March 24, 2022

Audacious and Creative Ways to Ask for What You Want and Succeed with Indrani Goradia

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It is really easy to get discouraged or to even give up when we feel that our efforts are not being responded to, or even heard. So how are we supposed to pursue our big vision, dreams and plans if we don't know how to ask people for help powerfully or effectively? We are lucky today to have my special guest, Indrani Goradia, on the show. She is going to give us a powerful lesson in asking for what we need and sticking around to make sure we get the best outcomes possible for ourselves.

Indrani is the founder of RAFT, Resilience for Advocates through Foundational Training. They are focused on helping staff of sexual and domestic violence organizations to make self care a regular part of their personal and professional lives.

• [9:22] Indrani talks about how she came to realize that it was the sexual and organizational advocates who her RAFT organization could reach.
• [12:32] “The only thing I knew was that I didn't have a choice. When our mission comes to us, and the mission presents itself, and we say yes, I will do it. We no longer have a choice.”
• [25:34] “The first thing to know about asking for help is the thing that you're asking for, is it your business to ask?”
• [34:40] “Be brave enough to make the ask and be humble enough to say thank you to the no, in the most magnanimous way.”

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Indrani Groadia -


Christine Li  0:01  
Welcome back to the Make Time for Success podcast. This is episode 67. It is really easy to get discouraged or to even give up when we feel that our efforts are not being responded to, or even heard. So how are we supposed to pursue our big vision, dreams and plans if we don't know how to ask people for help powerfully or effectively, we are lucky today to have my special guest Indrani Goradia. On the show, she is going to give us a powerful lessons and asking for what we need and sticking around to make sure we get the best outcomes possible for ourselves. Indrani is the founder of RAFT which stands for Resilience for Advocates, Through Foundational Training. This organization and Indrani are focused on helping staff of sexual and domestic violence organizations to make self care a regular part of their personal and professional lives. Indrani is such a great teacher. She's such a powerful speaker too. We're gonna learn a lot from her today. So let's go listen to this episode now.

Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they could begin working to their potential. In this podcast, you're going to learn a powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together so that you can focus on what's really important and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. 

Welcome to the Make Time for Success podcast. Hello, my amazing podcast friends. This is Christine Li and today I am sitting in talking with Indrani Goradia. She and I are new friends and we met through a small conference held by our dear friend and mentor Pamela Slim. And we just connected really quickly I love and Indrani's energy. She's definitely a connector of people. She introduced me to different people at this small conference that I had not met yet. And I can't wait for you to learn from her. She is the founder of RAFT Cares. And that's an organization that helps staff and counselors who work with domestic and sexual violence victims. And her organization helps the staff and counselors to overcome compassion, fatigue, and burnout. She does incredibly important work. She's a vibrant soul. And I want to introduce you to her now. Welcome to the show.

Indrani Goradia  2:59  
Christine, thank you. It's hard to believe that I know you less than a month in this lifetime. Because we can easily and quickly I have to believe that there's been something that's been going on for eons.

Christine Li  3:19  
I like that thought I know I relied on you immediately that helped me to find other people to talk with at this at the meeting. Thank you again for being here. Your light is very bright. And please do me a favor and just helped me to know you help my listeners to know you as well. Some stories about your backstory, and also how you came to be the founder of raft cares.

Indrani Goradia  3:43  
Hello, friends of Christine, and future friends of mine. My story starts in my birth country of Trinidad in the West Indies. And I was the first child of three. And I grew up with extensive abuse in my home. I did not know it was abuse because I had two thoughts. I was bad. And I deserved it. I didn't realize that it was dangerous and toxic until I had my first child. And I was 31 at the time. And Christina I've done at TEDx on this. And so I'm happy to send you the link later. And it was a C section and the baby was about two or three weeks old and it was two o'clock in the morning and the baby couldn't sleep. And I had done everything I could think of and I had a voice in my head and the voice said slap the baby. And I thought If I slap the baby, how's that going to help And the voice said, If you slap the baby, the baby will stop crying. That didn't make any sense to me. Fast forward, I learned or realized later, as I was uncovering my past, that when I was hit, if I cried, I was not allowed to continue to cry. And I would be told, I will really give you something to cry about. So for me being slapped, immediately shut me down. And here I was, my brain was feeding me this lie to this little infant, this, this child that five hours ago, I was queueing and saying, I love you so much. You know, I'll protect you forever. And now this is happening. So fast forward, I knew that something was wrong with me. And so I took myself to therapy immediately. And that's the first sad thing, Christine, because many people cannot afford therapy. And many people can afford one or two sessions. And I had to have years of therapy to understand the abuse. And it just felt to me that it was so wrong, that so many people, so many moms want to show up in better ways. And they don't know how. And I think that was the beginning of me thinking, Well, I wonder what I can do with this information. But that was you know, it was just like, Hmm, I wonder if I have to report to all the listeners that I never hit, took me a longer time to realize that yelling was also abusive. I never did call names. The silent treatment is also abusive. Ignoring children, if you're pissed off is abusive, all of those things. It took me years to come to that understanding. But I came to the understanding. And now I don't know if my kids are lying or not. But they say they don't really remember. When I wasn't a peaceful mom. I don't know. I want to believe it. I don't know, I am not sure.

