Abirambika Ravivarman: Navigating Career Transitions, Conquering Self-Doubt, & Unleashing Hidden Strengths

Abirambika Ravivarman Headshot

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Join us in this episode as we explore the remarkable journey of Abirambika Ravivarman, a former banker turned coach. Abirambika delves into her transition from the structured world of finance to the dynamic realm of coaching, sharing her unique insights and experiences. This conversation is not just about a career shift but a profound transformation of mindset and discovering one’s true potential. Abirambika discusses the challenges of starting a business, the importance of intuition, and navigating the complexities of personal and professional growth. Whether you’re contemplating a significant career move, seeking deeper self-awareness, or just looking for some inspiration, this episode offers valuable lessons and empowering perspectives.

Navigating Career Transitions, Conquering Self-Doubt, & Unleashing Hidden Strengths

About the guest-

Abirambika Ravivarman brings over 12 years of corporate expertise from her tenure at Citibank, where she navigated risk and compliance, led teams, and implemented impactful change strategies. Blending this corporate foundation with 9 years of entrepreneurial leadership, she possesses a distinctive skill set and insights that bridge the corporate and business landscapes seamlessly. Abirambika is a Guinness Record Holder. She was also honored among the ‘101 Most Fabulous Coaching Leaders’ by the World HRD Congress, highlighting her exceptional contributions to coaching. She is also a published author. As a coach, Abirambika’s mission is to empower leaders in cultivating lasting transformation for both themselves and their teams.

Shownotes -

00:00:00 – Guest introduction

00:02:08 – Journey from banking to coaching

00:03:40 – How coaching helps gain clarity & make important decisions

00:08:30 – Power of intuition

00:15:00 – Cutting through the noise & cultivating certainty

00:18:30 – Financial uncertainty when building a business

00:28:00 – Seeking insights and self-knowledge from every struggle

00:31:00 – Adapting to or challenging the prevailing norms

00:41:50 – Dismissing someone’s success due to their privilege & using its absence as an excuse

00:48:15 – Strategies for gaining confidence when starting in a new field

00:56:00 – One essential quality for success

Resources + Guest Info

[00:00:00] Krati: I Would love to start with your personal journey and why you became a coach.

[00:00:04] Abirambika: Yeah. So for me I used to, you know, I, I’m basically from banking. So I used to work with Citi before, and then, I wanted to take a different direction now, but I had no idea, right. I didn’t think that coaching was the way forward for me. I just took the plunge, took a break. And then I stumbled upon coaching, through, through few friends, I did some reading and it kind of got me excited because it’s about working.

It’s, it’s. It’s in the space of psychology. It’s a little bit in that understanding people, but then I haven’t academically done that. I come from a finance, right? So for me, that was interesting. I love the way people think, how people respond to things. And that was a very exciting space. And I thought, okay, this could be something that’s.

Interesting for me. And once I started, I realized, you know, that’s probably what drives me. So I kind of use coaching, not just in the pure, like just as coaching, but I do integrate it with a different kind of work that I do. Like I do facilitations. I do basically leadership development, team development and in change.

So when I work in that space, I use coaching as one of the methodologies. To implement whatever I’m trying to do, but it’s very effective and I’ve seen amazing what do you say? Results with the clients. So I’m, I’m happy that I am in this case.

[00:01:23] Krati: Care to expand on that. Like you said, you facilitate. What does that mean? And can you give us, like, an idea of what working with you would look like as a client, as an individual, looking for help, looking to build a better

[00:01:35] Abirambika: So I facilitate larger programs and organizations where it’s. It’s, it’s building change and helping people to adapt to something new with when it comes to individuals, what I do is I work with them over a period of time to help them see the blind side, right? See, most of the times in our own lives, even though I’ll say that just for me itself as a coach.

Sometimes I don’t see something that’s happening in my own life. However reflective you are, right? However much you sit with yourself, however much you say your self awareness is high, there is a perspective that someone else brings when they are showing like a mirror to you, right? So you keep Looking back to say, okay, why am I doing this?

So you go into your deeper self and then you figure things out. And that’s what actually helps you to go forward because you’re seeing something that’s driving your actions, but you actually don’t know that that’s what is driving these actions, right? So that’s the way I work with people. So I help them see their blind spots.

I help them go much deeper and gain clarity and insights. Through those insights, people make decisions and, you know, glad that you asked this question at the start because a lot of people I think, or I have come across have said, I don’t have a problem, you know so why do I need a coach? Right?

So I just want to use this platform to tell people there is no need to have a problem or a challenge. All you need to do is have something in front of you and say, Hey, you know what? I want to get there from here. That’s all. That’s that’s enough. to get coached because that journey is going to get you into a lot of hurdles.

That journey is going to not be easy, right? Uh, Moving from a destination A to destination B. So that’s a process when you have a coach, it’s like you have extra pair of eyes. which is showing you the things that you’re not seeing. So your path becomes more effective and your path becomes more easier to travel.

You would still travel, right? For example, you, you would achieve a goal maybe in five years. Whereas if you have a coach who’s helping you to figure things out, you might do it in two years. And that’s a lot of safe of time, safe of energy. Save of doing bad decisions. Sometimes, right. You don’t want to do a decision and say, regret it and say, Oh, I shouldn’t have done this.

Like we do that in our lives. So those are some spaces where coaching can really help. And you know, to, to, to really change the way things are for anyone.

[00:04:06] Krati: Yeah, I agree with you. I think also, like if you, by yourself, you can get to level 4, perhaps with a coach you can get to level 10. I always Think of it like that, you know you may be making the best of your potential, but maybe a coach with a coach in the scene with you could make you push you beyond even the limits that you, you know, you have assigned yourself or limits that other people are assigning you, something like that.

So I think, yeah, coaches definitely do have a role to play, but you know, what’s really fascinating about your story. I’ve read so many wonderful things about you. You are clearly very good at your job. So what’s, Fascinating is when, whenever I have guests on the show and I’ve had like a lot of very diverse, like, it’s been a diverse collection of people that have been on the show.

