How to Use Soul Searching for Personal Transformation

episode 72 on soul searching for personal transformation with Aruna Krishnan podcast cover

In this episode, I’m speaking with Aruna Krishnan. Aruna Krishnan shares the five R’s of personal transformation and invites us to complete the first step today. She also  reveals three ways that we can fight imposter syndrome, and questions that we can use to help us figure out our leadership capacity, recognizing that leadership doesn’t only happen when we’re in charge of a team, but it can happen in many different areas where we’re able to contribute towards making an impact. 

Aruna is a management consultant, best selling author and podcast host. Her Busy Mind book series and podcast Lead That Thing cover leadership topics and competencies. Her company Optum LLC works with business owners to define business and product strategies that increase their revenues and growth.

She has 15 plus years of experience in the technology field and leads efforts in large corporations to define, design and deliver high quality products for their customers. Aruna’s main mission in life is to lift up people by helping them find themselves, happiness, and success by educating and encouraging them through content, stories, and inspiration.

We recorded this episode on April 8, 2021.

I went through that soul searching journey. A lot of it was mindfulness. So with that meditation, letting go of the past, first of all, searching what was in the past that came to my present that brought me to that state and what I need to put away and what I need to move forward with.

So with that journey, I started to see the results of my life changing and moving in a more positive direction….

Aruna Krishnan

Your Challenge Invitation

Take a few minutes today to start the first step of the 5 Rs for personal transformation – reflect. Then plan out when you’ll go through the other 4 steps: rinse, restart, reinforce, repeat. Work through the cycle at your own pace.

Step 1 – Reflect: Write down all of the things that got you here and categorize them in terms of belief systems, people and mindset. What are the beliefs that you have been either fed or you have a grown up with that have brought you to this point. Who are you surrounding yourself with, are they the right people for you, and do they bring you the right energy and help you grow? What kind of mindset do you have? How do you process your thoughts? Are you impulsive or are you calm and you work through problems. So with those three categories, first reflect what got you here.

Step 2 – Rinse: Next, rinse (take away) the things that are not serving you well. You will know what they are once you’ve gone through the reflection step.

Step 3 – Restart: Then, restart with only the things that are bringing you positive results. Those are what’s left after the rinse and any new things that you want to add.

Step 4 – Reinforce: Now practice all of the actions on your restart list. Make it a point to notice and celebrate how they are improving your life.

Step 5 – Repeat: It’s time to go back to reflect to see how are you moving forward. Working through this process in an iterative way ensures that you remain on the path that you have decided for yourself.

Contact and follow Aruna on Medium, Linkedin, and on her website Optim LLC. You can listen to her podcast here.

You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

Learning evolves into changing, because it’s changing you, it’s growing you and it’s helping you be a better person. – Aruna Krishnan

Related Episodes

Timeline of the Chat

02:25 – Aruna’s Busy Mind Series
05:10 – How to manage and train your mind
13:41 – The 4 Ps Framework for problem solving
17:32 – Writing to simplify processes and help others
21:21 – Leadership
23:19 – On self-acceptance and imposter syndrome
26:18 – Steps in Aruna’s self-acceptance journey
28:43 – Parenting the next generation
30:59 – Books and reading
32:40 – On failure and change
33:55 – Invitation/Challenge – The 5 R’s to Personal Transformation
36:42 – Fast Five

The meaning of failure is not that you’re done. Failure just means this iteration didn’t work. – Aruna Krishnan

Quick Links

The Calatrava Museum in MIlwaukee
The Calatrava Museum in MIlwaukee
lead that thing podcast cover art
Lead That Thing podcast

When you’re approaching change, make sure you redefine what failure means.

Transcript of the Episode

Aruna’s Busy Mind Series [02:25]

Damianne President: [02:25] You have your podcast and you also have a three books as part of the Busy Mind series. Tell us a bit about your podcast and  books. What drove you to create these products and put them out in the world?

Aruna Krishnan: [02:38] I’ll have to go back a couple of years, but really excited about the podcast and books, because they were kind of the starting point to get me to my purpose. So my story goes back about 10 years ago where I was kind of at a low point in my life. Because this podcast is about changes big and small, like what drives change, what I could think about immediately was number one, either a problem you’re trying to solve that requires a change; or two growth, when you’re looking for growth, be that an individual growth, be that business growth, or anything of that sort.

