Sangbreeta Moitra – The only one counting how hard you failed, is you

Sangbreeta Moitra
Sangbreeta Moitra discusses why ”Personal branding elevates hard work”, why “A NO is merely an opinion”, why “A goal without a plan is just a dream” and other insightful lessons. Hosted by Siebe Van Der Zee.

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About Sangbreeta Moitra

TEDX-awarded Sangbreeta Moitra is a globally renowned keynote speaker, executive leadership coach on neuroscience-driven change, culture, communication and leadership development.

With academic background in neuroscience and several years in corporate global management, Sangbreeta is known as a powerful speaker and storyteller, delving into the WHY to drive meaningful behaviour change in teams and leaders.

Sangbreeta’s trusted clients including Shell, Nike, Booking, Tommy Hilfiger and NN group. She has delivered keynotes in 10+ countries, and has been featured in 20+ global podcasts and publications, including The Huffington Post and The Financial Express.

Based in Amsterdam, Sangbreeeta is a champion public speaker, with multiple Dutch and European awards in her 15+ years of speaking, storytelling and debating experience.

In her spare time, Sangbreeta mentors ambitious professionals, startups, and social enterprises. Alongside, she enjoys dancing, kickboxing, writing, and freediving.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Fail small, fail fast, fail often. 08:19
Lesson 2: Personal branding elevates hard work. 10:48
Lesson 3: Incremental gains trump big goals. 13:50
Lesson 4: Confidence is a habit. 17:51
Lesson 5: Your network is your net worth. 22:11
Lesson 6: Rejections and failures build mindset. 26:38
Lesson 7: A NO is merely an opinion. 31:33
Lesson 8: Speak up to stand out. 37:08
Lesson 9: The only one counting how often or how hard you failed, is you. 40:32
Lesson 10: A goal without a plan is just a dream. 43:50

Sangbreeta Moitra – The only one counting how hard you failed, is you.

[00:00:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello and welcome to our program, 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to businesspeople, journalists, authors, professors, leaders, and luminaries from all over the world. My name is Siebe Van Der Zee, and I’m your host. I’m based in Phoenix, Arizona, in the beautiful Grand Canyon State. I’m also known as the Dutchman in the desert.
[00:00:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: Our guest today is Sangbreeta Moitra joining us from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. As you will learn during our program, Sangbreeta has a fascinating background and personality. She uses her academic background in neuroscience to motivate individuals, teams, and business leaders to understand their why and to drive meaningful behavioral change.
[00:00:54] Siebe Van Der Zee: She is a TEDx awarded keynote speaker and management advisor. Some of her key clients are major companies like Nike, Shell Oil, ING Bank, Tommy Hilfiger, and many others. She has given keynote presentations in seminars in more than 10 countries, and she has been frequently featured in global podcast and publications, including the Huffington Post and the Financial Express.
[00:01:22] Siebe Van Der Zee: Passionate about diversity and inclusion and women in leadership. Sangbreeta also mentors, startups, business leaders and professionals. She carries a lot of energy as her hobbies include dancing, kickboxing, and free diving. You can learn more about Sangbreeta Moitra on our website. 10 lessons learned.com. Hello, Sangbreeta.
[00:01:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: Thank you so much for joining us.
[00:01:47] Sangbreeta Moitra: Thank you for that phenomenal introduction. My brain is saying, no pressure. So, let’s see how this goes. Now. Thank you so much for having me. It’s such a wonderful, opportunity to speak with you and be featured on 10 lessons.
[00:01:59] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, I’m looking forward to our conversation and your lessons and, I noticed that you are applying your background in neuroscience to help and motivate business leaders.
[00:02:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: What is that all about? How does that work?
[00:02:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: That’s a very good question. most of the organizations that approach me, so there’s two parts to it. There’s the company part, the organizations that approach me, and then the individuals, the organizations that approach me, many of which you’ve already mentioned in the intro, their challenges that they’re currently going through massive change, massive reorganization, transformation, and. The problem they face is from their people side.
[00:02:37] Sangbreeta Moitra: And as you know, over 50% of change management, processes and implementations fail when there is the resistance from the people side. So why when they bring me in, they want to enable their human capital to overcome the resistance, to change, to shift their mindset, to go from a fixed mindset to growth mindset from juniors to executive leaders and really enable them to, you know, be future forward.
[00:03:03] Sangbreeta Moitra: And where neuroscience plays a big role in all of this is, I love to delve into the why, but from a very different perspective, it’s very easy to talk about actions and behaviors. What often happens when we’re going through change. You know, when we’re kind of a ship in a storm, as people become very threatened, they feel defensive, and There’s a lack of psychological safety.
[00:03:25] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, with the power or the knowledge of neuroscience, when you take people into their brains and say, you know what? This is the reason why you’re resisting change. It’s literally evolutionary biology. This is what happens when you, you know, anticipate the pain of change, and you see the aha moment in their eyes when they realize, oh, I don’t need to feel so defensive.
[00:03:46] Sangbreeta Moitra: I don’t need to be so threatened. I don’t need to feel so isolated. Because this is fascinating. This is interesting. There’s a way to hack our brains, and once I can invite and ignite this curiosity in people, I’ve seen that their barriers to resistance just drop and they become excited to know more about how they can learn, grow, evolve, and move forward in whatever lies ahead.
[00:04:10] Sangbreeta Moitra: So that’s where I think neuroscience plays this beautiful role in enabling people and organizations.
[00:04:16] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, it’s so relevant for people to understand their own psyche, their own mental state, and if you can help them point at certain elements, and some of it is, you know, a process that every person goes through, but sometimes we are not even aware of that.
[00:04:35] Siebe Van Der Zee: That can be a lesson that people can, use their whole life, their whole career. Right. That, that, that’s one of those aha moments perhaps, that people say, oh, I got to make sure I keep that in mind. thinking about that, and before we get into the 10 lessons, is there a lesson that you have learned that you would say, boy, if I would be 20 years old today, that’s a lesson I would like to have learned at my younger age.
[00:05:04] Sangbreeta Moitra: There is, I would give this lesson to myself right when I was five, and I would remind myself on every birthday, and we’ll get into why this at another time. But the lesson is that speak up and be assertive, however uncomfortable it feels. Make your decision because if you don’t speak up and you’re not assertive and you don’t make your decisions, somebody else will make your decisions for you.
[00:05:33] Sangbreeta Moitra: And in this, oftentimes people, even adults, even leaders in their personal lives, their professional lives in their career, the choices they make oftentimes to, to avoid the pain of short, you know, whatever short term pain, we take decisions that, you know, Keep things fine and short term, but actually long term they, they’re going to affect you.
[00:05:56] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, speak up for yourself. Stand up for yourself. Be assertive. Make that decision even if it’s uncomfortable now, even if it will create discomfort with others a short while from now because this will benefit you 10 years from now. That’s what I would say to myself every year since I could, since the time I can comprehend language and decision making.
[00:06:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: I, I like it, of course. at the same time, I can see situations where people, perhaps women are in situations where they are not allowed to speak up. Is that something that you can process internally without literally verbally expressing your opinion?
[00:06:39] Sangbreeta Moitra: I like to speak not just on behalf of women.
[00:06:42] Sangbreeta Moitra: I’ve seen men deal with this as well, and I’m not just a women only speaker or coach or trainer. You know, I speak and help everybody. but yes, I have seen this happen to a lot of people. I’ve seen this happen to friends, family, colleagues that, and I specifically say this beyond just the, a particular gender, because I’ve seen this happen so often.
[00:07:03] Sangbreeta Moitra: also, the allow. Is also a perception nobody can disallow us. You know? perhaps in certain cultures where, obedience can be such a strong System of a discipline of this is how you should be, you know, good people are quiet, you know, it’s better to be seen and not heard and stuff like that.
[00:07:26] Sangbreeta Moitra: But I also think that, if you dare to speak up, yeah. You might be seen as a bit of a. A problem person in the short term, but it’s going to benefit you in the long term. But do you dare to, you know, to stand out a bit right now just so you can protect yourself and make the right choices for yourself?
[00:07:44] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I do think there is great strength and there is great, clarity in knowing what you want. Of course, being diplomatic and smart about it. But when the time comes, it’s good to be active, in your life than being a passive. player, having other people make decisions for you.
[00:08:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think it’s very important what you’re saying. maybe that’s the most important lesson of the lessons we’re going to talk about. We’re going to find out, but to stand up, speak out, I think that’s very important. But let’s take a look at your 10 lessons. I’m looking forward to the conversation.

[00:08:19] Lesson 1: Fail small, fail fast, fail often.

[00:08:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number one. Fail small, fail fast, fail often.
[00:08:25] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes.
[00:08:26] Siebe Van Der Zee: what about avoiding failure? Not failing?
[00:08:31] Sangbreeta Moitra: I love failure. Failure is awesome. it’s fantastic. I see failure as experimentation and failure itself. I think the word is fine. It’s the emotions that we attach to it that creates this entire, you know, push and pull.
[00:08:48] Sangbreeta Moitra: you know, this entire. Drama, or melodrama in our minds. Of course, there are times when failure is extremely painful. I will not deny that, and I’ve also been affected by it. However, there’s a reason why I say fail small fast often, so to say fail smart. What I mean by that is. It’s great to test your ideas in places where even if you fail, you stumble, you fall, you get the feedback you need. You can do it in a place that’s, you know, psychologically safe. For example, before I give a huge keynote, I test my ideas with a small group of people locally or even with a mastermind group, and oftentimes I get very critical feedback.
[00:09:30] Sangbreeta Moitra: One of them even told me, Sangbreeta, I have to be very honest with you. This is not up to par. This is not what I expect from you. I expect way better from you. I’ve seen way better from you now. Maybe for someone else that can be really harsh and negative, and they can get really bummed out. But I was like, this is fantastic.
[00:09:48] Sangbreeta Moitra: I mean, there is nothing that I can lose from this feedback. I failed small, I failed quickly. I failed in a place that gave me psychological safety. I got the feedback I needed; I was able to improve. So, it’s so critical to, for ourselves, to test ourselves to Fail quickly. Fail small fail often so that by the time we develop our idea of vision or product, it’s at this amazing level that’s gone through several rounds of feedback, and you just know that it’s going to touch the heart and mind of your target decision maker, whoever that person is. So, yeah, I do love experimenting with failure.
[00:10:25] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. and especially also you include fail small, like you said, right? It’s not, you say, oh, fail big. No. get used to it. because it’s part of our life. we cannot always be perfect and succeed everywhere. but when your mind is prepared to deal with failure, then it’s easier to overcome failure. I like that. That makes a lot of sense.

[00:10:48] Lesson 2: Personal branding elevates hard work.

