After 3 and a half years of running my business and more specifically, one year of working with more intention with my ideal clients, it’s my honour to present my first-ever case study with my client, Ranjitha Jeurkar.
Ranjitha is a student of my Intentional Instagram Course- The Guide for Business Owners. In this case study, she explains how the course has changed her relationship with Instagram and the results that she’s seen from a more conscious and intentional approach to using this social media platform.
Introduction to Ranjitha & Connext Coaching
Ranjitha is a Certified Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication. She lives in Bangalore, India, where she shares NVC with individuals and organizations. Ranjitha began her career as a communications professional, and for the last six years worked in the non-profit sector, in the space of mental health awareness. She brings her skills from both of these spaces to the work she does now.
For the last couple of years, she has been exploring ways in which she can make cooking extremely simple: how do you break down complicated-sounding recipes to clear instructions anyone can follow and apply? Her approach to sharing Nonviolent Communication is similar; it’s about how we can begin exploring and living these principles in our daily lives, starting from where we are now.
She has had this business for close to 5 years now, though it has been only since 2021 January that she decided to step into it full-time. The name of her venture is Connext Coaching.
Ranjitha, welcome to the interview. Can you tell us a bit more about NVC and its role in your life? How/why did you choose this line of work?
Yeah, so thanks so much Shailaja, for having me. It’s a pleasure to be speaking to you. When you talk about this line of work, I wasn’t originally intending to have this as my work. So I began my career in journalism and the media industry, and then I discovered Nonviolent Communication, which is the framework upon which all of my work is based, and I started integrating the practice.
There was one particular point in my career where I was having some trouble at the workplace and I was able to see how much my practice of NVC and the community that I built around myself was supporting me to actually deal with it.
When this happened, I had a little bit of a pause and I was asking myself what is it that I really want to do next? It’s almost like the answer was just there. I see something that’s added so much value to my life and I’d love to share it with other people. Maybe this is the time that I want to step up and say I’m going to do this full time. I’m going to give it a shot and see how it goes.
That’s amazing when you find your calling in the most unexpected of ways. I remember we met for the first time in February of 2017, and that was when you were working at the White Swan Foundation for Mental Health. How much has that work impacted your current role as a communicator in the NVC space?
Yeah, so it’s interesting you ask that. I joined White Swan Foundation pretty much around the same time that I was also considering doing NVC a bit more seriously in the sense of training, offering trainings and facilitating workshops.
NVS is about really having more compassion, more empathy for people around us. That is the baseline idea that unifies both kinds of work that I was doing. For instance, what does it really mean to be empathetic or to listen to someone non-judgmentally when they’re sharing something with you? And what does it really mean to be fully present to someone when you are in a conversation?
I’m so grateful to have had that opportunity to work at White Swan because it’s added so much to my awareness of who we are, why we react or respond in certain ways to what happens to us and I think I have a better understanding of human behaviour, thanks to my work there.
And that’s incredible right, especially when you find work that complements the work that you intend to do for the long term? I think that’s one of the best kind of synergies possible. In your opinion, what is it that your audience relates to the best when it comes to you and your content?
I noticed that in the past few months of getting more regular with my social media, there are some themes that seem to do better than some others.
One is of course that I’ve come to this understanding that all of us want to be compassionate. All of us want to be empathetic and we feel very stuck sometimes. How do you navigate around those stuck situations?
Because even as somebody who’s been practicing NVC for close to a decade now, it’s just that in some moments what happens exceeds my capacity for what I could process. So when I put that out there it’s as if people are hearing that this is something a lot of us go through; there’s some sort of reassurance and knowing that they’re not alone in this experience.
The other thing I’ve noticed is you know, especially on social media, there’s a lot of ideas around empathy and self-care and I like to think that what I do is break this down to say what does that look like in your life? What actionable steps can you take to make that happen? And that’s something people enjoy also, because otherwise it’s something like a bit of an abstract idea.
