"No way I would have written a book if I hadn’t opened my dreaming brain to that possibility"
Today on the Achieve Your Goals podcast, Natalie Janji is here to show you that by tapping into your dreaming brain, anything is possible!
Natalie Janji is the co-author of The Miracle Morning for College Students which recently launched as a new addition to The Miracle Morning book series. She is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA with a B.S. in Chemistry and a passion for helping others succeed.
Natalie knows the challenges of college life, and in The Miracle Morning for College Students, she shares from her wisdom and experience to help students achieve at their highest level. Natalie believes that students are the most powerful agents to change the world. She helps students think bigger and work harder to live the life of their dreams.
During this conversation, you’ll find out how Natalie (only 22 years of age) stepped into the unknown and made the decision to grab life big. She shares the story of first meeting Hal and how she convinced him to co-author the latest book in The Miracle Morning series.
You’ll also discover the power of asking great questions, how to overcome self-limiting beliefs, why you should start saying “No” more often, and the idea that nothing is impossible if you’re willing to dream big!
- [02:20] Find out how Natalie first got introduced to Hal and how The Miracle Morning completely changed the trajectory of her life during the lowest moment of her college career.
- [06:30] The story of how she landed a book deal with Hal and co-authored the latest book in The Miracle Morning series.
- [09:30] Learning to say “No” so you can reclaim your time and energy.
- [12:15] How to get out of your head, squash self-limiting beliefs, and finally take the steps towards the successful life you deserve!
- [14:40] Why nothing is impossible if you’re willing to dream BIG!
- [19:45] How to create the life you want by asking great questions.
- [20:39] Parting advice from Natalie – Be bold and make the most of your life.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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[00:01:47] Jon: Welcome to our Achieve Your Goals podcast episode. I am your host, Jon Berghoff, standing in for Hal Elrod. And as always, in case you’re not familiar with who I am or why I’m standing in, you can go back and listen to episode number 152. So, welcome, everybody. I have Natalie Janji, author of The Miracle Morning for College Students.
[00:00:51] Jon: Natalie, are you ready to have a good conversation?
[00:00:53] Natalie: Of course.
[00:00:55] Jon: So, I want to start by paying you a compliment because I want to give everyone a little bit of behind the scenes. So, if you’re watching this live on the Facebook stream or if you’re listening to this days or weeks or months later when this gets published on the podcast, if you’re wondering like what is the process to prepare a guest for these episodes, well a lot of our guests are the kinds of people who do interviews all the time. Because of that, there is no prep. It’s like we get on and we have a conversation. That’s just how it works. And I want to compliment you, Natalie, because you’re not like all of our other guests and that you do this all the time. You are – how old are you, may I ask?
[00:01:35] Natalie: I’m 22.
[00:01:36] Jon: You’re 22, right? Like they have to know that. You wrote TMM for College Students. So, you’re 22. You don’t do a bunch of interviews. Have you done a bunch or interviews? Maybe I’m wrong.
[00:01:44] Natalie: This is so great that you introduced me this way because this is my first podcast interview.
[00:01:49] Jon: Oh my gosh. It’s your first one. It’s your first one.
[00:01:52] Natalie: I know.
[00:01:53] Jon: So, it makes the compliment cooler I think but it also, I don’t know, if it just creates a bunch of pressure for you. We’ll see how well we do here. But what I want to compliment you on is when you and I jumped on the phone here, remember this is a few minutes ago, and I said, “Hey, we’re going to do an interview. How do you want this to go?” You were like, “It’s going to be great. Let’s do it.” And…
[00:02:12] Natalie: Yeah.
[00:02:12] Jon: I just want to acknowledge you for that because that says a lot about you as a person, how you approach life. So, Natalie, let’s start with how did you find out about The New Miracle Morning? Like where did this all start?
