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  • Kim Meninger

Finding and Leveraging Our Personal Power

Updated: May 12, 2023

Finding and Leveraging Our Personal Power

In this episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, we talk about the importance of self-leadership. Particularly for those who represent historically marginalized groups, it’s easy to assume that we lack power in our workplaces, but each of us has more power than we think we do. My guest this week, Meenakshi Iyer, founder and principal at NorthStar Solutions and Services, shares her personal story of navigating much of her life feeling different from those around her. She also talks about how her experience has influenced her perspectives on leadership, including the importance of recognizing and leveraging our personal power.

About My Guest

Meenakshi Iyer thrives at the intersection of People, Process, and Technology. She is a T-shaped leader and community builder with a 25-year portfolio career spanning IT, Agile/Business Process Transformation, international healthcare, HR, and Training, in India and the USA. “Stop, breathe, think, act” is her motto.

In her latest career pivot, she serves as the Founder and Principal at NorthStar Solutions and Services, a virtual coaching, training and consulting practice serving clients globally. An ICF-certified Personal Agility, Self-Leadership and Change Leadership Coach, Meenakshi partners with Mid-career Technology Leaders, Women in Tech, and those who, like her, speak English as an additional language. She’s all about co-creating transformational leadership at the “messy middle”. With her support, her clients find creative ways to build highly engaged and self-organizing teams in a technology and process-driven world. She partners with leaders and their teams in unpacking the power of “slowing down to speed up”. She helps them in making agility, collaboration, and inclusion+belonging integral to their leadership/team practices.

Meenakshi is a speaker, and since 2020, Meenakshi has delivered 20+ virtual, and in-person talks and webinars, hosted panel discussions, and facilitated workshops globally. She is also a certified #IamRemarkable workshop facilitator. Meenakshi is the creator and co-host of NorthStar’s Annual Future of Work Virtual Conference. In 2021, she founded Building My Runway – a Global Mentorship program for mid-career Women in Tech, and the alumni community is 16 women strong coming from 5+ countries. She is the host of two livestream shows: Exploring Intersections, and The NorthStar Café, where she speaks with guests around the world on topics relating to Inclusive Leadership and the Future of Work. Meenakshi holds a BS in Physics, and an Executive MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Management. She speaks four languages and has lived and worked in 10+ cities in India and the US. Currently, she and her husband live in Virginia, USA, and have family in Australia, India, and Thailand.

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Kim Meninger Welcome, Meenakshi. I am so excited for us to have this conversation, you and I have been chatting for a bit now. And we’re transitioning into chatting in front of a listening audience. And I can’t wait to continue the discussion. Before we do. So though, I would love to invite you to introduce yourself.

Meenakshi Iyer Absolutely. First of all, thank you so much for this opportunity, Kim. And I know we both know, we could, we could talk for hours. So I’m really looking forward to sharing our conversation with your audience. It’s lovely to be here. My name is Meenakshi. I’m here, and I’m physically located in Virginia and in the US. And I like to describe myself as someone who thrives at the intersection of people process and technology. I have a portfolio career that’s indicative of that. And you know, I started in, in healthcare in India, right out of college, and went on to working in IT and IT services companies and picked up teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages as a skill and did the after a few years, before moving to the US 15 years ago now. And as an accompanying spouse, so my husband was transferred on his job and that’s what brought me to the US. So I’ve, I’ve worked in many industries, hospitality, healthcare, ITT services, and health tech for the last I want to say about, definitely 10 plus years since I moved to the US, like went back to healthcare just happened. And I’ve been in the healthcare technology space ever since. And in my, in my 25-year career, I have worked not only in different industries, but also worked in different roles up and down all levels of hierarchy, and worked in startups. When I had the privilege of setting up businesses and working alongside business owners, and I think that’s contributed to the sort of systemic view I hold on most things. And in the last four years, ever since I started nostra solutions and services, which is a boutique future work-oriented, coaching, training and consulting practice, and it’s a virtual practice, so I still am able to connect with people from around the world. I serve as a personal agility, self-leadership and change leadership coach. And I focus on mid-career technology leaders, women in technology. And folks like me, who speak English as an additional language, because our lived experience in the world of work, predominantly, which is predominantly English, speaking for a good part is very different. And there’s a lot of code-switching that we do, and it doesn’t get talked about much. So our experiences in the workplace are very different. And so that’s the sort of segment of the professional community that I focus on. And I also partner with small to mid-sized companies that are looking to transform their ways of working and adopt agile ways of working. My goal is really to help individuals and teams and organizations to make human skills such as agility, collaboration, and inclusion and belonging and daily practice. It’s not it doesn’t need to be siloed under HR under the AI, but how all leaders, leaders at all levels, can actually adopt these as individual and team practices. So that’s what I’m focused on. And that’s what I do currently. And it’s in the, it’s through the coaching journey that I you and I met as well. So it’s like full circle.