I mean, empathy sounds nice. How do I bring more of it into my life? Or, I want to be self compassionate; how do I start working towards that? So these are two things that I’ve noticed that people respond to, more than others.
Let’s talk about impostor syndrome. Now that that is something that strikes a lot of us, especially in the creative space. What do you think has specifically helped you with overcoming this hurdle?
I think it still strikes me ever so often. I’ll kind of look at my feed or I’ll think about something I’m doing and I say, “Wow, what is my qualification to say something about this? Why should someone listen to me when my own life is so messed up?”
A couple of things really helped me. One is, I’ve done quite a bit of work thanks to my NVC training. Understanding shame and how it shows up and how to look at it very differently is something I’ve learnt from two people.
One is an NVC trainer called Liv Larsson who does a lot of work around anger, guilt and shame. Emotions that we’re often told not to experience because they seem ‘inappropriate’.
The other is a colleague of mine called Emma Collins, who facilitated a workshop last year around the work of Brené Brown. Both of these workshops really helped me look at shame very differently
I notice that when I do that, a lot of it is like I’m holding myself up to 100% perfection and this is something Brené Brown talks about a lot. You know perfection being the opposite of vulnerability, right? Or it’s an obstacle to vulnerability, so I guess for me the first step was really to let go and to acknowledge that sometimes I’ll mess up and we all mess up.
The second thing that helps is also about coming across a lot of content that includes yours, George Kao and a whole bunch of other content which talks about really starting where we are.
Part of being vulnerable is knowing that there are moments like these that help us show up regularly and authentically.
I’m so glad that you mentioned Brené Brown because one of my favorite pieces that I’ve read by her is on the idea of vulnerability. About how vulnerability is such an integral part of being an entrepreneur is something that resonates very highly with me.
Yeah, I’m going to connect this back to what I said earlier about going for perfection versus being vulnerable. And I noticed that when I want to be perfect, I experience often the sense of being hemmed in or blocked because there’s already this preconceived idea that what I put out has to meet a certain standard, whether it’s set by me or if I’m comparing myself with someone else.
Being vulnerable for me means that acknowledging that I have my flaws, it means acknowledging that I make mistakes. It means acknowledging that sometimes I’d be able to do some things and at other times I won’t have the capacity to do it, and it also encourages me to sort of take calculated risks.
When I’m not aiming for perfection, when I’m going in and I like to see it as exploring something and being open to what emerges at the end of that, you know, let’s see what comes out. Let me just have fun doing something that for me is vulnerability. And it really helps me to get more creative with the work I’m doing without. Without this obstacle of What will people say?
As a student of my intentional Instagram course, how were you approaching Instagram before taking my course? And what are the some of the changes you have found after taking the course?
I started doing the intentional Instagram course a couple of months ago and I say I started doing because what I’ve done is I’ve gone through the whole course, but I do intend to come back to it. There’s so much packed in there that I intend to revisit it in bits and pieces every time to look at what I’ve been doing and how it’s working.
True Value vs Selling
I had a lot of ideas about what content on Instagram should look like based on what other people in my niche were putting out there. I see a lot of people selling products and that didn’t sit very well for me because I didn’t want my handle to be only about selling.
I wanted to share content that was of value to my true audience. Doing your course helped me look at my content quite differently. And I think this is part of following you for a while on Instagram and doing your course.
It was this idea that not everything I put out has to be original, because what is original anyway? Slowly coming round to see that most of the ideas we have either exist already or build on something someone else has done.
Vulnerability via Content
Before doing your course, there was no vulnerability in my content and of course, there were a few likes but I never heard back beyond that. What I’ve noticed once I’ve started doing it is I’ve taken a different approach to content. I’m able to let go of this idea of this is what Instagram should look like, and it’s more driven by what is it that I’d like to share with my audience? What is it I’ve heard from my audience that they might benefit from?
So it’s an inside out approach rather than an outside in approach and I’ve received feedback from a few people who’ve been watching my work from before. They say that there’s so much warmth in what I’m putting out and that they feel more connected to what I am sharing.
