Scope - Design - Deliver

Unlimit Your Leadership

Nathanael Zurbruegg should be dead six times over according to medical professionals. While still suffering from chronic illnesses,  he is now the founder and CEO of Unlimit You and runs a non-for-profit business called, “Live Life to the Fullest.” In this inspirational episode you can learn from Nathanael:

  • How life can be amazing when we don’t focus on negativity
  • Surround yourself with positive people had help you become strong
  • How you can discover your Victorious Mindset
  • Why nothing can take us back if we never give up.
  • Plus loads of hacks!

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Transcript: Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services

Steve Rush: Today guest is Nathanael Zurbruegg. Truly inspirational story from having been chronically ill for over 30 years, and now being the founder and CEO of Live Life to the Fullest and his business arm Unlimit You. He is a global speaker and he is a coach. Nathanael welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast.

Nathanael Zurbruegg: Hey Steve, thank you so much for having me here today. I am really excited to spend some moments with you and with your amazing audience

Steve Rush: And from Switzerland, he joins us today. Give us the backstory, Nathanael, for folk listening to this, you and I have had the opportunity to meet and speak a few times, but you really have had more adversity than anybody that has been on this show. Just tell us a little bit about how you arrived at doing what you now?

Nathanael Zurbruegg: Yeah, absolutely. Let me say that first, today I would not be here because of so many other people as well. I want to give some credit out there to a lot of people that are helped me through the difficult. The relationship that I have and let me start with this. I have been chronically ill for about 30 years by now. I started out when I was one year old. I lost my own kidneys to chronic illness. I had to go do dialysis with two years old, which meant like as soon as anyone doesn’t have any kidneys that person has to go to a replacement basically to treatment three times a week or every night to clean the blood, and I had to start that with two years old.

It continue crazy in my life and I was about three years old when I had a really big, big setback. We still don’t know today what it was. Was it brain bleeding or stroke? However, I was two weeks in a coma after those two weeks. The doctors called my parents and say there nothing else we can do, please come into the ICU to terminate your son life. My parents come into the ICU. They spoke some words, some goodbye word, and then the moment the doctors turned off, all the life support machines, I started to talk again. I say something like, Hey mom; I want to go to play into the playroom. That was a huge miracle because my brain was basically a grey patch before there was no function. Even the doctor said like if I should survive, somehow. If he should survive, somehow he will never be able to walk, talk and amount to anything. I was starting to talk again and I recover over a few weeks and I come basically back to life, it continued like with five year old. After many, many years, about four or five years of struggling with my life, with my health, as well as my family, struggling a lot. My people around, we had a moment of, I said, a light was appearing in the tunnel when I got my first kidney transplant, with five years old, however, it was only for 24 hours they keep me work and then the chronic illnesses strike back and affected the kidney. There was a huge disappointment of course. But basically my parents and myself, we had no other choice to keep going and to fight and we always had kind of a sense that everything will work out for the good in the future. So I had to go back to dialysis once again, with seven years old, I have my second kidney transplant, which meant like I had it for two and a half years. And the interesting part was like, during those two and a half years, I learned everything as a kid that anyone else as a kid would learn from age one on, I learned to feed myself. I learned to try out hobbies. I learned what it meant to have free time outside, and it was such a beautiful time, a life of flourishing, a life of, yeah, of living the dream life.

However, again, the chronic illness strike back and after two and a half year, and for me, one of the biggest disappointment I ever experienced in my lifetime. For me, the kidney was my best friend who gave me the best life, who gave me the dream life, but I had to let it go again. I fell into a huge depression that meant like for two weeks I didn’t eat anything. I didn’t move anything. I didn’t talk to anyone, even not to my parents. And yet somehow took support of my parent and actual care. I come after those two weeks; I come back to strength, the emotional, spiritual and physical strength, it continued. Somehow, I had to acknowledge that I had to go back to the dialysis again, three times a week, but yet somehow I knew there is more to life than that. About one half years later, I received another kidney transplant for about 13 months and again, that was a time of flourishing yet after those 13 months, the chronic illness strike back again.

