As part of our relentless efforts to identify and share some of the meaningful stories from India and around the world, this week we invited Smita Das Jain for an interview with us. Smita is an Author, Life Coach, Executive Coach, NLP Practitioner and Speaker. Let’s read more about her inspiring journey so far and advice for our growing community!
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Smita:
Talk us through your background and your journey, please;
I am an alumna of IIM Indore with 14+ years of experience in leadership roles with Fortune 500 companies. I joined KPMG India in their Management Consulting division after my MBA where I advised Indian and Global clients in their business strategies and Transformation. I also worked in United Technologies Corporation and JLL India in senior strategy roles.
After an exciting corporate journey, earlier last year- in 2021- I decided to quit my corporate career to pursue my passions and transform them into pursuits. Now, I am pursuing two careers- as a Writer and a Life Coach- from the confines of my home, and loving every minute of it.
I am a Certified Personal Empowerment Life Coach, Executive Coach and Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner empowering busy professionals to find time to transform their passion into pursuits so that they work if they want to, not because they have to.
I am also a Certified Creative Writer and a Certified Digital Content Writer. My creative works of fiction and publication can be found on https://www.smitaswritepen.com/
How did you discover your passion in ‘Coaching’?
For the last two to three years of my 14-year corporate tenure, I was restless. Despite doing well, I was dissatisfied and unsure of the impact that I was having around me. That’s what happens when the work you do is not aligned to your intrinsic values.
Then the pandemic struck, and like many others, it was a period of introspection for me. I realized that life is uncertain, so it is better to make the most of the moment by doing what one likes.
A common thread underlying all the jobs I had held was leadership- I enjoyed mentoring and guiding people and bringing out the best in them. The more I thought, the more I was sure that I would touch more lives and impact them positively by coaching, and in the process, also enjoy myself.
Nine months and 100+ coaching hours later, I know that I have not made a mistake in choosing to pursue my passion.
How do you manage to keep going despite the challenges? What drives you?
Discipline and Determination. If you are determined to achieve what you want and disciplined enough to follow through on your actions, you will eventually get what you have set out to achieve. There is no way you persist with a new habit 365 days in a year and yet remain in the same state through Day 1 to Day 365. Persistence is bound to bring about an improvement. That is my mantra to keep going.
Through my Empower Yourself Personal Clarity and Executive Performance Enhancement Coaching Programs, I am enabling people to create a career they love, find time for all that they like and live the life they choose.
In the process, I am fulfilling my passion. When you enjoy doing what you do, it does not seem like work. The journey itself is the driver.
Who do you believe has been the biggest source of motivation in your daily life?
My late father. He always gave wings to my aspirations and encouraged me to follow my dreams. In an era when it was considered imperative for girls to learn housework work from a young age, he introduced me to the pleasures of reading, writing and storytelling.
He reinforced the significance and power of education to the younger me. I owe my academic consistency and laurels to him, and whatever I am today is because of him.
Then my rockstar husband, Mayank. I am fortunate to have a life partner who considers his spouse to be an equal in terms of career pursuits, household finances and taking important decisions. He is my biggest strength.
Through your Empower Yourself Program, what are the expectations client can have if they seek help from your guidance?
That I will partner with them to arrive at a solution to their problems. I come with extensive experience, so have been on the side of the table that they are in now, and understand the pressures they are facing. So I am confident that they will be able to overcome their challenges, no matter how daunting they may seem now.
They can expect to get better at what they do, achieve better work-life integration, transition successfully to a different career, improve their communication skills, enhance their confidence, discover and find more time for their passions and achieve financial independence while working with me.
They can expect personal attention and a customized approach towards getting more ‘Empowered’ in their lives to achieve what they want.
What are some of the strategies that you believe have helped you grow as a person?
I would say:
1) Reading a lot. I read something every day
2) Being a keen observer of people
3) Prioritizing the important tasks to be accomplished during the day, and not going to sleep till you complete them, irrespective of distractions
4) Listening. Like really, active listening- without any agenda or judgements.
5) Hard Work. Never shying away from putting the requisite efforts to achieve the desired results
You are always positive and motivated, what keeps you going?
My motivation comes from the fact that I am living the life of my dreams. I am pursuing my passions and enjoy doing what I do. Besides being a ‘Personal Empowerment Life Coach’, I am also a writer and write something every day. Creative writing is my way of self-care. Once I write something first thing in the morning, I am all raring to go for the day ahead.
When I see my clients achieve their objectives through my coaching interventions, that is a powerful stimulant.
Last, but not least, when I see my daughter smile, that makes my day. Or makes the going easier on a tough day.
You mentioned that you are also a writer. Tell us about your published works.
I love writing contemporary stories with a twist. My short fiction ‘The Lost Identity was published in February 2021, and in September 2021 I came out with my short story collection ‘A Slice of Life: Every Person Has a Story’ which delves into extraordinary narratives of ordinary people who have more to their lives beneath the surface. The book became a bestseller on its first weekend.
In your opinion, what are the keys to success?
Patience and Persistence. Patience to wait for the results and the ability to persevere with your path, even though you might be ploughing a lonely furrow.
Taking responsibility for your actions, and accepting and loving yourself for who you are, are a few of the other tenets I believe in.
But most importantly, one should never stop learning- no matter what stage of life you are in or what your age is. What brought you here won’t keep you here, and the habit of life-long learning is of utmost importance in today’s world.
What advice would you give students and young professionals who want to have a successful career?
Look at your job from a holistic perspective rather than confining yourself to written job descriptions. Learn to learn from setbacks and know that learning never stops. As I mentioned earlier, what got you here won’t keep you there, and they will do well to remember this.
Career decisions require a long-term view, but it is perfectly normal to outgrow your ambitions as you move ahead in life. You are a different person at 25, 35, 45 and 55. Make informed choices and build a professional life that keeps you engaged, motivated and empowered.
Respect other people. But not at the cost of your self-respect.
Students and young professionals can reach out to Smita at:
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