Kim Meninger Exactly. And I’m just thinking about your introduction as this like, bright shiny apple, and I’m like, which bite do I take? There’s so much to what you said. And I think I want to start with, if we go back to what you were talking about when you were talking about people who are speaking English as an additional language, I really want to talk about sort of you bring a very global perspective, you’ve had a lot of international experience. And you know, when we talk about imposter syndrome, one of the triggers of imposter syndrome is feeling different from the majority culture around you. And can you say more about what you know, to be particular challenges of that experience today in the workplace, if you know somebody who is a non-native English speaker comes here as an immigrant is trying to navigate a different cultural experience like what, what has that been like for you and maybe what you’ve learned from others too?

Meenakshi Iyer Yeah. Oh, that’s a little unpack because, you know, in, in India, I mean, I’m originally from India, and I was my, my ancestor, my ancestry is in the south of India. And but I, because of my father’s job, we took into different parts of the country and I ended up spending the first my formative years until, from the age of like, I don’t know, 18 months, all the way up to 13 years in the north of the country in India. So like, anybody that’s familiar with India will know that almost every state has its own language, you know, with its own script. So if you cross state lines, you will start seeing different a different language, and you will start hearing a different language. And that’s the, that’s the norm for us. If so, if you’re in India, if you’re from India, that’s natural to have that kind of diversity in all respects, right? So its culture, its food, language, its ways of being ways of doing everything is different. Men just that’s just a part of it. So that’s what I grew up with. However, the same time, I also remember being singled out as a child, for being from the south. So I was always referred to as the South Indian or the Madras years, people would say there so anybody, this Madras is modern day, it’s called Chennai. Madras is the capital of one of the states in this, in the south. And generally, people who would prefer say, Madras, it didn’t matter where you came from which of the four or five states you came from, you were a Madras if you are below, a certain, I don’t know what line we have in the south drama dossier for all the South Indians, anybody that came from the north, which is any outside of any of those four southern states was a Punjabi. Punjab is one state in the north, but you wouldn’t refer to so this is, you know, this is a this is what I grew up with. So I was always acutely aware of being different. How, and why I may not have understood that as a child, but then that, that was my lived experience. And then when we came back to the cells to actually, our ancestral town, which is where my father chose to spend the last, he wanted to come back before he retired, so he wanted to settle in there. And it was one of the hardest transitions of my life, I remember that. And it really, it also fractured my relationship with him. Because I was feeling like, I felt like I was being uprooted for no fault of mine. Because although I started it, and growing up in the north, I still had that lived experience of being in the north, and I never thought that that is going to change. So it really felt like the ground and the earth underneath me was gone. Right. And nobody prepared me for that. So I think it was my first sort of traumatic experience, if you will, of that move. And, and it was the early, late 80s, early 90s. When that, when we moved and, and then I came back to the south, I obviously didn’t speak the language as well, as fluently as everybody did. And I was not I was the visitor. Right? So I was the Punjabi who was in the midst of them. Latin Madras, you name so what do we do with you? Right? So I, I always, I’ve always had that experience, and which is why I talk about I have been this proverbial outsider all my life. And so I’m constantly looking for social cues from others, to inform my behavior in in social interactions. And I think that actually helped me as an immigrant here in the US. Because I, I, I walk in, and I’m observing, I observe first, I’m not the first person to say much. But then I’ll observe to understand what’s what. And then I trick figured out my way of interaction with the group. So speaking of impostor syndrome, I think the way I see it is that, in my experience, having always been in a place where I am sort of the minority, if you will, for whatever reason, it may be because I didn’t speak the local language as well as, as well as everybody else, or the color of my skin. My name slides in India, we also have a caste system. And so I from a cost perspective, I sit at the top of the hierarchy because of the cost I was born into. And people can find that out with my, with my last name, and, but I’m a woman, but I’m fair-skinned, relative to everyone else in Southern India, for example. So there’s, there’s all these questions, right? So people look at my name, and they hear me talk. There’s a lot of confusion. Like where are you from? Really, so I’ve experienced that even within India. So I feel like it’s sort of normalized here to have the reaction from people here in the US, because after all before that, so I think I take that I’m very even-keeled with that reaction in the US, because I’ve experienced so much of it over in India. And so it has affected my confidence and how I feel about myself and how confident I feel in my knowledge, skills and abilities, I think, throughout my life, but what got me through is that I had a strong foundation. And thanks to my parents in on the academic side, so it’s my, it’s my straight-A tendencies that got me through. So I think I really, very early on, I learned that the way to success is, is my own competence. And I’ll do everything that I need to do to build my competence because that’s where I got my confidence from. And that’s true to this day. So that’s, that’s been a bit of my sort of origin story if you will.

