Interview with Leila from Living Like Leila

I came across Leila’s blog https://livinglikeleila.com/ on Pinterest. Reading a few of her posts, I understood that she had a unique perspective to self-improvement.

Leila was kind enough to make time out of her busy schedule to talk to me. Since we live in opposite timezones, we finally had to talk in the wee hours of morning, at 6 AM for Leila.

The interview

Maxim:

Leila is a self improvement blogger. She writes on her blog https://livinglikeleila.com/. She writes about personal development, health and provides tips on managing finances. Leila’s goal is to motivate people to become the best version of themselves by taking control of their own life. I will hand it over to Leila.

Leila, can you tell us more about your blog. How did you get into blogging and what prompted you to choose self-improvement as your niche?

Leila:

I have been blogging for a long time. I started a blog probably after high school but it was on blogger.com and it wasn’t my own domain or anything. I wasn’t consistent with it.

I knew I always enjoyed writing. In 2015 was when I actually launched my blog. It was in December 2015. I had my own domain name and my blog was on WordPress.

When I started I was very spread out and covered a lot of different topics. I still do but before it was vegan, health, fitness, personal development, finances, college and all the things I was passionate about. It slowly started to narrow down only to personal development. I still keep the health and wellness bit because I think that is a big part of personal development.

With personal development, I knew I loved it so much and I love my journey of personal development. I enjoyed writing about it and I want to help other people down this path because it’s been years of work on my personal development.

That was the topic I was most passionate about, so I decided to write on it.

Maxim:

That sounds great. Can you tell us about your own personal development journey? What is it that you do to improve yourself every day? I am sure you have written a lot about it on your blog, but what are the top tips you can share for the readers?

Leila:

I feel like I have always been on a personal development journey. More so when I was a junior in college in my third undergrad year I started listening to Tony Robbins. I don’t know how I found him but that was life-changing for me. Ever since looking at Tony Robbins, I would listen to his speeches, the interviews of him during my long commute to school. It has snowballed from there.

So for me, it has mostly been listening to other people who are in the personal development field, just learning from them and trying to apply it to my life.

After a couple of years, I started going to a meditation class every Wednesday. I never missed a single class. When I look back now, at that time I was in a toxic relationship and meditation is what I used to work on myself outside of that relationship. That is a different experience in and of itself. It is more of a spiritual journey but still personal development.

It snowballed from there. So that’s my major journey and personal development is like a game to me on how much better can I be. I am constantly thinking of what is my full potential and how far could I go.

I am not saying I am the perfect person who is completely personally developed but I like to launch myself and that’s why I am constantly improving. In regards to the things I do to improve myself, I would say gratitude. I would write at least 3 things that I am grateful for every day. I have the book, the 6-minute diary where you follow what they say with gratitude.

I am definitely doing something every day to improve myself even if it is small and it may not be directly related to personal development but I always make sure I do something which I know I will be proud of.

If I do not want to go to the gym, I will go to the gym. It is just a matter of discipline for me. I know I have to do something which will make me proud otherwise I end up not feeling good about myself.

So it comes down to discipline and gratitude. Those are top tips for personal development.

Maxim:

Alright that sounds wonderful. You must have written a lot of articles on personal development. Do you have a rough idea of how many articles have you written so far on personal development?

Leila:

Maybe over a hundred on personal development.

Maxim:

Out of these, which one is our favorite and why?

Leila:

I have a post called ‘14 ways to develop a growth mindset‘ which is a recent post I wrote a few months ago.

It is really long and it is not among the most popular posts of mine but I think it is filled with a lot of really good information. A growth mindset is something that a lot of people need to have. It is a motivation to myself as I write them because sometimes you talk down about yourself or you just create a circumstance to think you’re stuck in a situation. But you’re not. A lot of people feel they’re stuck in some area they aren’t.

It has a lot of good tips. I remember when writing it that this is gonna be my best post. It’s not that popular but I like it.

Maxim:

A lot of self-improvement bloggers have a similar feeling where they have a favorite post which is not their most popular post. Something else ticks off or gets more shares than expected. But it is good to have our own favorite because that is something we resonate with.

Coming down to personal development, there are a lot of aspects to it like productivity, time management, self care, goal setting and many more which helps us write a lot of articles. But if you had to narrow it down to a single piece of advice how would you summarize personal development in a few sentences?

Leila:

My glass piece of advice aside from being disciplined is to constantly fill your mind with positivity because that is something I still do today. It has definitely made a big impact on me.

What I mean by that is we wake up and we automatically check our phone. If you walk down the street or drive to work there is negativity all around. People are negative, the news is on, we see people on social media doing stupid things. People consume stupid content without even questioning it.

What I try to do is while I am getting ready, while I am driving, while I am at the gym is, I listen to a speech from someone powerful or someone who motivates me. I constantly feed my mind productivity because not everybody has positive people in their lives.

I wasn’t surrounded by negative people constantly but if you do not have motivational people around you or you don’t have positive energy then you can have your headphones on or play it in your car to fill your mind with positivity.