[00:10:48] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number two, personal branding elevates hard work.
[00:10:53] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes. I love that one.
[00:10:55] Siebe Van Der Zee: Is that generational? as well? I mean, personal branding. I can hear people tell me, you know, advanced in their lives and their careers. Oh, I don’t like personal branding.
[00:11:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: I don’t believe in that. On the other hand, it’s there, right? Whether they like it or not. There is an image that people create for themselves, whether they do it on purpose or not.
[00:11:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: I think you raised a very good point. a, a very good point to think about whether it’s generational or not. As I was thinking when you asked me that question, I realized perhaps back in the day when personal branding, the term didn’t exist, the ones who did it best.
[00:11:32] Sangbreeta Moitra: I think personal branding has happened for years, but like hundreds of years. The ones who did it best were. Either ones who really understood people, they really understood what they wanted, so very shrewd people or the ones who were extroverted. The beauty of personal branding now is that knowledge and know-how is not restricted to people who are just extroverted or just very shrewd.
[00:11:53] Sangbreeta Moitra: This is available for the introverts and the reserved ones and the shy ones because now, you don’t need to fit into a certain personality or just be born into a certain network, to be able to stand out. Now through the knowledge of personal branding, you can apply it. These techniques help you or enable you.
[00:12:09] Sangbreeta Moitra: They elevate the work you do because you, the work you do, especially right now. I mean, we know how many hundreds and thousands of layoffs have happened across the world. I mean, just in the us Think of it from Jan 2023. In the Netherlands, I can’t even tell you how many layoffs have happened. People are desperate.
[00:12:27] Sangbreeta Moitra: People are trying to stand out. Recently, a friend of mine applied for a head of marketing role. Can you guess how many people applied for that role in head of marketing at a graphic design company? Can you just guess off the top of your head?
[00:12:40] Siebe Van Der Zee: More than 200?
[00:12:41] Sangbreeta Moitra: 3000, 3000 people who have performed well, who have a fantastic CV are applying for that job?
[00:12:51] Sangbreeta Moitra: So how are they going to stand out in the eyes of the recruiter? That’s where personal branding comes into play. So personal branding is to show who you are, why you care about what you do. And I think that’s a beautiful way to, you know, tie in your story with the job that you do or the career you aspire for.
[00:13:10] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. And when you talk about a job search, I typically recommend people as far as their brand, their branding to look at their key achievements that they would like to repeat in the future. Yeah. right, because that’s your strength. But sometimes people say, look, I’ve been doing this for so long, I want to do something different.
[00:13:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: So, you don’t have to emphasize certain elements that you don’t want to apply in the future. Or indeed, you emphasize your strength on things that you would like to repeat in the future. Again, we can have a long conversation about that. It’s a great, it’s a great lesson. Personal branding elevates hard work.

[00:13:50] Lesson 3: Incremental gains trump big goals.

[00:13:50] Siebe Van Der Zee: let’s take a look at lesson number three. Incremental Gains, Trump Big Goals. How does
[00:13:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: that work?
[00:13:58] Sangbreeta Moitra: I love small, incremental chunks of growth. and actually, I’ve always been a big goal person for quite a few years until recently. Let me rephrase that. Until recently, I was a big goal person, and it was always the big goal that drove me, motivated me, you know, thinking of the Everest every single time.
[00:14:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: And then I remember after lockdown around 2021, I noticed, oh, the big goal is starting to tire me. The big goal isn’t really motivating. Every single day that I think of my big goal, it’s not really pushing me or motivating me or igniting me the way that it used to. So, what am I going to do then? Then I realized that, okay, I have to change my strategy because I’m not doing the things that I love to do.
[00:14:44] Sangbreeta Moitra: I’m not growing as much as I want to, or even on the path of my, along the path that I want to because I’ve just given up. So, what I did is, I had the big goal in mind. I wrote it down, kept it aside, and then I simply focused on the small activities. What are the small wins? The small rush, you know, that ignition of dopamine that I’m going to give myself, I’m going to gift myself, and I broke it down into smart, achievable goals.
[00:15:09] Sangbreeta Moitra: And they would be something like 15 minutes of jump roping a day. Or it could be, you know, whether it’s your half an hour of walking or. 15 minutes of writing whatever my goal set was. I just did small chunks of it, and I allowed myself to. Feel that dopamine rush at the end of, you know, at the end of this very achievable small chunk of goal.
[00:15:32] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I realized that over a period of time, these small habits were creating such a massive difference in my performance, whether it was in my physical activities like jump roping. I went from jump roping, like a kid, you know, like two jumps and one rope turned to doing over 50 boxer crossovers. in one go, I can now jump rope for half an hour and or an hour, actually, quite long uninterrupted.
[00:16:00] Sangbreeta Moitra: And these. I blew my mind when the day I decided I’m just going to see how far I can go instead of just doing it for 15 minutes because I realized how far I had gone. The same with whatever personal professional goals you, have for yourself. Break it down into achievable chunks. Regularly, consistently, whether it’s every day or three times a week at a particular time of the day, and you will be absolutely gobsmacked to see three months from now where that takes you.
[00:16:28] Sangbreeta Moitra: You realize, before you realize you don’t even realize that you’ve crossed base camp of Everest. So that’s beautiful. So, I do think small incremental chunks are fantastic for, personal evolution.
[00:16:40] Siebe Van Der Zee: I can also see that, as we go through life, through our careers, that we learn new experiences that I want to almost say suddenly become very important, very relevant.
[00:16:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: and unfortunately, perhaps right now I’m thinking of some negative, situations when a. Family member or friend passes away. That can really make you think deep and hard about what life is all about and what you’re doing yourself. If I think about, you know, unfortunate events around the world, for example, right now when you Ukraine, that can impact people.
[00:17:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: As they never expected before, if they see the suffering from other people, et cetera, and it could be in a positive way, when they see people succeed and do well, they can say, hey, that’s something I want to do. That’s something I can do. so, I can see that, incremental gains on all sides can be extremely important too.
[00:17:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: Form ourselves as a human being. yeah, I like that.

[00:17:51] Lesson 4: Confidence is a habit.

[00:17:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number four, confidence is a habit. Don’t you have to build confidence?
[00:17:59] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes, absolutely. So, it is something we need to build, and habits are built. Yeah. a lot of times I have people who say, I hear people who say, oh, you are so confident, or they’re so confident as if they were just born with generational wealth, like no, they had to work on it.
[00:18:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: And confidence is related to your skillset. So, confidence is related to what you do. Self-esteem is about who you are. There’s a difference. So, if you’re low on confidence, good news, it’s much easier to build up confidence than it is to build up self-esteem. Of course, that requires a lot more work.
[00:18:34] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, confidence is, since it’s a skill related to skill sets, it’s a daily habit. Whether you practice something that you’re good at, every single day. So, you know, you reward yourself with that feeling of, I am good. I am good enough, I’m worthy, I deserve. Whatever it takes for you to spark that regular, you know, reminder.
[00:18:58] Sangbreeta Moitra: That’s so important and every person has different confidence habits. For me, for example, couple of things that I do. One is that I do certain activities that I absolutely love in my spare time, and I make time for it. For example, when it’s, public speaking, I do public speaking for work, but I’m also a part of some just, personal hobby, public speaking groups and improv groups that I
[00:19:21] Sangbreeta Moitra: love to go in my free time, however busy I am, twice a month I show up and there it’s like a confidence booster. So twice a month, I ensure that for four hours my confidence is being boosted. I go to certain dance classes or I, do certain activities like kickboxing or whatever jump roping. They boost my confidence.
[00:19:38] Sangbreeta Moitra: And the final thing that I do that is so important is, I made a folder with all the positive words I’ve ever received. You know, I keep it updated, whether it’s through my LinkedIn messages, phone messages, emails. People often give me, little scraps of paper sometimes when, in a public speaking event, you know, as a thank you note.
[00:19:58] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I keep them all. And I save them. And on the days when I’m feeling like, oh, am I good enough? Or, you know, those limiting belief thoughts come up. I make sure that I go and read that. I go and read all those positive words that remind me that I matter, that people see value in me, that I am adding some benefit to them.
[00:20:19] Sangbreeta Moitra: when you’re feeling low, when you’re not feeling confident enough, it’s very easy to not do these habits and just feel. Pity for yourself, but I think self-pity is also the most, the greatest addiction out there. So, to break that, I very proactively consciously implement these three habits and I see how powerful they can be to make you genuinely, authentically feel confident every day.
[00:20:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think it’s extremely important what you’re just saying here, to be able to. Can I say train your brain? I was actually reading a story, written by a US Navy Seal Marine Officer. They go through high pressure exercises, of course, and deal with, very serious issues. And in the article that he wrote, he talked about when he’s involved in an exercise where, Physically and perhaps mentally he’s ready to give up.
[00:21:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: He goes to a place in his brain that gives him, as you explain the confidence, and I think that’s for many people, so important that there is a place that you are prepared for to say, wow, I’m dealing with lots of pressure and whatever it may be. But there is a. Place in your brain that you can go to and say, okay, yes, I’m prepared for this.
[00:21:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: I can do this because of, I’ve done these things to prepare. I think it’s extremely important because every person goes through that and goes through moment of, I almost want to say despair, and sometimes it is despair and worse than despair. But where can they find themselves? To say, I can deal with this, I can handle this.
[00:22:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: And it’s not always easy. It can be extremely difficult, but I think it’s a great recommendation that you make, that we should all look for that space in our own brain. I think that’s very relevant.

[00:22:11] Lesson 5: Your network is your net worth.

[00:22:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: Moving along, lesson number five, I already like it. Your network is your net worth.
[00:22:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: So relevant, but I’ll let you talk.
[00:22:22] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much. And network is your net worth. Absolutely. And I have heard, I mean, there’s so much to talk about the network part. Networking is not just, you know, I hear people say, oh, you have to have a pitch ready when you network. And back in the day I used to think, oh yeah, you’ve got to have your pitch ready.
[00:22:41] Sangbreeta Moitra: And now I’m like, oh gosh, no. If you have to pitch, you must pitch without pitching. But the point is, With your network. It’s this beautiful moment of evolution when you choose to align with your intention, your passion, your purpose, and you choose to surround yourself with people who ignite all three of those, your intention, your passion, your purpose.
[00:23:03] Sangbreeta Moitra: You surround yourself with people who will cheer, lead for you, support you, empower you in your growth ahead, who you know will. You will do the same for them in return. Just this amazing. Of people who choose to be together to evolve one another. That’s the power of your network and it can take you from, you know, the place where you can only dream of who you want to be to the place where you are, who you want to be.
[00:23:29] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, to me, the power of network is amazing. In fact, it’s not about how many people you know, but the quality of the few. You know, and that’s why I always encourage people. It’s when you go networking. It’s not about how many business cards you’ve, dealt across the room. Well now, People don’t even use business cards anymore, or how many people you’ve added on LinkedIn or exchanged numbers, but really, how many meaningful conversations have you had?
[00:23:53] Sangbreeta Moitra: How many coffees are you going to have after that? How many people are you really going to engage with and build a relationship with? Networking is beautiful, so powerful, and it actually benefits your personal and professional transformation.
[00:24:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: I, I want to steal a comment from our producer, Robert Hossary, who always talks about, and it’s one of his lessons in his podcast interview.
[00:24:18] Siebe Van Der Zee: when it comes to networking, it’s not so much who you know, more importantly, who knows you, right? So, when you have a networking exercise, it’s very important that yes, you get to know people. But perhaps more relevant in that networking purpose is who gets to know you. I just wanted to add that, because I think, it’s easily to underestimate the value of your network.
[00:24:43] Siebe Van Der Zee: I. Sometimes if it is an official networking meeting, it almost looks like it’s made up. Yeah. It has to be genuine. It has to click between people. Right. and that’s what’s going to create a lasting impression. I think,
[00:24:56] Sangbreeta Moitra: yeah. I recently made a video on networking actually, which I posted on LinkedIn and there I talked about, do you need to be an extrovert to network?
[00:25:04] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I. Absolutely do not believe that. But there are three things you need to be, and it echoes what your producer said. So, I think your producer, I and I would have a lovely conversation someday.
[00:25:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: Robert, I agree with you because, the three things that I believe we absolutely need to be.
[00:25:19] Sangbreeta Moitra: To have us to build a solid network is we need to be strategic, intentional, and interesting. And the part about interesting is exactly what he said that networking is not just about who you know or chasing people you want to meet, but really attracting your dream to decision maker, the people who inspire you to you.
[00:25:38] Sangbreeta Moitra: And for that, you have to ask yourself, what kind of life will I lead? What kind of choices will I make? What kind of inter integrity will I represent to draw those people to me? So, yes. You know, you have to build yourself to be the person who attracts those dream people to you.
[00:25:54] Siebe Van Der Zee: We are talking today with Sabrina Mora, a globally renowned keynote speaker and executive leadership coach on neuroscience driven change culture and leadership development, sharing her 10 lessons learned.

