Every author will always have high hopes for his first book, and most often than not, getting a first book out will mean a lot of rejection. But this didn’t let Eva Lesko Natiello to stop moving forward and went straight to the consumer to give her book for free. Her story of being a self-publishing best seller resonated to readers around the world outside the fact that “The Memory Box” is really amazing psychological thriller. As former US counter intelligence agents, Tonya Dawn Recla and her husband created a corporate version of that set up to help businesses to help businesses with due diligence, vetting services and risk mitigation. But what sets them apart more is having an 8-year old daughter with a mission to inspire other kids by sharing her experiences as a young entrepreneur. Tonya shares that Neva wasn’t really following their footsteps, rather she was paving her own path that just happened to be synergistic to theirs.
We have Eva Lesko Natiello, Tonya Dawn Recla, and Neva Lee Recla. Eva Natiello is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She wrote a self-published psychological thriller and I’m very fascinated to find out how she got on the bestseller list when you’re a self publisher, plus her book is amazing. Next, we’re going to talk to Tonya and Neva who are both in similar businesses, though Neva is only eight years old. They both are very active on being super powerful in speaking and writing.
Listen to the podcast here:
Self-Publishing A Bestseller with Eva Lesko Natiello
I am here with Eva Lesko Natiello, who is a New York Times and USA bestselling author of the self‑published psychological thriller, The Memory Box. It is currently being translated into Turkish and German and is an international bestseller. Eva is a speaker and essayist who works on writing and self-publishing appearance in the Huffington Post, The New York Monthly, NJ.com and elsewhere. She’s a member of International Thrillers Writers. Eva shares her expertise with other authors as a self-publishing and book-marketing coach. She’s also a former Estée Lauder Vice President of Global Communications. It’s so nice to have you here, Eva.
Thank you, Diane. I’m so happy to be here.
I was fascinated by the fact that you became a bestselling author being self-published, but I want to start with the experience at Estée Lauder and how that led to where you are now. Can you give me a little background on that?
That was an important part of my life. I was the Vice President of Global Communications for several of the Estée Lauder brands for about twelve years. When I decided to take a leave from the company, I had very young children, and my husband and I decided to move out of Manhattan and raise the kids in the suburb of New Jersey. I was not expecting the incredible culture shock of going from the life at Estée Lauder to being an at-home mom of two little cherubs. Not long after, a few things happened that made me start writing. I got an idea for a book and I never anticipated writing a book. It was never a desire of mine. I was never one of those three-year olds that jumped out of the crib and said, “I will write a book one day.” That was never my intention.
What happened was I needed to stay creative and I needed a project. I read this story in The New York Times about people Googling themselves. Somebody interviewed for this article was a young boy, he was 17, he was a high school kid living in California. He Googled himself and he discovered he was on a missing person’s list in Canada. I was blown away by that story that he discovered something so incredibly personal about himself that he did not know by Googling his name. I remember thinking what a great idea for a thriller but not one I was ever going to write. Then what happened quickly is I was consumed by this idea. I got insomnia and I was thinking night after night about how I could turn this idea into a thriller with the protagonist being an at home mom living in the New Jersey suburb. A year later, or it was less than a year, it came very quickly, the story. At times, it felt to me like somebody was set channeling the story and handing it to me in my sleep or something because it was quick and I was obsessed with it. When I realized I had what looked like a manuscript on my hands, I did what people usually do at that point and they try and get the representation of an agent. I could not secure an agent. It took me a couple of years and I amassed 81 rejections. I was so upset at that point. I thought, “All these agents must know what they’re talking about,” if 81 of them agree that this is not worth them representing. Then something happened.
I thought about Estée Lauder, the Founder of the empire, the billion-dollar company that we know today. When I was at Estée Lauder, back when I started, the Founder, Estée Lauder, the woman was still coming to the office. I was able to work on a couple of projects for her. You hear many stories about the way she started in the 1950s and something very similar happened to her where she had this product. She had a line of products that she wanted to find a retail partner to sell her products and she could not get anyone to answer her call. She couldn’t get a meeting and she couldn’t even speak to anyone to get rejected. I was thinking about her and her gatekeepers, the people that she was going to ultimately need to sell her product.