Just surround yourself with good content.

Maxim:

As you said, there is a lot of personal development content out there right now. There are so many blogs, Youtube channels, so much coming out of Pinterest. Many people are trying to engage in such content and trying to improve themselves. What guidance would you give to a person who is just starting with personal development and does not know where to begin?

Leila:

I would suggest start small like anything else. For example, if you get into fitness and try to go crazy, you will be overwhelmed. A lot of people don’t realize how powerful personal development is because it is difficult.

Personal development is uncomfortable for people to go through. So if you’re trying to wake up early, meditate, read a book, not be negative, not complain and so on it can be overwhelming. So I would say to start small and come from a place of self-love.

A good place to start from is wanting to do it for yourself and a lot of people don’t like themselves. Liking yourself is so important.

So start small and do it from a place of loving yourself and wanting to do it for yourself.

Maxim:

That’s some great advice. So from the time you started blogging, how has your writing transformed you? How has it helped your own goals and your career?

Leila:

Writing my blog posts on personal development is always a reminder to myself. Just because I write about personal development does not mean that I am never negative or that I do not have problems.

This is still a journey for me and I can write about these things but I struggle with a lot of it’s aspects too. So my writing has helped me in my own journey.

It has also made me more confident in myself I would say because I love what I do. It is not my full time job yet but I am proud of my writing to be honest. I am proud of what I have written and I think it is good content. I have gained a lot of confidence because of that and I am confident about promoting my work and telling people to read it because I like it.

It has also opened up a lot of opportunities in life in general. It is cool to know that you want to interview me. You found my blog in a different country and it’s mind-blowing to me that somebody is interested to know what I have to say.

It has connected me with a lot of different people and I have become more creative from it. I have learned to be more patient and disciplined. There are so many things about blogging that has made my life positive.

Maxim:

That’s right. I have read a lot of your articles. Maybe I haven’t read them all but you have written some really good content. I have found how vocal people have been about finding your content useful in the comments section.

Let’s say if you could go back in time for 5 or 10 years and give yourself some advice, what would you tell your younger self?

Leila:

I would say not to be so hard on myself because you’re probably doing fine. I still have to remind myself about that today because I can get disappointed about myself easily if something does not go as per plan. I constantly feel like I am not doing enough. I have to take a step back and tell myself, “You’re doing ok, you’re doing fine.”

I would tell my younger self to not be so worked out because it is not really gonna serve me.

Maxim:

Got it. So through your journey as a blogger what has made you the happiest or rather what makes you happiest as a blogger today?

Leila:

Being a blogger is fun. There are hard parts but it is really fun. I would say I love the people and the comments. It is incredible that people come on there and tell me that I inspired them or motivated them.

I have people emailing me and asking me questions about a life decision and that’s really powerful. That’s like you’re asking me, a stranger on the internet for advice for something in your life and that’s incredible.

I appreciate the people who heavily support me and aren’t afraid to comment and give me credit. It is definitely the comments that make me the happiest and it amazes me that people all over the world are reading my content.

On Google Analytics, the real-time view shows which countries people are reading from. Some of these are countries and cities I have never heard of and I don’t even know how they found me. So that’s pretty cool.

Maxim:

I can hear what you’re saying. The real time view shows you where people are reading from and you end up surprised thinking where did they come from.

So what is your place of consuming self-improvement content? It can be blogs, books, videos and so on. Among all the places you consume the content from, who are your favorites? I understand that Tony Robbins is one person who has motivated you. But are there other people whom you would recommend other people to follow?

Leila:

There are definitely lot of good books out there. For personal development, I would say that my favorite book is ‘You are a badass‘ from Jen Sincero. It is a really good book to start with.

For people aside from Tony Robbins, I really like Gary Vaynerchuck. He is very business oriented but also very practical on personal development and thought motivation.

For bloggers, I recommend Natalie Bacon, who is my life coach. She has a group of coaching programs and this is open to other people as well. I started the program in July of last year and it has improved my personal development even more.

I also like James Clear who wrote the book Atomic Habits. I also like Benjamin hardy who is a popular writer on the website Medium.

Maxim:

I have heard most of the people you have mentioned. I follow them and look forward to their content as inspiration as well.

So Leila, that is pretty much what I have. Is there something else that you would like to share before we wind up?

Leila:

I would like to leave a message. It is something practical that I have recently realized and it’s a quote.

“Get in the habit of asking yourself: Does this support the life I’m trying to create?”

Think of everything today and ask yourself if it is supporting the future that you want. That’s my final message because that should motivate people when they are eating junk food or binge-watching Netflix and wasting time. Is that serving your future? What do you truly want and how can you make that happen?

Maxim:

That’s quite thoughtful. Thank you for taking the time Leila.

Leila:

Thank you, appreciate it.

Maxim: Have a good day and all the best for the upcoming year. Happy Blogging.

Check out Leila’s blog at https://livinglikeleila.com/. You can contact her by sending an email to leila@livinglikeleila.com.

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