Lessons from Sonal Sheth Zawahri
Sonal began her virtual Torch Talk on Tuesday afternoon with the kind thought that, in the midst of everything going on in the world, “We are truly in this together.” While many individuals in our networks have been saying this for weeks in a very platitudinal sense, Sonal meant it sincerely, and this genuine thoughtfulness set the tone for the rest of her talk.
Although she now operates as a Life Coach and businesswoman, Sonal hasn’t always known where her path would lead. In fact, she has reinvented her career four times — truly demonstrating an excellence in flexibility. To recreate yourself, your livelihood, your passions four times is a feat, and Sonal graciously allowed us a peek into what that takes.
In 2007, Sonal lost her job on the same day she purchased her condo. I think we can all sympathize with the instant panic that would cause — how will I keep up with my mortgage? When will I find my footing? All this during a move? Sonal admits it wasn’t an easy pill to swallow; however, the difference between Sonal and someone else, is that Sonal pushed through it. Pushing through thus became a central point of her talk with us.
During this virtual talk, we were invited to ask ourselves: Am I on autopilot mode? Sonal then clarified further that she felt very much to be on autopilot during her years in corporate work; that, sure, you may be successful, but does it feel right? Are you complacent, or are you stretching?
Sonal defines stretching in three parts: 1. Stepping out of your comfort zone, 2. Where the magic happens, and 3. How to harness the power. And that’s all well and good, but the question is exactly how do we stretch? We can obviously see the benefits, but the journey is not so clear-cut. Sonal breaks it down into simple pieces for us:
- Are you living life the way you want to, or the way someone told you you should be?
- Are you discovering your gift?
- If you have discovered your gift, are you still failing to live it?
For those of us that said, “No” to the second question, let’s revisit how we even find our gifts. The good news is that even if you don’t see your own gift, those around you do. Ask them what you’re good at. Ask your boss, your coworkers, your family members. You may be surprised at what they have to say.
And for those of us that breezed past the second question and found ourselves stuck on the third, that’s okay! You are not behind. You’re right on track. Sonal breaks it all down for us — it’s time to S.T.R.E.T.C.H.: Step into awareness – Tone – Reflect – Engage – Take action – Change management – Harness the power.
- Step into awareness: Be honest with yourself and evaluate where you are right now, and where you want to be.
- Set the Tone: Establish what you’re seeking and how to get there. Be serious about the type of life you want to be living.
- Reflect on what I need to make this happen: Meet yourself halfway. Figure out what needs to change in order to meet your goals, and then allow those things to be changed. It might be hard and it might be uncomfortable, but it’s vital to this process.
- Engage in new ideas: Engage yourself in new ideas by doing research on what is needed or wanted in order to reach the outcome that is desired.
- Take action: Now that you’ve identified the changes that need to be made, in addition to weighing the new ideas you’ve encountered, it’s time to incorporate those changes into your everyday life. Even one small change can produce a different world.
- Change management: Completing actionable items isn’t the end of this process. Keep collecting and analyzing the results of the change. If the change isn’t working, try again until it does!
- Harness the power: Experience the change! This is the golden hour, but that doesn’t mean work isn’t required — keep pushing!
You may find yourself feeling left behind on one of these steps, but Sonal is the first to remind you that this process isn’t easy — it’s just that: a process. It may require some re-working. If you find yourself stuck, instead of giving up on the pieces that don’t work, PUSH THROUGH! Sonal pushed through her hardships, and that’s a key piece to this process.
During Sonal’s talk, a viewer posited the question, “What if we’re procrastinators?” Sonal helped us redefine the word “procrastinate.” What you’re doing “in the meantime” is powerful. Everything we do is leading up to our power. Set goals, and research what you need to do to achieve them. And if that doesn’t feel like enough? Grab a friend who is equally dedicated to growth, and make each other your accountability partners. Being honest with ourselves and our accountability partners is key to succeeding in this journey.
So why do we stretch? Well, why does a rubber band stretch? So it doesn’t snap. So it doesn’t break. We expand our knowledge through our mental stretches. We expand ourselves. Stretching is imperative to growing. Self awareness enhances self esteem, and helps us to feel fulfilled in our chosen paths.
Finding our gifts and harnessing our powers may not be easy, but Sonal teaches us these lessons ripe for the taking: all we have to do is STRETCH!