1. Your word is your law in your universe: stand up and speak for your truth
As an adolescent I remember being quiet, insecure and non-confrontational. It worsened my confidence issues and impeded my emotional growth as I grew older. Over time, evolution and adversity, I realised that no one can stand your ground for you or represent your essence as well as you can. I began to be more assertive in my communication and more direct in conveying what I needed from my professional and personal relationships. I also became more aware of my boundaries with people, and better at self-preservation. Honesty is more inspiring than flattery because then there is no room to be insincere.
2. You can achieve whatever you put your mind to
It is important to notice and challenge self-limiting beliefs that come with social conditioning. When I started applying to business schools, many well-intentioned people told me to keep my sights realistic given my background and initial education. But I was almost obsessed with the ambition of being a part of the world’s best MBA programme.
I persevered for four years to get in despite multiple challenges (inability to gather funds and delays due to the cancer diagnosis) but I ploughed through and went to INSEAD with the determination of a warrior, facing the biggest battle with the fears within me. I was still under treatment but that didn’t stop me.
3. Build champions who allow and encourage you to vibrate at your highest frequency
As young women we need our tribe to help us grow at work and at play, people who will be there for you to support you in your darkest hour of need and confusion. I started to be more judicious about who I spent time with. It helped me identify and celebrate my own strengths, and work on my shortcomings without the fear of judgement. At work, I sought out strong mentors to guide me in my career progression path. It’s tough love, but it builds resilience within while challenging your self-imposed limitations.
4. Don’t settle, but know when to stop rolling the dice
Finding the right partner is incredibly hard, especially in the digital age. You have to go through many relationships (even with yourself) and others to seek out that one person who will act as lover, mentor, friend, guide—essentially a mirror to help you grow to the best version of yourself.
We often have check-lists of qualities that we want, but we forget that those traits are desired from us too. Only then it becomes an equal relationship. You will be many people through your life in order to find who you really are: and every partner and experience will lead you closer to it. Give as much as you take. Pamper, nourish and protect.
5. If you settle for less than you deserve, you will end up with even less than what you bargained for
As women across cultures we are conditioned to accept what is being doled out to us and compromise with the situation, even though we know we are settling. We are afraid of repercussions, of being singled out, of being judged and less liked if we speak our mind or disagree. Have the courage to challenge the norms without compromising on self-love and self-need.
At work, I’ve learnt to keep a straightforward attitude and actively seek opportunities for career advancement, in healthy competition with my male counterparts. Confidence is an inside job- be yourself and bring your ambitious energy to work. You have one life. Live it on the edge, take risks, listen to your heart and don’t take ‘No’ for an answer. Think. Believe. Manifest.
6. Find what scares you and fall in love with it
The quickest way to acquire self-confidence is to jump into the deep end of what you are most afraid of. Run towards the fear instead of against it.
After almost five years of an incredible stint with Amazon, I decided to quit my job and move to a foreign country with no visible opportunity in hand but a whole lot of hope in my heart (imagine taking a leap into the unknown for love and fresh air!).
It was scary and intimidating, I was voluntarily taking a break in my career to explore a new life. It was the best decision I’ve taken. I realised how attached we are to our work that we feel gives us our identity—without giving ourselves the benefit of rewriting our narrative from time to time. Let go of what you’re holding on so tightly to, and the wonders of the universe that await will unfold before you. Sometimes having faith in faith itself is the key.
7. Make Love your religion
When I was sick I was awash with hatred and self-loathing. I looked at my surgery scars and felt ugly, inadequate and forever doomed. I retracted from the world to lick my wounds and drown in self-pity. I convinced myself that I would never again be happy, and healthy. I had to accept, forgive, release and rise from the squalor—this tore me apart before I put myself back together again. Today I practise more self-love, empathy and compassion for the world than I have ever before. That experience taught me to never take anything or anyone for granted—least of all, myself.
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