Unlocking The Key To Business Success With Nihar Chhaya

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What really makes a successful business? Is it passion? Profit? Or a balance of both? Nihar Chhaya is an executive coach to global leaders, a keynote speaker, and the President of PartnerExec. He works to help business owners leap into leadership and scale their businesses through his coaching program. In this episode, he joins host Tony Martignetti to discuss strategies that will help you in your journey to business success. He emphasizes the value of mentorship and why it’s okay not to be an expert when you’re a leader. Nihar also talks about his own career journey and how he used his previous experience to position himself better for a career in other fields. Listen in and get valuable career advice and be inspired by Nihar’s story of success and his principles on business.

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Unlocking The Key To Business Success With Nihar Chhaya

It's my honor to introduce you to my guest, Nihar Chhaya. He is an executive coach to leaders at global companies, including American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Cigna, GE, Lockheed Martin, Wieden+Kennedy and many others. As a former Fortune 200 Corporate Head of Talent Development, he is the President of PartnerExec which helps executives master influence in interpersonal effectiveness for superior business and strategic outcomes.

His work has been featured in publications such as the Harvard Business Review and Fast Company. He writes regularly on Leadership for Forbes. He has an MBA from The Wharton School and an MA from Columbia University. He also has a BS from Georgetown University. He lives in Dallas with his wife and daughter, Laura. It's my honor and pleasure to welcome you to the show, Nihar.

Tony, thank you so much for having me. It's a privilege. I appreciate it.

I read your bio and you've had so much impact in different places. I know there's so much more behind that. I want to uncover and see the journey that brought you to where you are now and the impact that you're making. I've read many of your articles and I completely resonate with the stuff that you write. I'm thrilled to have you.

Thank you. I appreciate being here. I'm a fan of your show and I'm looking forward to a great conversation.

As we do on the show, we usually tell people stories through what's called flashpoints. These are points in your story that have ignited your gifts into the world. I'm going to give you the space to share what you're called to share. You can start wherever you like. Along the way, we'll pause and see what's showing up with themes and things you want to connect with. With that, I'm going to give you the chair.

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As I thought about the concept of flashpoints, forgive me for going way back into my life. Probably the most pivotal memory I have is when I was seven years old. I came home from school one day. It was about the first week of second grade and my mom told me, "The principal called and said that they want to advance you to third grade because they think that you're overachieving." I don't remember any of this, to be honest with you. I just remember the conversation that my mom told me.

I grew up in a family of Indian immigrants. I was born and raised in New Jersey. Both my parents are from India. They were trying to figure their way through as well, growing up in a new country with a family. My mom was like, "We're going to do it because the principal said it." I remember being happy where I was, enjoying my friends and school, and suddenly being dropped into a brand-new classroom down the hall but it was a whole new world.

I remember from that point on feeling extremely out of place. I don't mean to be too dramatic, but it was quite traumatizing as I got older because I was put in a place where I had to make new friends suddenly. I felt a little bit behind, even the curriculum of what I was doing and in a family where high standards of what we set academically. We were one of the few Indian people in the township at this point. It was in the early '80s. I had to find my way through socializing.

This was the first time where I felt the whole challenge of wanting to fit in. It was a big flashpoint for me, which has played a big part in many other things. As I got older, I was able to be relatively successful in terms of school and getting into the right colleges. To be quite honest, there has always been a little bit of a challenge around standing out versus fitting in.

It's funny when I start to think about this perspective of everyone is well-intentioned with these moves. This thought of like, "Let's move him to the next level. Let's create this opportunity that will move him forward," but never checking in with you to say, "What do you have in mind?"

I don't even fault them because why would you say, “No, we're not going to advance him.” It's funny because I have a daughter. I'm a new parent. I have a new philosophy on that whole thing now, having gone through it. I wonder whether it's always the right thing to put somebody in a situation where they're going to be behind as opposed to feeling that they're at an equal level or ahead.

Something about that is people always say, "Get out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself," but there's also an element of don't get too uncomfortable. Make sure you've got yourself in a place where you're feeling some sense of connection and attachment. There's a possibility of being too uncomfortable to the point where you're not feeling safe.

In my coaching practice, I pull on a lot of the work from Dr. Csikszentmihalyi who talks about flow. His concept is that if you're trying to find the flow, you want to take on a challenge that is hard enough that you're not bored, but not so hard that you give up on it. This is exactly that where every now and then, I would have to find the right sweet spot around challenging myself. In situations like that, as I've gotten older, I recognize that that's where it helps to have a mentor or have somebody that's going to walk you through the shock of being in a situation that is so overwhelming. I didn't have that growing up. I had loving parents but they were busy trying to figure their way through. It's an interesting flashpoint in my life.

