Who is Manasi Kakade?

So…

You want to get to know me better? I am flattered!

Seriously, in today’s day and age, so many people don’t even take an interest in the person sitting right next to them. And here you are, trying to find out more about a random writer you met online. I am grateful!

If you want the short version, I am an engineer turned marketer turned entrepreneur. I coach purpose-driven, growth-driven professionals and solopreneurs on how to communicate their strengths and ideas with clarity and confidence so they can attract and grab business opportunities that are just right for them.

My goal is to help you strategize your career growth with intention and confidence by discovering and owning your unique set of strengths and skills.

What do I coach about?

A friend once labeled these as the “Communicate YOU” skills. (And now I am sticking to it. :))

These are the skills that you need to let others know who you are, what your strengths are, and what you bring to the table in a professional exchange.

For example…

  1. How to articulate your ideas succinctly and present them with confidence
  2. Online branding / positioning yourself as a thought leader (LinkedIn is a must these days!)
  3. Cross-cultural business behavior (I have deep respect for immigrants / expats who are working hard across the boundaries of cultures, and building a life for them and their families in a foreign country. I know your struggles first hand.)
  4. Resume, interview, and networking skills (If you want your dream job, you cannot go anywhere without these.)

Here’s the post I wrote on my career philosophy – “4 Components of Building a Prosperous and Meaningful Career” which will tell you more about what I coach on. Also, do read it if you would like some clarity on your next steps in building your career.

Verbalizing your strengths and accomplishments is a powerful mindset shift! It helps you see yourself in a new light – a light that tells you how valuable your gifts are in this world. It also opens options on how you can use those strengths to build a prosperous career or business.

Whom do I serve?

1. Growth-driven professionals who are feeling that they are stuck with their current job but are afraid that they wouldn’t find anything else if they lose this job tomorrow. Or those who like their current position but want to do something even bigger and better. (I give you the skills to present your professional experience online and offline in way that positions you as the competent professional that you are so that you can be ready to grab new opportunities. Confident career growth is a byproduct.)

2. Intelligent, talented entrepreneurs who feel like they are losing out on opportunities despite having innovative ideas. I have seen that most probably it is because you are not articulating what’s on your mind with confidence and in way that interests potential buyers, investors, and possible connections. (My special gift is helping you communicate across the boundaries of cultures e.g. An Indian entrepreneur doing business with the people in the USA.)

Why I chose to do this as a profession?

Truth be told, I never knew I would end up here. I mean, I have always wanted to run my own business. But I didn’t imagine that it would be a coaching business.

I was a successful engineer, and an even better marketer. If you had asked me in 2013, what business I would most likely own in future, I would have quickly answered “some high-tech app or a website” – maybe even “a social network” if I was feeling particularly ambitious that day. 😉

But never, would I have ever guessed, that my path to discovering my strengths would lead me to where I am today.

I was determined to keep doing more and more of what I love, and reducing from my career what I don’t enjoy so much.

That’s how I started marketing high-tech products rather than designing them.

That’s how I started writing this blog as a hobby to share what I am learning in the process.

And that’s how I started getting noticed for what I didn’t even realize were my natural gifts – the way with words and numbers, innate ability to improve processes to get the desired results, and a calling to inspire others to achieve their full potential.

When I started receiving consulting offers through this blog, I was thrilled with the possibilities. I obviously hadn’t worked out all the details, but that had never stopped me in the past, so why should it now? 😉

That’s how my coaching and speaking business began.

I strongly believe that when you engage yourself in a vocation that builds on your strengths and talents, you will live a happy, healthy, and joyful life. You will leave behind a legacy that you and your family will be proud off. And most importantly, you simply wouldn’t have time or desire to engage in less productive activities which will make this world a much better place.

My goal is to give you the skills you need to design your ideal career or business. I want YOU to feel the same joy I feel every day when I start work. I want more and more people to live a life that feels meaningful to them.

That’s why I freely share what I have learned and continue to learn on my path. That’s why I do what I do. That’s why I took that BIG leap of faith, and let go of the comfort that came from a steady income.

Has it paid off?

Yes, yes, and yes! Now people from over 47 countries read my thoughts. From the messages I receive, I think, it inspires them and provides them actionable tips they can apply to rise in their career and life.

Every time I hear a client say something like, “You make me feel calm, confident, and in control of my future”, my heart skips a beat. That night, this feeling of joy ends up being on the top of my gratitude list. Yes, money is a good tool to have. But I can honestly say that the money does not even come close to this feeling of knowing that you are using your strengths to help others.

I am truly grateful to all my readers (that includes you), audience members, and clients who give me this opportunity to serve them.

