MEET AMBILA NATH, SPIRITUAL LIFESTYLE COACH & FOUNDER OF AMBILANATH.COM
Ambila Nath is a serial entrepreneur, certified coach, spiritual teacher, paid international speaker and an avid follower of her passions. Her innate ability to combine both Logic and Spirituality to tune into a person's energy sets her apart as the coach to discover what you really need before putting you on the path to go out and get it. She leads by example, is fully transparent in her approach and walks her talk to live the life she has always dreamed of. With a corporate background in management consulting, Ambila is far from your stereotypical Spiritual Coach. She's tech-savvy, straight-talking and unbelievably gifted when it comes to business-led endeavours but sit her down with her favourite tea, and you are instantly transported into a world of warmth and laughter with a sprinkling of magic, our favourite!
It's not difficult to see why Ambila was chosen to write her monthly 'Zen Den' column for The Female CEO. Apart from her vast expertise and knowledge, her infectious smile, generosity of spirit, wicked sense of humour, and giant teacups are precisely what we are all about!
Over to you Ambila...
SO, AMBILA, WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
My story, where do you start with that? The short version or the long? How much time do people have to read this - Lol
Well, I was born in India and came to the UK with my family when I was 6 years old. So unlike my older siblings, my whole upbringing has been in the UK. Even though I was young, I still remember some of my first memories of coming here and how different things were. Things like the streets and houses and things being quieter and not dusty. Being able to have bread and butter whenever we wanted - as in India, it was a treat. Childhood, for me, was a happy one. I think it was maybe because I focused on the positives. From as early as I can remember my mum has had bi-polar and back then mental health wasn't so known as it is now, so it was a long time before we fully understood what was going on. I grew up in a turbulent household due to that, but also us as a family adjusting to the new culture, country and our own place in life.
I grew up always knowing that as a female I was meant to fit into a role. I was meant to be second to a man - father, brother, future husband. I don't think I thought that far ahead I just lived life, with the cultural pressures from my mother that I needed to learn certain skills to be a good wife & daughter in law - else my mother would be judged. Me - well, I am the youngest of four (now three as I lost my eldest sister to cancer in 2017), I took everything with a pinch of salt as I knew that the life my parents wanted for me was not what I was going to live - but hey, why tell them that at age 14 when it was some time away. I followed the norm of society and went to college after school and did a BTEC in computer science and then onto Oxford Brookes University for a BSC in computing and then into my first corporate job straight after.
I was so blessed with my first job and the opportunity that I was given as by the time I hit 25 I was the only female in middle management. I was respected by all my male peers and was a full member of the management team. I was never left out or made to feel less - it was mutual respect and a working relationship of sharing. I was really lucky - but a lot of it was about how I handled myself in that environment that also helped to shape that respect. I had amazing mentors in my direct manager and the director. These two men helped me to learn a lot about business, and just how many different things make one company work. The most important lesson from that job was my direct manager once telling me 'you have to make sure your house is in order before you start pointing fingers at someone else's. That was something that I have lived my life by. My next job lead me to management consulting. I was seen as this glamorous person travelling the world, carrying a laptop (yes it was all new back then), mobile phone and driving a company car. My 6 figure salary matched the luxuries and the hours that I worked. Aged 28, I worked minimum 16 hour days (sometimes 7 days a week), travelled over weekends and lost touch with friends as they never knew when I was back home to invite me to things. Life was amazing and hard but I loved it. Your family became the people you worked with as you spent years on projects together, in the same hotels and working the long hours. I had all this glamour and excitement at work, but I was the only one who hated going home at weekends. Why? - Things with my family were really bitter towards me, I was 28 and not married and kept rejecting any suitors I was introduced to and incapable of finding an Indian man for myself. The truth was I never wanted an Indian man, so yes he was hard to find. Any other race was taboo at that time, but now so much has changed and it is not a problem. I was branded arrogant and pressured so many times to conform and fit into the cultural expectations. I was the talk of the town and an embarrassment to my parents.
Life had become very miserable for me from the age of 25. My business success was shunned because I was a woman and I should be preparing to be a wife and housewife and not be climbing any business ladders. Somewhere during that time, I started thinking about leaving my corporate job and starting my own business. I had wanted one since I was 19 years old but wasn't ready then. My priorities were changing - not so I could conform to my family, but to not be a number in a corporation. I started studying to be a Life Coach. Starting this course gave me the courage to leave my family and break free of cultural guilt. One morning I woke up, took my packed bags, left a note and keys for my family and left them. I didn't tell them where I was going just that I could no longer be happy trying to make them happy and fit into being someone they thought I should be.
