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Resilience and Recharge: Monica’s Tale of Triumph | Monica Sharma-Patnekar

Today’s Guest Monica Sharma-Patnekar

Monica is an eCommerce brand mentor & consultant, a purpose-driven (digital) brand, marketing & strategy professional with 17 years of global experience building brands. She’s worked across diverse sectors and companies from Fortune500 to scale- & start-ups.

Key Takeaways

  1. Monica's Reflection on Personal Growth and Family Challenges: Monica opens up about her daughter's experiences with racist bullying, her husband's struggle with burnout, and her own battle with panic attacks. These challenges led her to a journey of self-care and growth, emphasising the importance of addressing emotional health and seeking help when needed.
  2. Influence of Monica's Mother: A significant part of the discussion revolves around the extraordinary life of Monica's mother. Her resilience as a single mother in a foreign country and her success against numerous odds greatly influenced Monica's perspectives on life, teaching her the values of hard work, determination, and the ability to overcome adversity.
  3. The Power of Nature and Simple Pleasures: Monica shares a transformative experience during a family trip to the mountains in India, highlighting the healing power of nature. She also stresses the importance of simple joys like reading, dancing, and spending time with loved ones as essential components of her self-care routine.

Links for Monica

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Matt: Well, hello and welcome to Push To Be More. I'm your host, Matt Edmundson, and we are about to dive deep into another exploration of what fuels the journey of life. Oh yes, and joining me today We have a very special guest, Monica Sharma-Patnekar from Business With Monica.

We're going to be delving into her unique life experiences, the hurdles that she has had to push through, and the way she recharges her batteries. Looking forward to this, Monica, not going to lie. Now don't forget, you can find all the detailed show notes and complete transcript. Of our conversation over at Push to Be and hey, listen, why are you there?

Why not sign up to the newsletter if you haven't done so already? And every week we will send you all the show insight links. Goodies all that stuff direct to your inbox, which is absolutely free and [00:01:00] absolutely amazing. Now, this episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, the magic behind the scenes that.

Let's put my teeth back in the magic behind the scenes that lets entrepreneurs and business leaders like you and me amplify our voices by hosting our own podcast. Oh yes, but why start a podcast? Very good question. Let me tell you, my podcasting journey has been nothing short of transformational. It's not just about marketing.

It's about community and meaningful connection. It's a given me. It really has given me a platform to celebrate my customers, my team, my suppliers, and created a ripple of impact, oh yes, far beyond what I could have imagined. Now, I get it, there is the whole technical side of it, that can feel daunting, the setup, the distribution.

Um, yeah, Strategy. I mean, the list goes on and on and on. And honestly, [00:02:00] who wants to get tangled up in production? That does not sound like fun. It's something that I definitely don't do in my own podcast, and this is where Aurion Media steps in. They are the backstage crew that makes sure your show goes flawlessly.

You get to do what you love, which is engaging with incredible people and Aurion media takes care of all rest. So if you are wondering whether podcasting is the missing piece of the puzzle in your marketing strategy, and it probably is, uh, it's time to have a chat with Aurion Media, check them out at

That's A-U-R-I-O-N media dot listeners. Imagine if the essence of a brand was like a dense it infused with the warmth of chai and the vibrancy of global cultures. Enter. Monica. Oh yes, the brand mentor, the chai fanatic and dancer at heart. Born in the Netherlands, enriched by Indian heritage and global by every measure, [00:03:00] Monica crafts brand stories with a unique blend of intuition and analysis.

Now with over 18 years under her belt from coaching Google partners to champion small businesses, she's the beacon for those navigating the vast seas of branding. So, if you're seeking a compass that points towards genuine connection and meaningful impact, Monica is your guide. Oh yes, I'm loving these bios.

This is awesome. Monica, welcome to Push To Be More. It's great to have you on this particular podcast because it's fair to say this is not the first podcast we have recorded together.

Monica: No, so thank you for having me on again, and what a bio, what an intro, I'm smiling here. Uh, no, it's so great to be on here again, thank you.

Matt: Yeah. No, it's great to have you back. It's great to have you. We'll have you on yet another podcast. We actually recorded a podcast for the eCommerce business and you've also done some training inside eCommerce Cohort, which went down very well. We did that last month. [00:04:00] And so, yeah, I mean, you know, here we are on Push as well.

So it's great to have you. Great. And you are hailing from the very warm, very sunny Netherlands right now.

Monica: who would have said, ever, right? That

Matt: Yeah, who would have said, who would have said. So let's dig into it, let's get straight into it, right, um, the podcast question. If you could have your own podcast and you could have any guest on the show from your life, past or present, uh, that's had a big influence on you, who would be on your guest list and why?

Monica: would have to be my mom.

Matt: It would have to be, is that, is that, is there any reason why it would have to be your mum?

Monica: I think she's one of the biggest influences in my life, and I think it's so many podcasts we're always talking about people who inspire you. It's always these big names, but I think often we find people around us in our everyday lives that have had really huge influences, and I would love to talk about things like that actually.

I've actually thought about starting a podcast, and my mom has [00:05:00] been one of the, or the biggest influence in my life. Uh, she's a single mom, raised this year, both my sister and I since we were like four or six in Holland on our own. Uh, in a country that wasn't hers, right? Um, she came from a background where women were not encouraged to work.