Kim Meninger I, thank you so much for sharing that. And I know some of it, but just hearing you talk and like, Oh, I didn’t know that part. Right. So I always learned something new from our conversations. And, and I, I want to bring into the conversation a couple of other points, because as I’m hearing you talk, I’m thinking that there are these the likelihood of sort of two parallel responses or I’m trying to think for lack of a better term of like, logical outcomes of your experience, right? On the one hand, and imagine some resilience, right? Because you’ve been doing this for so much of your life that some sense, you know, well, it doesn’t make it easier. You’re building some muscles along the way. On the other hand, it can also imagine it feeling almost like cumulative trauma, in a sense, right? Like, because you’re being subjected to this kind of experience over and over again. And so I wonder how that feels to you, when it makes sense to do so I want to introduce agility into this conversation because I think that’s such a big part of what you think about. And, you know, when I was working in high tech, talked about agile and agility in the foreign in the context of the work, right, and I love the way you talk about it in terms of the person and so I want to hear your perspective on that, too.

Meenakshi Iyer Absolutely. And very well said, You’re absolutely right, I think my experiences have given me grit and resilience. And they’ve also given me a lot of courage. So I will try anything at least once anything legal at least once, that’s my joke, but it’s true, I would think I would give anything a shot. And that, what, how that has helped me is I’m a natural at connecting people and ideas, especially, and making sure that it leads to some meaningful action. Right, so I’m always about connecting dots. And that has served me well in my, in my professional life, it’s also served me well in my personal life. And I also listen for what’s not said, because I’m so used to reading social cues, that I spend a lot of time in really watching people and listening to everything that’s not being said, and including body language. And because in my professional life, I’ve I spent a considerable amount of time working with people in virtual teams long before this was a thing. And that’s I want to make a sidebar here, by the way. Because when you talk about impostor syndrome, it has your, your location of work and like a physical location, and how your teams are located and how you wait. It defines the level of access you have with your leadership or with your colleagues and things like that. There’s so much that’s been talked about in the last three, four years ever since the pandemic about oh my god, virtual work and remote and hybrid. So anybody that comes from the world of software development will know that hybrid work and virtual work and remote work, whatever label you want to put is at least 35, 30 to 35 years old. Anybody that has done any work in software outsourcing will know this, and this was pre-technology, the best technology you probably had to Skype. We used to do conference calls, right? So you don’t, you don’t see anybody. There’s this big box in the conference room and everybody’s talking around it. We still do that. So the reason I’m saying this is, it’s just because a lot more people have been forced to work that way it does not make it new. And the other part of this is that in the software industry when the reason why outsourcing became a thing was to from a cost-saving perspective, right, so a lot of these challenges around the human connection and how much that is required for successful work to happen. The, the consideration around that is new. But the experience is not. And so, so coming back to what you asked me about, so my experience of having, having to always either explain myself or read what’s happening around the room. And my own experience with the software outsourcing world has really put me in a position where I’m, I’m a good listener, and I look for what’s not being said, and, and I can