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Be the Change with Anjali Jariwala

George Grombacher April 6, 2023

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Be the Change with Anjali Jariwala

LifeBlood: We talked about how to be the change you want to see in the world, how to follow a passion while maintaining a career you love, bringing out your inner creative, and overcoming the challenges of learning about a new industry, with Anjali Jariwala, financial advisor and children’s book author.   

Listen to learn how to handle the rejection and resistance you encounter when trying something new!

You can learn more about Anjali at,, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Get your copy of Why We Eat with Our Hands HERE

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Anjali Jariwala

Anjali Jariwala

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Well, this is George G. And the time is right on today’s guest strong and powerful. Anjali Jarrell. Wala. Anjali, are you ready to do this?

Anjali Jariwala 0:08
Oh, yeah, man. Thanks for having me back. George,

george grombacher 0:11
I’m excited to have you back on let’s go. Anjali is a money expert. She’s the founder of fit advisors. And she is a children’s book author. Her first book is why we eat with our hands, celebration of Indian culture and heritage. Anjali, excited to have you back on tell us a little about your personal apps more about your work? And what motivated you to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard however you wrote the book.

Anjali Jariwala 0:37
Yeah, so you know, I’m a children’s book author have no background in that whatsoever. So I am a financial advisor had my own firm. And I also have a seven year old daughter. So you know, I’m very big on building an inclusive bookshelf for her. And I saw that there just wasn’t very many books in which she could really see herself. And so taking it upon myself, I thought, Well, why don’t I help this problem and write the book myself. So that’s how my journey started in writing a children’s book. So I really wanted a book that not only could my daughter see herself, as well as like other South Asian children, but also a book that talked about the beauty of South Asian culture. A lot of the books out there right now, which are wonderful books tend to focus more on our holidays, the religious aspects, and I really wanted to write something that talked about everyday culture that a maybe a lot of people didn’t know about, and B could be misunderstood.

george grombacher 1:40
I love it. So you saw the bumper sticker slash t shirt of Be the change you want to see in the world? The like, yes, that’s, that’s, that’s, that is what I’m going to do.

Anjali Jariwala 1:52
Yes, I initially, I was like, yes, let’s do it. Two and a half years later, I was like, Why did I decide? It was definitely much harder than I expected. And a very different industry, from what I’m used to in like financial services and accounting.

george grombacher 2:10
So much harder than expected. How so?

Anjali Jariwala 2:14
I think it was, I think it was a multiple facets of it, right? It was not really knowing the process and how to do it. I’m a numbers person, right? So to kind of tap into the creative side of myself actually took some work because it was a part of myself that I just hadn’t really explored in quite some time. So I read a lot of books kind of like how to write a children’s book. So, you know, in that journey was just part of really like, getting an understanding of the process, what it meant for me. And I was lucky that along my journey, I found people who were also really passionate about this project, who helped me along the way it really guided me on the process guided me on like, how exactly do you write a children’s book, a children’s book is very different than like, something I would write about financial planning, because I only have 32 pages to work with, including the pages that are glued down the title, page, etc. So every single word that’s written has meaning and power, and that is a lot of pressure to be able to fit an entire story in the limited amount of space with limited words.

george grombacher 3:26
No kidding. It’s fascinating. what a what a fun problem, but a problem not. Nevertheless, this many words, essentially are pages. And so we need to be able to be really clear and the message we want to get across and then the image is fascinating, fun.

Anjali Jariwala 3:48
Yes, maddening. It was it was fun. But it was also a very humbling experience, you know, the first manuscript I wrote, and I was working with this amazing South Asian woman who has her own, you know, publishing company now, but she was kind of guiding me along the way. And the first manuscript I wrote, she’s like, okay, she’s like, this is a good start, because like, I literally want you to throw it out and start all over again. And I was like, okay, that’s bad. And so she was like, No, she’s like, but you know, it’s really wordy, like your age group is ages four to seven. So she’s like, I just want you to like get out of your head, start over again, thinking the perspective of a child and rewrite it and that was actually really helpful feedback. So the next manuscript was much better and then with her help, I hired a professional editor you know, we really got to like the core of the story, but I needed a lot of help along the way because it’s definitely very different than you know what I do on a day to day basis. So I was just really glad that I found the right people who can help me with this journey.

george grombacher 4:53
Hey, great job on this now throw it away.