Everyone, mostly everyone has this story, unless it’s scientists and doctors, then in those cases it’s different. But anyone, a coach and a therapist, people like that are usually, they, they’ve had something happen in their own life. Something that was so Something that broke them or something that you know took them to the words where they were like this is People can other people need help in this direction Also, let me do my recovery and then i’m gonna help others.

My story is very similar to that So I would love to you don’t have you don’t have you don’t have that push. So I love that I love that you came from like this perfectly healthy, okay place and you were like i’m just From this very healthy perspective, you were like, let me help other people. So what made you go into that mindset?

What made you think you could be effective at this?

[00:05:42] Abirambika: thank you so much. I think I’ve heard what you said also from many people that I work with. I mean, more so therapists and people who work in emotional regression and all of that. For me, the there’s two parts to this story of mine. So one is. The reason why I quit a place like Citi, I mean, Citi is a great place to work, right?

So it’s it’s one of the best payers. I mean things really are great because you keep growing there’s so much to that space but I took a break because of my son because he was two years old and he really didn’t understand that I was even his mother because he thought my mom was his mom because that’s how work busy, right?

That was one part of it, but that that’s not a, that’s not something which said, okay, something is wrong, right? It’s, it’s not from that perspective, but for me, what drives me is my curiosity, right? My curiosity to see what can I do or what can, what’s what can life really be when you take some plunge, like getting out of a Well paying job and actually looking at something else, right?

So that’s what I think drives me, and that’s something that drives me even today. Like for example, I moved from India. I have a very successful business. It’s still running. I have clients. I, I work with corporate clients, but I took the plunge to come here because my husband moved for work. So the point is, that’s the, the aspect, which is what I think.

What I gained after becoming a coach is to stay stable, to become more resilient. And I see that works very well because everything that happens, most of the times we try and blame outside, right? Okay. That went wrong. So I am like this and this went wrong. So, so there is always this something that is outside.

But then predominantly, all of those are things we are okay with, and that’s why we are allowing it to happen to us, right? In a way, when we know, and, and, you know, I, I, I trust my intuition to the T, like I, for me, that’s what guides me. So if my intuition says, This is okay to plunge, even though I’m a very curious person, I say yes, and I go for it because there is nothing better than that as a guide.

Right? I would say forget coaches, forget mentors, forget everybody. Just, you know being able to actually listen to your intuition is very powerful. In that sense, I think what I did was just went by that. I took that plunge. Just listening to it and even though the first few years I hardly made any money, right?

Obviously, you start a business, it’s not going to be easy. And there were things like getting back to work, you weren’t really making money, but I, I kept hearing that, no, just stick around, right? Just stay there. Yeah, and that worked. And I, I, I know for a fact, it’s not just for me. That’s how it works for everybody else as well.

[00:08:31] Krati: Tell me a little bit about that struggle. Because I think a lot of people are fascinated by this coaching industry. And I feel like a lot of people First, tell me, like, where are your clients based?

[00:08:41] Abirambika: So I coach across the globe. I have clients across the globe. And then my corporate clients were because my business initially was based out of India. I had a lot from there. But right now I’m obviously trying to expand and trying to build basis in two places. But you know, a mix of people. I’ve worked with men, I’ve worked with women, all age groups and, and the coaching team, like majority of the coaching team is about self doubt, right?

Like, amazing. Okay. Am I even capable of my confidence and stuff like that? And then things like trying to build some new things, right? Sometimes organization needs employees to change in certain ways, but it becomes not so easy, so that’s a area that I try and help them. So it’s basically the grass is greener on the other side or not.

Is the question. Right. So nobody knows that when you actually get there and you can’t see it, if it’s a, if it’s a time bound thing, like if it’s, if it’s a goal that you want to achieve in next one year or two years, three years, you don’t know whether you’re actually going to land there or be able to, you know, or will that make you really happy?

Right. So these are all the questions that people generally struggle with. And based on that, taking decisions, you know, to, to fit that. Being able to take decisions to support that journey. So that’s the kind of work that I do. So I do transformative programs. I help people see the sides that they’re not able to see.

So I’ll help them to see different perspectives and see that they are actually capable of doing it. Right. That’s the most important thing because they believe that they can’t. They believe it strongly because in the past, I mean, belief is what drives us. So these beliefs come from things that’s happened in the past, right?

I mean, for someone like I keep thinking about KFC, that’s the thousandth business that he had and he kept trying, and that’s one of the largest you know fast food chains in the whole of the world. And they’re still opening so many. So if he had decided in the 300 or maybe the 400 and said, you know what?

I’m not fit for business. We would not even have a chain like that. So what I try and help people is you have a vision, you have an idea, you want something in life, just go for it. Right. Don’t be born, you know, binded by things that you think cannot happen. And just, just the way you flow with it. I somehow feel universe supports that, right?

It might sound very philosophical, but then that’s the fact. I have experienced that. I feel the more you want something. And if you really, you know, go by your intuition. It works out eventually. All you need is stay with it and keep, keep wanting it.

[00:11:27] Krati: Let’s talk about that a little bit because these days, a lot of people are stepping out and doing their own thing, especially with the advent of AI. A lot of people are realizing that that’s really for some of us. That’s really the only option we’ve got. But saying that, you know, things will work out eventually is it’s really not an option for a lot of people. For a lot of people, they can’t keep investing in a direction that’s not giving them returns. So, During that period, what would you recommend to people?

What kind of mindset would you recommend they maintain? Because sometimes, you know, you have a big vision, you are full of um, zest and you’re full of this sort of wide eyed excitement about something, but that something is not.

I mean, I’m someone who believes in having a growth mindset. I’m someone who believes that you can make things work for you with enough effort. But sometimes what’s happening is from my own experience, I would say is you are not developing the qualities that you need to develop. You are perhaps not able to connect to the right people because in today’s environment, it’s so competitive.

Everyone is so good and they’re all, they have access to so many resources. They are all bringing their A game. Which means you sometimes have to leverage certain qualities or certain, sometimes it’s connections. Sometimes you already need a starting capital. There’s so many factors at play when it comes to uh, making a business work for you.

It’s, it’s somewhat different in a job because then you just, you know, you gotta just do your job and be really good at it and keep growing. But when it comes to developing a business, it’s, it’s somewhat different. It’s, it’s very different. So talk to me about that as someone who’s done it. And as someone who has also helped people through, you know making their own business work for them, have has held their hand maybe in an emotional capacity.