So for me, it was a personal story.  Being at that low kind of defined that problem, the problem that I had to figure out how to solve on my own, and it involved really searching. You could call it soul searching, but searching within to figure out, at 35, what has gotten me to this point where I feel like I’m not doing anything, right. I’m not able to fit in. I’m not getting acceptance, whether it’s from family or friends, all these different things around me that didn’t me feel who I truly was. 

So I went through that soul searching journey. A lot of it was mindfulness. So with that, meditation, letting go of the past, first of all searching what was in the past that came to my present that brought me to that state and what I need to put away and what I need to move forward with.

So with that journey, I started to see the results of my life changing and moving in a more positive direction, whether it be in terms of the relationships or even just in the quality of my life and. Feeling happy and more confident.

And then, at one point I said, it can’t just be me that goes through this. There must be so many millions of women that probably experience similar things. So my first book, which was Stop, Wait, Go was really trying to capture that process of mindfulness, really improving my emotional intelligence and mindfulness. I’ll give you the analogy or the crux of what the book is.

How to manage your mind [05:10]

Our mind is like a busy intersection. We constantly have thoughts moving in and out, right? We see something, we think about something, maybe we’re planning for the future, maybe we have to think about how to solve a problem before the end of the day; it’s always very busy. But if we don’t take the time to regulate those thoughts, it can be very overwhelming and chaotic just as if you’re in a traffic intersection and there’s no traffic lights. Just imagine the amount of collision and damage that there’s going to be. That’s very similar to what would happen to our mind if we don’t start to regulate our mind. So that’s how I simplified it.

Think about it as, as soon as you feel a thought come in, think about what you need to do with that thought. Where is it coming from? What’s the action you need to take? That helps you slow down. That is emotional intelligence. Slow down, think about if it’s relating to somebody else, what is their perspective? Does it require something from you? Do you need to be more empathetic towards them? Is it personal? So all these questions you can ask before you decide to go. So that was the first book.

Damianne President: [06:30] If we think about the first book, it sounds like it deals with addressing some of the pitfalls that we can come across when we catch ourselves in overthinking, for example. I can imagine overthinking being one of those crashes that could happen in that intersection. That’s just my example, but what are those types of pitfalls that happen when we don’t regulate or when we don’t manage our thoughts?   

Aruna Krishnan: [06:58] Building on what you just said is that over-thinking and just that feeling of being overwhelmed. And when you’re overwhelmed, it plays on your body, and you feel it because you can’t function and your body feels weaker. It actually affects you physically. It’s just constantly, constantly putting your body through this stress.  That’s something that you can avoid if you, at the inception, decide how to deal with it. And secondly, I feel for me, it’s really come in handy with relationships, whether it’s personal relationships or professional relationships, how do I react to this person in a situation, whether it’s a motherly role, wife, or a coworker. It helps me listen rather than have my preconceived notions and that doesn’t help for communication or for actually solving problems, be that at home and be that in any type of environment. So it helps you read the room, helps you be more empathetic. In my life, that has also helped solve very difficult relationships because what it’s helped me realize is that person is going through a lot and their reactions may come out in a super negative way, but for me to realize it’s not targeted at me, but it’s just their projection of their suffering and it comes out in that way, which was really for me, mind blowing learning.

How to train your mind to combat mental exhaustion [08:35]

Damianne President: [08:36] As you’re talking, the word that’s coming up to me is impulsivity and finding a way to counteract that impulsivity. And also at the same time, having approaches that can help with mental exhaustion, because I know sometimes, especially during COVID times, sometimes I sit on the couch and I don’t feel physically tired, but it’s hard to get off the couch and do whatever it is that I’m trying to inspire and encourage myself to do. And so I’ve realized that it’s some sort of mental exhaustion and being able to make some space for that is important. 

I’m sure that there are many more that people can find about in your book, but what’s one strategy that you have found to be particularly useful in terms of the Stop, Wait, Go methodology.