build relationships, even, you know, completely virtually and even through phone calls, like even without seeing the other person because I’m so tuned to listening, for the pauses for the hesitation. And those are all the symptoms of what’s happening within the person as you’re having a conversation. And now as I look back, it serves me so well as a professional coach, because these are some of the skills that I’ve been using. These are now competency markers for a coach, but then I’ve been honing these skills for years. And they’ve helped me the second part of that, when you’re what you said is, on a personal level, I’ve reached a level of exhaustion now because I have to constantly explain myself, either verbally about my background and about and then claim my spot at the table, so to speak. Or I get this experience that, yeah, I might be here but does not mean I’m, I’m welcome. Just because of how I look or how I speak, or whatever it may be, right? I might be included. But I might I’m still not welcome. I’m just being included. So inclusion has so many nuances. And so personally, it’s becoming a little bit tiring for me, right, from teaching people how to pronounce my name. I’m like, come on, do some homework. Right? And especially in today’s times when most of us have a LinkedIn profile, like did you take the time to go to my LinkedIn profile to see that little speaker icon, click that I actually tell you how to pronounce my name. So I feel like if I have to be the one always walking that extra mile to reach the other person. Yes, I’ve done it. But then oh my god, I’ve done it for like 30 years now give me a break. So that part is exhausting and it tight, it’s I think I’ve made a journey in that, in the sense that I have learned to not let that affect my confidence. Because it does affect my confidence. As recently as a few months ago, like two months ago, I went to my first in-person networking event in I don’t know, God knows, like, three, four years, there’s a local event that I went through, and I found that I was the only person that looked like me in the room. And then I found one more person, one more Indian person. But I found that maybe I’m reading too much into this, I don’t know. But I, what I experienced was people struggling to figure out how to interact with me. Because I noticed other folks they were the conversation seemed to flow much more easily than with me. And that nobody approached me to have a conversation. It was a networking event for God’s sake. Right? So then I’m like, oh, here we go. Now, go reach out and open my mouth and say something so people know that I can speak English and I can speak it intellectually. So you know. And then I’m like, Okay, why am I doing this? Right? And then that’s, that’s one of the more recent times when I felt that sense of exhaustion coming over. And so I had to think about, like, why am I here? What am I doing? I’m a solopreneur and I am also looking to build my business. So I need to get over this. So there’s all these different conversations, monologues that I’m having. And at the same time, it’s like, okay, maybe this is not the way to do this for me, maybe this is not serving me and I’m not going to engage with this anymore. Right? So that self-doubt then comes in, and then that starts affecting my confidence. And then I’m like, okay, oh, I don’t even have my 30-second elevator pitch down, like, what is wrong with me that I go down that path? Right? Because people don’t always have the time to listen to your whole story. I love stories. I love origin stories, particularly. Right? That doesn’t mean that that’s what is commonly accepted. So that’s, that’s been my experience. Like, yes, it’s given me great resilience and courage. And, and I’ll keep at it, that’s what allows me, enables me to be consistent. Right? And as a solopreneur, you’ve heard this game before. I, my joke is, yeah, I’m gonna keep making noise. And one day, I’m gonna make some money. So I keep showing up. Because if nothing like it was like, You’re, you’re confident that I can monetize?

