Strictly for your Soul.
Pamela Puja Kirpalani is an avid fan of the positive human psychology movement and is certified by the ABNlp (Australian Board of Neuro-Linguistic Programming) as an International NLP Master Practitioner, Trainer & Consultant, and Neuro-Coach. She is an expert in NLP Corporate Communications Trainer & Consultant, Body Language & Negotiation, Rapport Building Expert, & 1-1 Life Coaching. Based in Singapore and yet truly Global.
Here are the excerpts of the Interview with this enterprising woman leader
PV Q1: How do you balance being a Mother/Home and Work? What have you sacrificed (Both personally and professionally) At Each Stage of Your Career?
Pamela: Oh, well this undoubtedly is a tricky formula for a woman, especially for a perfectionist such as myself. Having said this, I feel blessed to have the ability to structure my career specifically around my home life. I do try and ensure that my NLP exercises with institutes and clients are usually scheduled and blocked way-in-advance (maybe a year in advance) this helps me circumvent any clashes with school calendars or holidays. Yet,I have to admit, I have made the mistake of scheduling training on the same day as the kids parent-teachers’ conference and even once a small graduation ceremony. But on the whole, I am home with the kids’ post at 3 pm. My exercises and self-care routine, which is paramount, all happen between 10 am to 2 pm. As my children are pre-teens, now, it is much easier to work away from home when I need to.
When I had my children consecutively in 2008 and 2009, it was natural that I’d need to find something career-wise which would allow me to spend time with my kids. Coming from an investment banking and business background, I never thought one day I’d end up sitting at home and teaching toddlers creative art- but that’s exactly what I did for 3 years until they went to school.I wouldn’t even repent it a bit, as it gave me a much-needed break from the high-pressure life, helped me release pent up emotions and enhance my creative muscle- while also spending time with my children as they grew.
PV Q2: What was the Organizational Culture like 10 Years Ago for Women and Working Mothers? Do You Feel That Corporates Make Efforts Towards Improving The Facilities For This Cohort?
Pamela: When I entered the workforce in India circa early 2003,it felt like the cusp of when women were gaining more might in the workforce. I worked just as hard and in tandem with my male colleagues, I would leave the office as late as 10 pm and no one batted an eyelid. If anything, I always felt on equal terms. Perhaps this was coupled with the fact that I was forever confident and out-spoken, having just come back from the UK.
While in the retrospect, being a mother, I would agree that many working women might get intimidated with the working spaces and timings,left with few choices. However, I have observed improved understanding and effort in the workplaces towards working around the parents’ schedule. I would credit social media to push this awareness, and many large corporates have begun giving preference to maternity/paternal leave, a crèche and likes.
PV Q3: Do Women In Your Profession Have A Hard Time Getting Promoted? What Are Some Strategies That Can Help Women Achieve A More Prominent Role In Their Organizations?
Pamela: The Professional Training & Development industry was once mostly monopolised with male trainers. However, due to an influx of many topics and the emphasis on soft skills, such as emotional intelligence and communication skills, women trainers are now beginning to become more mainstream and have a dominant role in the training industry.
I, personally, have not seen any issue in getting promoted and put this down to the uniqueness of the category that I train in. For example, it is rare to offer a combination of FBI Detection strategies, neuroscience backed body language and interpersonal psychology skills all in a one-day course. Unassumably, I have an added advantage. I believe that ‘being truly gifted at what you do- any ladder can be climbed and conquered’.
I opine corporate strategies that would require an equal percentage of roles for women on the board; more opportunities for rewards and recognition towards women in the public eye; and less emphasis on the idea of ‘feminism’ which is off-putting and further subjugates women to a ‘less than equal’ role.
PV Q4: As A Female Leader, What Has Been The Most Significant Barrier In Your Career?
