“Dedicate your life to gratitude”, with Eva Yazhari and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

If you dedicate your life to gratitude for what you do have and commit yourself to what you truly love, you’ll not only have more appreciation, but you’ll be setting a role model for your children that encourages this type of behavior and giving back. As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives […]

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If you dedicate your life to gratitude for what you do have and commit yourself to what you truly love, you’ll not only have more appreciation, but you’ll be setting a role model for your children that encourages this type of behavior and giving back.

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview The @consciousinvestor, Eva Yazhari. She is the co-founder and CEO of Beyond Capital, an impact investment fund that seeks out and invests in seed-stage for-profit social enterprises serving impoverished communities throughout India and East Africa. Eva has 15 years of experience and a passion for investment, entrepreneurship, and leadership that goes beyond traditional conventions. She is also a real estate investor, angel investor, art collector, and certified yoga instructor based in Dallas.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I am an only child and was raised in New York City by working artist parents. They made sure I had early exposure to art and design, dragging me to different galleries and museums as a child. It made me a highly visual person and learner and instilled in me a lifelong love of beauty in all its forms and sense of creativity in my life and work. My parents raised me to be independent and struck in me a perfect balance of structure (homework first!) and self-confidence (boundless possibilities!). Overall, I had a very well-rounded childhood with a lot of life experience early on. I attribute my solutions-oriented approach to problem solving in entrepreneurship and business to the foundations of my upbringing.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

My grandfather’s legacy was instrumental in my career trajectory. After studying mathematics at Barnard College and working on Wall Street for five years, I decided that I didn’t want to wait until I was retired to make social impact my main focus. My grandfather was a physician who took his young family to Tanzania in the 1950s to open and operate a rural health clinic. His desire to give back to society by using his unique gifts taught me that I, too, could make a difference in the world. In 2009, my husband and I formed Beyond Capital, a foundation that combines our financial backgrounds with our passion for giving back.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

I am based in Dallas but travel often to Los Angeles, New York City, London and throughout Europe. I also regularly visit our portfolio companies in India and East Africa, where we also have team members working on the ground.

When I am home in Dallas, I keep a pretty regular schedule, starting my day at 7am with my husband and children (we just had our daughter in February!). I take my 5-year-old son to school then jump into the work day, taking conference calls, connecting with our entrepreneur partners and staff, and working on various projects. I also make wellness a priority, fitting in meditation, and a barre or yoga class or a workout with my trainer.

We try to have lights out by 10pm to encourage the rest that fuels our high-performance lifestyle.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

I was lucky enough to experience a very hands-on parental experience; as an only child, my parents included me in their activities and immersed me in their interests, which was a very gratifying way to grow up. I believe in quality over quantity of time spent with my children and work to minimize stress and “mom guilt” during long hours and work travel. My husband and I believe in modeling good behavior through our own actions. Notwithstanding, research that has shown that development before the age of 3 significantly contributes to the formation of a person. Rather than overall hours spent, modeling behavior is where I think parenting can go wrong; sometimes we forget that children are basically little copycats.

With both of us running companies and traveling often, my husband and I split our tasks and responsibilities 50/50, dividing and conquering where needed. (This habit has also paid off now that we have a newborn in the house!)We are not ashamed to have a full-time nanny and other help to make it easier for us to spend quality moments with our children. It is more important to us to model creative thinking, grace, courtesy, and a strong sense of moral values into our children than to be 100% present. We also take advantage of our work-life balance and travel with our family to different places. We both grew up with exposure to different cultures and we aim to create the same for our children.

Again noting the research that demonstrates the importance of development before the age of 3 explains why I am a major proponent of early childhood education.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is important to make time to spend with your children?

For starters: Because it’s fun! As my coach says: “We are human beings, and not human doings.” The experience of being human comes with many experiences, one of which is having children and raising them to be the best version of themselves possible. Our world is full of viewpoints and opinions; teaching our children to be confident and independent in making their own decisions is the greatest legacy we can leave. In my house, we have breakfast together every morning as a family, a time that I cherish. We also share experiences that can be remembered forever. I have so many memories of my own childhood that I still think about every day and hope my children do the same.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

My goal is to find a common interest. My son loves to be active and outdoors, so we take him hiking with us and for walks around the neighborhood. I can also tap into my analytical side and enjoy building Lego sets with my son.