Kim Meninger Well, can I ask you a question about this, because I think this is really important for people listening to because women of color, in particular have a very challenging experience in the workplace related to a lot of what you just described? And it might be for different reasons, right? Different, different dimensions of identity. But the exhaustion is what really jumps out at me. And there’s a big difference between saying, I’m not going to let it get to me, and actually, physically and emotionally rising above it, which can be so hard to do. I mean, we’re human, right? We are, we are biologically wired to respond to our environment. And so it’s almost impossible to get to a level where you just sort of don’t let that reach you anymore. So what are there things that you have found to be helpful? Like, do you actually use certain tools or resources to help you when you are feeling that way?

Meenakshi Iyer One thing, I didn’t have language for it. And I think it came up in one of our conversations in Leading Humans in the, in the Thursday group with you, Kim. And I don’t know if it was you or someone in the group that said, Be kind because that’s who you are. And not for the other person. I didn’t have that language, but that’s what I do. And I’m like, Oh, I get it. Now. Now I have this, I haven’t qualified, you know. But that’s what I had to remind myself. I’m like, okay, am I going to react or respond? And so there’s a couple of things that I think about one is, and I think over the years, I’ve become good at not being at tables where respect is not being served. And I know that a court and I do that I started doing that I just walk away, I’d rather be by myself sit at a table, it might be like this roundtable meant for 10. And I’m just gonna go sit there by myself, and I’m fine with it. And it’s taken me years to get to that point. But that’s one thing I do. It’s like, if I don’t feel respected if I don’t feel included, I finish whatever, like let’s say, eating or drinking and finish that and then walk away, and then find some other place to go sit. And I’ve also become very, I remind myself that I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s totally okay. And so I will find, and as I say this, I’m reminded that I also have to remind myself that I’m not here to chase people, I have to attract the right kind of people that I want to work with. And I think that’s one of the reasons why, after setting up my practice, and not resolutions, I really made have made this conscious decision over the last few months to say, I don’t think every now and then you know, I love the security of a paycheck every now and then I’ll go look for jobs. And I’m like, no, no, I’m chasing, I’m going to just stop that. And I have to make the way in my life for the right things to come towards me. It’s easier said than done. Because as I’m saying this, and this is another point that I want to make is I’m also very acutely aware of all the areas of privilege in my life. I have a spouse that has a steady job that provides us for that provides us with everything that we need materially speaking materialistically speaking, and it allows me to go do this thing. Right. So being aware of that keeps me grounded. Because I think one of the things that triggers me when I look at others who, you know, like social media is filled with curated life. It’s right. And nobody talks about the grunt work that it takes to get there. So being acutely aware of all the privilege that I have in my life, the fact that I can speak English, and that, and that is the language of the world of business and work that I am actually able to articulate what I do, and how I can make sense to bring value to whoever I’m speaking to, right. So these things, so becoming comfortable with being by myself being alone, not lonely, but being alone. And that’s fine. Recognizing that I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, and I’m not here to please everyone. And these things really feed into my self-confidence and how I show up. And I think the third thing is really to protect my own energy. So I’ve stopped in engaging with people and circumstances that robbed me of my energy. So I really focus on what is happening inside of me, and how am I responding or reacting to a situation or a person, people event, whatever it may be. And I pay attention to my breathing pattern, what am I, what the sensations in different parts of my body, and I’ve become very aware of that. And the last thing is, I just, I take time off, and I don’t do anything, I started scheduling idle time, in my, in my day-to-day. And, and those are times when I don’t, I don’t engage with anything. And, and really choosing when to respond and if to respond at all, because you know, not responding is a response in itself. So I stopped feeling the pressure to engage and respond to every single stimulus in my life.

