Alpha Female Friday – Natalie MacNeil

Every Friday I am going to feature a woman that I adore. They exude all the qualities of an Alpha Female and I want to dig into their lives to get some nuggets of knowledge to help us all live happier, healthier lives balancing life & work.

Definition of an Alpha Female

An Alpha Female is a powerful and assertive woman. Her confidence is due to being an intelligent and intellectual problem-solver. Being an Alpha Female is a State of Mind based on choosing ambition and being proud of it. She strives for a happy and healthy work/life harmony.

She is the brightest star in her constellation.  When an Alpha Female stays true to their authentic selves and their missions they shine.  An Alpha Female puts herself first so that she can fill up her cup and then have more energy for her friends, family, and coworkers. She strives for synergy with the world around her. She knows that work/life harmony is found by staying true to your priorities and what makes you happy. She is never complacent about striving for better and nurtures relationships with all the people in her life.

Meet Natalie MacNeil!

Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award-winning media entrepreneur, author of Conquer Your Year and The Conquer Kit, and the Creator of She Takes On The World was featured by Forbes on its list of “Top 100 Websites for Entrepreneurs” and by ForbesWoman in “Top 10 Websites for Entrepreneurial Women”.

What do you think of the definition and how are you an Alpha Female?

It’s a good definition. I believe in everything you talk about and stand for. I would add that it’s also about alignment. There’s an alignment that comes with being your most powerful self and standing fully and unapologetically in your purpose. It’s not always easy, and we don’t always have perfect harmony. Sometimes things get strategically imbalanced, as Marcus Buckingham would say. So it’s imbalancing your life in a way that brings you more joy. Sometimes my work-life balance seems off in other people’s eyes, but I’m strategically imbalanced in a way that works for me.

What are you most passionate about?

I’ve made a huge move. I left my home in Canada and moved my companies to the U.S., first to New York and now to L.A. with N.Y. as a secondary home. It’s planted me in a place where I feel more creative and energized. So I’m passionate about connecting with myself, exploring this new place that I’m in, and meeting new people. I love strangers. I love talking to people and learning a lot about the environments that I’m in. Being in a new place is firing me up in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Generally speaking, I’m passionate about so many things. I find inspiration all around me: cooking, health, mediation and doing courses, working with teachers that are going to help me stay in that good place as my companies and I grow and evolve. I read a book every single week, even when I’m really busy. That’s a foundation for me; I love learning.

Have you perfected the art of asking open-answered questions so you don’t get yes or no answers?

I don’t give people an opportunity for yes or no answers. I like to dive deep with people. I trust my intuition, and I’m not afraid to ask what I think needs to be discussed. I read this quote years ago in a travel magazine along the lines of “Strangers are so important in your life because every stranger allows you to discover a part of yourself.” You find a part of yourself that is a stranger to you, and you get to reclaim that. There’s a little spark inside me that gets lit in every conversation.

I love getting lost. That’s another way to find pieces of yourself. We don’t always have to have the GPS on. We can get lost and explore. I traveled a lot when I was younger and getting lost was a huge part of what led me to where I am today and to starting She Takes on the World. I find that the more you surrender, the more doors open for you. I’ve taken my biggest leaps when I’m in a state of surrender.

What does your work-life harmony look like for you?

As entrepreneurs, we have the freedom and flexibility to create our own schedules. For the longest time, I felt like I had to structure my day as if I was going into an office, but now I set up my day however I want, and I don’t care what other people think. Here in L.A., the weather makes it possible to spend so much time outside, so I try to work out more outside and be connected to nature. I take breaks now in the middle of the day, so I’ll do 5 hours of work in the morning, take a couple of hours break, and then do another 5 hours work. At lunch, I’ll do a yoga class or go for a swim. On the road, it’s really about making the time for yourself and nurturing yourself as much as you can – feeding yourself healthy food, taking the time to walk around, go to the gym, and sticking with a routine as much as possible, because routine is everything for me.

I was trying to keep my work and my personal life separate for so long but now I look at my life as one entity. I don’t have to end work at 6 p.m. and eat my dinner and then have time for my personal life. I am an entrepreneur for a reason; because I don’t like that rigid structure. She Takes on the World was a side hustle I did on the side of my media and production company for a few years, so I know what it’s like to have a job to pay the bills while following your passions in the evening. You just have to be gentle with yourself and make sure you’re being nurtured while taking baby steps toward the real dream.

Have you had any aha moments in the past that have shaken you and made you say, “I have to take care of myself?”

Yes! Actually, my Superhuman Entrepreneur series was born from it. I was wrapping up a book tour, and I had let myself get out of harmony for a few months. During that time, I was also doing the whole U.S. immigration process, and it was stressful. It got to a point where I was scared. I was so tired in the morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I knew that I needed to not let that happen again, so I went through all these medical tests and made big changes to put my health first because health is wealth. I lost 15 pounds, prioritized exercise and movement throughout the day, and ate lots of healthy food. Now, I’ve just come off a period where I did a big launch, a book tour, and an international tour, and even though this last cycle was even more stressful than the one that burnt me out before, I still feel like I have energy, so I know that the changes I made have really served me.

