Episode #102: The Importance of Sharing Your Story with Seema Giri
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Caterina teams up this week with bestselling author, international speaker, and book-writing mentor, Seema Giri, to bring you an empowering episode about finding resilience in the face of devastation and adversity. Seema shares her personal story and how her unexpected life challenges – from being a young Indian woman expected to act a certain way, to growing and losing a seven-figure business with her husband, to serious health challenges – all helped her grow into the successful entrepreneur she is today. The two friends also discuss how every woman has a story inside her waiting to be told, and that our unique stories deserve to be heard!
Seema Giri is a 4x #1 International Bestselling and Award-Winning Author, international speaker, and book-writing mentor. During the pandemic, she launched 4 international bestselling anthologies featuring 50 authors through the Shine Your Brilliance as an Author Program. The books and program position her co-authors as authorities in their field, helping them grow their businesses at a time when it seemed impossible. Seema has trained & mentored 100,000 leaders globally helping them shine their brilliance in business and life.
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Expand Your Fempire Podcast #102 Transcript
The Importance of Sharing Your Story with Seema Giri
Welcome to Expand your Fempire with Caterina Rando, the podcast for women in business on a mission. Sharing ideas to support you to grow and thrive. Now here’s your host, Caterina Rando.
[00:00:00] Caterina Rando: Welcome back to another episode of the Expand Your Fempire Podcast. I’m your host Caterina Rando and I am blissing to be with you today because we have a fabulous, wonderful, super smart, super interesting guest Seema Giri, who is with us today. We’re gonna talk about all kinds of things. Seema, welcome, welcome.
[00:00:51] Seema Giri: Thank you, Caterina, I’m so excited to be here.
[00:00:54] Caterina Rando: Seema, we have known each other for several years now. You are a thriving publisher. You help people get their books done. You help them be Amazon best sellers. You market them through your international summits. You’re doing all kinds of exciting things, which we will get to. Let’s start, though, by hearing a little bit about you and your entrepreneurial journey. How did you get from young gal in India to thriving entrepreneur in America? Give it to me.
[00:01:27] Seema Giri: Sure. So I was born in a honeymoon town called Shimla in the mountains. And when I was five years old I had the opportunity, with my father of course and mom, to come out of India. So we went to Germany first. My father was already there doing his post-doctoral work that he had to do, and my mom and me joined him there. It was one of the best times of my life Caterina, cause I didn’t know the language, but that didn’t bother me. I would talk in Hindi. People would talk in German. We would communicate with sign language and laughter and it was just so much fun. I would just take my bike and go ride. If I got tired I would take the bus, and I would come home at like 10/11 at night. And that didn’t bother me.
[00:02:15] So this was in the seventies, Caterina. This was back when it was called East Germany and West Germany. I was in Berlin. It’s supposed to be a scary time, especially for immigrants like us, but that didn’t bother me. As an extrovert child as I was, I was not fitting the category of how an Indian girl “should be”, you know, quiet and shy, spoken to when spoken to, and I guess that’s how, you know, kids at that time were generally considered anyway.
[00:02:44] So I became this really shy introvert person, couldn’t even talk to the person in the store to ask for any directions or where something would be. And then funny thing, my mom would say “Seema, that’s not how you’re supposed to be.” And I remember thinking “well, I wasn’t, but then, you know, you suggested I’d be this way.” Then I got married in ’92 to a very extroverted person. My husband was a people’s person and his entire family, they were entrepreneurs. There’re six brothers, they’re all lawyers, so they’re all entrepreneurs doing their own thing.
[00:03:16] So after his masters in environmental engineering, we decided to go into business. And at that time, Caterina, I was so risk averse because my side of the family was very risk-averse. They wanted me to get a job, have security, and entrepreneurship did everything the opposite. Still I ventured into it, very reluctantly and hesitantly. And I was like “okay, my husband’s taking the lead and I’m the support person.”
[00:03:42] Caterina Rando: How old are you at the time and what business did you go into?
[00:03:46] Seema Giri: Okay, so at this time, oh gosh, I was 27 years old because I just had my son. So this was after five years of working, five years of being married, just had my son, and we decided to give birth to a company at that time.
