Stay humble no matter how much you know, learn from everyone you meet. Because of the fact that I wasn’t speaking English, I had no choice but to observe and to learn how to actively listen. It forced me to be in the moment and to adapt quickly to my new environment.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Christopher. Julie is the Founder & Creator of Biztuition, aka Business Intuition. She literally arrived in America over 2 decades ago with $50, a guitar, and the clothes on her back. However, she didn’t speak ANY English! Today, Julie is now a successful Business Performance Consultant, Best-Selling Author & Speaker that teaches entrepreneurs and executives worldwide how to develop their “Biztuition” to make better decisions using her 5-Key process. Julie is also an accomplished singer and songwriter, writes for Entrepreneur.com, and was recently seen swimming with the Sharks!
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Born in Marseille, I was raised in a very small village in the South of France located in the mountains but near the ocean. I grew up with a single mom, my twin sister Delphine and my grandmother, who was a rock in my life. My mother and my grandmother were also immigrants from Spain and north of Africa. As a gypsy descendant, aka Tzigane, I was exposed to many languages, dance, music and art embedded by the wisdom of our tribes.
I lived literally in the “Little House on the Prairie,” in nature’s core with horses, cats, and dogs. Being far away from the city, my sister and I were homeschooled early on and kept really busy helping around the farm. Money was very tight and always a problem in the household. My parents got divorced when we were fairly young and sadly my father literally disappeared from our lives.
The school years were unbearable. Experiencing emotional trials I felt like I was different than everyone else and that I didn’t belong! I had to overcome a multi-faceted, ultra-sensitivity known as synesthesia on a daily basis. Back then no one would understand my set back. Born with a heightened sense of intuition and the gift of healing, it felt more like a burden as a child as it was incompatible with our society in general.
I picked up a guitar when I was seven years old and never let go. I used to sit in my room for hours at a time imagining my dream life and writing music. Going through middle school and high school was the toughest since, clearly, my active right brain was dominating most of my life. Teachers used to tease me for being too much of a dreamer and that I would never succeed in life.
Imagine that you could see a color instead of a number or be hearing what you are touching? A form of autism in the mix of dyslexia. Art and music was my only refuge from feeling inadequate and compulsive by nature. I graduated from art and music, with vocals and classical guitar at the music conservatory in France.
One summer vacation, I came home and unexpectedly found my guitar outside the door with a box. I guess it was time to go… My mother had to make a terrible choice between the man that she was going to marry or her two daughters. The choice was made. I felt wounded, left in a state of abandonment and duality. Stripped away from a nest of comfort and joy for the past eighteen years, I had no other choice but to move on and find a way to live.
My instincts were kicking and I had a hunch to move to Paris to develop my skills and talents as an entrepreneur.
Was there a particular trigger point that made you emigrate to the US? Can you tell a story?
Well, have you ever seen the movie “Taken” where a young American girl went to Paris for a vacation, was abducted, and almost sold to a foreigner? I wish this could only happen in fiction books and Hollywood movies but the truth is that it does happen close to home.
The entertainment industry can be a pool of new blood for many sharks and there are dark souls who are preying on those who are thirsty for fame and recognition. My self-esteem was not very high at the time and I became a victim of mental and physical abuse. I was almost broken…
I went back to stay with my grandmother to recover… she truly was the rock in my life! She never asked any questions, but looking back I think she knew about what I was going through.
Little did I know, my struggles were going to bring forth my greatest discovery in alignment with my true divine purpose. I began to express my new level of self and spiritual awareness through music, art, and yoga in a very natural way. Helping others through healing art, music and yoga gave me a new sense of purpose and direction.
What was my trigger point to move to America?
I literally heard a voice telling me to move to America! I have never been so sure about anything else in my entire life. I could feel the excitement in my bones! Just like seeing a movie trailer of my life unraveling inside my head. Pushed by an extraordinary force, I felt that the only choice was to listen to my inner voice.
I know it sounds totally and completely insane but I had no fears, just a big burning desire to succeed. About a week later, I gave all my possessions away to my neighbor and bought a ticket to Los Angeles. This was the year of 1995.
