… find the support that matches your genius. This one changed my life. The moment I dared to hire coaches, guides, and team members that matched the greatness of the vision I had, I started skyrocketing in growth. As I said in my previous answers, we can’t do everything alone. The big difference between quantum leaping into success and barely making it is having the right people in your team to help you create your vision.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Layla El Khadri, author, Feminine Leadership Expert, and founder of PRESENCE. Layla El Khadri is an author and Feminine Leadership Expert and the founder of PRESENCE — The Jedi Training for Leadership. Merging ancient wisdom with cutting edge studies, Layla’s work is some of the most transformational and activating leadership work available for those ready to take their mindset, emotional intelligence, and embodiment potential to the next level.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I had known since I was little that I was destined to do something big. I visualized epic life stories of travelling the globe, learning from and studying different cultures, singing, dancing, and creating art. Growing up, my understanding of the world led me to dream about changing it through the things that I loved. But the real world soon made me rein in my enthusiastic, creative character and hide my bigness, my too muchness to fit in “the box” that was imposed on me like it was on every child.
In my early 20s, I felt completely lost and utterly disappointed with the world. This manifested in stress and self-image issues, and I battled with anorexia, depression, and anxiety. At 21, I was burnt out.
The burnout proved to be a blessing in disguise because it forced me to leave behind a system that kept me from taking even the first step towards the magnificent life I knew I could create for myself. The system held me back from embodying my gifts.
Following a desperate desire to learn to unlock my potential and heal myself, I journeyed to Southeast Asia where I studied meditation, breath work, Yoga, Tantra, Taoism, and everything I could find that could deprogram myself from the world’s limiting beliefs.
I was 22 when I started this journey. Today, a decade later, I am a Feminine Leadership mentor, a role model for thousands of women all around the world who wish the same liberation from the shackles of this system to turn their biggest dreams into reality.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
As a Feminine Leadership mentor, my job is to advocate and demonstrate that a different leadership style is possible. For my work to be effective, I have to be an embodiment of it, meaning I’ve got to walk my talk — really, honestly apply everything I preach in how I run my life, relationships, and business.
A clear example of this: after 18 months of working on The Feminine Rise, an inspirational video supporting One Billion Rising, we were finally ready to launch. It was a commission piece, and we wanted it to have a big impact, so I was advised to adopt an aggressive, impersonal launching strategy by investing money that we honestly didn’t have to drive cold traffic (audience I didn’t know) to the piece.
I sat on it as it didn’t feel right, and I realized that I wanted to lead based on real human connection. I understood that I have many friends who genuinely appreciate my work and who support it because they see what I’m trying to do for the world. I expounded this awareness to all other artists involved in the piece and realized that they, too, are part of communities that admire and support this work.
I challenged my business coach’s advice because I wanted to launch the piece my way, the Feminine way, by creating a solid tribe of around only a hundred people that really understood what we were doing and that truly supported our vision. I humbly asked them to please, from the goodness of their hearts, help me share the video, and it ended up reaching over a million views across platforms within the first two weeks!
This is just one example of how every time I choose to go against the norm and follow my intuition and my feminine wisdom, I end up gaining the most rewarding results!
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I made tons of mistakes when I started, but the biggest one was believing I could do it all. As a highly achieving and very enthusiastic woman in my mid-20s, I really believed I could accomplish everything.
I didn’t have money or external investments, so I started my business from the ground up and ran it by myself. Soon enough, I realized that one of the most important lessons for a female leader to learn is to delegate tasks. A good leader is not the person who does everything well but who has learned how to choose the best people for each task. It was also a big lesson for me to trust other women (and men) to help bring my vision and accomplish my mission out into the world and to share the abundance that it was producing. Together is the new black!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Oh, yes. This is the key for success and collaboration, support, and connection. I have a very special place in my heart for Nick Toth, an amazing female coach who saw my potential when I was just starting. She invited me to be a guest teacher in one of her retreats in Bali without even knowing me much–without even knowing me personally at all! I remember meeting her for what she said would be a four-hour guest teacher workshop and leaving the meeting with her commitment to actually co-create the entire retreat with me, allowing both of us to work our magic.