[00:13:15] Abirambika: Yeah. Great question. And you know what when, when we say this is my dream, this is something that I really want, then the point is, do you really want it? Is the question. Right. Is it really your dream? That’s the starting point, because when we think of something and when we want to do something, just like how you started saying AI is the thing.

And now suddenly, if I want to become an AI expert, and You know, because the world is doing so there is always a always a line that someone has to draw and say, this is who I am. And that’s why the important conversations with coaches happen, right? Because they drill you to a level where you, you are challenged to say, is this really my dream or not?

If that is true, then there is no going back. Then there is no nothing that comes in your way. Then you don’t need to worry about others A game. You start worrying about your own A game. That’s it, right? Because I truly believe, and I know this is a fact again, is everyone has a place in this world, right?

Everyone has something for themselves in the world, which means they just have to figure. What that is, if I, if I think the world is going in a specific direction and, Hey, that seems the new fad, let me go into that. That’s not going to work for me because that’s not who I am. So the very clear conversations to set before even jumping into a business.

And in fact, when I was supposed to get into my business, I had conversations with a lot of you know, family friends who are running businesses for ages, right? So I was said, take even five years to plan your business. Right? If that’s your idea, take even five years to plan your business. But once you get into it, then there’s no going back, which means the five years that you spend, you are gaining so much clarity about it that you know exactly where to go, what to do, how to position yourself.

So that’s what I’m talking about. So I know it’s, it’s look, when I’m saying it sounds very easy, but in, in real, it’s not so easy, it is challenging my, my only um, you know, request to everyone who wants to jump into a business or even become a coach. Like I get asked literally every other day in LinkedIn.

I want to become a life coach. I want to become a coach. How do I become right? Kids just getting out of college saying I want to coach. Fair enough. Become, but don’t choose it because it’s the latest fad, right? Choose it because something inside you is driving you towards that. And then. That’s it. Then you, you find your own niche, you find your own ways to do it and others will start looking at you then.

[00:15:59] Krati: This is something that, you know, you, you kind of have to do it because the excitement is going to wear off eventually when you’re pulling in all nighters and you have to get up at strange hours in the morning. So then you kind of, you know, what will sustain you is true bone deep investment into what, you know, the path that you’ve chosen for yourself.

But I also like my heart goes out to people who say who would I would meet someone online or in person and they would say something like you’re so lucky and I am very lucky. I’ve had so much support in my journey. I’ve had like the best of education best of everything. So I and they would say something like and they’re not taking like a hit at me or anything.

They’re just like We wish we had that and I had to give up on my dream because I’m the primary breadwinner in my family. I’ve got kids and I’ve got a, I’ve got dependent parents and I had to, you know, stop after when the profits weren’t coming in because it was unfair to my family. And I think it’s incredible when you can, I don’t like, I don’t promote.

Self sacrifice or any of those ideas, but sometimes you have to put someone else’s interest over your own Especially when they’re dependent on their well being They’re dependent on you for their well being. I think it’s incredible when people can do that I I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

A lot of people have this idea that it’s very toxic But you know coming from India we’ve I’ve grown up seeing my parents Give up so much to make me happy, to keep me safe and provided for. So here’s what I would love for you to share your perspective around this. Like, I don’t want to definitely not normalize giving up.

I want everyone to go after their dreams, but when things are really not working out, what, and you, you, you know, you have to pull back cause you have to bring in the money, what would you recommend those people do? What kind of mindset should they maintain? When they, you know, cause it’s a very, very painful thing.

[00:17:55] Abirambika: It’s you know, like you said, it’s, it’s a very Indian mentality as well. Right. And nothing wrong with it because that’s, that’s how, that’s our culture. That’s how we’ve grown. And that’s a fantastic thing because you have family to lean back on. Like I have my husband who takes care predominantly a lot of things for me.

Right. But if you go deeper and actually, if the person is listening to themselves, these choices are made by them, even though the society says so, even though there is ailing family members, there’s so many things. Still making that choice because you are somewhere not pressured, but you’re okay with taking that decision, right?

That’s something that’s made you do that, which means some part of what you’re doing in that whole thing, you are kind of okay with it. Even if it’s 10%, even if it’s 5%, 15%, 20%, but then you’re okay with it. So what I want people like this is to flip the coin back and say if this is what I want, right, how should I make that happen?

And why do I really want that? Because see sometimes and especially people who are working in the corporate, right? They always talk about, Oh, you know what? I am so stressed. I am this, I am that this company’s lunch is not good. This is bad. That’s bad. My manager is bad. My one question is why aren’t you quitting them?

You’re still there, right? You are there. You’re doing the work. Salary is one thing. Maybe another hundred companies will pay you the same thing, right? If you go back and actually ask these people, they wouldn’t have even prepared their own resume and applied anywhere to check because they’re actually okay with the company, right?

That’s what people don’t see because it’s easier to blame others and say things are working because I haven’t put the effort somewhere and, and I, I, I’m not at the same time trying to say that, you know, people who take care of the family is giving up something, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s bad. But then what I’m trying to say is I’ll give you another example to make this very clear.

Like when I quit, right, my original idea was

to. Because I needed to take care of my son. Okay. But I know deep inside me, that’s going to kill me in a few years because I am not that person. I had lots of ambition. I had, you know, that drive to do something for myself, but at the same time, my intentions were, you know, specific to my son, so I could, I had two choices, I could be a housewife, right?

Just do that one job and be happy with it. In a way, actually not being happy with it, right? But the other way is to take it slow. I could face this what I want, right? So I kind of faced it to say till my son turns eight, I’m going to go slow, right? I’m going to set the stage for myself. I’m going to prepare.

I’m going to get my credentials done. I’m going to start. I’m not going to, I’m going to work with individuals, which isn’t going to be time consuming for me. I’m not going to do larger corporate sessions because that’s going to be days of work, So I split my work and I said, I’m going to set the stage.

I’m going to build my base. And the moment he turned eight, that’s the time I said, boom. And I jumped into the thing, right? So here, what I have done is I haven’t let go of my dreams. At the same time, I haven’t sacrificed. Now imagine if I had sacrificed and say my son turns 10 and 11 and 12 and 13, he will start needing less of me, right?