I left my country of France, at 4 o’clock that morning and taxi came to pick me up. Letting go of my grandmother was extremely painful not knowing if I would ever see her again. Driving to the airport, the taxi driver turned around and asked me “ Where are you going with your guitar this early?” I replied, “ I’m going to America to pursue my dream.” I would never forget the look on his face. He said, “ I’ve never met anyone brave like you!”
Can you tell us the story of how you came to the USA? What was that experience like?
When I arrived in America, I could not speak any English other than “yes” and “no” and didn’t know anyone. Not a single soul. The only thing I had with me was a small bag, my guitar and $50 in my pocket. Regardless of what of might happen, I felt hopeful and free to follow my heart and express my gifts and talents. I truly felt as if I was been giving a second chance in life!
It was night time when my flight was descending and I couldn’t believe the millions of light spreading through the City of Los Angeles. Seeing it from high in the sky above, I felt really scared and overwhelmed but I decided not to let my fears get in the way. I trusted that I was going to continue to be guided and protected. For weeks to come, I survived on Gerber baby food since it was nutritious and that’s all I could afford at this time. I played classical guitar and sang for tips in the streets. Even though I was illiterate and homeless, I still felt a sense of freedom as if I could do anything to my heart’s content.
Suddenly, I began to get noticed and I was invited to perform in several coffee shops and restaurants. With no driver license or car, I had to rely on the bus system and other means of transportation. Then I finally got a “real” job at a bed & breakfast to play classical guitar and sing for brunch. The owner was a very successful woman business owner named Angela that wanted to help me out… I think she saw herself in me. She was an immigrant from Croatia and took me under her wings and taught me some ropes in business. I was in training so she offered me a room in the attic in exchange for work. You’re probably thinking “Yes, just like Cinderella!”
For the first time in months, I actually slept in a real bed! I would never forget that feeling of being cared for and feeling safe.
I was determined to speak English quickly for fear of losing my opportunity. Every morning, I would watch cartoons for toddlers and read a portion of the newspaper. Four months later, I had a dream where I was speaking English to everyone. The next morning I got up speaking English!
I was then offered more opportunities but my visa was expiring. Angela helped me to extend my visa on the contingency of offering my special and unique skills for her business. So I was sponsored and was able to stay. But the experience at the immigration center was a nightmare that I thought would never end! In line with hundreds of other people, fingerprinted and looked down upon, I felt like a criminal gambling and begging. I’d even seen people just like myself being handcuffed and deported that same day with no chance of ever coming back.
My fate was in the hands of an officer in charge of stamping your passport, and it really depended on what mood he was in that day. I would never forget as long as I live… the voice of the immigration officer saying “Julie, welcome to America!”
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped make the move more manageable? Can you share a story?
Once I got my break working legally at the Bed and Breakfast, I used to serve and meet many celebrities from Hollywood like the famous chef Wolfgang Puck and movies actors. Fess Parker and his wife Marcy were often our guests and loved my music. They invited me to sing at their ranch near Santa Barbara. Fess was a very genuine and highly-compassionate, kind soul who helped me restore confidence in myself and for that, I am deeply and forever grateful. Without Angela, the owner of the bed and breakfast, I’m not sure if I would have survived. She was truly my guardian angel. All this considered, my grandmother is responsible for all the warm meals, the love… and despite all my crazy adventures she had never once judged me and always gave me her shoulders to rest on when I needed it the most.
So how are things going today?
I have been blessed with many opportunities to pursue the American dream by following my truth and my intuition. Writing books, speaking at events, being a contributor for Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Thrive Global… having amazing opportunities like this one can only be divine order. It does feel surreal at times since I am able to truly live my passion with love and abundance and share it with the world. Teaching and guiding entrepreneurs in developing their “Biztuition” is an honor and a privilege. Every day is simply a gift that keeps on giving. I am so blessed with my husband Eric, my partner in life and business and my two amazing daughters, Ananda and Shanti.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
There’s a new invisible business disease called infobesity, the overload of information, and entrepreneurs need to be equipped with new tools to overcome this new challenge. I have spent my entire life studying the science of intuition and how the mind works. I developed a business model around a solution and developed a 5-Key system that unlocks our inner software, our Biztuition. I mastered and simplified the tools that give profound and lasting results to my clients. As an expert in the science of intuition, it’s my responsibility to guide entrepreneurs to the next phase of their evolution. Teaching leaders how to make critical business decisions is a game changer. My hope and intention are to always inspire others to find their unique skills and talents and to give others permission to shine.
