Psychologist, Author, Life Coach & Two-time Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor, AJ Rao–Part 2

A Desi Woman Podcast
Psychologist, Author, Life Coach & Two-time Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor, AJ Rao–Part 2


Soniya Gokhale (00:05):
Welcome back to another episode of A Desi Woman Podcast. I am your host, Soniya Gokhale, and the voices I am seeking may have never been heard before, but their stories deserve to be told. What is a Desi woman? She is a dynamic, fearless and strong woman. She is your mother, your grandmother, your daughter, your sister. She is every one of us with on an endless pursuit of self empowerment and fulfillment. I am Soniya Gokhale, and I am a Desi woman.

Soniya Gokhale (00:40):
Hello and welcome to another edition of A Desi Woman Podcast. I am your host Soniya Gokhale, and today we are so excited to be joined by AJ Rao. AJ is a two time traumatic brain injury survivor turned warrior and advocate. She is also a trained social personality psychologist, a certified professional executive and leadership coach, a published author, a podcaster and one of only 34 people around the world who are advanced certified practitioners of professional development tools.

Soniya Gokhale (01:17):
As an award winning diversity, equity, inclusion, belongingness and leadership strategist and one of the top 20 career coaches in the Metro Detroit area, AJ helps high performers with big dreams exponentially increase their leadership, presence, income and social impact, while permanently eliminating the misery of being overworked and underappreciated. AJ also helps businesses build DEI and B principles into the foundation of their cultures, and all of their business development goals, so they can cut costs and increase profits.

Soniya Gokhale (01:58):
She is the founder and CEO of AJ Rao, a boutique firm whose motto is making the invisible visible, for better equity and belongingness. AJ, welcome to the show.

AJ Rao (02:11):
Thank you so much, Soniya. I’m so excited to have this conversation with you. And thank you for thinking of me.

Soniya Gokhale (02:17):
AJ, we are so excited to have you here. And this is part two of our extraordinary conversation with you. Much of what we are discussing can be found in your book, Transform Yourself. And I will have a link for listeners to access it in the podcast notes. And you go on to describe that throughout your first two years of grad school, you still had ongoing problems with exhaustion, decision making, impulse control, but in spite of that, you continued to make a mark as a statistician and researcher. And by the time you completed your master’s degree, you’re well on your way to becoming an expert in your field and had even declared your doctoral candidacy.

Soniya Gokhale (02:59):
And then on January 13, 2009, your world came to a complete stop. You woke up days later in excruciating pain and unable to understand anything that was happening around you. You were told that you have a moderate to severe left frontal and parietal lobe trauma, with a subdural hematoma and multiple clot formations. Most shocking of all that the medical team informed you that you are a traumatic brain injury survivor. The team stabilized you and sent you home, pretty much leaving you to figure things out for yourself from there. And you poignantly described how pain, anxiety, self doubt and helplessness became your first trainers.

Soniya Gokhale (03:46):
And a very beautifully written quote I’m going to offer here from your book, “Where death was my coach, these four psychological horsemen taught me how to really listen to the silent screams in my own body and mind to the point where I could recognize them in others.” Again, it is impossible not to be moved emotionally by your story. And I have to ask you for any details, other details about this traumatic experience. I’m also brought back to the incredibly profound quote about being able to listen to the silent screams in your own mind and body and recognize them in others because this is a true talent skill, I don’t care what career profession you’re in, but especially in your field as a life coach, as a psychologist, wow. So I want you to tell us more about this.

