Nasseema Taleb with her book Living Awake.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Nasseema Taleb is the founder and managing partner of a transformation coaching company known as Zen Insight Coaching (previously known as Souls in Motion). Her work focusses on bringing change and helping others uplift their lives through coaching and teaching.
After spending over 16 years in multinational corporate environments, she decided to pursue a career in Transformation Coaching. She says she did this as she was driven by altruistic values and a love and commitment to spiritual expansion.
Born in Mauritius, she lived in South Africa for five years, spent nine years in the UK and for the last nine years, has been resident in the Middle East. With a Master’s degree in Modern Anthropology, she has conducted extensive research with the Kalahari communities in Botswana. An avid reader and globe trotter, Taleb released her first book, Living Awake, in July this year. She speaks to Gulf Today
What is the role of a life/transformation coach in society?
Life coaching is about personal transformation. Through personal growth, self-inquiry and the willingness to unpack the things that block us, we are able to peel off the layers of conditioning, create more desirable goals, manifest what we want to achieve in life and embody the character that we’ve always aspired to be.
Life coaching seeks to help individuals to unlock their untapped potential through exploring the limits of their comfort zones, overcoming barriers that stop them from achieving their dream goals.
How can spirituality improve the corporate world?
Spirituality is about going back to basics — it is about remembering that our minds are filled with unconscious bias and learned conditioning.
If we peel ourselves out of these layers, who are we underneath?
When we are able to go back to basics, we become kinder and more compassionate, more connected to our purpose, better equipped to make the right career choices, manage and lead others with more presence and less ego.
Our experience of working becomes more pleasurable as we understand that we are all intricately interconnected.
You are a global citizen, having lived in Mauritius, South Africa, the UK and the UAE. What flavour has each country given your life?
Mauritius is my home country and will always be home for me; my family are there and so are my childhood memories which have gone into making me what I am today. Growing up on a small island is a humbling experience; it has taught me simplicity, humility, and an appreciation of nature.
I spent five years in Durban, South Africa, as I completed my first degree and Masters. These were the years where I learnt to develop resilience muscles — I had to fend for myself, look after myself when I got sick, work to make money and pay for my Masters.
My nine years in the UK were foundational in learning new skills needed in a competitive corporate world. I learnt what it is like to be an immigrant, learnt how to deal with bias, learnt to step up for myself and never give up even when all the odds were against me. I also had two beautiful children during my time in the UK; raising my sons gave me strength.
The last nine years I spent in the Middle East have been transformational — I came here knowing nothing about Dubai. The UAE has given me the freedom to be who I truly am; here I have found the space and opportunity to expand my true self, develop new skills, work with amazing companies, raise my boys in safety and I have found deep meaningful friendships, which I cherish very much.
Give us some highlights of your work among Kalahari communities in Botswana. Can they teach us something?
The Kalahari was the first time where I wrote my first article which is published in an anthropological journal. We spent two weeks living in a tent, with limited water and rationed food. Spent hours on end at night around campfires, listening to the sounds of the wild animals, talking to the Kalahari people, recalling stories, meeting new people, exploring who we are in the middle of the desert where nothing else mattered.
One of the things I learned is that we do not need many material things which we attach ourselves to.
What are the life skills a reader can get from your book Living Awake?
My book is about my own experience — it aims to evoke emotions which we all feel, but sometimes do not dare talk about for fear of being judged or seen as weak.
So among the skills people can learn, I would say is to learn to become more vulnerable and authentic. It takes real courage to be vulnerable, it takes real strength to make the decision to change our lives, to become the master of our lives.
Is Living Awake an autobiography? If so, how can another person, whose life experiences may be different, benefit from it?
Living Awake is a collection of essays which I write as I learn and grow. Everyone has different life experiences; yet we are all human and we all experience the same spectrum of emotions.Our labels might be different, our nationalities and skin colour might be different, but ultimately, we are all unconsciously seeking a connection with each other and with the Creator. My reflections are relatable to others since I talk about topics which concern us all as a human race.
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