Our Woman Trailblazer, Radhika Kawlra Singh, firmly believes mastering the mind is the key to excelling in any field. She is a mental coach and author who has helped numerous athletes overcome mental barriers and unlock their full potential to achieve their highest performance.
A person’s childhood paves the way for who the person will become. The experiences, upbringing and environment during childhood significantly impact an individual’s physical and mental development and ability to adapt to different circumstances in adulthood. The memories continue to shape the individual’s perspective and behaviour.
Childhood is akin to freshly fallen snow on the earth. Each step taken leaves a mark and paves the way for the future.
When we look at Radhika’s life, we can see the impact her upbringing and the environment around her had on her. She had a happy and peaceful childhood and grew up feeling loved and appreciated.
Her parents led a sweet and simple life imparting the correct values and ethics to their daughters which continue to hold them in good stead. Radhika and her sister had the freedom to be the way they wanted, to do what they wanted but within the boundaries set up by their parents. That probably is why she grew up to be an independent and bold person with the courage to follow her heart.
She was born in Patiala but spent part of her childhood in Bhopal, followed by Mumbai, where she lived for fifteen years. Among the things she remembers from her childhood is the time spent in Bhopal cycling around the lake, running around and being close to nature. She feels that the time spent there taught her to be with stillness and to accept silence as part of her being.
She remembers scribbling on her slate and wondering how many people could see her do that. That inculcated in her the sense of being aware of what was around her, to observe her surroundings.
Another incident while she was in Mumbai with her family introduced her to the idea of unselfish love. The mischievous child that she was, she locked her family out of the house, and her sister, to protect her, took the blame for it. Though she got saved from all the trouble, the incident left its mark on her. It taught her that when you are selfish, you are disappointing others and carrying the guilt of a disgruntled soul within you. You are guilty of being self-centred, and that guilt does not go away no matter what.
These experiences have stayed with her and today guide her when she is helping people with a condition or a situation which has to do with the mind.
Career and Professional Life
As she grew up, Radhika realised she was gravitating towards understanding the workings of the mind, and since she loved people, she was interested in knowing what made them do what they did. On top of that, her mind was highly intuitive and could easily sense emotions and feelings.
Then there was the environment in the house which was liberal and free with no religious compulsions. The girls were taught to believe in the existence of a divine power above them which guided them, but there were no customs or rituals to be followed. They just had to follow the general rules of being good people, being honest and believing in themselves.
Since the mind was without fear, it could explore and turn towards what it wanted. And Radhika’s mind took her towards the subject of Psychology, which she chose to study in college.
But as they say, Man proposes, God Disposes.
While the workings of the mind attracted her, destiny had something else in store for her.
While pursuing the course of her choice, she got exposed to the glamorous working life of her sister, who worked for an ad agency. Around that time, Rupert Murdoch was visiting India with Star TV, and that visit sealed Radhika’s fate. Radhika, probably attracted by the idea of working in the glamorous world of TV, decided to approach him for a job. Her results were still not out, but she decided to take the plunge. Though she had to start from the bottom of the rung, she was more than happy to do that as the world of television greatly enamoured her. From there, she moved to work with Dushyant Mehta, the ex-Lintas GM, a pioneer in the field of filmmaking under whose guidance she made twenty-four corporate films within twenty-two months.
She remembers this period of life as one where she got the opportunity to learn and grow alongside others. And then, as the icing on the cake, she got to work with AlquePadamsee, the God of advertising, an experience that left her feeling enriched and fulfilled. She became the Executive producer of the well-known Bournvita Quiz competition, a show that ran for several years and was a huge success.
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Coming from an open and flexible background, she embraced every single opportunity with open arms, leading her to diverse and rich experiences.
And then her life did another pivot. She got married and moved to Delhi. Though she was part of the PR world for a while, there was a yearning, a desire that sought to be addressed. Something was calling out to her, and she realised what she wanted when she was expecting her first child.
She wanted to go back to her first love, Psychology, which is what she did. She got back to studying, became a mind coach and has been practising since then. She is an Olympic mind coach and has coached several well-known Olympians, including Abhinav Bindra and RonjanSodhi.
She coached them while they were trying to win laurels for the country and helped them deal with life once the moment of glory was over.