You have first-hand experience with the US immigration system. If you had the power, which three things would you change to improve the system?
1- There is so much hatred and fear around this topic that frankly it is slowly killing the heart of America. Rather than focus on amnesty, Congress should focus on immigration reforms that would benefit all Americans.
2- Stop focusing on discrimination. The current legal immigration system is so old and is falling apart! Making new healthy steps towards new reforms that would bring the U.S. system into a new light. It would strengthen the US economy and improve US finances to allow more high-achieving individuals from around the world that would create greater opportunities and more jobs.
3- Free Counsel for immigrants. A program that would give an incentive for immigrants to activate their right to work and to pay taxes and an incentive to learn English. Truth to be told, when I arrived, there were no sign or maps in French nor did I expect there to be any.
Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or an example for each.
1- Stay humble no matter how much you know, learn from everyone you meet. Because of the fact that I wasn’t speaking English, I had no choice but to observe and to learn how to actively listen. It forced me to be in the moment and to adapt quickly to my new environment.
2- Document your journey. Journaling on a regular basis your trials and tribulations help so much… it’s easy to forget those juicy moments. Remember that you are collecting tremendous wisdom along the way and that your story can help someone else. Today, I am writing books and sharing my story because of it.
3- YES! I say yes a lot! The power of yes unlocks a feeling of positivity. Most of the time I wasn’t sure where I’d end up but I would figure it out once I got there!
4- Listen to your intuition. Your intuition never lies. Once I got lost in the desert of Arizona and this amazing feeling of peace came over me. This is when I moved from California to Arizona and met my husband, Eric, a defining moment in my life.
5- Find your magic. What makes you unique and different from others? I will never forget going to a film audition in LA and trying so hard to get rid of my European flair. The film director took me aside and said: “Never give up your true voice, that’s what makes you unique and unforgettable.”
We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?
1- There’s a new wave of entrepreneurs who are awakening every day to bring forth new ideas, systems, and inventions towards green energies and are fighting towards positive change and conscious leadership. Installations of solar, wind, and hydro are up worldwide and we’re moving away from carbon use.
2- Improvement in medical care are helping people to live longer. We know more about the human body and brain than we ever have in human history.
3- Huge progress in women leadership roles. Women’s economic status is rising, and women have access to a wider range of careers than ever. Thanks to rising educational attainment and cultural shift, women are free from mandatory childbirth and are best equipped to be strong decision makers.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Arianna Huffington. I actually spoke at a major CEO conference where her sister, Agapi, was also a presenter and attended my workshop. I was once invited to get a tour of the Huffington Post corporate office in New York before she launched Thrive Global, but never got the honor to meet her… yet! I have a tremendous respect for her work and her passion to serve. To have lunch with her would feel like a quantum jump into a higher dimension!
I’m also excited to interview Barbara Corcoran for my new show, The Biztuition Show. I was recently invited to a private event on the set of Shark Tank and got to meet ALL the Sharks and got some amazing video footage! I asked each of them how important intuition is when it comes to making their business decisions… and I was blown away by their responses! Anyway, Barbara was incredibly kind and generous and agreed to do the interview. Now it’s just a matter of coordinating our busy schedules!
I still almost can’t believe it… I came to America with nothing but my dreams, my beliefs and my intuition. I’m SO grateful that I listened to my Biztuition… here I am today connecting with some of the most famous and successful entrepreneurs on the planet!
It’s been an amazing experience and I hope to inspire other entrepreneurs to pursue their goals and dreams.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
I encourage everyone to connect with me at my website, www.Biztuition.com, where I offer a few free resources, including a chapter from my book with Jack Canfield. I’m also very active on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Originally published at medium.com