Real Women, Real Lives
Who inspires you? Who do you use as your motivator to get things done or to make valuable changes to your life?
There are thousands of women who stimulate our need for greatness. They appear on our television and movie screens, we listen to them on the radio, or we read their encouraging stories in articles or books. It’s easy to put a celebrity on a pedestal and desire their lifestyle, skillset and strength of character, but we don’t need to turn to the glossy magazines, or the big screen, to find inspirational women who can motivate us to succeed. They live next door, work alongside us, and talk to us at the supermarket.
The Real Women, Real Lives feature highlights the incredible individuals who have succeeded in their chosen path, or turned misfortune into positivity. Ladies who have conquered illness or gone above and beyond to help others, and made a difference. Women who have stepped out of their comfort zone and launched a business, or ventures that have an impact on their environment, or community.
These remarkable women are your friend, co-worker and neighbour, and I’m delighted to be able to share their stories with you.
Today, I am delighted to invite Nishi Mehta to share her story.
Tell us a little about you and your story.
Hello, I am Nishi, co-founder of Career-Mums CIC and CM Talent Ltd. Three years ago, I met my now current business partner, Sally Dhillon while we were both on a career break. I’d been made redundant and was figuring out where all the part-time professional roles were. With years of experience in employment and skills, training, management and HR combined we set about supporting women to make smooth transitions to return to work. Fast forward three years, and we have a consultancy set up to support employers providing solutions with gender diversity and our return to work business is a social enterprise.
What’s your biggest dream in life?
This changes all the time. For now, I want to be a mover and shaker in the diversity world and make a success of my business, so it has a positive influence on people’s lives and careers. I want it to give me the freedom to be around for my children. However, my biggest dream is for us all to be happy as a family, I know that means different things to different people, but it’s an ambition that’s at the core of everything I do.
If you chose a power word for this year what would it be and why?
Collaboration – This is more than just a buzz word for me. I see the real benefits of working collaboratively, whether that’s women supporting each other through a return to work transition to making an impact for a developing women leader in the workplace. With increasing competition, joining forces can help you to work towards your achievement of a common goal by thinking, brainstorming and offering various perspectives to provide solutions. When a variety of knowledge and skills are pooled, it creates talent that is vast and more competent, able and experienced.
I used the power of collaboration to set up my business, working with Sally, pulling in on our unique strengths and skills has helped us set up two businesses, I think that’s pretty powerful, and I truly believe collaboration has helped us immensely with our business. We are forever learning from each other.
Who inspires you, and why?
On a personal level, I admire so many women (and men) I have met along the way, too many to name!
On a famous level, there are also many, Indra Ghandhi, Audrey Hepburn, but more recently, I have been inspired by the work of Michelle Obama. Michelle’s life before and after her role at the White House has been characterised by a desire for social justice and empathy with those whom the world doesn’t naturally favour. I love how she is a keen believer in ambition and aspiration for all individuals. She’s one smart cookie too!
I love this quote from her:
“You may not always have a comfortable life, and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problem’s at once but don’t underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take a life of its own”
What, in your experience, motivates you best? Can you give an example?
When I was on a career break, I felt like I couldn’t justify day trips with the girls, shopping and all the things I had enjoyed as I didn’t have the financial independence to do this. For a few years, I was a ‘dependent’. Driving my own life motivates me, knowing that I have the power to make things happen is amazing.
I also invest in personal development as and when I can, I have trained in NLP and have recently enrolled on to do a postgraduate with the University of Warwick for Career development and coaching. I love learning and feeling inspired.
What actions/events/environments would adversely affect your motivation? Can you give an example and how you coped?
Feeling like there is a lack of ‘choice’. When I was made redundant, I decided to look for flexible or part-time work. I had years of management and employment and skills experience behind me but soon realised that finding part-time professional work was going to be challenging. I knew I needed something that was flexible to fit around home and work as my husband was working in London and was in a role that had very little work-life balance.
I was being offered work, however, at a lower-paid lower skilled level. I decided to pause and re-plan. During my career pause, I realised how quickly you could lose confidence, feel rusty and not know what to do next.
Fast forward a few steps, I decided to use this experience and learnings from having a career break to support myself and others, retraining and refocusing and becoming self-employed. I met my now business partner, and we combined our experiences in HR and training to create some fabulous return to work programmes. Self-employment is a good option for some but isn’t for everyone. We slowly see an increase with employers providing flexible work opportunities since the legislation for gender pay gap reporting, but this is nowhere near the level needed for the majority of returners and those juggling caring responsibilities and work.
How do you ensure that your personal level of motivation is high on a daily basis?
I now love what I do, in my career and how I manage my work around family. I feel like I have ‘redesigned my life’.
To keep things ‘topped up,’ I make sure I look after myself and do the things that give me energy. I’m a big people person. I love to socialise and have to chat with a friend (or anyone) at least once a day! I also factor in some yoga and have found a new love for walking. I know if I work from home all day and don’t talk to anyone I can feel really drained. It’s so important to find what motivates you as it helps you to be more positive and focus on what you want to achieve.
To find out more about Nishi Mehta, you can connect with her here:
Website www.cmtalent.co.uk and www.career-mums.co.uk
Twitter @CMTalent1 and @career_mums