She feels the afterlife of such a person is more challenging than the one before. That is because they have to struggle to live up to the image they have built and don the mantle of a role model and inspiration, which can be quite a challenge. They need a lot of help in that phase of their life, and Radhika is there for them.
She is incredibly proud of her work and how that has become her life’s purpose. She feels this is her contribution to her country and enables her to inspire her daughters. She feels blessed to be able to do this. She believes that, as humans, we are given many choices to use our time, energy and intellect in a certain way. And she has done that to the best of her ability. And in the future, she hopes to synergise her mental coaching and movie-making strengths.
Challenges and Roadblocks
According to Radhika, while we all face challenges and roadblocks, how we deal with them makes all the difference.
She believes that in life, what you focus on expands. We all love to dwell on specific information, ideas and perspectives. And when we do that, we become them. They become a part of our persona and our value system. So therefore, she feels that if we had never deviated from the matriarchal way of living or not found ourselves feeling inadequate or lacking in power, we would have raised children who would not have considered women inferior. But that didn’t happen.
However, just because we live in a world where women don’t get their due, we cannot stop being who we are or looking at the bright side of things. She feels that to survive in such a world, we have to look at the positive side and see what we are getting out of the challenges or adjustments we must make and find our happiness.
Looking back on her life, she admits that moving from Mumbai to Delhi, she had to make a lot of changes in her personal and professional life, but she chose to focus on what she got out of her new life rather than lament about what she had lost. She feels that her new life gave her happiness in the form of her husband and two girls, making all that she had lost insignificant. She believes one must focus on the bigger picture rather than worry about minor details.
She also believes our challenges make us resilient and better equipped to handle life. Therefore one must focus on the positive; otherwise, one will be faced with the pain of inadequacy.
She feels one doesn’t have to pick a fight when faced with a challenge. Instead, we must let our work speak for us.
The Balancing Act
Like every woman, Radhika also wears multiple hats and has found her way around balancing different aspects of their life. She believes in making a list of things to do the night before, which among other things, has to include time for reading, exercising and time to reflect.
Until her daughters were young, they took precedence over every other activity, and everything was done keeping their schedule in mind. Now that they have flown the nest, she has a more flexible schedule.
In addition to everything else, she is also particular about making time for her home and entertaining. She goes about everything in a disciplined manner and feels women are blessed to be able to multitask.
Radhika has an interesting perspective on finding a balance in life. She feels no algorithm can teach you how to cope with a change or different situations. Every day she has to face challenges in the form of people and their issues, but they all come with their learnings. So she has found a formula to cope with the changes by anchoring the knowledge from each situation, assimilating it all and then moving to the next point. Learning from every situation should be a priority for each of us, and that is what we should focus on while switching from one role to another.
Achievements and Accomplishments
Radhika feels that she has made a success of her life by the way she has chosen to lead it. The fact that she can help and put others’ needs in front of her own gives her a sense of pride. She has been quite the innovator and a front-runner in different fields, which includes television and mental coaching of Olympians. She has also authored books and raised two beautiful girls.
And according to her, her most significant success is that every day when she wakes up, she wants to take on the day, help people, and be happy. She looks forward to her work and the numerous ways it benefits others.
The Highs and Lows of Life
Radhika follows a simple philosophy to handle the ups and downs of life. She believes in always being true to herself and not changing who she is. She thinks that if she were to be influenced to become someone else, she wouldn’t be true to herself anymore and wouldn’t be inspiring. She strives to be the same person, whether alone or with others.
She does not let the highs and lows unsettle her. She has learnt to respond to situations and not react, which gives her time and ability to process the situations. So when she is down and out, she takes time to understand the reason behind her feelings before responding. She feels one needs a lot of patience to deal with the lows, but there is no choice. And when you can respond to challenges in a mindful way, you can move on to the next day in a calm and collected manner.
According to Radhika, the highs and lows cannot be allowed to get to you, and at all times, one has to have a balance in life.
She quotes Rumi to get her point across-
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to an animal, I died as an animal, and I was human,
Why should I fear?”
Ten Years from Now
Being in the space that she is in, which is of helping people, ten years from now, Radhika hopes to be able to influence more people to fall in love with themselves. She also hopes to have more spiritual epiphanies and come into more wisdom to help others.
