Encourage Meditation: Corporate work cultures can be a very reactive place. Because of the high-pressure environment, people are so busy jumping from task to task that slowing down is nearly impossible for them. When we’re overemphasizing our masculine energy (i.e. this is the type of energy that is very goal-oriented, driven, and achievement-focused — it’s the energy that most corporations validate and praise) that’s when we can start to feel overly stressed, exhausted, burnt out, and unfulfilled.
As a part of my series about leaders who integrate mindfulness and spiritual practices into their work culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Aaliyah Madadi.
Aaliyah Madadi is a former Big Law lawyer-turned-Mindset & Holistic Health Coach. She helps women in corporate find alignment in their career, health, relationships, and lifestyle so they can live their lives with joy, ease, and fulfillment.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you please share your “backstory” with us?
Thank you so much for having me! Ever since I was high school, I always dreamed of being a lawyer. I saw myself working on important cases, wearing fancy suits, and working at a big law firm. After 22 years of education, 4 degrees, writing 2 bar exams, and earning licenses to practice law in two different countries, I landed my dream job at one of the top law firms in the world! I thought I had made it — all of my hard work and determination had finally paid off and I was working in the career I had dreamed of since I was in high school.
The only problem was that the reality of being a Big Law lawyer was not at all aligned with the image and perception I had created in my mind. Almost two years into my career, I started to realize that the culture and lifestyle of Big Law did not resonate with my priorities and the way I wanted to live my life. Not only that, but I was also not finding fulfillment and meaning in the work I was doing. There was a knowing in my heart that I wasn’t working in the right career and that I wasn’t living in alignment with my highest self. But being a lawyer was the only career I had ever dreamt of — if not this, then what?!
This is when my spiritual journey really started. It was during this period of my life that I finally stopped searching for answers outside of myself, as I had done my entire life. I stopped asking friends and family what I should do, and I stopped trying to calibrate my life with society’s standards of “success”. Instead, I started to go inwards. I started to cultivate a relationship with my internal wisdom, my inner knowing, and with the Universe. I started to familiarize myself with what it meant to follow my heart’s guidance instead of my mind.
This journey awakened my deep love and passion for holistic health and spirituality. As a result of my spiritual journey, I started my mindset & holistic health coaching business where I now help other women in corporate awaken their connection with the divine feminine in order to find more alignment in their career, relationships, health, and lifestyle, and to ultimately find more fulfillment, joy, and ease in all aspects of their lives.
What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?
Growing up, I definitely felt connected to my spirituality even though I had no labels for it yet. Like most children, I loved to spend time doing anything that put me in the present moment and brought me joy — being in nature, playing soccer, connecting with animals, dreaming up imaginative stories of being an elephant washer (I saw someone washing an elephant on Sesame Street and thought it was the coolest thing ever). It wasn’t until I grew up that I lost my spiritual connection and stopped prioritizing my joy, curiosity, and playfulness.
As an adult, my spiritual practice became the vehicle I used to connect me with the present moment, my inner wisdom, and the simple truths I knew as a child but forgot along the way.
How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?
Today, my mindfulness and spiritual practices are completely intertwined with my business and personal life! My spiritual practice is the cornerstone of how I show up in my business and personal life, and it inspires the content and programs I share with my audience and clients. When I am in alignment with my spirituality and mindfulness practice, that’s when I show up as the best version of myself in my business and personal life.
Do you find that you are more successful or less successful because of your integration of spiritual and mindful practices? Can you share an example or story about that with us?
I am absolutely more successful because of my spiritual and mindful practices. My spiritual practices — from yoga to meditation to breathwork to mantras to crystals and creativity and dancing and being in nature… all of it is a spiritual practice, a source of inspiration and a vehicle for my creative expression. I teach my audience and clients how to live their most mindful, joyful, and purposeful lives by understanding, awakening, and connecting with their feminine energies. The more I am in a state of openness through my spiritual practices, the more wisdom and insight I can share with my community to help them strengthen and integrate their own spiritual practices.
Also, the more I integrate mindful and spiritual practices into my life, the more my definition of “success” has changed and aligned with my internal truth. I once thought success meant money and a prestigious career. My spiritual journey has now reminded me that the key metrics for success are measured by the positive contribution I make in the world, the amount of joy and flow I feel in a day, the caliber of the relationships I have in my life, and the way I treat my body and mind. Yes, I still value certain external things, but how I define success has really shifted as a result of my spiritual practice.
What would you say is the foundational principle for one to “lead a good life”? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
I believe that one of the foundational principles to lead a good life is to TRUST. Trust the timing of your life; trust that everything is happening for you, not to you; trust that the universe has your back and is always guiding you towards something better and more aligned. When you truly trust that everything is working out best case scenario, you stop gripping the steering wheel of your life so tightly. You allow what’s meant for you to enter your life and you easily let go of whatever no longer serves you. When you trust, you know that any roadblocks or breakdowns or problems in your life are actually growth opportunities that are redirecting you towards something even better.
I recently heard Chris Lee say something that will always stick with me: “Life is rigged in your favor.” When you trust, you start to realize that even the most difficult points in your life are leading you towards bigger and better things.
Can you share a story about one of the most impactful moments in your spiritual/mindful life?
