeting with the Minister of Education to implement personal growth studies, which is my children’s curriculum in Liberia!!!
Needless to say, I was VERY nervous to meet him! And while I was sitting in a room waiting to meet with him, I could feel the fear running through my body - so I surrendered to it.
In other words, I would allow my body to feel the fear but at the same time I visualized the whole meeting and the outcome I wanted - and that’s what got me through the fear!
The truth is, I could’ve stayed in that fearful state and let it get the best of me. But instead, I chose to visualize a positive outcome and I remind myself of my WHY. Why was I there in the first place?
When you’re reminded of the ‘the why’ you’re able to detach yourself from that situation and suddenly the focus is on the end result and not on you. Or, in this case, in the 2 million children who just came out of 40 years of war and wanted to have better lives.
So whenever you’re in a challenging situation, focus on the end result. Remember your WHY and that will get you through the fear!
Life lesson 3: MINDFULNESS can get you through any crisis.
I’m a HUGE advocate of having a mindfulness practice, getting centered, and appreciating every moment - yet this is really easy to do when you’re in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by all these luxuries.
But when the going gets tough and you’re in a really challenging situation (the unknown) and you’re still able to get centered, now that’s extremely powerful!
I had one of these moments while driving to one of the schools. I was looking through the window and remembered seeing the poverty, the way people were living in Monrovia, and feeling so grateful for being there, and what had taken me to get there, and the positive change we were contributing to.
And in those moments when usually I would be impatiently waiting for people, or for the crew to get organized, or waiting for the bus, I was never irritated because I was using that time productively to be in a mindful place.
Remembering ALL it took for me to be there and remembering this was my dream fulfilled was the connection that helped me appreciate every single moment.
When things don’t go exactly as planned, I urge you to remember to be mindful! ;-)
Life lesson 4: Trusting in yourself and your abilities will get you so much further.
While in Monrovia, we did a 2 day-live event where we all got to do a pep talk for 8 minutes to inspire people to learn more. This was then followed by a workshop on the second day.
I was one of the last speakers on day 1, and after my pep talk, I felt disappointed. I felt my story wasn’t inspiring enough compared to the others. I was beating myself up by thinking I wasn’t as good as the other speakers.
Come the next day, one of my friends comes up to me and says: “Wow! We had so many people sign up to do a workshop with you and didn’t realize you were not doing one!”
So immediately I thought “my story was inspiring after all!”. And because I wasn’t doing the workshop the next day, I went with my gut feeling and gave them something practical they can use in their real life, and turns out they loved it!
Instead of comparing yourself to others (which is a waste of time and energy), trust your gut feeling, trust in yourself and your abilities. This will take you so much further.
Life lesson 5: The importance of surrendering into the moment.
Towards the end of the trip, we were going to this beach location, and as I was looking at the window and I could see there were these huge puddles.
It had been raining heavily in the morning so there was a lot of water on the road. And of course, we hit a bump in the road and the bus breaks down - and we get stuck in the mud!
The sun is coming down and we were stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Some people started to freak out but some of us looked at each other, had a little laugh, got out of the van, pushed it to a safe place and started walking.
And this is the thing - if you can surrender to the outcome and focus on solutions, you can actually get through anything in life!
While all the crew had to walk for a few miles during the night- we thought “It is what it is” and fighting it and being stressed about it won’t help.
Looking back, this actually was one of the funniest moments of the trip and now we all have a great story to tell.
Life lesson 6: There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
A large majority of people in Africa live in poverty. They don’t have electricity, they live in shacks, they hardly have any clean water - yet they’re super grateful for the roof over their head.
They were grateful for our visit and the time spent with them. They were grateful for the family members that still remain with them, even for the rain pouring at that moment.
It was very humbling to see how Liberians can be grateful even extreme situations and poverty compared to what we have in our lives, everyone there finds it very easy to count their blessings, and this is such a positive example!
Now, sometimes feeling stuck, unfulfilled, and unsuccessful, may not be your fault. Oftentimes, these negative feelings come from hidden energetic blocks cheating you of becoming the happiest, healthiest, most successful version of yourself.
If you’re having a hard time looking at things from a positive perspective and staying in a state of gratitude -
I highly recommend you check out my Free Flow Energy Clearing System.
The Free Flow Energy Clearing System is an immersive guided meditation audio specifically designed to clear your energetic 'blueprint' of all blocks and negative charges. So why not start today?
Until next time! ;-)
Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.