Beyond Barriers: How to Unlock Your Limitless Potential [Book Excerpt and Review]

I loved diving into Nikki Barua’s new book on bold leadership and leveling up.

Barua, who shared with us part of her journey a few months ago, used a time when she felt she’d hit rock bottom as a turning point. Her experience of getting back up and rediscovering her strengths made her realize that one of her greatest gifts was seeing the gift in other people, being that catalyst and a change agent that helps to bring out the best in other people.

She then built a company around catalyzing difficult, painful change for big companies:

“We work with large Fortune 500 companies that are in legacy businesses. They are the ones that have massive scale but very little speed, but that’s no longer enough. We are living in a world where the pace of disruption is so high that you have to be able to adapt very quickly to all of that change, but most big companies are like these lumbering slow moving elephants.

In the meantime, emerging tech startups and other companies are like gazelles that are running past them and taking up the opportunity and frankly threatening their life…so we help them define new business strategies….building the systems, technologies and tools that allow them to reach the customers in a different way or empower the employees differently and then finally, we also catalyze the culture.”

In the book, which is primarily (but not exclusively) targeted to women, she presents an actionable framework around three steps—finding clarity, harnessing courage, and sustaining conviction—that reads like playbook to really upping your game. She also includes relatable anecdotes she gathered while interviewing several successful women for the book, as well as personal exercises at the end of each section.

Worth picking up for sure!

**Disclaimer: Barua is a member of the Women 2.0 Advisory Board.

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The following excerpt is from Beyond Barriers: How to Unlock Your Limitless Potential

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My story begins as a young girl growing up in India, without a lot of media or success stories around me.

My dad did something that was truly impactful. He created a collage of inspiring women leaders and in the center of the collage was my face. He put that up on the inside of my closet door. He never told me he wanted me to grow up to be like them, he said nothing about it. But every day, I’d open up my closet door, I’d look at this collage with all of these inspiring women and I’d see my face at the center of it—I grew up believing that’s where I belonged. That I had limitless potential and was a hero just like them.

I grew up with big dreams and moved to America to make them come true. I became successful and had a picture perfect life, but something felt missing.

And in 2008, the market crashed, and with it so did my life. I lost everything I had and most importantly, I lost my partner to suicide.  I spent the next 2 years depressed. I became isolated. I was past the point where anyone else could help me. I built walls where no one could reach me.

That’s when the collage saved my life. I recall thinking about it and saying to myself, “How did my life go array?”

You can’t be a hero and help anyone else if you’re in a state of fear. When you give to other people, that’s when you feel like a hero –  you feel like you have a bigger purpose in life.  That’s what made me realize what being a hero is really about – ordinary people creating extraordinary impact.

And at the end of the day, it’s not about being a hero like someone else, it’s about unleashing the hero within you. And that can only happen when you embrace your own truth, when you understand who you are and what you want, and when you take courageous action and never give up. Your hero lies within.

We are all limitless. We are all heroes. We all have limitless superpowers within us. When we tap into those super powers to go beyond barriers, that’s when our life opens up.

Kate Brodock

Kate Brodock

Kate is the CEO of SWITCH and General Partner of the W Fund. She combines her operational experience in startups and her deep expertise on and central commitment to gender and representation in the startup ecosystem to position her as a leader on the creation and development of a more equitable future for our innovation economy.

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