Nina Godiwalla on How Job Success Can Isolate and Overwhelm

In Chapter 8 of 18 in her 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, author and entrepreneur Nina Godiwalla answers "How Have Awards and Accolades Validated Your Work and Your Mission?" Godiwalla finds receiving awards, such as being inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame, validate her work and her mission. As a public speaker traveling extensively, she finds it progressively difficult to get to know people well during short trips. Travel-related time constraints limit her ability to connect with the amazing people she meets which leads her to feel frustrated and isolated. Nina Godiwalla is an expert on diversity, leadership and women in the business world. She is CEO of Mindworks, which provides leadership, stress management, and diversity training to companies all over the world. She is also a bestselling author and public speaker. Godiwalla earned an MBA from Wharton, a MA from Dartmouth and a BBA from the University of Texas.


Erik Michielsen: How have awards and accolades validated your work and your mission?

Nina Godiwalla: At this point, I feel like it just helps me realize I’m going in the right direction but it doesn’t necessarily change anything major for me. Now that I’m so clear in what I’m doing, the awards and the accolades are like an extra bonus, like it’s nice, but before I felt like I was almost choosing what I would do based off of awards and accolades to some extent because that would be a great thing to do to get this award or get that, and now I feel I’m more along the lines of I’m so clear on my mission, I’m so clear on the purpose, and what I need to accomplish, fantastic, they’re just not nearly as important to me, I think, now that I’m so clear on my path.

Erik Michielsen: And you’re meeting some other people that are part of those communities, do you feel like you share similar views and there’s more work to do?

Nina Godiwalla: We come from completely different areas, one of that, I mean when I got inducted in the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, Sandra Day O’Connor, as you know, she was one of the recipients, there are people that are colonels in the military. We all came out of so many different disciplines. Again, it’s like an amazing opportunity to meet fantastic, accomplished people, but definitely coming from very different backgrounds, and I feel like also, at this point, I’m so overwhelmed with—I feel like I’m constantly meeting such amazing people that I don’t even have time to get to know anybody anymore, and so the journey almost feels lonely at times because I’m overwhelmed with amazing people that I can’t follow up with. It’s absurd, it is absurd as it sounds, and I know that’s a choice, I mean don’t get me wrong, you create how busy you are, but there is always the next thing that I’m going to, the next thing I’m leaving for. And I mean I go to events all the time, I’m speaking. People give me their business cards, and I’d say I’ll follow up, and I have such good intentions, I really want to, I write it down, but by the time I get back, I’m already—there’s the next one where I meet 15 other people, and then I go back, the next one, so in a lot of ways, yes, I mean it’s fascinating, it’s amazing, but it’s also just completely overwhelming to be around, just meet all these amazing people all the time. (chuckles)

Erik Michielsen: Yeah, yeah, you wish for all that, sometimes, to come, and you get it, and you’re like I’m feeling more isolated and more lonely than ever.

Nina Godiwalla: Yeah, and I’ve heard that from several people, which I thought was interesting. I wouldn’t have—someone said it to me today, actually, she said— I was saying how, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to connect a little bit more with people geographically because several of us travel a lot?” And she said, “Yes. Sometimes it gets lonely,” and I hadn’t thought of it that way, and I was thinking, “That’s exactly what I mean.” I mean it feels lonely somewhere along the lines even though you’re constantly with such amazing people.