It was in 2000 that my husband and I decided to move to Australia. Both of us were very happy in Vadodara, a small city in India, with jobs that we loved and two kids, well supported by family.

My then-boss thought I should get my head checked and presented me with a copy of the book “Hope for the Flowers”. The story is about a caterpillar that constantly wants more from life, wondering what they might be missing. It was a very wise gift and one that continues to explain to me why I do what I do!

Settling into our new home was interesting. It was hard finding that first job and making sense of the “you have great expertise but need local experience”. We embraced it all, landing eventually in jobs we both loved, whilst raising kids, creating a home, enjoying the country. A few years later, I was starting to get restless. It was feeling a bit too comfortable. I wanted to quit a well paying, senior job to work in the charitable sector. My husband wanted to make sure we would not want financially. My coach and many peers warned me about potential pitfalls.

I did land a role and I learnt a lot, met a lot of fabulously talented, passionate people and personally grew heaps from seeing things from completely different perspectives. Then it was back into corporate, where it became abundantly clear that I did not entirely fit. I was the big, loud cockatoo amongst the cool, quiet kids. Nevertheless, the passionate advocate in me crusaded for investment in leadership development, listening to and acting on feedback from our AON Hewitt Engagement Survey…. and then, it was getting too comfortable again.

I was starting to get immensely interested in learning more about what makes people thrive. I had championed this inside organisations for 25+ years and I was still wondering what don’t I know?

I quit the corporate role and then dived deep into study – learning about processes that developed psychological flexibility. I fell in love with the idea of being open and non-judgemental about your thoughts and feelings, to do something that you value. Kelly Wilson is my hero and his book “Things might go terribly, horribly wrong” is the most accessible book you can read on the subject.

Then there was the Master of Science in Coaching Psychology, where I dived deeper, learning about compassion and adult development theory.  The question, “How do I know what is true” took me to a beautiful seaside village called Paekariki where I learnt how to have “Conversations at the Growing Edge”.

So here I am.

At the edge again.

On unchartered territory.

Surrounded by wise, clever people, wanting to craft a life where I have the time to work alongside fabulous leaders. And also to travel the world. And also to be invited into my kids homes because they are now adults and enjoy being friends with us. And hang out with my parents.

It is tough, not knowing who my next client will be or where they will come from. And yet, this is exciting. The possibilities seem endless. The chance to be a catalyst for good has always been energising.

2018 holds a promise. I want to be connecting more. Connecting means a few different things to me. Firstly, it means being present. In the moment, with the person I am with, connecting in a way that is warm, loving, and unconditional. It also means connecting with those I care about who are not with me. I would like to look back on 2018 and know that I made an effort to reach out, say hello, and listen. And it involves connecting with what surrounds me. Feeling appreciative of, grateful for and enjoying the abundance of nature.

Most importantly, it means I will use my voice for the issues I care deeply about. And do something about it. Get involved. Act. We stand on strong shoulders. There are many who strive to make this world a better place for more people.

I am an advocate for leaders who want their people, teams and organisations to thrive and bring real world experience and professional expertise in building organisation and leadership capacity for sustainable, high performance in complex, challenging situations.

 

Gauri Maini brings real world experience and professional expertise in building organisation and leadership capacity for sustainable, high performance in complex, challenging situations. Connect with Gauri on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/gaurimaini. Her website is www.cultureadvantage.com.au