I want to get into more of your story and what created you, but there's something about what you described, which I can resonate with. It's this feeling of wanting a coach or wanting to have that mentor to coach along the way. Not having that sometimes is unfortunate because sometimes we go most of our lives seeking the guide and not having it. We have to sometimes become the guide for others.

I've thought about this often in the past years as I've built my career. I do think that that's probably a big reason why I got drawn to coaching. Fast-forwarding a little bit, when I went to Wharton, I was in another setting. It was very similar to being young where I felt like I'm in the class, but I didn't feel necessarily like I had a sense of what I wanted to do after I graduated. In business school, there's a lot of pressure to make sure you leave with a job and you're able to pay back the tuition and everything. It's a quite competitive place, but we all come in from different backgrounds.

You’re almost taught to believe that the things you’re good at are what you’re supposed to be doing.

I didn't have an extensive investment banking background, but when I'm coming in, I'm being told, "You can go into investment banking or consulting." I'm not even sure that's what I want to do but that's what your impression is, that you should be doing those things. You go into these interviews and start thinking about what your classmates are doing. Eventually, I graduated without any job offers from the big firms. I had one offer in hand from a firm that was a big mistake that I ended up taking.

That was another flashpoint of mine which was I'm trying to fit in here again because of what my peers are doing and I'm taking a job that I know isn't good for me. I worked with a leader that I didn't have much respect for. I ended up quitting after a few months of working there. It was a very depressive time for me because I didn't know what was next for me. I felt like I quit on myself, but I also felt regretful that I didn't do enough to understand what I wanted to do and what my strengths were. It's an interesting theme because I didn't have a coach or mentor to guide me in these decisions. About a year later, when I did land on my feet with another job, I did get a coach and it changed everything for me.

I'm going to take you back into your story a bit. Here you are in your formative years, being pushed into an uncomfortable situation in the first place, but you made it through. You did go into Wharton and what have you, but what was it that you really wanted to do?

I grew up in a family of scientists. My dad is a retired doctor. My mom is a computer scientist. My sister is a doctor. People around me were all scientists. I had a passion for liberal arts, particularly public policy and government. It all started with my AP History teacher that was amazing in tenth grade and it changed everything for me.

I remember that I applied to a thing called the Governor's School in New Jersey when I was in eleventh grade. I don't know that anybody in my group understood what that was about but I did. I'm interested in citizenship, voting rights, history and public policy. I was accepted into this program. I went away for a summer in New Jersey, and I was around a tribe of people that I hadn't been with in my school growing up. We took field trips to Manhattan and the Federal Reserve. We did projects related to international affairs.

I still remember my dad said, "Where do you want to apply to college?" He wanted me to go local near Penn, Drexel or somewhere in Philadelphia. I said, "I had my heart set on this place called the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University." He said, "Why that?" I said, "It's something about diplomacy, international affairs, and politics that I want to do." I got in, which was a blessing, but it was very different from anything that my family, extended family or community had done.

To your question about what I really want to do when I came out of Wharton, the underlying thread for me is always that I want to learn about things I don't know. I want to go a little bit beyond what has always been done. Because everybody else did science and medicine, I want to do something different. Because everybody did investment banking and consulting, I want to try something different.

I went to Wharton with the idea that I didn't grow up in a family that has any business experience. I want to learn what business is about. What I didn't realize was that sometimes these schools aren't just for learning. They're for getting a job. It was this pressure to learn at my own pace but also keep proving that I can take this degree and get a job somewhere. That was the tension that I felt.

I love that you shared this because there's also an element of that, which is the pressure to look good to your peers and compete with others in your group. That's an interesting thing too, which shows up a lot in those schools. What's so interesting is that you already see that and you want to keep on learning. Maybe there's also something around this that has to do with a fight for fairness. You said something about international affairs, which there seems to be an undercurrent of wanting to see what you can do to fight for fairness.

You're spot on there. There has been a challenge with wanting to benefit from business and capitalism and the things that are going to create a secure and financially successful life, but also balance that with a lot of passion and the values around fairness and justice that I have. I remember there were many discussions I used to have when I was younger with my parents. They’re like, "That's fine and good but remember that you need to make a living." It's that whole thing.

