If I had a magic wand, I'd make this conversation compulsary listening in every single company in the world. It's THAT good.
Mita Mallick is a LinkedIn Top Voice and a champion of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. Mita was a guest in May 2022 and since then has written a book called 'Reimagine Inclusion', and we talk about the state of DEI today. And why we need yet another brown woman talking about inclusion, and why it matters.
Listen, take notes. Mita drops a lot of gems, and there's a tonne of career and life lessons in this episode.
Follow Mita on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mita-mallick-2b165822/
Get her book Reimagine Inclusion: https://a.co/d/4VrKFeP
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Hey there! Welcome to the How I Got Hired podcast. I'm your host, Sonal former HR director and founder of Supercharge. And I've had an insane corporate career that started in India, then moved to South America, and then to Europe, often working only in Spanish. Why do I call my career insane? Because while I've had the privilege of working across geographies and industries like consulting, mining, chemicals, food, telecom without a work visa, without any local network during big fat recessions and often while being a new mom To one of my two kids, I've seen career heartbreak and multiple layoffs as well.
As a career strategist, I strongly believe that a fulfilling career is a birthright and not a privilege for the lucky few who have access to prestigious [00:01:00] education. capital and networks. I'm now on a mission to democratize access to high value career advice by designing affordable digital courses with my YouTube channel.
And yes, this podcast right here where we learn together from ordinary people like you and me and how they created extraordinary career success. Now let's get you ready. To get supercharged. Let's go. Hey there. Welcome back. Today's episode is part of my series. Where are they now? To check up on how some of my past gets are getting on and how sometimes. Certain plans don't quite go as expected. Today I am speaking with Meeta Malik. You may remember Mita she was back in the show on in May 2022 and we talked about her amazing ridiculously successful career journey and how she got into companies like Johnson Johnson, [00:02:00] Unilever. So today we're going to check back and see how Meeta is doing.
How is it, you know, how is everything going? What have been some of the challenges? And a little bird tells me, like lots of birds actually, that Meeta is in the process of this book called Reimagine Inclusion. And it should be out in, at least in the U. S. by the time this episode is live. Well, when you hear about a book and you hear about a book on inclusion, I want to talk to me about this.
I'm sure so many people said yes, yet another book, another book on inclusion. Does the world really need it? Yes, they do. We want to hear from meters point of view, and I'm sure it was not smooth sailing because it's been a long time coming. Mita, welcome back
Mita: to the show. Thank you so much for having me back.
I'm really excited.
Sonal: Amazing. I'm excited that you're back and let's get into it. Talk to us about the last time that we, we spoke and you were at Carta [00:03:00] and talk to us about how the work is going and some interesting, memorable, different projects that you've been working on because you know, Mita, one thing I learned from you when you were on the show is how we are constantly learning and the stuff that we think we know, we have to challenge those assumptions all the time.
So talk to us about your learning journey in this.
Mita: I'm still at Carta. Really excited to be here. My founder and the company is really supportive of the book, which we'll get into. Oh, it's an interesting time we're living in, isn't it? There is such a backlash on D and I right now, diversity, equity and inclusion, and it's here to stay.
And the work is more important now than more than ever. But perhaps it was naive of me because I'm a half class full person. I am surprised and not surprised to see this big backlash occurring. And so that's been a big learning for me. How can we reach more people when there's so much fear right now in the world and so [00:04:00] much polarization?
You know what gets the most likes in social media? It's extremes, right? And so we think from like, I'll start with the U. S. perspective where I'm sitting, books being banned in Texas and Florida. Diversity, equity and inclusion programming being banned, legislation being passed in public universities and institutions of those states, the Supreme Court overturning affirmative action, and now while the U.
S. government is saying that does not have an effect on U. S. employers. Many of which are global employers who have a headquarters in the U. S. We still know the fear is there. People are cutting back. Should we be talking about this? Why is this important anymore? And I go back to the principles of inclusion is a driver of the business.
It always has been and always will be. So when you build it, through your infrastructure and your organization like that, it becomes less easier to cut. And so that's been sort of an aha, the [00:05:00] work continues, but how do we reach people in a different way, which is what I tried to do with the book as well.
But it is a, it's a tough time we're living in right now. Yeah.
Sonal: And I think the, the, the word. The clincher for me is the F word that you said fear, and there are different forms of this type of backlash that you're talking about in different parts of the world. You know in India, it could be related to religion or about colorism and people are like, yeah.
