I am Manju Latha Kalanidhi, a full-time media professional, content writer, social media manager and Founder of Rice Bucket Challenge (considered India's answer to the Ice Bucket Challenge) based in India. You will find a few of my writings here about life, travel, power women, and happy-shiny things in the world... Fresh, spicy, vegetarian, filling and yummy - that's Manju Latha Kalanidhi's blog Gobimanjuria.blogspot.com Lets get cracking! Write 2 me at email@example.com
Until two years ago, Natasha Lindor was a typical office-goer—which is to say, she perpetually felt dissatisfied with her life-work balance. Today, not only has she achieved the equilibrium she once coveted, but she's become a leading source of inspiration for others to do the same. Her websiteTheANDFactor.com revolves around an acronym for Amazing New Dimensions, but also applies to the underlying idea behind work-life balance. Lindor's goal? Help women achieve career success and financial security and sustaining relationships and . . . you get the idea.
Using her own experience climbing the corporate ladder for 15 years, Lindor guides clients during indivdual and group coaching sessions to become the antithesis of what she herself once was.
We caught up with her to talk about her tips for balance, what successful people share . . . and the power of green smoothies.
When did you launch The AND Factor? Was there a particular incident that served as its impetus?
I started The AND Factor in March 2013 after I left my corporate career to help go-getters have a fulfilling career and time for whatever is most important to them—whether that’s friends, family, kids, love, health or just time to reflect and relax.
In my last corporate job, I was a communications consultant helping leaders and middle management improve employee engagement. At that time, I was coaching on the weekends to meet the number of hours I needed for my coaching certification. Then one morning it hit me in the shower (don’t all great ideas seem to start there?): I had a gift for coaching. My coaching had led people to make big, positive changes in their lives—such as going from a sedentary lifestyle to working out three times a week, or feeling confident enough to interview for a dream job, or falling in love with themselves and realizing the negative impact of habits such as smoking and eating out a lot. I realized that I should put my skills to good use to help myself and those around me. So I gave my notice and haven’t looked back since.
Your work centers on the "Amazing New Dimension" factor. How do you define AND? What do you do personally to find your own AND factor?
Too often, we get caught up in one dimension of our life, such as kicking butt at work, being a great mom, or being a great wife or girlfriend. One of the best parts of being human is that we get to experience life—and it’s too short for us to miss out on what we really want. We’re meant to have the career we want AND the relationships that fuel us AND financial security AND health AND whatever else we desire.
The AND factor allows people to experience work-life harmony and get things done with effort, joy and ease.
I find and maintain my own AND factor by living in alignment with my values. Everything I do supports my core values of connecting with others, walking my talk, and creating abundance, order and inner peace. And I guide those that I coach to do the same.
Many of your clients seem to be those who've lost their groove and need a lifestyle wake-up call. From your experience, what is the typical profile of the people you work with—and what contributes to the necessity of the work you do?
My typical client is a go-getter who is smart, dedicated and wants to live a meaningful life. While she might have invested tens of thousands of dollars and hours in her education and on-the-job experience to get where she is today, she’s living in a place I refer to as The Land of Settling. It’s where people live a life that’s very different from the one they set out to create. Most of my clients traded in some part of their dream to please someone else—whether it was a parent, family member or peers. And they now find themselves in a stressful job or relationship and are too busy or drained to go after their dreams, true values and passions, as well as what is good for them, such as working out, eating better and taking time off.
Where do you think people tend to go wrong in their career, such that they miss out on the “bliss and balance” critical to healthy living?
I’ve found that people go wrong in their career for three big reasons:
1. They make career decisions based on an old set of values.
While everyone has values, very few people know what their own core values are in relation to who they are today. Even fewer people are making choices about their career based on their current core values. To position themselves for a fulfilling career and a life of bliss and balance, people must recalibrate and make decisions based on the values that are important to them today.