Anjali Jariwala 4:58
And actually not great job. It’s terrible.

george grombacher 5:01
Right? So when I say great job. How is that? I mean, how was was that? Was that disheartening? Was that? I mean, I imagine you had an initial response to it, and then you thought about it?

Anjali Jariwala 5:19
Yeah, I mean, I think, I think my initial response was like, Maybe I’m not meant to do this, right. And, and so, you know, my initial response was like, just just quit, you know, but then I thought to myself, well, like, what kind of message am I portraying to my daughter? Because at this point, she knows like that I’m interested in writing this book, right? When I was looking for an illustrator, I had I had, you know, about, I think I tried eight different people. And I had all of them do a mock up of like, Nyla. Like, if Nyla were encompassed in a book, how would you draw her right? And so she helped me pick, she was like, this is the way this one looks like me, this is the one I love. So for her to be part of that process. And then for me to tell her no, I’m quitting, because it’s too hard. Felt like the wrong message to send to my four year old daughter at the time. So I pushed through it. And it you know, it helped me grow as a person, as well as made the book much better than, you know, if I had not taken that feedback to heart.

george grombacher 6:23
Yeah, there’s no doubt that’s a I think, a very, very natural response. When should you receive feedback, constructive criticism like that is to say, oh, you know what, I’m going to take my ball and go home, and maybe I’m in over my head, I made a mistake. And probably a lot of people just stop there, but credit to you that you kept things in perspective. And you went back and thought about it and realized, okay, this is important to me, it’s something I committed to doing. I want to be a good example, for my daughter, and then for other people who will be potentially hearing your story, which I think that this is such an important thing for people to hear, like you brought this book to life. It took a long time, it was hard, and it wasn’t this easy process.

Anjali Jariwala 7:10
Right, right. But what’s interesting is that, I feel like when you’re really committed to something, there’s paths and opportunities that open up that kind of help push you along the way, right. So I had a lot of setbacks during the process. And every time I had a setback, where I felt like I’m in over my head, I’m just gonna stop, there is an opportunity that presented itself or something that came up that helped me get through the next step. So it was really, that was great, because if I didn’t have those opportunities along the way, I don’t know, if I would have really been able to get through the process. Because it was so long, there’s a lot of steps required to it that I just had no idea about. And so for me, it was helpful to just really take that process and break it down into manageable pieces, and just focus on the next step. Because if I tried to look too far ahead, with everything that I needed to do for it, you know, I tend to get overwhelmed easily, you know, I wasn’t going to I wasn’t going to push through it. I also like was doing those projects during COVID, which in and of itself had a lot of things going on. So you know, it was really just like trying to make the process manageable for me, which is probably why it took longer than maybe it should have. But it was also really important to me because this was a passion project to not push it or force it or make it feel like work. Right. So if it was becoming too overwhelming, felt like something I didn’t want to do, I would take a break from it. Because I wanted to make sure that when I was working on it, I was really like, interested and passionate and happy about it. Because I think that’s reflected in the end product.

george grombacher 8:45
Yeah, yeah, I’m 100% confident that it is. So you are a financial advisor, you have a an accounting background, and you sort of touched on how you had not been for a period of time really tapping into the creative side. So was that an enjoyable thing? And is it something that you’re going to continue doing?