Aruna Krishnan: [09:31] Like with everything, it becomes better with practice, right? So initially, you’re very, very intentional about I need to set 20 minutes aside and really just slow down my thoughts. It’s training and it’s like building a muscle. You’re building your mind muscle here.

So I’m going to start with this training plan, and maybe the training plan is initially you sit down for say five to 10 minutes, just quiet space. Realize the first week it’s going to be very difficult because your mindset is going to keep racing, but the more you do it, you realize that you can start to hear your surroundings and you become almost one with surroundings and you’re not as busy thinking. And then how that translates is when you go into your day, because now you’re training your mind, it’s like muscle memory. When you’re riding a bike, it’s muscle memory; when you’re going out and interacting with people, you’re trained to recognize that thoughts.

So meditation, I would say that’s almost like the very first step. If you’re doing it for the first time, try meditation. If it’s five minutes a day, 10 minutes a day, do that for a week, do that for a month. And then, as you feel comfortable with it, then you can do more of the walk in nature.

 When you’re walking in nature, look at the path that you’re walking on, hear the birds. That’s a different type of meditation, but yet you’re still training your mind to recognize all your surroundings and just that awareness of what are you hearing, of all the senses, what are you seeing and what are you feeling, so going about like that.

Damianne President: [11:13] Let’s take a step back. What’s wrong with thoughts? Are having a lot of thoughts a bad thing or is it our relationship with thought? What’s the issue here?

Aruna Krishnan: [11:24] Well, if you think that you can have lots of thoughts and be able to process and act rationally, then there’s no problem. But how often is that really true? You have a really busy day, you have so much going on, someone approaches, you shut down. As you said, it’s that mental exhaustion, because you just have so much going on. Think about when you’re reading a book, and now with Zoom, you’re on the computer all day; it’s that mental stress you don’t realize, a mental fatigue just from staring at that screen. You’re exhausted at the end of the day.

So that’s very similar with thinking about too many things and fretting. If it’s good thoughts, great, you’re going to be super happy. But I think the problem is when you have these negative thoughts, that’s when it can bring you down. If you’re not equipped to deal with those negative thoughts in the right way, that’s when it can really cause a problem.

 Damianne President: [12:25] I think that some people are very good at putting things aside. I don’t know if we call that compartmentalization or what, where it’s like, okay, not now. Let’s set that aside and we’ll get to it later. What I do wonder about is, is there a danger in setting something aside and not coming back to it. How does one make sure that they don’t just keep putting aside the thing that is important but maybe more difficult to manage or handle.

Aruna Krishnan: [12:57] To clarify, setting aside shouldn’t be tucking it away and forgetting about it. It’s actually dealing with it, understand where it came from, understand why it triggers, you understand what can you do about it, and then move forward. Then it actually kind of vaporizes because you’ve decided how you’re going to move forward.

That’s what the true setting aside is where you’re like, I’ve acknowledged this past, I’ve acknowledged where it’s coming from, and this is what I’m going to do about it going forward.

The 4 Ps Framework for problem solving [13:41]

Damianne President: [13:41] So it’s not just indefinitely setting aside, but you’re actually making a plan or setting some intention there. So your three books are Stop, Wait, Go, Lead That Thing and Unpuzzled. Was there something that happened, a turning point for each of them?

Aruna Krishnan: [14:00] After the first book, and the reception was really good in the sense that people was like I never really thought about things this way, so then I said, yeah, I think I can help people because I have these ideas.   Unpuzzled was more about how to solve problems, that provide this framework to simplify solving problems, cause problems can, again, it comes down to overwhelm. 

   If we break down problems, then we have a structure in which we can go about solving problems. It makes it easier and easier to solve. So with Unpuzzled, it really focuses around four Ps. So the framework is four Ps. It includes some of that learning from the first book, which is that self-awareness and being aware of your surroundings.

The first P is patterns, so being able to recognize patterns in the problem, cause those will be the symptoms that you’re seeing. The second P is patience, patience that problems take time to solve and trying not to give up right away if things don’t get solved.