[00:04:01] Our first company was called Astroics and it was a project management consulting and training company. We helped fortune 500 companies set up their whole project management methodology so they could deliver their projects within budget and on target. And we also help professionals from IT background, construction background, basically in any field, get their project management certification, which was called PMP.
[00:04:29] So we did the training and we had the opportunity to go back to India, where we had like a headquarter and serviced the world around there. So through that I took care of the entire operations, and my husband focused on the client part with his team and I took care of the entire operations background. So we grew the company to 250 employees and we served, you know, over a hundred thousand people just in the training section. And of course, several hundred companies, from small to large, in almost every industry: construction and IT and telecom and healthcare. You name it, we did it. We were the premier company known for this. We actually even got an award from Project Management Institute for making such a difference in another country and community.
[00:05:19] Caterina Rando: Sounds good! So why did you hang up that company? Or did you sell it?
[00:05:26] Seema Giri: No, we had opportunity twice, Caterina, and twice my husband thought “you know, if we could bring it to this level, we can take it to the next level too.” And so we were like “okay, let’s do this.” But in 2012, my mom got diagnosed with lung cancer. I was living in India, she was in the US, I was going back and forth visiting her, taking care of her.
[00:05:48] And then in 2013, things started going downhill. We had a little late effects of the recession, and then we got into a big contract with Samsung when we were supposed to take content onto their tablet and then have it distributed to children in the villages in rural areas all around. And we put a million dollars of our own into this project. Well, you know how big companies work, one fine day they switched management and they said “you know what? We’re not gonna do this project anymore.” And we lost everything. So mom got lung cancer. I moved back in a heartbeat with my kids to take care of her. As mom was dying, so was the company. Lost mom first, then we lost the business because of that project.
[00:06:34] Caterina Rando: Wow, my friend. That’s big devastating situation which I did not even know about, and you are so resilient. Well, maybe you didn’t feel resilient at the time. Give us the report. How did you get from there to where you are now?
[00:06:49] Seema Giri: Oh my gosh, I had to take some time off and just reflect. I wasn’t expecting to grieve two things. I was the hands-on person with my mom. She was in Maryland. So I moved away with my kids and came back to California, cause this is where my kids liked. And I had to move away from the whole situation because the doctors told me if I don’t stop and pause, I could have a stroke or a heart attack at any time. And I couldn’t afford that with my kids. I was the only one. My husband was still in India trying to reclaim some part of the company and to see if he could grow that again.
[00:07:24] So to save my life, we moved to California and I think that’s when we had met, in one of these networking groups. I was trying to see what else to do. I did not want to go back into the company and try again. There was a nagging voice inside me telling there’s something else that I need to do. So I was trying to discover what that was.
[00:07:44] So I started sharing my story of my recovery from being bedridden with chronic pain, three types of autoimmune disease, to how I healed myself, despite 11 doctors saying it wasn’t possible. And then being better after my son was born and then doctors told me that’s how my life was going to be.
[00:08:01] So people started saying “Seema you need to teach other women how to do this.” I’m like, you know, I didn’t feel I could. Then they reminded me of my success in the previous company and how I was actually coaching my employees, coaching our trainers, coaching the clients. And I never really saw myself in that way, I always saw myself as a support person.
[00:08:22] So I said “okay.” So I started wellness coaching and helping women recover from auto-immune. And this is what happens when you say yes. I had just read a book by Shonda Rhimes who wrote A Year of Yes. And she started saying yes to things that scared her. So I started saying yes to things that scared me.
[00:08:40] And I got the opportunity to co-author a book with Dr. John Gray, who wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and Marci Shimoff and Raymond Aaron. These guys are multiple times New York Times best seller. So I said yes, I was scared to death.
[00:08:56] And I shared my recovery story and that went really well. People really appreciated that. And people started coming and telling me that they have to recover from many different things. And at the same time I was thinking of how can I help these people share their story? And then at the same time, I got opportunity to compile anthologies. When this came up, I was like “you know what? You’re crazy. This is not gonna work. I can’t do this.” Again I said yes, and then 18 months later I have four number one international bestselling authors, took 50 entrepreneurs to become number one international bestselling authors.
