An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Always be curious and extremely eager in asking numerous questions about topics that pick your brain as this will foster new possibilities. Be creative in welcoming concepts as you explore your personality and introspect your thoughts and feelings. Delve deeper by researching various topics, people, and events that intrigue you and strive to leverage your wisdom by learning something new every day. Speculate through self-awareness what/who inspires you, what your ideal life looks like 10 years from now, what piques your interest, what life means to you, etc.

As a part of my series about “Grit: The Most Overlooked Ingredient of Success” I had the pleasure of interviewing Veena Ramaswamy.

Veena is a Success & Mindset Coach and is the founder of Beyoutifully Empower, her coaching business where aims to inspire women to become the best possible version of themselves through personal and professional development. She’s passionate about data science and digital marketing and worked as a senior data analyst at a multinational company. Aside from work, she’s been focusing on leadership development and her mission is to pave the right path for the next generation of girls to break the glass ceiling and to create change in tech sector.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path

I’ve always been a very goal-oriented and ambitious woman ever since I was young. I’m an avid learner and always had the insatiable curiosity to unravel the many things that life has to offer. However, I always experienced self-doubt and imposter syndrome in various aspects of my life. I would always work so hard to realize that my effort never paid off no matter what I did which really reduced my confidence and self-esteem. I was also living a dual identity where it was an ongoing battle — being confined to Western norms, while simultaneously adopting ethnic traditions. I struggled to live up to the crazy expectations of being “Americanized” and to conform to societal standards of the ideal strong Desi woman. Amid all of this, I was constantly looked down upon for not being up to par with the competition. I was raised in an environment that embraced gender stereotypes and was taught that women should be submissive and gentle. Because of this, I always hesitated to voice my opinions and people would underestimate my potential. I realized that I was hiding parts of who I really was and started to self-reflect on what my true purpose was which led me to start my self-discovery journey.

I didn’t want everyone’s judgments and criticisms to get in the way of my dreams. I realized that I’m not going to settle for mediocrity and I have an abundance of potential, which will help me achieve greatness someday. I always had a can-do attitude and my motto was “I can. I will. I did.” I acknowledged my unique superpowers to secretly stunt on everyone who doubted me. As I was raging with fire inside of me to manifest my dreams, my motivation soared immensely. I was on a mission to slay those goals and become the woman I was destined to be. I found my true calling and I dedicated 6 years of hardcore focus and alignment to reflect on my purpose and aspirations in life. The self-discovery journey fueled my desire for personal growth, which allowed me to upgrade every part of my life. Despite several years of setbacks, I was determined to rise! I wanted to be more than just a pretty face. I wanted to show that ladies are capable of everything and I became a strong advocate of women empowerment. My mission in life is to first become the best version of myself and empower/inspire others to reach their full potential. I want to use my superpowers of determination, perseverance, and optimism to instill confidence and inspire women all over the world that they are beautiful they way they are and are capable of great things in life. My desire is to become a trailblazer for the next generation of girls.

Can you share your story about “Grit and Success”? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

As I was trying to raise my A-game in every aspect of my life: career, personal, relationships, financial, etc., I did face a lot of setbacks along the way and I kept coming back to imposter syndrome that was hindering me from achieving success. My career was full of ups and downs as I went through 3 career transitions. As I was fully focused on myself and my journey, my friendships started to fade and I was often misunderstood because I wasn’t following societal norms and I was a woman who would always challenge the status quo. I knew that I had to boost my confidence and self-esteem and started focusing a lot on self-love and self-care. I had to really come out of my comfort zone in a lot ways which was challenging but was able to accomplish several things due to my can-do attitude and optimistic approach to life. This was a very long journey that required sheer dedication, patience, and perseverance but it was all worth it as I had my breakthrough and things were falling into place.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

My undeniable faith in God really kept me going even if things were so hard and I was able to overcome any obstacles I faced along this journey till now. When things were going downhill, I felt like giving up. But the one thing that kept me going is God. I would always choose the wrong choices but over time, HE would always redirect me in the right direction. I would always pray to just give me courage and physical & mental strength and it worked wonders every time. HE provided me with the positive energy to endure my struggles and always helped me in the most unexpected ways. HE also opened doors and new opportunities started to line up when I least expected it. Also, the love and support from my family and friends gave me the drive and motivation to keep pursuing my dreams during the hardships. I would also get so much inspiration from influencers and motivational speakers such as Joel Osteen, Jay Shetty, Kobe Bryant, etc. by listening to their powerful stories and how they reached success.