And for me this time. I was a bit older. I was a bit wiser. I was kind of knowing that life is of course more than just having a good kidney and have to took measured, disappointment, I decided based on my faith and based on what I believed and based on that, I believed in something bigger than myself or the kidney. I started to grow with the belief that everything will work together for the good in the future. And I acknowledge again, to go back to the dialysis three times a week and there were certain type of learning with 13 years old to figuring out how I’m going to cope with all the situation. At that time, I was diagnosed that I will never be again having a transplant, which meant I would be for lifelong on dialysis three times a week, but yet I didn’t lose the hope, the passion of having an expectation of a bigger life. And what I usually tell people is that after age 15, my life become very stable, but from age 1 to 15, my life was a horrible, crazy as well exciting experience with all the life struggle. And after 4,500 lifesaving treatment, dialysis for the operations. Several depression and burnout and according to the doctors, I should not be alive for six times by now.

I can look back and see how amazing life can be if we don’t rely on the negativity. If we don’t rely on the setback that we experience but keeping going on, pulling out the hope and the expectation of a beneficial. And that was an amazing experience so far, of course my story is not finished yet, and I love that I’m so blessed today that I can inspire so many people with this story to live a big life, to live above average, and that nothing is impossible.

Steve Rush: Nathanael that is just a truly humbling story to listen to that. And of course, folks listening to this. Also won’t understand that during this terrible time as well, you also lost 80% of your hearing capacity. So here, we are on a podcast, which is relying on the auditory senses that we have, and despite that, you still see that as an opportunity and a positive way to reach out to an audience. So before we go any further, thank you for being here with us today, given everything you’re working through.

Nathanael Zurbruegg: You are welcome, thank you.

Steve Rush: One of the things I wanted to explore with you is that during that description of how you arrived here today, you talked around your parents had a massive role in helping you with your thinking. You described them as having a sense of everything works out for the future, and everything will work out for the future. How much of that did you draw on to help you with your thinking?

Nathanael Zurbruegg: I think it was especially after; I lost my third kidney transplant. It was an everyday decision of course the struggle did not end, at the day when I decided to believe that or to leave out that philosophy or that belief. It was in everyday decisions that impacted my decisions. Firstly, it impacted my thinking as well my decision. And for me it shifts a beautiful experience or a beautiful excitement to know that whatever comes ahead of me, it will work out for the good, and I think this is something that has kept me over the water, over a long time and still learn. And while it has helped me to be, do or have what I do today. As well, it has helped me to realize that it is not only on my own power to change a thing. It never will be, and it never has been. It is the decision that I make, but yet I believe that it’s never just my own thing to change and turn things around, whether they are parenting involved or whether they are my family, or my friend, yeah whatever people in my life and whatever high powered. I love that there is so much hope and expectation in that belief.

Steve Rush: That is fantastic, really is and resonates with me. So you now lead the business Unlimit You. Tell us a little bit, about what you do with your clients and the businesses and people, you work with?

Nathanael Zurbruegg: Absolutely, so the Unlimit You, the business that I have is basically helping people bring inspiration to them by also helping them practically victorious, mind-set mentoring. That means I am helping people to navigate through the journey of life. To develop a victorious mind-set in whatever state they are. Whether they are in that difficult business situation. Whether they have difficulties in leadership, or in finances, or in the family, or relationship. I help people to transit from firstly not letting themselves laid back from the setback, but also keeping going to make the right decision in their mind to create and develop a victorious mind-set in order to go into a direction that help them in the future to be, do or have what they dream. I think that is such a powerful journey and I have a couple of people that are currently mentoring and I love to see how whenever people get a light bulb of stepping out from all belief into new belief. And basically let’s say that belief help them to get a hundred fold of what they have believed before, and hacking a life and whatever, being constantly on the line of developing themselves and being a better person as while and leaving the dream life. The vision that they have even pulling out the expectation from them to, leave in the day and in the future all day, called to be, do and have.

Steve Rush: You coined the phrase victorious mind-set. If you had to describe the victorious mind-set to somebody, how would you describe in essence, in a nutshell, what is a victorious mind-set?