[00:26:08] Affiliate Break

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[00:26:38] Lesson 6: Rejections and failures build mindset.

[00:26:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: Moving along, lesson number six, rejections and failures build mindset. Curious about that one.
[00:26:48] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yeah. This one is, also a personal favorite. Well, all 10 of them, they’re like, Sophie’s choice.
[00:26:53] Sangbreeta Moitra: How do you choose? Choosing between my babies. no, I’m joking. And, when it comes to rejections and failures. So, here’s the thing. A lot of us, a lot of people want to avoid rejection. because Rejection is painful. And here’s the thing about the human brain.
[00:27:10] Sangbreeta Moitra: Our brain is wired to avoid pain more than pursue pleasure related to what I mentioned earlier about short-term gratification, long-term gratification, that if we have to deal with pain in the short term for pleasure in the long term, most people would still avoid going through that journey altogether.
[00:27:27] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, when it comes to, let’s say, career growth, you know, pursuing something you really want, whether. You want to start something new in your career, in your life, you want to go out there, ask for something you so rightly deserve, but you’re afraid of being rejected. That fear holds you back from ever asking for it.
[00:27:46] Sangbreeta Moitra: The danger, as you can imagine, is that you know, you stay stuck in that fixed mindset only wishing and hoping that you could be someone else or you want to, you know, a greater version of yourself. So, the power of. Mindset here is that, and this is something I learned from neuroscience, is you can find a way to hack the pain.
[00:28:08] Sangbreeta Moitra: You can find a way to hack the brain to actually allow rejections and failures to build your mindset and strengthen you. For example, I created this challenge called the 10. No challenge. It was so much fun. Basically, I challenged my audiences, my attendees at trainings and workshops that every single time you get a rejection, it has to be let’s say you, you know, you make a.
[00:28:32] Sangbreeta Moitra: List of things you really want for yourself, whether you want to change your job, you want to ask for a salary hike, you want to start your own business, you want to become a TEDx speaker, you want to start your podcast, whatever it is, and you make that list, you prepare for it, and then you go out there, start meeting people, asking for stuff, whatever it is that you want.
[00:28:51] Sangbreeta Moitra: And then of course you’re going to get rejections along the way. People might not want to have that coffee with you. People might not want to give you that opportunity, but here’s the. Catch every single time you get the rejection, it has to be the trigger or the signal for you to pursue the next no. So instead of chasing only yeses, this 10 no challenge is to pursue 10 nos.
[00:29:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: Why? The reason is in your brain, you’re hacking the pain pathway and you’re doing a rewarding pathway. Every time you get a no, your brain goes, okay, time to pursue the next. No, you won’t believe it. This lady in a conference came up to me and said, Sangbreeta, guess what? I already asked for two things this conference and I got rejected twice.
[00:29:34] Sangbreeta Moitra: And she said, alright. Two down eight to go. And I thought, wow, I’ve never seen someone rejected twice on the same day. Look, this happy. So, I could see that she had replaced her pain pathway with her rewarding pathway. This became a game. She gamified the process. The second reason for how rejections build mindset is alongside all the noise that you get.
[00:29:57] Sangbreeta Moitra: You will also receive those few yeses, and these are yeses you never dare to ask for yourself. These are yeses that you never imagined could be part of your life or career, and these yeses can completely transform the trajectory of your path. So, this is why I so deeply, strongly, passionately believe that rejections, strategically pursuing rejections, build our mindset.
[00:30:20] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s a very important point again, and definitely I can think of experiences that I have had, and of course everybody else has had being rejected and perhaps after so many years, it doesn’t get to me anymore. and it’s more like I’m reaching out to these people to do them a favor and if they don’t appreciate that, in a way to make myself feel better.
[00:30:43] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s their problem now. It’s my problem too, but I don’t make it my problem. I’m doing them a favor by reaching out and, at the same time. And that’s what you’re talking about in some of these other lessons as well to really prepare your brain because the unexpected situation, it’s like you’re driving your car and suddenly your car breaks down and perhaps it’s, you know, you’re in the evening or in the middle of the night.
[00:31:09] Siebe Van Der Zee: What are you going to do? Well, hopefully there is a service available to help you out or you have, a relative, someone you can contact, et cetera. Yeah. But to be prepared for those moments, because we’ll go through it. we’re human beings, so sometimes you get rejected and you have to have a strong, mindset as you suggest.
[00:31:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like it.

[00:31:33] Lesson 7: A NO is merely an opinion.

[00:31:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: lesson number seven, a no is merely an opinion.
[00:31:37] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes,
[00:31:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: please explain before I start asking questions.
[00:31:42] Sangbreeta Moitra: This one was, a lesson I’ve learned, about five years where very consciously I noticed this lesson happened five years ago,
[00:31:50] Sangbreeta Moitra: But I see it happen over and over again. For example, there was a massive, corporate that I was, I was in conversation with a. A person from a massive corporate about doing some, you know, talks and trainings with them, however, wasn’t quite clicking with, this particular person, you know, perhaps, they were looking for something else or they just weren’t aligned with, their personal team’s development plans.
[00:32:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: And they said, sorry, I don’t think it’s going to work with this, their company. Like, insert name of company. And at first, I thought, oh, what a pity. All these conversations didn’t work out. And I thought, Hold on. Who said that this person’s the only representative of this entire company with 5,000 people?
[00:32:32] Sangbreeta Moitra: Their no is merely their opinion. It’s merely related to their department and their personal idea of what is and isn’t possible. So, does that mean I’m not going to ever have an opportunity with this company again? No way. And I let it be. I continued, you know, doing my work, meeting people, creating impact, and.
[00:32:52] Sangbreeta Moitra: Well, what do you know about six months later, I had someone else from that company approach me to do the exact same thing and it worked out. So, no is merely an opinion, and I say this even to people, for example, right now, a lot of, your viewers in. Your listeners might be working in companies, they get negative feedback and they’re, a lot of them are told, oh, we don’t see it in you to get promoted to be a leader, you know, for them to get the opportunity to the next level and it completely devastates them.
[00:33:20] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yeah. But when you get that, no. I think it’s great to get back to them with a question, like, for example, when someone, a mentee of mine said, or someone I was coaching said that, you know, they got this feedback at work that they don’t have those leadership abilities in them. My question is, and that this person who gave you the feedback, who said no to you?
[00:33:42] Sangbreeta Moitra: Who are they speaking for? Are they speaking for the organizational, their personal perspective of what leadership is? What do they think leadership is? Can they define leadership, and do they think that their personal opinion of leadership is the only one that this, that represents this entire company?
[00:33:57] Sangbreeta Moitra: And actually, when they went back to the discussion board, the line manager was quiet, short of words and they were able to raise a case. And that my, my coachee became, did get promoted because she raised it, escalated the case. So that’s good. Yeah. Just because you hear Yeah, just an opinion. a no is merely an opinion.
[00:34:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: It doesn’t mean that there is, no other way for you to move forward.
[00:34:21] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. I think the challenge for many people is, that let’s say the boss is always right, even when he or she is not. Right. in their mind, Hey, I’m the boss. I’m telling you; you should do this. You should not do that. Go do it. And I think in,
[00:34:41] Sangbreeta Moitra: sorry I’m interrupting you.
[00:34:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: no. I mean, we’re talking here about this simple issue where there is a, an individual in a powerful position that will make his or her opinion be the one to follow. And yeah. Yeah, I can see there is maybe something to say because that person has the ultimate responsibility and therefore this is what we’re going to do.
[00:35:04] Siebe Van Der Zee: But that’s also then a response for, let’s say, the employee to say, is this the environment that I want to work in?
[00:35:12] Sangbreeta Moitra: I hear what you’re saying and oftentimes I have noticed that even though you might not have the leadership position in the company, there’s someone senior you’re speaking with, if you.
[00:35:23] Sangbreeta Moitra: Ask the right strategic questions, much like a coach, you can actually lead the conversation. So, if someone gives you feedback, like I don’t think you have, the leadership, Abilities in you, you are like, oh, that’s interesting feedback. Thank you for sharing your opinion. Why do you say that?
[00:35:38] Sangbreeta Moitra: What do you consider to be leadership abilities and then by asking questions in a non-threatening non alpha, you know, non ooga, ooga Gorilla way. By being very strategic and firm in the way we approach these conversations, you can completely change that conversation around and without even suggesting it, make the other party realize, oh, actually, they do have a point.
[00:36:00] Sangbreeta Moitra: Okay, fair enough. They did show leadership in a different way. That’s another like three-hour workshop. How do you get that to happen? How do you get someone to change your mind? But it is possible, which is why I truly believe, that no is just an opinion. We can turn that no into a Yes.
[00:36:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: And it’s the way you, let’s say, as a counterpart, the way you address it.
[00:36:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s not just say, hey, I disagree, and you have to listen to me. It’s, that’s what you’re saying, right? You have to. Bring it up in a constructive way and suggestive way that perhaps there are alternative ways of solving a problem or handling with the handling, certain, situations.
[00:36:35] Sangbreeta Moitra: Absolutely. I even say never use the word disagree but rephrase it. Reframe it in a way that sounds much more collaborative. I think the most important thing in these kinds of scenarios is how do you show collaboration and actually strategically navigate the course of this discussion of the sensitive topic to towards the outcome you want without people feeling threatened or defensive.
[00:36:59] Siebe Van Der Zee: Makes sense. And my mind is saying, I need to introduce you to a few people that I know Okay. That perhaps need to change their minds on things. But we all have those, right?

[00:37:08] Lesson 8: Speak up to stand out.