Imagine if I had 24 hours to take care of one child, the amount of efforts I’m going to put on him. I’m going to know what does he do? Every morsel of food that he eats, right? Every, I’m going to be behind him like a leash, right? Now, slowly he will start veering away from me because he’s growing older.

And my personal thought would be, Oh my God, I sacrificed for this child and look at him. He’s disrespecting me. He is not talking to me, he is not respecting me, he is not giving me the time, he is giving the time to his friend. All of this is going to take me into my own depression. state of mind, right?

But now I, I, I’m telling him, Hey, listen, you are eight. You do you, I do me, right? I get into what I need to do. There are times that we come together. We have our fun. We go out, we take days off mom, son time. We do all of that, but you do you and I do me. So that’s what I want to tell these people and say, Hey, listen, don’t leave it out because of someone else.

Keep it, try and do small parts of it. So you don’t feel bad. At the same time, there is going to be a day when you can go into that fully. And that day, when you start late, like for example, if I had started my business, I started when I was in my thirties, early thirties, right. You want to start something late.

I’m not saying people can’t. There are a lot of people who do it. There’s a different drive to them. But then you lose the game, right? You, you lose that. And you say, you know what? I have worked for it for 20. I know people who’ve been basketball players, who’ve been national players, who let it go because they got a job.

And today they can’t go back to the game and they feel bad that they didn’t keep in touch with it. So I’m saying keep in touch with it in smaller bits. The way you can. How much ever you can. Right? Whatever you can do towards that. So you feel you are there. At the same time, you are bringing a balance to what you want to do.

[00:23:23] Krati: What a very, very beautiful answer. What a very like, mm hmm. The perfect, you couldn’t have said it better. I mean such a beautiful example that you shared and I agree with you 100 percent I’ve never been able to say it as well as you just did but I agree with you 100 percent and you know a lot of this is just any building any dream on Instagram people make it look very glamorous but in reality it’s so much grunt work it requires so much patience and a lot of people don’t have that and it requires adaptability and A lot of the times it’s just you silently sitting in a corner doing your thing for many, like you said, for many, many years, you were just setting a foundation, you were not getting any, you were not out there doing this thing where people could see you doing it, which is what a lot of people look for these days, like they want validation, validation is so important to them, but I love the answer that you gave me and here’s, here’s like the struggle that I encounter in a lot of my conversations is because I work with, Like I haven’t worked in my capacity as a coach with Indians.

I, as I told you, perhaps, so there is perhaps that cultural friction, I don’t know, but when you work with I don’t want to name any specific culture, but what I encounter is that whenever you say like, it can happen, it can work. You just have to find your own way to get to that destination. People are always like.

You are being too hard. You’re being too tough. You’re not understanding that there are people who really can’t do it, who really are down and out. They just simply, you come from such a privileged background and then they use your privilege to shut you up. But what you said, you’ve said it wonderfully, that, yeah, it may not look how you want it to look, but it can happen.

I mean, I Initially, when I started doing this work, I was working with underserved communities, people who came from women from Rajasthan who are now, who have no education. who go around wearing their very ethnic clothing. They’re going into banks looking like that and they just don’t give a fuck.

They’re like, what does it matter what we’re wearing? Focus on what we are saying. And they’re so, somehow they found that confidence. Some of them come from abusive backgrounds. Some of them have known nothing but dismissal their whole entire life. And yet somehow they’re doing it. And I find that so beautiful.

So people always rise to the occasion. I feel like if you’re not able to do it, there is something in you that you’re not seeing yet.

[00:25:56] Abirambika: Yeah, I think it’s it’s it’s always about us, right? That’s that’s the key thing. It’s always about us, how we connect to everything around us. So if something works. then that’s the way we are connecting. If something doesn’t work, then that’s the way we’re connecting. So the moment we recognize that, then we change.

That’s the insights that I talk about. So when I talk about change, I talk about something called the IAP conversations. It’s called the insight, action, and possibility conversation. So most of the times, the deeper the insights and the clarity we have, the better we are ready to take actions, which means we are ready to take courageous actions.

Otherwise we are scared, right? Those courageous actions can only come when you really, really have deep inside those insights as to the what, why, how, who, so many questions. Another thing, like, you know, because we’re talking about people who want to change and who want to bring into business sometimes. It is scary.

So when we say we want something, right? Like I said, is it really my want? If it is, then I want to keep at it in some parts of the app and the more insights I’m able to get.

I’m able to take courageous actions on top, right? So it’s about the deeper the insights are, the better my actions are going to be, which means the closer I’m going to get to the possibility of what it can bring. So when these happen, when, when there is a reason that comes in saying, I’m not able to do it because of this.

Then one is I’m not seeing the possibilities, right? The other is I don’t have sufficient insights to make me do that. Because we have always focused on how do I get there, right? Whenever you want to do something, the first question is, well, how do I get there? But if you start asking, why do I want to get there?

What’s this going to make me, then the, way we would approach the how will become easier. Most of the times we get caught in the how. Oh, you know, I’ll give you another example. Someone wants to buy a house, right? There’s you need 30 percent or how many of a percentage of money to put in. Maybe you don’t have that.

Maybe you don’t have you know, the capabilities to pay the EMI. There’s so many things and then. That’s the how right now the moment you think of this how you feel overwhelmed and you say, you know what forget it I’m not gonna do this right because it seems too much for me to manage right? But when you want to start seeing why do I want this house for myself?

What’s gonna make this something? That’s Me, right? Why do I want to own this? And those answers will give you a different view. Then you come to the how of doing it. And that’s how coaching conversations generally are, right? The who and, and, and the what is pretty strong. And the moment you solidify that, The how comes out like a no brainer.

They, they find newer ways to do it.

[00:28:58] Krati: What i’ve noticed now with the generation that’s now coming into this field of work from college is that they There is such a thing as working with the system and working against the system that I see happening Like there are very clear distinctions that are now coming up When I remember when I uh, came uh, back to India, I started looking for jobs because I didn’t take place, I didn’t want to stay in London, I wanted to come back to India.

