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Nitika Chopra is the passionate, colorful and inspirational voice behind Your Bella Life, the online lifestyle magazine she founded in 2010. Nitika is a certified life coach, a go-to resource for young women around the globe, and a motivational lifestyle guru to her readers and fans.
In addition she is the host of the brand New talk show “Naturally Beautiful” on Veria Living Television, set to air on September 24th, 2013. Growing up, Nitika battled debilitating health problems that made it difficult to walk with ease for many years. This challenge, among others, fueled her passion for helping individuals and has made her an empathetic resource.
Harnessing the power of communities and social networks, Nitika created Bella Events, a series of networking events and social gatherings for women. She has also created strategic partnerships with companies and brands she supports, including Vita Coco, tarte Cosmetics, Glow Gluten Free and Naturopathica and many more. Enjoy her exclusive Business Heroine Interview…
BH: You went through some pretty rough health challenges and now your entire business revolves around mind-body-spirit-heart-vibrant bella living. Coincidence?
Nitika: Basically I had health challenges for my whole life. From the age of 10 to 25 was really the peak of it. That’s when it was the worst. I had psoriasis from the tip of my foot to the tip of my head. And for those of you that don’t know what psoriasis is, it’s a dry skin condition but it also deals with an overactive immune system, so you’re prone to other infections and conditions like that. And your actual skin becomes sort of like when you have chapped, cracked lips – except it was my whole body. So it became hard to move and was itchy and just really really challenging. At the age of about 20, I ended up getting psoriatic arthritis, where the psoriasis seeped into the bone and took over that part of my body, as well.
It’s definitely not a coincidence that my business today deals with my body and being beautiful in the divine form. When I was really at my sickest I had to understand what made me beautiful in the divine sense of that. And understanding the internal and external, even when my body wasn’t showing me that I was beautiful. I had a lot of evidence to the contrary. It felt like ten times more than just a self-esteem issue, which I have struggled with. It fueled me to get to work on that and figure out that internal conversation, even when my body wasn’t helping me.
BH: You talk about how, in overcoming several low points in your life, you found your spiritual voice within and became passionate about the power in small steps and infusing every day activities with spirit and possibility. How do you do this?
Nitika: I think the biggest part of that journey is that I really wanted to be happy. And as surface as that may seem, it’s incredible how comfortable we can get being unhappy or being stuck in our suffering. And I had every right to be stuck in my suffering at that time, so it would’ve been really easy for me to stay there. I was young so everything surrounding me sort of revolved around me being sick and people taking care of me. It really came from a deep deep desire within me to want to be happy and to want to have more than that.
That’s the first step – to really get honest. For me, for a while, I don’t think I really wanted to be happy. The idea of happiness seemed way too unattainable, and it seemed like my suffering and physical condition was all that I really knew, so I don’t think I even understood what happiness really meant and what that kind of peace meant.
In terms of my spiritual beliefs – I’m Hindu and grew up in a Hindu home, but I didn’t have a lot of spiritual teachings. When I went through something really challenging, I always believed you have two options: believing that this challenge is here to make you suffer and you’re horrible and you wonder why it’s happening to you (and it’s fair to have those questions come up) OR getting clear on why this was happening from a more positive perspective.
For me, I felt like my survival depended on me getting clear. And I detached from this being about me being horrible and assumed that this was about me learning life lessons. And that was really the only thing that I held onto my whole life, and I still hold onto that whenever something comes up. That is a very spiritual philosophy. God put this in my life for a reason.
Even if it’s something like you don’t have the relationship you want, or you’re having a fight with someone you really care about or a business thing – you can always believe that happens because of some insecurity or fault of your own. OR you can believe, “Ok, this is here to show me something. I have an opportunity to learn about myself and about the world and about my abilities and what am I going to take from this?” So that was really how I came about the spiritual conversation.
BH: Your talk show is called “Naturally Beautiful.” What is beauty to you?