2. They let the “inner game,”or mindset obstacles, talk them out of what they really want.
Four main inner game obstacles impact success in all areas of life: belief blockers, assumptions, gremlins and stories. I have a whole program that addresses all of these, so I’ll focus here on the biggest of the four—the gremlin. This is people’s inner critic, inner bully or inner mean girl. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t have a gremlin. It’s that little voice in people’s heads that tells them to not try, never take a risk and play small. It has one simple, destructive message: You’re just not good enough! Everyone has a gremlin, but the most successful and fulfilled people know how to effectively manage it. If people don’t know how to defend themselves against their gremlin’s messages, they’ll never get what they want because they won't bother trying.
3. They don’t know how to say no, so they say yes to experiences, projects or opportunities that don’t fit with what they really want.
Many women base their concept of success, self-worth and happiness on someone or something else. They have a hard time saying “no” because they want to seem helpful or polite, they want to avoid conflict, or they fear they won’t seem serious about their career and will be passed up for the next opportunity. By not saying no mindfully and respectfully, they end up in situations that are very different from the ones they imagined.
You work with many high-profile clients. Are there two or three specific traits you've found that contribute to people achieving huge success in their personal and professional lives?
I’d say the three traits common to my most successful clients are:
1. Clarity: They let go of the how and focus on the what. They get clear on what they want and which factors should most influence the way they live, work and play (their current core values). This clarity helps them say yes to the right opportunities and no to the wrong ones—which allows them to go for what they really want rather than settle for less than they desire and deserve.
2. Alignment: They strategically align their life choices and approach to career, relationships, health and finances with their current core values. They also have daily practices to support their aligned life and build resiliency to help them recover when life throws them a curveball.
3. Support: They understand the powerful role that community plays in their success. There’s a saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with!” These five people create what I call people’s circle of influence. One thing I know for certain is that people’s circle of influence is key to their success or failure. The most successful people I’ve worked with have continued their momentum because of the support they’ve received from those around them—whether their circle of influence holds them accountable or embodies the qualities they want more of in their life, such as knowledge, positive influence, happiness, wealth, inspiration, fun and health.
What do you do to find your own bliss and balance in life?
Once I uncovered my top core values, I determined that living in alignment with these values is my secret to bliss and balance. For a long time, I didn’t have regular practices that supported what I said I wanted in life . . . so it was no surprise that I didn’t have what I wanted. Now, I have daily practices such as my FREEDOM morning ritual to ensure that I maintain peace, order and flow in my life. It’s been such a powerful tool that I’d like to give the ladies in this community access to it.
I’m also a spa buff. I love everything about spas—the way they feel when I walk in, the aromas, the yummy food and the treatments. My home reflects this love: I have a steam shower, rolled towels in the bathroom, bamboo bath mats, a fireplace with stones instead of fake logs, scented candles and a green smoothie habit.
I even lead live workshops and retreats at spas and other wellness-centered establishments as part of my business.
You send out a newsletter, update your website, do videos and run a business, thus seeming to be on your toes at all times. How do you keep yourself organized and on top of things? Are there any specific management mantras that you follow?
Planning, trusting my intuition and working with an amazing team keep me on top of things.
Clarity is power. Having a clear plan allows my team and I to know what to work on every day, every month and every quarter, so we can focus on what will ultimately support our clients as well as The AND Factor/Bliss & Balance community.
People can’t create what they can’t envision, so I approach planning in a way that integrates my work and personal life with my core values and life mission. Too many people get into action mode and skip the planning (I used to do it myself). When they take the time for clarity, however—using their intuition to envision what they want and how they want it to feel and then backing it up by creating a plan and enlisting a strong support system and team—they are unstoppable.
What things do you think are absolutely essential in order to have a "soul-satisfying" life?
I’d say it’s essential for people to know their current core values and align their lives with these values to create a strong foundation for a purposeful, soul-satisfying life. Then they need to keep up the momentum by:
· Surrounding themselves with supportive people. Considering the fact that people are the average of the five people they spend the most time with, it’s best that those people support and represent the kind of life that fuels them.
