Venture capitalist Vani Kola of Kalaari Capital harnesses her mind to bring about balance in her work and family life.
I am an engineer by training and an accidental venture capitalist by profession. When a young person asks me about the “secret of my success”, I’m at a loss for words. Firstly, I don’t consider myself particularly successful. And secondly, success, for me, is not a destination but a journey. The most important accomplishment of my life has been my ability to embrace the setbacks that came my way, and still have the courage to take risks. It’s having no regrets, and being content in the present. I attribute this to my daily meditation practice. It has enabled me to be on a journey of self-discovery, and be purposeful in my actions. My journey as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, mother, and a daughter are facets that need to co-exist harmoniously for me to be whole.
I began the practice of ‘heartfulness meditation’ two decades ago. Back then, in 1995, I was the CEO of a startup in California. I had a young child and felt constantly torn between the demands of family and work. I didn’t like how the resulting stress manifested itself in form of lack of patience, short temper, fear of failure and guilt that I wasn’t doing enough. When I was introduced to meditation, I felt the universe gave me a solution.
As time unfolded, I grew to discover my potential, learnt to take risks and stand by my convictions. Daily meditation freed me from the fear of failure while dispassionate decision-making allowed me to exercise empathy and accept differences with respect.
In this fast-paced world, it’s important to have a healthy body and healthy mind. Also, shorter attention spans among the digital natives make a strong case for meditation.
It’s important to realise that ego is contagious, and triggers conflicts, fear makes us indecisive, while power makes us lose empathy. I’ve also discovered that if one reduces inner strife, it decreases external strife as well.
Reading people and situations, problem-solving, and effective decision-making are sought-after leadership skills. And daily mindfulness has helped me develop these key skills.
Today’s woman is expected to have it all. Yet, there are many demands on her heart, mind and time. To achieve balance, women must be rooted. And even while very hard working, we tend to be driven by guilt that we are not giving enough at home or at work.
Recently, I read ‘The Heartfulness Way’, which summarises the meditation practice I follow, but experience speaks for itself. I’d embarked on a journey of self-discovery 20 years ago, which has kept me inspired and grounded to this day.
Disclaimer: Views represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the writer and do not represent the views of Kstart or Kalaari.