Pamela:This might sound humorous, nevertheless, I believe my roadblock has been my ‘baby voice’. I am hitting 40 years old this year, and people still have a hard time believing I go up on stage in front of hundreds of people and that I teach Fortune 500 corporates, government institutions and the like. Eventually,the work speaks for itself.There is only so much publicity and self-promotion one can do but if you the real potential to deliver and the right capabilities,the word spreads on its own. That is the beauty of the ‘word of mouth’- you do not have to promote yourself in any way.
PV Q5: Who Inspired You And Why? What Are Some Traits You Think Great Leaders Possess?
Pamela: As I ponder, I could spend days talking about my humble yet powerful father, his ways of leading and inspiring others; his kindness and generosity towards humanity; his steadfast commitment to delivering to the ‘t’; hisphilosophy of ‘taking that extra mile’ which I have also carried down to my children. Not to forget, this does not even include. how he balances his life with music, exercise and laughter. This has reckoned upon to me until recently, is his mindset to perpetually look at the silver lining.Following the ‘Law of Attraction’ principles his whole life, unaware.
Appreciating what one has and intrinsically believing the divine reason for things working out that way, is the ultimate power of a Leader.Pay attention, to how Covid19 has altered our lives. Mother Earth needed to heal and recover, with the forced lockdown, the air, sea have turned cleaner, while as professionals our lives were consumed and cluttered. We now clearly see, how little we need and what is most important to us. The real leaders for our planet are doctors, nurses, delivery people, healthcare workers, sanitation workers, bankers, educationists and people who work with war footing for the people. That according to me is the greatest strength of leaders, work that leaves a social and an ecological impact.
PV Q6: Ms Kirpalani, what was your dream job as a kid and why?
Pamela: I forever wanted to emulate my mother’s dream job when she was a child- to be a news reporter. However, as I grew up, the intense desire to teach emerged. The twelve-year-old in me loved the sound of the chalk hitting the blackboard; the joy of having commanded a room; and the innumerable possibilities to improve peoples’ lives.I cannot believe how my childhood vision has materialised. Even now, if I were to close my eyes,I would still have a similar vision and would exactly be where I am. That is so satisfying to know.
PV Q7: Hey, this is so interesting, almost Karmic. So, Maam, what is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?
Pamela: Contrary to most Indian marriages earlier, our marriage was not arranged, I was only of 22 (he of 20) when we both decided to be together in this lifetime. 18 years later, he is my stability factor, rock and my sounding board. The worst decision I ever made was probably to not follow my passion at an earlier age- of pursuing a bachelors degree in the social sciences. Nevertheless, it is never too late, and I am constantly learning, updating my skills, and also refresh my content for training, with the aid of online courses with the brightest minds in the industry. It is truly fulfilling to be alive in a digital age with much to learn and grasp.
PV Q8: Pamela, you are a coach, tell us your advice on how do we move forward when everyone else is telling us that our idea won’t work?
Pamela: If our convictions about our ideas are robust, and we truly believe in the sanctity of what it offers- then we must just ‘keep going’. Eventually, people see the strength of your conviction, they will begin to open their minds up to a different dimension and find synchronicity with your idea. Remember, new and unheard-of ideas take time and their relevance does not just materialise overnight. People usually follow the flock aka ‘social proof’. People will want to see someone endorse your idea first before they do. Do not give up, and also avoid, flagging people for not following your idea, it could be unnecessarytrouble. The secret is to be consistent in your message; continue to develop it; include writing it down, visualise it materialise, and present it with confidence, it will begin to resonate.
PV Q9: How Did You Reach Your Level Of Success, Given The Sector’s Gender Gap, Especially Among The Leadership?
Pamela: I attribute my success to the gruelling number of hours, developing and curating my programall through independent research. While most people were scanning and idling on social media, I was desperately ravaging through my twitter feed on the latest neuroscience mind hacks so I could update and curate my material better.The secret, is my being absorbed and intrigued by the science of how the mind worked.With years of collating cutting-edge content and building up the confidence towards my training skills,I now conduct my sessions with a sense of integrity, aware of each piece of information is backed up by science and from credible sources. Astonishingly, the gender bias did not impede on for me and only in a few years, professional development institutes starting contacting me and thereon was no turning back.
