Inspiring Change – What Does it Take?

Inspiring Change – What Does it Take?


In the early years of my adult life, I lived within a bubble, of being a committed professional, a wife & mother, and cared about little else. It was a chance meeting that started me on the path of questioning some of my beliefs about life and living, and seeking knowledge of a higher self through self-reflection, and learning from the experiences of others. Gradually a vision started to emerge, of the person I wanted to become, and I realised that I would have to change some of the beliefs and behavior patterns I had grown up with, that had so far constituted much of my self-identity.

Looking back, I realise that I have been blessed on my journey of personal change, and today, I am committed to realising my vision of the person I want to be. Each day brings more happiness and fulfilment, and this has inspired me to help others by becoming a professional Coach. Even so, every now and then I slip backwards, and I have to pick myself up and re-dedicate myself to the ‘new me’, to help me move forward. I must mention here, that the appreciation and support of like-minded friends, who have shared similar experiences, has had a profound influence on me. And the people who know me best, ie my husband and two loving daughters, have cheered me on from the sidelines, to make my journey wonderful!

So what have I learnt about what it takes to change, to inspire oneself to become the person we want to be, happier, more fulfilled and even more successful? How can we take charge of our lives to bring changes that will help us move forward with confidence and a greater sense of control? What is positive change really all about?

First and foremost, it takes Courage to accept that the answers to most of our challenges lie within ourselves, and not in the blame we accord everyone and everything around us. Acknowledging that we need to change, is really the first step on the journey towards personal transformation. Our ego and self-image takes a beating, when we realise that many of the beliefs and behavior patterns we have grown accustomed to, are in fact, not serving us well. And that the lens through which we see ourselves and others, may in fact be a bit flawed! This awareness comes only through deep and honest reflection, and it helps us develop a better understanding of our strengths and limitations.

Being a Coach to successful senior professionals has been such a revelation to me, that despite their enormous success, they have the humility to accept that they may need to look at life and themselves differently. And to realise, that what made them successful in one sphere, may actually be working against them in other areas of their lives!

The second important requirement for positive change is Determination, ie the will to initiate the change process, and to see it through with great commitment. We make so many resolutions and promises to ourselves, but only when we take personal responsibility, does real change happen. No matter what the challenges, we move forward based on our own convictions, without waiting for motivation from other people or events. As one of my coachees aptly put it “Intention alone is not enough… you have to work at it, otherwise you won’t get results!”

Embarking on a journey of transformation can itself be very energising, and when mixed with a liberal dose of self-discipline, it makes for a potent combination! It is wonderful to see successful and time-starved professionals stretch their thinking into new areas, and dwell on how they can move forward to fulfill the commitments they have made to themselves (and their Coach).

Devising a strategy and action plan for change can be challenging, especially when attempted on our own. A good place to start the journey is by defining our vision of the person we want to be, and what attributes need to change for that to happen. With clarity on the goal, it becomes easier to devise a path and move ahead.

A Support structure is the third critical requirement for change. In the professional arena, the organisation can provide it through formal Coaching, and supportive processes that enable new behaviours to flourish. Acknowledgement from peers and colleagues, and a positive environment that encourages change becomes a crucial element in providing forward momentum. In the personal space, support can come from trusted friends and/or a partner or family member, provided it is given in a non-judgemental way. In both contexts, the support of a Coach can facilitate a process that could otherwise take a couple of years.

Inspiration and support can also come from books, which I drew upon greatly in my early years. I found that when I kept an open, positive mind, inspiration inevitably popped up from among the pages, something I may not have noticed if I wasn’t in a state of acceptance.

So Courage, Determination and Support are critical elements to enable our journey of personal transformation. There is no right time in life to start on this journey, each of us intuitively knows when we are ready. When we do begin, we must make sure to acknowledge every little success we have, and be patient in declaring the effort a success or failure. We may be feeling different inside, and making all the right moves, but it takes a while before others begin to notice the changes. They are so conditioned to looking at us in a certain way, that our new behaviors initially may seem like an exception rather than the norm!

It’s a long road, but one that has the potential to free us from our limitations, and help us lead happier and more fulfilled lives. And as we move towards a deeper understanding of our ‘true’ selves, we can work towards realising more and more of our true potential!

  • Gool Jambuserwala
    Posted at 14:18h, 30 August Reply

    Aparna, this is so inspiring! I am so happy to see you on this path, I think you will make a perfect coach. Wish you luck and success!