Um, you know, you were allowed to finish, just finish studying, but you're not supposed to work. Uh, and to make it then in the country as a receptionist, getting us, despite that, through a private international schooling on the, that same salary, somehow finding her way to invest in some real estate to make a better life for all of us, uh, fighting cancer three times. It's, I think every, everything where I am today is because of her. She encouraged us to study, to do well in life, uh, without the pressure that you would find sometimes traditional Indian parents

Matt: Mm hmm.

Monica: on their kids. So it was, I mean, my world was my oyster. I was allowed to choose what I want to do, but at the same time, she encouraged us, you know, to at least study and finish your education.

Um, And she's still there [00:06:00] today to help us every time with all the, with her grandkids, I mean, she's the one in the kitchen cooking for all of us, uh, and making our life that much easier every day still.

Matt: Fantastic. I mean, what a legend. Uh, so, got through cancer three times. Uh,

Monica: living with it the third time, so it's, uh, not curable anymore, but it's, they're able to keep it stable, and it's already been about seven, eight years, so knock on wood that it stays like that, but yeah.

Matt: Wow. And how did your mum end up in Holland?

Monica: So my Grandfather, maternal grandfather, her dad was actually a diplomat in India and they lived in many, many different countries. So she also grew up living in quite a few different countries. Um, but then Holland was one of the last places that he was transferred to before his retirement. And that time, if you got a job, you could easily stay behind.

It was very different. Um, and that's how she ended up here in the late seventies.

Matt: Wow. Wow, in Holland, [00:07:00] uh, so you grew up then in Holland under the guidance and tutelage, uh, of what sounds to be a most extraordinary lady. I, I'm, I'm honestly genuinely curious how she created income to pay for the school and buy real estate. And she's a single working mom in a country which she is, it's not her, a native country.

I mean it. There was all these things that, um, have you ever read the book, The Millionaire Next Door?

Monica: No, not that one.

Matt: So, this book is an old book, I say old book, I mean it's maybe, what, 10, 15, 20 years old, I mean it's not really old, old book, it's not like the Bible old, but in this book they did a whole bunch of research about millionaires, you know, and, um, specifically around, I'm trying to remember the context of the book correctly, but what I remember from it is.

that there were two types of millionaire. There were the millionaires that were self-made and that there were [00:08:00] millionaires who inherited wealth and they were, and they looked at the two strands. Um, and so the millionaires who inherited wealth as. I suppose is not surprising. Usually they squandered that wealth within a few generations because they didn't know what it took to create that wealth.

Um, and then the self-made millionaires. The ones that created wealth weren't from lavish backgrounds. They didn't have the most extraordinary jobs. They had reasonable average salaries and somehow managed to leverage that in their journey of life to create. Incredible amounts of wealth, most of whom were immigrants,

Monica: Okay. That's interesting.

Matt: which I found super fascinating.

Um, and so the people moved to a country which was not, not theirs, and they managed to figure out a way to, to create reasonable amounts of wealth on what seems like an insufficient amount to create that amount of wealth. And so as you're telling the story of your mom, this is what I'm

Monica: Yeah, it is. It is. It's some of [00:09:00] those quiet strengths that you don't hear about. Right. And somehow they're making things work. Um, I would say she's, I think she just, she taught me so much. It's not always also about how much you earn. It's what you do with it as well. Right. We didn't go on yearly big holidays and things like that.

Uh, every few years we went once. To India back to meet my grandmother. Um, so, you know, there are obviously other sacrifices she made that growing up for us, you know, was normal. So we didn't feel like was anything bad in our life or anything. We had a great childhood, but you know, she was quietly making the sacrifices for us so that we had a great life.

And I think that's like those hidden parts, which I'd love to understand more about what made her tick and what still makes her keep going.

Matt: Yeah, remarkable, remarkable. And actually, uh, talking to your mum, it's, if I, if people, if I, if you were to ask me this question, you know, I mean, I do have a podcast, I suppose I could have anyone as a guest. I should probably get my mum to come on the show. Um, it'd be quite surprising. Another one people like to say is their dad.

Um, [00:10:00] normally because dad has passed away, uh, and it's either their dad or their grandfather and they'd have some questions for them. Um, and so it's in, it fascinates me. I mean, you've got, how old are your kids now?

Monica: They're 11 and 8.

Matt: and eight. And so you're now, you're obviously having the impact on your kids that the, that your mum has had on you.

Do you know what I mean?

Monica: I hope so. I hope so. I hope I can even have half of that impact and I'll feel like my job is done.

Matt: How do you, uh, are you intentional in your parenting? Is that something that you, uh, or is it just something that you just do as it happens? It's, I'm kind of curious to see where you are on that spectrum.

Monica: Ooh, I think it's, I never thought about it. So I think there's, I think it's a combination. I think one thing I had to realize is how much I enjoyed being a mom more than I ever thought. I mean, I knew I would enjoy it. I always wanted kids, but that time and career, you know, you're also thinking career. But once I had kids, I think.

I realize I really love and enjoy being [00:11:00] home with kids as well. Um, so that was one thing, and I do think there's some things I'm very intentional in, which is the emotional side, because that's the side we didn't always grow up in, talking about feelings, talking about emotions, and giving space to things like that.