PV Q10: What advice would you give to women trying to break into engineering and technology fields?
Pamela: I would argue,as this is a perfect time,the world is in great need of more women leaders in this space. Women have a high level of intuition and emotional quotient, which is extremely beneficial to enhance and merge the technical aspects of engineering and technology.
PV Q11: Where Will We Find You On A Saturday At 10 A.M.? What Do You Do For A Hobby? What Is Your ‘Me-Time’ Like?
Pamela: That’s easy, any day of the week if you can’t find me at home, at my usual members’ club hangout, or in front of my laptop; you will have better luck spotting me at the soulcycling studio. This is a true bliss for me, my body, mind and soul all working in synchronisation and the most liberating feeling.
Younger me had varied hobbies such as playing the piano, pottery, and glass painting. However, as much as I love doing these things, I now find myself retreating into more passive activities. I love consuming myself into listening to music, daydreaming; walking my dogs, and watching funny shows with my kids.
PV Q12: Tell us about your favourite books or things to do to inspire yourself daily?
Pamela: I am a big believer in the ‘Law of Attraction’, I spend my days pouring into this genre of books daily. Even if I only have time for just one page. Joe Dispenza’s, Esther Hicks, and Joseph Murphy are my favourites. I also like to read books on Negotiation and Body Language- Joe Navarro and Christopher Voss are my preferred authors.
PV Q13: Let us get you a bit nostalgic, share a little about your background, where do you hail from? what was the house you grew up in like?
Pamela: Indeed, I am a Sindhi born in Manila, brought up in between England and Africa until the age of 12 and then back to Manila for a few years before India as a high school student. Our nuclear family was always full of laughter, sharing, positivity and love. Every summer no matter where we were living at the time, it was imperative to visit my mom’s parents in HongKong, followed by Manila to visit my dad’s mother. Any opportunity to have an extended family reunion- a wedding, 25th anniversary, big birthday- would be the highlight of our year.
PV Q14: Have you ever been a volunteer? How has it been important to you?
Pamela: When I was younger,volunteering was tricky for my mind. Random thoughts such as ‘will I be good enough for the role?’, ‘do they even need my help?’, and even ‘how will this help me?’would cloud my thinking.However, that changed, as I grew and realised the broader perspective on how blessed I was.Volunteering helps me to transcend, makes me vulnerable to the world and hence connects me to my roots, and humanity.
PV Q15: What, In Your Life Has Brought Satisfaction Or Fulfillment? Looking Back, What Would You Have Done Differently? And How?
Pamela: This one is tricky, yet I am blessed to say that I am simply in love with life. As clichéd it may sound, but living the‘law of attraction’, everything seems to fall into place much easier and flows with less resistance. Having said this,I agree that I was conscious and would body-shame myself for being overweight for too many years. Accepting and making a resolve to live the law of attraction, has made meemotionally, financially & physically balanced.
PV Q19: Well said, what advice would you give to our next-gen women?
Pamela: Alright, I am imagining talking to my daughter as I reflect on this question. If given the opportunity, I would tell these young women to focus on three things. Firstly- whatever makes you tick, gets your juices flowing,take it as a key indicator of what you should pursue further.Thereafter, pouring yourselves into it- read, explore, listen to podcasts, meet experts in the field, and teach it to others. There is no limit to what you could do, so hone it. Secondly, never compromise your self-care, well-being is paramount, and please realise that your best days come from a clear mind, an energetic body, and a daily mind-soul connection. I would even say ‘be selfish about your self-care’ and prioritise it over everything else. Third, consistency is everything, every opportunity you get, show integrity, commit to it and the results will show itself in due time. I truly believe in aiming for a balanced daily routine as the secret of success. Signing off.