Take what life gives you and make something great out of itavtor Natalie Cvikl Postružnik in Danaja Postružnik 5. februarja, 2021
Nilima Bhat is a strong, powerful woman with a lot of talents and a strong vision, who knows what she wants and is working in that direction. She is a worldwide speaker and coach on organizational culture, conscious business, women in leadership, and mindfulness for work-life balance. She wrote a book Shakti Leadership in which she describes steps for becoming conscious leader. She teaches how to be more conscious. »I have travelled the world and I feel so fulfilled after writing the book Shakti Leadership and also the book My Cancer Is Me, which is a complete system for health and wellness. Shakti leadership is a complete system for leadership and especially for women to step into leadership at this time. I feel there is something worthwhile that I’ve been able to leave behind my knowledge in this two books.«
Before her journey, she was in top positions in Corporate Communications and PR in multi-national corporations.
Her life had ups and downs, it was not always easy for her but she still has a positive and optimistic view of life and is living her purpose.
The beginning of a wonderful life
Just as every life begins in the beginning, so does hers. She was born to a naval officer’s family, with her father in the Indian Navy. He came from the Eastern part of India and fell in love with her mother, who is from the Western part of India. Even then, this was considered intercultural marriage and it was very uncommon and unusual. Because her father was in the Navy, he was posted in so many places, and they were moving a lot: Mumbai, Delhi and even in Germany. In Germany, Nilima learned how to read and write in German, which was, as she described it, wonderful. It stayed with her for many years and she can still speak and understand German.
She was very talented academically, so it was easy for her to go through school. »I used to enjoy my studies very much. I also enjoyed dancing, it was a constant companion while growing up. I think my core identity is a dancer and deep love for God, the Divine and the mystery of life, which I feel when I dance. I love being trained as a dancer but I perhaps love being free more, to express my body’s freedom and spirit through that. That is when I feel most connected to myself, the world, to life.«
She met her husband when she was very young, only 19 and they fell in love and got married two years later. They had children early, at 24 she became mother to a son and at 27 to a girl.
The greatest of highs and the lowest of lows
She and her husband had a very successful corporate career, he was in advertising and she was in corporate communication and PR. »Soon, I started looking for purpose and meaning in my life. My mother had kind of put it into my head that I have to make a difference in world in some way, so it somehow stayed with me.«
Nilima said, that she had a sense of purpose right from the beginning. »And it has always been there, even as I was a mother and a wife, and as my husband went through cancer healing. I was a caregiver to him and helped him to recover. Everything I learn I always try to teach others, and I try to make something out of it that is helpful for others. Even the cancer journey became a book. The first book we wrote, is called My Cancer Is Me, in which we outlined the holistic methods to heal through cancer. In my educational background, I had learned Immunology and it helped at this time. (I was awarded the best all-round student in junior college and then again in senior college).«
When she looks back, her life had the greatest of highs but also greatest of lows. »My mother has had very significant health crises, TB, breast cancer, heart attack and quadruple by-pass surgery. My father has gone through a near fatal car accident, he was hit by a drunk driver and he was given up for dead. He has never fully recovered from that, so that has been a great pain point in my life. Such a fit man in his prime, a naval officer, to see him brought down to becoming a disabled person physically and psychologically was heart-breaking. And yet I brought him to the books of the Masters and he started reading; he found his faith and today he says: ‘You know, that accident was some kind of a blessing, because I found God through all that’. He lives in gratitude now. Then of course my husband’s cancer … Almost as if it has to balance out the incredible life I think I have.«
Covid has actually been a blessing
»Today at 54 I feel very grateful. Covid to me has been actually a blessing. Just when you think life can not change any further or get more difficult or get you better things, there’s always the next thing.«
Spirituality in every day’s new reality
“I have my personal way of connecting with myself, with nature, with the elements, with the Divine. I begin by offering whatever happens that day, to that higher intelligence to move through me.
When we teach people to live a holistic life we say make sure physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally and spiritually, you are healthy. It’s taken me years but I have arrived to the point in my life where all these five dimensions of life are being attended to.
I start working on my computer maybe around ten. Because we (my husband and I) work from home it is actually wonderful, I can take the breaks when I need to, I don’t spend time commuting. Occasionally we do take a drive out to the hills, for example for my husband’s birthday. I just feel this incredible need to soak in nature.”
Before Covid she was traveling every month for one month, and came back for one month. After the books were published, Nilima’s traveling started. So when the children grew up and moved away she and her husband both focused on work. “And wherever in the world we are, we make sure we check in with each other everyday. With the family we do zoom calls every Sunday. It is one way of keeping in touch.”
Trusting in my beliefs and my intuition
Nilima’s family does the exercise, where they check on their values. »My number one value is everything I do needs to go through my deepest sense of right. I should feel completely good about what I am doing. I come alive when I feel the right thing has been done or is being done.
The second core value is the joy of being alive. Even if you are going through a so called difficult time, to never lose touch with joy and the privilege of being alive.
The third is trusting my own inner knowing, my inner wisdom, which comes from a deep faith in what I call a higher intelligence, what we call The Mother or Shakti. There is a higher power, grand design, nothing is an accident and everything is flowing.
Another value is taking ownership and leading. It is something I value very much. I feel deeply responsible to take charge of any wrong doing or anything that is out of alignment. I feel I need to step in and take the lead and exercise my power and take ownership and do what’s possible.