But Fair and Lovely continues to be like gangbusters, right? In sales. And, and it's just different versions of the same story. It's the same beast. And they've rebranded
Mita: Fair and Lovely to Glow and Lovely. Glow and Lovely, yeah. But no, but it is, but exactly what you just said, has it really changed and has it really helped to dismantle colorism?
And I think saying the name again reminds us probably hasn't. No,
Sonal: no, exactly. [00:06:00] I've had someone on the show and the episode is going to be already live by the time ours comes out and it's literally about colorism. She's written a book on it and how damaging it is. She had a memory from six, the age of six, and she's 45 today.
And she was almost in tears talking about it because it runs deep. And the different versions of this, like we talked about in different, wherever you are listening today in the country that you're listening in today to this podcast episode, you've seen a different version of it. And it comes down from.
Something about fear. And where do you think, talk to us about the where is this fear coming from, Mita, in your
Mita: experience? The fear comes from the unknown. You have a different lived experience than I do. And it can be easier sometimes to just other people, even if we don't personally do it, society is doing it.
You start to slowly stereotype other, keep them in an arm's length. It's not something I can deal with right now, not something I want to contend with right [00:07:00] now. And the further you push people away, it's easier to just think of them as being different. And so then that's how the fear starts. And also, when I think about what's happening in the world today, and I coach many leaders and people will say to me, we'll meet a, this seems really political.
I don't think I should talk about it, political, apolitical, woke, anti woke. I can throw all these words out there. Many of you have heard them before. Isn't that a cop out?
Sonal: Isn't that a cop out sometimes? Oh, it's too political. Let me wash my hands off.
Mita: And what I say to them is, well, isn't it through the lens of privilege, we can say something as political, unknown, or makes me afraid.
And so, or woke, anti woke, and so, if I, colorism is one example, well, colorism seems really political. Like, you've never experienced, so it's easy to brand it that way. Black Lives Matter, anti LGBTQ legislation, anti Semitism, Islamophobia, anti Asian hate crimes. [00:08:00] I could pick up my phone today, another community is being hurt and harmed, and it's life and death.
It's not politics. Those individuals from those communities don't have the privilege of saying it's political. And so, if you can start to think about it through that lens, well, isn't that interesting? When I decide to brand something political, there's privilege in it, because I've never experienced it.
And that's when, also, the fear can start, and you can start to amass a lot of people around.
Sonal: Yeah, yeah. I mean, we're going to get into the book in a little bit, but it must have been uncomfortable for you to be pinning this down to some extent. Yes,
Sonal: Because there's confrontation with our own, because every single person has bias.
As long as you have a brain, you have bias. That's what my quote says. And I am remembering while speaking with you Meeta, I, I lived back in the early 2000s when I was newly married. I lived in Uruguay and [00:09:00] Chile. And people who have met an Indian person for the first time, they're fascinated because you're like so exotic.
And they were like, Oh, but you know what we've seen in the movies, the cost system, that's pretty real, right? I'm like, no, I always got defensive. And I always said in cities, it doesn't matter. What matters is merit. And I was, I, I stood by it till 2020. And then I was invited to a panel, you know, in the wake of George Floyd and everything that happened, I was invited to a panel and I was challenged.
and I realized I do not come from a lower caste. So that was not my experience. So when I spoke like that, I was coming from privilege and oh my God, I was uncomfortable. But I was like, God, they called me out because it was so much privilege. Hindu not you know, five shades darker than I am today, not coming from a caste where people don't want to [00:10:00] touch your food or whatever.
So I, that's not real. Sure. But that's not true. Right. Yeah.
Mita: I love that. I hope leaders listening learn from your example because that's what the journey to be inclusive leadership is about that you have these moments. Wow. I was
Sonal: wrong. I was wrong. And then centering and centering it back to the issue and not centering it to how it made me uncomfortable and God forbid I start crying and I make it about me.
Which you see, which you see a lot of people doing, particularly those from privileged. So, so, so Meeta talk to us about 2018, 2019. We rewind. And you have this worm nagging in your brain about the idea for this book. It's called Reimagine Inclusion. Yes. It's going to be freaking amazing. But it's been a journey.
Yes. Talk to us about the journey and why did that worm refuse to leave you till... You [00:11:00] bought this book.
Mita: Well, I will rewind a bit further. My mother always wanted to write since I could pick up a crayon. I've been writing for as long as I'm not an overnight success. I'm not an overnight success. I've been writing ever since I could write.
In fact, when I left undergraduate, I had a good friend who went into the entertainment industry and she found me an agent. My current agent doesn't even know the story. I haven't shared with them. I had an agent. Yes. And I wrote three novels over the course of two, three years. And each time I wrote a novel and I would get feedback, they were all about growing up, being bicultural, being stuck between Indian culture and American culture.