[00:02:26] Natalie: That’s a great story. So, I found out about Miracle Morning back in 2011. So, before the Miracle Morning had been published in 2012, Hal had come to speak at my high school right at the end of my junior year and I remember it was the greatest speech in those three years that I’ve ever heard as a student and I still remember where I was sitting when Hal was speaking. So, he definitely introduced the Miracle Morning and was saying like how you can have a positive mindset, and at that time I was not the happiest person but he was like, “Oh you can choose to be happy,” and I’m like, “Really?” So, he planted a seed in my head and that was pretty much how he changed my life and, yeah, so then he published the book in 2012 when I was in college and I didn’t read it. I didn’t read it until like my junior year but, yeah, when I heard about the Miracle Morning and then I saw all these other books coming out in the book series, I was just like, “That’s interesting.” Because I remember when I first read the Miracle Morning I was making notes in the book like, “Does not apply for college students. That is not applicable.” I was making those notes and I’m like, “Would it be possible?” But I just kind of put that aside because I was a chem major.
[00:03:51] Jon: So, just to be clear because I want to get this straight here, so you heard Hal speak when you were in high school but that was before the Miracle Morning was published and then you came back across the book years later. Is that right?
[00:04:02] Natalie: Yeah.
[00:04:03] Jon: So, here’s what’s so cool about that is that’s an awesome story just by itself and it’s such a great reminder for anyone who’s listening. It doesn’t matter what you do in your life. You don’t have to be a professional speaker, you don’t have to be a life coach, whatever you do, it’s such a great reminder that everything we do can make an impact and can plant seeds that can serve somebody years later, be harvested years later and it’s so cool that that’s going to happen. So, continue. So, you came back across the book. You’re reading it. As you’re reading it, you’re taking notes like, “Wait. How does this apply to college students?” and pick it up from there.
[00:04:37] Natalie: Right. Yeah. When I started reading the book, I was actually at the lowest point in my life, for my academic career. I was really depressed. I was anxious all the time. I kept slipping back from like, “Oh, if only things were different,” or, “I’m so nervous about my future,” that I was never in the present moment and that was so great that Julianna was the live call right before this because she totally centered me for this call but…
[00:05:04] Jon: That’s awesome. That’s great.
[00:05:05] Natalie: Yeah. So, I’m reading the book and I’m at the lowest point of my life and I didn’t trust it the first time I read it. I had to read it three or four times to gain confidence and the fact that The Miracle Morning could be the tool that can take me from where I am to where I want to be as a student and as an individual. And I make those two distinctions on purpose because being a student is not your entire life. It’s just a part of your life and sometimes everything can get wrapped unto one. So, I make that distinction very clear just right now and also in the book but, yeah, I took the book with me when I was studying abroad in Germany. I literally took that book all over Europe like I was reading it over and over and over again. It was like my little bible. It was just – it was hilarious. My mother, “Why are you reading that book again?” and I’m like, “Because I want to, okay?” And I just started gaining confidence in it and I jumped right into it and it’s been wonderful ever since. Truly it’s been great. Yeah.
[00:06:09] Jon: So, I just made a note. You just made a point that you were aware enough to realize, “Wow. This could be a tool. It could help me in life.” I love that you have the awareness that, “Hey, college is a stage. It’s a place but I’ve got to be building these tools that are going to go beyond that,” but so that still doesn’t tell us how did you end up getting connected with Hal and, well, how did that happen?
[00:06:35] Natalie: That’s great. So, this is why we got to love technology. I was in my senior year and I was just thinking about, okay, I’m going to get a chemistry degree that I am pretty sure I’m not going to use and I was like what do I want to do? So, I was like, okay, I could spend more time with my family since I’ve been away, I can learn to cook more but I also want to write a book like, “Oh okay.” That one’s screaming a bit loud in my brain, “You should write a book.” And then I was like, “I’d write it for college students,” and then I was like, “If I’m going to do that then it should be with the Miracle Morning,” because that’s exactly what helped me become a better student. So, then I just messaged Hal on Facebook, you know, just a simple message like, “Hey, Hal. There should be a Miracle Morning for college students and I’d like to co-author it.” And I’m sure he was just like, “I don’t know who you are but send a proposal,” and I thought I was like, “What?” For four years, I’ve been writing like lab reports and now I was like I have no idea what this proposal is. What is this foreign thing called a proposal? I went to like my one English professor I had in college. I was like, “What is a proposal?” and she’s like, “Oh it’s like a 100-page document.” I’m like I’m a full-time student. I don’t have time to write a 100-page document and send it in a week. So, I wrote everything I had in my brain in like a 10-page banner. I was like, “This is it. Here you go.” And then it was kind of silent for a few months. I graduated not knowing what the heck was going to happen.