 

Have you seriously read this far? Maybe you are like me at times – finding something, anything to do to procrastinate what you really need to be doing but don’t want to. 😉

Or maybe, just maybe, I have been successful in keeping your interest. 😀 Like I said before, I am grateful!

If the latter is the case, here’s the long version via 11 entertaining / unusual / weird facts about me:

1. I am a risk taker and extremely positive thinker by nature.
There are times when my mother has asked me if I can tone down my extreme enthusiasm a tad bit. It’s like waking up with a headache in the morning and seeing an (irritatingly) chirpy person singing with glee. 😉

I hardly even cried as a baby.

But what can I do! That’s who I am to the core. And in all honesty, I am proud of it. I would rather think positively than be stuck in self-pity or complaining or analysis paralysis.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think realistically. I do. But what I do after collecting all the facts (even if they don’t support me) is look for a solution rather than pondering over the problem itself. I had actually written a blog post on this. Read it here if you are interested in becoming a “solution person”.

When I quit engineering to do marketing, I had to take a pay cut. In many people’s minds that was not a “practical” decision. But that risk didn’t deter me. I always preferred being a great marketer than being a good engineer. And indeed if I am great, my earning potential will rise exponentially even if I am starting late in the field. And that’s exactly what happened.

Then the same pattern repeated itself when I wanted to stop working for somebody else and open my own business. Again, a risk never stopped me from experimenting, learning, and taking new actions.

Now, this characteristic that many people deemed unpractical before, is exactly what my clients love in me! I give them the confidence they need in their actions, the courage to learn what is needed and break the shackles of the past patterns, and the belief in the success which the process will bring.

2. I started my first “business” when I was about 8-9 years old. I used to trade my services since taking money for what I did would have been deemed mean in Indian (and many other) cultures. 😉

My father had bought for me a big, beautiful coloring book that I wanted to look spectacular when colored, but was sure my coloring technique wasn’t the way to achieve that. I also had a super cool box of over 200 crayons that I had received as a gift from my uncle in the USA. We are talking about the days when having a box of 6 crayons was a norm, and a box of 12 crayons made you the most favorite kid in the class.

When I discovered how much power I had in my hands, I decided to put it to some good use. I loved studying but hated painting, sewing and crafting.

So I used to invite my artistic friends over to color that big book for me in exchange for teaching them or helping them with their homework. Use of the crayons was advertised as the bonus they will receive. Those who weren’t’ the best at coloring got my lessons in exchange of sewing or crafting.

Unfortunately, this enterprise came to an end when one day I was proudly showing off to my parents how beautiful my coloring book looked. Although, I think, they wanted to trust my coloring potential, they are not blind.

Apparently, I should just try some activities without expecting any outcomes e.g. coloring as a hobby without competing to be the best at it, and I should have helped my friends in their homework just for the sake of helping, without expecting anything in return.

Blah, blah, blah….

3. Ironically, the advice I hated then, became a big part of me soon after. I used to teach my fellow classmates whatever I can just because I wanted to help them.

As I got older, I started thinking more like my parents – helping others to see them grow became rewarding. I continued doing that when I started working. Some of my very first clients are the people whom I had given free “coaching” in the past. What goes around, comes around!

4. The other piece of that same advice – doing some activities just as a hobby – that took some time to internalize. In 2015, I decided that each year I would learn 3 new skills just for fun. The skills I have chosen so far are the ones I know I am bad at so that my competitive side does not even wake up.

Pottery, speaking elementary Italian, coding HTML, free flow meditative dancing, basic design principles have all been the fruits of this learning for fun.

Yet, I dare not take on a coloring book. 😉

5. I do what I love and learn what I don’t know. I have always been quite against doing what I didn’t like. (Sorry, mom and dad, for every single time you had to give a long explanation of why I should follow your orders. Thanks for being so patient with us. Yes, “us”, because my brother is no exception.)

My GPA in the M.S. Engineering and MBA is flawless (4.0) EXCEPT for 2 classes in which I got an “F” because I didn’t complete those courses. Why didn’t I finish the classes? Because I didn’t like the material neither did I see any use of them in my future career. (Seriously, to this day, I have never had to use what little I had learned in those classes.) I did the first assignments in both the classes. Got an A+, too. But I simply couldn’t convince myself to complete the classes just for the grade.

Many people (myself included) saw this as a flaw in me at that time. But I must say, if it weren’t for that attitude and the strong desire to do ONLY what I like, I wouldn’t have looked for and crafted a career that I absolutely LOVE.