I grew up with a father who was a physician, but my dad was very special in the sense that he was one of the few people that I know in my life who were doctors that would do more consultations for friends and family without getting paid because he loved to be a doctor. It wasn't about trying to make more money. When you're an immigrant and coming to this country, there's this feeling of like, "We better take advantage of as many opportunities as we possibly can."

I grew up with this feeling that I need to prove myself. If I'm going to Wharton, I need to be able to show that I went there. Why am I not working at Goldman Sachs? At the same time, it wasn't until a few years later that I did a lot more introspection and I realized that there's a reason why I don't belong there. I'm not someone who was cut out for that life, not because I have any lack of respect for it. It's more because my passions are better suited somewhere else.

What's interesting is I even love working with people who work in those companies because I can see something in them that feels somewhat also unfulfilled. Even now, I'll have conversations with classmates of mine years ago after graduating from business school who were like, "Nihar, everything was great and I was making a lot of money but I'm still unhappy." Now, they're calling me as a coach to talk about this.

We always have these good intentions and then they get clouded by the other things that start to accumulate on top of that. Some of that is the competition in being better, getting a job, and getting those things that come along with the process of becoming a success. I want to take the story and we can take it wherever you like, but I want to know what happens after Wharton and how did you get to where you are.

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What happened was I was spending about 7 or 8 months looking for a job in New York City. I had quit this job in New York that wasn't a good fit without a backup plan. It was a challenge for me to stay focused and confident. Remember, I just graduated from a top business school less than a year before. What I found was I was still going into the same old habit which was, "Let me send resumes to everybody because I need a job." This was a bad thing.

Looking back, I realized this is where desperation can lead you astray. To my fortune, I did get an offer with a company called Corporate Executive Board in Washington, DC, which was a leadership development firm. That was a real eye-opener because now I was working with companies similar to what I worked with pre-Wharton. They are big companies, but I wasn't necessarily working on the strategy, marketing, and finance stuff that I worked on before. Now, I was working on people issues, particularly how to help leaders influence around the C-Suite table and their teams below.

Initially, I was a sales executive. I was a consultant with them. I was pretty much learning as I was going. I can't remember what happened, but there was a moment where I learned about the one-on-one development that people do with leaders or this thing called executive coaching. This was around 2005 and I don't know that there was a lot of work. Marshall Goldsmith might have been doing some writing on this at that time, but there weren't a lot of people in this business.

I did remember doing some research and then I found that there was an Industrial-Organizational Psychology field that was doing a lot of work in this. IO psychologists were doing coaching. On a lark, I decided to google what companies do IO Psychology, even though I'm not a psychologist. I found there was a company called PDI Ninth House, which was later acquired by Korn Ferry. I decided to reach out to them and they had an opening in Houston of all places for a consultant.

I was in New York at that time. I got a conversation with the managing partner there. He said, "The reality is we work with business clients and we're all psychologists. We would love to have more MBAs here but we also want to make sure that you're able to understand how behavioral assessment works and we had to put you through an assessment."

Long story short, I got the offer. I flew down there and went through a whole day-long assessment that they do with their executives. That's when I and my wife decided to jump and move to Texas, which was the craziest thing in my life. I had never even set foot outside of the Eastern Corridor from Boston to DC. To fast forward, I was there for about three and a half years. I then took a job at Texas Instruments in Dallas where I went internal, and then I started my practice after that, which I've been doing for many years.

There are a lot of risks involved with that. First of all, getting into the space, but the fact of the matter is you are following your instincts about what was right for you. It's a lot to do that, especially in a space where most of them are these psychologists and the thought that you needed to be from that discipline to be successful and then realizing, "No, not necessarily."

Looking back, there are probably three things that were working to my advantage that I never would have predicted. One is that I finally gave myself time to understand myself and what I wanted to learn. Part of it was getting some help, mentoring and coaching. I remember the first time I ever heard of Myers-Briggs because I had never taken Myers-Briggs before. Around this time, I took it and said, "I'm an INFP. No wonder my F is so strong that I struggle with the rational types, the mathematical analysis all day. Even though I can do it, it doesn't mean I enjoy it."

This whole idea of being in a family where it was like, "You can still keep learning and getting those grades," you're almost taught to believe that the things you're good at or that you can do, you're supposed to be doing and you can enjoy. That's not true. I was not doing a lot of the work that I enjoyed. For example, being more of an introvert. I enjoy getting time to think than having to be out there all the time. These kinds of things weren't open to me when I was in Wharton.

Being in a different type of domain helped a lot to get support and get mentoring.

