Recognized by the TIMES Group as the most influential personality in leadership speaking and coaching, Payal Nanjiani is a globally acclaimed Indian-American leadership speaker, executive coach, and author. She is the founder of Success Within Leadership, dedicated to developing transformed leaders who influence, innovate, and implement with speed and serenity in any economy.
For 21 years her Executive Coaching, Transformative Leadership Programs, and Key Notes have helped millions of professionals to recognize and overcome their leadership challenges and achieve extraordinary levels of success. She is known to get teams to achieve their leadership breakthroughs.
In 2019 she launched The Payal Nanjiani Leadership Podcast to help maximum people in the world become better leaders and overcome their leadership challenges. The podcast, which gained popularity amongst business leaders, features some of the most prominent leaders, spiritual gurus, and CEOs in the world who share their insights and experience for the global good.
A New York award-winning author, Payal’s books help you be a peak performer and reach your next level. Payal has been honored and featured extensively on America’s Fox 50 news channel, Mumbai Mirror, global magazines, and multiple worldwide media for her work in leadership.
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Table of Contents
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Payal Nanjiani: That’s an interesting question. Here’s a little bit of my backstory. It all started with a question in my mind- ‘why do we have only a few exceptional leaders in any organization?’
Look, I had a very successful start in my career in India before moving to the United States in the summer of 2000. And I remember how friends and family told me that I am stepping into a land of opportunities where people are very successful. But the reality I saw around me here was different. I observed that despite all the information and resources, most people struggled at their work. The number of successful people was few in number. And most people were stuck at the mid-level- both in the corporate and business world.
I wanted to get to the root of this gap between the few successful people and the majority struggling workforces. Later, I left the comfort of Corporate America and immersed myself in research that helped me understand the reason for this gap. It formed the springboard of Success Within Leadership, dedicated to developing transformed leaders who influence, innovate and implement with speed and serenity in any economy.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Payal Nanjiani: Yes, there were challenges. The first challenge was to get Corporate America to believe in my leadership content. It took me a good five years to get organizations to see the incredible results after their teams had attended my keynotes, high-impact leadership sessions, and workshops. Leaders also saw a change in themselves when they would sign up for a 1:1 executive coaching with me.
Another challenge I can think of which I face was to stand out in the crowd. There are so many coaches in the market out there who tell you that they are the best. And when you look closely, you see that most don’t come with any experience, they might not be certified and they aren’t really making a difference in the lives of people. So, when people would contact me for coaching, I would often sense hesitation, and in the initial years removing that hesitation was a big challenge.
The only reason I was able to sustain for those initial five years and not give up is that I knew what created the gap between the peak performers and average performers. And I had tremendous belief in my techniques and practices that can get people to be successful at their work. Secondly, I am constantly working on giving the best resources to the people through the books and leadership work I put out on Social Media.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Payal Nanjiani: Oh, plenty of worst advice. One which really I thank the Heavens above that I did not listen to is this – Stepping into the industry of leadership speaking and book wiring in a white male-dominated industry is a career suicide because women of Indian descent are not successful in this field,
And I think I did a pretty good job in reversing that and opening up this field for many more women of Indian descent.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Payal Nanjiani: For me personally, resilience is your ability to never give up and be antifragile.
In one of my leadership books, I’ve written how in a work culture that celebrates the external it’s very important for you to develop yourself internally in ways that allow you to return to happiness and success after a difficult situation or event.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Payal Nanjiani: You see, most of the leadership content out there in the world is outdated and repetitive. So basically, leaders and teams in any company are going through the same leadership training with few modifications here and there. And what follows is a very marginal change in their results. Based on what training is out there today, you see only 20% of the people successful at their job or business and are responsible for a significant part of its growth. What about the remaining 80%? They are working hard, attending lectures, upskilling and reskilling, and yet they are stuck in their career. The needle does not move significantly for them.
My company focuses on the 80 % of these people who can become super successful at their work but don’t know how to. I’ve seen how people are desperate to change their results, position, title, and income, but they aren’t able to. They ask friends and families for advice, but guess what? They don’t know it either because they would be high up on the career and income ladder if they did.
For this purpose, I founded Success Within Leadership, which is helping teams and leaders build on their inner leader competencies and become highly successful. And one of the critical things here is that whatever I teach through my High Impact Leadership Training, workshops, coaching, and books are all learned by me while coaching and associating with some of the most successful leaders in the world. It’s why I am known as a leadership guru sharing “”insider” techniques.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Payal Nanjiani: Thank you for the compliment. For one, I would say the desire and passion to help more people become successful leaders. Secondly, it was self-belief. And third my ability to be a visionary.
What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Payal Nanjiani: I speak about Leadership Branding in many organizations. And one thing I wish I knew early on in my life is that never dilute your brand. You know we humans are wired to do everything. We want to be known for many things in our life. And then your brand goes in a direction you just couldn’t follow, Just as important it is to build your brand, it’s equally important to sustain it.
How would you define “leadership”?
Payal Nanjiani: Leadership is a word that I’ve passionately woven into my life for 21 years. I have taught it and spoken about it to more than a million people globally. An the more I teach it, the more I realize that leadership is a state of being. It’s a mindset you decide to show up with daily at your work. It has nothing to do with your title or role.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Payal Nanjiani: For anyone who wants to be a successful entrepreneur, you must first be a successful leader. And leadership is an inner game. Always remember, business never slows down, it’s you as a leader who slows down from within. So work on yourself more than you can work on your business.
What’s your favorite “leadership” quote and how has it affected the way you implement your leadership style?
Payal Nanjiani: It’s a quote I’ve coined – ‘Leadership starts and ends with you.’
This quote reminds me and my clients that ownership is first on you – 100% for every failure and success. You will take yourself with you everywhere so be a leader, and think as a leader everywhere.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Payal Nanjiani for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Payal Nanjiani or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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