AJ Rao (04:43):
You know, in retrospect, I think being left alone to figure this out was the best thing that could have happened to me, and I’m not letting anybody that was involved in this at that time off the hook when I say that, but it really was in that, having since then, having spoken to thousands of other brain injury survivors, having been on panels for brain injury survivors, having done all the work I have. I actually see how much the medical system really limits the potential of recovery by saying, “This is what ought to happen. This is what should happen. This is what you need to expect.” So in retrospect, the reason I was stabilized and sent home was I was on grad student insurance. So I wasn’t eligible for any of that. And so their duty at that time, as is in the medical profession, was to make sure that I wasn’t going to die, and that I was going to live. And then they said, “Okay, bye bye.” And again, as I processed all of these things, it helps me realize, and, and of course, it was excruciating going through it. You know, I’m not going to lie about that ever. But I’m not also not going to kind of, and I don’t want to focus on the excruciating part of it. Because that’s not the point of it. The point of, you know, the point of my journey, for me, was to understand for myself that the fact that even after I had gone through all of that, as disconnected and disjointed as my thoughts were, the fact that I was able to still fake in some capacity. And then it was and then what, think about what, think how, how do I think, what do I think about? When do I think about it?

AJ Rao (06:45):
Truly, when you start thinking about those questions, right, Soniya, as a life coach, you know these, those are the limitless questions. So in that moment, I realized the limitlessness of the human potential, especially when you are forced to be the underdog, when you are painted into a corner, and you have no option but to get extremely creative. That’s when your resilience kicks in. And your resilience is within you.

AJ Rao (07:24):
Again, but you just have to find that reason, through your experience, to tap into that. Your grit kicks in again within you. You have to find a reason to challenge it, to build that. That mental toughness kicks in, and that limitlessness kicks in. And then you no longer focus on the petty. You start focusing on profound nature of the simplest actions you take. And you not only start learning from them, but you start celebrating them and shared joy.

AJ Rao (08:02):
You know, the first time I was able to read, I had to teach myself how to because I, by the time I came out of the hospital, and by the time I came home, my mom was with me for four weeks. You know, she took some FMLA. And she was with me for four weeks. And she was helping me relearn some things about my family, my language, uh why I was still in excruciating pain, and so on and so forth. And of course, there were, there were smaller kind of details in terms of rabbit holes that at the end of the day, are not relevant to this. But going through all of that, and it actually affected my relationship with my mother in a negative way for quite a bit, because again, she wasn’t able to understand but we’ve since you know, kind of stabilized things there.

AJ Rao (08:51):
But going through all of that and coming out of it, it really was baptism by fire. You know, you said it best, I can’t think of a better way to put it. But it, it was also illuminating. It was also expansive, in that it really blew my mind in terms of how much I saw all of the conditioning that we go through. And so getting back to the small story, I had to teach myself how to read again at the graduate level. I started off reading at maybe the first, second grade level again, and I had to build up my comprehension and build up my reading skills and all of that back to the graduate level because I just finished my doctorate. And I actually went back to teaching about three and a half weeks or after, like the week that my mom was leaving. So about three and a half weeks after I got home, and that first week of teaching, I don’t even know if the words that came out of my mouth made sense to my students. But the fact that I even did that, I would celebrate for five minutes before I passed out of exhaustion and that celebration would just be like, you know, eating a spoonful of-

AJ Rao (10:00):
[inaudible 00:10:00] would just be, like, you know, eating a spoonful of, like, ice cream or-

Soniya Gokhale (10:06):

AJ Rao (10:06):
… a piece of fruit or something so simple that we don’t even think about as celebration, but it was such a moment of joy. And all of those little things is what kind of paved a stronger foundation, the real foundation of the essence of who I am so that I can continue to be that, even today.

Soniya Gokhale (10:27):
And for one so young, I mean, I have to say, you were at another crossroads in your life, and you rallied again. You know, you were discouraged or told from your department to think about leaving, even your family. You were considering that option.

Soniya Gokhale (10:44):
And after some thoughtful reflection, you refused to be deterred, as you stated. And in just under 10 months after you woke up in a hospital bed not even knowing your own name, you took your written comprehensive exams for your doctoral program and passed them all with flying colors.

Soniya Gokhale (11:02):
But as you mentioned, you really had no idea what any of this meant, because there wasn’t necessarily the time devoted to healing. And, you know, three years later, you successfully defended your dissertation and became Dr. Aparajita Jeedigunta. Two weeks later, you got engaged, and by the end of the year, you were married and relocated to California.