The second thread is about having a different tribe of people around me. I could have easily run across a bunch of psychologists that didn't want to spend any time with me and that's completely fair, but there was a shift by getting to know other people. It's not to say that business school people were all the same way and certainly I have a lot of friends that I love spending time with, but being in a different type of domain helped a lot to get support and mentoring. The third part is getting older. I was able to think more along the lines of, "I have about 10 to 15 years of good experience here. I don't have to be so desperate to get the next job to prove myself."

I love that you shared that. When I think about what you shared, one of them is this element of being less financially driven and more impact-driven. Ultimately, that ends up becoming like they all feed each other. The other thing that is an interesting kernel that comes from your childhood and now I see it unfold with you. We talked about being out of your comfort zone, being out and not feeling safe, but it's about surrounding yourself with the right people that allow you to feel enough of that confidence to be able to say, "I can take these risks. I can do the things that I need to do." Surrounding yourself in the right environment allows you to be uncomfortable in doing new things and be able to create new things for yourself, which is where you start to find that sweet spot as you get more experience.

It goes back to something you said which is sometimes we are trying to look good in front of our peers. It's hard to be vulnerable and ask to create relationships with people where you can be mutually supportive. So much of that, I've learned now on my own, especially being an entrepreneur where you have to create the people and the network around you. You can't just go to work and all of a sudden decide, "The people in the office are going to be the people I spend time with." I almost have to manufacture that for myself. It’s this learning that there are people out there that want to help. You don't always have to be the one that knows everything in order to create those friendships.

I wrote an article about how we need to curate our lives like a museum. If you go to a museum, you can have an experience. In some ways, you have to curate your life like a museum. You collect all the things in your museum that you want to have around you that give you joy and create the experience of constantly being inspired. Also, you’re constantly feeling as though you're feeling something more than just what you felt when you walked in the doors. It's nice when you think about that curation process as opposed to just showing up.

I want to go back to one of the things that we talked about which is this element of getting out of your box too. One of the things is that you’re a family of doctors, scientists, and what have you. You're like, "I'm not in that box any longer." You went to Wharton. The box that you were painted into was, "You have to go out and do investment banking." "No, I don't want to be in that box any longer." There's something about getting out of boxes that is a powerful change up for people. You can think that you don't have to limit yourself to being in that box that you painted yourself into. I wanted to get your thoughts about whether that is something that you resonate with.

I do resonate with that a lot. Part of me has always been a little bit of a rebel. I feel like trying to stretch the boundaries of that box has always been a part of me. I was talking to a friend of mine about how over the past years that I've been working, I've never stayed in a job for more than three years except for my business, which I've been in for many years. Before that, every three years, I'll be moving. It's because of that need to get out of the box.

The one thing that's a little bit of a struggle is this idea of being like, "I wanted to be on my own, but am I too far out on a limb?" You want to get out of the box, but what if you minimize the value of everything you've built so far? What if people don't understand that box? Is it a smart idea to keep reinventing all the time? In fact, that's one of the reasons why I learned.

As I built my coaching practice, I had to start by taking some of the social proof that I had already developed. For instance, I worked with Korn Ferry, CBCB, bigger companies and coached there, I realized that a lot of clients needed to know that I had done this before, even though I didn't want to do it the way they did it. You have to slowly pivot a little bit, but not completely burn that bridge because it is a part of the value that I bring.

You described such an important aspect of what it is. We need to give people a sense of where you're coming from, but let them know that you're going to rebel. You're going to go beyond that box in a big way, but they need to first feel that they can trust you, feel safe around you, and allow that to happen.

The corollary to that also is that a lot of people are weeded out of the competition because they say, "You don't have any experience doing this yet." It's like, "How do I get experience if I don't work first?" There's a lesson to be learned around taking some of the experiences you've had, living and positioning that in a way that shows value. I would even say your flashpoints exercise is very valuable here. Let's say I want to go into an industry that's completely different from mine. Does it mean that I don't have anything of value to them if I've never worked in that industry? I don't think that's true. There are a lot of other aspects of leadership or learning that you've done along the way and wisdom that you've gathered in living. That's a challenge a lot of us face whenever we wanted to reinvent ourselves. Take the bigger picture and think about all the things that you have learned that you can offer to them.

Thank you so much for bringing that to the table. I want to take a moment before we move any further. You've shared a lot of lessons about what you've learned so far. Is there anything else you've learned about yourself that you want to share as you reflect back on your journey?

