Urmila Kandha | Author | Leader | Coach

Urmila is an experienced leader, enterprise agile coach and published author in the developing field of Agile Transformation, applying the successful concepts and ways of working from Lean and Agile to technology organizations embracing these as enablers to gravitate towards their digital transformation goals. Her passion for working with people and constantly evangelizing the learnings across the pockets of the organization makes her a great catalyst for change.

Apart from being a full time professional, Urmila is also a successful author having published 3 books under her belt. Here’s a sneak peak into our conversation with her.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as an author.

My love for writing emerged from childhood. I was fortunate to be encouraged by my family. The love for writing continued to grow over the years from essays in school days to whitepapers in engineering days and blogs in my professional journey. Having been blessed with awesome mentors in my professional journey, I was passionate to share what I have learnt as a giveback to my community of readers and teams. And that’s the genesis of being an author.

What inspired you to write your latest book – when Things Change? How did you go about sharing your experiences from something so deeply personal?

The inspiration behind this book originated from the crisis that hit me when my mother got diagnosed with cancer and progressed with end-stage renal failure. Caregiving for a loved one during critical illness is extremely intense and at the same time very gratifying. Having experienced this firsthand, I learned that there are millions of people across the world who are going through a similar or even worse situation. If how I sustained and thrived in this crisis can be an inspiration to anyone dealing with similar trauma, then why not make a difference in the ordeal.

Can you tell us more about this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?

Most often, the situations in life do not change. We do not have a choice in what happens to us in life. But we always have the choice to respond. And to lead in a crisis, you just have to be a better version of yourself. Everything else eventually falls in place. 

This book is a compendium of all life skills and techniques that I knew or learned and applied in crisis that helped me improve my resilience and be a more composed caregiver. I won’t say any of these are perfect or best. However, many of the skills that I applied in this situation can be applied by anyone facing a deep personal crisis if they wish to shift their momentum and emerge stronger from the crisis.

How did you find writing a book itself? How did that feel?

Bringing your ideas to life in the form of a published book is very much like creating a pot from wet clay and giving it shape with both your hands directed by a vision of the outcome and a strong desire to get it out.

How long does it take to write a book?

While there is no heuristic around this, the present book took me around 24 to 30 weeks from idea to publication.

Do you have a plan to create an audiobook as well for your latest book?

Yes. The audiobook is under production and is expected to be published on Audible by end of July 2021.

Do you see writing as a kind of spiritual or therapeutic practice? 

Yes. Writing to me is a form of meditation. When I write, I just immerse myself and it’s a cathartic release for all emotions that play on my mind. Writing has always been very energizing no matter what part of the day I sit to write.

What did you learn when writing the book?

As I wrote this book, I learnt myself that we as humans can handle much more than what we think we can. The limits that we set in our minds are all self-imposed. Our neuroplasticity allows us to stretch way beyond what we have ever imagined during any demanding situation. Caregiving takes a lot of emotional space. But is extremely gratifying while being equally intense. It is something that can only be experienced and lived.

What we really mean when we talk about navigating through a crisis or the trauma post the crisis is the recovery which is a way we connect with our inner selves and the outer world. The book reflects all skills I practised during this phase.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

My best ideas for writing have always been inspired by some deep experiences that have had a profound personal impact on my mind. And all 3 books of mine have had crucibles behind the scenes that led to their genesis.

What could have been an alternate profession for you if you were to dream of today?

If I were to think of an alternate profession, it would probably be venturing into travel journalism or anchoring a show sharing motivational experiences.

What are 3 things that keep you going?

Gratitude, Connections and Purposefulness

Is there anyone who has greatly encouraged you on the journey to accomplish this book?

Apart from my direct family, I would like to mention Anand Paropkari who was my mentor with whom I bounced the initial idea after putting across the book. Kiran Mangipudi for being an awesome mentor and teacher who helped me in invaluable ways through particularly challenging times. Sonal Drone for his constantly challenging insights and affirmative critical thinking. I firmly believe, writing a book is less about putting the content but more about navigating an unknown path and maintaining consistency with a vision and passion to drive it to completion which is impossible without having people in your life who are ready to lift you up against all odds.

What is the best feeling about being an author?

I think the best feeling that I cherish about being an author is the spirit of connection. I think as humans we all crave for that bond and my books and writings have connected me to many people many of whom became really good friends.

If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those be?

Empathetic, Resilient and Transparent

Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.

I think having great personal and professional relationships has been an accomplishment that I definitely feel proud of. And I am equally proud of having made a difference to many people through adverse situations.

Urmila’s books

Essentials of Agile Transformation

The DevOps Assessment Playbook

When Things Change

Connect here,

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/urmila-kandha/


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