· Integrating emotional intelligence and a positive mindset into how they communicate with themselves and others.
· Giving their bodies the exercise, fuel and attention they need.
· Revisiting their vision to make sure it’s still the vision they want and making adjustments as they learn and grow from life experiences.
Perhaps one of the best ways to get a snapshot of a person is to look up his or her schedule. Were you to do so for Richa Anirudh, India’s prime time news presenter, radio personality, talk show host, motivational speaker and more, and you would be bowled over by everything she manages to pack into a day—and all with a beautiful smile, words of wisdom, and a vibe of warmth and hope.
Most mornings, while you're still struggling to get out of bed, Richa is on Big 92.7 Delhi FM giving a wake-up call to New Delhi's masses on her breakfast show Dilli Meri Jaan. She generally devotes the pre-lunch segment of her day to speaking at a college, moderating a panel discussion, reading at a book launch event, or serving as a motivational speaker to a group of women. Then she's dashing off to her office to edit her new monthly magazine publication for school students. After a quick catch-up on home affairs and updating her 90,000 social media followers with her thoughts for the day, she drops by the IBN7 office to read the 9 pm news—the most-watched time slot in all of India.
She attributes her ability to excel at so many roles at once to having interacted with several hundred people at close quarters daily for her landmark talk show Zindagi Live a few years ago. The show was India’s first talk show and has touched on a swath of important matters in Indian society—including some that are taboo. Best known for her sensitivity and ability to empathize with her interviewees, she says: “I am a woman, and that warm, soothing and nurturing streak comes naturally to me."
She filled us in on how her childhood shaped her success, the role of a broken hand in the genesis of her marriage, and the nitty-gritty of being a star media personality.
From the small town of Jhansi in North India to a primetime TV host of a high-profile show in Delhi, your journey has been remarkable. Can you describe your background a bit, with maybe a few glimpses into your childhood and how it shaped who you are today?
I was born as Richa Badal (my maiden name) in 1975 in a family of grounded and hardworking people. My dad was a doctor and my mom is a homemaker. I studied in a regular private school in the historic town of Jhansi in North India. My mom has always been a very progressive person and even in that small town, she always wanted me to make it big. I wasn’t exactly sure what I had to become to make her proud. But I was always good at school, public speaking, community work. In general, I was an active and sociable student throughout my childhood.
We hear that while you were the one who fell and broke your hand years ago, it was really your husband, Anirudh Tatte, who fell for you—hook, line and sinker.
Yeah. Funny story. I was 14 years-old and broke my hand. My future-husband Anirudh’s dad—who was a family friend—was an orthopedic surgeon. I remember running into their house to get it treated and demanding that they switch on the TV because my favorite show was on. Apparently Anirudh was fascinated seeing how sociable I was—also the way I mingled with everyone. He wooed and pursued me for the next three years and we got married when I was 22 and had just finished my degree. It was all so smooth, as we used to hang out with each other frequently and our circle of friends was sure we would tie the knot. Surprisingly, we never had the formal "will you marry me" moment. It was a very casual and natural progression to getting married. Then my daughter Ayesha was born when I was 25.
So you started your professional journey in 1997 after you were married?
No, in 1995, I started doing a computer course with ApTech Computers in my hometown Jhansi. They were looking for a student counselor, and
asked me if I wanted to work—I jumped at the offer. In 1996, I moved to the national capital of New Delhi where I had to finish the last leg of my
computer course. It was at that time that I got an offer to work with an art and culture organization called Spic-Macay for whom I had volunteered
when I was in college. They were paying me Rs 3,000 (about $50). I felt grown up and independent. On one occasion, when I was talking to the local press about the impending concert of a highly talented musician, someone from national television suggested that I give them the "bytes" about the show. That's how I made my first, unexpected debut on national television. Knowing Hindi (India’s national language), being articulate, and being photogenic did help. Later, a senior producer gave me the opportunity to work as a freelance news presenter.
