The only thing which pulled me forward, was the realization that my voice within was wrong, I learnt to mediate, to listen, to challenge, and it is this presence of mind, this awareness which brought me out from that damp and dark space to one where I can pull myself out of the doldrums of darkness.
As a part of my series about leaders who integrate mindfulness and spiritual practices into their work culture, I had the pleasure of interviewing Preet Dev. Preet is a passionate mentor and a coach who loves to serve teams and individuals alike by taking them on a journey of self-discovery with a vision of exploration and a goal of connection to their truest inner selves. Preet is a devoted and dedicated lifelong learner, an avid reader of several topics like neuroscience, philosophy and religious texts as well as spiritual practices.
Her own inner journey began some 10 years ago as she sought to overcome some severe traumatic experiences in her own personal life. Being forced to sink or swim presented opportunities to really stretch her imagination and a realisation that solutions were to be found by thinking outside the box in non-traditional way. This seeking for alternative answers has become her biggest fascination and has gone on to include many spiritual laws and it’s this continuous curiosity and dedication to mastery that’s now shaping her own destiny.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you please share your “backstory” with us?
My story begins with a recurring dream that I used to have during my childhood.
I am standing in the middle of a pool of quicksand, my hands and legs are chained, and I am sinking. I cry countless tears in the hope that someone will come to my rescue, that they will break these chains and set me free. Now over the years, I have gradually understood the deeper meaning of this dream. Deep down in my heart, I was aware, that I had to do something myself before any help would arrive. It was I who had to take some action.
Curiously and interestingly, I feel that this dream was a part of my unfolding destiny. I have learned that this dream was trying to demonstrate how I could convert the vision of the woman as a liability, within the Asian culture, into an asset, through empowering both myself and others. The woman empowering herself within an oppressive culture. I think that the time is right that we learn to do this.
I came to the UK as a 21-year-old bride, married to a British Indian man, whose family treated me like a maid from day one. This was not the kind of honeymoon period a new bride expects! My new husband, now ex-husband, was already in a relationship with another girl and had only married me due to family pressures. I knew if I raised these issues, I would only get a backlash from my own family back home. One long year of severe abuse passed by in total confusion, until suddenly, one day I decided to leave. I packed my bags and called the police.
While I waited for the police, I must have cried myself to sleep. While I slept, I had my recurring childhood dream, but this time, it was different: In the dream, rather than crying for help I was pulling hard at the chains around my hands and legs, and suddenly they broke. As soon as they broke I touched the quicksand and it turned into lush green fertile ground. I was not covered in sand, I was clean and fresh and I saw myself walking towards a bright, shining but cool, sun. I felt liberated and rejuvenated. That was the last time I ever had the dream.
Albert Einstein said, ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking we used when we created them.’
I really relate to these words, as I believe that those chains represented the limitations of my own thinking, and I believe this is why I was looked upon as a liability by others. In my dream, the chains broke themselves, at a point when I started to realize that something within me had to shift, and it did shift. I had upgraded my thinking process and converted from being ‘a liability’ into ‘an asset’, as I became an independent thinker.
What role did mindfulness or spiritual practice play in your life growing up? Do you have a funny or touching story about that?
The role mindfulness had on my growth and development, is on recognizing that our inner voice is a function of the mind. Yes, I may have had struggles as a child, my parents at odds, my freedom taken away, my purpose disregarded all in the name of family honour. As a result, I grew up confused, irrelevant and broken, I thought I was perpetually wrong, at fault, my perception of the world and life was twisted. My life was dark, negative, and this heavy energy displaced any good thoughts I ever had, it was hard, to be honest, it left imprints of misery which still occasionally raises its head, 25 years later. I needed to break free from these chains of self-doubt, my self-esteem and self-love was reduced to constant self-sabotage.
The only thing which pulled me forward, was the realization that my voice within was wrong, I learnt to mediate, to listen, to challenge, and it is this presence of mind, this awareness which brought me out from that damp and dark space to one where I can pull myself out of the doldrums of darkness. Mindfulness became my lifeline, meditation became the home to breath, I learnt to respect the notion that we are special, each and every one of us, and that by breathing and blocking out those narrow destructive thoughts, I could lead myself out of the bunker and into the open.
How do your mindfulness or spiritual practices affect your business and personal life today?
