Neerja Birla EXCLUSIVE on switching roles, influence on her children and financial decisions
A successful business woman, an ever-present support to her children and a role model to millions - Neerja Birla believes that people should not think much about switching between roles as it often creates compartmentalisation which can lead to stress. Instead, she has adopted a fluid approach where she takes one step at a time.
Neerja Birla Interview: A successful business woman, an ever-present support to her children and a role model to millions - Neerja Birla believes that people should not think much about switching between roles as it often creates compartmentalisation which can lead to stress. Instead, she has adopted a fluid approach where she takes one step at a time. In an exclusive interview with Zee Business Online, Birla talked about how she manages her personal and professional life and also, what role she plays in the lives of her children - Ananya, Aryaman and Advaitesha. And, while she has her foot in many boats, it is the role of a mother that is closest to her heart.
"While my role as a mother is the one closest to my heart, I am very passionate about the work that I do with mental health, and children’s education. I think the concept of “switching” between roles creates a sort of compartmentalisation that can cause stress because life does not fit into neat little compartments. Instead, I prefer a more fluid approach, where I prioritise tasks and goals on a day-to-day basis and do them one at a time," she said.
Birla believes that this approach allows her to focus on the task in hand and deliver her best before moving on to the next thing. "Most importantly, I make sure to make room for some ‘me-time’ for recharging and self-care," she added.
Her daughter Ananya Birla, 24, is a singer, entrepreneur, mental health awareness campaigner. In 2016, she signed with Universal Music India and released her debut single - Livin The Life. The following year, she released her second single 'Meant To Be' and is the first Indian artist with the English language single to go platinum.
— Neerja Birla (@NeerjaBirla) October 16, 2017
Aryaman, on the other hand, took a different path altogether and decided to grind himself on the cricketing field. The 21-year-old batsman left his home town to represent Madhya Pradesh in first-class cricket, a team he continues to play for. He was also picked by Rajasthan Royals in 2018 IPL auction.
These achievements make Neerja a proud mother who stands beside her children at every step.
"As a parent, I have always tried to instil a sense of independence in my children and to make them capable of following their own paths. As I see each milestone they achieve, I do feel proud of the choices they make and the drive with which they tackle their goals. There’s no scepticism at all – their success and their setbacks are theirs to claim, and as their mother, I will be beside them every step of the way, supporting and helping them," she said.
While she is always there for her kids, Neerja makes sure that they take their own decisions.
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"Instead of telling them what to do and expecting them to follow our advice blindly, we have discussions where they share their plans and ideas, one serves to be sounding boards for them. I offer them my views and thoughts, pros and cons but ultimately, they make a choice for themselves," she said.
Currently, she is the founder of MPower, a mental health awareness initiative on Indian turf, Chairperson of the Aditya Birla World Academy, powers The Aditya Birla Integrated School and is also associated with several philanthropic causes. Last month, Mpower organised the fourth edition of Ride to Mpower, a cycle ride to create awareness and stamp out the stigma associated with mental health illnesses. The event saw more than 1700 cyclists and fitness champions lend their support towards this critical cause as they cycled through the streets of Mumbai.
While managing business is one thing, Birla believes it is equally important to have the knowledge of handling personal finances. "While you can have financial advisors who have their own fields of expertise and knowledge, I think it’s important for everyone, especially women, to have a good understanding of the basics of handling personal finances," she said.
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