Life is full of challenges. Today I am speaking with author and business woman Monica Duggal that is changing the lives of people with her company Whole Health Plan. Read on as she talks about what it means to be a woman in business and how to become the best version of yourself.
Hello Monica, thank you for speaking with me. Let’s start with your company’s Whole Health Plan. What inspired you to start the company?
My husband and I started the company as a way to help others improve their lives by not only working on one part of their lives but having a more balanced lifestyle where they could get rid of things that were not that important to them, and focusing on what truly matters to them. In this way, they can free up much-needed time and get rid of extra stressors in their lives that do not add value to them at the end of the day.
What do you believe most people struggle with personally and professionally?
I think most people struggle with the stories we carry around in our minds and we are not aware of. It is when we think in a certain way, and then we feel in a contrary way. As you can see, this would cause a struggle for any individual as it confuses us. Most of this comes from the stories playing in our minds that we may not be fully aware of. Some people call these struggles in our personal and professional lives blind spots. It is tricky to get to the bottom of these, as you can see from the name blind spots. Still, suppose we can be aware of these and take the proper care in dealing with them. In that case, we can eliminate them from our lives for once and for all, which would inevitably allow us relief from these types of personal and professional challenges.
They say you have to fail to succeed. Do you believe that?
I especially like this question, David, as I am in the middle of dealing with this right now. You will probably think this aligns with my messaging from creating the lifestyle you want in the Whole Health Plan, and this comes down to a growth mindset. If we think of learning every day of our lives, then we can think of failing as something you do when you are learning.
Therefore, if we have a perfectionist mindset, then we can look at learning as a failure, and maybe we will not try new things that may help us reach our goals.
Then we have to go into our lives and decide what success means. I can’t talk for anyone else, and I think that success can mean different things to different people, however, if we can take that time to think about what success means to us, then we can reach it. Then failure does not exist because failure is merely part of the process of getting to where you want to go.
Let’s take, for example, when we learned to walk, we fell down, got back up, tried to walk again, and fell down again.
Now, was this failure for us as children learning to walk the same then when we are adults, however, if we fail today, for example as when we were children learning how to walk, no one told us oh, you failed, so stop trying to learn how to walk. No, this was not the case then, we stumbled, we fell, and we hit our head maybe once or twice, but we did not think about it as a failure, heck we did not think about it we just kept on trying to walk. We simply got up and tried and tried again, and we walked now. Therefore, is there a learning curve when you are trying to reach goals, yes, is it a failure before success, sure if this is what you want to call it, or is it simply part of the process of learning something new, part of the process of reaching your goals. This is something for each person to decide, however, if you want some goal and you are willing to get there and obviously make some mistakes or ‘fail’ in order to learn and grow, then it is the individual’s call on how important it is to them.
Tell me about your book, The Power of Breath.
My book, “The Power of Breath, The Gift of Self Actualization Through Meditation,” I think is a very important piece of work. Yes, I wrote it, and I am not trying to sound like I have all the answers in the world, but what I think is extremely important about my book is the POWER OF BREATH.
I used the power of breath, breathing exercises, and breathwork to help me deal with debilitating migraine headaches when I was in college. I literally would lose my eyesight for about five minutes; then, I would see lots of black spots, followed by an intense pain in my head. The pain was so bad I had to go into a dark room so my head would stop hurting. As you can imagine, I was in college, so I had to do lots of work, so the migraine headaches were extremely bad for my success in college.
Some people call my book a memoir, as I have a lot of personal stories, and the range in my book goes from meditation to self-belief and turning into yourself to help you find what is important and valuable to you. Through breathing, we can allow ourselves to take much-needed breaks from a very busy world and lifestyle.
I enjoyed writing the book, and I hope that people can see how breathing, even for five minutes a day, can start to change their lives and allow them to truly touch base with what is most important to them. In this face-paced high-tech world, it is hard to find some quiet time for ourselves, and this is what the premise of the book is about, finding your way back home to what you need and value.