[00:37:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: lesson number eight. Not a surprise here, because you, this is what you’re doing.
[00:37:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: Speak up to stand out. That fits you really well.
[00:37:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: Thank you. Yes. I think it’s the most. One of the most essential skills, habits, attributes we need in the current professional landscape, whether you’re a business owner, whether you are a corporate employee, whether you’re starting out, whether you’re leading executive, it’s so important to know how to speak up and represent yourself to really build that unique identity for yourself.
[00:37:44] Sangbreeta Moitra: Also, the, when you are speaking up, you are also showing your integrity. You’re showing, you know, what are the values, what is the legacy that you stand for, that you represent, and when you speak up for yourself, for others, your champion for a particular cause, whatever that might be, that becomes your reputation.
[00:38:04] Sangbreeta Moitra: That becomes how people remember you. When you speak a certain way, when you, express yourself a certain way, you impact how people feel. So, yeah, I completely, I do believe that speaking up is so essential to creating that unique identity and impact, in. Whatever it is that we want to do and the change we want to bring,
[00:38:26] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s not always easy.
[00:38:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: Right. To do that, to speak up. I had a situation a few years ago when, the US government made a decision to separate children at the border with the United States to separate children from their families and living here in a border state, Arizona, I did not like that. They were not my children.
[00:38:49] Siebe Van Der Zee: They were not my family. But I did speak out and it got me into a certain level of trouble. I can give details, but that’s not relevant for our conversation right now. And I had to really give it some thought because I didn’t want to be in trouble. And at the same time, it was a matter of principle.
[00:39:09] Siebe Van Der Zee: Looking back, I have no regrets that I spoke out. And I think that’s, you know, a moral issue. There could be other issues, like you said, but you have to go with your own gut, with your own feeling, and especially when it is a matter of principle, to be able to speak up and stand out, I think very valuable.
[00:39:31] Sangbreeta Moitra: Absolutely. And also, I think it’s very relevant and. On how we speak up. So, there is strategy. You know, it goes without saying every point that I’ve mentioned in my 10 lessons, 10 lessons learned are about how to be strategic about each point to get to the outcome that you want. So, speaking up doesn’t always have to be, you know, the one with a finger raised in the air and creating the.
[00:39:54] Sangbreeta Moitra: You know, ruckus and, I have a problem upset and I want the whole world to know about it. That’s not my intention with speaking up, but speaking up is how am I going to impact people? How do I want them to remember me? How do I want them to feel about me, about themselves? You know, how am I going to.
[00:40:11] Sangbreeta Moitra: Inspire people. So that’s the power of speaking up to stand out. And I think I’m sure knowing you, you must have, spoken up so beautifully and in and inspirationally and that’s, that’s what I also want people to remember. It’s being strategic and how and when you speak up to create the impact you want on others.
[00:40:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, absolutely. No, I appreciate that. important lesson.

[00:40:32] Lesson 9: The only one counting how often or how hard you failed, is you.

[00:40:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number nine. The only one counting how often and how hard you failed is you. Great lesson.
[00:40:41] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes, thank you. And I think failure has come up so many times in my lessons and they’re all like, different facets of a kaleidoscope perhaps. And I think failure is a fascinating topic to discuss.
[00:40:54] Sangbreeta Moitra: And indeed, I come across so many people who beat themselves up about. About something that went wrong and awry. And they think, oh my God, I can never show my face again. Oh my God, I never want to go for that opportunity again because everybody knows that I failed. I’ve had the same journey as well.
[00:41:12] Sangbreeta Moitra: There has been a time when I was beating myself up about every single thing that didn’t go right, like let’s say out of five great experiences, let’s say five great talks and trainings I gave, four were fantastic, one didn’t work out. Instead of celebrating those four, I was beating myself up about that one thing that didn’t work out that perhaps I wasn’t a 10 on 10, because I was saying, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I was a seven on 10 or a 7.5 on 10.
[00:41:39] Sangbreeta Moitra: Nobody wants to work with a seven on 10. What about all those other four moments of fantastic performance? So, the funny thing is the moment you bounce back, you choose to show up. Stand up, speak up again. You will realize how forgiving people are. You know, Michael Jordan also said he’s lost more shots.
[00:41:57] Sangbreeta Moitra: He’s missed more shots than he’s actually made. He. People don’t count how many shots he’s missed. People love him. Remember him, respect him. Value him for what he did, right, for what he did. Well, it just takes those few successes to really make an impact. No one’s counting how many, you know, times you felt you were a failure.
[00:42:18] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I had the same experience as well that when I was beating myself up and I thought, Oh my gosh. I don’t want to be visible anymore. I want to be safe. But I wasn’t happy being safe and invisible, not speaking my mind, not pursuing my passion. And when I went, came back to the limelight, I started giving those talks and trainings again.
[00:42:37] Sangbreeta Moitra: Nobody cared about the time that I, you know, nobody cared that I wasn’t around. All they cared about was, ah, we’d love to learn more from you. We’d love to know more from you. Tell us more. So, people are so kind, so forgivable. So, For, so, not only forgiving, but also, they don’t even remember, that, you know, you went through, an episode, that you went through a tough time.
[00:42:58] Sangbreeta Moitra: In fact, many times. For example, when people are speaking on stage and they say, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I forgot half of my entire talk, or I forgot to mention that. Extremely important point. Well, you know what? The audience didn’t even know. They thought you were the best ever. So, that’s why it’s good to be, to have high standards, but not beat yourself up.
[00:43:21] Sangbreeta Moitra: It’s okay to be kind to yourself.
[00:43:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m really curious, listening to you, Sangbreeta, considered, writing a book?
[00:43:30] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes.
[00:43:31] Siebe Van Der Zee: Is that something you’re going to do or you’re working on it already? I.
[00:43:34] Sangbreeta Moitra: I am working on it. Yes. Well, very interesting. How did you know? Did I tell you already?
[00:43:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, you didn’t, but I’m listening to you and these lessons I think are very important for people.
[00:43:45] Sangbreeta Moitra: Thank you. You are so kind. And I would love to talk about these topics in great detail as well.

[00:43:50] Lesson 10: A goal without a plan is just a dream.

[00:43:50] Sangbreeta Moitra: well, it kind of leads to, to lesson number 10, right? A goal without a plan is just a dream.
[00:43:57] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes, absolutely. I live and breathe this and, this is actually such a big reflection of my personal life and journey as well. I think, you already know that I came to the Netherlands as a student.
[00:44:10] Sangbreeta Moitra: I was an international student. I didn’t know anybody. Started my life from scratch, and I’ve had so many career changes along the way. Before I came here, I already had this preset plan. I was going to do lab and research live. I was going to do my PhD. Then I came here, I started doing my master’s midway. I realized, oh gosh, I don’t want that.
[00:44:28] Sangbreeta Moitra: I don’t want that plan. I don’t want the lab. Research life. It’s not my dream. It’s perhaps someone else’s dream or maybe my family’s dream, but not mine. I want to do more work with people, and you know, from there to working in pharma to starting my own advisory, speaking, training, consulting, coaching, all this happened and.
[00:44:50] Sangbreeta Moitra: Oftentimes people ask me, but how did you do it? You didn’t know anybody. Or how did you get to work with all these companies? How did you travel over 10 countries? How did you know, speak to 5,000, 10,000 people? All of that is because of turning that dream into very strategic, through a very strategic plan, into these very achievable goals.
[00:45:10] Sangbreeta Moitra: and this is where the juxtaposition of big goals and small incremental growth is powerful. All these lessons that I’ve mentioned have led me to do the things that I’ve been able to do. So privileged to do, so lucky to do, so, fortunate to do. so, my own journey from being a research student into being a speaker and advisor and trainer and coach on.
[00:45:35] Sangbreeta Moitra: On how neuroscience can, you know, transform the way you are building your culture, your communication, your change program in companies, but also for individual growth, you know, for your confidence, growth mindset. You know, overcoming resistance, overcoming rejection, the fear of rejection and failure, speaking up standing outstanding.
[00:45:54] Sangbreeta Moitra: All of this has been possible because I’ve had to learn how to turn every crazy dream into a very achievable goal.
[00:46:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: But you had an open mind to learning, right?
[00:46:06] Sangbreeta Moitra: I had no other option. I don’t know what it’s like to live with a dream and let it be.
[00:46:12] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, maybe there’s your answer. Indeed. Yeah.
[00:46:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: I’m, I’m also someone who cannot imagine my future looking back and regretting I didn’t do this, and I know that if I didn’t pursue this path, Perhaps I wouldn’t even, you know what?
[00:46:33] Sangbreeta Moitra: It’s okay if I didn’t achieve these goals, that’s fine. And there are goals I still haven’t achieved. I don’t know if I ever will, but I am so thankful that I am on the journey of experimenting, testing, aiming, dreaming, and visioning, doing whether I achieve the goal or not. Because if I don’t go through this journey, I will.
[00:46:56] Sangbreeta Moitra: Not be happy. I will regret that I didn’t try. So yes, for me, the journey is so important. It’s perhaps more fulfilling to me than the destination.
[00:47:07] Siebe Van Der Zee: Wow. Very inspirational. and in that thought process, I’m curious, Sangbreeta, are there any lessons or one particular lesson. In your life, in your career that you have unlearned where you decided, I got to change my way, I got to do this differently.
[00:47:25] Sangbreeta Moitra: I. I think I, all of them have been lessons that I’ve, unlearned and relearned, for example, that big shift from only thinking big goals, to really understanding that it’s about those personal, those small incremental gains that give confidence, that build your stamina that build your expertise, you know, on a daily basis.
[00:47:47] Sangbreeta Moitra: Whether it’s the change of mindset from thinking, oh, networking, I’m going to go into the room and a hundred business cards should be over by the end of the evening. I should have everyone’s contact, I should have spoken to everyone, to that big shift in. It’s not how many people you know, it’s about the number of people, like the quality of people you know and who know you.
[00:48:07] Sangbreeta Moitra: I’d rather have those meaningful relationships. Then the third one, of course would be, that failure doesn’t have to be devastating, and that failure can be your friend. Failure can be fun with experimenting and, as well with, you know that instead of beating yourself up with failure, during failure, you can also be kind to yourself and realize people are so accepting, so embracing, and at the end of the day, most people out there just want you to succeed.
[00:48:36] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, these were lessons that really, enabled and. Inspired me.
[00:48:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: Again, very inspirational, very powerful. and thank you. Thank you for joining us. but also thank you for sharing your wisdom with our global audience. much appreciated. Thank you.in closing, I want to make a few remarks. you’ve been listening to our international program.
[00:48:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: 10 lessons learned. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, and as always, we are supported by the Professional Development Forum. Our guest today is Sangbreeta Moitra, a globally renowned keynote speaker and executive leadership coach on neuroscience driven change culture and leadership development, sharing her 10 lessons learned.
[00:49:18] Siebe Van Der Zee: And to our audience, don’t forget to leave us a review or a comment. You can also email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com. And I hope you will subscribe so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And remember, this is a podcast that makes the world wiser and wiser, lesson by lesson.
[00:49:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: Thank you and stay safe.
[00:49:40]

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

Sangbreeta Moitra

Sangbreeta Moitra – The only one counting how hard you failed, is you

Sangbreeta Moitra discusses why ”Personal branding elevates hard work”, why “A NO is merely an opinion”, why “A goal without a plan is just a dream” and other insightful lessons. Hosted by Siebe Van Der Zee.