I’ve seen people go through medical diagnoses or emergencies and I’m grateful that it didn’t take that for me to wake up. It was challenging, but it could have been so much worse. After I push hard, I know I have to retreat.

What is your weekly fitness routine like?

I try to move every day, but that doesn’t mean going to the gym every day. I bike or swim or do yoga or do weights at the gym. Just something that takes me out of my head and into my body. Not putting a lot of pressure on myself to get to the gym for an hour has been a real game-changer for me. Sometimes we spend all this time when we don’t have to. I’ve been looking into health hacks that actually save me a lot of time. When I’m in the gym, I do interval training now, something pretty similar to Jillian Michaels’s Shred program. It’s a 22 minute workout, but it’s a very effective 22 minutes. I do yoga almost daily because stretching my body makes me feel good. In L.A., I work out outside a lot more which I couldn’t do in Canada because I’m sensitive to the cold. Your fitness routine just needs to work for you.

How do you nourish yourself?

With a lot of healthy food. Green smoothies and steamed veggies and proteins. I eat a mostly plant-based diet, but I eat fish as well. My diet is always the thing that has the biggest impact on my overall mood and productivity. I take a lot of supplements, which I go through in my Superhuman series, which can be seen on She Takes on the World. I went through all these tests with blood, urine, and stool samples so they could get a comprehensive idea of what was going on in my body. I think everyone should, if they have the means, do micronutrient testing. Most of us can take a probiotic and a multivitamin, but you need to test to find out what your specific needs are. You can also get out of whack by supplementing something that you don’t need more of. I want to have a great quality of life as I get older, so I have a team of doctors and health professionals that help me with this. I’ve treated my health like a business in that I’ve sought out the experts that I want on my health team.

Nourishing myself is really about my morning routine. I wake up and stretch while still in bed. I surrender the day and I roll down onto my yoga mat and move a little more. Then I meditate a bit and drink a big green smoothie. I don’t do any email or check my phone first thing in the morning. Instead, I am focusing on myself and establishing my foundation for the day. I do like to read the news and keep up with what’s going on, but I just don’t do that first thing in the morning anymore because it sucks me out of my world and into everything else that’s going on.

How do you wind down at night?

I used to sleep really poorly when I didn’t have a wind-down routine. In my twenties, I had insomnia and would be awake until 3 or 4 in the morning and my mind would be racing. Now I use the Flux app, which you can sync to the sunset time in the area you’re in, and it will start to remove the blue light from your screen. I also don’t watch TV or use devices before bed. I like to read – it’s therapeutic for me and lets me focus on something that’s not work. I also like to mediate before bed but nothing too stimulating. And I like some sort of water ritual – either a swim or a bath with Epsom salts. I usually take melatonin and magnesium in the evening, but don’t do that unless you know it’s right for you. I also like to make myself a cup of tea, and I try to watch the sunsets now. These are the things that are nourishing for me.

As Alpha Females we tend to have some kind of pain point. What’s something you’re always problem-solving?

How people perceive me has been a pain point, but I try not to worry about it. I’ve tried to remove any stressors in my life that feel needless. I used to feel like I had to shrink a bit so others didn’t feel small and inadequate around me, but I’m done with managing that now. If that’s how people feel, it’s their problem now, not mine.

One of the pain points for me right now is letting people in on a deep level. My goal is all about becoming love and showing up and being present. In doing that, I’ve opened my heart so much, which is a beautiful thing, but at the same time, the more I do that, the more I feel the need to be protective and fierce with the people who are super close to me. What I’ve been learning is that we can be loving and don’t have to be intimate with everybody. We don’t have to let those people into the most inner part of ourselves. I’ve been working on learning to be vulnerable but knowing it doesn’t have to be with everyone.

I’m also learning how to be vulnerable with my community. I have a public brand and a lot of people follow the work that I do, so I want to be vulnerable for that community. But there are some things you have to keep for yourself and those few people who you let in to the deepest parts of yourself.

As someone building a large platform, understanding when and how to hold space for others must be hard to define.

Yes, it can be! You can’t win. Someone will always be upset with the decisions you’re making and passing judgment, but you don’t have to take that on. It’s not your responsibility. When I first started She Takes on the World, I could talk to everyone in the community. I could respond to their emails and meet them for coffee. But it got impossible as the list grew. I was spending so much time with other people, I had nothing left for myself at the end of the day. I give a lot and when I do events, I am fully present, but then I need to recharge.

What is your definition of happiness?

It’s hard to define. It’s something we have to choose in each moment. I have traveled to about 100 countries, and some of the happiest people I’ve met are some of the people we’d think have the least. They’re living on less than $1 a day but they’re full of joy and spirit. They are also often so connected to the earth. They’re growing their food and preparing it with their own hands. I watched a girl blessing her food in the most beautiful way, and it makes you really appreciate that small bowl of chickpeas you’re eating. I’m happiest when I’m feeling in alignment and showing up as love. And when I’m in the place of being in highest service to the world, that’s when I feel my happiest.

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