Nina Chandarana recently started a 2.5 days of hands on exercises designed to uncover how to live life in the most joyful and successful way possible. It was a result of her reflecting on her career post motherhood and wondering, ‘is there more?’ She wondered if she was to plateau in her career or was there a chance for more. Often women tend to leave themselves last on the list of priorities and don’t always take time to sit down and set goals in the same way they do for their kids. Nina recently began a seminar series after attending one herself that truly opened up her mind to growth and opportunity.
She says the 2.5 days includes exercises which are done both individually and in groups. The session ends with a simulation where participants see themselves in action and practice the tools learned. Topics covered are: Relationships, Life Challenges, Trust & Influence, Conflict, Commitment and Purpose. www.istheremore.ca. We chatted with Nina about this series, ‘Is there More’.
What inspired you to start this project?
It was late last year, when I was at a crossroads in my career. I was on a solid/good trajectory at work and yet, I was struggling with the meaning and impact I was having in the world. Many of my friends felt the same way. We would speak about how we had entered the workforce with strength, talent and fire, and at some point, we had lost that spark and felt somewhat unfulfilled. I knew I didn’t want to stay on this path for too long and I decided that I would make a change to allow my life to be driven by a sense of purpose. I came to the realization that for me, the most purposeful experiences I had ever had were in transformational leadership seminars.
This was something so outside of my area of expertise and comfort zone, yet I found myself knowing that this work needed to be introduced to young Canadian professionals to help bring back that strength, talent and fire to our population. As I was getting more and more committed to the new path, I coincidentally got a chance to re-connect with the leaders who facilitated most of my best experiences in these seminars in the first place. They are some of the most experienced professionals out there, in the field of transformational leadership. Our goals and vision to launch in Canada aligned and the project was born.
Tell me more about this crossroad in your career?
I loved the company I worked for, and the people I worked with, and yet, I kept asking myself “is there more?”. Life started feeling like “a grind”. It was becoming routine and heavy, but also safe, which is what kept me there for a while. What I WANTED was for life to feel free, purposeful and fun — and I wanted my kids to see that this type of life was possible! So, I took the leap early this year and resigned from my job to pursue this entrepreneurial venture.
How was your own experience with the seminar?
On a scale of 1-10, mine was, as my son would say, “infinityhundred!”. As a result of what I discovered and learned in my first workshop ~10 years ago, I committed to marrying my boyfriend (we’ve now been happily married for 7+ years), I left the world of business consulting for a unique and fulfilling opportunity to teach university students, I repaired some relationships in my life that were very challenging, and most recently, I’ve departed from a comfortable career path to pursue this venture.
For me, those results would not have happened naturally. I am forever grateful to the person who kept on me to attend, and for the life tools I was taught to navigate my way through this exciting (and often challenging) world!
Who is seminar for?
The seminar is ideal for young professionals (25-45 years old) who have worked hard and accomplished a lot, and yet wonder, “is there more?. Should I be getting more satisfaction from my career? From my friendships? From being a parent?”
The seminar offers concrete ways of thinking that helps this group maximize their sense of fulfillment and impact in the world.
What do they learn?
The topics covered are:
- RELATIONSHIPS: Being exponentially more effective and fulfilled in personal/professional relationships (even the challenging ones)
- LIFE CHALLENGES: Responding in a way that pushes one forward rather than pulling one back
- TRUST & INFLUENCE: Gaining people’s trust and improving the ability to influence
- CONFLICT: Understanding the cycle of conflict (and how to break it)
- PURPOSE: Getting a glimpse of one’s purpose
- COMMITMENT: Tools to fulfill goals without the derailments of procrastination, fear, time, etc
- LIVE SIMULATION: Participants see themselves in action and get to practice and get feedback on the tools learned
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs looking to start their own venture?
My top 5 learnings so far are:
- Book BIG meetings with BIG people (before you think you are ready for them). The prep work forces you to get really clear about how to communicate what you are offering. The product/service may be clear in the entrepreneur’s mind, but being able to convey a compelling and logical story is no small (or necessarily intuitive) feat. There is also almost always a next step that comes out of these meetings that keeps pushing the venture forward.
- Frequently share what you are trying to create with people. The message may come out sloppy many times, but it is only when you practice sharing and receiving a reaction that you will know whether the message is crisp. You don’t have to enrol people into what you are doing, just tell them about it and see how confident you feel and how clearly you think the message is being delivered.
- Be open to feedback and changing everything you have done. If you are truly open to feedback, your product will keep getting better and better and better. So don’t ask for feedback right after you have put something together. At this point, you’re likely very attached, given the time and effort you’ve dedicated. The next day, or a few days later, you will be more open to revisions. And NEVER ask for feedback with the hopes that someone will say “It’s perfect! I wouldn’t change a thing!” THIS STATEMENT NEVER HAPPENS, as much as we wish it would!
- Use the 10X3 rule to get stuff done: As an entrepreneur, it’s sometimes tough to feel motivated and driven. Try sitting down for 10 minutes, dedicated to sorting through your obstacle, 3 times in a day. Guaranteed you will have built enough momentum to get it done. And, just 10 minutes to find in a day is WAAAY easier than blocking off a whole afternoon!
- Ask for help: As cliche as this sounds, it is so important. What you are doing is so adventurous and exciting, and yet it is impossible for you to do everything yourself without burning out. AND … other people are brilliant! Not only that, but they WANT to get involved if they feel like their expertise and talents can be useful. Entrepreneurship can be extremely energizing and exciting, and people want to be a part of it!
How have you done it?
I followed all of the steps above (actually, I kind of stumbled into them as I’ve gone through this crazy journey – stay tuned for my “Don’t do this as an entrepreneur” list!), AND, I have an incredible support system. My immediate and extended family has gone to the moon and back for me, and my friends have been the people I brainstorm with, cry with, celebrate with … I always know that we are in each others’ corners and will do anything and everything to support one another’s dreams turning into reality. Finally, my kids are a constant reminder to me that I want them to live out their dreams and be of service to the world, and the only way they will do that, is if they see me trying. 🙂
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