ANCHELAA THIRU | MIND OVER MATTER
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, UNDERTAKINGS, AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
As a child, I was restless, curious and a big dreamer. Even at a young age, I envisioned myself in a power suit and heels. I’m not sure where I even got that idea from but I pictured myself as a boss. As I grew older I struggled to fit in and find my identity. I gave in to the life that my parents wanted for me; go to school and get a good job. As the years escaped me I found myself feeling claustrophobic and constantly daydreaming of the life I desired. Freedom to travel, freedom to make my own schedule, be of service and help others, and most importantly, be my own boss. These things I knew for certain but I just didn’t know what that entailed or how I would make it happen. My last couple of years in the corporate world were spent working in the project management field; it consisted of early mornings and working after-hours, long commutes, and mental exhaustion. Needless to say, I was unhappy, unfulfilled, and burnt out. It was on a 3-week vacation to Thailand that I made the final decision to leave the 9-5 once and for all and pursue my passion and purpose. Fast forward 15+ challenging years and I am now a certified neuro-coach, mental health advocate, and therapist in the making dedicated to transforming lives one soul at a time. After a successful transition out of the 9-5 grind, I have cultivated an exciting lifestyle that is fulfilling, joyful, and most importantly PURPOSEFUL! But it didn’t come easy – I had to do the difficult work of facing my deepest fears, working through past trauma, investing my time and money into coaches, courses, seminars and books so I can step into my full potential. Most times the path was unclear but I wasn’t ready to go back to my old life, in fact, I didn’t give myself a Plan B. There was only Plan A; which meant that I had no safety net, this was my only option and I was determined to make it work.
After leaving the comfort of my 9-5, I went on to get certified as a yoga instructor, a reiki practitioner, life coach, neuro coach, and I am now pursuing my master’s in psychology. I also offer my time to the Canadian Mental Health Association as an ambassador to bring awareness and help break the stigma around mental health. I have taken both the Mental Health First Aid training as well as ASIST (applied suicide intervention skills training).
WHAT CAN THE COMMUNITY EXPECT FROM YOU IN THE UPCOMING FUTURE?
Many don’t know this but I am back in school pursuing a Masters in Psychology. Once I complete this I will be trained as a psychotherapist and will be able to extend my services to include therapy. I am really excited about this because it will allow me to help my future clients in a significant way by combining both therapy and coaching. Therapy was one of the tools I used to help myself heal from PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Aside from that, I am also working on my first book which will be coming out early next year. I am really excited about this and to be able to finally share my story with the world. In the next few weeks, my group coaching program The Awakened Woman Academy will be starting so stay tuned for dates! It’s a 6-week online group coaching experience for the ambitious woman who wants to heal mentally, emotionally, and spiritually so she can show up with confidence, courage, and clarity. The first launch was extremely successful so I’m really looking forward to working with the next group of amazing women and helping them transform.
SOMETIMES WE NEED A BREAK WITH THE AWESOME THINGS WE ARE DOING. WHAT DO YOU DO ON YOUR SPARE TIME?
Now that it’s been a few years since leaving the corporate world and becoming my own boss I think I have a pretty good handle on balancing work and play. To be honest, work doesn’t feel like work most of the time so that helps a lot! I like to consider myself an ambivert with strong introvert tendencies so during my spare time you can find me doing solo activities or just laying low with family and friends. I like to go for hikes, read a book (mostly self-help), learn a new recipe, walk over to the private beach behind my condo with a good book and cup of coffee, spend time with my niece, or explore restaurants with my girlfriends. I try to be intentional in everything I do; if it isn’t helping me grow then I won’t give it my attention. I think this is something we can all strive to do. Make time for things that matter and eliminate everything that does not serve you in any way. Life really is short so we can all make better use of our time and energy.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SOME OBSTACLES YOU FACED IN YOUR LIFE? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I experienced depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, and severe anxiety. I know what it’s like to live in a dark place but I also know what it takes to get out of that dark place and live a life of joy, peace, and purpose. For many years I struggled with low self-worth and self-confidence, felt like a prisoner of my own mind, always felt like I wasn’t good enough or worthy of living the best in life. As a result, I played small, entertained toxic relationships and life was on a permanent upstream trajectory. Aside from that, I struggled in the workforce as a woman and POC to get promotions or to even just be heard or noticed. I worked in a male dominate industry so you can only imagine what that was like for a 20-something woman of color. I remember how hard I had to fight for a raise, to be considered for opportunities, and quite frankly to be taken seriously and not just seen as a pretty face. I had moments where I would break down crying the lady’s room and the minutes later walk out as if nothing was ever wrong. As hard as those times were, I tried my best not to let their decisions dictate my worth or dim my light. And I say try because if I said I never, I’d be lying. There were absolutely times where I felt like giving up or questioned my worth. Every challenge and obstacle we face in life will ONLY make us stronger and wiser. I have trained myself to now face challenges as opportunities to grow and get closer to reaching my full potential. If we can change our perspective then we can make life easier for ourselves.