[00:09:37] And I think that, Caterina, I was divinely led into what I’m doing today, because there are different aspects and different components, it can get challenging with the different personalities you’re dealing with and the things that comes up for them, it’s been the easiest thing and the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.
[00:09:59] Caterina Rando: Seema, first of all, I love hearing that it’s the most fulfilling thing you’ve ever done. You know, I remember many, many years ago, when I was in a multi-author book, my first book Give Stress a Rest, it actually made a huge difference. It made a huge difference in getting me booked for speaking, made a huge difference in the credibility that I seemed to carry. And even today, I definitely believe that a book makes a big difference. And you know, that we published books before.
[00:10:30] What I love that you do, which is something that we did not do, is that you not only publish these books, but you have a whole plan and a whole campaign to make these books a best seller right away for your clients. And you do some other things. You do your summit, which helps introduce the authors. Can you say a little bit about all of these things? Because, you know, there’s the writing part, but then there’s the promotion part, right? A book is not a business. A book is a tool for an author or a speaker or a consultant. Share a little bit about the other things you do for your clients.
[00:11:10] Seema Giri: Exactly. As you said, Caterina, you know, once you’ve written a book, it’s a tool to use. And nowadays we have this way of taking it to a bestselling status, so why not do that? So I believe we should go the extra mile and get that extra credibility because it raises your credibility by being a number one international best selling author, co-author. When you do something huge like this, this is huge, people don’t realize that this is huge.
[00:11:37] Many women, Caterina, actually believe they did not have a story, even though they had an amazing story. So I had to go through the process of helping them acknowledge that they have a story, activating their creative juices within them and the confidence so that they can achieve the results that they wanted.
[00:11:56] And when you do something like that, you want to, you know, stand at the rooftop and say “I’ve written a book. This is what I’ve done.” So the best way I thought I could do that is to have a summit where they get showcased and they get to share their journey and share their story because people are really going to be interested when they can hear your voice as well.
[00:12:17] Reading is one thing, but hearing your story from your own voice, in your own voice, makes a huge impact on the hearts of people. And then many people that actually come to the summit are other business owners. They have podcast shows. They have TV shows. They have different mediums for them to get exposure as a speaker. So when people can hear that, it makes a huge difference.
[00:12:44] This is the big first launch for some people to be on a stage, so it gives them the practice and it gives them the confidence. It helps build that. So it’s all about stepping into your power, building your confidence and showcasing to yourself first and to others what you really have.
[00:13:02] Caterina Rando: This is beautiful Seema. Having been a publisher for several years myself, I know that having people come and join you –of course you’ve brought massive value, you’re doing great job for your clients– still though, there is a lot of sales involved. And I wanna ask you, because I know that you are a Thrive at Sales Certified Trainer, I know you teach sales: what do you think helps you be successful at all of this? From a sales perspective?
[00:13:33] Seema Giri: You know, it’s a consistency of being out there, talking to people, and talking to people in your own authentic way. You know so many times when we think of sales, we think we have to become this whole other creature who we’re really not. And it’s not.
[00:13:51] And I’ve learned this from you, Caterina, where more sales equals being in service. You can’t be a hermit and you can’t help people, you know, being from your own house. You have to be out there, you have to get out there, and you have to share. And when you’re sharing, being your authentic self from the voice that you are at. You know, some people are shy. Some people are not shy. But even those who are not shy, who are extroverts, still have a hard time being out there. So it’s about how to share your message, in what way to share your message, and having that confidence that you get to be who you are while you’re doing sales.
[00:14:32] Caterina Rando: And that consistency makes you better and better and better. I love that Seema. The more we sell, the more we get to serve. Absolutely. Okay. Here’s a important question for you. You’re doing the publishing, you’re doing the summits. Is there a dream, Seema, is there a goal for something of what’s next for you that maybe I’ve heard about, or I haven’t heard about, that you wanna let us know about?
[00:14:58] Seema Giri: Yes. Well, I’m also helping people with their own solo books. So many of my co-authors who’ve been in several multi-author books are looking to write their own book as well. I’m helping people with their solo books as well, where they can really get deeper into their content and share their message and the value that they’re bringing in.