There’s this great story about Estée Lauder after all of this rejection and getting nowhere, something that she did at Saks Fifth Avenue. That was the store she wanted to have as her flagship store. This was inspiring to me. She couldn’t get through the gatekeepers, so she was going to go straight to the customer and she took her very first fragrance, Youth‑Dew, and she went to Saks Fifth Avenue, and on the Fifth Avenue side, there are those banks of doors there, she walked into the store and she poured her fragrance all over the carpet. She waited a week and then she called the executive office and she introduced herself. She said, “If anybody’s wondering what they smell when they come into the store, here’s a phone number where you could reach me. I’d love to talk you about it.” That’s how she got in there. There were a few things that she did when she launched her brand that made a huge impression on me. Once I decided that I was not going to wait any longer for the gatekeepers to be validated, which in some respect, especially with your first book, we’re all waiting for someone to say, “Yes, this is a book. You are a writer. This is going to be pure magic and you’re going to sell this book and you’re going to have a life-long career as an author.” When that didn’t happen I thought, “I can either leave this project on my computer or I can do what Estée Lauder did. Go straight to the consumer and let the consumer decide.”
That’s ultimately what made me decide to self-publish at that point. I wanted to let the reader decide because I had a lot of beta readers read the book before I published it. This also happened once it was published. I was getting a lot of very positive reviews and I thought, “These people directly contradict 81 agents and editors and publishers.” This is hard to understand when you’re a debut novelist that it’s often not about you and often not about your book, that there is an agenda that editors have. There’s an agenda that agents have, and publishers have. Sometimes it’s never about your product, it’s about what their agenda is.
That’s what I did. It was quite successful out of the shoot. There are two other things that I did to market my book out of the shoot and at release time that I learned also from Estée Lauder, which is one thing she always said was, “If you touch a customer, you will have them for life.” She was one of the very first, if not the first, cosmetic brand to give makeovers at the counter, which of course we know we don’t buy anything unless there is something in that way. One of my marketing efforts at the very beginning was a very grassroots level attempt at getting marketing, which was to offer any book club that read my book. I would appear at their book club discussion. I’ve done them worldwide now. The ones that are outside my vicinity, I do on Skype, but it’s still so much fun.
Most people who have book clubs never have an author visit their book clubs, so that took off. First of all, in my town, it went nuts. I’ve done over 40 book club appearances in my town alone, but I have done worldwide over 200 book club appearances. What that does is it scales your marketing efforts because that’s the one thing you have to think about when you’re an ndie, “How do I scale this stuff?” I don’t have a sales team. I don’t have a marketing team. How do I use people and social media to multiply and magnify my message? That’s exactly what those book clubs did. People love to hear the story of the person who made good after years of rejection. They love the success stories. They we’re keen to spread the message and take selfies and then put them on their social media. I do believe that’s what put the book on the map that first year. The third thing I did. The last thing that I did was that I modernized Estée Lauder’s marketing ideas when she launched her brand in the 1950s. She was the first cosmetic company to give away product. She gave away full-size lipsticks, which was unheard of. I modernized that, and I turned that into a book giveaway that I did a month after I released the book after I had amassed enough reviews that were positive. I gave away the Kindle version of the book for three days.
I remember back then I thought, “I must be crazy to do this after all the time I spent on writing this book and self published.” You don’t give it for free. It felt nuts, but I thought nobody knew who I was. Apart from my family and friends, how was I going to sell this book? If I could get 200 people to download an ebook in these three days, maybe some of those people would like it, maybe they would talk about it, word of mouth is key for book publishing. I will never forget this. I scheduled this for three days. I promoted it like crazy. I told book bloggers. I marketed it and I remember the first morning I looked at my computer because when you self-publish, you are privy to your sales in the moment, your sales at any time during the day, so I looked at my sales graph and at maybe 6:30 AM, 700 people had downloaded my book on the first day. I was flipped out and by day three, 25,000 copies had been downloaded, which was pretty extraordinary.
It was the number one book in the Amazon bookstore for free downloads. I wasn’t making any money on those, which kills me. The beautiful thing was, and this is an upside of giving those books away and being number one on those free days, you’ve built so much momentum in your ranking that the very next day it went back to a full‑price book, the book was ranked so high that it kept selling like crazy and it stayed number one for a while. The other benefit of that was, my phone did not stop ringing with agents at that point. Everybody wanted to know about this book that was self-published and reached number one and stayed there for a good amount of time on Amazon.
When was this exactly that you did this?
Summer of 2014. I launched it at the end of June, then by the middle of August is when I did this free giveaway. I did get an agent at that point after that.
Why would you need an agent at that point?
Many agents these days do troll Amazon and they look for self-published books that are doing well that either have a high ranking or a high degree of reviews because what they want to do is try to repackage that book and sell it to a publisher and have it traditionally published. That’s exactly what my agent wanted to do, and she was convinced that she was going to sell this book. She fell in love with it. She saw how well it was doing and the sales were within three or four months I sold over 30,000 copies of the book on my own, which was also quite good. Those were robust sales for a self-published book. She did put it on submission with all of the New York publishers and we got a lot of great feedback, but not one of them offered to buy it, which was shocking to us.
Then what did you do?
That’s when my I’ll-show-them strategy comes in. I’ve coined this phrase. It’s what motivated me through a lot of this project and self-publishing when you hear this rejection. At that point, I thought that’s strange that I’ve sold 30,000 books in three or four months. The reviews are wonderful. How are these editors contradicting the readers? That’s when it started to solidify for me that it wasn’t about the book at that time, it was about publishing. Publishing is, even to this day, changing by the minute and who knows where traditional publishing is going to be a year from now or two years from now. The model keeps changing constantly.
In 2014 when the book launched, it was in this period where editors didn’t know, “How do we repackage these? What do we do?” We got feedback like, “Eva, that book has sold too many copies. We can’t repackage and sell it” or “She hasn’t sold enough for us to know that it would be a success.” Even they were contradicting each other. At that point, I knew that it was a book that people enjoyed it. People were saying, “I read the book in one sitting. It’s a quick read, it’s a page turner.” I went back to my PR brain and I kept thinking in my problem-solving mode, “How do I get this book on the map to show those people that wouldn’t take a chance on it?” That’s when I thought I need to get on The New York Times Bestseller list. Doesn’t everybody think that?
Yes, everybody does, but that’s hard to do. You were on the Wall Street Journal and the USA Today. You were on The New York Times, too. That’s why I reached out to you to begin with because I was told you couldn’t, but you were able to do it. That’s why I’m trying to figure out what you did next.
There might have been a period of time where The New York Times would not consider a self‑published book. Maybe years ago, that was the case, but maybe what you’re thinking of, too, is you must be available in a multitude of channels, sales channels, so at first when I launched my book, it was an exclusive to Amazon. At that point, The New York Times would never have considered it for their list even if you sold 3 million copies in a day. Forget it, you weren’t getting on that list.
Is that CreateSpace? What did you use?
With the paperback, it is CreateSpace and then their eBook is Kindle, KDP is the publisher there. I quickly found that out that if you were only available through one sales channel, you were not going to be considered for The New York Times Bestseller list. That’s when I learned about what other distributors and what other print-on-demand printers could I use and so I went wide. I started selling in every sales channel and now, I sell in eight different sales channels. It’s available worldwide in a variety of formats. I spent about six months. I picked a week in August. Being the Google and the research fanatic that I am, I researched what is the quietest month for book releases. I didn’t want to be going up against the big guys or the big authors, and I researched it to death.
When is the best time?
I chose August. It’s a quiet month for releases. Part of the beauty of being an indie author is you get to control everything. You can control your pricing, you can control your promotion, you can control your ads, your book cover, so on and so forth. I chose a week in August and I planned to run a price promotion and then I spent months working on publicity and marketing efforts so that I could get the most visibility for that promotion for that week. My goal was to hit one of the lists. I knew it was going to be a long shot, to say the least, but there was nothing stopping me. It became this game like I wanted to see if I could do it. I took on the challenge. If you don’t make any of the lists, you never know if you were five short or a thousand short. That week, I sold a little bit over 20,000 books in one week and I found out about the USA Today list first. I made those two consecutive weeks. We were at an amusement park, Great Adventures in New Jersey, and I was looking at my phone. I kept seeing this one person tweeting at me, following me on Facebook, following me on LinkedIn, and following my website. I’m like, “Who is this person?” Finally, I see the tweet and it was, “Congrats on making The New York Times Bestseller list.” It was an agent. Not my agent, but a different agent. Agents and publishers are privy to that list a week before the public knows. He was congratulating me on Twitter and that was an exciting moment.