Wow, that’s so amazing to hear, thank you!
So in terms of selling and in terms of serving, would you say that you’ve been able to kind of strike a balance? Because you are after all, a business owner, which means you have to think about your bottom line.
Transparency via Content
For me again this comes back to this idea of being totally transparent and totally clear. So when I’m sharing some information when I’m sharing something when I’m sharing actionable tips, inspiration, I am just sharing content.
And when I sell, I put it out there when I’m selling. I’m making it super clear that I’m selling something. So this really is for me about being transparent to the other person about my intention of putting something in.
I’m not going to write a long post and then at the end of it say But if you want the answer to that, come to my workshop and somehow that doesn’t sit well with me. I like to be upfront, honest and clear about what I’m doing. I found that this is the way that I’ll be. You know, striking that balance going ahead also.
That’s fantastic and I’m so hopeful that you will find that growth as you continue on this journey of yours. So if you were to want to tell people about some something specific that you benefited from in working with me or working through the course, what would you say it is?
I have a whole bunch of things and I’ll try to see if I can remember them all. 🙂
Clarity & Simplicity
The first is I absolutely loved the clarity and the simplicity of how you post content and the way your course is set up. Whether a person has an existing Instagram account or has had one up and running for a while, they will get instructions on how to improve and optimize it.
Your suggestion of moving to smart bio was something I used from your course, because it’s really helping me track where the clicks are coming from.
I like that the course is laid out chapter by chapter and it’s all bite-sized, so it’s not overwhelming. I can dip into this course when I have, say, about 10 minutes of time, take one small module, and see how I can implement it.
The other thing that I really appreciated is that you know you’ve shared the course as a document on Google Docs, which means that when I have questions I was actually putting them on there, as a comment and I would receive responses from you. You’d either reply straight away or address it in a deeper Q and A call.
One other thing that I would say has also made the difference is help me to look at what are the different kind of posts that would help with what my audience is receiving. I didn’t think I needed to try out carousel posts before I started doing your course my carousel posts have been doing pretty well for someone who’s got a small following.
The course has so many, many actional tips like this one and it’s why I’d recommend the course to anyone who’s interested in growing their Instagram page organically.
Thank you so much. That’s very encouraging to hear. So as a completely new business owner, what would you say would be 3 top things that you would want to tell other business owners who may be thinking about launching their own business or who are struggling?
The first is I’d say is that only you can decide when you’re ready. A lot of us have the idea of just quitting everything and starting entrepreneurship and it will work. But only you know what you situation is and what your circumstances are like. So take a call based on that.
The second thing is the idea of expertise and qualifications. I hear from a lot of people – friends and fellow business owners – who are waiting for something to happen. When it comes to expertise, I’d say start where you are. Start small and take baby steps. Go out of your comfort zone, little by little so that you’re not freaking out essentially about what you’re doing.
The third thing is that if you believe that there are certain things outside of your expertise – like admin work or accounts – automate and delegate where you can so it frees up your time for the work that you’re good at doing. This will allow you to be more creative in whatever space you’re in and find ways of managing your time for the rest.
Thank you so much Ranjitha. I really appreciate your time and your kind words today.
I’m happy to have been here, Shailaja and for anyone interested in NVC, please feel free to get in touch with me whether you want to explore something specific, get some support or just chat.
About Ranjitha Jeurkar
She is a Certified Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, USA.
Ranjitha has been practicing NVC for close to a decade now and she continues to be blown away by how a framework that is seemingly so simple can have such a deep impact on her life. The practice of Nonviolent Communication has helped her understand herself better, and build her own ability to respond to disagreements and conflicts in her life. If this is something you’d like to explore as well, get in touch with her.
Her Website is Connext Coaching & Facilitation
I’m a blogger, content strategist & productivity coach who has been writing online and blogging since 2007. Read my story & more about my work here.
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