And every time I would get feedback, I was young and stubborn and I didn't take the feedback. I thought I'm going to write another book. I kept doing that. Three books.
Sonal: What, what, what Mita, what is the self published, like, how did you get on with it? How were you so [00:12:00] ambitious and motivated in, even like you
Mita: saw it too?
I love writing and storytelling. I had a full time job, but I was writing mornings and nights. I had an agent. She was helping me pitch it. First book rejected, second book rejected, third book rejected. She dumps me on my butt in a really mean way over email. I will not mention the agent's name. She's big agent, dumps me and I'm devastated because what do I do now?
Sonal: Why did she dump you? She just decided
Mita: that could not represent me anymore and probably could have said that in a nicer way. And so then I end up going to graduate school for my MBA because I think, well, I'm not going to make money off of writing and I need to have a steady income. And for me, storytelling and marketing went in.
I then leave graduate school and I write a fourth novel. This is not, this is all true. A fourth novel and I try to find an agent, can't find anybody. I write a nonfiction proposal that doesn't go anywhere. And so then I go down this [00:13:00] corporate track and I bury the dream of writing. But you know what happens when you bury the seed, it's growing, whether you realize it or not.
And that, as you say, that worm, it kept nagging at me all these years. 2018, 2019, also the death of my father. My father died really suddenly in. 2017. And there's nothing like grief that resets your life and you think, what are you waiting for? Like, just go for it. So I started writing this book. I wrote it four years ago and it took a really long time even then to get published.
And so it's coming out October 3rd in the U S but for anyone listening, don't let your dreams die. This has been a dream in the making since I was born and it took me a really long time to get it. Oh my
Sonal: gosh. Oh my gosh. First of all, I love that you stuck to the You know that what they say, write what you know, you did, you did write what you know, it was all about you know, growing up different in a predominantly white neighborhood.
And you, you know, you, [00:14:00] you, you had fun with it. You didn't, you also were pretty committed mornings, nights, people are like, I want to do it, but the work is not there. You're, you, you had work to show for it and being rejected. And I kind of hope I know what this sounds mean, but I kind of hope that agent is listening right now.
Dude, you know what? Your loss, honestly, like, that's amazing. So and then you were like, yeah, enough is enough. So you had, we are now forwarding back 2018, 2019. When you say went from agent to agent, was this through your network? Talk to us about your process because I'm sure there's people in the audience listening today who have thought about writing a book and they get so intimidated that they just give up like you, you know, said before it even takes off.
Mita: So at this point I had no agent. I had the idea for re imagined inclusion, debunking 13, Mr. Transfer your workplace. I had. What many people do I have journals I love to journal, but I have career journals, which is different. I've documented things that have happened in my career highs and lows. So that's an interesting [00:15:00] insight for all of you.
So then when I went to write the book, it was easier. I had all these things I'd written down that I could go back and reference. I was cold, pitching, emailing people day and night. And Josh Getzler of HG Literary, who's represents me, I think at some points, love the book more than I did, but it took a long time to find someone.
And even when I found him, it took a long time to get it published. We got feedback that was things like. There are a lot of people who look like Mita writing books like this come back to us when she has a book that's more like Charles Sandberg. Mita's writing pops off the page. It's masterful, but she has no followers who's going to buy the book because book publishing is now a business.
And I still have a full time job and I'm writing this book because I want to make impact. I'm not at the moment writing this book because I have a business and I'm and people do that and that's [00:16:00] wonderful. And you should, I have friends who have businesses in there. That book is a part of a teaching tool.
That's not where I am. And I thought to myself, whatever happened to writing for the sake of writing and telling a good story, changed. And so. Like many of you have, I have rainy day folders, right? I have a folder of all the love notes people send me. So on a really bad day, I can go and look at that. I also have a rejections folder.
I have rejections of all the agents and editors who rejected me not to feel sorry for myself, but to say, Hey, look at how far you've come, because here's what I'll say. Nobody that I can recall actually had feedback on the writing because that's the important part. We talked about this a lot. Feedback's important.
So, so study the feedback. I was looking for feedback and the feedback was more about my social media presence, the topic of the book, which wasn't going to change. I'm not Sheryl Sandberg. I'm not going to write a book like that right now. So it was really interesting as I was like, I want some meaningful feedback.
And there wasn't a lot of meaningful [00:17:00] detailed feedback on the things that I could actually change at the moment. I'm
Sonal: so frustrated listening to you right now. I'm trying so hard not to show it. My
Mita: story is our stories. There's so many people who have been through this. I know people don't talk about it, which is why I'm so thrilled.
