At BrilliantRead Media, our aim is to bring to our community some of the finest stories from the startup ecosystem. As part of this endeavour, we invited a passionate women entrepreneur – Geeta Varma for an exclusive interview with us. She is an Entrepreneur, Leader, Mentor, Trainer, Consultant, Mindfulness Practitioner, POSH Facilitator, Life and NLP Coach. Let’s learn more about her exciting journey, background and advice for our growing community.
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Geeta:
We are aware of your contributions to the ecosystem; talk us through your background and your journey, please;
My professional journey of two decades and still continuing has indeed supported me in cross-pollinating ideas in a wide spectrum of industry sectors like engineering manufacturing, IT, foreign banks, service sectors and the like. In my current independent role as a consultant, it is now entering into the education sector as well.
Post completion of my double post-graduation in social work and in human resources, I started my career in a multinational organization known for elevators and escalators in the HR team (known as the erstwhile personnel management), as the youngest team player. Thereafter I worked in several organizations in different products range and services as HR head. One of the main contributions I made was to make HR be seen as a profit centre and not the traditional cost centre.
Currently, I am in the role of an Independent Consultant trying my hand at the challenging role of a Trainer/Facilitator, Coach & Mentor. Also, entering into a new sector of Education, purely because I feel that I connect with the changing landscape of professional choice to kick start a new inning.
How did you discover your passion in ‘Coaching’?
You will agree that when you are working in Human Management, you are already a coach by default. Knowing myself, I knew very early in my life that assisting people in stuck situations always drew my attention. So, getting serious about coaching as a career, I started working towards it in early 2000.
I researched a lot on how to get structured coaching learning. In 2015, I decided to quit corporate life and started my serious journey in creating a new avatar as a coach. Let me say this that while I continued my research on coaching, I upgraded several new skills as well because it was becoming apparent that there would be a surge of newer skills needed to stay afloat.
In 2018-19, I did my certification course in coaching which completely transformed me. Seeing tremendous changes taking place within me and my readiness to accept those changes, I was convinced that my path forward was in the direction of my choice. After which there was no turning back. I know my struggles are not over yet, however, I am in a better space at the moment.
How do you manage to keep going despite the challenges? What drives you?
Two simple reasons –
(i) Never give up!
(ii) Catch my dreams and convert them to reality!
I decided to introspect deep within myself, empowered and challenged myself to realize my dream came true. I wanted to do something differently and act upon it in a manner which would challenge my status quo.
In my present life, I am enjoying planning my future company with my two close friends in the education, coaching and mentoring sector. Each day is now an exciting story waiting to turn the next page.
My motivation to help others increased manifold post the covid times when suddenly life seemed so fragile and made me cherish every moment I breathed. I believe I have so much to give to the world around me and I just want to do it now.
What are the business mantras you have embraced as you sought to establish your success story?
Since I begun my coaching journey, I am focusing on creating myself as a brand. A few keywords that are essential for building them are being human with vulnerabilities, non-judging people, ‘YOU’ matter, and above all, I deliver what I say. Life is not linear so do not search for straight lines, be prepared for tumultuous travel.
Who do you believe has been the biggest source of motivation in your daily life?
Let me be honest with you here. There have been very many people who motivated me throughout my life (including the moment). There is my stoic family who stood by me and is still supporting me in chasing my dreams; my colleagues throughout my career who encouraged me and a few who discouraged me as well (actually they strengthened my resolve to accept challenges); my new friends who met me in my life journey; and the list goes on.
However, I do wish to mention a few who impacted me deeper, my late mother Satya (my hero), my friend and husband Najam, my siblings Sunita & Sunil. Let me share a secret here – Najam, Sunita & Sunil have been my greatest critiques and have ripped me apart several times in shaping the strong person that I have now become.
What are some of the strategies that you believe have helped you grow as a person?
There are a few:
> Being empathetic, supportive in situations
> Reaching out to others unhesitatingly
> Continuous learning to refine myself holistically
> Being accountable and responsible to myself
> Taking up challenges, learning from several failures
> Rooted to the ground
Please share with us, how do you motivate your clients?
My simple mantra to motivate the individuals who approach me for solutions is to ask them what makes them do things without stress.
What makes them be themselves without impersonating? Focus is on them and their comfort, hence every person is dealt exclusively with a program befitting their needs. I try to keep my communication simple and straight.
Be a deep listener to their needs to search for the solutions that they want. A little humour helps in relaxing the clients and I do that very often. End of the day, the clients need to take responsibility for themselves and their actions, we act as a conduit with a commitment to them.
What about your journey makes it satisfying/exciting?
So far I have been satisfied doing pro bono coaching and mentoring and feel blessed.
My onward journey where I begin to charge my clients will reflect a different story. Let me reflect on this later. The most satisfying comment is when they tell me that they feel good about themselves again and a word of gratitude to me.
Most gratifying feeling for me as my coaching journey has just begun.
You are always positive and motivated, what keeps you going?
The unknown and the intriguing tomorrow! When you are involved in doing something which you love so much, nothing else matters. I live for that now and life has taken on a whole new perspective and purpose in my life. No reason left not to be positive and motivated.
Being a student of a growth mindset and doing what I love, I am motivated. The other factor of my motivation is my inclination towards spirituality and my focus on practising Nichiren Buddhism. While I admit that I don’t have a set routine, I know what I want to complete each day and that is enough for me to get going.
Incidentally, I do a lot of mental gratitude, have small bursts of happy moments when alone and always try to look at the bright side of life. Not to forget, giving in to my impatience and anxiety as well. I am also, exploring the oriental concepts and philosophy that keep me captivated about the little-known cultures of the Far East.
In your opinion, what are the keys to success?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to your success, which vary from person to person. For me the key to success are:
(1) Believe in self
(2) Take charge of your life with conviction
(3) Commit to self for failures and successes
(4) Remain mindful and be in the present always
(5) Keep educating yourself with new skills, thoughts, ideas
(6) Accept your vulnerabilities
(7) Be honest to yourself because your integrity matters
What advice would you give students and young professionals who want to have a successful career?
I prefer to say my suggestions because people’s perspectives vary. So for the students and the young professionals who are starting their independent lives, my humble submission is not to adopt others’ behaviour to be your own self; know yourself deeply, set a clear purpose in life.
It is fine if you keep changing your goals, but chalk out the path in case of changes; be a person with integrity, have worthy values & ethics because they will shape you as a person. Be very sure of which career you wish to pursue, if not clearly get the career guidance (we provide these services too), be responsible and create your own stories in life/for life.
Read good language books, watch motivational speakers and follow people with substance. If you act on these few suggestions, you will be a winner. Make credible and well-informed choices to build a meaningful professional & personal life that compels you to lead a purposeful life.
There is so much to share with the young budding professionals and at times the mode of communication acts as a deterrent. Anyone can reach out to me on LinkedIn, post their queries on the LI page.