The love with which each conversation is received and appreciated, keeps me motivated to bring the most inspiring stories to this project. Here’s another one, which has been extremely insightful for me. Also, writing about this conversation is a wonderful experience for me because the person I am writing about is someone I have had a chance to work with and understand – she is such a fabulous person! Someone with a magical presence and a heart of gold – Bhavna Toor!
Bhavna is the Founder of Shenomics, a Mindful Leadership platform for women who believe in leading with profound awareness, acceptance and appreciation for who they truly are. The inspiration for setting up this wonderful platform has its roots in Bhavna’s own childhood. Both her parents come from humble backgrounds. Her father grew up in a small village in Haryana where access to basic amenities was a challenge. Inspite of these challenges and poverty, he was determined to create a better future for himself and those around him. He worked very hard to educate himself while earning to support his parents and siblings. His hard work, self-belief and determination paid off and he made it to the prestigious Indian Foreign Services. During his successful career as an Ambassador of India, Bhavna grew up living in different continents, experiencing life in economically and culturally diverse countries – Bangladesh, Nigeria, UK and US. She got to see the stark contrast between lives of those who were fortunate to have taken birth in prosperity versus those who were born in conditions that make it tough to flourish. She saw the contrast between her life and those back home in her village. Understanding this contrast made her acutely aware of the blessings in her life. This awareness brought with it the insight that one doesn’t get to choose the family they are born into. She felt that the fact she was born in her family, and that she had all the blessings was a huge privilege. “To whom much is given, much is expected” – she grew up with the feeling that God wants her to do “more”. This thought never left her.
As a child, Bhavna wanted to be very successful. And she achieved the success she desired – she got an MBA from a top business school in the US and a financially rewarding and promising career on Wall Street. She also had a creative and glamorous life outside of work. She did everything from winning beauty pageants to professional modeling, dancing, acting and public speaking to having her own TV show. On the surface, she seemed to have it all, but deep down, she felt that she was not in harmony with herself. That she had the potential to make a bigger difference and touch more lives. She didn’t know exactly what she should do next – what she knew was that if she didn’t go in pursuit of what it was, she would regret it for the rest of her life. She took a leap into the unknown with the intent of finding a purpose and creating a bigger impact in the world, and made a bold decision to leave behind her secure life in New York and move back to India, a place she had not called home in 14 years. She decided she would approach everything as an experiment, with an attitude that even if she were to fail, she will end up learning from it.
What followed was a beautiful spiritual journey of finding greater meaning, purpose and self-discovery. Breaking away from the hustle and bustle of her life in New York, gave Bhavna time to delve deeper within. It helped her align with her core values and her desire to share her gifts with the world. Her passion to give and support others drew her to roles where she was helping those who were on their journey to create an impact. Bhavna began mentoring entrepreneurs and leaders. It was in her role as the CEO and Director of the National Social Entrepreneurship Forum, supporting young social entrepreneurs that she realized that one can give most when one lives in alignment with who they are deep down. She realized that her journey is actually bigger than she thought because all around her she could see other women striving to make an impact. She felt she could contribute to making their journeys a bit easier, more fulfilling, enriching and enjoyable by sharing what she had learnt during her personal and professional journey. It was this desire to share, give and grow together that led to the birth of Shenomics – a platform that helps women live boldly and fearlessly and lead from a place within, that is pure, true and most beautiful! Through Shenomics, Bhavna has coached and mentored high potential women at leading companies like Target, Societe Generale, Google, and Goldman Sachs.
In her personal journey, Bhavna’s biggest insight has been to make fear her guide. She feels that one only faces fear when one is on the edge of their comfort zone. If she is afraid, she knows that this is exactly what she needs to do! Because facing your fears is what will create the greatest opportunity for your growth. For Bhavna, excitement comes from having a very clear vision. You have to make the push of an exciting vision, greater than the pull of your fears.
Her message to all women who hold themselves back due to fear of rejection or fear of failure is to first and foremost, accept that all of these fears are normal, and a part of the journey of your evolution. You don’t need to make yourselves wrong for feeling these. Start becoming aware of where your heart is leading you to and what is your heart’s deepest desire. Keep asking yourself the right questions, and keep experimenting till you find an answer. Once you do, take baby steps towards your goal if taking a leap scares you. Dabble into areas of your interest and passion and eventually you will find the momentum.
This conversation would have been incomplete without discussing style because both Bhavna and I are so passionate about personal style. Bhavna feels style is an important form of personal expression. Reason being, when what you are projecting on the outside and how you carry yourself are fully aligned with who you are on the inside, you experience great harmony and confidence. And that is a wonderful feeling. There is a difference between fashion and style. In case of fashion, someone else decides what’s in and what’s not, whereas your personal style is your individual expression – it comes from within. When you own your style, you bring more of yourself to every interaction. It is a great way of enhancing your Personal Power.
Hope you enjoyed reading this conversation as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you!