That's something we did not grow up with, uh, and understandably, I think, but that's something I do very intentionally give a lot of space to.

Matt: Mm hmm. Yeah. Wow. And is that, is that working well?

Monica: It is, I think we've been through, we've been through a lot, so I think it's also kind of, life has demanded it as well in a way, um, and some people walk away from it, and I think I've somehow luckily managed to embrace it, and I think it's going in the right direction, yes.

Matt: Very good, very good. So yeah, I mean, let's jump into that because you said you guys have been through a lot and obviously one of the things we like to talk about on Push are some of the challenges that you've had to overcome and face. Um, let's dig into those if you, if you don't mind. What, what, what are [00:12:00] some of the things that you guys have been through?

Monica: God. Um, so a lot of personal things actually. Well, first of all, you know, I'll leave the corporate life. I think that's a big thing already. When I left the corporate life, when my second was born, uh, I realized, you know, I've always wanted to try something on my own and that was the time to do it. And also to set an example for my girls so you can achieve whatever you want.

And I realized when I left, there was a lot of unlearning as well and learning about myself and learning certain things that you've learned to do a certain way when people tell you. Yeah. But then you need to do things on your own, so it's a lot of new things as well. I had to learn about myself and who I am.

I think that's where I developed the most also as a parent. Um, on a personal front, in the previous school, we were in a Deutch school. Uh, my daughter faced, unfortunately, uh, some racist bullying, um, which led to her being pretty. Depressed. Uh, at the same time COVID hit, um, world shut down, you're behind your computers doing so called homeschooling, which had a huge [00:13:00] effect.

Uh, my husband in that same period, because just work took on a whole new space, uh, went into an extreme burnout. So last year he ended up being home on medically for a whole year. Uh, which was Great. Once he was home, it was great, but the leading up to that was exactly when we went through the issues at school, we had COVID hit, he was going through this burnout and for him to be able to accept that, uh, and then of course, I'm there holding it together and trying to run a business from home.

Uh, let's say that didn't always work out. Uh, so I also had to accept that, that, you know, there were other things in life that needed a little more priority. And then also accepting that I needed help at some stage to make sure I don't reach that level of burnout. Um, And I think that's what has been going on with us in the last few years.

Matt: Talk about piling it on. Uh, it's, um,

Monica: I know, um,

Matt: it's really interesting, isn't it, how, um, in England we have this saying, you know, that you wait for a [00:14:00] bus and none comes and then three come along at once.

And, uh, it, it, listening to you talk, it feels a bit like that. It's like, it feels like a lot happened at once, you know, one thing, then another, then another.

Um. Let's talk about, um, your daughter, um, and racist bullying. And obviously racism has been in the news quite rightly in many ways, um, it's been in the news a lot over the last few years, um, and I think we're becoming, hopefully as a society, we're having conversations again and we're talking about this again and just revisiting a lot of things, certainly in the UK, uh, there's been a lot of conversations. Whether that translates to positive action is another question entirely. Maybe we could get into that. Um, so how old was your daughter when she was being bullied? And why was it racist bullying?

Monica: So, um, I think it started roughly when she was probably six, seven ish. [00:15:00] So that's when I noticed changes in her. But that it actually came out was between eight and nine when I, when she actually voiced what was going on. Um, uh, so even though we were on top of it, trying to figure out and getting help and saying, okay, there's something going on here.

Uh, I had an inkling, but at the same time, you don't want to use your own past experiences to put it on your child and say, okay, we'll see what it is. Maybe it's something completely different, you know, children also go through, go through things. amongst each other it could be something completely different so um but no unfortunately that is what it turned out um it's just the uh she clearly it started with more and more being left out first of all i think it was a very of those it's not the traditional racist bullying where you're just being called out something or straight out so it's harder to put you know finger on it and it starts with Being left out, no more being asked on playdates, being the last person to say, people clearly telling you, are you going to be the last, you know, I'll only play with you if nobody else wants to.

[00:16:00] During, you know, not being invited to birthday parties anymore, uh, despite being a social bird, and then eventually, when she came out, hearing the issues that happened in playtime, where she was the only brown girl, and there's this game happening, where you're like, you'll be the horse, uh, they'll be the horses, we'll be the boss.

You're going to be the one, and they use a Dutch word for it, but the one who cleans the poo. And then the horses would poo more and so that she had to do more of the cleaning. Um,

Matt: Wow.

Monica: so, and then realizing that more and more like that was happening. Also her feeling very different all the time. Is there something wrong with me, mom?

What's wrong with me? Am I different? Am I doing something wrong? Not getting the support from the teachers and, um, them not giving her the same support in school, in class as well. Um. So, yeah, and it's, it's these little things that just keep building up and after a point you realize, well, we either stay, you can fight it, or we need to move out.

Well, we chose to move out, um, which has been the best decision we ever [00:17:00] made.

Matt: Yeah.


Monica: we went, we actually moved over to an international private British school.

Matt: where there's, I'm assuming there's more people of color at that school.

Monica: Yes, but we were in the minority. It was a very white school.

Matt: Yeah. Okay. The It's a, I'm, well, part of me is heartbroken hearing the story, and I'm sorry that your daughter went through that, um, because you don't ever want that. But, and, and I, and these are kids playing in a pay playground, and you kind of wonder where did the other kids learn how to treat your daughter like that?