Nathanael Zurbruegg: Great question. For me, it is like a mind-set that firstly focus on the positive side of whatever. Let’s say we have a Monday morning situation and you have to go to work. You have a great, great weekend behind on the beach in the mountains or whatever and you realize, okay, that time is gone. What we naturally do, is like, on Monday morning we thinking on the past things that happened, the good things that happen. It can be very good and bad, and so Monday we lay in bed and we think like, okay, we have to go to work. A victorious mind-set comes into play when we change the mind-set to, okay, let make the most out of this day, let’s be grateful for whatever I have today. I have a job I might have a family. I might have friends and people around me. I might have a great boss, or even if I might not have a great situation at work, I am still able taking responsibility to change what might not be there yet.


Steve Rush: I love that.


Nathanael Zurbruegg: And that for me, a victorious mind-set. To change something that is not there yet and may it better.


Steve Rush: Brilliant, and gratification and showing gratitude and being grateful in my experiences present in amongst most, very successful leaders I liaise with, and I speak with it. I often see that practice of gratification and gratitude. There is no surprise that fits part of your tenants and how you do things.


Nathanael Zurbruegg:  Absolutely.


Steve Rush: Now you have a program that you have that helps people through this phase of discovery to help them unlock their dreams and unlock their ambitions and you call it your 4 Steps To Unlimit Your Life. Now, step one is define who I am. Tell us a little bit, about how you kick that four steps off?


Nathanael Zurbruegg: Absolutely, as you say, the first one is about really identifying who am I as a person. I realized over the last three decade being on this planet, I realized that so many people are not living their full potential because of not knowing who they are. They might be attract to a certain group or certain vibes or certain hype or whatever. But what I realized is like the more, you know, yourself, the more you can go the way toward the dream and get the passion and the value and the strength that you can identify within that. I believe that this is so powerful to leave out because the more we know ourselves, the more strength we have; the more we know what the decision we have to make. And I believe that we need more and more leaders in this world that really know who they are, not sticking to any flow or any group of the people. To really set themselves apart from the cut out and knowing who am I?


Who am I? What are my strengths? What are my passionate? What are my values? The second thing is the question about what, am I here for? The more you know, who you are, or the more I know who am I, the more I know and more, you will know what you are here for, or what I’m here for. And this is so important because I believe that again, not to charge anyone and not to condemn anyone, but so many people live a life in terms of somebody else in this world. And that might work for a couple of years for a few years, but I realized that I’ve been spending three times a week in the hospital, and most of the people are above 60, 70, 80 that are on dialysis. And I realized that so many people of them are not fulfilled because they, might have been live life in the past for somebody else.


Steve Rush: It is quite easy for us to fall into stereotypes and to associate with labels that aren’t really ours, that are imposed on us by other people, right?

Nathanael Zurbruegg: Exactly. Yeah, and it is quite natural for us to do that because as soon as we step out from the crowd, the opposition appeared. But as long as we go with the crowd, nobody tells something because we are comfortable, but I think there’s more to life than just to go with the flow, and everything that we think like, is really natural. And the beautiful thing is like, once you step away from something that you are not living in what you are really called to do, it gives you so much fulfilment. It gives you so much strength and energy and hope and an expectation, and this is the second step that I am going through with people in the first step to Unlimit Your Life process. The third step is about basically creating a dream from the first two questions, what that means you?

You identify you, who am I? And what am I here for? But when you go into the details, you also identify your strengths, passionate and values. And from that you create a dream, and what I realized in my own life. Is like how powerful it is when we start to live in our strengths, in our passion, in our values. Instead in our weakness, in our values, maybe that we have copied from somebody else or from a group of people. From passion that we might have not experienced by yourself yet. It is amazing what it does when you live in your passion and your values, and in you strength. And the fourth step is, I help people then to develop, basically take the dream and I allow them to develop the dream over the years. And whatever that means for each individual to develop a victorious mind-set, that it is possible to live out a dream, no matter their position, whether people are for against me, where I have it all together yet or not. There are so many tanks that will come together. There will be a lot of fighting, a lot of heavy moments, but at the end of the day, if you live with the full potential. If you live with your unlimited potential and with victorious mind-set, there is so much more to live in this world for you.

Steve Rush: Definitely so, and I guess the fourth one, the implementing the dream. Is where you take all of the self-discovery, the intangible, you know, this is a dream up here, but then putting into place things that highly in their control that they can implement. That helps them fulfil that, because without that implementation, it just stays as a dream, right?

