How Childhood Informs Adult View of a Life Well Lived - Nina Godiwalla

In Chapter 1 of 22 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, author Nina Godiwalla answers "When are You at Your Best?"  She finds she is at her best when she is doing something meaningful.  She goes into detail about when and how this happens and what it allows her to project that energy into the world.  She shares how as a child she learned to appreciate and embrace dance.  As Godiwalla focuses more and more on dancing, she learns progressively cultivates her passion, deriving happiness from the process.  Godiwalla is the author of "Suits: A Woman on Wall Street". She is also a public speaker on workplace diversity and founder and CEO of Mindworks, where she teaches mind-based stress reduction techniques to help organizations improve employee wellbeing.  Godiwalla holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, an MA in Creative Writing from Dartmouth University and her BBA from the University of Texas at Austin. 


Erik Michielsen:  When are you at your best?

Nina Godiwalla:  I’m at my best when I’m doing something that I think is meaningful.  I think in general, kind of 99% of us are just kind of going through life for what it is and then there’s those rare moments where something just really sparks for me and I have something that I’m just extraordinarily excited about and when I’m in that – when I’m concentrated and focused on that, I find that – I find that usually it can be above average but when I have that, I find myself just kind of soaring above everything and part of it is just that I’m thrilled and happy with what I’m doing.

Erik Michielsen:  Do you remember back to your childhood when you first remember that happening?

Nina Godiwalla:  There wasn’t a whole lot in my childhood that -- I didn’t spend a lot of time looking for things like that.  I – one thing I really enjoyed in my childhood, it was – we didn’t have a lot of hobbies.  My parents were immigrants and it wasn’t the – we did not have the life where you go do piano and then this and then that and that. The one thing we did was dance because my mom always wanted to be a ballerina and so she had me and she tried to get all of us, there’s four girls.  Each child, she would just be like, “Okay, that’s our thing, we’re doing dance.  You guys are going to dance classes.” So, me – two of us caught on to the dance thing, my older sister, my younger sister, they never really did much of it but me and my – the two middle kids, me and my sister, we really enjoyed dance so we would be in dance probably like four or five nights a week, we joined a company and we’re dancing. So for me that was something I loved and we did for fun but otherwise, there wasn’t a whole lot we did for fun.  It was just kind of you know, we just did what we needed to do, we had to do well in school, we hung out with our friends, like more social but the dancing for me was like where my passion lied growing up.