About Sangbreeta Moitra

TEDX-awarded Sangbreeta Moitra is a globally renowned keynote speaker, executive leadership coach on neuroscience-driven change, culture, communication and leadership development.

With academic background in neuroscience and several years in corporate global management, Sangbreeta is known as a powerful speaker and storyteller, delving into the WHY to drive meaningful behaviour change in teams and leaders.

Sangbreeta’s trusted clients including Shell, Nike, Booking, Tommy Hilfiger and NN group. She has delivered keynotes in 10+ countries, and has been featured in 20+ global podcasts and publications, including The Huffington Post and The Financial Express.

Based in Amsterdam, Sangbreeeta is a champion public speaker, with multiple Dutch and European awards in her 15+ years of speaking, storytelling and debating experience.

In her spare time, Sangbreeta mentors ambitious professionals, startups, and social enterprises. Alongside, she enjoys dancing, kickboxing, writing, and freediving.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Fail small, fail fast, fail often. 08:19
Lesson 2: Personal branding elevates hard work. 10:48
Lesson 3: Incremental gains trump big goals. 13:50
Lesson 4: Confidence is a habit. 17:51
Lesson 5: Your network is your net worth. 22:11
Lesson 6: Rejections and failures build mindset. 26:38
Lesson 7: A NO is merely an opinion. 31:33
Lesson 8: Speak up to stand out. 37:08
Lesson 9: The only one counting how often or how hard you failed, is you. 40:32
Lesson 10: A goal without a plan is just a dream. 43:50

Sangbreeta Moitra – The only one counting how hard you failed, is you.

[00:00:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello and welcome to our program, 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to businesspeople, journalists, authors, professors, leaders, and luminaries from all over the world. My name is Siebe Van Der Zee, and I’m your host. I’m based in Phoenix, Arizona, in the beautiful Grand Canyon State. I’m also known as the Dutchman in the desert.
[00:00:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: Our guest today is Sangbreeta Moitra joining us from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. As you will learn during our program, Sangbreeta has a fascinating background and personality. She uses her academic background in neuroscience to motivate individuals, teams, and business leaders to understand their why and to drive meaningful behavioral change.
[00:00:54] Siebe Van Der Zee: She is a TEDx awarded keynote speaker and management advisor. Some of her key clients are major companies like Nike, Shell Oil, ING Bank, Tommy Hilfiger, and many others. She has given keynote presentations in seminars in more than 10 countries, and she has been frequently featured in global podcast and publications, including the Huffington Post and the Financial Express.
[00:01:22] Siebe Van Der Zee: Passionate about diversity and inclusion and women in leadership. Sangbreeta also mentors, startups, business leaders and professionals. She carries a lot of energy as her hobbies include dancing, kickboxing, and free diving. You can learn more about Sangbreeta Moitra on our website. 10 lessons learned.com. Hello, Sangbreeta.
[00:01:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: Thank you so much for joining us.
[00:01:47] Sangbreeta Moitra: Thank you for that phenomenal introduction. My brain is saying, no pressure. So, let’s see how this goes. Now. Thank you so much for having me. It’s such a wonderful, opportunity to speak with you and be featured on 10 lessons.
[00:01:59] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, I’m looking forward to our conversation and your lessons and, I noticed that you are applying your background in neuroscience to help and motivate business leaders.
[00:02:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: What is that all about? How does that work?
[00:02:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: That’s a very good question. most of the organizations that approach me, so there’s two parts to it. There’s the company part, the organizations that approach me, and then the individuals, the organizations that approach me, many of which you’ve already mentioned in the intro, their challenges that they’re currently going through massive change, massive reorganization, transformation, and. The problem they face is from their people side.
[00:02:37] Sangbreeta Moitra: And as you know, over 50% of change management, processes and implementations fail when there is the resistance from the people side. So why when they bring me in, they want to enable their human capital to overcome the resistance, to change, to shift their mindset, to go from a fixed mindset to growth mindset from juniors to executive leaders and really enable them to, you know, be future forward.
[00:03:03] Sangbreeta Moitra: And where neuroscience plays a big role in all of this is, I love to delve into the why, but from a very different perspective, it’s very easy to talk about actions and behaviors. What often happens when we’re going through change. You know, when we’re kind of a ship in a storm, as people become very threatened, they feel defensive, and There’s a lack of psychological safety.
[00:03:25] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, with the power or the knowledge of neuroscience, when you take people into their brains and say, you know what? This is the reason why you’re resisting change. It’s literally evolutionary biology. This is what happens when you, you know, anticipate the pain of change, and you see the aha moment in their eyes when they realize, oh, I don’t need to feel so defensive.
[00:03:46] Sangbreeta Moitra: I don’t need to be so threatened. I don’t need to feel so isolated. Because this is fascinating. This is interesting. There’s a way to hack our brains, and once I can invite and ignite this curiosity in people, I’ve seen that their barriers to resistance just drop and they become excited to know more about how they can learn, grow, evolve, and move forward in whatever lies ahead.
[00:04:10] Sangbreeta Moitra: So that’s where I think neuroscience plays this beautiful role in enabling people and organizations.
[00:04:16] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, it’s so relevant for people to understand their own psyche, their own mental state, and if you can help them point at certain elements, and some of it is, you know, a process that every person goes through, but sometimes we are not even aware of that.
[00:04:35] Siebe Van Der Zee: That can be a lesson that people can, use their whole life, their whole career. Right. That, that, that’s one of those aha moments perhaps, that people say, oh, I got to make sure I keep that in mind. thinking about that, and before we get into the 10 lessons, is there a lesson that you have learned that you would say, boy, if I would be 20 years old today, that’s a lesson I would like to have learned at my younger age.
[00:05:04] Sangbreeta Moitra: There is, I would give this lesson to myself right when I was five, and I would remind myself on every birthday, and we’ll get into why this at another time. But the lesson is that speak up and be assertive, however uncomfortable it feels. Make your decision because if you don’t speak up and you’re not assertive and you don’t make your decisions, somebody else will make your decisions for you.
[00:05:33] Sangbreeta Moitra: And in this, oftentimes people, even adults, even leaders in their personal lives, their professional lives in their career, the choices they make oftentimes to, to avoid the pain of short, you know, whatever short term pain, we take decisions that, you know, Keep things fine and short term, but actually long term they, they’re going to affect you.
[00:05:56] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, speak up for yourself. Stand up for yourself. Be assertive. Make that decision even if it’s uncomfortable now, even if it will create discomfort with others a short while from now because this will benefit you 10 years from now. That’s what I would say to myself every year since I could, since the time I can comprehend language and decision making.
[00:06:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: I, I like it, of course. at the same time, I can see situations where people, perhaps women are in situations where they are not allowed to speak up. Is that something that you can process internally without literally verbally expressing your opinion?
[00:06:39] Sangbreeta Moitra: I like to speak not just on behalf of women.
[00:06:42] Sangbreeta Moitra: I’ve seen men deal with this as well, and I’m not just a women only speaker or coach or trainer. You know, I speak and help everybody. but yes, I have seen this happen to a lot of people. I’ve seen this happen to friends, family, colleagues that, and I specifically say this beyond just the, a particular gender, because I’ve seen this happen so often.
[00:07:03] Sangbreeta Moitra: also, the allow. Is also a perception nobody can disallow us. You know? perhaps in certain cultures where, obedience can be such a strong System of a discipline of this is how you should be, you know, good people are quiet, you know, it’s better to be seen and not heard and stuff like that.
[00:07:26] Sangbreeta Moitra: But I also think that, if you dare to speak up, yeah. You might be seen as a bit of a. A problem person in the short term, but it’s going to benefit you in the long term. But do you dare to, you know, to stand out a bit right now just so you can protect yourself and make the right choices for yourself?
[00:07:44] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I do think there is great strength and there is great, clarity in knowing what you want. Of course, being diplomatic and smart about it. But when the time comes, it’s good to be active, in your life than being a passive. player, having other people make decisions for you.
[00:08:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think it’s very important what you’re saying. maybe that’s the most important lesson of the lessons we’re going to talk about. We’re going to find out, but to stand up, speak out, I think that’s very important. But let’s take a look at your 10 lessons. I’m looking forward to the conversation.

[00:08:19] Lesson 1: Fail small, fail fast, fail often.

[00:08:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number one. Fail small, fail fast, fail often.
[00:08:25] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes.
[00:08:26] Siebe Van Der Zee: what about avoiding failure? Not failing?
[00:08:31] Sangbreeta Moitra: I love failure. Failure is awesome. it’s fantastic. I see failure as experimentation and failure itself. I think the word is fine. It’s the emotions that we attach to it that creates this entire, you know, push and pull.
[00:08:48] Sangbreeta Moitra: you know, this entire. Drama, or melodrama in our minds. Of course, there are times when failure is extremely painful. I will not deny that, and I’ve also been affected by it. However, there’s a reason why I say fail small fast often, so to say fail smart. What I mean by that is. It’s great to test your ideas in places where even if you fail, you stumble, you fall, you get the feedback you need. You can do it in a place that’s, you know, psychologically safe. For example, before I give a huge keynote, I test my ideas with a small group of people locally or even with a mastermind group, and oftentimes I get very critical feedback.
[00:09:30] Sangbreeta Moitra: One of them even told me, Sangbreeta, I have to be very honest with you. This is not up to par. This is not what I expect from you. I expect way better from you. I’ve seen way better from you now. Maybe for someone else that can be really harsh and negative, and they can get really bummed out. But I was like, this is fantastic.
[00:09:48] Sangbreeta Moitra: I mean, there is nothing that I can lose from this feedback. I failed small, I failed quickly. I failed in a place that gave me psychological safety. I got the feedback I needed; I was able to improve. So, it’s so critical to, for ourselves, to test ourselves to Fail quickly. Fail small fail often so that by the time we develop our idea of vision or product, it’s at this amazing level that’s gone through several rounds of feedback, and you just know that it’s going to touch the heart and mind of your target decision maker, whoever that person is. So, yeah, I do love experimenting with failure.
[00:10:25] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. and especially also you include fail small, like you said, right? It’s not, you say, oh, fail big. No. get used to it. because it’s part of our life. we cannot always be perfect and succeed everywhere. but when your mind is prepared to deal with failure, then it’s easier to overcome failure. I like that. That makes a lot of sense.

[00:10:48] Lesson 2: Personal branding elevates hard work.