Because was it conscious behavior or is it just something that they have learned somehow?

Monica: this is unconscious. I don't think they completely realized what they were doing. And for me, I always say things can happen anywhere. And what I look at more is. How is the school and how are the adults around us going to help us in this situation? And for me, that, you know, that part was more [00:18:00] what me, I think, and us as a family, that nobody was willing.

There was a lot of denial. There was unwillingness to talk about it. Even when I was very vocal when we left the school, you could see people shut down. I've lost friendships, right? Um, cause I was very vocal while we were leaving. We're not just leaving to go to an English school. No, we're leaving because of this.

Um, and for me, it was, The inaction and the unwillingness to talk about it. For me, this could have been a learning experience. Hey people, this is not how we do things. Let's talk about it, teach the kids, because this can happen anywhere, you know,

Matt: yeah, yeah,

Monica: especially between kids, doesn't mean it's not gonna happen somewhere else, but you see more action happening in other places, especially in places where there is more diversity already.

So I do think By the kids, it was unconscious, uh, but for the adults, I think there was a lot of denial. I

Matt: yeah, yeah, interesting, fascinating, but you say, um, that you went through this as a child as well,

Monica: think it's, uh, we went as well, but [00:19:00] I have, I think when it's your own child,

Matt: feels different,

Monica: it feels different and you're, you kind of learn to just live with it when you grow up. And my mom made a similar decision at the age my kids were when we moved schools to move us to an international school. So in the international school, you're a bit more sheltered again from this.

But then again, when you get out into workforce, you get out into university workforce. You know, simple things like being denying entry to clubs or things, you know, there are a lot of things, you know, and I've experienced also in the corporate world, uh, but you kind of let those go. You let it pass. You're like, whatever.

Um, it is what it is, right? You can't, I can't always do, but when it's your child, you get up and fight, you get up and fight. It's, it's so different and so much in your face and it, um, yeah, it's very different.

Matt: Yeah, no, I totally get that. I remember when I grew up I used to get bullied, um, not because obviously the colour of my skin, but because I wore glasses. And I had ginger hair, colour of my hair maybe, um, and so I used to get bullied quite a lot. My mum's response to this back then was, [00:20:00] you need to go learn how to fight, so.

Uh, and so I'd still get bullied and it took, it took a little while, it took like 18 months, 2 years for me to get the courage up to fight back. Um. And I've sort of, I've always pondered that in the sense that, um, if my, I mean, fortunately, you know, and thank God my kids weren't bullied at school. The school that they went to was, uh, the most remarkable school I've ever seen.

But, um, the school that they went to, that didn't happen to them. But I was always kind of like, I wonder if that was I just, like you, I just kind of dealt with it, sucked it up, dealt with it. You go to school, you didn't look forward to school, you kind of had your pocket money in your hand, you know, your dinner money waiting for the guy just to come take so you didn't get punched, all that sort of stuff.

And it's kind of like, if it was my kid, I don't know if I'd be that laid back. I'm sure my mum wasn't laid back. Do you know what I mean? And I'm sure there's a very

Monica: I think it's a generational, generational change in how we deal with things and how much more we talk about things and how, uh, I think [00:21:00] that's the difference. Um,

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. No, interesting. Absolutely fascinating. How's your daughter now?

Monica: much better, uh, honestly she's still getting help because there is like effects after effects. that have come out. Once you calm down, that's another thing I learned. Once you calm down, it's when your feelings really come out and your emotions. So that's when you need to learn to process. And now that she's in a better place, in a place where she's happy in school and feel safe, uh, there is an internal bit of not feeling safe, uh, emotionally.

So it's things we're working through as well. And we're making sure that she's getting the help that she needs.

Matt: That's super sensible, eh, because the amount of adults I know that have unresolved issues that started in their childhood and you're just like, hmm, if we'd have been a bit wiser back then, uh, maybe somebody somewhere would have gone, we should probably deal with this and it wouldn't be as much of an issue as it is now.

Um, so it sounds super, super sensible. And your husband, how's your husband doing now?

Monica: It's really good as well. [00:22:00] Thank you. Uh, but I think that your off work was the best that could ever have happened to him. And, uh,

Matt: What did you say there?

Monica: well, because, uh, he needed a break big time. That's what his body was obviously screaming for. But he reached a place with really extreme burnout where I mean, the first week Three months of his leave, he was just sleeping, uh, sleeping it out.

Uh, literally he could, couldn't even explain people, you know, some people don't even understand what burnout is, but it was down to the fact that he couldn't even read a simple form. 'cause that would, it was just too much for him. So, um, and then he also got help. So he also took out, so it wasn't just like I sat out my burnout for a year, but he really got house also got help and worked through things as well.

So. It's, it's as if we've all been working through things, and, um, he's so much a better place, so much calmer, I think, learned, you know, how he got into that situation, there's some stuff environmentally where you can't control, but there's some stuff that you can do something about, um, and I think as a family, we're [00:23:00] coming out of it.

better and stronger. It was hard to see it at that moment, but I'm starting to see it now. You know, it's always hindsight. Uh, uh, that time you're like, why is this happening? And, uh, but as of this year, I can say that we're all coming out stronger. Everyone's a little more open to each other as well, to be able to talk about things and bring things up that we probably weren't able to do before.