 The third P is persistence so it’s an iterative process. You have to be patient through every iteration, but you have to keep going until you get to your final destination, a solution that resolves the original problem. And then you only get better with practice, so that’s the last P.

Actually how this one started was kind of fun because it was from my son’s speed cubing times. When I tried to solve a cube, what I realized was there’s about six formulas that you have to memorize, and then they apply in certain instances. So I realized that, hey, this is what I’m doing. I recognize a pattern and try to put things in position, figure out how to solve it. It took me about a week to learn how to do it. I had to be patient because I couldn’t memorize everything right away.

Then I had to be persistent;=. You got to get that muscle memory and it takes time. So when I thought about it, that framework actually applies to so many other things. You want to learn a new sport, let’s say you kind of think about what are the nuances about that sport? What are the basic skills that I need? What are the basic let’s say permutations and combinations that happen in the sport that I need to think about? Those are the things I need to learn. And then of course, if it’s a brand new sport, it takes time to learn. It’s like, again, growing a muscle, being persistent and practice. 

  In my book, I always give various examples. So in the book, it’s like how to deal with people, how to grow your business. These four Ps can apply across so many different things, how to deal with parents or your student, child. And so everything is learned, but it starts with observation and awareness of your surroundings, and just with having that calm mind, being patient and persistent through those things. So that was a technique that I wanted to share. That’s what drove me to write that book.

And so when you come from now emotionally intelligent solving problems, then the next step leads into my latest book, which was Lead That Thing on how to be an effective leader.

Writing to simplify processes and help others [17:32]

Damianne President: [17:32] Before we get to the third book, did you always have aspirations to be a writer or did this come across because you felt this compulsion to write? What drove you to write those books?

Aruna Krishnan: [17:46] Yeah, that’s really interesting. I think always enjoyed writing. So I actually go back and I reflect way back when I was in elementary school. So this is very interesting because it’s actually starting to materialize some thoughts in my head. Way back in elementary school, we used to have a subject called composition and I would write some stuff and use my imagination, no effort. And my teacher would say, this could be like fourth or fifth grade, like, Oh, that’s really creative. And I would always get like A’s in that class and no big deal. And then didn’t really have any writing classes after that. I don’t think I took up writing back until my daughter was born, which I was close to 30 at that point.

So there’s a gap of at least 20 years there where I didn’t really write. But then this was like, okay, I’m writing these short stories and sharing with my coworkers and friends just cause I was bored. It was something to kill boredom. And then eventually I started a blog and then I realized, Oh, I think I really enjoy this, I should keep doing this.

  The blog had some fun stuff like, you know, hilarious stuff, comedic stuff, and then some reflective stuff, spirituality type stuff. And then eventually my daughter and my dad, there were the two people that really encouraged me, and my husband as well, I should say. They encouraged me to write a book and it seemed like a real stretch goal jumping from a blog to a book. But I thought, okay, let me try it. It’s like  when you get to the point where you’re not scared of failure and you’re like, I’m just going to take things one step at a time and we’ll see where this goes.

So then I started with that book and eventually figured out how to publish it. It was very scary because I’m like, Oh my goodness, I have my stuff out there for the public. Who am I, like, do I really have the right to do this? But then when people read it, even my coworkers, and they’re like, Oh, I never thought about this this way. Then it was like, you can make an impact. You can make a difference, even if it’s one person that you help. Since that point, it’s really driven me to say, yeah, help people through your writing; this is your medium. Help people through your writing because you bring a perspective that people may not have.

  Damianne President: [20:12] I like to know the origin story so thank you for sharing that. So you wrote the first book, which sounds like it was kind of your own journey that you were going through at the time. You were going through a process and discovered things that you thought, Oh, this could help other people. I think after the first book, perhaps you started observing the world in a different way. Is that fair to say?

Aruna Krishnan: [20:39] Yeah. In the sense that I felt like I bring this different perspective that I can share with people. I feel like what my journey gave me was the way to view things in a simplified way, so being able to produce knowledge in a very digestible way. I felt like problem solving, if you think about it, is the soft skill and people can put their arms around. And I was like, Hey, this is something that goes across so many different types of problems. People can start to think about it this way and just break it down. So that was another thing then that made me put that forward, like simplifying things.

