Earlier this year, Shivani Gopal shared with me the process of how she left an arranged marriage, and one of the key things that helped her become confidently independent.
“In fighting for my own freedom and independence and wanting to live my own life, I thought I’d lose my family, community and friends,” she told me. “The one thing that got me through and gave me my freedom was that I was already financial secure. Financial planning was my trade. I had made some investments, and I had a decent wage.”
The idea of financial security has since gone on to direct her career choices and ambitions, including as she furthered her career in finance, launched a startup while still working full-time, and then this year left her secure position to work on her business full-time. It was her personal experience that saw financial security for women become a key career purpose, and sharing her story helps her articulate why.
Now, as she’s preparing to bring four women on to a stage in Sydney next week to share their own story and offer some great career advice to those attending, I asked Shivani how opening up about her personal experiences has ultimately also aided her confidence, and therefore some of the things she’s doing in her career.
“What it’s done for me is give me a great heightened sense of courage and fearlessness, which I’ve driven into my sense of purpose, to be fearless in a pursuit of a greater tomorrow,” she says.
“No matter what challenge that comes up in the business, I see it as me putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. I know I have survived something before and I can survive this too.”
Shivani’s startup is The Remarkable Woman, a platform offering online courses, training and other resources for women, as well as discounts for members shopping at a number of stores. The event she’s running next week will feature four women giving personal accounts of how they’ve accelerated their careers, including Georgie Herb, Ilde Naismith-Beeley, Katie Glenn and Kate Berry.
Shivani believes there’s significant power in women sharing stories with each other, and says it can help offer the courage and inspiration you need to take the next step in your own career. Also, she says it reminds us that there’s no shame in failure or setbacks, as everyone has experienced some form of it or other. What matters is how you bounce back.
Also, she believes it’s game-changing to hear other women talking about ambition. “It helps get past this myth that ambition is a ‘dirty word’ for women. If we can talk about it out loud, scream it from the rooftops if necessary, it’ll help us self-actualise and get closer to our goals.”
“That then encourages other women to talk about their goals.”
See more on the event here.