Anjali Jariwala 9:11
I don’t know. Everyone asked me that question. I wasn’t really happy with the end product of the book, you know, and the feedback I’ve received is when people read the book, they’re like this is you know, a legit book. This doesn’t look like a self published book, which is a compliment in and of itself, right. But because of the time and the process and everything involved. I don’t know yet if there’ll be a second book, but I will say that I do still think about other topics that I’d like to write about. And I do write them down because if that spark or energy comes back, I would be interested in may be doing a second book, right? But just like my financial planning business, which is my own firm that I started writing the children’s book and selling the book is also Another job, right? And it is a business, it requires that time and that effort. And so part of it is, you know, I love that I create this book, but do I have the capacity to really get the following and everything that I need. So that’s what I’m working on right now. And so, you know, I think I just need like, a little bit of a break from it. But it was nice to explore that creative side of me, I used to be much more creative as a child, I just went into, you know, school, and my profession is much more on the analytical side, which is fine. So it was nice to kind of explore that. And so that’s something that I would like to continue doing is exploring that more creative side of myself, whether it’ll be a second book or not, I don’t know yet. But stay tuned.

george grombacher 10:46
Yeah, yeah, maybe you’ll pick up an instrument and start a band or something. Who knows? Who knows now that now that the creative process has started, the juices are flowing or whatever? Who knows? So I think it’s, I think it’s, I think it’s really cool that you had the desire to, that you’re looking at the available options for children’s books, and you’re not seeing seen one or a lot that are fulfilling, or giving your daughter that I’m really stumbling over this, that she just would not able to see herself in a lot of the current offerings, and that a lot of books celebrating culture and heritage. So you set up set upon this journey? And then how do you get to why we eat with our hands? And I love it. Like, it’s so cool. You can tell you’re on

Anjali Jariwala 11:49
Yeah. So when I was and I have, you know, I have like notebooks full of like, different stories. And so I landed on this one after reading, like one of my favorite books, and I was bookshelf, which is like, where are you from? And so if, if people haven’t read that children’s book, it’s, you know, a little girl, and you know, people are asking her, like, where are you from? And she’s like, I’m from here, like everyone else? And they’re like, No, where are you really from it? So anyone who’s like, a person of color, like, knows that question, very frustrated with that question. And so, you know, I loved and then, you know, she asked her grandpa, and then he takes her on this journey to explain like, their background and their culture. And it’s, it resonates across so many different cultures and aspects. And so beautifully done. That it like, for me, I was like, I want to write something that has that same feel to it, the way that that book makes me feel when I read it. And so, after reading my book, and I was brainstorming ideas, you know, I like just the topic came into my head, like, oh, like eating with hands. And I was like, why do we eat with our hands, because I didn’t know why we ate with their hands. So I started doing research because, like, I’m going to research so I’m like, let’s start with something that I know how to do. And I, you know, learned about like, in the culture, like, the reason we eat with our hands is because our fingers are associated with the elements of nature. And when the fingers come together, it forms a connection with nature that keeps our bodies in balanced and healthy. So it’s so beautiful of the story, right? So I wanted to capture that I also wanted to capture the other element in our culture, which is that a lot of our traditions are passed down from grandparents to grandchild, so I am not in the book. It’s Nyla. And my mom, which is Nani Nani is maternal grandmother. And so I kept the story on kind of this, this kind of spiritual connection that you know, eating with hands have. And then I also wanted to make sure that on the back matter, which is the end of the book, I had a section for like parents and educators to explain in more detail about it, because there is stigma around eating with hands, that it’s unhygenic that it’s, you know, very backwards. And that is not the case, right. So I also wanted to have that element in there to help people understand that why South Asians as well as many cultures around the world, there is a reason we eat with their hands, there is a reason we still eat with our hands. And so it was really kind of like I felt like I could kind of kill two stones with one bird, I can explain the beauty of the culture and I could also dismantle some of the negative stigma, which I think is also really important because the book is not just for the South Asian families, right? It’s for anyone who’s looking to build that inclusive bookshelf, to how to become more knowledgeable and aware of other cultures. So Nylas bookshelf is not just South Asian children, right? I I’m big on you know, getting books about a lot of different cultures, especially things that I might not understand because it’s also a learning experience for me to be able to like, read these books with her and help her understand and

george grombacher 15:01
I love it. I think that that’s awesome. And you did all that 32 pages. So