So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?

Even though it took 7–8 years, I never gave up due to my mental strength, grit, and resilience. I experienced a tremendous transformation as I was nearing my breakthrough. I became more aware of myself and knew what I wanted in my life. It completely changed my life as it opened up endless opportunities and invited good fortunes. I follow this principle throughout my life and the quote “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself”. I’m an avid learner and a creative thinker and I’m always on the run to get out of my comfort zone and learn new things in life as much as I can. I always stayed true to myself and my beliefs and I’m glad that I evolved into a better woman all around. Over the years, I portrayed my skills and knowledge out there, and as a result, received recognition from several companies and platforms. I became successful in accomplishing my professional and personal goals. I’m honored to say that I’m now an award-winning tech leader, published poet, writer, and now an author, award-winning blogger and photographer, keynote speaker, content creator, life and career coach, and much more! I got the opportunity to be featured and interviewed for several magazines such as Thrive Global and award-winning podcasts. I also got accepted into the invite-only private group of the ForbesWomen Forum and am truly humbled to connect with the most influential female leaders, innovators, and trailblazers globally! I was also honored to connect with celebrities and motivational speakers who have been a true inspiration!

The quest for self-discovery and acceptance taught me how to love myself and appreciate my self-worth. It was a self-taught journey in which I figured everything out on my own. I didn’t have a mentor to guide me through each phase of the growth process. I gained an abundance of wisdom from the challenges I faced, which sparked curiosity to understand the true meaning of life. It required sheer dedication, competence, grit, and resilience, but it was worth it because my hard work paid off. By cultivating self-love, I also became proud of my upbringing as I embraced a culture that embodied an amalgamation of Desi traditions and Western modern perspectives. It shaped me into a driven, passionate, and dynamic woman. I’m grateful to become a woman who is assertive yet compassionate, strong yet vulnerable, and unapologetically ambitious.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)

1. Growth Mindset

Gradually alter your thoughts and adopt the growth mindset rather than a fixed mentality. Broaden your intellect in areas that stimulate your mind and contribute to your personal growth. Acknowledge your competence and versatility and strive to build resilience as you work towards achieving your aspirations. There are bound to be failures but motivate yourself to bounce back despite any setbacks you encounter. It’s better to exert effort, fail, and get back up than to never try at all. You can achieve anything that you put your mind to with hard work, persistence, and the right outlook!

I always use an optimistic approach to life and believe that you can learn and grow from any experiences that you faced in life. I committed to self-improvement for 6 years by daily learning new things and gaining knowledge. I put myself out there because I realized that growth and change happens outside of your comfort zone. I dedicated so much time and effort in developing skills and talents in every facet including career, mental, physical health, financial, and spiritual. I analyzed my mistakes and learned from them over time, as lessons are stepping stones to success. I was open-minded, expanded my knowledge as much as possible, and transformed any challenges into opportunities. I always had the mindset that setbacks are just lessons to make me stronger and rejection is redirection to something better that is in store for me.

2. Be hungry to succeed

Become extremely driven and hungry to succeed in every area of your life. Once you’ve understood your worth and expanded your wisdom, take advantage of your abilities and potential to turn your whole life around. Take control of your destiny by creating a life that you love and have always wanted. Have a burning desire to attract what you deserve and recreate the life that you’ve envisioned. I always woke up every morning and worked on activities that brought me excitement and exuberance. I was passionate about data science as well as giving back to the community by volunteering at non-profits. I was passionate about women leadership to show that women are capable even in tech which is a male-dominated industry. I wanted to trailblazer a path and represent the South Asian community by being successful in tech, arts, and in business. I wanted these things so badly and was determined to rise that no one could stop me from manifesting my dreams. I made it happen no matter what obstacles came my way and gained recognition for it.