Uh, and I think just creates a lot more calmness and peacefulness and happiness at home.

Matt: yeah, yeah. It's interesting, isn't it? Because at times like this, I find, um, they're a great opportunity to recalibrate a lot of things. You don't, you don't enjoy them, um, but you can grow through what you go through. I think it's, I mean, that's my, I use that phrase all the time. I've probably stolen it from somewhere, Monica, but you can grow through what you go through.

Um, now when we were chatting. Last time, uh, I put it in my notes here because I thought it was a really interesting phrase. You said your husband is an Indian Indian, uh, and burnout is hard for an Indian [00:24:00] man to take.

Monica: You're not grown up with that. You literally, you grow up with the grind of working and it starts from school. We were in India this summer and I saw our friends kids, same age as my daughters, and how they're having to study what time they get up to go to school at like 5. 30am. I'm like, are you kidding me?

The grind starts early and you have to keep up in that society. Even if the parents don't want to do that, they're like, but if we don't do that with them, they'll be left behind just because that's how the society there works.

Matt: yeah.

Monica: So, it was, that's, that's what you do, and it's a very hierarchical society, so you don't say no to people older than you, people who are in a higher position than you, you, that's how we are, even to some extent, I'm raised from the home front, I'm raised with that a bit as well, uh, so, for me to get help would probably take, always take longer than somebody else here, but for him, it was even more extreme, like, burnout, like, come on, they're just, you know, people are being weak, you know, that, that feeling, [00:25:00] that's what a lot of Indians think, um, and, It had to reach, I think, that extreme for him to accept it, to see, wait, I'm not okay, and I'm in a country, I am living in a country, which has a great system, where I can stop, take a break from work, and get the help, right, this is, um, and that's where we are blessed and lucky to be in Holland, where that support was there, and his company actually really, really supported him through this process as well, uh, which doesn't happen always either, so, um, yeah,

Matt: So I'm curious, I mean, obviously we've talked about your daughter, talked a little bit about your husband. I'm not going to ask you too many questions about your husband because I think it's probably his story to tell. Um, but it's. How, how are you in this? Because you, the phrase you use is you're trying to hold everything together.

So your daughter is depressed, she's struggling with the racist bullying. That's something you've got to sort out. Your husband is in extreme burnout. Um, he's not, he's [00:26:00] not had his year off yet and you know, he's still got several months to sleep it all off. You're changing schools. You're, you're, you're running your own company.

Um, it, it strikes me as a lot to carry.

Monica: Yeah, I had a younger one as well. So, uh, and

Matt: Two kids. Yeah. Yeah.

Monica: COVID, homeschooling, add everything in. Um, how was I handling it? I think I was just doing what was needed to be done. Um, I think when you're in that situation, you just go with it. And I think initially I used to be a person who was always trying to fix things.

I'm this, I want to find the solutions. I want to make it better. And, uh, and my learning process has been to sometimes just accept things. It's been a real learning process, and sometimes still is, to accept things for how they are, what they are, and the process that everybody is going through in their own little lives, and I can't fix everything for everyone.

And I shouldn't have to, I shouldn't want to, like, I'm not my daughter's therapist, I'm not my husband's therapist, um, [00:27:00] I am the mom, I'm the wife, I'm the friend, um, you know, um. But I was just going through the motions doing what needed to be done, but it did mean that my business got affected as well, which affects also, again, you know, certain financial situation at home and adds a layer of stress.

Um, so it was like you said, constantly piling on. So I did what I needed to do. And then I reached a point where we were on holiday last summer where I actually had a full on panic attack. And uh, this was. More than halfway through my husband's burnout leave. So he was already in a better position as well.

And, uh, this happened in a cab in the us uh, one of those yellow cabs, which was really like small and small windows. This was one of the older ones. I couldn't open the window and he was in the front and there was a glass behind us. I couldn't even get his help. My kids were there and freaking out, seeing me freak out.

So I knew I had to get it into, I had to get into, you know, myself into control just for my kids at that time. Um, and then he was also like, okay, get help. [00:28:00] And I was like, I need help. And I also realized that I had probably smaller episodes of this that I never recognized as a panic


Matt: Mm.

Monica: because it's not like you see in the movies or a series, it's very different.

It can just be a fear or something inside of you. But after that, I came back that holiday and I took help. I realized, okay, no, wait, I can't do this. I can't continue like this. I need to take care of myself now as well. And yeah, so that's, I think the effect of everything around that was happening for a couple of years as well.

Uh, but probably also, like you said, you know, unresolved issues as well, you know, growing up, there are a lot of things all the time. Um, so I took a couple of months, three, four months of help, end of last year.

Matt: Fantastic. So help, um, I'm assuming means counseling. You talked about your

Monica: Yeah, counselling, so yeah, but I choose a slightly, I love a bit of the alternative, so I do, somebody who's a proper expert, licensed, But at the same time uses a bit of counseling you with [00:29:00] a bit of energy therapy in it as well is something that speaks to me. So, uh, I found something that works for me. Um, so I think each one of us have gone through what works for us.

We've not all gone for the same type of help as well. So it's also learned that we're individuals and need things done differently. Um, so yeah, so, uh, but I, yes, I took counseling and therapy.

Matt: Fantastic, it's always good to go and get some therapy I feel,

Monica: Yeah.