Kim Meninger And so what I’m thinking about as you’re sharing that is, and I think this speaks to the concept of self-leadership, too, right as looking for your personal power, right? And you mentioned, the privilege piece being a factor in that, but some of us have more privileged than others, some of us have more power than others, but we all have some amount of power. And, and a lot of times when, when you’re in a situation like you’re describing where you’re feeling disrespected, you’re feeling singled out. That’s not what we’re thinking about, we’re not recognizing that we actually have ways of responding that are empowering, but I think that’s a really important part of this, too, is to sort of identify what your options are, so that you can show up from the most empowered place.

Meenakshi Iyer Absolutely, you are so right. And if I don’t respect myself, I’m going to project that and that’s what I’m gonna get into. So if somebody is being disrespectful by, and there are many ways of showing that right, not acknowledging you, or having a conversation with you, without pronouncing your name, that happens to me a lot. Or completely ignoring you, whatever it may be. If I let that into my energy space, then I am disrespecting myself. That’s how I look at it now. So if I, if I respect myself enough, I’m going to walk away from that space, or I’m not going to react. That’s the way I show that. Okay, I got this, and this is how I’m going to deal with it. And this is a big part of why I call myself a self-leadership coach is, a lot of times my clients they talk about, and especially, you know, I work with a lot of rising emerging leaders and mid-career leaders. And they all have seen leadership being modeled within their organizations. And so like, I remember having this conversation a few weeks ago, and my client was talking about how they see leaders being extroverted leaders being very clear in communicating and you know, with a very, sort of, like a confident commanding voice. And so these are some of the pieces that they have picked up and their exploration in our conversation was, Do I have to? Is that the only way to be a leader? They always they’re busy. And it’s very difficult to get time with them. But you know, I’m not sure suddenly my question to them was okay, what, what, what is important to you, to show up as a, as a leader, as a, as a person? ‘Oh, I want to be able to be available for my people. I want to have these conversations. I’m approachable. But then I’m wondering if I’m a pushover, I’m like, so let’s talk about this.’ So for them, because they have seen these characteristics or traits being modeled out as in the senior leaders within their organization, their whole mental model around leadership is skewed towards that. So I help people figure out what is leadership for them as individuals. And what do they want it to be? What is? What is their leadership stance that is most authentic to who they are? Because I asked this person this question, I said, my client this question I said, ‘So what? How would you feel? If you were to be like the senior leader in your company?’ And their responses? How to is that to who you are? Like, what do you value you value human connection, you value being straightforward, you value being approachable, oh, I want to retain all of that. That was that immediate response? Right. So bringing that confidence back into, okay, this is who I am. And this is what works for me. And this is what I’m going to do, a lot of us get caught up in what we see around us. And we think that that is the way to be. And so for me, I have these three constructs of self-leadership that I talked about, and I practice myself is lead from where you are. Leadership has nothing to do with titles. Leadership is to me, like you said, it’s all about personal power, it’s not positional power at all because positions and titles, somebody gives them to you. And if somebody is giving them to you, they can take it away as well. And that’s what the layoffs have taught us. Right, and then you find your entire life shattered. Because this job’s gone. And I’ve been there, it took me about three to six months to figure out who I was because for me, my entire identity was invested in my job. And that the realization that okay, my work all these years, 20 plus years, I had built my entire life around my work. And I completely flipped it. And it took me three to six months to go through that journey to say, work is one way that allows me It pays my bills and allows me to live the life I want to live. But what is the life I want to live? Let me figure that out first, and then I’ll figure out what I want to do. And I totally understand that it is a point of privilege to do that. Because if I still say this, because it was a conversation with my husband, we have bills to pay, we have health insurance, which in this country is unfortunately tied to employment. So I’m not saying make these decisions out there, have them firmly grounded in what your realities are. Right. So being aware of what your current privileges and what your constraints are. And then figure this out. So I’m not talking about Eat, Pray, Love, chuck your job and go travel the world. books and movies, but So leading from where you are visit personal power over position power. The second thing is lead self before we lead others, a lot of us are trained to be leaders. And the models that we see around us are all about leading others, but what are you doing for yourself, and going back to some of our ancient wisdom that speaks so much to that. And the third thing is leading with your head, head, heart and hands. And that’s because if we if there is imbalance in that, and what I mean by that is, what you feel and what you think and what you do, they have to be aligned. So you have to align to your values, your core values that you so strongly feel about? And what are your thoughts around it in terms of how you’re going to strategize to implement those values in your everyday life and what are you doing? What are your actions? So these have to be in harmony, and when they whenever they are not, is when you, I at least, I have experienced or more. So these are my three core principles around self-leadership.