Talk about this. I want more people to be talking about how difficult it is to get published.
Sonal: Yeah. You're not Sheryl Sandberg. You don't have a following since when is that the primary concern? It's so the writing is a given. Okay. What does that even mean? Because, let's face it, a lot of people with 2, 3, 4 million, 5 trillion followers,
Mita: let's face it, they all have
Sonal: ghostwriters anyway.
Mita: They do, but you know what's really interesting? The game has changed in publishing, and so people listening should know. So what did I do? I was beside myself after all these rejections. I was like literally in bed eating Cheetos. I was crying because I was like, I'm never going to get this book published.
This is so hard. And my friend Lan Phan, who is the CEO of Community of Seven, you should go check her out. She's amazing. She said to me, [00:18:00] do what you do best. Keep focus on the community and conversation. Do what you do best. And so I was like, okay, I'm going to do that. I enjoy it. It sparks joy for me. I continue to do that.
I have my own podcast called Brown Tabletop with DC Marshall, part of LinkedIn Podcast Network. Would you believe that I do that podcast season one, season two, my friend D has a, has a book deal with Wiley. And she and her assistant are trying to FaceTime me one day. I said, the only person who FaceTimes me is my mom.
Why does she FaceTime me? I was like, I'm in meetings. I'll call you later. They're both on the call crying, and they read this note to me, and it's from Wiley, and the title says, Meet Amalek. And it is my editor, Victoria, who's Dee's editor, writes to Dee and says, your podcast co host sounds amazing. Does she have a book deal?
And and so Dee was the one, and the podcast and all these things in the universe, I had kept going at it, [00:19:00] was introduced to through Wiley. And so that's my. story I want to leave people with is just don't give up and keep doing the things love because as we were talking earlier, the universe will attract these opportunities.
Don't give up, but I just, I didn't give up and I tried a different route and I still
Sonal: amazing, amazing. You didn't have to chase. It came to you. And you were also not, you know, I mean, I don't mean to sound presumptuous because I obviously don't know intimately the journey you were going through, Mita, but you weren't, I guess you weren't pushing happiness away that once it's out, I'll be happy.
I'll be successful. You were enjoying the process as it was unfolding, podcast, newsletter, writing. Every freaking day on LinkedIn showing up like my feed is not complete. If there is no from me, they're more like, and it's something that makes you think it's some experience. It's a story. And that's what you're really good at.
And the other thing I want to highlight. [00:20:00] Rainy day folder, rejection folders. I, I love this. I mean, I, I there are different words for it. I call it my appreciation station. I tell my clients to always keep something. Yeah. So that, you know, or somebody calls it a smile file when you feel like crap and you're like, Oh.
Oh yeah, I did make a difference in that girl's life. Oh, you know, I'm not so bad after all. Rejection folder, I gotta admit, I've not done it, but I think it would also, I, I call it on LinkedIn, it either fools you or it fuels you. Fool or fuel. It clearly fuels
Mita: you, Nita. For me, it's fueling. It's fueling because here's the thing.
I learned from the first three novels. I was young and stubborn. Perhaps if I had taken some of that feedback, and then they did have feedback on the writing. But I was younger and I was like, no, I'm going to keep going. And so now I was looking for that. I learned and I thought, okay, well, if this editor has feedback about the writing or the proposal, I want to hone in on it and understand.
But we live in a different world right now. And so it was about [00:21:00] community and conversation and your following and all these things to your point. Well, isn't it about the writing? And when the game changes, we have to know the games change and we have to know how to play by the different rules. And that's what we've been doing all of our lives.
And so I had to adjust for the publishing world.
Sonal: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So when the editor called, it's not like Really another brown woman talking about inclusion like that wasn't even a
Mita: factor wasn't even a factor wasn't even a factor and I will tell you my editor has I mean she's changing the game she has signed so many women of color Wiley it's astounding and the other day on LinkedIn we all discovered each other we she signed you and you and you and you we had no idea and so this is what allyship looks like an allyship in our workplaces but also a In an industry that needs disruption, like many industries do.
Yeah. And that was never even a question. I love how you asked that. That was never even a question. [00:22:00] It was just, okay,
Sonal: what do we have to do? It's like the color, it's like the color of your hair. Like, oh, it's pretty, but it's not consequential to how many books you sell. Yes. Yes. It's not effective. I love this and I want to just reference, I know this is a little bit of a side tangent, but I want to reference a little conversation that you and I were having backstage when we talk about allyship, but we also talk about support.