That’s why I am so picky of the projects and clients I take on. It’s not to be arrogant or rude but simply because I want to enjoy the process and I want them to enjoy it, too. And if either the work or the team is not a right fit, we would not excel in our performance.

Passion does lead to a top notch performance.

6. I have become a decluttering diva! I was never a pack rat, and always was decently organized. However, in May 2014 the decluttering bug bit me. Since then it has been a constant process that seems to be slowly moving towards minimalism. You can read my whole journey through these blog posts. Start reading from the last post to the first one listed.

I highly, highly recommend decluttering to everybody because of the mental clarity it brings.

And let’s be honest, no one ever said, “Oh, I wish I had one more thing to clean”.

Well, except for Monica from Friends. But none of you ever said that.

[GIF sourced from bustle.com, via GIPHY]

7. There was a time when I didn’t care for cakes, milk chocolate, and cookies (or biscuits as we Indians call them). And then I came to the USA – the land of all the food that you eat while knowing it is bad for you.

However, this year, I decided to cut down cane sugar from my lifestyle so I have chosen to stay away from all of those.

And successfully so if I may add, because fortunately when I really want to do something, nothing can deter me from doing it.

8. The only drink I love to drink is water. I don’t drink tea, coffee, soda (soft drinks) or alcohol.

As a matter of fact, I have tasted soda only ONCE in my life when I was in the 7th grade. It was the good old Thumbs Up that was so popular in India before Pepsi and Coke came. I hated the carbonation so much I never dared try it again. I don’t even know how Pepsi or Coke tastes. I will be just as happy on a planet where these drinks don’t even exist.

9. I LOVE green, leafy vegetables prepared the Indian way. Growing up, my mother (who is a great cook by the way) made it for our dinner almost every day. Maharashtra (the state of India where I grew up) is blessed with a variety of leafy vegetables. I miss them here in the USA where Spinach, Swiss chard, and Kale are our choices if we want some flavor in our greens.

10. I do not enjoy cooking or cleaning on a regular basis but I do LOVE a clean house and delicious food. I would rather spend my time chatting with people, reading books, or discussing innovative business ideas.

That’s why I first started decluttering. I also put my strength of streamlining processes to work. Over the period of last 2 years, I have nailed down my cleaning routine and specific supplies where I achieve the best results in the shortest time and effort.

As for cooking, I married a GREAT cook! Seriously, this was on my vision board, and it worked.

Some of our relaxing weekends now are spent with him cooking and me cleaning. 🙂 Not too shabby for team work, is it?

11. I am a trained extrovert so much so that you WILL be deceived if you see me in action.

I did not even talk more than what’s necessary to my classmates until I was in fourth grade. I enjoyed sitting in a corner alone and reading. All my old report cards from that time said something of this sort: “She is excellent in all the subjects. Her behavior leaves nothing to complain about. But she REALLY needs to learn social skills.”

To help me learn speaking skills my father enrolled me in a speech / elocution competition in the third grade. Well, as scared as I was, I was more obedient. So I practiced my speech, gestures, pauses every little technique that my dad taught me. I won the competition. But then I was back to not talking in the class.

But my dad didn’t give up. He signed me up for another speech competition the following year. I excelled again. Something in me must have shifted then. Like my mom says, “You started chatting then, and never stopped.”

But it wasn’t until I came to the USA that I noticed how much importance is given to the outwardly expression in this culture. I slowly learned  to communicate my thoughts with conviction. Being a woman, in a high-tech field, and from a more subdued culture wasn’t helping my cause either.

That’s why I am so grateful for what Toastmasters International has given me.

I still need my solitude to recharge, think, and solidify my plan of action. I cannot continue partying day in and day out. And I need to know my limits before I become cranky or exhausted. Thank goodness for Susan Cain’s work on introversion, I feel “normal” needing that time.

But if I start talking to you, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I am not an extrovert. Many of my friends don’t even accept it until I tell them my whole story. Now I am just comfortable taking on the right role at the right time, and playing it wholeheartedly.

 

Are you still reading???

At this point, there can be only two possible explanations why you are still here. Either there is something wrong with you today or there is something so wrong with me that it is entertaining to read about it.

In any case, I am not going to lie, your presence as a compliment.  Thank you!

If you want to get or stay in touch, here are the 3 ways you can do it:

  1. If you have any questions, you know how to contact me🙂
  2. If you want to hear more stories from me, I share those via emails. So if you haven’t signed up already, become a member of my Email Club.
  3. Join me on social media.

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And hey, getting to know each other is a two way street. So don’t shy away from showing up in the comments on the blog posts so that I get to know you a bit more as well.

Bye for now!