What is one or more microstep that helps you thrive in any of these areas of your life: Sleep, unplugging and recharging, focus and prioritization, connection with yourself or others, movement or nutrition?
I strongly believe in focusing on context instead of content, so the Microstep that helps me thrive in every area of my life is starting each morning with meditation. I meditate at 4:00 am, and I never miss it, no matter which side of the globe I’m on. This ritual helps me put all the contents of my life in the right context, helping me set the tone and intention for the day ahead.
As Viktor Frankl put it, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” My daily meditation helps me adopt my attitude for the day and avoid functioning in a reactive mode.
How and why did you start doing these microsteps and how do they affect your well-being, your work, or your family’s life? Can you share a specific example/anecdotes that paints a picture of the changes you’ve experienced?
Both my parents are yoga and meditation enthusiasts, so that’s how I started the practice when I was only twelve. Back then, it was about curiosity and wanting to join my family in their 4:00 am fun. Now, I do this to bring the best version of myself out before I start my day. I truly believe that those who have a “why” to live can bear with almost any “how.” Meditation helps me put my “why” into perspective and not get bogged down with the “how” and “what.” It helps me stay motivated, recharge, and focus on what matters.
The biggest change I have experienced from years of practicing meditation is the realization that every stressful situation is only stressful because I think it is not happening the way I want it to happen. Life will never completely happen the way I want it to, and I’ve learned to be grateful for that! In every stressful situation, you can change it, accept it, or remove yourself from it. When you remind yourself that it is that simple, it is very easy to bounce back and center yourself.
Please tell us about any small steps that have helped you better connect with or motivate your team at work.
Our team does a “Happiness Project.” We started this tradition when the pandemic hit, and it has been a game-changer! Every week, we meet for 30 minutes to talk about anything that impacts our happiness, whether as a team or as individuals. We then pick one issue that we want to work on that week. We come up with ideas and suggestions for each other, and everyone always leaves feeling a little brighter and happier. The point is for everyone to share, because it is human nature for us to feel happier when we uplift someone else. We have a whole powerpoint deck with the issues and solutions we came up with. Just looking back at it makes everyone smile!
What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self about reducing stress or preventing burnout?
I am very grateful that I started meditation and yoga at the age of twelve. Due to my consistent practice, I have never really experienced stress or burnout. When you start every day reminding yourself of your true nature, it helps you remember to stay positive. It keeps my cup overflowing and keeps me joyful. I’ve found that you are very easily able to lighten any stressful situation or uplift a person who may be experiencing stress or burnout. Helping others leaves your cup even more brimming.
What is a joy trigger that helps you reset from stress or tap into happiness, wonder, and awe?
I find joy in seeing life as an expression of one’s happiness, rather than as a pursuit of it. When you see each day through this lens, you can immerse yourself in any activity without any expectation or fear, but rather for the pure joy of the activity.
Kirthi Mani, Principal, Global Services at Clifton Larsen Allen
Kirthi leads CLA’s Global Advisory & Outsourcing Practice- that helps businesses expand both within the United States & across the globe, by acting as a single point of contact for all their global needs. Her team can help with entity creation, banking set-up, insurance, location services, incentives & grants, global payroll, health insurance & benefits solutions, HR, Global mobility, immigration (through law firm partners), local & state registrations, compliance, day-to-day book keeping, financial reporting, cash flow management, budgeting & forecasting, tax filings & compliance and more. Kirthi helps our clients across the globe when opportunities beckon them to uncharted territory; by acting as their trusted advisor alongside management, navigating the myriad of cross-border business, regulatory, operational, personnel and compliance issues. As a member of the Nexia International Network’s Global Expansion and Financial Outsourcing (GEFO) core business group, Kirthi actively collaborates with member firms across the globe. She is a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion council member at CLA with a passion to bring “DEI in our DNA”. She is also a CLA Think Security Ambassador Leader, supporting our mission to build a security first mindset and culture at CLA to deliver on our promise to our clients and our people. Prior to joining CLA, Kirthi has over a decade of private industry experience with multi-nationals like GE Healthcare, Levi Strauss & Co., Thermo Fisher Scientific and Kiewit Corporation. She was part of the International Finance team at Carnegie Mellon University that helped set-up and support their Qatar and Australia campuses. With over 20 years of cross-border experience and extensive knowledge across diverse industries, she regularly speaks at various forums in the United States and abroad.