That’s an interesting way to find out. It costs a lot of money to do some of that stuff. Even self-publishing, you’ve got to pay for a certain amount of things and then now they’ve got these hybrid publishers. Were you interested in that at all, to get in all these areas? There are persons that can help get you on different areas so that you can make the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times or a different list. Would you have gone that way? Are you glad you stayed self-publishing?
I don’t know if I would have done that. Those were not readily available in 2014. There are a lot of them cropping up. Through my consulting business, I meet a lot of first-time authors and I do recommend some of them use those hybrid publishers because I can tell in five or ten minutes of talking to somebody who’s written a book and ready to self-publish if they are going to roll up the sleeves and do the heavy lifting. It’s not easy. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s hugely time consuming. A lot of people don’t want to do the marketing and the PR. They just want to write the book and that’s great. It’s hard to do both.
It’s very difficult to organize your time so that you don’t let the marketing and the PR steal your writing time and your creative process, which I did that first year because I had built so much momentum. I was afraid of letting go. I was afraid of what would happen, but my writing did suffer at that point, but it was more important to me. I had this goal of getting visibility for the book and I wanted to do that. Getting on the Times list has opened up a lot of doors. It’s sold the audio rights. It got me film and TV agent who are working on selling the rights for film or TV. It certainly did open up a lot of doors that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I do sometimes ask myself, “How would I have done it differently?” I did get an offer to publish by Amazon in print way back in 2014, which I decided not to take at the time because I knew if you print with Amazon, you’re never getting into Barnes & Noble, which at that point was important to me to be. Also indie bookstores are important to me and that wasn’t going to happen. I did feel like I wanted to make a list someday. I thought that would be a huge accomplishment and you can’t do that if you’re selling through Amazon. Maybe even that has changed now. Some of those in prints are selling elsewhere on Nook, for instance.
How do you get on Wall Street Journal? Why do you think that one was not on list? You’re on every list that counts and that’s the only one that’s missing. I’m thinking, “Why not there?”
I don’t know why I didn’t make that list and I’m trying to think if I even knew why then. I was very surprised I got on the Times list because I’ve heard many times that it’s not clean sales numbers that gets you on the list. My book came in at number ten, so one through ten on The New York Times list to get your book cover featured, which is wonderful, and a link to buy. They do the top fifteen for the week in that category that I was in, and if you hit from eleven to fifteen, you don’t get your book cover and you don’t get a link. Number eleven was James Patterson’s books and I was shocked that they didn’t switch it and put me at eleven.
I thought you were saying that you were behind him, but you were ahead of him, which is awesome.
I was ahead of him and I was shocked that that happened because who knows if I’ll ever be able to spend a penny on advertising in The New York Times where I know James Patterson has put some editors’ kids through college based on what his publishers are able to spend on advertising in The New York Times and the book review. It went against everything I had heard. If you’re an Indie and if you’re up against James Patterson at that point, we were what you’d call neck and neck, but that’s the thing, we don’t know what the numbers are. They do what they want to do, whoever they want to give that number ten slot to.
I am fascinated by how the whole book publishing arena has changed. I would love to talk to you more about this. A lot of people are going to want to read this book because I’m sure they’re fascinated by The Memory Box and your work. Eva, can you share how people can reach you or get your book?
The book is available on every single book retailer. It’s available also in libraries, so I encourage people if they’re library readers, if they don’t see it in their library, ask their librarian and it will be ordered. It is available in paperback, eBook and audio book. I’m available through my website, EvaNatiello.com, and also all my social connections are on my website. If anybody would like to get in touch via social, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and also Goodreads. Many of the book clubs come to me through Goodreads, which is fun.
I hope everybody takes some time to check out your site and your book. Thank you so much. This has been interesting.