Are leaders born or developed? [21:43]

Damianne President: [21:21] It sounds like based on your observations of the world, you were like, Oh, this would be helpful to the people around me, the people that I know and more people beyond that. Your third book Lead That Thing is really a leadership book, as you said. It helps people learn from CEOs and entrepreneurs. Is leadership for everyone?

Aruna Krishnan: [21:43] That’s a good question. In the book I have a survey about how do you rate,yourself as a leader because I’m thinking let’s figure out where’s your baseline. For example, certain things on the survey is are you comfortable saying no, are you comfortable making decisions, and are you comfortable delegating, are you comfortable giving people credit, and how much are you willing to learn? 

 so coming to the question, leadership requires certain traits, and those are traits that you can grow and you can learn as long as you’re aware. If there’s a willingness to do that, then absolutely go for it. I want to clarify though, leadership can be in so many contexts. Leadership is not just head of state or head of a country or whatever. It could be head of household, head of school, head of project. There’s Leadership needed in so many different scenarios. A lot of times we have this one perception of leadership, but we need to clarify that leadership goes beyond a title.

I can be a team member and still be a leader. That leader is being comfortable speaking up, bringing up your voice, helping guide and helping get to an end point that is in the interest of the bigger, the larger good.

Self-Acceptance and how to succeed with imposter syndrome [23:48] 

Damianne President: [23:19] Let’s talk about self acceptance. How do you define self acceptance?

Aruna Krishnan: [23:26] Self acceptance is being comfortable in your own skin, being comfortable doing what you want to do, when you want to do, how you want to do, without worrying about anybody else’s opinion.

Damianne President: [23:48] Connected to taking on a leadership position or being a leader, often people experience some sort of imposter syndrome. I think of imposter syndrome as being kind of the wicked step sister of self-acceptance. What can we do to face imposter syndrome? How do we cope with it in a way that is helpful and useful?

Aruna Krishnan: [24:12] I struggled with imposter syndrome for a really, really long time. I think the first step, and I’m going to sound like a broken record, is awareness that it exists. A lot of times when you have imposter syndrome, you don’t know what it is but it’s always like this voice that’s saying I’m not so sure or I don’t think I fit in, or I don’t think I’m good enough. If you hear that voice, you can start to ask questions. Is that voice valid? And the trick that ended up working for me and I would recommend is start to write down all your accomplishments.

What have you achieved that you’ve been proud of? What have you achieved to date? And then look at it from an objective view and look at it from the outside. When you look at that tangible list of things, which is easier always to look at a tangible piece of paper, you realize, okay, maybe my thoughts are invalid because I’ve done all these different things. I am good enough. I have this gift and I’m acknowledging this gift. That’s one way to move forward. 

Another key is surround yourself with the right people, the people that know your worth and the people that will reinforce what you’re adding to the conversation or what you’re bringing to the table. Of course, most important, is you being able to acknowledge that for yourself, but it helps to have people surrounded by people who will help reinforce.

Damianne President: [25:57] In some of my other interviews, people also share how having that supportive community and also doing that audit helps with self acceptance, because then you start to see what really is the case, which is a big part of the process of working through self acceptance. 

Steps in Aruna’s self-acceptance journey [26:18]

What’s been your own experience of the self acceptance journey. Are there any distinct points that you can identify?

Aruna Krishnan: [26:26] If I think about my journey, there was always this feeling cause I have a little bit of like uniqueness in the sense that I was born in India, I grew up in Africa. So right there kind of makes me a little bit different from people that maybe grew up in India. What we’ve experienced in life is slightly different.

Damianne President: [26:51] Which country in Africa, if I may ask.

Aruna Krishnan: [26:54] Zambia and Botswana. I would see that I would be probably the exception in most cases no matter what that circle. I often felt I’m neither India and neither African so it was always kind of like, where do I fit in?