I remember it being challenging and I remember some interviews were places where I was questioned in a very Not a very friendly way about why did you go to London? Why did you choose to study there? Why not Indian schools? Do you not think Indian schools are good enough? That was very strange to me.

But at no point did I think let me make a TikTok about it or let me make an IG video about it and complain about it. I was like, this is Part of the process. You just gotta take it. There’s no other way about it. I didn’t sit and complain about it. Didn’t do anything of that sort. I do appreciate that this generation does not put up with any kind of bullshit.

If there is something happening, they’ll call you out on it. But the other thing is, they’re so hostile to a method that they feel is not how they want things to be done. Which I find it very strange. Like recently, I don’t know if you heard about the 70 hour work week comment that was made by Infosys CEO. Krishnamoorthi, Narayan Krishnamoorthi, right? If I’m not getting the name wrong. And he’s a great man. He’s achieved incredible things.

And if he’s saying 70 hour work week is how we do it. You, you have to believe him. He’s sharing his own experiences. But there was like this whole slew of pushback. Like there’s these comments online that were, they were, people were very shocked by it. I did not expect that because in India, we’re kind of knuckle down and keep at it till you break through that wall and you’ve made it to the finish line.

It’s kind of hard attitude. So I found that so strange. And then again, this thing came up in my head, working with the system, working against the system. How much of your energy are you wasting or maybe not wasting, depending on the kind of traction you’re getting are you investing in breaking the system and making it adapt to your needs instead of you adapting to what, you know, the world is telling you, Hey buddy, this is how it is.

You want to get there. This is how you have to do it. So talk to me about like investing that

emotional energy. Because I’m sure you’ve encountered especially working with in a corp, you know, with corporate people. I’m sure you’ve encountered this these ideas

[00:31:23] Abirambika: So you know, I, I love what you said about breaking the system, going against it, you know, I’ll, I’ll take that example of a 70 hour work right now. If I’m working for someone, right, I don’t want to be told that you need to work longer hours because that’s, that’s not coming naturally because it’s someone else telling me what to do, right?

But at the same time, if I’m running my business, I would work 100 hours a week because that’s how it is. It’s my business. And I have to work. 70 hours is nothing. What he says. It’s really nothing, right? You landed much more. You don’t get your sleep the night you you work over weekends and you literally do that.

So when it’s said in a in a way, and it’s said by somebody else, it’s always a problem. And it’s not just any generation. I think everybody would feel the same because it’s somebody else telling unless and until the person really respects it. Next. You know, Narayana Murthy and saying, you know what, you actually, he, he has built an organization and actually taken India to a different level with his, with Infosys, right?

And then you, you know that that’s probably how he got it done. So when he says 70 hours a week, it’s about looking at it from non, not a judgmental space to say, who are you to tell me to work for 70 hours, but to say, what’s making him say 70 hours, what’s that going to drive or bring to me, right? If we had said 30 hour a week. Work is, is great. People would say, wow, you know what? Bang on, you know, that’s, that’s what I want because that’s what you really want. So the moment you hear something that you don’t want, you want to rebel, right? You want to say no to it. Not seeing the actual facts. So it’s just coming from a personal judgment.

So when things are said or being heard, especially during today’s world, where everything is social media and things are being said in many ways, right? I think. If we pay attention to what I want to really take back from that, then we start seeing it differently. And, you know we also talked about younger kids who are coming into the organization and saying, you know what, this is me and they’re calling out things, which is a great thing because you are able to wise out your needs.

More effectively and saying, you know, this is what I like and you’re not sitting hard on something and feeling bad about it. That’s one side, but at the same time, are they really doing it for themselves is the question that I keep coming back, right? Is it a norm and does it look like a fad around my peers that, hey, you know what, she said this, right?

If that is the reason why someone is doing, then that’s not going to last long. It’s not going to have an impact over, over the self eventually. Uh, Forget about everybody else, but the self will start feeling bad. And that’s why if you see today’s depression rates are much higher. See, if you look back two generations back, maybe there was no psychological assessments, maybe not, but then people had less, but people were happy.

They were more healthy. They had, you know, so many things. And what made that happen is acceptance you know, and, and enduring. things that change and, you know, you, you are okay to do something like that. In organizations, we go to talk about VUCA world. And we talk about, you know, adaptability. We talk about authenticity as all of those traits.

We kind of do training to help people stay that course. But in real, am I following those in my real life? Right? Am I really being authentic when I say, when I’m saying something? Am I really being able to adapt to some situations the way I want to adapt it, right? Now imagine if you had asked that person, you know, what the hell?

Why would you ask me something like this? Nothing would have happened, right? You know, the person would have said why the person is saying something like that, maybe because they feel we have so many good institutions here. And that’s, that’s a judgment of that person, right? Because they have studied in something, maybe they’ve done well in their life.

I could say that and say, you know Sundar Pichai came from a, you know an engineering. In university from India, right? Didn’t he make it to the top? I, I would tend to argue. I mean, that that’s probably in the top of that person’s mind. And so, so many combinations can make someone say something now.

And so many combinations is making us not accept what they are saying. And all it takes is just understanding that in that moment. And then saying, I want to respond to these. I don’t want to respond to these because responding to these doesn’t make an impact for the person, for me. It doesn’t, it’s just going to drain me out of my energy.

Am I using my energy in the positive way that I want to do, or do I want to just rebel for everything? So there’s these finer questions that you start asking yourself and then just go with that, you know, and, and go with that intuitive feeling to say, yes, this is something I do want to stand for. And this is something I just want to skip it.

You know, it’s just not worth it.

[00:36:30] Krati: I also think like when you have to do work 70 hours for to build someone else’s dream, like when you’re working for someone else, you know, you might not have the motive.

But I always say like, if Elon Musk is telling you his routine, or it’s Narayan Krishnamoorthy, or maybe the Mukesh Ambani is telling you there, you You have to understand where they’re at. If you, they’re saying you want to get here, this is what you have to do.

[00:36:56] Abirambika: Again, very personal, right? If someone wants to do it, they could, and that’s what effort is going to be. So it’s very simple. I put efforts for 40 percent time of whatever I can. I, and I could be more efficient as well. I could be much smarter in doing it. And I could, I could do it at a lesser time, which is great.