Thank you, Diane. It’s been fun talking to you.
The Super Power Experts with Tonya Dawn Recla and Neva Lee Recla
I am here with Tonya Dawn Recla and Neva Lee Recla. Tonya is the Executive Director of Super Power Experts. She spends her days convincing people superpowers are real and recruiting other powerful mutants. During her career as a government special agent, she explored the human psyche, honed her superpowers, and cracked the code of enlightened self-actualization. Tonya continues as a lifelong student of energy manipulation, transmutation, clair senses, intentional molecular creation, etc. She believes everyone has the power to create a multi-dimensional existence and master the human experience. Along with her is Neva Lee Recla, her daughter who’s eight years old. She’s on a mission to inspire other kids by sharing her experience as a young entrepreneur. At age two, she asked for her own business cards. At age five, she supported veterans. At age six, she led an advisory board. At age seven, she founded Super Power Kids. It’s so nice to have both of you here. Welcome.
Thank you. We’re happy to be here.
This is a superpower family. I’ll start with you, Tonya. It was hard to tell what exactly you do. Can you enlighten me as to what it is that you do?
That’s a little bit purposeful. We do a lot of different things. My husband and I are both former counterintelligence agents. When we came out of the government, we formed a corporate counterintelligence firm. That firm still operates, and it offers all kinds of due diligence and vetting services and risk mitigation to businesses from startups all the way up to full-fledged capital-raising projects and that type of thing. From there, I tell people I became an accidental coach. It wasn’t intentional or on purpose, at least consciously on my part. What we found was a lot of folks, especially entrepreneurs and business owners, were gravitating toward our risk mitigation and due diligence services were abdicating some aspect of their power either in their personal lives or their business. In discussions with them and assisting them in that space, what we saw was that it decreased the errors in the business, getting involved with the wrong people, that type of thing.
My work migrated over to working more in the personal sector with folks in helping them build their businesses based on a strong foundation of self-dominion, and that’s where the whole superpower conversation came from. That ranges everywhere from individual coaching. We have a podcast, SuperPower, that’s been running for two years. We run people through that who can come on and be hosts of the shows and talk about their specialty, assist change agents, practitioners, coaches in doing the work that allows them to have an impact on the world.
You’ve obviously had a strong impact on your daughter. Neva, I’m interested that you have your own Super Power Kids. You like the superpower thing. I’ve seen a picture of you wearing a cape. What do you do in Super Power Kids?
I’m doing a podcast and I do a lot of fun things on that. I do funny Facetime, Super Neva questions. I enjoy connecting with people, so it’s fun.
When somebody asks you a question on Super Neva questions, what kind of questions do they ask you?
Sometimes it’s vice versa but people ask me if I have any advice for kids or them. I normally ask them fun questions like, “What’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite animal?”
You talk to a lot of kids. I’ve seen you on stage and you’re pretty impressive. You don’t seem to have any fear on the stage. You get up there and command quite a performance. These are big groups you’re in front of. Did you learn that speaking from your parents? They seem to be pretty good in that area. How did you get to be such a speaker?
That’s my first time when I spoke to the 2,000 people. I did get it from my parents and I also just follow my heart. I had a script but I turned it into my own and followed my heart and did what I needed to do.
You were good. Tonya, was she super confident as a child? Did she get that from you guys? How did you get her to follow in your footsteps?
I don’t see it as much as her following in our footsteps only because there are areas that she’s traversing that we didn’t. We didn’t know anything about business when we first came out of government. At two, she was asking for business cards and our first answer was, “No, that’s just not how things are done.” Then we made a pact with each other to not enforce things unless we could justify them. I looked at my husband and we couldn’t come up with a good reason why she couldn’t have business cards. Along the way, she keeps pushing the envelope with regard to, “Why not?” Not in the sense of obstinance but helping us see how she’s here to do things. She’s been driven from the beginning.
