Put presence into your present. Take it from someone who was fighting for their life: the present is a gift. It’s the only moment you actually have. Stop spending it planning and start spending it in accordance with what brings you joy and peace.

Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Cimeran Kapur.

Cimeran Kapur is the founder of Potion, a premium Ayurvedic medicine brand. Potion was born out of Cimeran’s quest to heal — she was diagnosed with cancer during her medical training at the age of 28. After debilitating treatments left her feeling hopeless, she went back to her roots and found relief in India’s 5,000 year old traditional medicine. Potion’s mission is to bring trust and authenticity to Ayurveda’s holistic medicine, while reinventing the medicine cabinet with clean, high-quality plant-powered remedies. Potion launches this summer with their hero product, Immunity Potion, a potent and delicious herbal tincture supplement prescribed with a centering ritual.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

The two experiences that have shaped my life the most are:

  1. My childhood, which gave me my mission.
  2. Battling cancer, which gave me a second chance at loving myself.

When I was 5 years old, my family moved to India from San Francisco. As a highly sensitive child, witnessing the poverty and suffering of others had a deep impact on my consciousness. I did not want to be a participant in the ignorance and avoidance of human empathy. My mother introduced me to the concept of “seva,” a Sanskrit word meaning selfless service to those in need. And from there we spent every summer in the ashrams and weekends cooking for those living on the streets. It was this concept of seva and my childhood experiences that shaped my mission to live a life of service. From there I participated in every opportunity to build a healthier, more empowered world through the lens of public health, education and medicine.

I was 28 and in my medical training, when I found out that I had metastatic cancer. I remember my doctor’s first words on the phone “we’re sure it’s cancer. It’s everywhere and it looks really serious.” My mission has always defined me and I so desperately wanted to achieve a massive impact in the world. And the thought of being at the end of the road at 28, not having any more time to reach my potential, broke me open. Getting cancer and facing my own mortality forced me to look at myself in the mirror. It forced me to ask myself if I was going to put the oxygen mask on myself first. It forced me to question if I was worthy of love from myself — If I would love myself as a work in progress rather than a finished product (which I’ve since learned will never exist). Cancer saved my life with this lesson. I am forever grateful for it.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

One of my favorite Rumi quotes is “Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself” because this is so applicable to how I saw my life’s mission and purpose. It’s funny because this concept of ‘seva’ kind of ruled my definition of success: there is so much human suffering, so in a sense I felt like the more lives I touched, the more impact I was making. And I began to devalue myself in the process because, of course, I could never do enough. What I realized is that I internalized ‘seva’ to mean service of others without care and love for myself, instead of what it actually means: service without the need for reward or recognition.

Now, seva starts at home first, with servicing myself, loving myself, respecting myself and allowing that inner flame to ignite that same flame within others. It’s ironic because the genesis of Potion had nothing to do with healing the world — it was about healing myself. And now I’ve found that this is actually what people want from me — showing them how I am healing myself mind, body and spirit — instead of what I thought they needed.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

The pandemic taught us so much. First and foremost, that the health and well-being of a population is the most important thing in life. And second, that all life on this planet is connected. Our actions and intentions have a much greater impact on the world around us than we are made to believe.

To quote Rumi again, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.” Ayurveda, which is India’s 5,000 year old holistic medicine, teaches us that we not only come from nature, but we are nature. Here are some lessons you can take from Ayurveda to heal:

  • Nature takes its time, yet everything is accomplished. So, slow down and find joy in the present moment.
  • Your mind, body and spirit all determine your health. So feed your mind with positive thoughts, your body with clean plants, and your spirit with adventure and passion.
  • Spend time in nature. Breathe in all the fresh air, walk barefoot on the earth, feel the warmth of sunshine. It’s free medicine.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” Please provide an example.

  1. How you feel is more important than what you have.

Optimize for activities, relationships and conversations that spark joy and optimism.

2. Being safe is actually about surrendering to discomfort.

Do something out of your comfort zone every few months because acting in accordance to your preferences does not keep you safe. When life forces you to pivot and change directions, you will be able to trust in the unknown.

3. No one is you and that is your superpower.

Being different is a good thing. It is the diversity of ecology, the diversity of your gut microbiome, the diversity of species, the diversity of thought, the diversity of passions (you get it) that actually keeps you, our planet and our world healthy, safe, and fulfilled.

4. Your time is your currency. Use it well.

I used to skip meals, exercise and time with friends/family for years because I was just too busy. When I look back at my schedule pre-pandemic, I put all my energies in one bucket — my work — and left nothing for the rest. My daily routine gives me joy because now I make sure to schedule time for every bucket, every week.

5. Put presence into your present.

Take it from someone who was fighting for their life: the present is a gift. It’s the only moment you actually have. Stop spending it planning and start spending it in accordance with what brings you joy and peace.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

The biggest obstacle is our need and desire to control the outcome of our lives. We plan everything and create timelines for our lives that gives us this false sense of safety and pride that we have all the answers and we are on a defined path to success – feeling in control as we check off boxes when our plans align with how our lives unfold. In reality though, we have very little control and we need to let go of this notion that we know exactly what’s best for us.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t work hard, have passions or goals. But you will live a far more content life if you are open to the concept of surrender and accepting that we do not have all the answers. In life, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Being open to pivoting and radical change, and surrendering to opportunities that are outside of your preferences for your life will humble you. Life is a beautiful journey that reveals itself to us moment by moment and if you’re doing it right, you are living in the current moment with the realization that it’s a constant exploration and evolution of self.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

  1. I’m an avid learner and reader. I read at least 2 books a month and listen to a few podcasts a week when driving, taking my dog on a walk or doing house chores. Learning is something I look forward to and I’m especially passionate about personal development, entrepreneurship and holistic healing. I’ve found that each of these categories share a commonality about going inward and doing work on yourself — mindset, habits, emotional healing — as a means to find inner joy and redefine success.
  2. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I’m ruthless about who I surround myself with and make time for conversations with those who are similarly interested in personal growth and redefining personal success. If you don’t have enough people in your life who are on the same path, remember that you can count authors and podcasters in your list of 5 if you are going deep in their work. It’s worth noting that I do spend a lot of time with myself in solitude — meditating, going on nature walks and talking myself through triggers and thought-patterns. I am a big believer in looking inward for answers and sitting with you sh*t to sift through it.
  3. Unfollow or mute people on social media who don’t align with your definition of success and follow only those you are inspired by or can learn something from. My social media algorithm is wonderful — filled with positive thoughts, educational and uplifting content which makes the online space feel safer.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

  • Joe Dispenza — I love how he combines scientific research with spirituality and meditation. His work was instrumental on my journey learning to awaken love within myself.
  • Gabby Bernstein similarly entered my life as I was learning to sit with myself in my darkest moments. She so beautifully shares wisdom that resonated and supported me in my work unlearning unhealthy emotional and thought patterns.
  • Oprah forged a new path in making mind-nourishing, personal-development conversations mainstream. I admire her for being a leader and role-model in turning pain into purpose.
  • Sara Blakely is such a badass entrepreneur. What I love and admire about her is how she harnessed her intuition in building a hugely profitable and self-funded business, focusing on creating value for her customers.