One of the most impactful spiritual moments in my life occurred when I was still practicing law at a Big Law firm in New York City. At the time, I was operating at such a low vibrational state and feeling quite stressed and unfulfilled in my work. I knew I needed to make a career change but every time I tried to think about “what’s next” from that low vibrational state, I just felt more stuck, lost, and disconnected from myself.
One day during meditation, I asked my highest self for guidance and I heard my intuition say, “follow what makes your soul feel good and it will lead you to your truth.” At the time, I had no idea what that meant but I surrendered to my inner wisdom and started to prioritize things that brought me joy — yoga, being in nature, writing, dancing, spending more time with friends and family…
The more I started to prioritize and feel joy again, the more I raised my vibration, and the better I started to feel. The better I felt, the more clarity I had about how I wanted to contribute my time and energy in the world. This experience was so pivotal because it taught me the importance of prioritizing joy and allowing that high vibrational state to guide you when you’re making big transitions in your life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I am so incredibly grateful for the insight and inspiration I have received from Sahara Rose, who is now also one of my business coaches. I started listening to Sahara’s “Highest Self” podcast many years ago when I was still a practicing litigation lawyer and there was so much wisdom and spiritual guidance in her episodes; I always felt like she was speaking directly to my soul. I really think it was her podcast that initiated my spiritual awakening and reminded me how to connect with my internal wisdom.
Sahara has really touched my life in so many ways. For example, I remember after I moved to New York City, I was deeply craving friendships and connections with spiritually minded women. Around the same time, Sahara launched her membership community “Rose Gold Goddesses”, where I met so many incredible spiritual women who were on a mission to live in alignment with their Dharmas.
More recently, Sahara had a huge impact during my transition from Big Law into coaching. At the time when I decided to leave Big Law to start my own business, I joined a Mastermind called “Together We Empress” that Sahara and two other incredible women (Sarah Pendrick and Jenna Phillips Ballard) created. With the support of Sahara, Sarah, Jenna, and the amazing sisters I met in the Mastermind, I successfully launched my business, I’m more fulfilled in my work and in my life than I’ve ever been, and I’ve made lifechanging friendships that will be with me forever.
But it all started with Sahara Rose — she is truly one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met.
Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
- Give people predictable time off: A Harvard Business School study found that instead of setting the expectation that employees need to be available 24/7, companies can actually increase productivity and employee satisfaction by giving people predictable time off each week. From my personal experience working in Big Law in NYC, there really was an expectation that you needed to be available around the clock. It was difficult to unplug during the evenings and weekends because I felt like I might miss an important email or request. The problem is that when you’re constantly plugged in and “on”, you don’t have the space and freedom to really unplug, rest, and recharge. It becomes difficult to prioritize other aspects of your life, like your health, fitness and relationships. This “24/7 culture” results in employees feeling burnt out and stressed out. Once corporations make it part of their culture to give employees predictable time off, they can really start to shift corporate culture from one of stressful and exhausting to uplifting and motivating.
- Emphasize Creativity: Creativity is not only a cornerstone to innovation, it is also the fuel for living a more uplifting and joyful life. It is really important that corporations give employees an outlet and opportunity to be creative and to share insights and opinions in a judgement-free space. This means de-emphasizing hierarchical structures within organizations (which may make people feel like they cannot be themselves or express their true thoughts because someone “above” them may disagree). It also means giving people the time to think creatively and problem solve — if you’re overworking your employees, they’re going to take the path of least resistance and approach problems reactively just so they can get through the workload. Corporations need to empower employees to take the space and time to be creative and to acknowledge employees when they do so.
- Encourage Meditation: Corporate work cultures can be a very reactive place. Because of the high-pressure environment, people are so busy jumping from task to task that slowing down is nearly impossible for them. When we’re overemphasizing our masculine energy (i.e. this is the type of energy that is very goal-oriented, driven, and achievement-focused — it’s the energy that most corporations validate and praise) that’s when we can start to feel overly stressed, exhausted, burnt out, and unfulfilled. Masculine energy needs to be balanced by feminine energy (i.e. surrendering, trusting, being, flowing, accepting) in order for a person to feel uplifted and aligned. A very easy and powerful way that corporations can encourage employees to understand and acknowledge their feminine energy — and to feel more healthy, balanced, and uplifted — is to prioritize meditation in the workplace. Perhaps it’s by starting each morning with a collective meditation and intention for the day, or by doing so once a week. Corporations need to start viewing their employees holistically in order to retain and uplift their people. In case anyone is unfamiliar with Masculine and Feminine energies, here is a great article from the Chopra Centre.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
There’s a movement that’s already happening, which I hope to inspire even more, and that is to awaken and embrace the divine feminine within each and every one of us. As I touched on earlier, we live in a patriarchal society that highly values masculine energy and that way of doing things. We’ve been taught to discredit characteristics of the divine feminine, such as tuning into our bodies and emotions, appreciating stillness, and living our lives from our hearts instead of our minds. The truth is that we need both masculine and feminine energy in order to live balanced and fulfilled lives. My dream is that every single person on the planet starts to awaken their divine feminine and to lead their lives from a place of balance within. When our internal energies are balanced, that’s when we can raise the vibration of the planet and create phenomenal impact for the betterment of every living being on Earth. It sounds ambitious but it starts with each of us believing it’s possible and truly embodying the change we want to see in the world.
How can people follow you and find out more about you?