Nina Godiwalla on What Gets Easier and What Gets Harder

In Chapter 2 of 22 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, author Nina Godiwalla answers "What is Getting Easier and What is Getting Harder in Your Life?"  She notes how she has pushed herself to overcome challenges and identify with and connect to a tribe of like-minded aspirational peers.  Through the process, she finds it getting easier to find herself.  What becomes more difficult is putting this into action.  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:  What is getting easier and what is getting harder in your life?

Nina Godiwalla:  When I grew up, there wasn’t a whole lot of focus on what do I love, what do I want to do, so I’d say it wasn’t until my 20s that I kind of got to a point and I call it -- I had my midlife crisis in my 20s because I was an investment banker and I realized, “Oh wow” everything the way that -- the whole way my life of success has been defined to date is not in line with what I want. So I think what’s getting easier is starting to understand what I like and what I enjoy in life and that was very hard for me before because I had never focused on that so that’s getting easier and then the challenge becomes, okay, now I’m starting to get it, I’m slowly starting to learn about myself and who I am and now what’s getting harder is putting that into the world, like how do I actually create my life around that and at moments, it’s hard and then there’s something about it that’s so easy honestly because when you love it, you’re so good at what you’re doing and you find a way to move through things and I really believe that there’s people that come along in your path and you -- I call it your tribe.  You find people that are like you in your tribe and through that, you start to build your world around it and so, I think that parts, it’s challenging yet at the same time, it’s exhilarating and when you’re around in the right world and the right people, everything starts to work out.

Erik Michielsen:  Can you give me an example of that?

Nina Godiwalla:  Yeah, I mean my book is a great example of that.  That was something – it was something that kind of sat in me that I needed to do.  I was actually, I was in a corporate job not doing, it was when the economy was low and everyone was like trying to hang on to any job they had and the reality was my job at that time was not very thought-provoking.  It was just – it was a job.  It got to a point it where it’s job.  Our client cut back so much that we weren’t doing a lot of interesting work and in the end, what happened was I had in my head like this is kind of boring.  I’m not learning a lot.  I’m not doing a whole lot and I left to pursue my book and it’s cause -- it’s kind of that book kind of looked at me and I had written it before but I hadn’t really done anything with it and with that whole process, I mean I got it published very quickly.  I got -- everything fell into place along the way, just the way it should because I was so excited about it.  I mean I worked so hard towards it but also when I needed the right people to fall into place, somehow miraculously, I would meet the right person that would help me get to that next step, next step, next step and it’s because I was on the right path for me.