Went through 3 career transitions from pre-med to economics to IT / had a very rough career path for 10 years -> Masters in IT at a reputable school, became an award-winning tech leader at a Silicon Valley startup, featured in several tech magazines

Was nervous and afraid of public speaking -> went out of my comfort zone and spoke about leadership at the General Assembly, keynote speaker for the largest global tech conference, and did a podcast episode

Didn’t know much about networking and had low confidence — Part of 7+ networking groups and made 100+ connections within 6 months, networked with top industry experts and senior executives from companies like Google, Microsoft, etc., gotten high praise from all of them

I was writing poems and essays in school -> Published my poems and articles in several platforms, won an award for my blog and gained 2.7K followers, became content creator, and now a published author

I used to take photographs for fun and as a hobby -> I won Top 10% Popular Photographer on a photography platform in 2016, 17, and 18 among millions of professional photographers

I was drawing sketches for fun -> Became a henna artist and got my artwork featured on social media and websites; opened by own Etsy shop

Once I had the determination, hunger, and grit to succeed, I became unstoppable and I turned my dreams into reality!

3. Live your life with purpose

Take the time to self-reflect on what your true purpose in life is. Ask yourself how you define success and how does that align with your core values. What is something that you want to be remembered for? Find something that your passionate about and something that makes you happy and fulfilled in life. Success can be interpreted in different ways but I would like you to wear your rose-tinted glasses and contemplate what it means to YOU. During my journey, I realized that success for me was when I woke up every day feeling content and fulfilled, and I was living a life with purpose and meaning. My mission or ulterior goal in life is to add value to people’s lives, lead by example, and inspire people through my work. I felt a ping of joy knowing that I made a positive impact in the world, shared valuable advice for people to be inspired by, and empowered people to dream big. My desire is for people to love and respect me for the person I am and the difference I made in people’s lives and not for the titles or wealth I received. Strive to make a positive impact as you work towards discovering your purpose and taking the steps to transform your dreams into reality. You know when you’re on the right path to greatness when you’re constantly learning, growing, and evolving.

4. Resilience is key

Sometimes, you are tested to see whether you will survive your times of downfalls. Those tests are for you to realize that no matter what obstacles come your way, you should be strong enough to face those challenges and achieve anything that you put your mind to. Sometimes, you would experience bouts of emotional anguish, pondering about whether you could handle this much despair. You should never give up despite any battles that you encounter because failures make you learn from your mistakes. It helps you rebuild yourself after recovering from emotional pain and setbacks to get back on your feet. Resilience is so powerful that it can immensely improve strength, competence, persistence, and focus. I was always under severe testing period and was filled with distress but I knew that they were just lessons to make me stronger and that good things were coming. I was really knocked down but I rebuilt myself during my personal growth journey and came back with a bang!

5. Embrace Curiosity

Curiosity is a driving force to achieving success as it allows you to develop alignment and growth, invites positive transformations, enhances intellectual knowledge, and helps you maintain a competitive edge over others.

Always be curious and extremely eager in asking numerous questions about topics that pick your brain as this will foster new possibilities. Be creative in welcoming concepts as you explore your personality and introspect your thoughts and feelings. Delve deeper by researching various topics, people, and events that intrigue you and strive to leverage your wisdom by learning something new every day. Speculate through self-awareness what/who inspires you, what your ideal life looks like 10 years from now, what piques your interest, what life means to you, etc.

I had an intellectual curiosity in attaining knowledge in concepts that I wasn’t comfortable with. I would be determined to search for answers to all of my questions and would keep digging in if I couldn’t find what I wanted. I took over 15 advanced courses in various subjects and aced all of them with a certificate of distinction. I signed up for every tech conference and webinar that I could find and gained insight from industry leaders and influencers. I attained so much knowledge in such a short period which allowed me to sort out the pros and cons of each topic while taking into consideration other factors such as employment, job prospects, future success, salary. etc. Due to my sheer conscientiousness, I could achieve a few of my career goals and pursue something that made me truly happy.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?