  • Himanshu Chakrawarti
    Posted at 17:22h, 30 August Reply

    Hi Aparna, it’s wonderful to see you embarking on your journey of helping others as a professional coach. Your fantastic background as a practising business leader as also as a researcher/strategist makes for a compelling proposition as a professional coach.
    The short write up above on what prompted you to embark on this is wonderfully crafted and expressed.
    All the best Aparna!

  • Mary Anne
    Posted at 23:22h, 30 August Reply

    Aparna you are true inspiration of change. You finally made it — establishing yourself to be a coach. Love your blog about Inspiring Change esp this line “There is no right time in life to start on this journey, each of us intuitively knows when we are ready.” You going to be a great change coach as you have transformed yourself beautifully. 🙂 All the best to you.

  • Shruti jaiswal
    Posted at 06:45h, 31 August Reply

    Aparna, this is very well written. Simple that people can relate to yet an area where most of us slip in to the ‘give up’ mode very soon. Thanks for sharing your own personal experience, there are some really good learnings in it!

  • Vikas
    Posted at 08:23h, 31 August Reply

    I guess I now finally leave “Mrs Mehra” behind, and evolve to “Aparna” !!! Beautifully articulated as always, and so true in every way !!! We’ve always cherished your advice, and been enormously thankful for the mentor that you’ve been to us – starting for me from the market visit in 1990 in Nowgong, and that too during the ULFA and Bodo crisis :).

    Am glad you are taking this on in a formal capacity now. Best wishes always !!!

  • Ajay Mehra
    Posted at 18:36h, 31 August Reply

    Aparna, most importantly , your message is so simple, truthful and yet inspiring ! Your rich experiences across family, friends , profession and life at large with a head on your shoulder will , I am sure hold you in good stead ! Knowing you now for over 3 decades , this is the calling ! All the very best always !

    • aparnamehrailc
      Posted at 16:31h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you for your appreciation and good wishes, Ajay! And for three decades of friendship and camaraderie that is truly special 🙂

  • Pankaj
    Posted at 00:26h, 01 September Reply

    I am reminded of the famous Zen koan, “How do you go further from the top of a hundred-foot pole?”
    This koan challenges us to shake our complacency arising from status quo and leap into our doubt. When we let go of existing concepts and ideas that make our “self”, we move to faith to keep going. Then comes determination – to take action.
    Your writing says it all, beautifully. You have gone beyond the doubt of not knowing what’s next, having faith in your next steps and the determined effort to create a space that can be used for your and others’ evolution.
    Ships, as they say are safest in port, but then that’s not what they are intended for!
    Congratulations and best wishes for success as you start this journey.

    • aparnamehrailc
      Posted at 16:39h, 01 September Reply

      You and Bhabs have always inspired us to be the ‘real’ people we are, and to reflect on how we can present our best to the world. Thank You!

  • Ritu
    Posted at 04:31h, 01 September Reply

    Loved your blog. May your life be celebratory and your soul nurtured by all that is precious to you. You will definitely inspire a lot of people. Much love and best wishes.

    • aparnamehrailc
      Posted at 16:42h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you Bhabs for being a constant loving and supportive force in our lives!

  • Monisha Mullick
    Posted at 10:42h, 01 September Reply

    Hi Aparna, Wish you all success in your new journey. Your blog is beautifully written and so true! I am sure you will inspire many of us to wake up and smell the roses. Congratulations and all the best.

  • Sangeeta Mall
    Posted at 12:44h, 01 September Reply

    Aparna I have first hand experience of what you’ve written so can vouch for the verity and effectiveness of every word! Your communication is simple, effective and articulate and will make a lot of sense to a lot of people, especially people like me who need some clarity about ends and means! Look forward to more write ups.

  • aparnamehrailc
    Posted at 16:52h, 01 September Reply

    Thank you everyone, for your inspiring messages and encouragement. All your wishes are really precious to me, as I go forward on my journey of being a Coach!

  • Amita Bharath
    Posted at 09:34h, 03 September Reply

    Thank you for writing about your journey of personal transformation. I agree it takes courage, determination and loads of loving support. I think it is wonderful that you have taken this step and are going to be a witness and support to others who are embarking on this voyage of expansion. Amazingly, this journey always touches many more people than it begins with and that is so beautiful. Thank you and have fun..I know you will!

  • Neeraj Swaroop
    Posted at 06:15h, 12 September Reply

    Aparna, beautifully written, from the heart – simple but structured .

    But first, congratulations on making the start to this journey ! I admire your own courage and determination to transform yourself. You have rich experience as a professional and of the many life roles you play. But what makes you stand out is your keenness and ability to explore within. I am certain you will make a great coach !

    All the best as you move ahead. Would be delighted to be a part of your journey.

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