Nathanael Zurbruegg: Exactly, we can dream a lot, but yet we have to step out of the boat and literally walk on water, never knowing when the next wave will hit us, but we will always be able to get back. And because we know once we have to dream or the vision or the full potential in our mind as a picture ahead of us, nothing can take us back if we never give up.



Steve Rush: Super, that is really super words. Thanks Nathanael.


Nathanael Zurbruegg: You are welcome.


Steve Rush: This part of the show is now where we are going to turn the lens and we are going to hack into your leadership mind. So as a CEO, as a business leader and a coach, so first thing I am going to ask you is if you were to share with our listeners, what would be your top three leadership hacks?


Nathanael Zurbruegg: Great question, for me it has always be like, I already say before being positive, which for me create a hope and expectation of the future. The second one is being grateful for everything that happened, whether good or bad. I often remind myself of the statement of John Maxwell that you either win or you learn, and that is an actually a beautiful thought, because being grateful, appreciate their learning process that we naturally see. I said bad things, or the bad thing that we can turn into learning process and as well giving credit for the good things. And the third thing, I will say leadership wise is really giving credit to all the people as well. For me, as a personal faith, giving credit to God because I got the honour and privilege as 13 years old to start that unconditional loving relationship with God. And for me to God, for somebody else, it might be high powered, and for me, giving credit to him as well to my family and my friends, because no one will go on the top by himself. There will always be layers of people that help you as well. The doctors, the medical staff told me already or parents as well. I mostly didn’t hear it, that I should be dead six times by now. Never should be amount to anything. Walk or could talk, and yet along the journey there was so many miracle that cannot fathom, that I cannot say, hey, it was my power or my strength. It was native human strength. Because I know that for me, my life exists and I’m still bleeding today because of a higher power and giving credit to other people, to whatever you believe in a higher power because you alone, we are just human beings, and yeah, that are my three leadership strength.


Steve Rush: And I guess what you have just described then Nathanael is a complete lack of ego, which again is something that you observe in great leaders as well. So if you’re able to drop your ego, give credit to where credit’s due, and as you rightly said, wherever that’s from and whomever that’s from. Helps you also demonstrate, gratification, and gratitude and in turn is a positive energy source for us as well, Isn’t it?

Nathanael Zurbruegg: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I think the more we give credit to someone else, the more we get as well back and that’s just the law of giving and taking in this world.


Steve Rush: It sure is. Now I almost feel kind of uncomfortable going to this next space. Cause this part of the show’s called hack to attack where we have places in our life and our work where we’ve suffered some adversity, you’ve had bucket loads of adversity and you’ve already demonstrated how resilient you become and how you use that in a positive way in your life in pretty much everything you do. If you were able to look back over your life, was there maybe one time where you thought this is my pivotal moment, that I’m going to move from where I did to what I do now. That you now use that as something that is positive in your life?


Nathanael Zurbruegg: Absolutely, I think for me, like a couple of years ago, I read a statement from the Think and Grow Rich book. Napoleon Hill says there are no limitations to the mind except the ones we acknowledge, and so what I realized I might not be, I might not have been aware of that statement before, but I might have been aware of how I lived it before I even knew in words, if you know what I mean. So what I realized that whatever situation you have in the moment.


Steve Rush: Sure


Nathanael Zurbruegg: There is always the acknowledgement in our mind, whether we limit ourselves or not. In the difficult time, do we think about all the limitations we have or do we think about all the unlimitations we can turn around? And I love that, that our brain, our mind is such a powerful tool in our life that we can use every day. It is true there are absolutely no limitations. Of course, we might be limited and we all have to die one day. We all have to, yeah; we have to go away from this world one day. But while we are here, we have the opportunity to use that tool of the mind, to turn the limitation around and make it a possibility and opportunity. And this is something that I have could learn that I have the blessing to learn all my life, to not look at the limitations, but of what could be possible. And of course the journey in that will never end. It will be a lifelong every day to decision. Every day I have to do to think about again, there are limitations, they are circumstance, how I’m going to deal with them, how I’m going to turn them around, to make it a possibility and make them better. And this is really something powerful that I could have the opportunity to learn over the past 30 years.