The key was to allow the space and the guidance and the constructs. I’m sure you can imagine our own journeys coming out of the counterintel arena just to get on social media, to have a presence, and then here’s this child that is so obviously meant to be shared with the world. It was extremely challenging to navigate those spaces. I see the parallel synergistic journeys that the three of us are on versus her following in our footsteps at all. She’s certainly going into spaces that I don’t think her father and I will traverse. After she spoke to 2,000 people, we let her know that neither one of us has spoken in front of audiences that big. We waited until after she had done it to inform her that. We’ve certainly trained tens of thousands of people but in workshops and seminars. She’s been on her own trajectory since the beginning and nothing has been traditional with her.
That’s fascinating that you, at first, wanted to say no. I’m writing about curiosity and one of the things that gets us off our normal curiosity is either parents or teachers or whatever, “We don’t have time for that,” or “That seems strange. You don’t go that way,” and I love that you’ve rethought your initial knee-jerk reaction to open up more possibilities. That’s so important. What you’ve gone through with your experience and your background, it’s probably led you to review everything that you thought maybe was the way it should be, but maybe now you see we can have other experiences, so I love that. You’re talking about self-actualization and you’re talking about a lot of psychological things because you had this counterintelligence background. I imagine you deal with a lot of people who want to improve in different ways, emotional intelligence and different things. What’s the biggest thing that people come to for help with, Tonya? What do they need the most?
Our folks are the ones that have done a decent amount of journey. They’ve gone through the personal development process. They’ve gone through spiritual growth on some level and it starts to all culminate in a space that’s uncomfortable and not highly talked about. We call it the ‘what now?’ space. You do all the right things and you follow all the steps, but then when your life or the world around you don’t seem to change overnight, what do you do with all of that? We pick up where all of that leaves off in the implementation piece. We are phenomenal meeting people in their space, which accounts for Neva’s existence. Being able to meet her in her space and say, “What does this look like in your world?” not “What does it typically look like for a child?” or “What do we want it to look like?” or “What should it look like?” but getting into that intuitive space with people and helping them unfold it from their culmination of gifts and abilities and experiences and intellect and all the richness that makes us who we are.
We are phenomenal in this space of letting people follow their visions in a practical and implementable way. That’s where I see a lot of change agents, light workers, coaches, consultants, or entrepreneurs get stuck. They try to follow a process or a path or advice that doesn’t fit for them but how do you help people figure out what fits for them, and so helping people that we call it internal resonance, knowing where your home base is so you can always come back to that. It is the quest for complete self-dominion as you’re moving into this powerful space in the world. Truthfully, Neva gets a lot of credit for that because assisting her in that requires us to be able to look at things so differently.
I find it fascinating in the business sector when we speak to service providers. She’s being modest. In addition to Super Power Kids, she also founded, YES, Young Entrepreneur Secrets, and she’s got courses out there. She’s got a parent course and invoking the supportive parent so that she can inspire a million kids to do business. As we’re speaking with service providers and consultants and stuff to assist in that business, it’s fascinating how many of them have their processes and their procedures and can’t come out of it to assist someone who doesn’t fit in a box. It’s interesting to watch how people try to navigate this space of what they expect to see from her versus what she’s capable of versus guiding somebody into a space that none of us can even fathom yet. All of that is encompassed in that Super Power concept.
You mentioned some of the things that she is doing. I also saw she was working on a bestselling book with YouSpeakItPublishing. Neva, what’s in this book and who is it meant for?
It’s meant for parents. It’s for parents on how they can inspire their kids to do business. I left little snippets in there that the parents can read to their kids, giving the kid some advice if they want to start their own business, how they can do it, and how they can find something they love and turn it into teaching other people what they love.
Neva, it is fascinating how adult you seem for eight years old. When you’re around other eight-year olds, do you feel like you have a lot in common with them or do you feel that this makes you unique?
Sometimes I feel like I have similarities but I’m different from most eight-year-olds. I’m different from most kids, and I’m okay with that. That also makes me unique. Some people will take being called weird or crazy or weirdo, they take it as a putdown, but I take it as a humongous compliment. Anytime a friend of mine or someone calls me weird, I just say “Thank you. That’s the nicest thing I’ve heard all day.”
Why do you see that as nice?
It’s not giving up my power. Taking that as a putdown, you’re giving that person your power. If I can simply say thank you and walk away, that makes my day a lot easier.