[00:08:08] Jon: So, you send it to Hal and you hear nothing?
[00:08:10] Natalie: Send it and I hear nothing. So, yes, of course, my parents are like, “So, what’s going on after college?” and I’m like, yeah, I’m keeping this a secret the entire time. I don’t want to get their hopes up so I was just like…
[00:08:2] Jon: Smart move.
[00:08:23 Natalie: Yeah. Yeah. So, I’m like sitting in my chair at graduation and I’m like, “I’ll get a response one day and I’ll figure it out,” and then I just sent Hal another email like, “Hey, I sent you email like three months ago,” and then I went to Chicago and I was able to see him and talk to him and everything was great and, yeah, that’s when I first met you at the Miracle Morning Movement and Co-Creation Event. That was super awesome.
[00:08:50] Jon: So, you got back to him months later.
[00:08:52] Natalie: Months later.
[00:08:53] Jon: And he replied back to you and said, “You should come meet us in Chicago,” right?
[00:08:56] Natalie: Not only did he reply back. He replied back in an hour. So, there was…
[00:08:59] Jon: Wow.
[00:09:00] Natalie: Yeah. So, it was like three months of silence and then like literally I dropped my phone and went to the gym for a workout. When I was back I had a response on the phone. I was like, “What?!” That was a cool day.
[00:09:11] Jon: That’s so cool, Natalie. What a great story and good for you for sticking with it and following up with Hal. Sometimes it takes him three months to answer my questions too.
[00:09:22] Natalie: Oh man.
[00:09:23] Jon: That’s awesome. That is so cool. Hey, so let’s shift gears. I would love to hear – it’s enjoyable just hearing you tell the story. You’re so articulate that I really want to hear what are some of the lessons that you feel are important for college students. And I have in front of me, super prepared, you’re more prepared than basically any other guests we’ve ever had and this is your first time so nicely done. You sent to me, you said, “Hey, here’s a couple of good stories we could tell. Here are some of the lessons in the book.” So, I’m looking at these and I know this is supposed to be for college students but I’m looking at this going, “No. This is amazing for everybody.” So, like I’m going to go through this list. I’m going to pick a few of these and then you could just talk to them however you like. So, one of the lessons I love here is the idea of learning how to say no versus being overcommitted. So, share with us a little bit about that.
[00:10:10] Natalie: Sure. So, during college, I found myself just saying yes to all the commitments that are coming my way. I wasn’t super aware of how much time I needed to spend as a student but also the time I needed just for myself to take care of myself and potentially the additional time I needed or had for other commitments. Like I was a resident advisor, I was also an orientation leader, I had two other jobs and these are all chipping away at my energy and my time and where I could go as a student and as a person. So, it took three years for me to learn that lesson. It’s like, “This sounds like a great opportunity but it’s not the right opportunity for me right now,” just saying no and claiming your life and claiming your time back.
And as a student, it’s so important because there’s so much competition as a student, right? It’s like, “Oh, I’m going to grad school with this,” and you’re just trying to rack up your resume but you’re losing who you are in the process if you’re not saying yes to the things you do you want to do and no to the things that you don’t want to do. So, what I learned is that you just have to be present with yourself and actually just open your schedule and like, “Hey, this is how much time it’s going to take me to study and I actually don’t have time for anything else.” So, just excelling at who you are and what your gifts are instead of trying to be like anyone else so that’s what I learned in saying no and saying yes to all the right things.