WE ALL HAVE SOMEONE WE LOOK UP TO. WHO ARE YOUR HEROES? WHY?
My heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things. They are the people who relentlessly advocate for the things that matter even if it means standing alone and being ridiculed. My heroes are the ones who find the courage to live a life that is authentic and true to them even if it doesn’t fit into the cookie-cutter lifestyle that is deemed socially acceptable. My heroes are the people who dedicate their lives to making a positive impact, who aspire to inspire, who fight for change and give unconditionally. They are the people who will go out of their way just to help someone in need and not expect anything back. They are the humble heroes, the ones who go unseen and unheard. These are the people who inspire me daily and motivate me to keep doing what I’m doing. Being of service to others truly is the key to happiness and fulfillment in life. When we give, life gives back to us.
ONE SHOULD NEVER STOP IN THEIR JOURNEY. WHAT ARE YOUR ULTIMATE GOALS?
My goals are forever changing. As I evolve my goals evolve. If I’m being honest, my goals used to be self-centered and materialistic. My goals are now more altruistic and focused on making a positive impact and influencing people to live their lives with purpose and authenticity. I want to lead by example by living an authentic life free of my shadows and limiting beliefs, free of my comfort zones and my deepest darkest fears. My ultimate goal is to reach my highest potential in this lifetime and then teach others how to do the same.
YOU HAVE ALSO CREATED YOURSELF AS A LEADER. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A ONE?
I think a leader is not someone who tells people what to do but rather someone who lives what they preach. You cannot be a teacher if you haven’t been a student first. So to be a leader means to be in the trenches with the people you are leading. To get your hands dirty with them. You lead by example not by telling. You can’t do one thing and then expect others to do what you say and not what they see. Monkey see monkey do, right? A leader is someone who creates an inspiring vision and is able to inspire and motivate others to engage with that vision. To be a leader means being humble, courageous, reliable, and most importantly self-aware. I talk about self-awareness a lot and it’s something I teach all of my coaching clients. Without awareness of self, we will continue to live on auto-pilot in a vortex of denial, fear, and shame.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU PROVIDE SOMEBODY WHO WANTS TO FOLLOW THE SAME PATH AS YOU?
I don’t regret a single decision I have made on my path to becoming a life coach because I know that everything that has happened in my life happened for me. Every decision we make, even the wrong ones, will eventually lead us to where we need to be. So for someone who wants to follow the same path, I would encourage them to follow their heart and to stop second-guessing themselves. If you have a desire and a longing for something, then do it. Because that is your soul’s purpose. I truly believe that the desires we have aren’t accidental. They were placed within us to guide us, they are unique to us and we are meant to fulfill those desires. So if you have a desire to help others and you know you can, do it. But also remember to continue diving deeper into your own personal development because as you learn and grow you will be able to pass those lessons onto others and guide them. Take one small step, complete one small task, and never lose sight of your why. Your WHY is what will get you through those difficult moments when you feel like giving up or you forget why you’re doing this. Embrace your shadows and welcome the challenges with open arms. How we decide to respond to life will make all the difference. As cliche as it sounds, everything we desire really is on the other side of our comfort zone. If I had let my fears, my parents and society dictate how I should live my life then I wouldn’t be where I am today. Only when we learn to embrace our shadows, the darkest parts of ourselves, can we truly begin to live authentically? And this is true self-love.
TO CLOSE…LET’S HAVE A LITTLE FUN. GIVE US THREE TRUTHS AND A LIE. GO!!
- I spent a week on an island with no electricity or hot water.
- I am highly claustrophobic
- I always use a fake name at restaurants
- I can’t fall asleep on airplanes