But end of the day, the 70 hour is not really hours, but the effort that someone needs to put in to get something, that’s what he’s referring to. He’s not literally saying. 70 69, then, you know that’s not okay. He, that’s not what he’s referring to. He’s trying to say, put more efforts in what you want. What do you want to get in life?

And then that’s it. So the more efforts, the more benefits. to, to getting somewhere there, right? So sometimes, you know, it’s, it’s easy to look at someone’s success and feel bad that I’m not able to do it because maybe I’m just not putting the effort and you spoke about luck and you spoke about being lucky in a way, but even that is a choice.

We are only making that choice, right? It’s Well, we could just hush it off saying luck, but and then actually you’ve put that efforts to get that right. If someone says you have a great family, you have put that effort to keep that family together, right? So when you, when someone else sees they don’t see that, but they only see the results.

So they might say lucky. They might say things work out for you. Elon Musk is great. We don’t know the efforts that they’re putting in. And that’s what he’s talking about in 70 hours. So do the efforts, do the thinking, do, do what it takes. And then there is no looking back. Like I’ve also given other example, someone climbs this, say 10 ladders and tell me you put so much effort, you reach until eight, but you don’t know there’s only two more ladder on the top.

And by the eighth, you are so tired. You just give up and say, you know what? I can’t do this anymore, but it’s just two more steps. It’s like that two steps. If you have the resilience or the or the energy and something is motivating you to get there, you would have got there. You would have also become Elon Musk.

Right. So He’s not running a business with his money. He’s obviously funded. He has an idea. And to get that idea, where will it originate from? Not from Google search. It has to come from your mind. Which means you have to work on your mind. It’s a process. When you said systemic, I would say working on yourself is a systemic process on its own.

It’s finding small, small buckets that you keep doing to get there. Like someone says, you know what? Meditate every day. Why, you know, why do you have to sit and do that? Because you’re clearing your head. It’s like clearing your cache in the system, right? Which means your ideas are better, you, you have more clarity, you have lesser things to worry.

You know, so, so much in that system happens when you follow a systemic process and it’s not for work, it’s for life itself.

[00:39:53] Krati: true. So true. Uh, I definitely want to keep going on that track, but here’s something like I would want to, I want to mention for the benefit of my listeners is something that a lot of the times when we look at someone’s life and we think this worked out for them for X, Y, Z reason. I think that says something about you and you need to make a note of it When you’re trying to dismiss someone else’s success because of the privileges that I’ve had this done to me many times What a lot of people never knew about me was I my parents come from poverty what they have they built from scratch So I had that same fire in me that i’m not gonna take their resources, whatever I will build Maybe it will be small but it would it will be mine.

So while I Live with them and obviously my parents will not let me pay rent or anything uh, but, and, and they give me so much emotional support that there is, you cannot put any price in it. And I am 100 percent an extremely privileged person, but I never took money from them. Something I’ve never mentioned to anyone, like very close friends know this about me because that was just something.

You know, because my father never did. My mom never did. My mom spent many winters with just one sweater. And even that one sweater was not in a very good condition because they didn’t want to take handouts. That’s, that is the sort of culture, that’s sort of, not culture, but that is the sort of thinking that I’ve been brought up with.

And I wanted to do the same thing. So, a lot of the times I would meet people who would be like, Oh, you could do it because, you know, your parents have money and you obviously must have taken. No, I used my own savings. I worked on this business and I worked on projects that paid me because I have very good education, I was able to get those products.

And yes, that education was paid for by my father and my mother. So for that, again, that’s privilege. So I acknowledge it. But now here’s the, here’s the thing that I would want to talk to uh, discuss with you is that when we try to dismiss what someone else has built big or small, and we look at what was working for them and only what was working for them and use that to be dismissive of that success.

Cause here’s where like you mentioned self awareness, I want you to keep, please keep going on that and talk to me about when people find themselves in these positions because they can be very, There is something deeper going on there. How do they recognize when it’s happening? How do they stop themselves in their tracks?

And what sort of the next time they are moving through the world, what sort of eyes do they bring? Like what sort of perspective and mindset do they

bring?

[00:42:29] Abirambika: So one is they have a lot of time. Okay. I would just start with that.

One is they have so much time that they can keep looking at what’s happening in others life, right? Which means that time that you can use for yourself doing something that you really love, you’re missing out on, right?

So that’s number one. You probably are doing it because you want to get motivated. Now, how many of our self help books you learned and do or read and how many of our TED talks you watch, how many of our people’s life you watch, you still have to do what you have to do. Right? These are not going to motivate you to an extent what internally you, you really get motivated to do, right?

So I think when people do that, they just have to become aware of, I am spending this time on this person. Is this helping me in any way? That’s one question they could ask themselves, right? And then say, is this shifting anything for me? Is this making anything better in my life? answer is a clear no. If it isn’t, why am I even doing that action?

So I’ll talk to you about, it’s, it’s called the second order thinking or the nth order thinking. You must’ve heard about it. Third order thinking, second order thinking, or nth order thinking. That is to say, when I want to take this decision of saying, putting that comment, right, what is this going to do to me immediately is make me feel, wow, you know what, I brought this person down.

But eventually, One year down the lane, two years down the lane, you’re not thinking of what can happen, right? I’m just saying, for example, say you put out something really bad on social media. Okay, you, you kind of you know, did something really bad and then it’s You know, it’s there, right? You, you delete it.

It’s still existing somewhere. Somebody still has it. Somebody has still seen it. There’s something still out there. Now, say you go to a employer a few years later and then that employer sees this comment or sees this. thing that you’ve done and says, you know what? We don’t want to hire somebody like this has happened to some clients that I know.

So why would you want to do something which at the core of it, you know, is not right. So I keep telling my son you know, and as he’s grown, he and his friend, they kind of grew up together. I keep telling him only one thing, do anything till the time you feel confident, you can actually come and say that to me.

Dad, or to uncle and auntie. If you both can’t say that, if you somewhere feel this is not something I want to share with them, then don’t do it because you know for a fact that that’s not the right thing to do because you can’t all the time have a CCTV camera and keep looking at what your son does.