Matt: it's, it's, it's fascinating because therapy for me growing up was my mum in the, because my mum was also a single mum, I saw my dad once a week, my parents got divorced, which was still uncommon even back in the 80s, it wasn't a common thing.

And um, so my mum's way to do therapy for me and John, because she was working all the time, uh, was she hung a punch bag up in the garage, uh, and she was like, just go leather the crap out of that punch bag and you'll feel better. So that was, that was how we did therapy growing up. We just hit, hit the bag until it hurt.

[00:30:00] Yeah.

Monica: where, uh, or us as well, where sometimes you feel like doing that and I'm like, okay, so maybe it's good. She needs to let it out. Let's punch the cushion. After a few times, I started realizing actually that was a way of hiding what was happening underneath and what she needed to do was sit down and accept the emotions and just cry it out.

Um, so I think we've been doing a lot of crying out, each one of us in our own way. Um, I think, uh, the major turning point for me happened actually this summer. Um, I told you a little bit, I think, before the podcast, we went on holiday, we're traveling in India, we're up in the mountains in Ladakh, in the northernmost state of India, some of the highest motorable roads in the world.

You're driving up those mountains, and you're getting closer and closer to those peaks, snow topped mountains, and I've heard nature is healing. I never understood it till this summer. The energy I felt, the shift I felt inside of me, and I think we all felt it, and maybe it's also because we've been through a lot and we've all taken the help, [00:31:00] but the shift we felt this summer was huge, and I came back feeling so much lighter.

Like, I finally feel like we We exited that tunnel before, you know, you could see the light, we're reaching the end, but no, now I'm like standing in this ray of sunshine or something, but, um, this huge shift and this peace and happiness I found within, um, it's so hard to describe, uh, but it was like this spirit, like this kind of just energy that you felt up there in the mountains, um, and that, that was, that was incredible.

Matt: fantastic, and you all, uh, sort of receive that up on the mountaintop.

Monica: It did. I think we've been talking about that a lot, uh, since we were back, like all of us in some way or the other between the four of us just felt that incredible shifts happen.

Matt: fantastic, fantastic, and you're right, there is something super powerful about going out in nature, uh, and walking in the hills. I, pfft, the hills and water, I'm either at the beach or I'm in the hills, uh, the two sort of places where my soul just [00:32:00] can delight and find rest, and you're just like, oh. Yeah, you communing, I think for me, I, the, how would I phrase it?

I commune better with the divine either on the beach or in the mountains and, um, and it's just a wonderful place to be. So whilst we're on that topic, uh, Monica, beautiful segue, I might hasten to add, which was totally unscripted. How do you, how do you take care of yourself? How do you fill your tank? I mean, obviously you've, you've talked about the counseling and how that's been necessary during this season.

Um, what are some of the other things that you do?

Monica: So I think it's now the small things in life. It's nothing huge, but it's. Taking that time to rest. If I feel my body's tired, lying down for 15 minutes during the day. Um, taking a book and reading. I love reading and I love reading absolutely nonsense fiction. Uh, more, you know, chiclets and romantic reads that are [00:33:00] brainless, like I don't need to think about.

I love those and that's my kind of getaway. Like, let me, I can indulge in those. Um, I love dancing, that fuels, that feeds my soul, like, I was dancing in the middle of this holiday on this place we were staying, somebody played some good music, I just started dancing, and I hadn't done that for a long time, um, making sure I get enough sleep, eating healthy, it's, it's really the small things, and I really, before the summer, I also started an exercise routine, um, so just picking up the small things, but also just Especially just allowing the rest when I'm feeling tired, and I think that was the biggest learning as well.

You're tired, your body feels tired, stop, don't try to keep pushing through, there's no point, uh, and I think that feeds me more than anything, and then all the other things as in when, you know, I'm still have two kids and trying to work and doing everything, so I can't do everything at the same time, but you know, picking and choosing from all these different things.

Matt: wow, okay. The [00:34:00] um, what books are you reading at the moment?

Monica: So, I actually just finished, uh, one, um, what was it called again? I finished Essentialism from a business book point of view, and there

Matt: book, yeah, great book.

Monica: The Happy Place by Emily Henry was, uh, one of those chicklets.

Matt: Chiclets, The Happy Place,

okay, the Chiclets. I, I, I have to be honest, I've read Essentialism, I have not read a Chiclet. Um,

Monica: sure.

Matt: I'm more of a Jack Reacher guy.

Monica: yeah, no, one business book, and then I'll probably have gone through five of these other fiction books before I pick up a book. Business book again. I, I've also stopped forcing myself to do that, you know, sometimes in your own business world, online world, everybody's like, read these.


Matt: Oh yeah, it's fascinating, isn't it? Yeah,

Monica: And sometimes I need to read a bit and I'll be reading a fiction book throughout that, um, as well. Yeah.

Matt: Yeah, it really fascinates me how in the business corporate world, it's like a [00:35:00] kudos, it's like, how many books can I read in a year? I've read 50 books! And you're just like, I've done that, I've gone back to, and the trouble is, you don't have time to assimilate or, put into practice anything you've learned because you've gone from one book to the next to that, and by the time you've read the third one, you can't remember what was in the first one.