It’s fascinating, Neva, because when I was very young, probably younger than you are now, my mother gave me an old checkbook that she didn’t need any more. Just like you with your business cards, I thought, “This is the greatest thing ever.” It was one of those old checkbooks that businesses use with the three things on a page, and I was like, “I could do all kinds of stuff,” and my biggest goal was like, “How can I get a cash register?” I thought that would be cool, so I can relate to you because I was like that as a kid. I’m curious what you want to do when you grow up. Do you want to be a public speaker? Do you want to own a business? A combination of things? Do you know?
I don’t like being asked what I want to be when I grow up. The only reason to that is I want to stay in the moment and when I’m older, I’ll find out what I want to do. I want to be myself right now, and when I’m older, when I’m fifteen, when I’m twenty, I can find out what I want to do in that exact moment.
That’s a wise way of looking at it. You deserve a lot of credit, Tonya. Your parenting skills are right up there. It’s very challenging to have kids that want to do so many unique things. Does it ever get exhausting?
I don’t even know how we do it. We were preparing for it. My husband and I are both veterans. We’re both counterintel agents, and so we’ve had some non-traditional paths in our existence and running the two businesses, so delving into the corporate counterintelligence firm. Then when I started to get the guidance to do this other work, it was complex, and the firm was thriving and we had knocked ourselves off and had created a business that provided affordable solutions. We were super busy already and then this came online and then Neva’s stuff started to come online. We spent a lot of time in meditation and prayer and like, “What are we doing?” Last year we sat seriously and looked at selling off one of the businesses or kept asking, “What are we doing?” Everybody kept saying, “You can’t keep this up. It’s impossible.” We operate off of a high degree of trust and faith and we kept hearing like, “Keep going and have faith.” Sure enough, it all works itself out.
Even when we can’t see exactly how the guidance is clear that it’s ours to do, we have these abilities and these skills for a reason even though we’ve got these seemingly different business models. My husband’s become quite a name in the cryptocurrency due diligence arena. He speaks at conferences. It’s so bizarre when you step back and look at it, but it magically works itself out. We have one of the most amazing lives that I could imagine. My husband calls us a 24/7 family. It works, but a lot of it works because of what Neva gave voice to, which is we stay in the moment, we manage what’s right in front of us, and we continue to look out into this space ahead of us and navigate it from the joined-together, oneness perspective. From there, it works. If I were to look at my calendar even for tomorrow, I’d probably lose my mind, but in the moment, it just works. We’ve certainly had those freak-out moments of, “What have we done?” but it’s undeniable that it’s this beautiful dance and we seem to manage to stay with it.
Neva, I’m curious, do you have any brothers or sisters?
I have two siblings from my dad’s previous marriage. I have a sister and a brother. My brother, Kayden, is 21 and my sister, Danica, is 17.
They’re quite a bit older. Do you see that you have a lot in common with them?
I don’t know because I don’t know what their life is outside of coming into our house. We do get along. We don’t play often so that’s always a plus.
Her sister is extremely creative artistically and she’s an amazing artist. Neva shares some of that and Kayden is very thoughtful and he’s a thinker. Neva’s got some of that, so they’ve got some similar traits.
It’s interesting that you guys do so many things together. I’m curious if you’re going continue to do things similarly, like Super Power to have that as your thing in common? Do you foresee any changes in the future of going in different directions? We can’t talk too far in the future, Neva, but a little bit I’m going to ask Tonya that.
What’s interesting is that on the surface, we all are the face of different aspects of what we do, but behind the scenes, we all are part of it. For instance, I’m the CEO of our two major businesses. My husband’s Operations Officer. He’s the face of one business and I’m the face of the other. She’s the face of her business and yet all three of us work together. The three of us craft the book and the vision of the ideas, so we’re much more entwined and everything than it might appear on the surface. That is our secret sauce. It is making sure the three of us are intertwined, so I don’t see the backend of things changing from that perspective. How it appears to the world and moving forward, it’s only going to be an expansion on the foundations we’ve built.