From that point on I created a new life for myself, in exactly the same town that I moved to - Brighton & Hove, England. It has taken me a very long time to get to the peace and love that I have in my life today. I have rebuilt all my relationships with my family members stronger and more loving and fully accepted for who I am and the choices I make. I laid the foundation for the next generation of my family to live the life I fought for without judgement, but acceptance. I have had many heartaches and broken relationships but I am forever the optimist that the love I want is just around the corner for me. I am a serial entrepreneur and can't believe that I can finally say I am earning a living doing what I love. My journey is only beginning.... but finally I am on my yellow brick road
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A LIFE COACH?
I have always been passionate about understanding humans, how we tick, behaviours, body language, psychology. You name it I have an interest in it. When I decided to leave the corporate world I started looking at what I wanted to do. I was thinking about how I could do psychology and counselling but only the aspects I wanted, which was the positives to helping people move forward in their lives. I didn't want to spend another decade studying them separately to get what I wanted. I was a huge fan of the Oprah show and one day I saw this guest Ilyana Vanzant and she mentioned the word 'Life Coach'. I was straight on the internet googling all the possible information and how I could become one. That's when I thought - 'that's what I want to do'.
Life coaching wasn't known in the UK back then so I had to study remotely with an American university for 3 years alongside my job. The course was intensive as we had to set up our own practices and be assessed with our clients. We also had to have our own life coaches, throughout the 3 years, to work with us as part of our own journey.
YOU HAVE A LARGE FOCUS ON SPIRITUALITY IN YOUR BUSINESS. HOW DOES THIS DIFFER FROM OTHER TYPES OF LIFE COACHING AND HOW DOES THAT AFFECT THE RESULT TO YOUR CLIENTS?
Good question. Spirituality is more about who I am and that it's a part of me so therefore it comes out in everything I do. Spirituality in itself is a huge variety of things and to every individual, it means something different. Mine - is more based around energy and understanding the bigger picture and using unknown forces to guide me in life. I'm not referring to black magic or cultish things. More like the law of attraction, mindfulness, meditation all the mainstream stuff people are familiar with and already doing. I am also an advanced energy healer as well as a tarot reader. I use the word 'Advanced' healer because I do not do reiki. In my healing, I talk to the trauma that is stuck in your body and guide your body to release it, so that you can overcome whatever you are going through or that is holding you back. And everyone knows what a tarot reader is. I am a tri - a three - Coach, Healer and Intuitive (CHI). My coaching style is very intuitive, no coaching program is the same - as the clients I coach are not the same. Everything is tailored to what the clients journey is. We work through logical & practical coaching workbooks and where needed I may do some energy healing or guide clients with insights to help with any direction or choices they may need to make. So the results for my clients is that they get a much deeper coaching program as I am touching on every aspect of their being to help them to overcome their fears, build confidence and self-belief in creating the life they want. I am a prime example of the process and journey as I have gone through it myself.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE CRITICISM?
With open arms. That part of me has always been the same for as long as I can remember. I listen to what a person is saying to me. If it is something constructive then I think ahh... I had not noted that or oh god am I really saying, doing or thinking that negative way. So then I will work on myself. But if I feel that the criticism is only said to hurt me and is an outlet of a persons own frustration - then Nah... I don't care for it and will smile and ignore it.
DO YOU FIND THAT BEING AN INTUITIVE BY NATURE MAKES YOU MORE INSIGHTFUL COACH?
Yes, I think it helps me as I can see what is going on deeper in a situation or a person. I'm not sure that I would want to compare it and say that other coaches are any less because they are not intuitive, so therefore they are less insightful. Every coach and every person works in a different way, and as a result, we attract different types of clients who want to work with us. Mine just get a more holistic type of coaching than people working with other coaches would. We are all insightful - it's more about the level that we choose to open up to in our lives. Me - I'm just on a deeper journey than others may choose to be on.
YOU RECENTLY UPDATED YOUR BRANDING AND WEBSITE (IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL!). HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU CONSIDER IT TO BE TO UPDATE AND REFRESH OUR BUSINESS MARKETING?
