This week, we’re joined by Dr. Neeta Bhushan, a social entrepreneur, best-selling author, international speaker, leadership coach and the advocate of emotional health.

Neeta is a former cosmetic dentist. Facing adversity and tragedy throughout her teenage years pushed her into a position of having to fight for herself and her family. After major successes in her education and early career, Neeta quickly found herself in the position of owning a million-dollar practice. However, after years of giving everything she had to create the perfect life, she became emotionally drained and burnt out, stuck in a job she didn’t find fulfilling and in an abusive, poisonous relationship.

Neeta sold her practice and went on a journey to find herself. She has traveled the world, visiting 45 countries across 15 years, all the while getting immersed in the field of behavioral psychology. Her intent was to better understand her own personal journey of fighting off adversity and gain insight into the mechanisms which helped her establish herself as a strong, resilient human being. On her journey, she met her partner and soulmate Ajit Nawalkha, who has also appeared as a guest on our show.

She had consolidated her collective life experiences and knowledge into a book titled “Emotional GRIT”. In this book, Neeta explores different causes of frustration and burnout, potential solutions for these problems, as well as the notion of emotional resilience and instructions on how to obtain and strengthen it.

From burnout to inner peace, from emotional numbness to mindfulness, Neeta’s story of serving love is an inspiration to us all.

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Neeta’s Story of Rising Through Tragedy and Adversity

Neeta was raised in a loving and nurturing family, but sadly, she had grown up in dealing with losing them. When she was 16 she lost her mother. At 17 she lost her brother, and at 19 her father passed away, leaving her with immense tragedy and the responsibility of raising and providing for a younger brother. She quickly transitioned from the role of a child to the role of a parent, investing all her energy into her education and career development.

Getting a doctorate and building a million-dollar practice was easy, in her own words, but there was more to the life that from the outside looked picture perfect. On the inside, Neeta was struggling. Putting up a strong face for her brother and the rest of her family was a mere mask for hiding the emotional numbness she felt, as a result of being in a toxic relationship and working at a job she didn’t find fulfilling.

“From the outside, everything looked picture-perfect, but from the inside, I was spiritually dead, emotionally dead, and just burnt out.” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan

She ended up selling her practice, leaving her abusive husband and embarked on a self-searching journey. Traveling all over the world she had discovered a new purpose. Neeta started exploring the world of human behavior and used her very own experiences with adversity to develop a system for transformation and strengthening your resilience. After taking care of herself, she found new fulfillment in helping others and serving love.

“In order to serve others, you need to serve yourself first.” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan

What is GRIT?

“Grit is really the tenacity to stick with something, even when it is challenging, even when it is tough.” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan

Neeta’s teachings are based on the concepts of awareness, compassion, empathy, and happiness. She is aiming to help others build their emotional intelligence and strengthen their own resilience muscle for dealing with adversity, tragedy, and loss.

She uses GRIT as an acronym which represents the transformation process and contains 4 major stages:

  1. Growth – understanding the importance of your own awareness and your ability to self-reflect
  2. Revelation – making peace with your past mistakes, and accept the fears & past stories that have held you back to cultivate self-belief
  3. Innovation – making the commitment to embrace change and challenge your thinking from a different perspective and be open to opportunities
  4. Transformation –  taking the right steps and full action to design the new leadership of your life.

It is through these 4 stages that we achieve self-improvement. They do not happen overnight, and they are not a one-time occurrence. It is a pattern of self-acceptance and empowerment which continuously repeats itself on our way to self-actualization and becoming more fulfilled.

“It’s cyclical. You never stop growing, you never stop within the cycle, you never stop within the seasons of life.” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan

But before you’re able to get involved with the process of transformation, there is a single condition you need to satisfy and that is to be open to change. In order to truly make meaningful modifications in our behavior, we need to be willing, ready and inviting in terms of changing.

“If you are building your EQ or your self-awareness, the first part is to be open for growth.” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan

Keep It Lighthearted

“When things get tough in life when stressors come up, when challenges come up, when adversity rises if we take ourselves way too seriously, we’re just going to burst.” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan

Having experienced great amounts of stress caused by either tragedy, adversity or overworking herself, Neeta emphasizes the necessity of having a cheerful, lighthearted approach to life. When things get tough, especially in the corporate sense, we need to be able to know when to take a step back, get out of our heads and realize that not everything is as serious as it seems. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re stressing out about a meeting or giving an important lecture in front of a large crowd, it’s important to take things as they go and not to give in to our fears and let them take over us.

The problem is that money has been a huge part of our culture in terms of values. But aside from its practical use, money can’t be a substitute for the things we truly need and yearn for in life. Love, happiness, fulfillment, finding your true purpose… You simply can’t put a price tag on some things in life.

“The success parameter has always been around how much do you make, and nobody really talks about the success being – happiness.” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan

Fear as a Key Obstacle

“You are your biggest block. So if you are your biggest block always, in starting new things, and doing new things, in getting things done, then you will have to surrender to whatever that fear is in order to be open to growing.” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan

Fear is an essential emotional aspect of life. During our formative years, it has a very useful function in teaching us to avoid certain obvious threats we may face. The problem is as we grow older and become more socialized, the list of things we define as threats becomes longer and longer. Some fears are caused by specific social situations, but more often than not, fear comes from imagining what might go wrong. Not completing a certain task, not achieving your goal, not being accepted by others… Those anxious thoughts are created within ourselves by ourselves, and we need to recognize and face them. In her book, Neeta also points out ways to detect these fear patterns and calls us to act in spite of them in search for acceptance.

“When you’re actually open to those fears, and you take action anyway, then you’re able to accept your current reality.” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan

Transformation and Serving Love

Themes of transformation and serving love keep reappearing throughout the conversation. Through her own personal experience, Neeta has come to a realization that the true way of achieving happiness is through love and caring for others. She continues to help others by guiding them through the process of recognizing their own true values, accepting their true selves, strengthening their resilience and opening themselves to change.

“There are aspects of yourself that are willing to be birthed right now. And what does that transformation look like for you?” – Dr. Neeta Bhushan