Right? So the moment this thought is there and he knows if I’m doing this, is it, is it okay to go back home and talk about it? If it’s not. I’d rather not do it. So somewhere, I think that’s a guiding light. Someone can take back and keep asking, is this something, I mean, at the same time, I’m not saying you can’t fail in things.

You can’t do something wrong, regret it and make corrections. You could, but if you really do it, then it’s great. But if you’re not doing that process, then somewhere you, it’s still there, right? I mean, end of the day. Everybody is actually nice, right? There’s no one who is a bad person. This is a good person, because we see so.

End of the day, the natural nature of human beings, in a way, we call it the Buddha nature, like, because I study Buddhism that’s something which is, It’s the core of everyone and that can’t change. Sometimes it’s just like a muddy water where the person doesn’t see it, but when you actually filter out water, it is pure water end of the day.

It’s not muddy. It, it might look muddy, but there’s a filtration process that can happen and actually get back to clear water. So if people are going through that process of filtering and removing the mud consciously and then taking out those things, that’s. so called dirt that they’re collecting in their heads, then they are going to be nice in the core of it, right?

So I would just invite people to keep this as a metaphor in their head to say, if someone is passing such a comment on me, for example, say someone is listening to this podcast and say, you know what, Abhi, you’re such full of crap. If I’m thinking, okay, this person’s muddy water hasn’t cleared out yet, right?

This person’s. Maybe there’s a muddy water there and I, that person is not able to see. I don’t feel bad about it. Right? End of the day, I shouldn’t feel bad about it. So if things like that happen to

you, just keep this metaphor in mind and say, that’s muddy water. I don’t want to put my hand in it at the time when it’s muddy.

I would go back to it when it’s clear water. So you stay away from it, right? You’re protecting your mind. You are basically taking care of yourself and saying, you know what? I don’t want to go and jump there. So that’s it. It’s just a very quiet Thing that you would want to do for yourself, which will really take care of your mental health to a large extent.

[00:47:38] Krati: Yeah. What happens to when you have no experience and you’ve never, you know, whatever field you have chosen, you’re new to that field. What keeps happening is you keep questioning your decision. You keep second guessing yourself, and that’s obviously very natural.

So in those cases, is there anything you would recommend and sort of an assessment or a gauge that people use to run their decisions through?

[00:48:00] Abirambika: Yeah. This is basically coming back to the self doubt, right? Whether I am the right person for the right job. Now um, if someone has chosen to go into a specific space let’s say, so I’ll take my example itself. So when I chose to go into L& D and go into coaching, obviously I’m new to it. Right. So I don’t have all the knowledge.

First of all, even business for that matter, you suddenly from a job, you jump into entrepreneurship. You don’t know to bookkeep. You don’t know how to market. You don’t know how to sell. You don’t know so many things, right? You don’t know digital media that, you know, you don’t know social media. You don’t know all of that, but you still want to run the business.

So there’s something about it that you still want to stick to, which means you will learn the rest. Okay. So if someone feels. Self doubt. Am I here? What’s causing that self doubt? Maybe other people in the system are saying or maybe it’s just a feeling Oh, all of these people look so experienced and I’m the junior most in this group, right?

This is again a conversation that I’ve had with clients. I’m the most junior So I feel maybe I’m you know, not not enough But you still got chosen for the job the person who hired you Knows that this is the team that you’re coming into and you are the junior most You still got, got through that interview and you are there

so that’s what I want to want people to focus on. I know it sounds like you have to be the optimist. And in fact, I was writing an article, which probably come out tomorrow to say, you know, being an optimist sometimes just makes you take bad decisions and makes you feel you know, did not see and be realist, right?

But that’s what is going to make you go in front. The moment you want to see things in real, like you have touch and feel, then you already are aware of what’s there, right? There’s, there’s no extra intelligence that’s required to deal with that situation because it’s right in front of you.

But if you want to do something which you can’t see, That’s where your, your personality comes out. That’s when you are seeing something that a different capability of yourself. Let me put it that way, a different capability of yourself that can help you. So if someone did the job in one direction, you don’t need to do the same job in the same direction.

You could think of it differently. End of the day, the goal is to achieve it. Again, I’ll give you another example with my son. Okay. So he was, when he was much smaller, he plays uh, uh, and I’ve set this example in many, many different forums as well. So he plays football, soccer in, I mean, soccer for here back in India, it’s football.

So there he obviously has to take his extra shoes. He has his gears. He has all of that, that he carries in a separate bag, right? Now he has a school bag and he plays after school. So he has, he had another smaller bag and he had this large, big bag with books and stuff. Now he would always. Keep carrying that bag you know, in front, like you would wear one bag in the back and he would wear one bag in the front.

And he was very tiny. He was very puny kid. And for me, I will be like, you know, you’re sitting in the bus and then the bus stops and then you go and hit against your shoes, right? You, you’ll keep hitting against the bag. So for me, it just felt like, you know what, I will get you a sling bag. So the, the, this thing goes in the side of you and is actually going to sit on the chair.

Right. But for him, he’s like, if I have a sling bag, when I walk, it’s going to wobble this way and I don’t like it. So we had a difference in thoughts. It’s a very simple example, but we had a difference in thought. So he, I kept going back to him saying, you know, think about it and all of that. And then one day he comes to me, he says, you know what, Abu, tell me what do you want?

I said, I don’t want the bag in the front. You know what he did? He loosened up his bag. He put it over his head. So the bag went reverse, you know, so he’s, there’s one bag, which is one from here, one bag from the front and one goes on top. So he’s like, the zip is fine. So nothing, it’s not going to fall.

Right. Then that became a trend in school. Everybody started wearing a bag, like two bags in the back. Now my idea is have a sling bag because it’s not in the front. Now he also achieved the same thing. But he achieved it differently. I never thought that one could do that. Right. Someone could actually wear two bags, you know, like this.

So he’s like, now, are you happy? He just walked away. It just took him two seconds to do that. And he just walked away. Right. So So Transcribed I just want to tell people who self doubt themselves, right, there

is your own way, your own uniqueness that you can bring to the situation. It may not be what the experienced person is doing.