And that is to the listeners who are listening on the podcast and you cannot see Mita. She's got these gorgeous earrings on and this is by a fellow brown woman who's working really hard on her jewelry business, right? And I think you told me last time and I tagged her. Yeah, I'm gonna do that. I'm gonna do that again.
You know, walking the talk, right? A lot of us talk about this, but we have all kinds of friends. We have friends who are like, when you start something, they're like, Oh, when am I getting well, you started a food business. When am I getting a treat? I want something for free or a travel business. And then there's friends like you started something.
[00:23:00] I'm going to find lots of, lots of people who are going to love it. How can I help? How can I help your marketing, et cetera? Be that. Be, if you can be anybody in the world, be the second type of friend.
Mita: Yes. Well, I will say Rekha, Blossombox Jewelry, go check her out. I wrote about her, an entrepreneur. She is building an amazing business and also talks about how she was embarrassed.
Wearing Indian jewelry growing up because kids would make fun of her all these beautiful pieces her grandmother and mother gave her and so she was inspired to start this business, but here's the thing. You just said it. You didn't say it, but you said it. Friends don't ask friends for discounts. They don't the people who are cheering for you.
I just said they had a big sale I loaded up. I went to her website blossom box jewelry. Right. And I was like, first of all, I love her pieces, and I think whenever I'm on stage somewhere, I'm just gonna wear it, and if someone asks me, I'm gonna say, here's who the designer is. But, yeah, friends don't ask friends for discounts.
We just don't. And [00:24:00] if they are asking you for a discount,
Sonal: hmm. Yeah, no, I also want to say I'm so happy. I'm so happy for you, Vita. And I'm so happy. So many good things are happening. But it's been a long time coming. And you've been supporting people probably behind the scenes for so many years. And I said it was a side note, but I I'm glad I said it.
Because one of the things that you said was she was embarrassed growing up because it was these exotic Indian pieces and kids made fun of her. Back to the F word, fear of the unknown. They don't know what it is. And then they rebuke it. It makes them feel better and makes her feel small. They don't mean to be mean kids.
They just don't understand that it's different. And this is the world we're living today, where there is so much fear. Talk to us about re imagined inclusion. Meeta, talk to us about the main tenets behind it. Why the person listening. Definitely needs to check it out. And particularly if they work in a company, every company needs to have like a couple of copies.
And, and you know, how, how is this book different?
Mita: So we'll start there. There are a lot of great books on [00:25:00] leadership and inclusion right now. And so I thought to myself, if I'm going to write a book, it has to be additive. I want to say something different in the marketplace. I wanted to say the quiet parts out loud that hold us back from making meaningful progress in the workplace.
The stories we tell ourselves. In our workplaces, similar to bedtime stories. We tell our children, we're the little people in our lives, right? And the things that, yeah, they're just not true and they hold us back. So then I thought to myself, people ask me, it's called re imagine inclusion, debunking 13 myths to transform your workplace.
Why 13? 13 is my lucky number. Let's not complicate it. I thought 13 went back to my career journals. And I thought, what are the things that I've heard the most? Throughout my career, and so I picked 13 minutes and I debunk them and I start with a powerful story. So if you're following me on social media, it's going to be spilling some tea.
It's going to be jaw dropping on purpose. Because you have to get people to pay attention and then think, why isn't this true? And really, I wanted it to be a [00:26:00] resource handbook guide so people can go back to it and really think about it. And here's the thing, you don't have to be the CEO to be changing how people are interacting and working in your company.
Every one of us can do it. And so whether it's you're the CEO or an individual contributor, I promise you'll get something out of this book because I really think it just takes if you and I each decided tomorrow we're going to show up to work differently, we're just going to do one or two things differently.
Imagine if everyone showed up that way. We would
Sonal: have, you wouldn't, you wouldn't have a job and that would be fine. We, we need a world where DEA would like to be out
Mita: of work for the wrong reasons. I would like the role of the chief diversity officer to no longer exist, not because of fear, but because we're each acting like.
Our own chief diversity officer, and we don't actually need that role, but we're not there yet in
Sonal: society that it becomes so embedded as a way [00:27:00] of life that we don't need a reminder that you need a chief diversity. I know we're far away from it, but that's really good. I love how you said two things come out to me right now, and I want to double click on them.
The first thing you said was I wanted to say the quiet parts out loud. Those quiet parts live somewhere. In our brain, in a cloud of shame, and you took that out, right? So a lot of us are going to be able to relate, especially chapter one. That's really deep.
Mita: Cloud of shame. That's really deep. I know
Sonal: that to be true for, I know that to be true for me for so many years.