I have realized, that mindfulness and respect for what I eat or drink, and the essence of my soul is more important that what others would say, or indeed some of the thoughts that played havoc with my happiness. I am considerably better today, aware that I can speak my mind, I can learn and acquire different perspectives, and that by really paying 100% attention to my listening I become fully present. I have learnt to not to fill my mind, with issues of irrelevance, I clear my head by not consuming self-talk which previously dragged me down. I can now pull through by interacting with others, people whose energy resonates with me, my soul and spiritual field. By resonating with like-minded people, who respect their bodies, their health and wellness, I feed my mind and nourish the body with natural foods. My spiritual anchors are in the belief that no matter what harm has come to me in the past, my soul is capable of receiving, my spirit is geared to resolve, when I am not in that place, it is tough, unproductive and destructive, I am unreachable. However, I know and feel the need to resolve, it is this quality, which now steers my intentions and enables me to bounce back in continuously shrinking moments of time.
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 more productive, successful when I am mindful of myself and others, I thank my inner sanctuary for the peace it delivers, and I have learnt to integrate mindful and spiritual practices into my daily routine. I listen, I acquire new information and I take time out, I meditate and breath with purpose. I would like to share an example. I realise, when I am not present, my mind chatters, I am more self-aware than ever, I am not over complicated, and understand that I am at risk in the presence of negative people and situations. I have the control to step aside now, my voice and inner presence is not silent, in meetings, I am present, I shine, in networks, I light up the room. No matter what, I reach out to my mentors to guide, I do not need to suffer in silence, I value my rocks and do not allow familiarity to dominate.
What would you say is the foundational principle for one to “lead a good life”? Can you share a story that illustrates that?
The foundation to leading a good life, is to consume the air and food we eat without contamination. The principles of a good life is to serve without expectation and to surround yourself with people who give before they receive. A good life is not a reflection of the material things which surround us, but, the value exchange which occurs between human beings.
Can you share a story about one of the most impactful moments in your spiritual/mindful life?
One of the most impactful moments I can recall, is seeing a corporate leader, whose success and wisdom was void of the love and respect of one’s mind and soul, having introduced him to the wonders of the spirit, and seeing him blossom beyond the corporate rooms has inspired me to continue to search for peace within. I am proud of him, I am proud of myself, as I have allowed trust to mature and grow. As he says, “you’re not alone”.
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?
There are two people, who arrived in my life, at a time when I was struggling, these two individuals are my guardian angels, they are there for me 24/7, 365 days a year.
They are Kristian Kemery Toone and Sesh Sukhdeo, who has worked with leaders globally. Having this trust on them that they will be present whenever I need them to be present. They are on this journey with me, and I am not alone dealing with all life’s nuances all by myself, it is a huge relief and a healing mechanism.
Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
My first advice, is to collaborate not compete! The vibrational frequency of competition is very destructive. Whereas a collaborative mind-set is conducive for long-term business growth and sustenance. The second advice, is to understand that relationships have a journey, to respect the diversity of thought and talent, more significantly, put in place support services for those with Attention Deficit, the work environment should be conducive and represent the leader’s vision. The program the Undercover Boss, is a case in point, imagine leaders have to go undercover to learn the truth of the sacrifices and efforts the everyday person has to place in order to make a difference, time, and time again — we see the leader discovers that the management team have missed what the leader who has gone undercover discovers, management needs to realise that the mind of the business is the collective, not just the few at the top, the spirit of the business is the diversity of spirits which make up the business.
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 would lead a movement of people whose voices carry, a place, where we can discuss those inner fears, where we are facilitated by people with no egos and who are powered by sincerity. We need a line of people, who can step forward at a moment without expectation to guide and lead us forward. What will make this movement different is the unconditional habit of giving before receiving, people who are in tune with my own background and stories.
How can people follow you and find out more about you?
Through a unique program that teaches spiritual entrepreneurship, your team and organization will experience new insights to help make sense of ‘real’ life’s odd situations and grow as people from the inside out. Exploration of these ‘new visions’ will assist in forming alternative perspectives whose analysis will reveal previously unseen or brand new profitable opportunities in different areas of their lives. Significance within and from these newly created ‘viewpoints’ will generate valuable new lessons and it this value that will support growth and strength.
This process of learning from multiple views will generate new roads, pathways and systems through the vary nature of accepting mistakes, failures and successes as all being part of the process and each rich in value when it comes to desired outcomes.
Preet draws upon a blended approach to both feminine and masculine leadership qualities which are highly influential for nurturing as well as empowering individuals to perceive, believe and achieve their best potential in a continuous cycle of ‘self-embetterment’. Generation of action plans to explore, acknowledge and master these qualities within and without oneself and the organisation will foster an environment dedicated to interdependence, self-actualization and true collaboration.
About the author: Jacob Rupp is a coach, author, speaker, podcaster, and rabbi. He is the founder of Lift Your Legacy, a community that helps people live a more authentic life. He has a regular, syndicated column that appears in ThriveGlobal and Authority magazine. To learn more about him or to listen to the Lift Your Legacy podcast, search iTunes or visit his site: liftyourlegacy.live