That was kind of like this mold that I felt pressured to fit into. I always found even with my own family, my mindset was very different, even my likes and dislikes weren’t typical, whether it was around jewelry or clothing. And that used to be a point of conflict. Ultimately I came down to the point where I decided it doesn’t matter if I don’t fit all these predefined cultural norms and it’s okay for me to step outside of it so I can find who I am. When I did that, it was very freeing. I didn’t feel like I had to go by somebody else’s standards. I could define what was good for me and be me. It’s been great because I feel like I’ve created my own definition of what should life look like for me.

And what I’m seeing is people are seeing that and being inspired by that. Sometimes it’s like, you look at someone who looks like you and you’re like, Oh, this person is doing something different. It’s nice to be that cause I’m realizing that that’s what people are starting to see me as, as someone who’s stepping out and doing something different and being inspired by it. So that’s really how it came about where I just felt like I needed that to feel free.

Parenting the next generation [28:43]

Damianne President: [28:43] How does that impact your parenting? I imagine as somebody who is very connected to your Indian culture, but also grew up in a different place and now live in another country as well, you’ve been influenced by other experiences and other cultures. So I’m curious how different is your parenting to the way you were parented?

Aruna Krishnan: [29:07] I would say it’s very different in the sense that I give my kids a voice. I believe more in empowering my kids, and I believe in being the guide to my kids and helping them make decisions rather than making decisions for them. 

To my parents’ credit, they did what they thought was best at the time, not saying anything against them. We all have good intentions as parents.

So with my daughter, I think I try my best to have the most open relationship with her as well as with my son, so they feel like they can come to me. I don’t want them to have fear that I can’t go to tell mom or dad something. I want them to feel they can come to me, they can trust me and the same way, vice versa, that I can trust them, that we built that relationship of trust. And even in terms of culture, even though I had that identity crisis, I always say that that diversity made me who I am today because I understand multiple cultures.

And so with my daughter, having that identity crisis myself, I can understand with her being Indian and growing up in America, there’s going to be the blend of the cultures. But from the time she was very young, introducing her to her culture, at least have that awareness of what it is and where we come from, and obviously, having her grandparents around every once in a while, knowing what we do, what we eat, going to temples and festivals. That’s our culture, that’s special to us. That’s our heritage and that’s what makes us unique. So she has that side of her, but at the same time, she lives here. You have your friends and you take on what makes sense growing up here as a teenager. So you take the positives from both the cultures and move forward.

Reading books [30:59]

Damianne President: [30:59] I know you wrote fiction and now you write nonfiction. Are you also a lover of books?

Aruna Krishnan: [31:04] I need to read and get back to reading more,fiction. I think I read more nerdy books, so more on like strategy or product management. Those have been more of the books that I’ve been reading and leadership. But I will say my favorite author, this is very old school, is Agatha Christie and really any other sort of mystery type of books. Those are the kinds of books that I really get into, like I’ll get lost. But the problem is if I start a mystery book, I could just not put it down.

Damianne President: [31:34] I just finished reading, it’s kind of a romance series, but she retells Jane Austen’s books and the author is Sonali Dev. She situates the story within Indian culture and in the diaspora. So they’re Indians living in the US and so one of the themes that came up in the last book that I read was about how the parents always brought the children back to India for the summers, but when they were in the US, they lived very American lives. The children thought that was a rejection of Indian culture by their parents, until they realized that their parents really wanted to give them a choice that they could have the option and the access to both worlds, so that they could find their own place. And I just thought, Oh, even though this is fiction, what a great moral of the story.

Aruna Krishnan: [32:33] It probably comes from the author’s heart, right?

Damianne President: [32:37] Exactly. Yes.

On failure and change [32:40]

What do you know for sure, in your head and your heart, in your body, that you would like to share with listeners?

Aruna Krishnan: [32:47] So with the theme of your podcast being changes big and small, I would say don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t be afraid to change, and change only because you want to change, and only because you feel that change is going to help you grow, help you move forward. And I guess this is a good place to say when you’re approaching change, make sure you redefine what failure means, because this is a common misconception. The meaning of failure is not that you’re done. Failure just means this iteration didn’t work. So now look at how can you tweak this and keep moving forward. If you want to grow and continue to lead in whatever kind of capacity, it’s always about learning. And learning really evolves into changing, because it’s changing you, it’s growing you and it’s helping you be a better person.