Articulating this has been quite helpful. I don't oftentimes think about that whole journey from being a kid to going to college and graduate school. Two things happen. One is that it has given me a little bit of validation that I have achieved a certain level of success and fulfillment, even though back then if I put myself into those moments, I'm thinking it's not going to happen. I have no idea what my future holds. The second part of it is I'm learning as I'm talking to you to not lose that drive to keep observing what's going to fulfill me in a different way.

I'll give you a perfect example. I've been coaching in my own practice for many years. I've had those moments where sometimes I feel like I'm getting a little bit stale with the work I'm doing because I've done it enough. If I was working in a corporate setting, everyday going to work, my boss would probably say, "It's time for you to rotate to a different place. We'll promote you and you're going to lead a few different people." I haven't done that and shifted what I'm working on.

Maybe I'm taking on more clients, learning how to brand myself more, writing more and speaking more, but I don't know that I'm necessarily developing a new way of coaching. As you're talking to me, one of the things that I want to do is get back into that idea of being a beginner again and learn from people like you and other coaches. I'm always reading and trying to learn more from thought leaders out there, but sometimes the coaching practice in itself, I haven't done as much because I'm so focused on the stuff that's working and that I've always been doing.

If it's not broken, don't fix it. In reality, it's always going to be in this process of constantly evolving and taking shape. One of the concepts I love thinking about is this iceberg idea. I don't know where I got this from. You're only showing the tip of the iceberg, which is scary because you think, "Whatever is not being shown, I don't know what that is," but the reality is that's what makes it beautiful. You don't know what else there is. If I don't start to explore deeper and seeing what else could be possible for me, then I won't know. It's time to start revealing more of the iceberg.

Now that we're here in this moment and thinking about the impact that you're making in the world, what is one thing that has been top of mind for you that you want to share with people? Maybe some thoughts around what has been happening in the past with the pandemic or what have you.

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As we see what's happening in Afghanistan, for instance, every day there has been a lot of a feeling of malaise that I've had. I talked to my wife about this as well. I would try to tell people that, "It's okay to have bad days." I'll give you an example. Most of the people in my family are very positive-minded people. I've always had a little bit of an allergy to that, that everything has to think of positively. If you look at research on this, we have something like seventeen negative thoughts for every positive thought. It's a lot to force yourself to reframe everything into positive things.

I've been someone who is probably a little bit more of a pessimist in life. I look at things from a place of it's okay to have a bad day. Going back to a lot of things we've talked about, try to connect with people during those times. Try to understand there's a community around you. There's something that I'm working on. You probably saw this in some of my articles. There's a theme that I've been trying to do more research on, which is this idea of social comparison. It's a big part of my theme growing up and in my career.

What I'm interested in and a little bit disturbed by is that with the way technology in this world is moving so fast, we are stuck in this place of being bombarded by what our peers and community is doing all the time in terms of competition. It's hard to put the filter up or the blinders on to stay focused on what your purpose is. At the same time, you don't want to be so isolated from that because that's where you learn and develop relationships.

Much of what I've been trying to think about is, "How do you look after your own mental health and well-being when it comes to wanting to be successful, ambitious and competitive, and go back to the things that make you special, but also manage this idea of being so insular that you don't want to listen to anybody, but also being so involved in the social media world that we're in that you can't even get past yourself?"

That's a big part of what I'm trying to work on. I hope that as people start getting in touch with those feelings of like, "Am I behind my peers? Am I doing okay? What's my purpose in life? What's my passion," that there's at least some help that I can provide in terms of being okay with where you are and then finding a way to rationally learn from the people around you.

Hearing you describe this, it feels like it's landing squarely for a lot of the emotions and feelings I've been having about finding that balance. You do want to be connected, but you don't want to lose connection. You don't want to be too connected and be in comparison with other people. All the things you talked about is such a very poignant topic. I can't wait to see where you take this because it's an important topic.

I appreciate that. It's one of those things where I don't know that a lot of people talk about it. It's a big source of the things that we feel are unpleasant in life. I've learned a lot about my own triggers in the process. That's one of the things I love about coaching. You're a coach. As you know, we're not experts or consultants. We're not there to tell people what to do.

One of the most inspiring parts of this job for me is that I learned from everybody that I talked to. I'm a witness to their growth and movement in their world, life and career. That has been a little bit of a godsend for me because when I feel like I'm behind or not valued in the marketplace that I've chosen, I go and talk to clients and I realize, "We're all in the same game here. We just have to be able to support each other along the way."

You have to create the people around you and the network around you. 