Kim Meninger I love it. I absolutely. I always love hearing you talk about this because I think that there is so much sorry, still, there’s so much still rooted in these very narrow profiles of leadership that we you know, so I think the conversation has shifted and clearly we have the language to acknowledge that, let’s call it diversity of thought, right? And diversity of style is actually a good thing. But in practice, when we look around and we continue to see people who fit a particular model of leadership, getting ahead and dominating the power structure, it does cause a to look at ourselves and say there must be something wrong with me, I shouldn’t be doing it differently, right, I should be more like him, or I should be more like her. And if we’re trying to be someone that we’re not, we’re never going to bring our full power and confidence and our, our, our natural gifts and strengths to the world, right? And so, it is challenging, because our organizational cultures and accepted behaviors and norms dictate a lot of what is valued and what is recognized and rewarded. However, this takes me back to what you were talking about, which I think is really good, very literally, and theoretically is like, if I’m at a table where I’m not respected, I’m going to walk away. And maybe we don’t have the privilege to be able to do that immediately, because we have, you know, we’re the breadwinner, or we have kids to feed or whatever the case may be. But the moment that that disrespect happens, it becomes a signal, I think of it as like a data point, right? Like, we’re sort of building a database of our experience, and we’re kind of we’re observing, and we’re paying attention. And then if that data continues to accumulate in that direction, it gives us insight, and it gives us space to think about, okay, well, if I can’t be my best self here, then I’m gonna go someplace where I can’t be. And again, it doesn’t have to be tomorrow. But I can at least start to lay the groundwork for that. And I, you know, I think that’s how so much of what you say really comes together for me. And in terms of like, either I’m going to build my personal power and confidence where I am, so I can make a bigger impact and do more on the path that I’m on. Or I’m going to decide this particular environment is not worthy of me. Yes, I’m gonna go someplace else where they see me differently.

Meenakshi Iyer Yes, yes, absolutely. And, and I think this has also come up in one of our conversations can that women in general, tend to internalize what happens in our environment. So if I got a, let’s say, my performance review, and I, during my performance review, I was given certain feedback that I wasn’t expecting, or it was less than desirable, I look for ways to immediately tied back to something about me. And in women in general, we are given feedback on, on style more than content, that’s a whole other conversation. But I think we tend to, and this affects our self-confidence because we being laid off, for example, a lot of us and that’s not just women, a lot of us who experienced this, sort of like an abrupt end to something that we were on, we immediately think about what, what, what did we do wrong, and that our self-esteem and self-confidence and conviction takes it takes such a big hit. And experiencing that, I’m not saying run away from that experience, experience it, and then come back to okay, what’s the one thing that I can do to move forward? And then distancing yourself from what’s happening in the environment, what’s happening in the environment is not a reflection on your own individual capabilities. And those are and for that, all of this to happen, you have to be constantly self-aware, you have to be in touch with your emotions, feelings, and the somatic side of, you know, the sensations in your body that you’re experiencing. The pace of breathing, the, the rate, and, and all of that. And it’s not something out there, it doesn’t belong only in the world of yoga, it is something that we have to do very intentionally, the more self-aware we become, the, the stronger we become, because then we are in a position to navigate any of these negative circumstances and, and experience the pain, acknowledge the pain that the grief that will be experienced, and then move, move forward from there.