[00:10:48] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number two, personal branding elevates hard work.
[00:10:53] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes. I love that one.
[00:10:55] Siebe Van Der Zee: Is that generational? as well? I mean, personal branding. I can hear people tell me, you know, advanced in their lives and their careers. Oh, I don’t like personal branding.
[00:11:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: I don’t believe in that. On the other hand, it’s there, right? Whether they like it or not. There is an image that people create for themselves, whether they do it on purpose or not.
[00:11:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: I think you raised a very good point. a, a very good point to think about whether it’s generational or not. As I was thinking when you asked me that question, I realized perhaps back in the day when personal branding, the term didn’t exist, the ones who did it best.
[00:11:32] Sangbreeta Moitra: I think personal branding has happened for years, but like hundreds of years. The ones who did it best were. Either ones who really understood people, they really understood what they wanted, so very shrewd people or the ones who were extroverted. The beauty of personal branding now is that knowledge and know-how is not restricted to people who are just extroverted or just very shrewd.
[00:11:53] Sangbreeta Moitra: This is available for the introverts and the reserved ones and the shy ones because now, you don’t need to fit into a certain personality or just be born into a certain network, to be able to stand out. Now through the knowledge of personal branding, you can apply it. These techniques help you or enable you.
[00:12:09] Sangbreeta Moitra: They elevate the work you do because you, the work you do, especially right now. I mean, we know how many hundreds and thousands of layoffs have happened across the world. I mean, just in the us Think of it from Jan 2023. In the Netherlands, I can’t even tell you how many layoffs have happened. People are desperate.
[00:12:27] Sangbreeta Moitra: People are trying to stand out. Recently, a friend of mine applied for a head of marketing role. Can you guess how many people applied for that role in head of marketing at a graphic design company? Can you just guess off the top of your head?
[00:12:40] Siebe Van Der Zee: More than 200?
[00:12:41] Sangbreeta Moitra: 3000, 3000 people who have performed well, who have a fantastic CV are applying for that job?
[00:12:51] Sangbreeta Moitra: So how are they going to stand out in the eyes of the recruiter? That’s where personal branding comes into play. So personal branding is to show who you are, why you care about what you do. And I think that’s a beautiful way to, you know, tie in your story with the job that you do or the career you aspire for.
[00:13:10] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. And when you talk about a job search, I typically recommend people as far as their brand, their branding to look at their key achievements that they would like to repeat in the future. Yeah. right, because that’s your strength. But sometimes people say, look, I’ve been doing this for so long, I want to do something different.
[00:13:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: So, you don’t have to emphasize certain elements that you don’t want to apply in the future. Or indeed, you emphasize your strength on things that you would like to repeat in the future. Again, we can have a long conversation about that. It’s a great, it’s a great lesson. Personal branding elevates hard work.

[00:13:50] Lesson 3: Incremental gains trump big goals.

[00:13:50] Siebe Van Der Zee: let’s take a look at lesson number three. Incremental Gains, Trump Big Goals. How does
[00:13:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: that work?
[00:13:58] Sangbreeta Moitra: I love small, incremental chunks of growth. and actually, I’ve always been a big goal person for quite a few years until recently. Let me rephrase that. Until recently, I was a big goal person, and it was always the big goal that drove me, motivated me, you know, thinking of the Everest every single time.
[00:14:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: And then I remember after lockdown around 2021, I noticed, oh, the big goal is starting to tire me. The big goal isn’t really motivating. Every single day that I think of my big goal, it’s not really pushing me or motivating me or igniting me the way that it used to. So, what am I going to do then? Then I realized that, okay, I have to change my strategy because I’m not doing the things that I love to do.
[00:14:44] Sangbreeta Moitra: I’m not growing as much as I want to, or even on the path of my, along the path that I want to because I’ve just given up. So, what I did is, I had the big goal in mind. I wrote it down, kept it aside, and then I simply focused on the small activities. What are the small wins? The small rush, you know, that ignition of dopamine that I’m going to give myself, I’m going to gift myself, and I broke it down into smart, achievable goals.
[00:15:09] Sangbreeta Moitra: And they would be something like 15 minutes of jump roping a day. Or it could be, you know, whether it’s your half an hour of walking or. 15 minutes of writing whatever my goal set was. I just did small chunks of it, and I allowed myself to. Feel that dopamine rush at the end of, you know, at the end of this very achievable small chunk of goal.
[00:15:32] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I realized that over a period of time, these small habits were creating such a massive difference in my performance, whether it was in my physical activities like jump roping. I went from jump roping, like a kid, you know, like two jumps and one rope turned to doing over 50 boxer crossovers. in one go, I can now jump rope for half an hour and or an hour, actually, quite long uninterrupted.
[00:16:00] Sangbreeta Moitra: And these. I blew my mind when the day I decided I’m just going to see how far I can go instead of just doing it for 15 minutes because I realized how far I had gone. The same with whatever personal professional goals you, have for yourself. Break it down into achievable chunks. Regularly, consistently, whether it’s every day or three times a week at a particular time of the day, and you will be absolutely gobsmacked to see three months from now where that takes you.
[00:16:28] Sangbreeta Moitra: You realize, before you realize you don’t even realize that you’ve crossed base camp of Everest. So that’s beautiful. So, I do think small incremental chunks are fantastic for, personal evolution.
[00:16:40] Siebe Van Der Zee: I can also see that, as we go through life, through our careers, that we learn new experiences that I want to almost say suddenly become very important, very relevant.
[00:16:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: and unfortunately, perhaps right now I’m thinking of some negative, situations when a. Family member or friend passes away. That can really make you think deep and hard about what life is all about and what you’re doing yourself. If I think about, you know, unfortunate events around the world, for example, right now when you Ukraine, that can impact people.
[00:17:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: As they never expected before, if they see the suffering from other people, et cetera, and it could be in a positive way, when they see people succeed and do well, they can say, hey, that’s something I want to do. That’s something I can do. so, I can see that, incremental gains on all sides can be extremely important too.
[00:17:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: Form ourselves as a human being. yeah, I like that.

[00:17:51] Lesson 4: Confidence is a habit.

[00:17:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number four, confidence is a habit. Don’t you have to build confidence?
[00:17:59] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes, absolutely. So, it is something we need to build, and habits are built. Yeah. a lot of times I have people who say, I hear people who say, oh, you are so confident, or they’re so confident as if they were just born with generational wealth, like no, they had to work on it.
[00:18:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: And confidence is related to your skillset. So, confidence is related to what you do. Self-esteem is about who you are. There’s a difference. So, if you’re low on confidence, good news, it’s much easier to build up confidence than it is to build up self-esteem. Of course, that requires a lot more work.
[00:18:34] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, confidence is, since it’s a skill related to skill sets, it’s a daily habit. Whether you practice something that you’re good at, every single day. So, you know, you reward yourself with that feeling of, I am good. I am good enough, I’m worthy, I deserve. Whatever it takes for you to spark that regular, you know, reminder.
[00:18:58] Sangbreeta Moitra: That’s so important and every person has different confidence habits. For me, for example, couple of things that I do. One is that I do certain activities that I absolutely love in my spare time, and I make time for it. For example, when it’s, public speaking, I do public speaking for work, but I’m also a part of some just, personal hobby, public speaking groups and improv groups that I
[00:19:21] Sangbreeta Moitra: love to go in my free time, however busy I am, twice a month I show up and there it’s like a confidence booster. So twice a month, I ensure that for four hours my confidence is being boosted. I go to certain dance classes or I, do certain activities like kickboxing or whatever jump roping. They boost my confidence.
[00:19:38] Sangbreeta Moitra: And the final thing that I do that is so important is, I made a folder with all the positive words I’ve ever received. You know, I keep it updated, whether it’s through my LinkedIn messages, phone messages, emails. People often give me, little scraps of paper sometimes when, in a public speaking event, you know, as a thank you note.
[00:19:58] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I keep them all. And I save them. And on the days when I’m feeling like, oh, am I good enough? Or, you know, those limiting belief thoughts come up. I make sure that I go and read that. I go and read all those positive words that remind me that I matter, that people see value in me, that I am adding some benefit to them.
[00:20:19] Sangbreeta Moitra: when you’re feeling low, when you’re not feeling confident enough, it’s very easy to not do these habits and just feel. Pity for yourself, but I think self-pity is also the most, the greatest addiction out there. So, to break that, I very proactively consciously implement these three habits and I see how powerful they can be to make you genuinely, authentically feel confident every day.
[00:20:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think it’s extremely important what you’re just saying here, to be able to. Can I say train your brain? I was actually reading a story, written by a US Navy Seal Marine Officer. They go through high pressure exercises, of course, and deal with, very serious issues. And in the article that he wrote, he talked about when he’s involved in an exercise where, Physically and perhaps mentally he’s ready to give up.
[00:21:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: He goes to a place in his brain that gives him, as you explain the confidence, and I think that’s for many people, so important that there is a place that you are prepared for to say, wow, I’m dealing with lots of pressure and whatever it may be. But there is a. Place in your brain that you can go to and say, okay, yes, I’m prepared for this.
[00:21:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: I can do this because of, I’ve done these things to prepare. I think it’s extremely important because every person goes through that and goes through moment of, I almost want to say despair, and sometimes it is despair and worse than despair. But where can they find themselves? To say, I can deal with this, I can handle this.
[00:22:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: And it’s not always easy. It can be extremely difficult, but I think it’s a great recommendation that you make, that we should all look for that space in our own brain. I think that’s very relevant.

[00:22:11] Lesson 5: Your network is your net worth.

[00:22:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: Moving along, lesson number five, I already like it. Your network is your net worth.
[00:22:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: So relevant, but I’ll let you talk.
[00:22:22] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much. And network is your net worth. Absolutely. And I have heard, I mean, there’s so much to talk about the network part. Networking is not just, you know, I hear people say, oh, you have to have a pitch ready when you network. And back in the day I used to think, oh yeah, you’ve got to have your pitch ready.
[00:22:41] Sangbreeta Moitra: And now I’m like, oh gosh, no. If you have to pitch, you must pitch without pitching. But the point is, With your network. It’s this beautiful moment of evolution when you choose to align with your intention, your passion, your purpose, and you choose to surround yourself with people who ignite all three of those, your intention, your passion, your purpose.
[00:23:03] Sangbreeta Moitra: You surround yourself with people who will cheer, lead for you, support you, empower you in your growth ahead, who you know will. You will do the same for them in return. Just this amazing. Of people who choose to be together to evolve one another. That’s the power of your network and it can take you from, you know, the place where you can only dream of who you want to be to the place where you are, who you want to be.
[00:23:29] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, to me, the power of network is amazing. In fact, it’s not about how many people you know, but the quality of the few. You know, and that’s why I always encourage people. It’s when you go networking. It’s not about how many business cards you’ve, dealt across the room. Well now, People don’t even use business cards anymore, or how many people you’ve added on LinkedIn or exchanged numbers, but really, how many meaningful conversations have you had?
[00:23:53] Sangbreeta Moitra: How many coffees are you going to have after that? How many people are you really going to engage with and build a relationship with? Networking is beautiful, so powerful, and it actually benefits your personal and professional transformation.
[00:24:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: I, I want to steal a comment from our producer, Robert Hossary, who always talks about, and it’s one of his lessons in his podcast interview.
[00:24:18] Siebe Van Der Zee: when it comes to networking, it’s not so much who you know, more importantly, who knows you, right? So, when you have a networking exercise, it’s very important that yes, you get to know people. But perhaps more relevant in that networking purpose is who gets to know you. I just wanted to add that, because I think, it’s easily to underestimate the value of your network.
[00:24:43] Siebe Van Der Zee: I. Sometimes if it is an official networking meeting, it almost looks like it’s made up. Yeah. It has to be genuine. It has to click between people. Right. and that’s what’s going to create a lasting impression. I think,
[00:24:56] Sangbreeta Moitra: yeah. I recently made a video on networking actually, which I posted on LinkedIn and there I talked about, do you need to be an extrovert to network?
[00:25:04] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I. Absolutely do not believe that. But there are three things you need to be, and it echoes what your producer said. So, I think your producer, I and I would have a lovely conversation someday.
[00:25:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: Robert, I agree with you because, the three things that I believe we absolutely need to be.
[00:25:19] Sangbreeta Moitra: To have us to build a solid network is we need to be strategic, intentional, and interesting. And the part about interesting is exactly what he said that networking is not just about who you know or chasing people you want to meet, but really attracting your dream to decision maker, the people who inspire you to you.
[00:25:38] Sangbreeta Moitra: And for that, you have to ask yourself, what kind of life will I lead? What kind of choices will I make? What kind of inter integrity will I represent to draw those people to me? So, yes. You know, you have to build yourself to be the person who attracts those dream people to you.
[00:25:54] Siebe Van Der Zee: We are talking today with Sabrina Mora, a globally renowned keynote speaker and executive leadership coach on neuroscience driven change culture and leadership development, sharing her 10 lessons learned.