Anjali Jariwala 15:05
Right. That was the most challenging part.

george grombacher 15:10
Yeah, now I’m thinking. So I’ve got six and a three year old and one on the web. And I’m just thinking back to some of our favorite books and is that I’m not smart enough to piece together that they’re all similar length, obviously, depending on the age, it’s going to be a certain thing, but 32 pages is the container that needed to fit in. So

Anjali Jariwala 15:30
correct that, like most children’s picture books are 32 pages. So I was told you can go outside those parameters, but as a first time author best to stay within the parameters of what is traditionally done. So that’s what I decided to go with. And it was definitely much more challenging. But it makes sense for that specific age group, because you don’t want something too long or too short. And so that it worked. Well, it just, you know, it was a lot harder to fit everything that I wanted to, which is why I liked that I left room for that piece at the end that people can really understand more about it if they want to.

george grombacher 16:10
Yeah, I think it’s awesome. And to be able to answer that question, or to help kids answer the question, no matter how irritating it is, where are you from? And so to be able to give people the words or the language, to be able to have conversations with their kids around difficult things that they’re going to encounter or whatever it might be. That’s, that’s really the power of narrative and the power of story.

Anjali Jariwala 16:35
Right, right. Exactly.

george grombacher 16:37
Which is awesome. Well, I think it’s, I commend you for it. I am. I’m intrigued by the by the challenge of of trying to put big ideas into a small format like that. I think that’s super cool. But I can also see where I wouldn’t like that at all. And definitely wouldn’t have liked somebody to tell me that I needed to throw away the whole first manuscript and start over again. So you’re

Anjali Jariwala 17:07
was pretty bad. I will admit, like, I went back and read it, I was like, No, this is this is pretty bad. Good feedback. And I’m like, kind of an all or nothing person I like I like a lot of directness. So like, that was the best way for someone to tell me is to just to like sugarcoat it to do, like, throw it out, start all over again. So once I kind of, you know, picked myself back up off the initial shock of it, it was I went right back into it. So it was great

george grombacher 17:37
for the party over time to move on. Right. So your your advice to people who have have a career and want to, to do something, not necessarily in place of it, but just just on sort of top of that.

Anjali Jariwala 17:57
Yeah, I would say, explore it. Right. I would also say don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just explore it casually, in a capacity that works for you, and see what happens, right, especially if it’s something that you’re really passionate about that you love. I think it’s imperative that we explore it. It has brought me so much more fulfillment and joy, because I got to create something that I’m super passionate about, I really enjoy my financial planning work and the day to day I do there. But this was something that existentially was, you know, beyond what I ever could have imagined doing for myself and my daughter’s so explored, but break it down into a process that works for you. And that’s manageable. And for the parents out there who are also juggling, the working and all of that I get it, I’m in that same position. And so just that’s why they don’t put pressure on yourself. Do it at a time and pace that works best for you.

george grombacher 18:56
Well, Anjali, thank you so much for coming back on. Thanks for writing the book. Where can people learn more about you? How can they connect to where can they get their copy of why we eat with our hands a celebration of Indian culture and heritage?

Anjali Jariwala 19:07
Yeah, so you can go to my website, undulate, your it has more information about me. It has a link to purchase the book. You can buy the book on Amazon. You could also buy it directly through my distributor at Itasca books.

george grombacher 19:23
Excellent. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did, show Angela your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Go to Anjali Jara It’s a NJ a LIJARIWAL And check out everything that Anjali is working on Get your copy of why we eat with our hands a celebration of Indian culture and heritage. Thanksgiving. Anjali. Thanks, George. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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