As my second child went off to was going to eighth grade, I thought, well, what happens now I have been a stay home mom. And I had chosen to stay home because I had a spouse that was always traveling and I didn't want a nanny to raise my children. I thought well, what can I do with what I have done moving forward. And that's when it occurred to me that maybe I can help teach how not to be abusive, but I was still thinking how not to be abusive to children. And I wasn't willing to go back to school to become a therapist, I'm a coach, or to become, you know, as lettered as you Christine, as a psychologist, I wanted to use my experience, I know that I have a PhD in survivorship. But how to do that. So I started asking for help around. And we will see that this asking for help will come up again, I started asking people, how can I do this? And do you think it'll work? And almost everybody said it wouldn't work, that I wasn't qualified, and I should just maybe get a job in retail? Or maybe I play golf or something. But nothing that was feeding my soul. So the first thing is I was certainly asking the wrong people was an eye. Yes. When we ask for help listeners, we have to know the right people. And we have to know which questions are the right questions. Again, let's compress time, I found a friend who was very taken with what I wanted to do with the world and she helped me to create the foundation. And at first, the foundation was that first it was just me now I have a wonderful team, but I would go into shelters and I would ask if I could teach the victims in the shelter's not realizing that Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs was like front and center. If you do not have shelter and if you cannot put food on the table. You don't have room to uptake any new information. And here I am trying to teach really hard skills like boundaries and saying no to people who didn't feel like they had any you know power over their lives. So that fell apart. And a couple of years later, we realized that it was the advocates, the staff of the sexual and organizational shelters and or, and sexual and organizational advocates who that we could reach. And then what would we, why would we want to reach them? Well, we were learning that burnout is huge, and that overturn is, is a massive problem. And just when you are ready to finish onboarding someone, and you know, they're getting into the groove of the work, they leave, because the work is so hard. So what raft means resilience for advocates through foundational training, and so we realize that if we can teach the leaders how to monitor themselves, how to be resilient first for themselves, then they can be resilient for other people that we stand a chance we stand a chance of not succumbing to burnout. And, Christine, I see you nodding I know you understand, because you are a counselor, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Christine Li  11:32  
Well, I'm nodding I do understand. And yet I also simultaneously feel like there's so much that I probably don't understand about the depth of the work that you are doing, and about the depth of activity you've had to do within yourself to create something like this, something so broad reaching, and something that deals with an issue that you felt in your own life, and that you were a victim of. So could we start there with a personal journey in terms of what did you have to work through, to keep going and to keep believing that this was valid and solid and worthwhile and going to be life affirming when it was out there?