And the last one is the ability to endure. To build that inner strength, to see through anything.«
We all have the potential
“Initially we are all fully potential. If you follow the spiritual approach, you know,
that we are all divine. It is all locked into our DNA in our cells and our purpose is to continue to unfold what we potentially are. All of us have the potential; and the purpose of life is to keep bringing it out and manifesting it and expressing it. We continue to grow and learn and we become more of who we can be. “
Feminine energy in the world restores balance
She was convinced that if you bring more women and girls and you empower them, and put them in leadership positions, then the world will be better. But she realized that before that can happen, women must go through an inner journey, so they can become their own centre and not be subordinate to something or someone else. “Only then, they will be able to bring what the world needs, to restore balance.”
She pointed out a good example of an article in Forbes magazine, that during Covid most of the countries doing well, are led by women and most of the countries doing really badly, are led by dictatorial man. She said that we need to look at Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand and her style of leadership. She shows strong, gentle feminine energy. You can not mess with her and even though she’s supremely feminine, she’s fighting for life, fighting for nature, for the good. “It seems like such a no-brainer why would we fight for anything else but the good and true and the beautiful.“
This is something, which is pointed out in the book The Shakti Leadership. “The book is not just about women and men; it’s about power and unequal distribution of power that is no longer acceptable. Now it’s about LGBTQ, it’s about environmental rights. It’s about all oppression of any kind anywhere. About gender, society, environment, … people are looking for social justice, environmental justice it’s not just the women who are rising, it is the feminine force that is missing everywhere that is now rising to claim its rightful place.”
The Shakti Leadership Model – five elements to become a more conscious leader
How can we become more balanced, more harmonized leaders? Nilima explains the principles of her 5-element model, namely Shakti Leadership Model, and the heroic journey.
“The first key is to be present, learning how to step back from your limited ego-based self and step into your sense of presence where you don’t have anything to defend or promote or fear any more and you can show up for the moment. There will be moments when you lose your centre, your presence and that is okay. But you need to have the commitment to come back to presence when that happens, and keep the ability to stay present in the face of any challenge.
»Find the simplicity on the other side of the complexity which is what the world needs right now. You are in the right place to do that.”
Operate from true power
The second is to operate from true power which is what we call Shakti power. Healthy masculine, healthy feminine. Exercise your masculine, which is focus and discernment and getting things done on time, on schedule, on quality. At the same time healthy feminine, which is taking your people along, having empathy, having a sense of what’s going on in the room, having a compassion to other people’s weaknesses along with being able to leverage that strength. How to give nonviolent communication kind of feedback. Exercise your power consciously as a leader. Make sure you are doing Shakti based power, which win-win in every situation. Find the win-win solution.
Develop psychological wholeness
The third is to develop psychological wholeness as a leader. We all have four core archetypes in us. We have our wise parent self, we have our foolish, innocent child self. We have a tough, masculine self that knows how to draw boundaries and we have our loving, feminine self that knows how to include and care. All four selves make up the psyche. Shakti leadership is a model creating psychologically whole leaders. The third element is wholeness; becoming ‘the wise fool of tough love’.
The fourth element is flexibility. After you find all your four core-selves, then you know, how every leadership moment has to be matched by one or more of these. Don’t just operate from your standard style, but know when to leverage your wise self or your masculine or feminine self or even your curious child’s sense of wonder.
Have higher purpose – be congruent
The fifth element is called congruence. You may be present and you might be exercising good power mindfully and psychologically, you may be whole, but it’s not just about that. It is also important that you are growing towards your potential. Congruence is about having a higher purpose and living your life on purpose, while also taking your leadership towards that.
Then we describe Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. The five elements are what you need to develop as a Shakti leader: presence, power, wholeness, flexibility, congruence. But each of these is like a power-base. And it will come to you only once you make a ‘heroic journey’. When you try to become a Shakti leader and when you try to become congruent, powerful, whole, more flexible, you realize that it’s not always easy. These are very critical and important gifts that our life brings us only once we deserve them. We will be tested. We will effectively have to go on a perilous journey to become the heroes and heroines of our own Life and Leadership story, following the well-known map that Campbell describes.”
In Slovenia there is genuine goodness
She planned to come to Slovenia but she could not because of Covid. So she had an online workshop and she shared some positive views on Slovenian people.
»The interaction with Slovenian professionals made me pleasantly surprised by their strong ethical approach. There is genuine goodness.
It is a country that has the word love in the name itself. There is a freshness, there is innocence, a goodness to the professionals that I have interacted with. Perhaps it’s because it’s a small country so when I work with like India or America, these big countries, say China, sometimes they are a bit jaded.
What is very refreshing with people in Slovenia I have met, is a genuineness, hunger, curiosity to interact with the best in the world. To ventilate with best practices that are happening outside of their world.
I have great hope for what that could mean for the future because Slovenia is very well geographically placed between the East and the West. The world is going to need many intersectional places like this where polarities can meet and have dialogue and converge. Where the people and the culture know how to flex between two things and also to digest and assimilate and harmonize different polarities. We are going to need those kind of bridge cultures and bridge nations, to really step up into the leadership roles for the global community.”
I am proud of myself
“I think I’m most proud of having pulled myself out of my ‘inner patriarch’, which is a psychological force inside many women. That means you give your power away to someone else and expect them to be your knight in shining armour or your caretaker or whatever. I grew up with the total dream of romance and it was beautiful but it was unrealistic. So what I am most proud of is having made my journey to my own psychological wholeness. I have become my own mother, I have learned to become my own lover.”
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