Cooking is another family pastime because we all enjoy food. My son attends a Montessori school and has strong practical skills. He loves to help out in the kitchen.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

  1. Time management and delegation help immensely with staying present, for example, I have delegated lunch-making and dinner to others and leverage technology to streamline errands and make life easier.
  2. Including children in your passions and interests can often foster a greater connection in the interaction.
  3. Relaxing into the fact that you cannot do it all; some days you will have more time to be present and others not. Parenting is a marathon and not a sprint.
  4. I find that having a dedicated meditation practice and staying committed to overall wellness through healthy habits and activities contribute to presence and intention in every moment.
  5. Creating space for daily interactions in our routine such as our shared morning breakfast opens up room for regular connection and quality attention.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

I will have achieved the status of a “good parent” if I can look back and know that I gave my children the skills to be functioning adults. This includes instilling confidence, independence, kindness, and critical thinking.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

My parents never told me I could not do something. For me, this comes back to modeling. Our children will grow up in a household where anything is possible. My husband and I have worked hard to reach our career goals and continue to set the bar higher because we both value growth. In teaching a growth mindset to our children, they will have a key tool that can be applied to their own interests. Our son often talks about wanting to build robots and flying cars. While stressing to him that academics will be important in this career choice, if he decides to pursue it, we also try to foster creative thinking and the inquisitiveness an inventor or engineer would need to have in that role. Sending our son to a progressive Montessori school has been a test of our commitment to innovative thinking. We both had traditional educational backgrounds and are confident that a different learning style can also benefit our children in today’s world.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Feeling good! If we do not enjoy in what we are doing, then we are missing out. And when we feel good, we are in a mindset of abundance and success. Often this mindset attracts the qualities that are more classically defined as success, such as a strong support system, financial security, the ability to achieve one’s personal and career goals, etc.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I have been a fan of Slate’s “Mom and Dad Are Fighting” podcast since before I became a parent. It reminds me that we are all just trying our best and addresses some important parenting challenges. I also read The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent by Dr. Michel Cohen cover to cover before having my first child. It provides an experienced and no-nonsense approach to many parenting and minor medical questions a parent would have. Finally, for parents of boys I strongly recommend The Way of Boys by Anthony Rao and Michelle Seaton. The perspective of Dr. Rao has helped me, as a mother, understand how my son’s development, while different than my own, is normal. We live in a hypersentive society where I believe we worry, over-diagnose, over-prescribe, and think we can control every aspect of our lives. The Way of Boys is designed to help parents of boys relax into their natural way of developing, and it is beautiful!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life,” by Wayne Dyer.

I believe that we can make a conscious choice to appreciate what we have in our lives, to be intentional and purposeful with how we spend our time, including and especially with our children. If we approach life through a lens of lack — I’ll never have enough time or money to be the parent or the person I want to be — there will always be something “missing.” If you dedicate your life to gratitude for what you do have and commit yourself to what you truly love, you’ll not only have more appreciation, but you’ll be setting a role model for your children that encourages this type of behavior and giving back.

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. 🙂

I founded Beyond Capital 10 years ago to demonstrate the power of investing one’s money to align with one’s values. I believe impact investing — investing with the intention to help address some of the world’s most pressing social concerns — has the potential to change the way we think not only about our money, but about our life’s meaning. We launched our Ambassador Program last year to encourage others to experience first-hand the power of impact investing in their own lives. We truly believe that giving back is the key to living your life to the fullest!

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

About the Author:

Dr. Ely Weinschneider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in New Jersey. Dr. Ely specializes in adolescent and adult psychotherapy, parenting, couples therapy, geriatric therapy, and mood and anxiety disorders. He also has a strong clinical interest in Positive Psychology and Personal Growth and Achievement, and often makes that an integral focus of treatment.

An authority on how to have successful relationships, Dr. Ely has written, lectured and presented nationally to audiences of parents, couples, educators, mental health professionals, businesses, physicians and healthcare policymakers on subjects such as: effective parenting, raising emotionally intelligent children, motivation, bullying prevention and education, relationship building, stress management, and developing healthy living habits.

Dr. Ely also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column about the importance of “being present with your children”.

When not busy with all of the above, Dr. Ely works hard at practicing what he preaches, raising his adorable brood (which includes a set of twins and a set of triplets!) together with his wife in Toms River, New Jersey.

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