Indrani Goradia  12:23  
Well, thank you for the the thinking that I knew it was going to be life affirming when it was out there. I didn't know. The only thing I knew was that I didn't have a choice. When our mission comes to us, and the mission presents itself, and we say yes, I will do it. We no longer have a choice. And I wake up every day. And I say okay, what can I do now? That maybe will make a difference tomorrow, but maybe not. Because I don't know. The only thing I know is I am not given the permission to not show up. How did I get to understand that I didn't have permission to not show up. When I first started the foundation, and I kept going to shelters, and out of every 10 shelters nine would say no, just no. Even though we were doing the work for free, and we still are. I thought you know so naively, of course, they'll say yes. They don't have to pay for it. Of course, they'll take it. And they were thinking, why you coming? You'll probably give me one class. I'll fall in love with it. And then you say there's nine more and you have to pay for it. And I could never get them to understand. No, that's not what I was going to do. One woman in DC who was the head of a whole coalition. I'll never forget this, Christine. She said, Well, where do you get the money to do this anyway? I actually wanted to say I'm a streetwalker. And I make a lot of money. And I this is what I chose to do with it. I didn't. It was so hard to not be dismissive. Sometimes because I didn't expect that level of distrust, mistrust, doubt. When I thought I was doing Hey, like you said, Hey, I'm gonna do this great thing and all of these great things will happen. And they just saw somebody that they didn't know, coming to offer them something that they didn't think they needed. So it was so easy to dismiss me. But Christina have to tell you a really sad story, and the reader will hear that I'm certainly over it. There was one shelter in Houston who said yes. And they were around the corner from where I live. and they said yes. And I was so excited. And I showed up the next day and the doors were locked. And I thought, oh, maybe they just forgot I was coming. And they wouldn't answer the phone. And they wouldn't answer the phone. And I would show up and I would wait for somebody to open the door and Christine they ghosted me. Till this day, that was 10 years ago, I still don't know why was it something I said? Was it something I wore? Was it something they read about me? And I was left to well, okay, fine, I'll give up. Look, I came so close, and they don't like it, I'll give up. And two days later, I got up and thought, Well, alright, start again. And so for everyone listening, I want you to know, it's okay to think you're going to give up, it's okay to cry for a couple of days. And then you get up, you wash your face and say, Okay, it's not them, then who? I know, it's me. If it's not you, then who? I started to get the right people to fill the right spots on my team. And because I was asking for help, actually, one of my mentors, her name is Andrea. Andrea said, I'm going to help you for two years, Andrea was a consultant. And she worked with us for two years without pay. Because she knew that this was something that had to be in the world. And Andrea got a lot of the team members, the beginning. And we realized I realized that it was everybody strength coming together that made this this great chain.

So for me, the the personal work was to actually get out of my own way to know to understand, and Ronnie you don't you don't know 80% of what you need to do in this moment. The only thing you know is that the vibration to do this work is so hard that you cannot stop you cannot drop it. So who else do you have to ask? And of course, I made a lot of mistakes. But slowly, people started saying, Yes, I know this person. Yes, I know that person. And I would always say thank you so much. Even if they said they knew somebody, and that person reached out and said, Well, I don't have time to talk. It's okay. Because at least they were saying they would help. And so I had to get over my wanting to do it now wanting to do it my way, knowing the only way that it was going to happen. And keep asking, what is the best way to get this work in the world? How do we really step out of ourselves? not take it personally, but know that all the advocates, all the caregivers are there waiting for me to get over myself.

Christine Li  18:16  
I'm laughing and amazed at just the parallel of survivorship and procrastination recovery, because I've always kind of wondered, you know, how is a recovered procrastinator supposed to put out products into the world because the self belief system is presumably flawed there. And I think you just demonstrated that you can't take everything personally because that's going to sink anyone, not just a victim of abuse, not just a recovering procrastinator. It's that process of saying, oh, every negative, every No, every ghosting situation must mean that I am the wrong person and I am bad. If we get in that cycle, nothing is going to get created, nothing is going to get realized nothing is going to succeed. And I think you're just a great example of someone who did the work day after day, night after night, meeting after meeting until you filled in the picture that was given to you and that you had for yourself of this community of people that was strong together that did have the right information to use and was not burning out that was actually functioning from light instead of heaviness. So please, could you share with us some stories about how your work and raft cares has been able to create a strong environment for caretakers counselors and staff involved in these organizations that help domestic and sexual abuse survivors.

Indrani Goradia  20:02  
Yes. Thank you for that question, Christine. And before I answer the question, I want everyone to know that when we are courageous enough to show up in our own business, to do the mission that we have to do, when people say, Thank you for coming, thank you for doing nothing feels as great as that. Nothing feels as great as that. So if you're doing something now, and when you reach someone, and they reach back and say, Oh, my gosh, you know, I did this, and this based on what you said, and your heart bursts wide open, that is your work, keep doing that. And when your heart doesn't burst wide open, tell yourself, it's not me, it's not them, it's just not my work, I will find a different way into my work. So that being said, the first time a leader reached back to me and said, that way of saying no, that you taught me, and the way that we're living in our values. Let me tell you what happened last week with the board. And they went into this whole story about what the Board did and what they had to do and how they had to prepare. And I had worked with this individual, and I had said to them, now the board's job is not your job. Your job as Ed is yes, you have to hear the board, but the board has hired you to do the work. So how you tell them what you have to do. And how they get that is where the know or the yes will come from? So when you hear them saying no, you have to say something like, can you tell me which part of that you're saying no to start whittling it down? So you hear the No, and you don't hear? Or you're a piece of crap? The no is not you. They hired you. You are there. You have just made a presentation. I give them five points. Which of these things is a problem? Let's take that off the table. And maybe you're just left with one. Everybody agrees on that one? Okay, that's the one we will do now. But if you only go in with one, and they disagree on that one, you have zero, right? So going with a few different ways to ask for the same thing. If you have 20 board members, you have 20 different sets of ears. And how are you going to parse what they are saying through a sieve that you are going to call? How can we move forward on this? And I know that this new is not me. It's not Indrani urine idiot. It's androni. I don't know if you're saying why you're saying it if that's going to work. Okay, let's figure out what words how it works. What's the timeframe? So what exactly are you saying no to?