Monica: I know,

Matt: It's, uh, it's bonkers, which is why I'm very great. One of the books I'm reading at the moment, um, is, uh, Para by Tiago Forte. I'd read his first one called Building a Second Brain. Um, which is a great book in terms of, I've got all these notes on Kindle, you know, from all the books that I've read. It's like, how do I store this and how do I access this?

So building a second brain was very useful, uh, which means I can now access a whole bunch of that stuff very quickly, which is very, very good. Um, but yeah, and dancing. Do you do the kind of dancing that embarrasses your kids or do they join in?

Monica: Both. It depends on the mood they're in. [00:36:00] So, I think one of the things, it took me a while to learn to say this, but I am a good dancer. So, overall, they don't get as embarrassed with me as maybe sometimes other parents. But, or like if their dad does it, they're more embarrassed. But, obviously, if I don't do it, they're more

Matt: Oh yeah.

Monica: If I get up in front, like in the middle of the holiday, I was dancing, they loved it. Uh, but if I'm in front of their friends and doing it, then they'll be like, Mom, hold back.

Matt: What do you

Monica: it depends. It depends where I am,

Matt: Okay. Yep.

Monica: or how to take it. Yeah.

Matt: That fair play. Keep dancing. Keep on dancing. Um, and what does the future look like Monica? What does more look like for you?

Monica: More is actually less. Um, I realized that after these holidays, I think what I'm really trying to do is figure out how I'm taking my business forward and how I'm going to go with that. Um, you know, I'm, I do customer brand and marketing strategy, and it's a lot about going back to those fundamentals in life, actually.

But it's just fundamentals for your business. But I've realized that [00:37:00] sometimes I hold back. I think, you know, like, on the things I want to say, still thinking about, you know, staying within the business realm, but there's so much around it. And like, like we did today, there's so much more I would love to talk about and bring about and somehow finding to I think, bringing more of myself into it and marrying that.

So I'm just trying to figure out on In those terms of how I can do more of that. So it won't change much of what I do, but maybe how I talk about it, uh, is where I am. My mind has been spinning since I've been back. So, um, but also trying to do, you know, trying to do less, not trying to do too much at the same time.

Matt: Mm.

Monica: I think I have a few good offers and just focusing on that, helping. I love working with clients one on one still, and, uh, love to continue doing that. Um, and then just figuring out how am I going to bring myself. Into it all, a lot more.

Matt: Yeah. No, it sounds wonderful. I always did this thing. I don't know, Monica, if you're the same as me. Whenever I'd go away on holiday, I'd come back. Uh, from an extended time [00:38:00] away, just with 27, 000 good ideas, right? And the guys in the office, the team, would, uh, I found out several years later, would always be in dread, uh, of Matt coming back, because there would be this whirlwind, just, and I didn't even think about it, because I was so excited, and I had all these things, and I'm like, we'll do this, and we'll go take that hill, and then we're going to do this, and I'll, you know, and, and you see him sitting there going, oh lord,

Monica: No, I know.

Matt: what is going on?

Monica: day where I didn't come back with any new ideas. It was actually like, I really shut down from work and that's what I loved about it. I just came back and like, well, what I have is good. I just need to bring myself more into it. How can I do that? That's the only thought thought I had, but beyond that, no new, like 10 offers and 10 ideas and 10 things.

Uh, for once I shut down and I think that was good. I think I needed that.

Matt: No, absolutely. I'm with you because again, this year I was, um, I take August off. Um, it's the second year I've managed to take the whole entire month of [00:39:00] August off. And this year, um, it didn't happen like, I mean, last year's. I call it the sabbatical, but last year's sabbatical was good. This year's sabbatical was, in a way, a lot better because I didn't think about work.

I, like you, for the first time, you know, as far back as I can remember, managed to shut down, and I didn't come back with the 27, 000 ideas. The office was just really calm. I was like So guys, tell me what's going on. And they're like, you are, we're braced for impact, Matt, and you'll just come back super chill.

Um, and so it's just fascinating. And I, I'm with you. I, I'm like, I would like to replicate this again next year. It seems to be a little bit more, um, a little bit more, to be fair, I've had a few good ideas since, uh, getting back, uh, back to my normal sort of, uh, modus operandi, but, um, yeah, highly recommend that, do that again. Right, Monica, I've slammed down the question box. I'm going to [00:40:00] flick through the questions. Uh, you're going to tell me when to stop, whenever you say stop, that's the question we're going to ask. Okay. Oh, I've got them all back to front. There we go. Let's, in fact, let's do that again, because I can't remember what question it was, I got confused, so let's do that again, okay, right, let's go there,

okay, interesting question, Are you reluctant or open to bringing together people from different parts of your life?

Monica: I'm very open. I

Matt: Okay, in what way? Let's expand on that a little bit. Yeah,

Monica: a few. Close friends from each step of my life, and I'd actually love to introduce them together, and for me those are the different closest people, so it's not like I have these big groups from different places, just a [00:41:00] few close, one or two really good friends still from school, one or two from university, one or two from a life right now, um, and I'd actually love to see that come together sometime, and have them all together in one room.

I think we're all spread out as well around the world, so it's not easy,

Matt: yeah, yeah,

Monica: but I'd love to do that. And I'd love to see how that, actually, how that goes.

