By Sunita Sehmi, Walk The Talk
In her late 20s, Ms Aradhna Sethi moved out of her protected maternal home and into her new life as a wife in a country far, far away. Little did she grasp that she had, indeed, stepped into the tumultuous life of an expat spouse. Her whole existence changed and she experienced the flavours of life that she never had imagined. She is the author of "The Entrepreneur's Wife: A Survival Guide". The book will make you laugh, cry and help you manage your fears. She uncovers it all and whether you are the spouse, fiancée or girlfriend of an entrepreneur, a business owner yourself or simply a curious sit back you will thoroughly enjoy this book. I was lucky enough to interview Aradhna I really hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did.
Tell us a little bit about you. Who are you, where are your from, etc.…
I was born in India, I grew up in Chandigarh, Jammu, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. My father worked with Indian Oil Corporation - and it was due to his promotions that the family moved every three to four years. Although leaving behind friends was always tough, my mother was my teacher, my psychologist, my guide - and my best friend for life. She was a constant source of encouragement as she bubbled with life and energy, telling my brother and I that it was time for a fresh start, time to leave behind what we didn't like and carry forth memories of the pleasant times. Those days, she ensured we kept in touch with our friends through letters. It was always fun.
I was a fairly good student, taking challenges and competitions in my stride.
While I schooled all over the country (excluding the east), my college life spanned Delhi and Bombay. I then joined Femina as a trainee in 1996 and left the magazine as the senior copy editor in 2000 - just before my wedding to Anil Sethi, with whom I moved to Switzerland in 2001.
Anil was then with IBM, but moved into the start-up world within a few years. He co-founded an ETH spin-off and went on to author "From Science to Start up" (Springer Publishers), which has been selected as one of the top 5 management books worldwide.
He set foot into the entrepreneurial world and in 2007, I turned into the entrepreneur's wife, financial safety net, mother, friend, counsellor, sounding board and much more.
Could you tell us more about your idea behind your book The Entrepreneur's Wife: A Survival Guide?
I studied journalism, but my final goal was always to be an author. I'd been toying with the idea of writing for a while, but life and its turns led me to always hold a job in the communications field. While it helped pay the bills of the start-up family, it took me further away from my dream for a while - until the time when I was angered and shocked to learn that my husband was writing a book. I couldn't stand the thought of him taking my dream away from me right under my nose; especially when I was supporting him all this while. That anger egged me to write, write and write - passion, anger, love, bliss, peace, chaos - it all flowed out of me and took the shape of my debut book. So yes, I have to thank him for the experiences and for the subtle and strong reinforcement to look at my own dream again.
The book is largely autobiographical and women relate to it in many ways. I've been told by my readers that aspects of my life reflected some of their lives - they related, connected and bonded - and even learned how to deal with certain situations. The book has taken a life of its own among the readers who I've had a chance to interact with. And that really was the idea - to share a story that brought the readers to tears, made them face their fears, find their own solutions and get on with life with a smile.
The idea is to enjoy the highs of life when they come, and learn to roll with the blows. As readers, you will connect, laugh, cry and laugh till you cry again. You will be involved in the making and breaking and resurrection of an entrepreneur's wife.
Is it just for expats?
No - it's for women from all walks of life. And I hear, men have enjoyed sharing the read, too.
You also run Life, Spice & More what’s that about?
That's my social media (FB mainly) page for the promotion of this book and the others that are still work in progress...
What’s the next challenge for trailing spouses?
For many, it's continuing to be financially independent; or having to suddenly deal with the idea of being a 'housewife'. Unfortunately, this very important role is still underrated... Little do people realize - spending time with your kids and shaping them, it shaping the future attitude and direction of the world! A housewife does a lot - she's not a cook, but a chef; she may not earn, but she is a manager of finances, organizer of all services for the family - big or small, and a resource in times of chaos.
So yes - dealing with this role brings along its own perceived set of challenges.
Another challenge is keeping boredom at bay - many don’t know what to do with their time and tend to clamour for their home countries and get homesick beyond reason.
Language - that's a MUST to integrate. And integration is - to my mind - the key to settling in happily.
What is the best piece of advice you ever got?
Change is the only constant - so chin up, embrace life - it's the only one you have; and the only way to create positive memories when you are in your golden years. This too shall pass is the motto to imbibe with a smile.
Anything else we need to know?
Just smile on and enjoy life.
Click here to get your hands on "The Entrepreneur's Wife - A Survival Guide"
Order via Amazon or download a kindle version. Enjoy the read!
Sunita is an Executive Coach, Trainer and Consultant. She is of Indian origin and was born in London before moving to Geneva in 1992. She has a Psychology background (specialising in Occupational Psychology) and a Post Graduate in the Development and Training of Adults. She also completed a Masters in Ressources Humaines, Coaching et Gestion des Carrières at the University of Geneva.
During her 25 years experience Sunita's drive has always been to help people to do their best and hence led her to create Walk The Talk.
In her free time Sunita is a Mentor for the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship and a proud member of the School in The Cloud Team.