“Self-love is not some fluffy concept. You need to recharge your batteries to be available for others. We need to own our self-worth and speak more confidently about ourselves.”
Meera Remani, the leadership and executive coach, sits down with She Sight to speak about what we are doing that is preventing us from reaching our full potential.
- Just to start off, if we can have a short introduction of yourself and what you do as a leadership coach.
I am currently a leadership and executive coach, which means that I work with people in leadership positions incorporates as well as entrepreneurial roles. In essence what I help them do is explore their true potential and reach successes or goals that they have been aiming towards, not just in the professional space, but also in terms of personal satisfaction, well-being, relationships etc. I am originally from Kerala, India and I am an engineer and after that, I did my MBA at IIM Lucknow, after which I have been traversing the globe.
I’ve worked in several different countries, for example, the USA, India, Poland, Germany for companies like Amazon and Procter and Gamble. And in between all of this is when I realized my love for working with people and I wanted to make that a predominant part of my career. So that’s what brought me to coaching.
2. Was there a particular incident or something that made you decide to change your career track?
I think the desire was always there, in a very disguised form. Ever since my MBA days, when I entered the corporate world, I used to feel quite dissatisfied and bored and unfulfilled. Though I was doing well, and I was appreciated that underlying feeling of being unfulfilled was there. When I was younger, I used to think it was just me being lazy, that I keep putting my nose to the grindstone and that would be the path to success. That was of course based on a lot of conditioning and not just my conviction. But over a period of time, that message within me kept growing that this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. In between, there was a health incident that was triggered by burnout at work. I was in the ICU, I had back to back surgeries. It was a major incident. But now looking back I see that it was instrumental in me accelerating my choices. So when I was lying in the ICU, as I figured my way out of that experience, I started asking myself these questions about why did I burn out? What leads to that disease? And that spiritual exploration made me realize that I was stuck in places that don’t sync with my zone of genius. And I am not fulfilled at the end of the day. So then I started thinking of what would fulfil me. I looked back at my career, my values etc., and looked at the highlights. Where did I feel alive? And I realized it when I work with people on what really matters to them. Being true to their potential and innate desires as human beings. So that breakdown in health helped me accelerate the decision.
3) Is there a recent success story that you can share with us?
There are several success stories that come to mind. But one that I am inspired to share because I believe your readership is predominantly women. So I’ll talk about a client, she’s based in the US, when she came to me a couple of months ago, she had a lot of self-doubts and she was going through a career transition. She had so much self-doubt that she was not able to be fully present or be fully effective in interviews. We worked on her self confidence, we worked on her sense of self and power and worth, which she wasn’t acknowledging at all. A tangible change that happened in her life was of course getting a job that she truly desires but also negotiating for a salary that was multiples of what she had thought possible. She ended up negotiating a salary that was USD 500,000, which is quite significant.
There are two elements to my coaching. One is the mindset, under which comes confidence, self-worth, how you project your sense of value to others, which others then see and acknowledge. Then comes strategy. How do you communicate with people? How do you negotiate? Negotiate in a way that is respectful, authentic to you, that people see that value in you and want you. So those are the two elements that I help clients with and I was extremely pleased, and not at all surprised that she could do it. I saw that potential in her, but she was playing small and doubting herself. But now that she’s done it, this is her new normal. The new version of her! And I’m very excited to see what she will create in her life as a result of that empowered mindset. As I said, I don’t just work on a person’s professional and leadership aspects of their lives. I work on a person sense of calm, wellbeing, relationships etc. It t on a holistic level that people empower themselves. In doing it holistically they are able to help others as well. They create empowering environments for others as well.
4) What is the thing that is stopping most people from achieving their full potential?
I like this question a lot because I am very passionate about this and I believe that we all have so much potential, which we never acknowledge. I am also guilty of this, I have to use these tools of mindset and self-value on myself.
A lot of us play small, which is two things. The first is that we act like victims of our circumstances. We make excuses, it’s because of x that I am unable to do y. Secondly, we give our power away to others. For example, unless our husband, father, mother, boss acknowledge our self-worth, we don’t see our value. But I believe that we need to first see our value before that world acknowledges us. Simply put, in a challenging situation one of the powerful questions we can all ask ourselves is, how am I playing small here? What are the internal resources available to me that can help me the one step forward? Which can take us from a place of fear and anxiety to energy of curiosity and opportunity. Let me take that one step, let me believe in myself.
It has to come from within. If you don’t value yourself, and you don’t fully appreciate what you are capable of and don’t have the confidence then it won’t be reflected in the others around you. It’s a simple thing to say but we don’t practice it. A lot of celebrating burnout, we celebrate that we are busy, that we put others ahead of ourselves. But if you are getting burnt out, if you’re not getting enough sleep or rest, how are you going to operate in service to yourself or others? Self-love is not some fluffy concept. You need to recharge your batteries to be available for others. We need to own our self-worth and speak more confidently about ourselves. Self-love isn’t about soaking in a bathtub with candles and wine!
5) How has the pandemic affected the way you work? Has it changed the kind of clients that come forward? Have the issues people are dealing with change?
Nothing really has changed. Let’s start with the issues. In between there was a lot of talk of virtual leadership, how can we keep people motivated, at a managerial level. For individuals, it was a lot of stress, because there was no work/life separation because we were working a living in the same space. I think people are just starting to accept this (which I am not sure is such a great thing). People are distracted and managers are finding it difficult to keep people motivated.
6) So since you started, back in 2017, what have you learnt from the process? Has your process changed in any way?
As an entrepreneur, as my business has grown, I see the need for self-care and self-love. This means that I actively get a team behind me which helps me focus on my work as a coach. My zone of genius lies in coaching and creating original content. I actively make sure my energy is focussed there and other things like admin and social media, I outsource. Which is how I make sure that I don’t burn out. So that I can be fully present for my clients. Because coaching is an intense and involved exercise. It can drain your energy. So as an entrepreneur I am getting more refined, in how I am managing my time, how I work, I am clear on my priorities.
As a coach, I believe in continuous development so I keep investing in training myself and coaches and mentors for myself so they help me get out of my own way. That’s what’s great about coaches, we all need that third party to come in and say, so what’s going on?
It’s a learning process. My skills and confidence have gone through a change which has also translated to my clients going through positive changes.
7) Going from being an engineer to being a leadership coach, were there any classes or courses that you undertook?
Engineering and MBA were purely technical, managerial skillsets. After that, in 2017, I did my training with the Coaches Training Institute in Switzerland. It is a world-renowned institute for coaches. I keep training myself. So more recently, I did a positive intelligence training. Another is the leadership circle profile, which looks at our patterns strategically as well as mindset wise. Which is also an assessment tool. As I mentioned, I keep training myself and taking classes and investing in coaches. I believe in investing in myself.
8) Lastly, as you probably know, the majority of our readers are women. And predominantly they are women that are looking to come back to their careers. So what advice would you give them?
I would want them to actively think of raising their self-confidence and self-worth. You can do this in several ways. One way is that you can go back to your previous accomplishments and take stock and remind yourself that you have value. Secondly, I believe there are organizations like Prayaana, who upskill women and have mentors as well. So I would say, take external help. We might be entrenched in our situation and may not see the brilliance that we have and the opportunities that are available. So having a mentor or a coach can help us get out of that rut and see these things. The third is just keeping going. If you hear no from an employer, evaluate what you could have done differently. Is it a professional or personal skill that you can improve? So work on that and get back out there. Don’t take no for an answer.