Thank you for the compliment. I am really happy and proud of the change myself. I tell people this all the time, that you are not the same person you were yesterday. You change every second of every day - with your thoughts, feelings, experiences etc. It is so important, as an individual, for us to reflect who we are in our business and our branding is an extension of us. Updating your branding helps your clients see that you are growing and developing who you are. It also opens you up to new people who may not have noticed you before. Since I started in business, I must be on my fourth or fifth branding update. I love it, as I love change and I like to flow with my energy/time. I am all for change
IF YOU COULD SIT DOWN FOR COFFEE AND CAKE WITH ANYONE WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Oh my god - how do you choose? Of course in my case, it would be tea & cake - LOL.
I had to come back to this question as I wanted to give this some thought. The person I would choose would not be my idol or some inspirational guru but someone who has had quite an impact on my life. This person has pushed me to know myself more and to come out of my comfort zone a lot of the time. They are not famous or hold any accolades but the value of their time - would be amazing for me. And they shall remain anonymous as they value their privacy
LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE HAVING TO USE TRANSFERRABLE SKILLS IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE AS JOBS CHANGE AND BUSINESSES PIVOT. YOU HAVE A STRONG BACKGROUND IN EVENTS, INTERIOR DESIGN AND TECH DO YOU THINK THESE PARTICULAR SKILLS HAVE SERVED YOU IN YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS?
Yes and so many more. I have always been a great advocate in telling people (right from my first job) do not look at your title. Look at your skills, as it is your skills that will allow you to move into doing whatever you want. I had an interior design business with no experience in it except I loved decorating my home. But what I did have was the business skills to make things happen. All I had to do was to top up my knowledge on designing and my business was launched - and it was a success. Every skill I have had, since my first job aged 16 working as a Tesco's cashier has served to help me in my business. So whatever changes people may me facing - look at all of your skills and not just the ones gained from your last project or job. That will not only give you greater confidence in yourself but also open you up to a wider market. Remember you probably have the skills to do the job - you just need to believe in yourself first.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND DIFFICULT ON YOUR JOURNEY AND WHAT WOULD YOU AVOID IF YOU WERE ABLE TO DO IT ALL AGAIN?
Most things... You've read my story above and know that I have faced non-stop challenges to become who I am today and each and everything has been difficult - emotionally, physically and mentally (not necessarily all at the same time).
What I would avoid was being born in the decade that I was. If I had been born later then I wouldn't have had to fight my family so hard to be me. Being a woman would not have been a burden as I would not have had to fight to be heard and allowed to have a voice. I would have had the freedom of choice and being celebrated for my business successes and not shunned. I would also have avoided the belief instilled by my family regarding relationships and not faced so many heartaches as a result and to have found that love sooner. But in saying all of the above, I have no guarantees that I would still have become the same person that I am today. So although hindsight is a great thing and maybe life would have been a lot easier. I probably wouldn't be writing this today - as I may not have come across the Female CEO and Tricia Scott and that would be a loss!
WHAT’S YOUR TOP TIP FOR OUR AWESOME FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS READING THIS ARTICLE?
Just BE YOU. Don't wait for something or someone to give you the life you want. You have the power to create it yourself - so just do it!
WHICH SONG WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO ADD TO THE FEMALE CEO'S #GIRLBOSS PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY FOR YOU?
Ahh.... my god on it has to be Ricky Martin 'The Cup of Life'
WHAT DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE?
I know that I have a great family and friends in my life who have walked quite a journey with me. I know that I am finally living the life that I want and I am sure of the person that I am.
DO YOU HAVE A BOOK OR FAVOURITE PODCAST RECOMMENDATION FOR OUR FEMALE CEO MEMBERS?
No - LOL - it's not that I don't read or listen to podcasts. It's just I don't have favourites. I take great value from a lot of different things as everything offers me something to learn. All I would say is that listen to something positive every day. I listen to a lot of YouTube videos when I wake up, while I'm cooking, doing housework or out walking. Just listen to whatever you are being drawn to at that moment, as odds are there will be something in there that you need to hear, and if you are open to it - you may just hear the message that will help you.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN ONE WORD?
WHAT MAKES YOU TRULY HAPPY AND HOW DO YOU HANDLE DOWNTIME?
Being by the sea - Caribbean or Mediterranean preferred, but I love being near water. I handle downtime, depending on my energy, with people I love, watching tv, listening to podcasts, going for walks, doing fitness and going on holiday and just being outdoors.