That day, Nick Toth helped me change the course of my life as it became clear to me that I was ready to stand alongside someone of her size. I saw my value reflected in her trust, so I dared to let go of my then side job to fully focus on my career.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Oh my God, I love this question! As a Feminine Leadership mentor, my job is to guide amazing women in reaching their highest potential. It sounds simple, but it’s profound. I help women reconnect with their authentic power, the greatest expression of the self that can only happen beyond the constricting programming of our patriarchal system and society, which have failed to understand feminine potential for millennia. Helping women reactivate the power of their bodies, their brains, their emotions, their relationships, and the way they lead in the world sets off a ripple effect on their families, their communities, and their missions in helping co-create a better world and a new paradigm.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
First, believe in yourself and in your potential. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. Trust in yourself, your visions, dreams, and in your potential so you can start acting, breathing, and moving about in the world accordingly. I recommend practicing self-affirmations every morning. If there is a part of your brain telling you that affirmations don’t work, that’s the part of your brain that does not want you to believe in yourself. Trust me, I’ve done this for almost 10 years with thousands of women: start talking to yourself like you were your best cheerleader.
Second, surround yourself with the right tribe. “We are the sum of the ten people we hang out with” is a pretty wise proverb. Carefully choose with whom you spend your time and place yourself among those who already live the lifestyle you dream of. For me, this meant moving to Bali where I found a beautiful, powerful community of like-minded, like-hearted leaders and change makers who dare to create epic lives and run successful businesses from the comfort and beauty of wild nature and healthy lifestyles.
Third is to free yourself from victim mentality and lack consciousness. There is a belief that there is not enough of everything in the world — not enough time, not enough money, not enough resources — and this runs deep in our subconscious. It’s time to tell yourself a different story, that there is enough for you to accomplish what you want. You can do this by changing small patterns, like choosing food of quality instead of simply choosing whatever is affordable, to start prioritizing your health and wellbeing over saving money. Start allotting time for yourself instead of believing there is not enough time for what you need to do and leaving your wellbeing at the bottom of your to-do list. Change the way you think from not having enough of something to “there is enough for me to accomplish everything I want.”
The fourth lifestyle tweak is to find the support that matches your genius. This one changed my life. The moment I dared to hire coaches, guides, and team members that matched the greatness of the vision I had, I started skyrocketing in growth. As I said in my previous answers, we can’t do everything alone. The big difference between quantum leaping into success and barely making it is having the right people in your team to help you create your vision.
Finally, the fifth is to practice embodiment. Being embodied means taking time to make changes from the molecular level. Changes in the cognitive level are not enough because your habits, good and bad, are actually programmed in the cellular matrix of your body. So, you need to change from there as well. If you want to know more about embodiment, visit my website and surf through to find articles and training programs like PRESENCE that teach you how to truly embody change. Pro tip: a good place to start is to regularly perform any practice that brings you into full awareness of your body, whether it’s yoga, breath work, meditation, dance, or even going to the gym.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
That would be the movement I’ve already started, The Feminine Rise, which supports the feminine way to grow and thrive in the world beyond gender. The feminine is a quality of being that can be possessed by men and women alike, as well as by organizations, methods of leadership, and types of relationships amongst others. Feminine ways are those which our current system suppresses, from emotional intelligence, sexuality, full expression, creativity, all the way to aspects of leadership that include vulnerability, transparency, connection, and collaboration. For me, teaching and educating the world in feminine ways is the most effective means of bringing balance to our current paradigm.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I can share three that run pretty deep for me. First is that I would not get anywhere without believing in myself. The second one is that I would need a team to birth my dream and that I would not be able to do it alone. The third one is that the sooner I merge my personal and professional life, the more authentic my creations would get and the more liberated I would feel about my life.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
I find that these topics are actually intimately interrelated. The reason we face the biggest mental health crisis in the world is because we have fully disconnected from our environment. This disconnect is brought about by a system that is unsustainable and based on the abuse of natural resources to satisfy an uncontrollable consumer mentality fueled by limited corporations that are dominated by greed.
Only after realizing our symbiotic relationship with the environment and fully taking care of this planet will we be able to live sustainably with workable conditions of consumerism. This includes the way we feed ourselves and the amount of animal suffering that that would entail. Then, we will immediately see a radical change in our mental health because the moment our bodies are in harmony with our environment, our minds will be at peace.
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Thank you for these fantastic insights!