[00:11:44] Jon: Wow. Natalie, I am certain that I am representing anybody who’s watching this on the live stream or listening in the audio and saying that it is so awesome to hear what you just shared and I can imagine a bunch of noncollege students, myself included, going through your book with a pen saying, “Well this is for me. This isn’t just for a college student.”
[00:12:07] Natalie: Yeah.
[00:12:07] Jon: What a great insight about reclaiming your life and lining up with who you are and who you want to be. One of the next lessons I know you’ve written about is this topic of self-awareness. Talk about that.
[00:12:21] Natalie: So, I only figured out what self-awareness was at the lowest point of my life when I was super depressed and anxious in school. That’s when I realized I was talking to myself in my head just like, “Oh you’re not doing well. You’re not going to get an A,” and that’s when I was like wait a second. So, I could actually talk to myself and say what I want to say that’s going to help me. I mean it was a process to figure that out. It was not like a 30-second conversation but it’s truly a muscle to realize that you can grow in self-awareness and another muscle to train it and say, “I’m going to feed it the affirmations, visualizations and everything I need so that I can succeed.” And I think awareness is the number one key to going from where you are now to where you want to go. Awareness is number one and if you don’t have awareness then you’re just kind of lost. The best part about self-awareness is that The Miracle Morning routine is going to help you get the awareness. I mean, those six steps is the awareness, right? Having the silence to clear your mind, the affirmations to affirm yourself, be your own cheerleader, the visualizations to guide you in whatever way you want to go, the exercise to give it all the dopamine and all the good stuff and stress release, of course, and the really to feed your mind in who you want to be and scribing. I think journaling is the one thing that really saved me during my time in college, writing out all my thoughts, being able to recognize that, “Oh, okay. That’s what I’m thinking but that’s not working for me. Okay, let’s change it.” So, Miracle Morning is a systematic way to gain the self-awareness for you to go from where you are now to where you want to be.
[00:14:11] Jon: Wow. Natalie, that was incredible how well you connected the dots. Just so you know and everybody knows, Hal is watching right now and I’m pretty sure he’s sending me a text right now letting me know that you just more clearly taught the Miracle Morning in 45 seconds than he does in an hour and I’m pretty sure he’s going to send you to start giving speeches on his back. That was amazing. That’s so great.
[00:14:32] Natalie: That’s fine with me. I love to help. Whatever Hal wants honestly. He’s awesome.
[00:14:39] Jon: Okay. So, next lesson here, I know you talk about dreaming and dreaming big. Talk to us about the role of dreaming in your life and why that’s important for a college student or for any of us?
[00:14:51] Natalie: Dreaming is, number one, free and it’s also so fun and it’ll take you anywhere you want to go. So, lots of us like I can ask everyone who’s on this live call, when was the last time you dreamed? I’m not talking about the dreams you had last night that you can’t remember. I’m talking about the dreams that are like, okay, let me just step outside of my conscious self very quickly and dream about everything I want to do in my life. If this is point A and point B is the end, what do you want the middle to look like? And what do you want to be able to say when you’re at point B? So, dreaming is the number one thing that got me to be an author because I stepped outside of myself in a way. I was like, “Okay, I’m a chemistry major. Wait. But I want to write a book.” Right? So, there is no way I would’ve written a book if I didn’t open my dreaming brain to that possibility.
So, what’s so great is that the person who wrote the foreword of this book is Jeff Hoffman and so I loved his message of dream big, work hard and create value, and in that alignment, that’s when I was like, “I really would love it if you would write the foreword of my book.” So, if there’s one thing I could get any person who reads a book to get from it is to dream bigger. So, you can dream, right, and it’s like, “No, no, no. Dream bigger than that,” because it’s so possible. And I’m sure what you’ll learn is that what happens in your life is the secondary step to what happens in your brain but you have to plant everything in your brain first for it to happen. And I mean you can speak to that with all your mind mapping and all the good stuff you’d share with your speaking experience but, yeah, nothing is impossible. If you’re able to dream it then you can do it. You’re the person who can do it if you can dream it. Even if people think you’re crazy, just do it anyway. That the best part of life, just live it. Just live your dream, seriously.
