Female Leader Spoglight: Nicole Smith Ludvik

Tell us about your background

In a nutshell, I am a corporate businesswoman turned professional skydiver, yoga instructor, stuntwoman, and adventurer.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your life? What have you learnt from overcoming it?

I’ve had some tragic things happen in my life. First, I became a widow at 25. Then, roughly 18 months after my late husband passed, I was involved in a terrible car accident. Another driver ran a red light and collided with my car. The impact was directly on the driver’s side door, and my boyfriend was driving. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it.

I have no recollection of the accident or the following 11 days. I was in terrible shape. I was helicoptered to a trauma hospital in Atlanta to save my life. I sustained a broken neck, back, tailbone, punctured lung, two broken ribs, four pelvic fractures, and two brain injuries. The doctors prepared my family for the worst. If I survived, my parents were told my brain injuries could limit my cognitive abilities, and hip fractures could severely affect my walking ability. My body and my heart were shattered.

The car accident changed the entire trajectory of my life. I came face-to-face with my mortality in my mid 20’s.

The ambition of saving and investing as much money as I could and preparing for early retirement, nearly came to a screeching halt. I realized I was not living my life in the present. Instead, I was pushing “living” to retirement. I assumed that I would have the time and the health to do everything I was putting off.

I realized no one is guaranteed a second on this planet. So I promised myself that I wouldn’t waste time on things that didn’t serve me or bring me joy; I vowed to love harder, appreciate deeper, and be thankful for every breath I take.

We have at least one defining moment at some point in our lives. These two back-to-back tragedies were my defining moments. Would I let myself fall into a pit of self-pity, or would I find the grace hidden in the circumstances? Would I let the fire burn me, or would the fire forge me and make me stronger?

I realized early into my recovery that I needed to change my mindset to heal. I learned the importance of focusing my mind on positivity, setting measurable goals, and having an attitude of gratitude. I learned the true meaning of perseverance; keep moving forward no matter how bleak and difficult the road may seem. The progress can be as slow as it needs to be, so long as you keep moving forward.

I sincerely hope that by telling my story, others may find the strength they need to push through any adversity they face.

What is your mission in life?

My mission in life is to live a life full of wonder and gratitude, to stay curious and grounded, to find beauty in everything, including the mundane, and to stay connected to my life’s purpose.

Who are your mentors and who do you look to for inspiration?

My parents, foremost! My husband is my most cherished mentor and source of inspiration in terms of skydiving and stunts.

I am so fortunate to be surrounded by incredible mentors such as Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, Founder & CEO TishTash, Alay Gayton, Co-Founder and CEO of Prime Productions AMG, Faris Mesmar, CEO & Managing Partner – hatch & boost, and Melanie Curtis, best-selling author, life coach, and skydiving legend. These men and women are a driving force in my success and are a wealth of inspiration and joy!

What do you credit your strong mindset to?

I give credit to my parents. They taught me everything I know about strength, gratitude, and perseverance.

Do you have any daily mindset practices?

My daily mindset practice involves yoga with mindfulness and meditation. In addition, I’ve recently begun gratitude journaling, which has been an exciting journey. Focusing my awareness and daily writing on the positive things in my life expands the joy I feel!

What books are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Yosemite by John Muir and Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.

What is your favorite quote?

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Helen Keller

What is next for you?

I have some fun projects in the works, so you’ll have to stay tuned to my social channels!




Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East