Laughing — Don’t take my word for it, look up the science that supports why laughing is so healthy and beneficial. I usually keep laughing prevalent in my life by watching my favorite TV shows, hanging out with my hilarious friends, and/or texting friends that enjoy humor as much as I do.
At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep, preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving women who have gleaned and are practicing their own philosophies on maintaining their wellbeing.
As a part of this series about what successful women leaders do to thrive, both personally and professionally, I had the pleasure of interviewing… Dimple Thakkar. Dimple is a multiple award-winning entrepreneur with a career in technology, marketing, and operations that spans 11+ years. Having won the Power 30 Under 30 Award early in her career, along with a Small Business of the Year Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Dimple is a seasoned executive with experience in advising savvy start-ups to billionaires on projects that have complex technical needs.
Aside from consulting, Dimple’s other award-winning company SYNHERGY, oversees the ROI-focused, full-service social media marketing for clients in technology, non-profits, start-ups, brands, products, and services.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Dimple! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path and to where you are today?
When I think back on my career, there are so many crazy coincidences and links that brought me to where I am today. I’ll share one story that goes back to my high school days that I find to be pretty remarkable.
I went to Bogan Computer Technical High School in Chicago, IL from 1997–2001. It was an extraordinary time — the Internet was still in its nascent stages, school shootings became a “thing,” and our urban school had the wannabe gang bangers and some recurring violence, BUT what we also had was some funding because we were a “computer technical high school.” If memory serves me right, Bogan began offering more advanced computer classes starting in 1999/2000, including a course in HTML programming, which was progressive for a public high school in the City.
My HTML course was taught by a teacher named Mrs. Johnson-Polk, who courageously accepted the offer to teach that class even though she admitted not knowing a single thing about HTML. Since this was all uncharted territory, the school had no real curriculum around the computer classes yet.
Mrs. Johnson-Polk was so determined to make the class worth our while that she bought the book “HTML for Dummies” and taught the class as she taught herself. She did such an incredible job that I fell in love with programming and it helps me in my current career every day. It was the launch pad that allowed me to teach myself other programming languages beyond that class.
I don’t know where Mrs. Johnson-Polk is today. I tried searching for her online, but what she did for us was truly amazing, and it did not go unnoticed. If you’re reading this right now — THANK YOU, MRS. JOHNSON-POLK for going the extra mile and making a huge impact on my life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I would say the most interesting story is that when I started my business and career as an entrepreneur in 2008, I suffered from social anxiety. I was able to break-through and overcome this fear of talking to people. I’ve successfully been able to eliminate all fear and go full steam ahead when I believe in something. It’s kind of funny to think about it now because I’ve become the extreme exact opposite of the person I once was.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
I can be quite unorthodox with the way I do business. I love to challenge the status quo. This really isn’t humorous per se, but when I started, I believed the cliché advice of needing a business plan before launching my company. Why is it always the first thing people tell you to do when you want to start a business, especially if you’re not looking to raise money or take out a loan?
Sometimes planning is the best way to be wrong about something, especially in an industry like marketing and technology. Everything changes so constantly! By the time you finish writing or deciding your plan, the ideas are probably outdated. I didn’t want to get caught in that vicious cycle. Instead, I decided to grow in near real-time while staying on the pulse of what is happening in my industry — this is a huge advantage of being a small business. My company, SYNHERGY, can pivot and change quickly compared to larger and better funded businesses because of our size. I really feel it’s the reason why my business has been around for 11+ years while some competitors have faced major ups and downs. For me, smart and steady wins the race.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture and work life?
Suits, briefcases, and regularly commuting to an office are kind of pointless these days. When we save more money and waste less time, everyone is happy. When everyone is happy, productivity, quality, and engagement increases. That is why the future of office space is cyberspace. As a small business owner, keeping operations lean and mean are often the key factors to longevity and sustaining a competitive edge in an oversaturated market. Being lean and small can be an advantage, but people don’t discuss it often enough.
At SYNHERGY, our remote work program was meticulously created to give workers a work/life balance. We believe in that balance. We also believe in supporting mental health.
Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
- Quiet Time — Almost every day, I need some time to myself, so I can reflect and/or enjoy the silence. I’m a total empath and more introverted than I am extroverted. This means I’ll go a bit stir-crazy if I don’t get that quiet or reflective time to unwind and/or analyze recent life events.
- Video Games — Yes, this might sound silly, but I’m being totally serious. I’m a 36-year-old adult woman and I love my video games. Not only does it keep my mind sharp, but playing regularly allows me to unload and reset through healthy competition (I love competing!). What many people don’t realize is that video games are also a social activity — most video games involve playing in teams with other people where you can communicate through audio and/or video. Try it — you’ll be surprised by how it allows untapped parts of your mind to thrive.