[00:16:50] Jon: So, I want to make sure everybody understands and, Natalie, I just wrote down a couple of things that I absolutely enjoyed. It’s free.
[00:16:57] Natalie: It’s free.
[00:16:58] Jon: It’s fun. And I like that you asked the question, what do you want the middle to look like? I think that was a great question there. It’s not just, “Hey, what do I want my life to look like 10, 20, 30 years from now?” but, “What do I want the middle to look like?” I love that you asked that because that’s where life is. It’s the experience. I want to make sure everybody understands that this doesn’t get lost. You just said that the foreword of The Miracle Morning for College Students you were able to get Jeff Hoffman to write that foreword.
[00:17:24] Natalie: Yeah.
[00:17:25] Jon: How did you make that happen? Because for those who don’t know, Jeff is a dear friend of ours. He spoke at our Best Year Ever Blueprint event last December. I’m guessing there’s some connection there but Jeff, he founded Priceline and he has founded multiple companies that have gone on to be worth either in the hundreds of millions of dollars or in the billions of dollars. Priceline was the first company in history to be worth I think $10 billion. It was the first internet billion-dollar company worth $60 billion or $70 billion today. So, you’ve got a billionaire to write your foreword. How’d you do that?
[00:17:55] Natalie: Because I dreamed big.
[00:00:00] Jon: I had no idea.
[00:17:57] Natalie: I dreamed big. That’s how it happened. Well, actually I was able to meet Jeff at a 1Life Appreciative Inquiry Summit in December in San Diego I think the day before the Miracle Morning Best Year Ever event had started and I was able to meet him there and we briefly talked. But since then, I had seen him speak three times and his message just was so in line with what I believed. And he has his own experience going into Yale and he had trouble like even graduating for like financial reasons but because he dreamed big, worked hard and created value, he was able to not only graduate with his degree but he’s able to create everything he has since then. That’s my message. I wanted everyone to understand that like you are not just a student and you can create anything you want after college. Like the sphere is open. The world has a need of you somewhere and you just got to find where you fit in a way and where you want to fit. You can design where you want to fit. So, it’s just, yeah, getting Jeff to write the foreword has been awesome.
[00:19:09] Jon: That is so beautifully said. Jeff will be so proud. I’ll make sure he gets a link to this and he’ll watch this. It’s great. For those of you that are just tuning in, Natalie, 22 years old co-author, author of the Miracle Morning for college students and if you heard it just now or you just tuned in to the live stream, you got to go back and listen to the story of how Natalie was introduced to the Miracle Morning, how she tracked down Hal and after getting no response for a long time, pursued him and now has created this book and just shared with us some amazing lessons. I’m going to pick one more just to finish with your 5 minutes. I want to ask you about your perspective on asking questions because this is something that is near and dear to my heart and when I saw this on your list, I thought, “Hey, this is really interesting.” I’d love to hear you share your thoughts on how important it is for us to ask great questions.
[00:20:00] Natalie: That is so, so important and what is so great is that I didn’t realize I was doing it while I was in college until after you formally taught it at the Miracle Morning live events. There is one in Chicago and the other one in San Diego but also the 1Life Fully Lived event in October too. So, I was able to get like a triple dose of it and like, wow, the questions you ask yourself truly make up the path that you go. So, yeah, I was able to – okay, let’s backtrack. So, your brain has the answers to all the questions that you seek. And whether it’s at your brain or your heart or whatever it is that moved you, you already have all the answers within you. So, the key to finding the answer is the right question. So, I remember Jon Vroman, he said something like, “If I have to find an answer to something, I sit for an hour and rearrange the question until I can find the right question to craft the answer that I’m seeking,” and then the answer come in five minutes. So, he just sits there and like crafts the right question and in five minutes he’s able to get the answer that he already knew but just needed the questions and look.