[00:26:08] Affiliate Break

[00:26:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: I want to thank our affiliate partner Audible. Audible is an amazing way to experience our program, 10 Lessons Learned, but also books and other podcasts, allowing you to build a library of knowledge. All in one place, you can start your free 30-day trial by going to audible trial.com/ten lessons learned. Again, that is audible trial.com/10lessonslearned all lowercase to get your free 30-day subscription.

[00:26:38] Lesson 6: Rejections and failures build mindset.

[00:26:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: Moving along, lesson number six, rejections and failures build mindset. Curious about that one.
[00:26:48] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yeah. This one is, also a personal favorite. Well, all 10 of them, they’re like, Sophie’s choice.
[00:26:53] Sangbreeta Moitra: How do you choose? Choosing between my babies. no, I’m joking. And, when it comes to rejections and failures. So, here’s the thing. A lot of us, a lot of people want to avoid rejection. because Rejection is painful. And here’s the thing about the human brain.
[00:27:10] Sangbreeta Moitra: Our brain is wired to avoid pain more than pursue pleasure related to what I mentioned earlier about short-term gratification, long-term gratification, that if we have to deal with pain in the short term for pleasure in the long term, most people would still avoid going through that journey altogether.
[00:27:27] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, when it comes to, let’s say, career growth, you know, pursuing something you really want, whether. You want to start something new in your career, in your life, you want to go out there, ask for something you so rightly deserve, but you’re afraid of being rejected. That fear holds you back from ever asking for it.
[00:27:46] Sangbreeta Moitra: The danger, as you can imagine, is that you know, you stay stuck in that fixed mindset only wishing and hoping that you could be someone else or you want to, you know, a greater version of yourself. So, the power of. Mindset here is that, and this is something I learned from neuroscience, is you can find a way to hack the pain.
[00:28:08] Sangbreeta Moitra: You can find a way to hack the brain to actually allow rejections and failures to build your mindset and strengthen you. For example, I created this challenge called the 10. No challenge. It was so much fun. Basically, I challenged my audiences, my attendees at trainings and workshops that every single time you get a rejection, it has to be let’s say you, you know, you make a.
[00:28:32] Sangbreeta Moitra: List of things you really want for yourself, whether you want to change your job, you want to ask for a salary hike, you want to start your own business, you want to become a TEDx speaker, you want to start your podcast, whatever it is, and you make that list, you prepare for it, and then you go out there, start meeting people, asking for stuff, whatever it is that you want.
[00:28:51] Sangbreeta Moitra: And then of course you’re going to get rejections along the way. People might not want to have that coffee with you. People might not want to give you that opportunity, but here’s the. Catch every single time you get the rejection, it has to be the trigger or the signal for you to pursue the next no. So instead of chasing only yeses, this 10 no challenge is to pursue 10 nos.
[00:29:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: Why? The reason is in your brain, you’re hacking the pain pathway and you’re doing a rewarding pathway. Every time you get a no, your brain goes, okay, time to pursue the next. No, you won’t believe it. This lady in a conference came up to me and said, Sangbreeta, guess what? I already asked for two things this conference and I got rejected twice.
[00:29:34] Sangbreeta Moitra: And she said, alright. Two down eight to go. And I thought, wow, I’ve never seen someone rejected twice on the same day. Look, this happy. So, I could see that she had replaced her pain pathway with her rewarding pathway. This became a game. She gamified the process. The second reason for how rejections build mindset is alongside all the noise that you get.
[00:29:57] Sangbreeta Moitra: You will also receive those few yeses, and these are yeses you never dare to ask for yourself. These are yeses that you never imagined could be part of your life or career, and these yeses can completely transform the trajectory of your path. So, this is why I so deeply, strongly, passionately believe that rejections, strategically pursuing rejections, build our mindset.
[00:30:20] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s a very important point again, and definitely I can think of experiences that I have had, and of course everybody else has had being rejected and perhaps after so many years, it doesn’t get to me anymore. and it’s more like I’m reaching out to these people to do them a favor and if they don’t appreciate that, in a way to make myself feel better.
[00:30:43] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s their problem now. It’s my problem too, but I don’t make it my problem. I’m doing them a favor by reaching out and, at the same time. And that’s what you’re talking about in some of these other lessons as well to really prepare your brain because the unexpected situation, it’s like you’re driving your car and suddenly your car breaks down and perhaps it’s, you know, you’re in the evening or in the middle of the night.
[00:31:09] Siebe Van Der Zee: What are you going to do? Well, hopefully there is a service available to help you out or you have, a relative, someone you can contact, et cetera. Yeah. But to be prepared for those moments, because we’ll go through it. we’re human beings, so sometimes you get rejected and you have to have a strong, mindset as you suggest.
[00:31:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like it.

[00:31:33] Lesson 7: A NO is merely an opinion.

[00:31:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: lesson number seven, a no is merely an opinion.
[00:31:37] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes,
[00:31:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: please explain before I start asking questions.
[00:31:42] Sangbreeta Moitra: This one was, a lesson I’ve learned, about five years where very consciously I noticed this lesson happened five years ago,
[00:31:50] Sangbreeta Moitra: But I see it happen over and over again. For example, there was a massive, corporate that I was, I was in conversation with a. A person from a massive corporate about doing some, you know, talks and trainings with them, however, wasn’t quite clicking with, this particular person, you know, perhaps, they were looking for something else or they just weren’t aligned with, their personal team’s development plans.
[00:32:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: And they said, sorry, I don’t think it’s going to work with this, their company. Like, insert name of company. And at first, I thought, oh, what a pity. All these conversations didn’t work out. And I thought, Hold on. Who said that this person’s the only representative of this entire company with 5,000 people?
[00:32:32] Sangbreeta Moitra: Their no is merely their opinion. It’s merely related to their department and their personal idea of what is and isn’t possible. So, does that mean I’m not going to ever have an opportunity with this company again? No way. And I let it be. I continued, you know, doing my work, meeting people, creating impact, and.
[00:32:52] Sangbreeta Moitra: Well, what do you know about six months later, I had someone else from that company approach me to do the exact same thing and it worked out. So, no is merely an opinion, and I say this even to people, for example, right now, a lot of, your viewers in. Your listeners might be working in companies, they get negative feedback and they’re, a lot of them are told, oh, we don’t see it in you to get promoted to be a leader, you know, for them to get the opportunity to the next level and it completely devastates them.
[00:33:20] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yeah. But when you get that, no. I think it’s great to get back to them with a question, like, for example, when someone, a mentee of mine said, or someone I was coaching said that, you know, they got this feedback at work that they don’t have those leadership abilities in them. My question is, and that this person who gave you the feedback, who said no to you?
[00:33:42] Sangbreeta Moitra: Who are they speaking for? Are they speaking for the organizational, their personal perspective of what leadership is? What do they think leadership is? Can they define leadership, and do they think that their personal opinion of leadership is the only one that this, that represents this entire company?
[00:33:57] Sangbreeta Moitra: And actually, when they went back to the discussion board, the line manager was quiet, short of words and they were able to raise a case. And that my, my coachee became, did get promoted because she raised it, escalated the case. So that’s good. Yeah. Just because you hear Yeah, just an opinion. a no is merely an opinion.
[00:34:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: It doesn’t mean that there is, no other way for you to move forward.
[00:34:21] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. I think the challenge for many people is, that let’s say the boss is always right, even when he or she is not. Right. in their mind, Hey, I’m the boss. I’m telling you; you should do this. You should not do that. Go do it. And I think in,
[00:34:41] Sangbreeta Moitra: sorry I’m interrupting you.
[00:34:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: no. I mean, we’re talking here about this simple issue where there is a, an individual in a powerful position that will make his or her opinion be the one to follow. And yeah. Yeah, I can see there is maybe something to say because that person has the ultimate responsibility and therefore this is what we’re going to do.
[00:35:04] Siebe Van Der Zee: But that’s also then a response for, let’s say, the employee to say, is this the environment that I want to work in?
[00:35:12] Sangbreeta Moitra: I hear what you’re saying and oftentimes I have noticed that even though you might not have the leadership position in the company, there’s someone senior you’re speaking with, if you.
[00:35:23] Sangbreeta Moitra: Ask the right strategic questions, much like a coach, you can actually lead the conversation. So, if someone gives you feedback, like I don’t think you have, the leadership, Abilities in you, you are like, oh, that’s interesting feedback. Thank you for sharing your opinion. Why do you say that?
[00:35:38] Sangbreeta Moitra: What do you consider to be leadership abilities and then by asking questions in a non-threatening non alpha, you know, non ooga, ooga Gorilla way. By being very strategic and firm in the way we approach these conversations, you can completely change that conversation around and without even suggesting it, make the other party realize, oh, actually, they do have a point.
[00:36:00] Sangbreeta Moitra: Okay, fair enough. They did show leadership in a different way. That’s another like three-hour workshop. How do you get that to happen? How do you get someone to change your mind? But it is possible, which is why I truly believe, that no is just an opinion. We can turn that no into a Yes.
[00:36:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: And it’s the way you, let’s say, as a counterpart, the way you address it.
[00:36:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s not just say, hey, I disagree, and you have to listen to me. It’s, that’s what you’re saying, right? You have to. Bring it up in a constructive way and suggestive way that perhaps there are alternative ways of solving a problem or handling with the handling, certain, situations.
[00:36:35] Sangbreeta Moitra: Absolutely. I even say never use the word disagree but rephrase it. Reframe it in a way that sounds much more collaborative. I think the most important thing in these kinds of scenarios is how do you show collaboration and actually strategically navigate the course of this discussion of the sensitive topic to towards the outcome you want without people feeling threatened or defensive.
[00:36:59] Siebe Van Der Zee: Makes sense. And my mind is saying, I need to introduce you to a few people that I know Okay. That perhaps need to change their minds on things. But we all have those, right?

[00:37:08] Lesson 8: Speak up to stand out.