And, and it becomes part of your psyche if you don't verbalize it. And if you don't talk about it, because you, you're very right. Bedtime stories, just like bedtime stories we read to our kids, these unbelievably stupid stories we've been telling ourselves for so long, just like bedtime stories, are not true.
The prince doesn't kiss the princess and they're happily ever after. There's so many other ways to talk [00:28:00] about it, and let's not even get into the misogyny of those silly stories. But you bring it out in the open. So I love that. And I love that the first chapter you hook, because I am like that. I'm a reader.
If I like, if I can't put the First page down and someone's calling me. I'm like, talk to the hand. Talk to the hand. Like, this is a page. Then you, you can't wait for chapter two. Right? And that's sounds like something I would enjoy reading. 13 is your lucky number. My brother's the same. I'm not going to question it.
And I love that another brown woman talks about inclusion. But you talk about it with your, with your unique lens. I guess, Meeta, your pen is different, not like other people, because their lived experiences are different. Right? Everyone's different. I love that. And the last 20 years, Meeta, because I've been, you know following your journey for a while.
The last 20 years, was there one particular moment that you thought, Oh my [00:29:00] God, like, I'm so glad I do what I do because that was awful. And I do not want. anyone else to live through this?
Mita: That is a deep question, my friend. I think, I think about myth five. We protect the a holes because our businesses wouldn't run without them. We protect the a holes because our businesses wouldn't run without them. How can
Sonal: you not love that title? Oh my gosh.
Mita: You know, I, again, I'm a half glass full person.
I always joke my, my husband's half glass empty, so we're a good pair. But I do this work. You have to be, you have to stay with some level of optimism. A lot of companies are doing the right things. In this myth, I talk about this midsize company who had a 1 800 number to call for complaints, really thorough investigations process, all the things that you would expect a company to have when they're making sure that they are looking at bullying and harassment.[00:30:00]
And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. It's how me to I show up. And what I do or won't do for you and the exceptions I make and so several years ago I was in a really terrible toxic bullying harassment situation and I wondered, like, wow, like how is this one person have so much power and control and how are they continue to allow to do it to so many people, and why.
I'll just use me in this example. Why would we spend all this money and resources protecting META when we watch all these people leave? Five women of color leave META's organization within nine days. And it's a revolving door. And yet, The CEO or someone in the C suite is willing to bet their personal reputation, their own leadership brand for this person who actually, you know, it's so funny when we say we protect the a holes because our businesses wouldn't run without them.
The a holes probably aren't even running the [00:31:00] businesses. It's all the people. Are being impacted and harmed by them. They're the ones who were running the business, right? And so, yeah, that to me, I think after that situation, there was this like, wow. Like, if I,
I'm going to say this and I'm saying this from a place of grace, hurt people, hurt people. I didn't, that's not my quote, hurt people, hurt people. And so you think about leaders who are showing up this way in the workplace. They are damaged. They are wounded. They are hurt. And that's why they're acting out this way.
And so if we could either help those people move on to want their, what they're meant to do next or help them heal. Wow. What a different workplace we would have. So after that experience, I thought a lot about that because I've actually, I'm on a path of healing and finding grace for that experience. And I am, I think close to having forgive is a big word.
So I say heal, forgive to [00:32:00] me. I was talking to a friend growing up in a predominantly Christian country, the U. S. Growing up as Hindu, like forgive there, there's really like religious connotation to it. So I don't know, forgive, heal, whatever you want to say, but I'm moving forward. Yeah. Forward. Yeah,
Sonal: protecting the a holes who, because the business wouldn't run without them.
Like you said, chances are the a holes are mostly sometimes hanging out on golf clubs and on the green and all their sweet little minions are doing all the hard work because without those, nothing would be happening. So protect those guys because if they leave and if there is a mass walkout, what would happen?
Mita: But I'm so fascinated as to... Why that's so simple yet so complicated. It's so simple when you say it, but why is it so complicated? And after that experience, when you asked me, that's when I was like, wow. Yeah. Like, yeah. Oof. If we could really help those few [00:33:00] people, help them move on, help them heal.
Sometimes it's just a few people who really dictate what the culture becomes at work. Right. Yeah.
Sonal: Yeah. I mean, you know, when you go back and look at some of the movies you know, business movies Wall Street and Working Girl You know, like the 1980s, like there's so much cringe in there, but they didn't know, but they didn't know better, right?
We're recording this in 2023. We know better. So when
Mita: we know better, we know better.