So, one really important question that I pose for the readers of this book which of course might be students or parents of students, whatever it may be, it’s, “How might I go about creating a life I would be happy to call my reality?” And during your senior year, there is so much anxiety to like, “Oh my gosh, like it’s going to be real life soon,” and that it cracks me up because it reminds me of my dad and every time I come back from a trip like I was on a trip to Puerto Rico with some fellow co-authors, Brianna Greenspan, Lindsay McCarthy and also Andrea Riggs who’s pretty much the face of the exercise and life savers.
[00:22:05] Jon: She is.
[00:22:06] Natalie: She’s awesome and I came back from it. My dad is like, “Alright. Back to reality.” And I’m like, “No, everything’s my reality,” because I designed my life for it to be this way. So, I pose this question to the seniors who are just worried about their future and it’s like, “Hold up. You can actually create the life you want.” I remember it was like March of last year because I graduated last May and my book comes out exactly a year after but I was just like, “Okay. Natalie, it’s September. What do you want to be doing on any day in September?” and I was like, “Oh, I totally love to write a book.” There we go and I did everything I could to make that a possibility, right, unwavering faith and extraordinary effort. I put my heart and soul and everything into make that happen.
[00:22:56] Jon: So, listen, I want to share to everybody the time that I met you was at night at the end of a 1Life Fully Lived event. There were like 12 of us. It was Brother James. It was Brandy Salazar. It was Mike McCarthy, Nick Conedera was there. You and I were there. Lindsay McCarthy was there. Lindsay, my co-author of Miracle Morning for Parents and Families.
[00:23:18] Natalie: Brie? Brie was there.
[00:23:19] Jon: Brianna Greenspan was there.
[00:23:20] Natalie: Brandy.
[00:23:21] Jon: Yep, Brandy was there.
[00:23:23] Natalie: Julien Landry was also there.
[00:23:24] Jon: I hope he was there, playing the egg shaker. Yeah. Julien Landry was there.
[00:23:29] Natalie: Yes.
[00:23:30] Jon: So, they were like all of us and it was in a meeting room and we just had the lights off and we were all playing music and I remember you stood up in front of this group of 12 and you were like, “I have a story to tell all of you,” and you told us all the entire story about how you came across The Miracle Morning, how you tracked down Hal, how you became the author and it was crazy because none of us had any idea, as far as I know, I didn’t know and I’m pretty sure that most of us were sitting there like, “We had no idea.” We just thought you were just this girl like playing the bongos here singing music with us, Brother James music, and you’re like, “Hey, I have a story to tell all of you,” and it just melted our faces off our heads. It was cool because it was a great story and how well you told it and I’ll never forget that moment. That was awesome. I just wanted to give you a chance to get to say bye to anyone who might still be viewing our Facebook stream. If you just tuned in, we just finished and awesome, awesome. You must go back and watch the replay of this live stream. I have a recording of an upcoming Achieve Your Goals podcast episode of Natalie Janji, the author of The Miracle Morning for College Students. Her story of how she became that author of that book is amazing. Natalie, any parting comments, quotes, big ideas you want to leave us here?
[00:24:39] Natalie: Be bold. Your life is an opportunity. It’s a gold opportunity so just be bold. Don’t be afraid. Just do it, put one step forward at a time I would say and I’m so grateful to have, number one, been live in the Miracle Morning community but also been a guest on this podcast that I’ve been listening to for years. I was thinking about it this morning during my exercise portion of the day and I was like, “Wow. It’s like full circle. I’m finally a guest.” So, I’m just super grateful for Hal, for Honoree, for all the support I’ve been getting just along my journey and I’m so grateful for everyone and all the love. So, yeah. Those are my parting words.
[00:25:18] Jon: Natalie, that’s awesome. Your journey is just getting started. It’s going to be awesome to see it happen. Hey, take care, Natalie. Take care, everybody.
[00:25:25] Natalie: You too.
[00:25:26] Jon: Bye.
[00:25:26] Natalie: See you. Bye.
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