I had the pleasure of interviewing Visa Shanmugam who is a mindset transformation coach and the founder of Becoming You LLC. She is an MBA graduate, with expertise in marketing and digital advertising at Fossil and Microsoft. In addition to her traditional accomplishments, she is most proud of healing herself from an auto immune disease that no-one believed could be done.
Upon leaving her corporate career, she founded Sound Sleepers LLC (an infant sleep coaching company). She went on to build a network marketing business for three years, before launching Becoming You LLC, a mindset transformation coaching practice. In her practice, she helps women who feel unfulfilled and adrift, experience a soulFULL life through self-love and spirituality. As a virtual coach she helps women all over the world, from North America to Asia and Europe.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get to be where you are right now?
She considers herself equal parts Indian, British and American, having spent a decade or more in each country. Despite a multi-cultural and global upbringing, she felt conflicted, confused and out of place trying to balance the expectations of the culture she was born into and the one she was living in, daily.
She created a picture-perfect life by checking off all the boxes needed for a happy life – a successful corporate career, an MBA, a healthy family and a beautiful home. But she became tired of climbing the corporate ladder and felt constant guilt for not being a more present mom. She, like millions of working moms, felt unfulfilled, frustrated and wanted more from life, but was not sure what “more” was or how to get it.
This led her to throw out a promising career and embark on a 6-year journey of self-discovery, reflection and personal growth through entrepreneurship.
Becoming You is her legacy to help other women find happiness, deep fulfillment and experience the richness of life, beyond their careers and family.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How did this quality help you overcome obstacles on the path of becoming an influential and inspiring leader?
Visa considers herself to be an ambivert. She craves quiet times to nourish herself through meditation, journaling and self-care. She feels it’s especially important once you become a mother, to preserve your self-identity.
But she also loves networking, throwing parties to bring women in the community together, leading interactive workshops and producing video content for her FB community.
She believes an inspiring leader is in tune with what her own needs are at any given time, to feel energized. Depleting yourself to help others selflessly doesn’t make for a great leader. Instead it’s about self-awareness – knowing when to be out in the world serving others and when to retreat to serve yourself.
What does it mean to be mentally-strong in the hyper-competitive world of running a business or an organization?
Being mentally strong means, you admit to yourself that you don’t have all the answers, but you are willing to do whatever it takes to see your vision come alive.
It’s being willing to try new things. It’s being OK with failing and not worrying too much about what others think of you. It’s being quick to forgive yourself for mistakes.
It’s intentionally connecting to your WHY every day. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make big money but a deeper WHY will make you stronger than the competition during the challenging times.
Finally, taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually is the secret to running a business that feeds you, instead of eating away at you. Many business owners go from feeling blissful at their new-found freedom to burning out because they are trying to do it all. Its important to be selfish every day and focus on nurturing yourself before nurturing your business.
A lot of people in the business would feel as if talking about mental health makes them appear weak. How do you feel about showing mental strength and setting an example of what it takes to have strong mental stamina to succeed?
Self-awareness has been vital to building her strength and success because it helped her understand the core values, fears, habitual thinking and behavioral patterns that was keeping her stuck and unhappy in life.
“If you don’t know what your problem is, where on earth do you start and how do you stop it from happening again?”
Now she helps her clients with creating daily routines, eliminating habits that drain their mental energy, setting healthy boundaries and prioritizing self-care, which are all the building blocks to strong mental stamina.
During her corporate career she wouldn’t have dared discuss her own struggles with mental health. But she experienced postpartum depression after her children’s birth and a long bout of depression after the diagnosis of her auto immune disease. She is now committed to sharing with women all over the world her story as she finds that this vulnerability and openness, allows other women to feel less alone in their own struggles.
Is there a particular person, a book, or place of wisdom that has inspired you to become a successful and mentally-strong leader?
There are too many to list as she is an Audible junkie, but she shares that “The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein was a pivotal, life changing book. Her past business and life coaches Jasmine Ivy, Indrani Philipps, Maru Iabichela have all played a huge role in her transformation to become mentally strong and a leader.
She says “each one of these women showed me that a life filled with passion, joy, freedom and fulfillment was available to me, if I had the courage to follow my heart. They also helped me see that life came with infinite possibilities and I didn’t have to be a bystander of my life, but instead I could be the active creator”.
Can you give us 5 tips on maintaining strong mental health stamina to succeed in the modern business world? Tell us a little about why each point matters.
Strong spiritual connection– connecting deep within ourselves and to the world around us, helps us feel less alone and a part of something bigger. She states that “when you feel connected to the bigger picture of life, you can overcome any challenge that life throws at you”. When you are a solopreneur, it is far too easy to look at what everyone else is doing, through social media and get confused and overwhelmed. Having a strong spiritual connection will give you the mental stamina, clarity and a strong mindset to keep going.
Ask for help – forget the idea that you have to do it all on your own or that it is a sign of weakness. It takes an immense amount of strength, courage and self-awareness to be able to ask for help from others, whether it is hiring a housekeeper, a virtual assistant or a business coach.
Stop the comparison, self judgement and self-criticism – for high achievers and entrepreneurs, expectations are high, and perfection is often the goal. But this is detrimental to mental health because it’s a covert form of abuse. She states that “we judge ourselves harshly when things go wrong, and we spend too little time celebrating when things go right. If we constantly criticized a child and never appreciated their wins, they would not thrive. So why do we treat ourselves that way?”
Celebrate every small win – acknowledging small success is a key step that most entrepreneurs miss, in their relentless drive for success and achievement. They fear that stopping to celebrate might slow them down or take their eyes off the end game. But taking the time to give yourself a pat on the back is essential to building mental stamina, because collecting these wins will boost you during the tough times. Trust your intuition – In a data driven world, it’s normal to crunch big numbers to make business decisions. But nothing will guide you better than your own intuition. Most of us ignore our inner voice and in fact mistrust it. But learning to trust your intuition is a secret weapon that will set you apart in the business world. When you learn to trust yourself, you will find the confusion and overwhelm, which is very common as a business owner, disappearing.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
As a woman, our natural role in life is to be a nurturer – to give selflessly to our families and work, but it’s often at the detriment of our own happiness.
But she has found that to create a life that is authentic, meaningful and fulfilling, you need self-love, lots of support and a willingness for spiritual connection.
When women learn to love themselves unconditionally, they find meaning and purpose to their life, beyond family and career.
Self-love is a practice that takes time, but it’s the key to true lasting happiness.
If the readers of this interview series would like to read more about you, how can they reach out?
You can connect me with on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/visashan/
Facebook community : https://www.facebook.com/groups/1568978046696015/