I’m grateful for my parents who have been truly supportive of my dreams! I wouldn’t have come this far and become the person I am today without them. I’m extremely thankful for them for teaching me how to navigate through hardships and giving me everything I needed to live a happy and healthy life. They’ve tolerated and helped me during my downfalls, yet they also cheered me up during my moments of victory. They have also showered me with immeasurable amounts of love, support, and affection. Words cannot express how much my parents mean to me and how grateful I am to be their daughter.

I’m also grateful to have an amazing support system of inspiring and strong women at WomenTech Network and want to thank Anna Radulovski for always believing in me. She has helped me expand my network, portray my leadership skills and my passion for women empowerment. I made several friends at WTN and are such amazing souls who have always cheered me on and supported me in every endeavor. They are family to me and I couldn’t have become a tech leader without them and gotten this much recognition. I’m also thankful for all the friends I’ve made via networking and the mentors that have guided me to the right path to career success.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I will be publishing my debut book called Beyoutifully Empower in July 2021 where I shared my own self-discovery journey and success story on how I reached my full potential. My dream is to encourage women and men to love themselves, help them to explore their individuality, and inspire and empower them to become the best version of themselves. I always loved helping people since childhood and genuinely would like to motivate people to live their best life and to become successful! Hence, the title Beyoutifully Empower. As I use writing to express my thoughts, I crafted my message and tips into a book that people can be inspired by. I’ve talked about my own self-care, self-love, and self-improvement tips for people to follow for taking their life to the next level.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! Aside from career, I’m a go-getter and just launched my side hustle/business — Founder of Beyoutifully Empower. I’m always striving to better myself each day and I focus a lot on self-improvement and using the growth mindset to live a purposeful life. My goal is to empower women to do the same through life coaching and guide them on how to overcome imposter syndrome, leverage confidence, and unlock their full potential. I love to see people grow and succeed. Services coming up:

-Life Coaching (Success and Mindset)

-Career Coaching (Career growth development)

-Leadership Development

-Mentorship Program

-Workshops in different categories such as tech, arts, business, graphic design, etc.

What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Strive to keep learning something new every day. Acknowledge your competence and versatility and build resilience as you work towards achieving your business aspirations. Assess what your core strengths are and take the time to develop several entrepreneurial skills to become successful. Try to let go of the fear and embrace the unknown as this will foster innovation.

I would also recommend that founders portray leadership skills and empower/encourage your employees to share their story and voice their opinions. Let their voice be heard and employees should add value by contributing their stories, insights, and experiences to help empower others who would like to make a difference. They should showcase their talents and knowledge by putting yourself themselves there and it’s important to give them reassurance if they need help with anything so that they can reach their full potential. Motivate them to stand out from the others because they all have worked really hard and they deserve to have their efforts be recognized and rewarded!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I mentioned a little about this in my project but I would like to inspire a personal development movement where all ambitious go-getters can all work together and help the next generation girls/boys turn their dreams into reality. I would like to give them the resources via workshops and webinars as well as emotional support that they don’t have to get their dreams accomplished as much as possible. I would like to start a huge community where these kids can feel extremely safe to be themselves and voice their story and make them into the next leaders and trailblazers. I would like to see a domino effect where each person inspires and motivates each other and many more kids become role models. I want to see a tremendous change and impact in this world where there are many more dreamers, doers, go-getters, and visionaries!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Ever since childhood, I always lived by this quote by Norman Vincent Peale — “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars”. This is relevant to my life because this quote always motivated me as a go-getter to always challenge myself. I let go of the fear & always dreamed and aimed big. I chased after my dreams and turned them into reality. Sometimes I would miss my goals and be in the stars but I would never give up, used failures as opportunities to grow, still kept going after it, and was able to reach that big dream of mine!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

My IG personal account is @veena4ever19

My IG business account is @beyoutifullyempower

Feel free to also follow me on LinkedIn:

Would love to connect!

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Veena Ramaswamy of Beyoutifully Empower: Five Ways To Develop More ‘Grit’ was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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