To connect with your own brilliance, seek within.
Shweta Anand Arora strongly believes that to unlock our hidden potential, we must free our mind of societal shackles – and then there is no limit to what we can achieve.
So who is Shweta?
She doesn’t come across as the stereotypical leadership coach – there is a gentleness to her that belies a core of steel. Her purpose is not only to guide industrial leaders but to lend a hand to ordinary folk like you and I, through this ever challenging journey called life. This lady is fervent about the development of human potential and is passionate about unleashing and empowering that potential.
Coming from a well-read family of psychologists and business-people, Shweta has herself done Psychology as an undergraduate, with an MBA from IIMA and experience in Strategy and Consulting – she didn’t always want to be a leadership coach. The discovery of her purpose and the role it played in her journey inspired her to help others, in their course to thrive as unique authentic individuals – to help people better articulate their core self and live it, everyday.
How, I ask Shweta, has she come to be so passionate about human potential? Her reply takes me a little by surprise – “what is your purpose?”, she asks. To which I have no answer, I didn’t expect a question pertaining to existentiality. Nor do I see the link between the two, but she proceeds to enlighten me.
At The Core Questin, the start-up she founded, she says “We support people in their quest for growth and maximizing their potential through connecting inward with their core self.” Her background in Psychology and Strategy opened a lot of doors for her professionally and mentally, allowing her to bring forth her expertise in the human psyche – understanding ‘how’ and more importantly ‘why’ people behave in a certain way at a certain time.
Leadership is not a destination, it is a journey that starts everyday.
This is what led her to discover the “fuel” that successful and fulfilled people use to be the best version of themselves – how do they unlock their potential? She discovered that the most potent way is through a deep and enduring connection with their core – their purpose, values and gifts. And at some point, she realized “leadership is not a destination, it is a journey that starts everyday.”
A journey of learning, reinventing, failing and through that, constantly getting better.
Our deepest fear as human beings is that we are inadequate and our worst fears lie in anticipation.
Tell me about failure, what that means to you and where do you go from there?
Our deepest fear as human beings is that we are inadequate and our worst fears lie in anticipation. “What often stands out to us as individuals, is when we fail. When we have successes in life we tend to just move swiftly on from them. We don’t reflect on what made us successful. When you fail is when you really sit down, and reflect and subsequently, learn. Hindsight is a powerful tool, and coupled with personal awareness and time, can teach us a lot. Failure needs to be put in perspective – “okay we failed, but what’s the learning here.”
This is where your purpose comes in. If your purpose is strong enough, you will learn. If the passion for what you do is strong enough, it can be a powerful motivation, and if you have the potential to achieve your purpose using your passion as a driver, can success and fulfilment be far off?
“When I quit BCG to join a small education startup, I exchanged a privileged lifestyle of air time with CEOs, a sea-facing office and travel miles, for weeks of unending train travel and sales trips to school principals on a colleague’s bike, most of which were followed by rejection. And yet, I felt energized, connected, alive. I felt I was changing the world – one school and one child at a time. I was unstoppable! It was my sense of connecting with purpose that fueled this drive.’
This experience is supported by neuroscience. A sense of purpose activates powerful performance-enhancing changes in our brains, and it has an impact at both the individual and the organisation-wide levels.”
“You can’t think your way into a new way of acting, you have to craft small experiments and that’s how you come to discover a new path”. And so, after a professional career spanning some 20+ years, extending from the corporate sector to not-for-profit social work, in August of 2019 Shweta felt an impending sense of a burn out looming. She recalls ,“The mental space that we create for ourselves could be one that drains us of energy or fills us with energy to do the work we want to do.” Soon after, she decided to take a year off from work and immerse herself in travel, books and a course in coaching. And after a year filled with uncertainty, she found her purpose.
You have to craft small experiments and that’s how you come to discover a new path
The rest, as they say, is history.
What seemed like a monumental obstacle at the time, now, in hindsight seems inconsequential. “If the front of my mind is constantly occupied with ‘oh my god how am I going to do this or that’, I don’t think I can work at my best because I’m preoccupied with troubles and challenges. Through my coaching journey, I’ve learned to move to a different headspace – one where I can operate from my strengths and look at challenges through an explorer’s eye”.
…one where I can operate from my strengths and look at challenges through an explorer’s eye
And just like that, things started to click and fall in place. Connections that would otherwise seem obscure started to be made. “That process of self-discovery at such a transitionary moment in life was crucial” Shweta recalls. She found her purpose, and an exciting team of ‘co-conspirators’ or co-founders, and now it is time to realize her potential and help others realize theirs too.