She hopes to travel to different places and meet people from whom she can learn more.
Learnings of Life
Radhika has several learnings that she shared with us.
According to her, the most significant learning for her is that, as humans, we must embrace what we have with grace.
She feels we keep judging ourselves for not being good or motivated enough. We keep finding places, times and situations to blame ourselves for what we don’t know. There is never a feeling of being satiated or complete, and there is always something more that we want.
That she feels is not a good space to be in.
We cannot also judge every action, every step that we take. We must learn to appreciate life’s simple joys, like taking a breath, sharing things, and having conversations with our loved ones.
She believes that we must walk the purpose of our life and pay attention to the other verticles as well as they are equally important. We must also learn to switch from one to the other.
Also, it is crucial to have compassion for ourselves and others. We must be able to feel life as it goes along and feel for people who go through a lot day in and day out. We cannot detach ourselves from others because, eventually, we are one. We are one thread of consciousness.
Moreover, she feels it is okay to experience all kinds of emotions, both good and bad. Life is not always a bed of roses. Negative emotions are a part of our lives, and we must acknowledge and express them. We cannot keep them bottled up inside us.
World and Successful Women
Radhika believes that though the world appreciates a lot of women for their accomplishments, contribution and wisdom, many are ignored, belittled or even criticised. And that’s because of the way we have been conditioned, which is to look down upon women.
While this needs to change for sure, Radhika believes women can’t wait for this change to happen. They cannot wait for the whole world to accept and acknowledge their achievements. They need to bring a change in themselves.
They must, to begin with, not depend on anyone, especially for their financial needs, because that brings them down. They should be able to take care of their needs and, in that way, improve their self-worth and give them freedom in their choices and decisions.
Women cannot wait for everything to be perfect because it will never be that way. We must learn to live in an imperfect world and do our best.
Quoting Abhinav Bindra, she says, “Perfection is an untamed beast”. Chasing it is going to bring more unhappiness.
Apart from that, women must express themselves and communicate their needs and desires because nobody will know what they want until they voice it.
Women must also appreciate themselves for what they do and remember that they bring the gentleness of spirit, which makes the world a better place.
Radhika changed the course of her life to do something close to her heart: mind coaching. Many people spend their early years working in fields that align with their financial needs. These needs are essential for survival, so we prioritise taking care of them.
But as life progresses and we become comfortable financially, our attention gets drawn to what we inherently love. That career /vocation pulls us towards it, and we start paying attention to it. Leading life ignoring that passion no longer seems right or enough.
According to Radhika, it is a positive sign that people are becoming aware of their calling and working towards following their hearts. She feels life is a journey we can make beautiful by doing things we love. Therefore we all need to go out there, get what we want, and make our lives happy and fulfilled.
Advice For the Young
Radhika has a general piece of advice for young boys and girls. She feels they must all believe they are a gift to this planet and, therefore, must add value. She thinks they must do what feels right every day and add to their kitty of tools and skills. That will not only help the planet but will help them too. She feels they must find their happiness and improve their self-worth.
She believes they must believe in themselves and not be affected by what others say. She feels people put others down because they want to look good. It is never about other people; it is always about them. While it is vital not to get affected by criticism, it is equally important not to get swayed by pretentious appreciation. She feels it is essential to keep doing what you are doing and take it to such heights that people are forced to notice and appreciate you.
For girls, she has a few extra bits of advice. She feels girls must be able to take care of their needs. They must equip themselves to do that. Also, they must learn to be bold and communicative. They should never bottle up their emotions because that can have catastrophic consequences. It is essential to express and not bother about how it looks, but of course, the expression has to be within the realms of dignity and decency.
Can a Woman Have It All?
Radhika truly believes that a woman can have it all. She feels that as we go from day to day, a woman’s point of observation is much larger, much more magnified than that of a man. And that is because men are not innately intuitive or communicative. Women are naturally more emotional and nurturing, so they are present and sensitive to what unfolds.
Men may be responsible for many things and take on the role of a protector, but it is difficult for them to pick up the essence of things.
Coming from a space where they were doubted, women are now coming into their own and proving they can have everything they want.
However, women must prioritise physical and emotional self-care as they face many challenges.