Christine Li  23:25  
I love it. Great example. And I think a great lesson there too, in really getting in the habit of viewing all the possibilities that are available, as opposed to looking at the the uncomfortable feeling within us that is worried that everything's gonna collapse around us that that's actually not what is that play was really at play is the wealth of possibilities, even in a conversation that maybe it's a no. So I love the descriptive example that you've just given.

Indrani Goradia  24:00  
Yeah. And even with the power differential, right, the board is more powerful than the EDI. But the board has hired the EDI to do something that the board doesn't want to do. And even at the end of the meeting, if the board still says no, the Ed has to say something like, so I just want to get it clear. If we don't do any of these things will remain the same. And are we saying yes to that? Oh, no, we don't want things to remain the same. Okay. So shall we extend this by 10 minutes, shall we set another meeting and in the meanwhile, I will table this and this will remain the same until we come back. Make the connection to why they call the meeting in the first place. Right. I love it.

Christine Li  24:57  
Great lessons and powerful communication He said, I can see why you've been a success as a builder. And because you've got purpose, and you know how to communicate, and those are very powerful skills to possess together. Okay, we decided together that we wanted to focus on helping our listeners know how to ask for help, when they're feeling a little bit anxious about that or feeling like they don't know, how could you share with us some tried and true techniques that you have taught other people?

Indrani Goradia  25:32  
Yes. So Christine, the first thing to know about asking for help is the thing that you're asking for, is it your business to ask? So I am a founder of of an organization that does work with advocates of sexual and domestic violence organizations, I have been asked to ask other people to fund different things. That's not my ask. So, before you even ask for something, you have to know, is this my ask to make? Or is it? Oh, no, you ask? You're so good at asking. I know, I'm good at asking. But do I really want to ask everybody's ask? So we have to know. And I'm not talking about at home, right? I'm talking about in our professional space? Who are you asking? What are you asking for? And when are you going to ask? And before you do all of that? You have to ask, we're going to use the word ask a lot. You have to ask yourself, how else in my life? Do I ask for help? Do I ask for help? You know, guys, I'm really overwhelmed. Here, somebody needs to do the dishes? Or am I always say, nobody wants to do it on me as well do it. Well, if we are always saving other people from other work, then we might feel that we have to do the same thing within our workspaces. And we don't. And that's when we get into trouble. I know you do it, you're you're so good. And if someone says that to you, you can say yes, I am indeed very good at asking about what I need answers for. But sweetheart, I don't need answers for this. Oh, but I thought we were friends. Yes, we are. We are absolutely friends. So the first thing about asking for help is the boundary, Christine, of knowing when not to ask? You don't someone says, And Ronnie, have you seen my watch? No, I haven't. No. Could you help me find it? I don't even know what the watch looks like. I don't even know where you lost the watch. I don't even know if you have the watch this morning. But I'm going to go all around the house looking for a watch that may not be there. So ask, Is this my work? Do I have a clear understanding of the ask? And if it's yes, okay, right. Now I know that I have to ask Christine, can you help me to find my whatever. Now I will sit for about 10 breaths. And imagine myself sitting in front of Christine, or being on zoom in front of Christine, or being on the phone in front of Christine. And I am going to rehearse my words. Christine, it's so good to see you. You know, I'm not sure if I if I wore my watch this morning. Did you see a watch on my hand? And you might say, you know, yes. And it was pink? That's right. Can you help me to find it? If you say, Yes, you've signed on, if you say I would love to help you to find it, but I can do that in about four or five hours. Now I know. But I have been very clear with my asking you and I know what my words are going to be. This is how else it could go up. Christine. You know what? Oh my gosh, I don't know if I brought the watch in and did you see a D? And now I'm flustered. You're flustered. You don't even know what I'm asking. So, you know, Christine, you and I started this with three breaths. And I'm asking people to start thinking about an ask with 10 breaths. What are you asking? Who are you going to ask? And what are your words going to be? When you know what and when you know who and when you know your words. then it's your job to practice your words in the mirror. And the more important the ask, the more practice you need. So I was at a small lunch, not a lunch, a meeting with Barack Obama, about six years ago. And I was going to ask President Obama, something.