I think of it as we're a reflection of humanity because we take in many of the things that we hear. We're processing it, thinking it through, and then sharing it with others. It's a reflection of what is out there. I love hearing from other coaches what they're hearing from their clients. What's the pulse and what's happening in the world are what people are sharing in those intimate moments during the coaching conversations. That makes a real difference in the world. I wanted to ask one more question. What are 1 or 2 books that have had an impact on you and why?

The two books that certainly had an impact on me were Do the Work and The War of Art, both by Steven Pressfield, which have impacted me in the sense of trying to get what he talks about getting past the resistance of the creative journey. Going back to one of your questions around what was I interested in growing up, a big part of the idea of Liberal Arts and the non-science route is also the creative aspect of it. I've always enjoyed writing, poetry and cinema. It's the idea of working on subjective works.

You look at business and think about how do you quantify the value of things like art, movies, stories, and things like that. It's fascinating to me. Steven Pressfield's book talks a lot about how there's a way to professionalize what you're doing as an artist. You can't just wake up and say, "I feel like writing. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't," unless you want to be an amateur and you want it as a hobby. He talks a lot about how to make almost a professional approach to art, which I loved.

You write a lot too. You know the idea of writing articles, doing podcasts, and all the content creation around us. It can be very challenging to look at that the same way we look at meetings or client obligations. They are all important, especially in this world where the attention of people is so limited. You have to keep putting content out there. That's a book that has inspired me in terms of getting my time management and inspiration going in a more professional way.

It's interesting. I'm going to put this out there because it's a little bit not related to business. I'm a big movie fan and I was a huge follower of Roger Ebert. I remember when I was young, my dad used to watch the sneak previews in At the Movies with a movie criticism that Siskel and Ebert would do. I love everything about movie criticism. Ebert has a book called Ebert at the Movies. He also has a book on Scorsese, which is amazing. He was one of Scorsese's first. They both were kids in the '70s so he wasn't famous, but he was the first journalist to cover Scorsese's career.

When I read these books, what's fascinating to me is to think about business and people who are successful, but how did they become famous in an artistic world? There's so much chance and luck involved and rejection and dealing with feeling behind. The fact that Scorsese didn't win his first Oscar until 7 or 8 films into it. How did he feel about that? Those kinds of things are interesting to me from a leadership and career perspective. That's a book that is pretty fun too.

I love that you shared that. That's so cool. I'm totally picking that book up because it's such a great thing to hear those stories. I often think that as we compare everyone's middles to our beginnings, it's always our fault. We always think, "We're still behind." There are a lot of things that we have to go through before we get to the place we want to get to. It’s patience, perseverance, and all those other pieces that go along the way.

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We don't know people's backstories as much as we think. The fact that you opened me up to talk about my childhood, that's a big part of why I might be the way I am. We don't know that about people until we get to know them, which reminds me this exercise is pretty profound in general. It's letting people take a second to look at their whole story like they're beginning, not just the middle and the end.

Honestly, I want to start by saying thank you for being on the show. This has been amazing. I'm grateful for you sharing what you shared and the insights. I'm wrapping up with many great insights. I know the people who are reading are going to be filled with insights, and looking forward to connecting with you after the show.

Thank you for the opportunity. Not only was this a privilege to speak with you, but I'm coming away with it with a lot more optimism and introspection as well. Thank you for that.

It's great coming from a pessimist.

It’s okay to have bad days.

You've shifted me from the glass half-empty to half-full.

Before I let you go, I want to make sure I tell people where to find you. What's the best place to find you?

People can check my website out. It's www.PartnerExec.com. If you go to PartnerExec.com/news, you can sign up for my newsletter. I'm on LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with me there.

Thank you, readers, for coming on the journey. I know you're leaving with many great ideas, insights and some great stories that have impacted you. Thank you again.

Thank you, Tony. I appreciate it.

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About Nihar Chhaya

Nihar ChhayaI am an executive coach to the C-suite and leaders at global companies, including American Airlines, Coca-Cola, GE, Dell, Cigna, Cox Enterprises and more. As a former Fortune 200 corporate head of talent development and a senior advisor to the boards and CEOs of various companies on executive development, I am the President of PartnerExec, helping executives master interpersonal savvy for superior business and strategic outcomes.

My work has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Deloitte University Press and The Huffington Post. I hold an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, an M.A. in international economics from Columbia University and a B.S. in economics from Georgetown University with studies at the London School of Economics. Learn more at www.partnerexec.com; reach me at nihar@partnerexec.com and follow me @partnerexec.

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