Finally, can you share with us two routines that use to help your heart, your emotional or spiritual life to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
- Tennis / Playing Sports — Tennis (and playing sports in general) are my ultimate life savers. I love it more than words can ever explain. I feel so alive, energized, and healthy when I play. It truly is the best combination of feelings. I am completely obsessed and not ashamed to admit it. I usually play about 3–4 times a week. When I go more than 2 days without it, I can actually feel a drastic change in my mood.
- Laughing — Don’t take my word for it, look up the science that supports why laughing is so healthy and beneficial. I usually keep laughing prevalent in my life by watching my favorite TV shows, hanging out with my hilarious friends, and/or texting friends that enjoy humor as much as I do.
When life is very busy, and you cannot stick with your ideal routine, are there any wellness practices, rituals, products or services for your mind, body, or soul that you absolutely cannot live without?
When I can’t get on the tennis court (or any other court) or cannot stick to my ideal routines during busy phases, I try to squeeze in a quick work out through my Beachbody app. Their work outs are thoughtful and created with purpose. The best part is they offer something for everyone, whether it be yoga, boot camp style, strength training, or short power workouts if you’re pressed for time. My favorite trainer on that app is celebrity fitness trainer Shaun T. His Insanity work outs are exactly that — INSANE — and extreme work outs are what I need to stay energized. Overall, Beachbody work outs have done wonders for my overall health. To date, I’ve lost nearly 80 lbs and broke through some serious barriers after experiencing a devastating sports injury in college that took years to recover from, both mentally and physically.
All of us have great days and days that are not as great. On days when you feel like a rockstar what do you do? What does that day look like, and what did you do to get there?
On days where I’m feeling like a rock star, I’ll re-direct that energy into a side business or project. Sometimes I’ll also celebrate by performing a random act of kindness, paying it forward, showing gratitude, or simply sharing the positivity with friends and loved ones.
In contrast, on days when you feel down, what do you do?
Thankfully, I have a group of friends that are entrepreneurs that I can talk to. When I’m feeling down, I’ll make a round of calls and just talk to them. It’s surprising how many times you come to find that you’re not alone. Just knowing that is enough to help me dig deeper.
You’re a high achieving business leader, and you also have family and loved ones that may require a different side of you at home. How do you leave the executive at the door, and be the most loving caretaker at home?
This is usually very easy for me to do. I’m a big believer in balance and working smart vs. working hard. While it’s not possible to be in this mode 24/7, I still make it a high priority in my life to go “off the grid” and not give every waking hour to work, so I can spend time with friends and family.
Is there a particular practitioner, expert, book, podcast or resource that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?
I didn’t really have any mentors when I started my business in my mid-20s. With my social anxiety at the time, I didn’t feel comfortable approaching anyone who was more established than I was. What I actually tell people is that Google was my mentor.
I would go on Google, find the best articles and experts to follow, and narrow the information down to the best advice, tips and procedures. I used that to start-up my business. Looks like I’ve done it right as I’m still here over a decade later.
That’s the great thing about starting a business in this era. There are so many incredible, free resources on the Internet. There’s no reason not to start a business right now. It’s easier than it’s ever been.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. 🙂
Regarding women in business: I’ve always believed the biggest difference between women and our male counterparts is a chromosome. That’s it.
I often think about the women who feel like they’re being held back for a certain reason. Is it really discrimination? Are you lacking some sort of knowledge or skill to be the best at your job? If you truly are the best at your job, how can anyone really stop you?
Think about all the resources, awards, blogs, seminars, leadership conferences, etc. that are created ESPECIALLY for women. In some ways, I think women have more advantages than men because of the aforementioned resources.
So here’s the movement: Let’s encourage the notion of “agnostic thinking.” This is my belief system that we should not judge people in business based on race, age or gender, but we should look for the smartest and most capable person in the room and join forces, regardless of their characteristics as a person.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
I don’t have any borrowed quotes to share, but here are some principles in business that I feel strongly about:
Believe that success is about building something that lasts. Longevity is what separates the real entrepreneurs from the opportunists. The real entrepreneur’s investment is the blood, sweat and tears into building a real brand and future. Believe that surviving is succeeding, and the journey is the reward. Take the extra step in a world of quick projects and short engagements. Make your attention to detail remarkable. Your passion to be the best must be fierce and uncompromising. Inject every project with fun and creativity and never (really, never!) fail to deliver on promises. Most businesses ignore these values and are frightened by them but be determined to succeed by relentlessly focusing on building a reputation that’s worth owning.
Above all, believe that honesty builds the pillars that can make or destroy a business. As a result, integrity should always come first.
What are the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Facebook — www.facebook.com/dimplethakkar
Instagram — www.instagram.com/dimplethakkar
Twitter — www.twitter.com/dimplethakkar
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!