Matt: yeah, yeah, see how that would work, very fascinating. We um, we've got quite an open house policy here, so a house is always busy, it's always got people in. People come and go all the time. We, we've had, Sharon and I, my wife and I, we've had lodges ever since we've been married. Um, and so we've got three people living with us at the moment, three lodges, plus my boys are back from uni, plus Zoe's home.

Um. And it's just really, so we're constantly like most Saturdays, um, like this Saturday, I was out, I was barbecuing, put a load of stuff on the barbecue, got it on the table. Um, and we had what, [00:42:00] 10, 11 people around the table. I don't know. We do that quite a lot. And so it's, I love this because it's always different people around the table, always talking to different people.

Uh, and I, I find it all quite fascinating. So yeah, I'm a bit like you on that.

Monica: may be raised, I mean born and raised in Holland, but an Indian family, so we always have people around as well, so that it's part of a culture, you never say no, people can walk in any

Matt: Yeah.

Monica: gonna feed them no matter what time it is, uh, and I get a lot of energy from talking and being around people, so, yeah,

Matt: Now, some of the, um, one of the things I think the West is missing at the moment in terms of the way the culture has gone is it's become more and more isolated. And so I am always in admiration of cultures like India where there is still this communal it takes a village to raise a kid kind of thing.

Everyone's sort of still In some respects, it's not good to be in each other's business, but in a lot of ways, you're still doing life together. [00:43:00] You're still around the table. You're still doing food. And I, I love that aspect about our life that we have an open table.

Monica: yeah.

Matt: some very good friends, um, from India.

He, they've been in the UK while their kids are friends with my kids. They're absolutely, their kids are just awesome. Some of the funnies, anyway, but we were around their house. Um. For dinner, uh, just, I remember the first time we went around, we're hearing their story in arranged marriage. He's slightly younger than me, and so I couldn't get my head around the fact that they'd had an arranged marriage, but they really liked each other, you know, and it just was working really well.

Lovely couple who cooked the most amazing food. I mean, just. And so, um, Julie, uh, who made this, um. Mango Lassie. That Mango Lassie then became the stuff of legends and she would drop it off around the house for the kids and they just absolutely adored it. It was great. Oh, wonderful.

Monica: Yeah, well,

Matt: Wonderful. [00:44:00] Listen, Monica, it has been great chatting to you.

Uh, I've loved every minute. Um, if people want to reach out, if they want to connect with you, find out more about. And what you're doing, maybe they need a, you know, some help with some branding or whatever's going on. How would they reach out to you? How would they connect?

Monica: you can check my website, obviously, businesswithmonica. com. You'll find me under the same name on Instagram and connect with me on LinkedIn, Monica Sharma-Patnekar, and then you can find my email address there as well and just, uh, drop me an email and happy to get on a call and chat.

Matt: Fantastic. Are you a bit of an Instagram lady or do you like the old gram or do you just do it because it's a work thing?

Monica: Uh, I like it, but that's what I realized I was doing it too much with. Only the work part and I think I want to bring more of myself into it again. I think I, I let it go for a little bit, but, um, I love, I love talking. So I love doing videos. I love doing podcasts. So that's how I, I do get [00:45:00] energized through that.

Matt: Yeah, no doubt. You should definitely start your own podcast then because you just talk to people all day every day. I think I've got like four or five interviews to do today. It's awesome. Love my job. It's just awesome. Uh, listen, uh, we will of course link to Monica's information, including her Instagram in the show notes.

Uh, which you can get along for free with the transcript at pushtobemore. com. And of course, if you've signed up to the newsletter and why would you not have signed up to the newsletter that will be coming to your inbox. Uh, Monica, thank you so much for joining me yet again on another podcast. Uh, loved this conversation and great to hear about, uh, coming out of the other side of the tunnel as you climbed the mountain.

Uh, I, I love that.

Monica: Yeah. Thank you for having me on and for having this conversation.

Matt: Ah, it's been great. It's been great. Well, that's a wrap on another fab conversation. A massive round of applause. Uh, in fact, I need to do this, don't I? Hang on. A massive round of applause. Yes, for Monica for joining us. [00:46:00] I really need to learn how to fade. Hang on. Let me do this. A massive round of applause, uh, for Monica.

There we go. Faded in now. It's much better. Much more professional. Also huge thanks to today's champion sponsor, Aurion Media. For all you change makers out there like Monica, thinking of starting your own podcast, do get in touch with them. It's definitely worth a conversation. Uh, of course you'll find links to them in the show notes, but if you wanna know more, head over to aurion

Now, remember. To keep pushing to be more and don't forget to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts from Because we have got some more seriously compelling conversations lined up And I don't want you to miss any of them and in case no one has told you yet today. Let me be the first You are awesome.

Yes, you are created awesome. It's just a burden You have to bear, Monica has to bear it, I've got to bear it, and you've got to bear it as well. Now, Push To Be More is brought to life by Aurion Media. For [00:47:00] transcripts and show notes, swing on by the website, pushtobemore. com. Big kudos to the team that makes this show possible, including the legendary Sadaf Beynon and Tonya Hutsuliak.

And also a shout out to Josh Edmundson for our incredible theme music. That's it from me, that's it from Monica. Thank you so much for joining us. Have an awesome week. I'll catch you on the flip side. Until then, keep pushing and bye for now.