Sonal: Finally, right? We know better, but we've got to do better. Knowing isn't enough. Knowing isn't enough. Amazing. And talk to us about your, I'm curious, because you said his name your agent, Josh, like, how do you? guys find each other and hopefully he's not dumping you on email.
Mita: not at all. He's been really, really good. So we're, I'm excited for this to come out and it's been awesome. Yeah. I, you know, [00:34:00] I think I remember seeing this on social media somewhere and you said it earlier, I'm enjoying the process. I'm excited. I'm excited to spread awareness of the book. And so if you don't enjoy the process, You should rethink the journey you're on, but I enjoy the process for the book.
I've enjoyed it. And so I'm excited for everyone to read it now.
Sonal: And is it the four years because of four years of writing or was it four years or you wrote it quickly? Talk to us about the, you know, the writing process.
Mita: Yeah, I wrote a lot of it through my journals. I'd been working on it. Friends encouraged me.
You're going to get this book published, so keep writing. But in nonfiction, you have a proposal. Unlike a novel, you write the novel. But nonfiction is a proposal, and so it just, on and on, find the agent, find the publisher. That whole journey was a four year journey, till the day that it's coming out. So writing, I shared about this recently on LinkedIn, because people say to me all the Yes, you did.
Sonal: I [00:35:00] saw that post.
Mita: Yeah, they say to me all the time, how do you do it all? How do you write so much? And sometimes it's the little, I say, cutting compliment, backhanded compliment, but here's the thing. It's You make time for the things that matter. And does that mean I am perceived to be socially selective or anti social or don't have a big social scene?
Probably. But guess what? My family, my close circle of friends, my job, and my writing are super important to me. So that means I'm not Netflix binging. I'm not out on the weekends a ton other than with my kids and spending time with them and my mom and my family. So. Not aimly not I say aimlessly scrolling on the phone watching videos and buying things I don't need and so you have to really think about like you said the discipline and so I every day right for 20 minutes or more.
Some of it never sees the light of day, but that's the part of its half [00:36:00] art half discipline and the more you do it, the better you get at it. And writing is not dissimilar from, I don't know, I'm not an athlete, but pick a sport, same thing, it's the practice. And so I think we, I believe we live, and a friend of mine said this to me, we live in a world right now that's like microwavable.
People want things in 60 seconds or less or 30 seconds or less. And you're seeing all these things on social media and you're like, I'm going to become this and I'm going to become that. And like, you don't understand the journey that the person's been through to get there. In most cases, it was a lot of hard work that no one ever saw.
They just see the final product. in social media and think, Oh, I want that. Okay, but you've put the work in. Yeah, you got to put the work in. Anyone can do it.
Sonal: Yes, buddy, you cannot get that beautiful lasagna in the microwave. It needs to sizzle in the oven for a while. And if you can't handle the heat of the oven.
[00:37:00] Then go eat, eat in a restaurant. Don't make it at home because it's not for everyone. No, I, I love the microwavable thing because it is so true. And, and I will, you know, people like to blame social media, but it's also very selective what we are scrolling. I, I need to work on this beta. I need to work better.
I need to do better on the aimlessly scrolling. I have a choice. I, I'm scrolling and yes, there are times where people look so successful and yes, I compare myself. I can't help it, but I can choose to not spend the time there and I don't know what they've been through. I don't know how many rejections they've been through before they doing whatever they're doing and how much discipline were they binge watching Netflix and because I'm, I'm guilty of that, but I have a choice.
Oh my gosh, you, I feel like you. called me out. I mean, I do. I'm so
Mita: happy. I'm so happy. You can, but it's, it's, it's the periods, right? It's the periods of when you indulge on the things you like. Of course you need to do that to refill your cup, whatever [00:38:00] that is, but also have to put in the work and the discipline.
So when you go back to the writing, it's like I was writing at 5 AM, 6 AM, the storm in my house starts around seven as many parents can relate to getting your children in. And then again, in the evenings when they were in bed. And so just to say, okay, so that means if I'm going to work on this. I'm not going to go out as much in the evenings.
Yeah, it's a choice. Those are the choices. And that doesn't mean I'll never Netflix binge again. Sure. Plenty of that. But it's in those moments that you're saying, No, I'm focused on this right now. And just being very clear on what those priorities are. And you know, people can question it. But if you know those are your priorities, those are your priorities.
Sonal: Oh, I'm amazing. I love how gracefully you, you acknowledge what I just said. I'm, I'm so excited because I feel like, you know, we as an audience are witnessing your childhood dream come true. Oh, thank you. You know, because you've talked about this, you're saying you've talked about this since you were a [00:39:00] kid.