[00:15:18] Also, I would love to speak on bigger stages myself. So I’m preparing myself for bigger stages. I’m preparing myself for TEDx. And I would like to take my clients through that same journey as well, because we’re not meant to be on smaller stages and, you know, we are meant to share our message to the masses, to the millions. Because like you Caterina and your group, and that’s one of the reasons I’m in your community, it’s because we want to make a massive difference all around. And as we rise, help other women rise as well. Cause the more we do that and the more we get heart centered, the more we can heal the world.
[00:15:58] Caterina Rando: I concur my friend. You know empowered women empower women, and that’s what we’re doing. You are empowering all of your authors to get their message out there, but also you’re empowering them to be more confident about their messages and to amplify their voices. I love amplifying women’s voices. I think it’s an important part of the work, helping every woman know, like you said, helping women know that they have a story, that they have massive value to bring, that they can make a contribution, that their voice matters. Okay so Seema, we’ve heard about some of these: you wanna get on the TEDx, you wanna help your clients with bigger stages, any other secret dreams that I don’t know about that we wanna mention?
[00:16:50] Seema Giri: Yeah, I want to do writing retreats all around the globe. As you know, I also do meditation. I’ve done the master your inner game to really connect to your internal wisdom, your internal creativity, cuz everything starts from within. So I would love to combine the meditation and the book writing retreat.
[00:17:12] Caterina Rando: I love it, my friend. Bing, Bing, Bing. You know I’m all about retreats. I love it. Seema you’ve got so much value to bring. Now you always have new titles that you’re looking for authors for. You’re always available to help people with their individual books. Let me ask how can our people get in touch with you? We’ll have all of your information in the show notes, but is there anything specific that you’d like to mention?
[00:17:37] Seema Giri: I’m on social media, on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Clubhouse, so whatever is the easiest way for people to connect with me. You can also connect with me through my email seema@uplyft, that’s uplyft.media or go to my website, uplyft that’s uplyft.media, and let me know that they wanna talk about the book.
[00:18:06] Caterina Rando: Beautiful. Also Seema has led a meditation for our virtual bliss retreats for the ladies that are coming on our bliss retreat in January. Now Seema, you lead a meditation class as well. People can connect with you for virtual meditation classes as well, isn’t that correct?
[00:18:23] Seema Giri: Yes, they can. Yes. I’ll be starting another one very shortly, but yeah, it’s on weekdays at 8:00 AM because it really helps you get the day started.
[00:18:33] Caterina Rando: That’s 8am pacific right?
[00:18:36] Seema Giri: 8:00 AM Pacific.
[00:18:38] Caterina Rando: Now Seema, I love this idea of the writing retreats, helping people get their books done, get their writing done. I love it. You know I’m gonna be talking to you about this. My friends be like Seema: amplify your voice, be loud and proud about your massive value. Seema, any final words before we wrap up with our listeners today?
[00:19:02] Seema Giri: The last thing that I wanna share with everyone is that your story matters. Don’t worry about what it was. It’s not about good or bad or right or wrong. Your story is your story and that is what makes you unique. Share your story, amplify your story, your story can save someone’s life.
[00:19:19] You know, it’s so important. So be loud and proud. You have massive value to bring, as Caterina says, and you have a book within you. Probably three. I think most people have three. So, you know, share your story, whether it’s in a book form or a podcast. Caterina I also have a podcast, Break Free to Brilliance, that people can share their story on.
[00:19:41] Caterina Rando: Break Free to Brilliance. I love it.
[00:19:45] Bing, Bing, Bing. Okay. My friends. Go get your book done. Connect with Seema. Be loud and proud. You’ve got massive value to bring. Seema, thank you for being with us today on the Expand Your Fempire podcast. Everybody come hang out with us friday’s at three o’clock on Clubhouse. Join me for any of our upcoming workshops, because Seema and I both wanna support you to sell more, serve more, and most importantly, uplift more lives.
[00:20:18] Thank you, Seema. Bing, Bing, Bing.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando.