As a venture capitalist, VANI KOLA is constantly moving in the world of business and finance. Here she describes how she has been able to integrate that world with family life and find contentment and balance.
I am an engineer by training, and an accidental venture capitalist by profession. When a young person asks me about the ‘secret of my success’, I’m at a loss for words. First, I don’t consider myself particularly successful. And second, success for me is not a destination but a journey. The most important accomplishment of my life has been my ability to embrace the setbacks that have come my way and still have the courage to take risks. It’s having no regrets, and being content in the present. I attribute this to my daily meditation practice. It has enabled me to be on a journey of self-discovery and purposeful in my actions. My journey as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, loving mother and a caring daughter are facets that need to coexist harmoniously for me to be whole.
I began the practice of Heartfulness Meditation two decades ago. Back then, in 1995, I was the CEO of a start-up in California. I had a young child and felt constantly torn between the demands of family and work. I didn’t like the fact that the resulting stress manifested itself in lack of patience, a short temper, fear of failure, and guilt that I wasn’t doing enough. When I was introduced to meditation, I felt the universe giving me a solution.
As time unfolded I grew to discover my potential, and learnt to take risks and stand by my convictions. Daily meditation freed me from the fear of failure, while clear decision-making allowed me to exercise empathy and accept differences with respect.
In this fast-paced world it’s important to have a healthy body and healthy mind. Also, the shorter attention spans among the digital natives provide a strong case for meditation.
It’s important to realize that ego is contagious and triggers conflicts, fear makes us indecisive, while power makes us lose empathy. I’ve also discovered that when I reduce inner strife, it decreases external strife as well.
Reading people and situations, problem solving, and effective decision-making are sought-after leadership skills. And daily meditation has helped me develop these key skills.
Today’s woman is expected to strive to have it all. Yet there are many demands on her heart, mind and time. To achieve balance, women must be rooted. Even though we work very hard, we tend to be driven by guilt that we are not giving enough at home or at work.
Recently I read The Heartfulness Way, which summarizes the meditation practice I follow, but experience speaks for itself. I embarked on a journey of self-discovery 20 years ago – this keeps me inspired and grounded every day.
Article by VANI KOLA