Motherhood has helped me in a big way: Tanuja Sodhi
Tanuja Sodhi, an entrepreneur, life and health coach and author gives a lot of credit to motherhood that has made her what is she today and has taught her imperative management lessons as well.
Anushruti Singh May 8, 2022
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Tanuja Sodhi has just come back from a trek when she joins me on the call that we had scheduled earlier. I could not help noticing that even after just getting done with a long and tiring trek, she sounds quite refreshed and cheerful. “I am so excited this year, a lot of things are happening, and lots has been planned,” she tells us.
Wearing many hats, 52 years old Sodhi has a long list of achievements under her belt. She is an ex-naval officer from the first 1992 batch of lady officers. Today, she is an entrepreneur, a holistic health and life coach, a consultant at Qween, a platform for women, a blogger, a motivational speaker, and an author.
On this Mother’s Day while talking to SME Futures, she mentions that being a mother has taught her some vital management lessons. She also tells us that her son has played a pivotal role in her transformational and entrepreneurial journey. “It is my son that has been my major inspiration in life. So, whatever I’m doing now, he has a big part to play in it. Recently I have launched a book, ‘Unfetter’, where I have written about it as well,” she adds.
Tell us about your work and your entrepreneurial journey. What inspired you to start it?
I’m presently working as a health and a life coach, and I have my own website called tanujasodhi.com. Basically, my work is that I coach people in their life domains, such as nutrition, fitness, spirituality, sleep, the deciphering of their purpose in life, even stress management, and optimising their relationships, etc. I show people how to balance all these critical areas of their life in a very holistic way.
Before becoming a health and a life coach, I was in the navy. I am from the first batch of women officers, where I worked in the logistics branch. After that I dabbled with a few things. But my entrepreneurial journey began with fitness.
I became a Reebok certified fitness coach after I finished my short service commission tenure. After a while, I realised the need to add nutrition to my work portfolio. As I believe that a healthy and clean diet is imperative to good health. Later, over the last few years, I have added overall mental, physical and emotional health coaching to my services as well.
To simply put, to lead a holistic and healthy lifestyle everything should be in the right mix—be it health, relationships, career, spirituality or social life.
And therefore, I have enhanced my professional qualifications in the last few years. I’ve got some international certifications to become a holistic life coach. And it is all a product of the multiple domains that I had mentioned earlier.
To tell you the truth, I myself have been through many imbalances in my life, which have inspired me to embark on my journey of transformation, via gaining knowledge of transformative tools. And then I realised that many people like me are dealing with major imbalances in their lives, especially women. And this inspired me to share the knowledge that I have acquired, to help them. I started coaching people to motivate them, which gave them a lot of confidence. Because it’s been my journey. So, it inspires them as well.
So, if I were to ask you about which part of your job might surprise people the most, what would it be?
I would say that it’s my coaching approach.
You must have heard a phrase, one size fits all. But my basic principle is the opposite—one size does not fit all. I apply a very individualised approach as a health and a life coach.
Things like diet and fitness are not the same for everyone. I believe that every bio individual is unique and have their own unique problems. Where every aspect, be it their genetics to their daily lifestyle plays a role in their life. So, when somebody approaches me, I look at them afresh.
For example, I am an endurance runner and that works well for me to stay fit. But I cannot recommend that to someone else, as it might not be a solution for them. So, with my one-of-a-kind approach, I talk to them and understand their lives and their needs and recommend what’s best for them. I take into consideration things like their health status, gender, diet, etc. Along with individual coaching, I also provide group coaching, which generates really interesting results.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
Yes, if I had known I would have gone digital earlier. See, till now every business operation was done manually. In fact, when I started out, I had no clue about how to digitise my business. I was doing everything manually.
For instance, I used to give handwritten files, recommendations, plans etc. It was very time consuming also. And I could take on very few clients at a time.
But with the assistance of a digital platform like GoDaddy, I have achieved a much wider and global reach. They helped me set up my digital presence, my website, and my personal blog. And I have been experiencing good growth. Had I had it at that time, I would have gone online straight away. And I would have gained a bigger and more global audience much earlier. It would have enabled me to help a lot more people that way.
Can you talk about the challenges that you have experienced.
I will talk about the current post pandemic scenario.
During this period, many of the businesses have gone completely online. This has actually affected me in a way. Earlier I use to meet people personally, one on one, which was important in this field. Because these personal meetings bring a sense of trust and surety in my clients.
When they meet me, they get to know me as a coach, they interact personally, which gives them a lot of assurance, and they know that they are in safe hands.
Of course, with digital platforms and my social media things have become easier. And now I conduct meetings online. But still, there is nothing more therapeutic than face-to-face interactions, as they want you to hold a safe space for them to share their troubles in. I think that is the only thing that has changed in the post pandemic scenario for me, But I’m sure it’s all coming back again. I’m very hopeful about that.
How has being a mother taught you to run this business?
So, motherhood has helped me in a big way.
Especially in mastering time management. To begin with, when I started as an entrepreneur, along with doing my work, I wanted to be a good mother, which was my priority. So, I had to prioritise what’s most important to me, in my personal as well as professional lives.
The next thing that it has taught me is to empathise and relate with the problems of other people. Then it has also taught me to juggle many things at the same time and to prioritise my tasks. Like if I have ten things on my plate, I will focus on the three important things that are important for my goal rather than on all ten of them. So that’s how motherhood has helped me to prune my work and weed out what is not my priority.
So, what are the projects that you are working on and what’s the plan for 2022?
I am very excited this year! Because there’s a lot happening, and a lot has been planned.
First of all, my third book ‘Unfetter-Heal your mind, body and spirit’ has been released today (6th May) officially on Amazon. Which is the embodiment of whatever I believe in, my experiences and my holistic approach to living life. My roadmap ahead is to promote this book and enable every woman to read it.
Also, I am working on launching an online course. It’s going to be a group coaching, which will be a combination of strategic exercises that I have designed for my coaching modules. This will integrate a series of videos and will be augmented with live question and answer sessions. It will help people to understand what they’re best suited for and empower them to find meaning in their lives.
Initially, I planned to launch this course in February or March this year, but because of the book launch, it has got shifted a bit. And I am still working on the modules. I’m very hopeful that I would be able to launch this course by August or September.
Besides this, I’m looking at a lot of speaking assignments in various communities like schools, universities and corporates, through which I can spread the message of health, wellbeing and happiness.
What will your message to other budding women entrepreneurs be?
I would suggest that before launching a business, it’s important to know the purpose of your life, what you mean to do and be clear about your goals. And when these things resonate with your heart and soul, I am sure that you will put your 100 per cent in it. And you will really thrive in that business. Don’t force yourself into doing something just because others suggested that you do it.
Secondly, be focused and weed out the things that are not important and prioritise your days and your tasks. Maintaining a calendar or scheduling things and making time blocks will help you out. This will also help you to achieve a better work life balance.