Natalia Cohen was part of the first all-female team to row unsupported across the Pacific Ocean and set two world records.
The expedition was not only a challenge of extreme conditions and perseverance but also a journey of understanding the strength of human spirit, a positive mindset, the diversity within a team and enjoying the journey (Check out the documentary).
With 15 years experience of living, working and adventuring in over 60 countries, regularly stepping outside of her comfort zone and making an art of embracing and adapting to change, we're very excited to share Natalia's 'Answers to Thriving'.
The ‘Answers to Thriving' is an interview series that takes a look at the women who have created a life of self-success. We uncover key moments, lessons and habits that have influenced the life they lead today.
You can’t start the day without:
A 10 minute meditation and some form of movement.
A favourite quote is:
“It’s good to have an end to journey towards, but it’s the journey that matters in the end” Ernest Hemingway
One wellness ritual you do regularly:
I do my best to do some type of exercise every day. Depending on where I am it can be going to the gym, doing yoga, swimming, walking, dancing etc. I also do my best to get out into nature as much as possible. This all helps to bring me back into the moment.
The last inspiring podcast you listened to and what makes it worth a listen?
Not a podcast, but some TED, SuperSoul Session and Netflix talks by Brené Brown are really interesting. She talks about topics that resonate like trust, vulnerability, empathy and is a wonderfully charismatic and authentic speaker.
A recommended read for personal growth and why:
The Alchemist. A classic, simple story to remind us all to follow our hearts.
How do you go about self development?
I keep a diary and make a point to reflect on my days/weeks to see how I have reacted to certain situations and to remind myself to think of positives and gratitudes rather than concentrate on negatives. I read books, listen to talks and try to constantly challenge myself. At the moment I am learning Acroyoga (partner acrobatic yoga), which is actually all about self belief, trust and communication...so it’s a physical challenge but also a mental one!!
Which business or person inspires you right now and why?
I am constantly amazed and inspired by people around me that I have the fortune to meet. Right now I am in discussions with the TTC (Transformational Travel Council) who are doing some amazing work within the travel industry (the industry that shaped me and where I spent 15 years working before the Pacific Row) and their philosophy resonates very strongly and inspires me.
What has been the most defining moment in your career to date?
Ooohhh...difficult question. There have been many defining moments. This is a career and a journey that I never expected to embark upon and it has taken me to some incredible places and given me the opportunity to meet some very special people that I ordinarily would never have crossed paths with.
Every talk is different, as every audience is unique. Some moments that stand out are the talks in The Azores for a travel convention, a primary school in the UK with a group of 7/8 year olds, two talks that I have done on boats (one was a cruise in the Mediterranean and one on the river Thames) and some amazing new friendships and connections that I have developed.
I am very grateful that I love what I do, that I still get to travel and that I can make a small difference in people’s lives.
Who has helped you progress in your career the most and what did they do to support you?
I have had some great mentors and friends that have helped me along the way. They encouraged me to understand my value by setting minimum fees, linked me to speaker agencies, tirelessly listened to me practicing my talks (mainly my family) and encouraged and supported me constantly.
A fear you've had to overcome to pursue your ambitions:
Not being afraid of the path and life I have chosen for myself. It may not be the traditional path and it may not be the societal norm but, so far, it makes me happy and I believe that by doing something you love and wanting to make a difference (however small), it can never be a bad thing.
Life/career advice you wish you had been given in your early 20s:
The Japanese philosophy of Ikigai resonates very strongly with me. It is something I’ve only recently heard about but luckily seem to have naturally adopted. The premise of the philosophy (a reason for being and indeed the secret to happiness apparently) is to have an understanding of your strengths, know what your passions are, think about how you can make a difference in the world and work out a way to get paid for it! Now that is some great life advice!!
For women who want to make a positive change in their life but don't know where to start, what advice would you give them?
Don’t wait to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t wait for life to get better, less complicated or for it to be the right time. The time is NOW. Learn to be happy now and learn to embrace those moments when they happen! They will constantly come and go. Life is fragile and time waits for no-one. There is never the ‘perfect’ time...embrace the unknown, lean in to the fear, trust yourself and those around you and then take that leap of faith! You’ve got to start somewhere...take action...and then take it stroke by stroke (step by step)...persevere and don’t forget to enjoy the journey.
What does thriving mean to you?
Thriving, for me, means doing the things you want to do, leaving nothing left unsaid to the people that are important to you, being open hearted, trusting yourself and others, learning from challenging times, constantly working on your personal development and developing your self awareness, filling your time with things you are passionate about, choosing to have a positive mindset and making every effort to enjoy the journey...wherever you find it takes you.
Anything else you would like to promote/share with the Thrivhers community?
It would be great to connect (LinkedIn, Instagram etc)!...and in the spirit of...if you don’t ask you don’t get...if any of you would like me to come and share the story of our adventure rowing across the Pacific with regards to leadership, teamwork, mental resilience, positive mindset etc at your staff training/inset days, conferences, lunch & learns, networking or any event really...please reach out and let me know . Thank you so much and I wish you all a lot of luck and courage to successfully cross any Pacific you find yourself facing x
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