What is the biggest lesson you learned in your journey throughout your life?
The biggest lesson I learned in my journey throughout my life is twofold:
- Every single person in this world is doing the best they can.
- Every thought in our minds are stories, therefore, we can choose to practice thinking about what we want. These thoughts can bring us happiness and joy and can allow us to have more peace and presence in our life.
What do you fear?
Wow, David, another great question. Well, I think what I fear most is not growing and not understanding others better, as I feel this helps me understand myself and my life better.
I feel it is important to allow life to unfold as it should. I am a recovering perfectionist and a recovering control freak. I grew up as the youngest in a large family, so when I grew up, control was so important to me, so much so that I would go out of my way to try to control anything and everything I could.
I believe this is what led me to have migraine headaches when I was in college because, being in such a big and competitive school, it was hard to control everything. It was hard to have things the way they were when I was not in such a competitive environment.
I was always used to being the best student with the best grades, so when this was taken away from me because now everyone who was in school with me was also used to being the best student with the best grades, I had to figure out how to let go of this crazy notion that I could control everything around me.
Now, after learning to meditate, do breathwork, and allow life to unfold as it will, I feel more present, and I have learned that I can handle whatever comes my way. I have been practicing this for over twenty-five years, and I will tell you, David, it has truly paid off. I am not saying I don’t have challenges because this would be impossible, I am merely saying that I am more flexible, more clear, and overall much more prepared to deal with life on life’s terms, and this was a game changer for me.
As a woman in business, what are some disadvantages you faced?
David, this is an excellent question. We see these days that women are becoming more clear on how they want to show up in the business world. It is still difficult for some, and for others, they have never had a disadvantage for being a woman in business; therefore, they have no disadvantages to face.
Let’s take my situation. I was raised by a strong woman business owner, who had a whole set of strong women business owner friends with very successful businesses, therefore, growing up, this is what I thought, I thought that this is what women do, they own their own businesses. It was not until I started working in corporate America that I found out there were disadvantages to being a woman.
For me, it was all fake, I did not believe women could not lead, and that women were not excellent business owners, so I did not have a problem in business or corporate America. I did not hold back from having a seat at the decision-making table, as this was simply how I was raised as a business professional with no disadvantages for being a woman.
I took my role as a businesswoman the same as a man would take his. I had no hang-ups about being a woman in business, as I was simply not raised in that environment. My story in the environment I grew up in is that women are powerful business owners.
If you could go back in time to your teenage self, what would you tell yourself?
So many great questions. What I would say to my teenage self would be the following, “You are doing great, simply relax, stay focused on your goals, you will get there, and most importantly, enjoy yourself.”
Tell me about a moment you have experienced that changed the trajectory of your life.
Wow, David, there are so many amazing experiences that have shaped my life, but one moment that I experienced that changed the trajectory of my life was when I graduated from college and got an amazing job in finance. Then, I decided I wanted to learn as much as possible about financial markets and how commerce works. I found out I loved finance and international studies.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I would love my legacy to be that I helped communities and societies learn to live and enjoy themselves while on this planet. I think we can all tend to get so overwhelmed with news and so many other factors that sometimes make us feel that we want to warm the bench of life, be bench warmers. I would love my legacy to be that I helped others learn and understand that their happiness matters, and therefore they should not hang out on the sidelines, but that they should get in the game that they choose, the game that they love and play there and have fun there.
The idea is that we can all figure out what it is we love to do, and what makes us happy, and then spend our time honoring ourselves and doing what makes our lives enjoyable.
Thank you for your time. Any words of wisdom to all the readers?
Breathe! Breath cannot be in the past or the future, it can only be in the Present, therefore, if you take five minutes to focus on your breath, it will bring you back to the present, and this is where all the Magic Happens – this is where you are truly Alive. Thank you so much, David, for allowing me to share my book, thoughts, and ideas with your readers.
Photos are courtesy of Monica Duggal