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Payal Nanjiani: “Keep Dreaming Big”

Today, when I look back at all the years, the one constant in my life has been my dream. They have lived with me, grown with me, shattered with me and come alive with me- and taught me that the size of your dream does not matter. It does not matter if people stand with […]

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Today, when I look back at all the years, the one constant in my life has been my dream. They have lived with me, grown with me, shattered with me and come alive with me- and taught me that the size of your dream does not matter. It does not matter if people stand with you and support your dream- what matters most is are you willing to pay very close attention to your dreams-because believe me when I say they are real. Are you willing to walk that path alone if needed and finish strong?


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Payal Nanjiani.

Payal is a globally acclaimed Indian-American leadership and success mastery expert. For 21 years, through her motivational keynotes, masterclass, coaching, and books, she has inspired millions of people master their inner leader and become successful at what they do.

She is the founder of Success Is Within leadership, a breakthrough concept that is transforming workplaces and inspiring people to perform their best, be fulfilled, and achieve success. She has to date transformed the lives of a million people and helped numerous organizations grow exponentially. Payal’s work is changing the way leaders lead and how people think about leadership. She is known for her exceptional track of developing world-class leaders, regardless of their title.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

From the very beginning, I have had the privilege to work with some of the top CEO’s in the world. And I got to learn firsthand from them what their success rituals and practices are. As I was moving ahead in my own work, I began to notice there exist a huge gap in the workforce between the successful few and the struggling many. I began to immerse myself into research to get to the root of this gap. And soon I realized that this gap existed throughout the world. My curiosity and research helped me understand the reason for this performance gap and I founded Success Is Within leadership — a breakthrough concept that is transforming workplaces and showing people how to perform their best, be fulfilled, and achieve success, no matter what. It has now become my life’s purpose to help more people become world-class leaders and be successful regardless of their title. I imagine a corporate and business world in which maximum people take complete ownership, give their best each day and are highly successful- regardless of title and circumstance.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Most corporate learning environments are built around an older corporate LMS- learning management system, that only really manages outer competencies. So while employees are taught how to handle machines, how to be great at communication and handle customer service, while they are “trained” to be great leaders, they really don’t know anything much about the inner competencies that are imperative for peak performance.

The performance gap on the outside is increasing massively today because there is a much wider performance gap on the inside. There are almost no self-help leadership and success books specifically for people in the corporate and business world. So they are only getting “trained” to work not “inspired” to work. And best results are delivered when our people are inspired to give their best.

So I introduced the concept of SIW leadership that became a breakthrough method not only for learning but actually inspiring people to become the best version of themselves. Success Is Within is bound to change forevermore the way leaders are developed and how people think about success and leadership. Its ideas and inspiration will take the business world by storm. I write self-help leadership books that are empowering people to develop their inner leader and achieve outer results.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Oh yes. One of the funniest was when I had my very first had an opportunity to speak on stage, I was all mic’d up. And I did not realize my mike was on and I was conversing with my camera person about the angles to take and the people he needs to cover. That was very embarrassing and then on I’ve been extremely cautious on constantly checking of the mike is off.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

My biggest mentor to date is my father. From a very young age he instilled in me the idea to dream big and be of value to people. Even today he is the one who guides me to deliver more than ever. In an age where girls were raised to be good at housework and take up a career that balances home and work, my father raised me to focus on higher education and become whatever I wish to become. He encouraged me to be confident in expressing my opinions even when they diverge from the norm. That instilled in me a sense of ownership and the motivation to achieve.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I think that really depends on who or what is being disrupted. I think we have to realize that whether or not disruption is a good thing really depends on the perspective. If the disruption is for the benefit of the society and the business world at large, I think those disruptions are most needed.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Keep Dreaming Big,

Today, when I look back at all the years, the one constant in my life has been my dream. They have lived with me, grown with me, shattered with me and come alive with me- and taught me that the size of your dream does not matter. It does not matter if people stand with you and support your dream- what matters most is are you willing to pay very close attention to your dreams-because believe me when I say they are real. Are you willing to walk that path alone if needed and finish strong?

The How is none of your business.

Having now traveled across the globe, meeting people and speaking about leadership at big corporates- what I see is that people fear to dream big — because it seems overwhelming when you think of the “how.” You feel your current reality doesn’t seem to match your dream. And everything seems impossible. The word “How” is a dream killer. I have experienced this state very closely in my own journey. In my work with some of the most successful people in the world, I’ve learned that the how is none of your business. That is the work of the higher power/ the universe- whatever name you give it. Your business is stick closely like Superglue- to your dream, to pick yourself up after every fall and failures, to work on yourself consistently, and to know your why.

It’s always about the next move.

The solution to not get overwhelmed by what all you have to achieve- is to not to think of all the moves ahead of time. Just plan the best possible next move, and then from that space, plan the next one. It’s always about just the next step. You will soon enjoyably reach your destination.

It’s always about the next best step.

Many a times we are overwhelmed while making a decision toward a big transition. The way through challenge is not to think of all the moves ahead of time but just the the next best move and then from that space the next best move.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I am too focused on what me and my team are shaking-up right now. I want to help every organization to reduce the performance gap and teach people in the workforce to be highly successful. The big need that people in the workforce are going to have to satisfy in the future is to invest in themselves and look at what makes them the best. Given today’s business environment, we have to be leaders who can achieve one goal after another, regardless of economic or other circumstances. And my aim to create more such leaders.

I also believe our vision for our life is constantly evolving at every stage of our life. I am a believer that the power above guides us all. So he will disclose my next steps to me at the right time. A new beginning happens not at new year, but whenever you are ready

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

The biggest challenge I see that if a man and a woman are both doing similar work, the society at large, (specially the men in the workforce and they make up a large part) tend to believe what the man is saying as opposed to what the women is saying, even if they are both CEO’s.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

I would say I am lucky to have two- While coaching a CEO of a large organization, he pointed my attention to a book called ‘Die Empty.’ And this book influenced me to a large extent.

Another book that I’ve held close to my heart since time immemorable is a book that my father gifted me — ‘Tough Times Never Last but Tough people do. Both these books influenced my thinking and given me the willpower to do so much more than I could have imagined.

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

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”― Friedrich Nietzsche

The biggest challenge in our lives is to find our real purpose. And when you do find your purpose, you will eventually find yourself. You are here to make a difference, to become unique, like no one else and to leave a mark like no one else. We all have a very limited time in our career life- Don’t bury that calling under the daily grind of work life. Become the best possible that YOU can be. Most of us live someone else’s life. We allow someone’s opinion about us to become our reality. There is no point in getting to the end and realizing you never let the real you come out to perform. Stepping into your purpose is all about faith over fear- while fear is loud and makes you so weak from the inside that every opportunity on the outside looks like an obstacle- like a problem. Faith is that soft voice that makes you so strong from the inside that every obstacle/problem appears as an opportunity.

How can our readers follow you online?

Join my leadership club www. Payalnanjiani.com

Connect with me over LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/payalnanjiani

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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