Steve Rush: I think it is amazing Nathanael that you call the adversity blessings, you’ve actually reframed that in your mind as to these are blessings that you’ve had to enable that learning to take place so that you can be the person you are today, right?


Nathanael Zurbruegg: Yeah, absolutely and I think it gives it so much power and enegry to continue. The moment I realized that I should read too much into the negative side, I lose so much strength to keep going on. And I have to be honest with you. There have been many times, and even still today where I don’t make the right decision in my mind, but I think the higher how you go, the more you have to be careful that you don’t go into the opposite direction of the negative side. Because once you go into that, it will be harder to get out of into the next direction. I imagined mostly if picture where you have a scale between 0 in the middle and then on the right side, you have the last 10 up to plus 10. And on the left hand, you have down to minus 10 and every decision you make, you will either go to the plus, or you go to the minus and the deeper you go in the minus, the harder it is to come back. But the more you go into the plush, the better it is for you to overcome the next struggle, the next circumstance, the next a leadership issue and or the next family issue in whatever situation you’re in right now. I really want to inspire you today to make, to make the decision, to really think about where do I need to go from the minus to the plus, and what do I need to improve in order to have a more fulfilled and energize, and more momentum in your life.


Steve Rush: It is a lovely way of framing it. And I guess like anything, its practice and habits that create that staying in the top 10, versus the bottom 10, right?


Nathanael Zurbruegg: Yeah, absolutely. I think the emotional habits, I think to say that every day decision. Let’s say somebody crash into a car, that a huge decision we can make, whether  make, whether we say we can switch into the negative side and complain about the crash about the person, or we can make fun out of the accident and say, hey, this too shall pass. At least I didn’t get hurt or whatever, simple decision like that. It can be on your job. It can be when you do make exercising or when you are around with people and they are so many decision that day that we will need to make in order to stay in the top 10 in the plus 10 frame. On the other hand, I have to say that don’t give up when you feel like you are in the minus 10, again, it will be harder, but it still worth fight back into going into the top 10 frame and live life to the fullest.


Steve Rush: Its super lessons. Thanks, Nathanael. The last thing that we want to do with you today is to give you the chance to have a bit of time travel and to bump into the Nathanael at 21. And you now have an opportunity to give yourself some advice at that time. What would be your advice to Nathanael at 21?


Nathanael Zurbruegg: I would say really learning more and more to give credit to other people. I miss that a little bit, the last few months. I have gone on, I really big ride and I’ve got a lot of success. So I need to get back in shape to give credit to my people around it and to really be grateful for where I am and that is one of my activities that I will give myself to get back in shape and not too become prideful, not to leave. Even though I might have a lot of success to still stay humble and to being a person of humility, not one humility, but the right humility to have even more a successful life. And I love people, strong people, whether they were successful in the past or in the future or in the present. People that really stayed humble within their success and this is what I teach myself and advise myself, for this and next year to do more and more.


Steve Rush: Great stuff. Now I would love to carry the conversation on with you. I have super enjoyed talking with you, not just today, but in times that we have spoken before. If folk listening to this, want to carry on that conversation with you, connect with you, find that a bit more of the work that you are doing, what is the best place, and where’s the best place that we can send them?


Nathanael Zurbruegg: Absolutely, so I have two websites and one website is the business web site that I call and if you want to know more about my personal life, you can go on on both websites. There is the free eBook that you can download for step too Unlimit Your Life and as well on the bottom, there, some off the social media channel that I am on. And I would love to get in touch with you, download eBook. Get it for free today and let your life flourish and Unlimit yourself to the fullest.


Steve Rush: Thank you, Nathanael. We will make sure that those links are also in the show notes, so it is that easy for people to find you beyond our conversation.


Nathanael Zurbruegg: Absolutely, thank you so much for having me here. And I would love to hear from you soon.


Steve Rush: And I would like to say personally, thank you to you being here. You are inspirational. And I think that they’re learning that people can take from the adversity and the mind-set that you now have to unlock their futures is quite breath-taking. And personally, for me, I just want to say, thank you ever so much for being on The Leadership Hacker Podcast.


Nathanael Zurbruegg: You are welcome. Good to talk to you, Steve, and to you all. Thank you.


Steve Rush: Thank you Nathanael.





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