[00:37:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: lesson number eight. Not a surprise here, because you, this is what you’re doing.
[00:37:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: Speak up to stand out. That fits you really well.
[00:37:17] Sangbreeta Moitra: Thank you. Yes. I think it’s the most. One of the most essential skills, habits, attributes we need in the current professional landscape, whether you’re a business owner, whether you are a corporate employee, whether you’re starting out, whether you’re leading executive, it’s so important to know how to speak up and represent yourself to really build that unique identity for yourself.
[00:37:44] Sangbreeta Moitra: Also, the, when you are speaking up, you are also showing your integrity. You’re showing, you know, what are the values, what is the legacy that you stand for, that you represent, and when you speak up for yourself, for others, your champion for a particular cause, whatever that might be, that becomes your reputation.
[00:38:04] Sangbreeta Moitra: That becomes how people remember you. When you speak a certain way, when you, express yourself a certain way, you impact how people feel. So, yeah, I completely, I do believe that speaking up is so essential to creating that unique identity and impact, in. Whatever it is that we want to do and the change we want to bring,
[00:38:26] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s not always easy.
[00:38:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: Right. To do that, to speak up. I had a situation a few years ago when, the US government made a decision to separate children at the border with the United States to separate children from their families and living here in a border state, Arizona, I did not like that. They were not my children.
[00:38:49] Siebe Van Der Zee: They were not my family. But I did speak out and it got me into a certain level of trouble. I can give details, but that’s not relevant for our conversation right now. And I had to really give it some thought because I didn’t want to be in trouble. And at the same time, it was a matter of principle.
[00:39:09] Siebe Van Der Zee: Looking back, I have no regrets that I spoke out. And I think that’s, you know, a moral issue. There could be other issues, like you said, but you have to go with your own gut, with your own feeling, and especially when it is a matter of principle, to be able to speak up and stand out, I think very valuable.
[00:39:31] Sangbreeta Moitra: Absolutely. And also, I think it’s very relevant and. On how we speak up. So, there is strategy. You know, it goes without saying every point that I’ve mentioned in my 10 lessons, 10 lessons learned are about how to be strategic about each point to get to the outcome that you want. So, speaking up doesn’t always have to be, you know, the one with a finger raised in the air and creating the.
[00:39:54] Sangbreeta Moitra: You know, ruckus and, I have a problem upset and I want the whole world to know about it. That’s not my intention with speaking up, but speaking up is how am I going to impact people? How do I want them to remember me? How do I want them to feel about me, about themselves? You know, how am I going to.
[00:40:11] Sangbreeta Moitra: Inspire people. So that’s the power of speaking up to stand out. And I think I’m sure knowing you, you must have, spoken up so beautifully and in and inspirationally and that’s, that’s what I also want people to remember. It’s being strategic and how and when you speak up to create the impact you want on others.
[00:40:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, absolutely. No, I appreciate that. important lesson.

[00:40:32] Lesson 9: The only one counting how often or how hard you failed, is you.

[00:40:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number nine. The only one counting how often and how hard you failed is you. Great lesson.
[00:40:41] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes, thank you. And I think failure has come up so many times in my lessons and they’re all like, different facets of a kaleidoscope perhaps. And I think failure is a fascinating topic to discuss.
[00:40:54] Sangbreeta Moitra: And indeed, I come across so many people who beat themselves up about. About something that went wrong and awry. And they think, oh my God, I can never show my face again. Oh my God, I never want to go for that opportunity again because everybody knows that I failed. I’ve had the same journey as well.
[00:41:12] Sangbreeta Moitra: There has been a time when I was beating myself up about every single thing that didn’t go right, like let’s say out of five great experiences, let’s say five great talks and trainings I gave, four were fantastic, one didn’t work out. Instead of celebrating those four, I was beating myself up about that one thing that didn’t work out that perhaps I wasn’t a 10 on 10, because I was saying, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I was a seven on 10 or a 7.5 on 10.
[00:41:39] Sangbreeta Moitra: Nobody wants to work with a seven on 10. What about all those other four moments of fantastic performance? So, the funny thing is the moment you bounce back, you choose to show up. Stand up, speak up again. You will realize how forgiving people are. You know, Michael Jordan also said he’s lost more shots.
[00:41:57] Sangbreeta Moitra: He’s missed more shots than he’s actually made. He. People don’t count how many shots he’s missed. People love him. Remember him, respect him. Value him for what he did, right, for what he did. Well, it just takes those few successes to really make an impact. No one’s counting how many, you know, times you felt you were a failure.
[00:42:18] Sangbreeta Moitra: And I had the same experience as well that when I was beating myself up and I thought, Oh my gosh. I don’t want to be visible anymore. I want to be safe. But I wasn’t happy being safe and invisible, not speaking my mind, not pursuing my passion. And when I went, came back to the limelight, I started giving those talks and trainings again.
[00:42:37] Sangbreeta Moitra: Nobody cared about the time that I, you know, nobody cared that I wasn’t around. All they cared about was, ah, we’d love to learn more from you. We’d love to know more from you. Tell us more. So, people are so kind, so forgivable. So, For, so, not only forgiving, but also, they don’t even remember, that, you know, you went through, an episode, that you went through a tough time.
[00:42:58] Sangbreeta Moitra: In fact, many times. For example, when people are speaking on stage and they say, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I forgot half of my entire talk, or I forgot to mention that. Extremely important point. Well, you know what? The audience didn’t even know. They thought you were the best ever. So, that’s why it’s good to be, to have high standards, but not beat yourself up.
[00:43:21] Sangbreeta Moitra: It’s okay to be kind to yourself.
[00:43:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m really curious, listening to you, Sangbreeta, considered, writing a book?
[00:43:30] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes.
[00:43:31] Siebe Van Der Zee: Is that something you’re going to do or you’re working on it already? I.
[00:43:34] Sangbreeta Moitra: I am working on it. Yes. Well, very interesting. How did you know? Did I tell you already?
[00:43:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, you didn’t, but I’m listening to you and these lessons I think are very important for people.
[00:43:45] Sangbreeta Moitra: Thank you. You are so kind. And I would love to talk about these topics in great detail as well.

[00:43:50] Lesson 10: A goal without a plan is just a dream.

[00:43:50] Sangbreeta Moitra: well, it kind of leads to, to lesson number 10, right? A goal without a plan is just a dream.
[00:43:57] Sangbreeta Moitra: Yes, absolutely. I live and breathe this and, this is actually such a big reflection of my personal life and journey as well. I think, you already know that I came to the Netherlands as a student.
[00:44:10] Sangbreeta Moitra: I was an international student. I didn’t know anybody. Started my life from scratch, and I’ve had so many career changes along the way. Before I came here, I already had this preset plan. I was going to do lab and research live. I was going to do my PhD. Then I came here, I started doing my master’s midway. I realized, oh gosh, I don’t want that.
[00:44:28] Sangbreeta Moitra: I don’t want that plan. I don’t want the lab. Research life. It’s not my dream. It’s perhaps someone else’s dream or maybe my family’s dream, but not mine. I want to do more work with people, and you know, from there to working in pharma to starting my own advisory, speaking, training, consulting, coaching, all this happened and.
[00:44:50] Sangbreeta Moitra: Oftentimes people ask me, but how did you do it? You didn’t know anybody. Or how did you get to work with all these companies? How did you travel over 10 countries? How did you know, speak to 5,000, 10,000 people? All of that is because of turning that dream into very strategic, through a very strategic plan, into these very achievable goals.
[00:45:10] Sangbreeta Moitra: and this is where the juxtaposition of big goals and small incremental growth is powerful. All these lessons that I’ve mentioned have led me to do the things that I’ve been able to do. So privileged to do, so lucky to do, so, fortunate to do. so, my own journey from being a research student into being a speaker and advisor and trainer and coach on.
[00:45:35] Sangbreeta Moitra: On how neuroscience can, you know, transform the way you are building your culture, your communication, your change program in companies, but also for individual growth, you know, for your confidence, growth mindset. You know, overcoming resistance, overcoming rejection, the fear of rejection and failure, speaking up standing outstanding.
[00:45:54] Sangbreeta Moitra: All of this has been possible because I’ve had to learn how to turn every crazy dream into a very achievable goal.
[00:46:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: But you had an open mind to learning, right?
[00:46:06] Sangbreeta Moitra: I had no other option. I don’t know what it’s like to live with a dream and let it be.
[00:46:12] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, maybe there’s your answer. Indeed. Yeah.
[00:46:14] Sangbreeta Moitra: I’m, I’m also someone who cannot imagine my future looking back and regretting I didn’t do this, and I know that if I didn’t pursue this path, Perhaps I wouldn’t even, you know what?
[00:46:33] Sangbreeta Moitra: It’s okay if I didn’t achieve these goals, that’s fine. And there are goals I still haven’t achieved. I don’t know if I ever will, but I am so thankful that I am on the journey of experimenting, testing, aiming, dreaming, and visioning, doing whether I achieve the goal or not. Because if I don’t go through this journey, I will.
[00:46:56] Sangbreeta Moitra: Not be happy. I will regret that I didn’t try. So yes, for me, the journey is so important. It’s perhaps more fulfilling to me than the destination.
[00:47:07] Siebe Van Der Zee: Wow. Very inspirational. and in that thought process, I’m curious, Sangbreeta, are there any lessons or one particular lesson. In your life, in your career that you have unlearned where you decided, I got to change my way, I got to do this differently.
[00:47:25] Sangbreeta Moitra: I. I think I, all of them have been lessons that I’ve, unlearned and relearned, for example, that big shift from only thinking big goals, to really understanding that it’s about those personal, those small incremental gains that give confidence, that build your stamina that build your expertise, you know, on a daily basis.
[00:47:47] Sangbreeta Moitra: Whether it’s the change of mindset from thinking, oh, networking, I’m going to go into the room and a hundred business cards should be over by the end of the evening. I should have everyone’s contact, I should have spoken to everyone, to that big shift in. It’s not how many people you know, it’s about the number of people, like the quality of people you know and who know you.
[00:48:07] Sangbreeta Moitra: I’d rather have those meaningful relationships. Then the third one, of course would be, that failure doesn’t have to be devastating, and that failure can be your friend. Failure can be fun with experimenting and, as well with, you know that instead of beating yourself up with failure, during failure, you can also be kind to yourself and realize people are so accepting, so embracing, and at the end of the day, most people out there just want you to succeed.
[00:48:36] Sangbreeta Moitra: So, these were lessons that really, enabled and. Inspired me.
[00:48:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: Again, very inspirational, very powerful. and thank you. Thank you for joining us. but also thank you for sharing your wisdom with our global audience. much appreciated. Thank you.in closing, I want to make a few remarks. you’ve been listening to our international program.
[00:48:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: 10 lessons learned. This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, and as always, we are supported by the Professional Development Forum. Our guest today is Sangbreeta Moitra, a globally renowned keynote speaker and executive leadership coach on neuroscience driven change culture and leadership development, sharing her 10 lessons learned.
[00:49:18] Siebe Van Der Zee: And to our audience, don’t forget to leave us a review or a comment. You can also email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com. And I hope you will subscribe so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And remember, this is a podcast that makes the world wiser and wiser, lesson by lesson.
[00:49:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: Thank you and stay safe.
[00:49:40]

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

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