There is a packet knowledge with these people, which is great. You pick that up. If it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, you think on your own and see what will work best in that situation. And if that’s going to happen, your unique personality is coming out. Your unique ideas are going to come out and that’s how you stand out, right?

Then you’re not following the crowd. You’re rather creating a separate pathway, which is probably the way, maybe only you could walk in that path, which is fine. You can still walk in that path, right?

[00:52:52] Krati: Yeah. so many people I, I, you know, would look at how other people have done it, and they would try and copy their methods, because, you know, you think this person Clearly made it so let me just do what they’ve done and they encounter a lot of challenges because you’re not that person you don’t have Their personality or maybe you don’t have the resources or maybe you were born in a different time And you know, it’s the the system that or maybe that person is american You’re indian.

It could be so many things but what you recommended I think that would give people if you keep that in mind it would give you the courage and would remind you Did you got your own thing going on?

Again, I love that throughout this conversation, you keep giving people back their power because there are so many narratives during the round today that are all about, you know, taking things in a way where you are putting doubt on how capable we are. You know, there’s this like, slow down, self love stuff, and all of those things have their place.

But when you are talking about big dreams, if you have a big dream, you have to show up. You have to fight, you have to go to war for it. There is just simply no other way.

[00:53:59] Abirambika: Big dream, small dream, any dream, no dream, but you still have to move forward, right? It’s a question. So someone comes and says, I like status quo. Why should I do this? Why should I learn something new? Why should? So it just, you know, for you to look forward to something, right? That’s the tendency is to, if you have to look forward in those days, they said, get married, have a child.

The reason why they said that. Of course, obviously, I also realized it much later, but when they said that, it’s not because they want to put you in a box, but it’s because you start reliving the childhood through your child, right? So you’re still young in your mind, you’re still having that energy because you’re running around, you’re doing things as what you did 20, 30 years back.

So that’s not

something that to say, you know what, you are nobody to tell me I should have a child. Fair enough, you know, if that’s, that’s not what that suits you, but I’m just saying. Think about why something happened and why it made someone happy, maybe because there is some reason for it. And that reason I’m not able to see at the moment, like a wind, muddy water, the moment I get clarity.

So that’s when coaching conversations become very vital. You want something, you don’t want something, get it clarified, speak it out, right? Have that conversation and then It’s very clear, right? Then there is no self doubt. There is no questioning yourself. You don’t feel the need. You know, when you do self love, it’s great.

But when you overdo it, then that becomes

How much should I do what, what should I in fact keep dealing with on my day to day basis in my life? Those are brilliant questions to ask. So if, if someone is a very reflective person then they start thinking from that reflective mindset, right? That’s why people say journal, write it down, you know, you know, things like that, because going back and reading it.

You start seeing why something you said or why you did something. So there are so many ways to do it. But the, I mean, I have found benefit in having coaching conversations with someone who has no bias, who has no judgments, who does not know me very well. So it’s going to come with no filters, right? It’s, they’re not going to come and be nice to me.

Coaches don’t come and say, Hey, you know what? You’re so cute. That’s not where they come from. Yeah, they’re

not emotional

support people. They are people who want to challenge you. They are people who want to get the best out of you, right? So be ready for that and get to those conversations, then you will start seeing the power of it.

So I have coached even 13 year old kids to, to even, you know, retired women, I’ve coached multiple segments, multiple different people. So what I, what I see is the moment they get into the conversation, then they feel like, you know what, this is. So exciting. This is something that I’m, I’m benefiting so much, but until they come there, it’s like, I want to do this course.

And, you know, another funny thing is people think coaching is expensive. These are some myths that I want to break as well. As we’re doing this, people think coaching is very expensive. It’s only for senior management. It’s only for them. It’s only, no, it’s for everyone. It’s for anybody and everybody.

You’re a retired person sitting at home. You’ve been so busy in your life. And then suddenly you have a vacuum. You, you want to fill. Coaching is for you too. Right? Or how do I spend my retirement money? Right? I got a FTP. What do I do? How do I spend it in the right way? A coaching conversation again. So any conversation that someone wants to fix a doubt in their head, gain more clarity and think it through before taking a decision.

Those are all spaces for it. So if you’re having self doubt, yeah. Nothing like doing that and getting that off your chest and off your head.

[00:57:47] Krati: And how can people work with

[00:57:48] Abirambika: They can reach out to me. Like I can share my you know, it’s, it’s there on my website. It’s abhirambika. com or through you know, my LinkedIn is there. Just search my name and you’ll find me, you’ll find all, all my details. So they couldn’t, I have, in fact, just to break that thing where they say coaching is long term, it’s six sessions, it’s eight sessions, and I have to be paying so much.

I have something where someone can just take one session with me. It’s just a single well, which is possible. Usually coaches don’t do that. They always prefer longer contracts. And that’s how you, in fact, change is you know, but I just do something called the insights. So if that’s just to get clarity on something.

So if you want to experience coaching, or if you want to explore coaching, block that one session, experience it, maybe come back to it. If you want longer sessions or you want to just go one session after one session. Whenever you need help, that’s also a possibility. So, there is, there is no um, rigidity to what we, what we’re trying to do.

I’m just trying to make sure that as many people as possible get. You know, get, get to coaching and then just try it out. And then it’s like this they say, right, you, you eat these cookies or you eat these chips, which has those flavoring where you want to keep going back to it. It’s more so like that.

But then we also have a process to wean away coaches you know, and then the person starts thinking that same direction. So that also happens. So the more you, you start working and in few sessions, you start realizing your thinking pattern changes. And then you start doing it on your own. So it’s not like a lifetime thing you need to do, but once you experience it, your way of approach towards things starts to change.

[00:59:30] Krati: Okay, my final question to you is if you could sort of if you had the power to code one quality to everyone’s character, what would that one

[00:59:39] Abirambika: So if, if someone can tap into their insights, like they, they just keep going back to you know, if, if it’s like a switch button, right. If you switch on that button, and if that button is going to make things more clear, like imagine a foggy glass in front of you, and then you have the ability to just wipe away the fog and actually see more clearly.

That’s something I think I would want

people to have because that will solve so many problems because you’re able to now just see it clearly, see it from for what it is and from a different perspective.

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