I see the Super Power umbrella being a phenomenal platform for all of us, but especially Neva and the work that she’s doing in the world will move into the live event. She does a lot of speaking and stuff like that, but the ultimate goal is to make sure that her message and her information is getting out there, her is that role model, and I see our role in support of that in addition to the things that we teach and assist with. We get called on a lot to explain how something like this can occur, how she is, and how she’s able to do what she does. The truth is that it’s all of it. We had to take these journeys and everything from all the businesses that seem to have nothing to do with it and it all ties together, so it feels like we’ve been weaving this complex web and they’re intricately connected.
Neva, when you first got up on stage, the very first time in front of 2,000 people, how did that feel? Were you scared at all? Did it make you feel funny? Was it natural to you?
I was afraid people saw my legs turning into jelly.
We’re all afraid of that, so I understand that one, but that’s how you feel, right? A little jelly-like. I get that, I understand that, but that’s good. A little bit of jelly makes you pay attention to make sure you keep it from falling over.
Once I got through that first part of the talk I was like, “I can do this.” One of my good friends, Colby K, he introduced me, and it was at a DECA Conference, so there’s a bunch of teens. The whole fifteen minutes I was up on that stage, all the teens were smooshed together, leaning up against the stage, and it was fun because they didn’t know my age because all the other speakers in front of me were all adults. I was the last speaker. It was cool because they didn’t know how old I was, so they probably assumed I was an adult.
The last speaker is the most powerful speaker, so that’s pretty cool that you got to be last. I’m writing a book on curiosity and it’s so important that people are curious, and you’re obviously curious about a lot of different things. What advice would you give to other kids or to even parents to help people to learn to be more curious and explore new ideas?
First, find what you’re curious about, “What do you want us all to look like? What do you want to discover?” Then find the right questions and you can find people that might be able to answer those questions and be okay for people to call you weird or say, “That’s weird for you to be doing that.” Just be okay with that because I’ve gone through a lot of criticism in my life and one of the huge things I’ve learned is that people that are criticizing you are either scared or intimidated by you or they’re just insecure. One of the things you can do if that is happening is support them and love them. That’s what I’ve learned to do because people who criticize you and call you weird played a humongous role in your life, so be willing to be you and be curious.
I love that. That’s a great place to end, Neva. Thank you. Tonya. This has been so fun. We’ve had a chance to talk in the past, but I’m so glad. This is my first time getting to speak with Neva, and you two are wonderful guests. Thank you.
Thank you for having us. It’s our honor.
It’s my honor. Can you share with everybody how they can reach you?
You can go to my website NevaLeeRecla.com and that will bring you to all my interviews and all of my past videos. You can go to SuperPowerExperts.com as well to find out more about her and the whole Super Power crew.
Thank you so much to Eva, Tonya, and Neva. That was so much fun. If you missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com and you can find past episodes on the blog and the radio link.
About Eva Lesko Natiello
Eva Lesko Natiello is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the self-published psychological thriller, The Memory Box. It is currently being translated into Turkish and German and is an international bestseller. Eva is a speaker and essayist whose work on writing and self-publishing appear in the Huffington Post, New Jersey Monthly, NJ.com, and elsewhere. She is a member of International Thriller Writers. Eva shares her expertise with other authors as a self-publishing and book marketing coach. She is a former Estee Lauder Vice President of Global Communications.
About Tonya Dawn Recla, Neva Lee
As the Executive Director of Super Power Experts, Tonya Dawn Recla spends her days convincing people Super Powers are real and recruiting other powerful mutants. During her career as a government Special Agent, she explored the human psyche, honed her Super Powers, and cracked the code of enlightened self-actualization.. Tonya continues as a lifelong student of energy manipulation, transmutation, clair senses, intentional molecular creation, etc. She believes everyone has the power to create a multidimensional existence and master the human experience.
Neva Lee Recla is on a mission to inspire other kids by sharing her experiences as a young entrepreneur. Neva joined her parents at her first CEO Space business conference at 2 years-old and she never looked back.One of her first businesses was a philanthropic venture called Spreading Light, Love and Pixie Dust™ . This venture continues today with Neva drawing pictures and creating poems for wounded warriors and veterans. Through her corporate sponsorship program, Neva has distributed more than 2000 pictures to veterans around the nation. Now she’s creating a bestselling book with YouSpeakIt Publishing and offering businesses an opportunity to promote their brands by sponsoring a young entrepreneur.,