The reason I was going to ask something is I said to myself, when next will I ever have a chance like this? Probably never. And that's true. I haven't met instance. So in Ronnie, if you are in front of the president for a couple of hours, and you get 20 or 30 seconds to make an ask, what will it be? Well, what should it be? Should it be Hey, you know, can I come to a birthday party? Hey, can I come to dinner at the White House? No. I need it to be about my work. So I worked through it, Christine, I imagined sitting in front of him, I imagined what my words would be. And this was my eventual ask. When he called on me, I said, Mr. President, my name is Indrani. And I am 63 years old. And I want to know how I can help your girls and my daughter lives in a world that is free of violence. clear, precise. Christine, he didn't have an answer for me. But that was not my business. My business was to make my ask. And his business was to do whatever he would do with that question. He did a lot for girls and women, it wasn't because of my Ask. When you have an opportunity to ask, make sure it is the ask that if you never have an opportunity again, that is the thing that sticks. And I think a lot of times we don't realize that the Ask comes way before you even need that person.

Christine Li  32:17  
Yeah, I I'm learning from you and your demonstrations of how you might ask in different ways that really, it's how you prepare your energy for the ask and for that moment, and that we want to prepare in the best way that we can for success. We want to prepare so that we're centered that we're not taking things personally, but that we are taking things seriously so that we're respecting our needs, and also the other person's autonomy to determine whether they can help or not that it's really none of our business to orchestrate that. We just have to be clear when we're present and asking so that we can get the best response possible for ourselves. I love it. Thank you for that steam.

Indrani Goradia  33:09  
When we ask a yes is as good as a no. We do not ask just to get a yes. Their business is to do what's right for them. And my other short story here is a long time ago, when I first started, I used to have a little program that I did. Every day in October, I tried to interview somebody that was really important in society. One time I interviewed a dad who's who had lost a child to a school shooting. And he had a lot of advice for parents who had lost children. And one of the people that I really wanted to talk to was Brene. Brown. This was before Dr. Bronner's behemoth that she is now. And so I knew someone who knew her and I said, Do you think you might reach out to Brene? On my behalf? And, and the person did? And Brene said, No. And I said, Great. And I wrote her a thank you note. And I sent to her university. And the nod pretty much said, I hear you're no I'm grateful for listening to the request from blah, blah, blah. She wrote back to that person and said, and Ronnie was so gracious, I will do it. She said, No. I said, Thanks for the No. And then she said she do it. And I never saw it coming. That was the biggest lesson for me. Be brave enough to make the ask and be humble enough to say thank you to the know, in the most magnanimous way. And who knows? stuff might happen. I never forgot that lesson.

Christine Li  34:57  
I love it. Yeah, I love it and Thank you so much for sharing your behemoth easy energy here with us. I just made up a word, but I think that's a word I wanted to use, and for really your great lessons in interacting with other people, while also being fully yourself. I think that's what I'm getting and knowing about you right now. Thank you so much for being on the show. Could you please share with us how our listeners can stay in touch with you or get in touch with you?

Indrani Goradia  35:31  
Listeners, you can send me an email at info or info at raft And they will get those emails to me. And if you ask me for a meditation on how to sit with yourself in the energy of asking, I will be happy to send that to you. Because remember, like Christine said, the Ask starts with the energy of the ask. And No buddy likes cloying. Yeah, please say yes, kind of stuff. People want to feel like, Oh, you're gonna love me. Even if I say no. Yes, I am.

Christine Li  36:22  
Okay, I love it. So much wisdom here. Everyone. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I have. Indrani thank you again. I will see you soon. 

Indrani Goradia  36:31  
Thank you so much.

Christine Li  36:34  
And we'll see you next week on the Make Time for Success podcast. Thank you, listeners, for being here with us today by Thank you for listening to this episode of the Make Time for Success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website maketimeforsuccess for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach. Send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. Talk to you soon.

Transcribed by

Indrani GoradiaProfile Photo

Indrani Goradia

Indrani is the founder of RAFT, Resillience for Advocates through Foundational Training and is focussed on helping staff of Sexual and Domestic Violence Organizations to make self care a regular part of their personal and professional lives.