Kim Meninger Yeah, and I like what you just said there too about experience and acknowledge the pain because it is pain, right? And it is going to trigger us very, again, we’re humans, we’re emotional beings, and rightfully so it’s going to trigger us because it’s not right. But I do think that one of the things that has helped me and I think is just really helpful, an extension to what you said is this idea of it’s not if it’s not about me, right if, if they give me feedback that doesn’t align with my authentic self. That’s an expression of their values, not mine, right, and to just be on the lookout for where the disconnect may lie in our value system and what we know to be true for ourselves. And in certain situations that works in certain situations, it doesn’t. And if you’re feeling like you’re disrespected for who you are, right, it’s different if you if you’re given feedback, like you said about the content of your work, if you’re being, if you’re being given constructive feedback about how to grow a skill set, or you know how to develop in a particular way, that’s actually meaningful and important to your growth. But if you’re being told, You’re not good enough as a human in certain ways, right, your, your style isn’t good enough, then that’s a good indication that they have a different value system than you do. Right. And that, that is not about you. Right? Yeah. Oh, my goodness, I could go on and on all day, I feel like this is just anytime you and I talk. I just feel like so energized and inspired. And, and I’m so grateful to you. So can you tell us a little bit about where we can find you? So anybody who’s listening? Who wants more, if you like I do.

Meenakshi Iyer Oh, Kim, thank you so much. That was very gracious of you. And yes, I absolutely enjoy all our conversations. And I learned so much from them. So thank you. The best way to find me is on LinkedIn, and also through my website, not, all one word, And on LinkedIn, I have a company page and then my own profile. That’s where you’ll find me more. Most easily.

Kim Meninger And if you’re listening before March 15th…

Meenakshi Iyer Oh yes, oh, thank you for bringing that up. And in fact, that’s how you and I met two years ago. So no solutions and services we, we are hosting our fourth annual future work conference. And the third dinner in a row. We are co-hosting it with Sepher Ella LLC, the founder and CEO is Tiffany because Daniel was a mutual friend. And in fact, Kim and I met through Tiffany. So huge shout out to you, Tiffany. And so yeah, so Tiffany and I have been co-hosting this conference for the last since 2021. So this is our third year in a row co-hosting it. This year’s topic is burnout, which is on I think on, everybody is lifted out of everybody’s lived experience and on everybody’s mind. So we’re going to talk about burnout, the silent pandemic, creating sustainable recovery by embracing equity. So the whole idea, it’s a half a day event happening on March 15, from 11 am to 4 pm, New York Time, Eastern Standard Time. And we are getting together to talk about the different aspects of burnout, impact of systemic inequities, particularly gender inequity. And what might we as individuals, again, the focus is on individuals on us. What is it that each of us can do to not only recognize and recover from burnout, but also what is it? What are some things that we can do to prevent burnout? So I’ll include the registration info and all of that in the show notes. I’ll give it to you. Okay. So once again, we’d love for you to join us. And it’s a very boutique event. So we’re looking to have up to 150 attendees, our main goal is that it that you don’t come to just listen to everybody talk that you actually are able to engage not only with the speakers, but also with your fellow attendees, and walk away with some meaningful connections that can help you sustain the work even after the conference. So that’s our goal with that. We want you for this opportunity.

Kim Meninger Yeah, yeah. And all of that information will definitely be in the show notes. And thank you so much Meenakshi for the conversation, for your friendship for all the amazing work that you’re doing. I it is always such a pleasure.

Meenakshi Iyer Thank you, Kim, likewise, and I’m so glad I was able to reach a wider audience through you. And I’m very grateful for this opportunity. Thank you very much.

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