On the 10th episode of my podcast, I got to interview Mona Motwani, a human rights attorney turned entrepreneur. This episode is very special to me. Though we talk about her transition from non-profit lawyer to entrepreneur, it is her story about survival and perseverance of overcoming lyme disease that took centre stage.
Mona was diagnosed with lyme disease in 2008, but her health had already taken a spin for the worst as of 2005. By 2007, she could barely function even to walk to the bathroom, and had to quit her job as a human rights attorney.
Eight years of being bedridden and needing the support of others to help her with basic day to day like eating and going to the bathroom was a huge change for someone like Mona, whose type A personality never gave her permission to ask for help, as she was the person that dedicated her life at the time to helping others in need with her career.
Mona’s journey is an amazing one that offered her a platform to learn how to ask for help, which I’m sure you can relate if that’s been difficult for you (me included), and a testament in how strong the human spirit can be when tragedy strikes.
I am so honoured to get the chance to speak to Mona about how she used what could’ve been a traumatic time for her, to spring her into the acceptance of who she really is, and the strengths to do what she does today.
Episode 10 | Special Guest Mona Motwani
In this episode:
- How she overcame eight years with Lyme Disease
- The contrast between her life before as a human rights lawyer and now as an entrepreneur and environmental activist
- Learning how to ask others for help
- Changing her perspective from her type A personality to one more accepting of imperfection
- Balancing heart and brain and following her gut and intuition
- How she serendipitously ended up learning about and launching a successful e-commerce business
- For the philanthropists and not for profit type people: How to pick between making money and being able to giving back
Memorable Podcast Snippets:
“So, if somebody told me this is where I would’ve been 10 years ago, I would’ve laughed in their face because I never imagined my life showing up like this and it’s amazing. I was a lawyer. I was really passionate about human rights. I was really passionate about environmental issues. That’s why I went to law school.
But the transition for me was kind of a violent one. I became very ill a couple of years after being a lawyer and such that I was basically bed-ridden and in and out of a wheelchair and not able to really function or do anything for 8 years. So, it was sort of a halt. And though I loved what I was doing, I was always in debt. I was working at the UN or non-profits and I was being paid very little and working really hard with a lot of law school debt.
And with hindsight, I realized that path was too confrontational for me to be a lawyer but, what caused the turning point, honestly was this illness, Lyme Disease.
That changed my life in a way that I won’t go into, that’s for another time. But, without that, I wouldn’t have moved to Bali. Without that, I wouldn’t have completely changed my life in many ways.”
“I didn’t actually think my needs were important at all. I was a human rights lawyer and my goal was to help other people as my sacrifice. My mom told me, ‘Mona, you’re not actually able to make money.’ I wasn’t able to sustain, to live by myself.
I was constantly borrowing money and in debt. And I thought that that was actually noble. She told me, ‘But you can’t take care of yourself, so how are you going to take care of other people?’
And I said, ‘That’s ridiculous, I’m taking care of other people. I’m helping people,’ but to be honest, I learned you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others and part of that is the self care.
Part of that is not being selfish but actually taking care of my needs first instead of putting every single person before me. “
“Really follow your intuition. To develop the capacity to listen to your heart and your brain, not just your brain.
Because we in the western world, truly seem to only listen to the brain and I’m not saying one is better than the other but really listen to you heart and listen to your intuition.
Be open to the fact that things may not show up exactly how you perceived that they would and that is okay and maybe even better.”
Resources listed on the show:
Learn more and get in touch with Mona:
Nidra Goods Website: https://www.nidragoods.com/
Nidra Goods Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nidragoods
Mona’s Website: https://www.monamotwani.com/
Mona’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/HealthyMona
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