I was, yeah. Yeah. You know what, this is very open ended. I don't like this question, but I'm going to ask you because I maybe you'll, you'll give a new perspective. What the Mita, what would success look like to you once the book is out?
Mita: I'll tell you what success looks like to me. I gave someone who I don't know an early copy of the book and she read it, a white woman, and shared with me the things that she learned from it.
I almost started crying. Because that's what, like, if I can impact somebody's life, like, that's why I wrote the book. If I can impact, so yes, of course, do I want to make best, I'm not gonna, I would be lying if I said I wouldn't, you know, I'm human, yeah, of course, I would, I would love to make some bestseller lists, but for me, it's like, Someone reads it and they say this actually was worth my time reading and here's like one thing.
I'm going to do differently That's what success looks like to me That's why I wrote the book and even I was going to say when you had me on the podcast [00:40:00] last year I was so close to getting a book deal But I had stopped talking about it because I was so dejected and I had lost such confidence And so my other piece of advice is like don't stop talking about your dreams Because if you don't share it with people, people can't help you.
But when you start to go about it, I
Sonal: love that. I love that because there's so many, you know, motivational videos and, and, and posts where some people say, don't tell anybody your dream, just put your head down and do the work and let them witness your success, which is kind of lonely because I like talking about it with people because you never know who knows who.
And you're also, I feel like when you talk about it, Mita, you're also verbalizing it and professing it. You've got to do it now. You can't, you can't like, Oh, I said this and I want to launch this startup or I want to write this book. You can't. People are going to ask you, how's the book coming or how's that startup coming?
And you're like, Oh, I decided you look like it. You look foolish. So you're like, okay, if you're going to talk about it, it also motivates you, I [00:41:00] think, into action.
Mita: I think you have to trust your intuition on these things too. Meaning you should tell your inner circle and the people who care about you and the people who are rooting for you because they're going to help you.
And if you have relationships that are perhaps where there's less trust, or I always say, you know, friendships that I've had to move on from where there's like backhanded compliments or cutting compliments. So I can understand that quote as well, where it's like, make your moves in silence. If you feel that there are people who will shake your confidence.
And make you question your self worth, so I can see both sides of that.
Sonal: Yeah, what's the most sort of abrasive, sharp, cutting, backhanded compliment you've got that you remember and almost makes you laugh?
Mita: I have so many. Or not. Where do I start? How much time do we have left? [00:42:00] Gosh, you're so ambitious.
Wow. I didn't expect you to present that. Well, I've also gotten, I didn't expect you to speak English that well while you spoke, speak English. So while you were like, actually, I was born and raised here. Yeah, I speak English. Well, whatever. Also like there's like a one time, this is really funny. Years ago, I was filming something and I showed up and I had, it was a stat heavy piece.
I was prepared. was over Zoom back in the pandemic days, right? And so there's a whole team on the other side. 200 paste and it's two minutes and I stop and I thought I had must have lost the connection because they weren't saying anything. And the gentleman on the other end says to me the following, I just didn't expect you to kill it on the first take.
And you're like, huh. [00:43:00] Did you, what did you expect? And I said, yeah, I'm prepared. But so many cutting compliments like that, because it goes back to people don't expect someone like me or someone who looks like you to be that good. We surprised them. And you're like, there's some element of like shock and surprise and awe that you are that good.
And you think to yourself, well, I know I have to come off and be twice as good. And I don't, I would say.
I don't have the privilege to be average. I don't have the privilege to be average. I never have. Perhaps that's a lot of my cultural upbringing, but it's also the world of work I entered. I know it's changing and that's why we do this work, but that is the world of work I entered.
Sonal: I don't have the privilege to be average, which means certain people do.
And that is a, that is highly uncomfortable to sit with. But [00:44:00] that's why we have to read the book. Meeta, this has been amazing. So, so, so, so excited for the book to come out. I'm going to share everything in the show notes. And, yeah, we, you know, we want to continue to witness your journey and, you know, see how everything goes and, you know, step by step, how you're learning and how you're growing and we're learning alongside you.
Thank you so much for your time
Mita: today. Thank you for having me come back. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Sonal: Hey there. Thank you for taking the time to listen to today's show. If you loved it, please do leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. I search high and low to bring you the very best guest and I'm so proud to bring you their stories and game changing career lessons.
Best compliment that you could ever give me is taking a screenshot of today's episode and sharing it with your LinkedIn network and tagging me at Sonal Behl. S O N A L B [00:45:00] A H L. All right, I look forward to spending time together on the next episode of the How I Got Hired podcast. Take care of yourself and bye for now.