Nitika: It’s really about “meaningful beauty.” I truly believe that being beautiful is not about what’s on the outside. Divine or Meaningful Beauty is really about aligning with who you are. There are many times we’re not really owning who we are. Whether we’re nervous about a first job or after a really bad breakup or any time we’re in a situation that can make us “give up” on our looks for a while.
That can serve a purpose, but I really believe that aligning with who you are and having it be embodied in the way you take care of yourself, the way you present yourself – is just such a powerful thing. If everything is energy, then how you take care of yourself and how you invest in yourself is such a huge part of that.
I’m not suggesting you have to wear bright lipstick or get your nails done every two weeks or wear heels. It’s about really owning who you are in your day-to-day life, because you want to take care of yourself. Owning who you are and being authentically YOU is a muscle. It takes working through and practicing getting back to your center and really developing.
BH: What links do you see between spirituality and business?
Nitika: It is so profoundly connected. You know how people say that when you’re in a relationship with someone, it really teaches you so much more about yourself? The things you learn continue to shape who you are in such an incredible way. I feel like in business it’s the same thing.
I’ve personally learned and shaped my own boundaries in business. Saying no was a lesson I learned. And being ok with saying it from a place of “I love myself, and this has nothing to do with you.” That’s a very spiritual conversation. It’s just a different lens to grow and develop and be the best version of yourself. I think spirituality and business are completely connected, and I’m grateful that I get to learn and practice through this conversation.
BH: You have had great success being featured in the media. You’re a lifestyle contributor in the Huffington Post, you’ve spoken at the prestigious REVEAL conference hosted by Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation, and you have your own talk show on national television! How did you create and/or recognize these opportunities for yourself?
Nitika: The first thing is about boundaries. I think this is a huge deal. A lot of times entrepreneurs will try to just be available all the time, and there’s a desperation-scaredness-urgency around that. I used to feel that way, but to get past that, it really comes down to a knowing. If I know in my heart of hearts that I’m meant to do this work, and I’m meant to be wildly successful at it – I don’t have to stress, struggle and push when I need to take a rest. It will all happen. So allow yourself to take a break.
Another part of it is having clarity, and even if you don’t have clarity, get clear that you don’t have clarity. I used to be so hungry to figure out what I was meant to do with all of these passions. I couldn’t figure out where it was supposed to go or how it was going to be created. So finally, I got really clear on the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to do.
I literally prayed for three years to get clarity. I was going from job to job, waitressing, working in retail, and the only thing that was clear was that I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. Getting clear on that is really powerful, and it will come to you if you keep asking.
The clarity isn’t about figuring things out just to have an answer. We know what that feels like when something clicks in our heart – it’s different than just assuming or hoping or thinking – it’s a completely different energy. I really wanted that energy. I wanted to find the thing. And for me, that was the talk show.
Also, it’s building relationships. As I’ve gone through my career, I’m able to see it that much more now. It’s about being your authentic self and really showing up for someone and being who you are fully knowing that you’re divinely destined to be all that you want to be. It really works!
BH: What advice do you have for the Business Heroines out there who want to invent their own dream career based on their own passions and desires?
Nitika: Well, hitting on the clarity point, my friend Gabrielle Bernstein once asked me a question that really gave me perspective. She said, “If money and resources were no concern, and you could do anything in the entire world, what are three things you would do?”
It doesn’t have to make sense. My three things were: I would take care of people, I would create and I would be with the camera.
So ask yourself that question. And even if the things you pick don’t make any sense, don’t try to fit them into a mold, just pick three things. Then sit with it.
In my case after a couple of weeks the knowing of wanting a talk show clicked. And it was so profoundly clear. I encourage people to think about, “What do others come to me for?” Focus on three things that light you up and that you would do all day long if you could, and you’ll find your career.
Watch Nitika on Veria Living as Host of her own talk show, Naturally Beautiful (Tuesdays at 7pm Eastern)