March 16, 2022
Author: Heather Lowey
Two years ago, the world shut down. It goes without saying, this disruption affected everyone differently. However, as we emerge out of this heavy time in our history, there are many who are feeling in a rut. Unsure how to act, how to be, even who they are any more.
Almera asked the women of Linking Indy Women, “how do you shake yourself out of the rut and the heaviness we’ve been feeling, and come out of this time period transformed?”
It starts with a renewed focus on being the best version of yourself. In order to get there though, you have to invest in yourself.
“You are your greatest asset. Just like you invest from an early age in your 401k, why would you not invest in your greatest asset of all. Yourself.”
WORDS HAVE MEANING
Almera credits her father’s openness to his children being whatever they wanted to be, as the influence for her own outlook on life.
“When we were growing up, my dad told us we could be whoever and whatever we wanted to be. For South Asian immigrants, this was a rare approach to take. Due to the struggles they faced to begin a new life in a country foreign to them, it was more typical for the directive to be to pursue a profession such as a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. He was open to us pursuing something that made us happy and successful so long as his daughters could be independent and not rely on anyone.”
Even though he was open to other professions, he did have one condition:
“Be the best at whatever you are pursuing.”
It was this early influence of pursuing with a purpose coupled with the drive to grow and be better every day, that catapulted Almera into a successful finance career and being a mentor to many.
COLLEGE TO CFO
Almera grew up trying out various extracurriculars, while also continuing to study hard. She was naturally gifted in math, so a degree in finance came with relative ease. Also wanting to nurture her creativity, she chose to simultaneously study marketing.
“I was pursuing marketing for the creative aspect but realized that to be the best in the field of corporate Finance, I need to complement that with an accounting degree. I ended up swapping out marketing for accounting but continued to do things in the arts for fun to fulfill the creative side of me.”
Launching into her career in finance, she quickly realized there were opportunities to not only use her strength in math, but also ways to model and communicate the numbers through storytelling, fulfilling her creative side.
For instance, as CFO of Prolific, she utilizes her strength in understanding and digesting numbers and then creatively communicates this to people across the organization who don’t understand the ins and outs of finance. Getting to tell the right story. With the added bonus of coaching colleagues to be the best version of themselves.
Right now, this is a perfect place for Almera. The equation of utilizing her strengths plus what she loves equals personal and professional fulfillment. (see what I did there… LOL)
Almera referenced the book Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.
“It’s transformational to pay attention to our emotions and how we feel. This gets us attuned to what our desires are. We understand our utility. It then helps us focus on where we want to grow. Any time you start a new job, approach a new endeavor, add a new label (like mother), you likely start by researching, planning, thinking. Understanding ourselves is no different.”
She gave the example of losing the baby weight after her third child. Focusing on the baby weight and realizing she had no time for working out felt frustrating. Her doctor pointed out she was focused on the wrong thing.
“She told me to focus on myself. Focus on self-care and doing one thing for myself versus looking at it solely through the lens of losing weight. Get a little better every day.”
This gave her the strength to tackle each day with an approach of making it a little better than the day before. And before she knew it, the plan worked. She felt more personally fulfilled and a byproduct of this was the baby weight was gone.
Almera encouraged everyone to continue to re-assess though.
“Just like our financial assets, we need to continue to check in on ourselves and re-assess.”
COACHING AND MENTORSHIP
Another key to Almera’s discovery of self and subsequent transformation was utilizing executive coaching and personality assessments.
“My experience with an executive coach was incredible. And I’m an assessment junkie and love absorbing and learning from the data. Both experiences made me learn so much about myself that I never knew.”
One of the reasons she found the coaching experience so rewarding is her mindset of embracing areas of improvement and understanding her own strengths. She believes in the importance of surrounding yourself with individuals who complement your skills in an effort to make a well-rounded team.
“Embracing and leaning into areas of improvement is important because that’s where the real growth happens.”
Mentorship has also been a key for Almera. Not only does she have a sounding board of mentors within her work, but she also maintains a solid group of girlfriends to provide her with feedback and talk through situations.
Being the best version of herself is something Almera learned early on. This approach in life has carried her through some difficult times with grace for herself and others. A unique perspective for continuous presence in the moment while being purposeful in action.
In summary, Almera left us with these key points:
- Recognize the importance of investing in yourself. You are your greatest asset and should be treated as such.
- Pay attention to your emotions and how you feel. What is your gut telling you?
- Continue to re-assess and check in with yourself. It’s natural to change and evolve, but you need checkpoints.
- Create a daily routine for yourself, but ensure it works for YOU and is fun for YOU.
- Tap into Indianapolis and take advantage of all it has to offer. Connect with others in this great city of opportunity.
Every day strive to be the best version of yourself. The only person you are competing with is who you were yesterday.
Want to connect with Almera? Find her @ Almera Mahmood on LinkedIn.