Invitation/Challenge – The 5 R’s to Personal Transformation [33:55]

Damianne President: [33:55] I like to invite listeners to take some action today or this week that will help them make progress, with intention. Connecting to your idea of choosing the change that you want to make and making sure that when you change it’s because you’ll want to, do you have a suggestion of something people can practice that will help them make progress in their life, that will help them live the life that they want.

Aruna Krishnan: [34:23] Yeah, so I’ll summarize it really quickly. Again, you will see how much I love frameworks. I have a framework and if you want to go about change and it’s personal change, and I discussed this on my third season on my podcast around the five R’s of personal transformation. So when you’re deciding it’s time for change, there are five steps you wanna follow and they’re five R’s.

 The first one is reflection. So this is where you can write down what are the things that got you here, and you can categorize in terms of belief systems. What are the beliefs that you have been either fed or you have a grown up with that have brought you to this point, and then who are you surrounding yourself with, so interactions. Reflect on those. Are they the right people for you? Do they bring you the right energy? Do they help you grow? And then three, what kind of mindset do you have? How do you process your thoughts? Are you impulsive as we talked about or are you calm and you work through problems. So with those three categories, first reflect what got you here. Then take away, rinse the things that are not serving you well, and you will know that once you write them down.

And then restart with only the things that are bringing you positive results. So by that time, you, if you write these down, you scratch up the things that you don’t want to take forward and you see what’s left, or you want to add something in there, that’s where you restart. And then reinforce is really practice that. See how is that improving your life? And then repeat. Come back to reflecting and then you’ll see, how is your change moving forward? Those are the five Rs for personal transformation in a nutshell.

Damianne President: [36:29] So if you have a few minutes today, or if you can take a few minutes today, you can start with the first R and get some reflection going.

Aruna Krishnan: [36:41] Yeah.

Fast Five [36:42]

Damianne President: [36:42] Thank you.

I like to end with the fast five, which are five questions that you get to answer with one word or a phrase. be generous; you could use a whole sentence.

So you’ll have a high power meeting coming up. What are you doing in the 12 hours before? 

Aruna Krishnan: [37:04] Prepping.

 Damianne President: [37:05] Do you have a phrase or do you have a pep talk that you give to yourself when you need some motivation?

Aruna Krishnan: [37:11] You got this!

Damianne President: [37:14] Where do you live, what city? And if you have guests, what’s the first thing that you will show them or the first place that you will take them to.

Aruna Krishnan: [37:25] I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I would take them to the art museum because we have a beautiful structure of the art museum. It’s called the Calatrava. And it’s so beautiful.

 Damianne President: [37:39] What is the thing that is guaranteed to recharge you and increase your energy?

Aruna Krishnan: [37:45] Working out.

Damianne President: [37:46] Oh yeah. And you’re a triathlete too. We didn’t even get to that, but people can go to your website, which will be in the show notes, and learn more about this.

You are given the gift of time. You have a free day and you can do anything you want. What are you doing with that day?

Aruna Krishnan: [38:05] Tough one, so many good answers there. I will go with writing. It was between writing and traveling, but yeah. 

Damianne President: [38:15] And what do you like to do for fun?

Aruna Krishnan: [38:19] Listen to music or podcasts.

Damianne President: [38:24] Great. Thank you for playing along.

 Before I end, where can people connect with you? And I will add the links in the show notes. What’s your favorite social media for connection, where you share the most?

Aruna Krishnan: [38:37] You can connect with me on LinkedIn. I go by arunakrishnanempowermentadvocate or on Twitter @leadthatthing.

Damianne President: [38:47] I’ll add those in the show notes.

 Any final thoughts as we end today.

Aruna Krishnan: [38:52] It was such a pleasure and I enjoy this show that you’re doing. I think it’s great. Your vision and mine are very similar and we want people to get to self acceptance and move forward and to be happy. So thank you so much for having me on. 

Damianne President: [39:06] You’re welcome. Thank you for joining me. 

Change only because you want to change. – Aruna Krishnan


Everything is learned, but it starts with observation and awareness of your surroundings. – Aruna Krishnan

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