Racism is real, and it seems as though now more than ever before it’s being called out in the public sphere. Just recently, a racist incident at Starbucks—in which two Black men were arrested for not ordering anything, aka for “waiting while Black”—received significant news coverage…
Growing up, I loved public speaking, and I even won a couple of speaking competitions. But if you’d told me then that one day I’d be a professional speaker, I would have said, “That’s crazy talk!” Here we are now, decades later, and I’m blessed to speak on leadership, inclusion, authenticity, and empowerment for a living.
Lately, I’ve noticed that two points come up repeatedly when it comes to living well: the importance of finding meaning in our lives, and the importance of developing social relationships. Not surprisingly, they’re connected for many of us.
Being authentic feels amazing. It’s a liberating, freeing, and empowering way to live. But if you want to uncover your authentic self to live better, it can feel like a daunting, monumental task. “Who am I?” is a question that artists, philosophers, scientists, spiritualists, and other seekers have been pondering for millennia, and answering it is a life-long process—but it doesn’t have to be so daunting.
I feel very blessed that, as a public speaker, I’m invited to speak all over the world. In a busy month, I will find myself boarding as many as four flights in a week. Mostly these are short-haul journeys to the U.S., but I also make several long-haul international flights every year to places like the Caribbean, Asia, and Europe for work and fun. It’s incredibly fulfilling and exhilarating to share my message of empowerment and inclusion with audiences on stages across the world—but I’d be the first to tell you that there are parts of travelling that can be difficult, tedious, and even unhealthy when it becomes your lifestyle.
So many people dream of starting their own venture—whether it’s a full-fledged business or a side hustle. Being an entrepreneur has undeniable appeal for several reasons: you have the freedom to set your own schedule, to work with whomever you choose, to pursue something you are truly passionate about, and to create a lifestyle that allows you to be your true, authentic self more often. It’s no wonder so many people want to do it.
I expect a lot out of my body. I travel frequently for work and for fun, I have a rigorous work schedule with long hours, I churn out work at a high volume, and I’m constantly on the go running my business. I need my “machine” to be in its best shape to function at such a high level, and I want to be able to do so for as long as possible.
I've learned that mindfulness isn't all or nothing. It's available to each and every one of us, and there are many different ways that we can access its benefits from wherever we happen to be.
When I boarded the plane to take my yoga teacher training in India nine years ago, I was pressing pause on a life that had stopped feeling right to me. I’d been working in my fancy corporate job on Bay Street (Canada’s Wall Street) for nearly a decade. I had social status. I was earning a really good living. Essentially, I was living the business-world dream. To outsiders, I looked incredibly put together—almost perfect. On (corporate) paper, my life was perfect.
When we live by our values, they are the compasses that guide everything we do. They ground our decision-making and root our actions in a purpose greater than ourselves. In short, they give our lives both direction and meaning—which is why having a very clear understanding of what your values are is so vitally important.
About Ritu Bhasin
Ritu Bhasin didn’t always feel empowered to be an unapologetic, fiercely authentic leader. While she was highly successful and living the “corporate dream” in her early career, Ritu had a startling realization: the person she was in her day-to-day life bore little resemblance to her true self. Because of her experiences with racism and bullying, she found herself minimizing racial, religious, gender, and class-based aspects of her identity to “fit in” among circles where she felt she didn’t belong. And in doing this, she was profoundly unhappy.
After much soul-searching, Ritu decided to transform her life. She completed her MBA, left her corporate job, launched her own business, became a mindfulness practitioner and teacher, and dedicated her life to helping others become more empowered and inclusive. Most importantly, she committed to living as authentically as possible in all that she did going forward.