Self-Growth and Staying True to Herself with Pranita Purushothama
Pranita Purushothama is a Program Manager at Apple where she focuses on improving Apple’s internal processes and systems. She primarily grew up in India and lived in Canada for 4 years before making Singapore her home.
Pranita is happily married with a fur baby, an english cocker spaniel named Yoshi which was a silver lining for her and her husband during the pandemic. As a nature lover and mental wellness advocate, she loves experiencing new places and food while leading a balanced life. Although leading a balanced life is easier said than done, Pranita constantly reminds herself to focus on the right things to live a more content life.
Pranita shares with us her journey of self-growth which gave her the courage to define herself beyond her professional success. She overcame the female tendency to be self-critical, by learning to trust her experience-led intuition and speak up on matters which truly matter.
Something that has shifted for me over the past few years is where I choose to focus my energy. I have always been the 'go with the flow' kind of person and reactive to situations around me. Over the past few years, my perspective changed and I've really started to do things that fuel me rather and try to stay away from anything that doesn't give me joy. Whether it’s with work, people, anything I spend my time and energy on.
I believe this is so important to culminate an intention to why we do things and this has been really helpful for helping me feel more in control. I'm getting better with saying “no” and doing what’s right for me. It requires a lot of introspection, difficult conversations and sometimes not everyone around you gets it, but you learn to prioritise and navigate it with time.
I think people in today's world whether it’s at work or in a personal setting are so influenced by others that it’s really hard to stay true to yourself. I struggled with having to constantly compromise on what I felt was right or hold back on my opinions, because I felt anything that was different than what others around me thought was incorrect. As women, we tend to especially be hard on ourselves and socially we all want to appear like we know what we're doing and belong. A big part of overcoming this was to trust myself and do what felt right to me. I really started with listening to my gut, trusting my skills, my experience and leading from my heart. Once I started to do that, I wasn't afraid to swim against the tide, or of what others thought. I even took risky decisions like leaving my steady job during the pandemic without an idea of what I wanted to do next. Once I trusted myself, I knew I would find my way.
Biggest learning for me was that I am not completely defined by my professional success. It's okay to slow down, change course and do what gives you joy. I've always been someone who has generally excelled in everything and to remind myself that I am more than a job because there are many other facets to me. This helped avoid unnecessary pressure on myself. My identity and joy is defined by many other important aspects of my life.
Sometimes, people tend to put you in a box. Whether it's with my age, my background or based on how I look, people do tend to assume your decisions are driven based on those factors. I tried to stay true to who I was and did things that I wanted to. I generally take any stereotypes people have of me with a pinch of salt!
Know your worth and retain your identity and personality in whatever you are doing. because that’s what makes you unique. Don’t be afraid to stand out or do things which are unconventional.
I find Maya Angelou and her poetry extremely inspiring. She also was someone who lived with true purpose and empowered those around her with her words. My favourite quote from her which I try to live by is, " I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I am still learning to draw boundaries but I think that is the only way to find some balance. Know what truly matters to you and don't compromise on that. It’s something I think we find along the way: I try to also take regular breaks during my workday, spend time with my loved ones, spend time in nature and this helps me not get overwhelmed.
My style leans more towards comfort chic. It really depends on the occasion and my mood. There are days when I love dressing up in a sexy dress with heels but I also love my white tee with jeans and flip flops. It really depends on my mood but I always choose comfort first!
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Photos c/o Augustine Yuen