A few years later, when I was willing to work full-time, a few of my initial contacts helped me land a job at Zee News, a 24-hour Hindi news channel. In 2007, I got bored with it and just then the TV channel I was working for proposed a talk show. That's how India’s first talk show along the lines of Oprah came to be. In the very first year, my talk show,Zindagi Live, won the Best Talk Show award given by Indiantelevision.com for its episodes on relevant social issues like student suicides, female feticide, child sexual abuse. We tackled subjects that are generally taboo in Indian society, such as homosexuality. After that, I took a break and I am back again in 2014—both as a news presenter of a primetime 9 pm news bulletin and as a radio compere.
Your website defines you as a "speaker, mentor, author, host, friend." What is the real Richa like? Which role do you most enjoy and why?
Aaah. Tough one. I enjoy being just simply Richa, a small town girl—sans makeup and pretensions, comfortable in her own skin, at home, just being me. It’s not my role, but my soul, that defines me.
Zindagi Live is a landmark show in Indian television. How do you think it has impacted society? What goes into the making of the show?
I think it touches a lot of people. For example, a young girl from Allahabad in central India told me that she dropped the idea of taking sleeping pills and ending her life after she watched a special episode of women braving the odds stacked against them. We often get to hear about Zindagi Live helping people choose the right profession and path for them.
And on a personal level, I have become a better person. After having heard the gut-wrenching stories of so many people—mothers who lost their only children to a war, people making it big in life despite their empty stomachs and grueling poverty etc.—I have become more tolerant and feel more grateful. I've stopped asking "why me" and instead have adopted the attitude of gratitude.
You have been vocal about the Nirbhaya rape incident that shook the nation in December 2012. What do you think is the solution to the widespread issue of sexual violence against women in India? Having worked closely with many rape victims for your show, do you have any sense of what their perspectives might be on addressing this issue?
Frankly, I don’t feel safe anymore. A friend once went to a lady police officer to complain that her husband was beating her up. The cop said casually: “That’s no big deal. It's part of every marriage.” In such circumstances, it's important that women learn to stand up for themselves. Unless they are assertive, they will never be able to fight issues such as gender bias in workplaces, sexual abuse of women and so on. The first step to getting safer and find one’s right place is to stand up for yourself.
You are currently juggling the TV show "Dilli Meri Jaan," hosting the news, and running a school magazine—School Live. What else is in the cards?
For now, I am back on primetime television. Hosting the radio show is immensely enriching as I am dealing with trying to find solutions for day-to-day issues in New Delhi. Hosting the news keeps me updated on all the current affairs. Working with students to gather feature stories for my monthly school magazine School Live helps me stay young and enthusiastic.
How do you keep yourself updated and prepared for all that you do? Do you have a management mantra?
Yes, my management mantra is: "Let it go, don’t fuss." Prioritize your work, but choose your top three tasks and don’t get worked up on what you cannot do. I practice Osho philosophy which advocates doing the right thing and not trying too hard to accomplish everything and please everyone in one go. Slow and steady does it.
As such a busy woman, how do you unwind from all the pressures? Do you go on any fun vacations with your husband and daughter?
I love to drive, sing, dance—my daughter Ayesha Anirudh Tatte is my dance partner. I am also into Osho meditation. It helps me de-stress. I take off on ten-day spiritual camps to hills.
You are among the best dressed of all the television hosts in India, looking contemporary and chic both on the air and at events. Are your clothes and accessories from your personal collection? Do you have any style suggestions for women who want to look their best?
For some shows, the production house sponsors it. In other cases, I choose from my own wardrobe. I would like to believe that I have the right sensibility and judgement when it comes to wearing an outfit. I try to wear something ethnic for a social event; something more funky when I go for a college or youth event. I love to stock up on quirky jewellery and accessories.
Do you have a wish list for 2015?
A to Konkan with family, lots of hope and love. At the end of the day, I will take one day at a time and relish it fully.