Soniya Gokhale (11:27):
And still, there was a part of you that couldn’t necessarily find meaning behind some of the life experiences that you were going through. And then, your first coach came into your life. I was thinking, “Wow. She hasn’t even crossed the threshold of motherhood yet.” And here comes your baby girl.

Soniya Gokhale (11:50):
And you were completely unprepared for the changes that she instantly demanded of you as, as children often do. And, you know, once she was born, you suddenly realized that, to quote you, you had to model your life to a tiny little human, knowing it might impact her worldviews.

Soniya Gokhale (12:09):
And so I really want to hear from you about how motherhood and that experience changed you. And also, I did not bring up, but you talk about it, an experience you had with your grandfather who had passed, but you saw him sitting next to you in your hospital bed. And I just want to hear about both of those profound experiences.

AJ Rao (12:34):
Absolutely. So it was actually my great-grandfather, you know, I had that out of body experience with, as the medical team was working on my physical body. And, you know, we were just sitting in those little white plastic chairs that we all see, like, you know, backyard parties and things like that, next to my body and w- as the medical team was working on it. And we were just kind of talking about what was happening.

AJ Rao (13:00):
And what I do remember about that is it was incredibly peaceful. It was a sense of peace that I have never experienced in my life before that time or even after that time. I still, to this day, can’t quite find the words to describe the level of peace that I felt in that experience, that I then lost when I came back, you know, when I was brought back and I came back to excruciating pain. So the juxtaposition of that peace and pain is also something that I constantly think about.

AJ Rao (13:39):
But, yeah. We were talking about it, and the part I like to kind of convey to people is, so my great-grandfather, in his time, you know, he was born pre-Indian independence. And he was one of the very few kind of leaders in our community who was educated and who was sought after by the colonials, you know, in India, to help with sort of administrative stuff and setting up various colleges and setting up various programs.

AJ Rao (14:13):
So he was an educator who had no problem taking all of these resources that the colonials were not giving to others from our communities and using them to then build initiatives for our communities. He had zero problems claiming. And that part is important, because I did not realize how much that kind of mindset and mentality impacted me until I unpacked all of this after my daughter was born.

AJ Rao (14:49):
So that was really what he and I were talking about, and one of the things… And I was fortunate enough to have him be a part of my life early on, until he passed away. And, you know, we were watching the medical team.

AJ Rao (15:03):
We saw the medical team kind of telling my body, my physical body, uh, and talking to each other, “Okay, her heart rate’s back, and, you know, her vitals are stabilizing.”

AJ Rao (15:15):
And then they were talking to me saying, “If you… You know, don’t throw up. Whatever you do, don’t throw up. Don’t throw up. Don’t throw up. It’s going to cause a lot more, it’s going to put pressure on your brain.” So just all of this stuff. They were talking to my body.

AJ Rao (15:31):
And I remember, the last thing I remember about that experience is my great-grandfather chuckling and saying, “Oh, boy. That’s the worst thing anybody can tell you-”

Soniya Gokhale (15:41):

AJ Rao (15:41):
“… is to not do something.”

Soniya Gokhale (15:44):
Oh, my goodness. Wow. (laughs)

AJ Rao (15:45):
Um, because-

Soniya Gokhale (15:47):
He has wis- he has wisdom that goes beyond this one lifetime. (laughs)

AJ Rao (15:50):

Soniya Gokhale (15:51):

AJ Rao (15:52):
Exactly, because the next thing that happened was my body projectile vomited, and then the world went blank. And the next thing I know, I was, like, waking up in excruciating pain. So that was the last moment I remember there.

AJ Rao (16:04):
And the reason that’s important is, now, let’s move forward to my, my parents, my, you know, department and everyone saying, “Maybe you should take a break. Maybe you d- shouldn’t do this. Maybe…” Guess what happened. That’s why, also why I said, “Oh, heck no. No, no, no, no, no. You don’t get to say no to me.”

Soniya Gokhale (16:23):
(laughs) Yes.

AJ Rao (16:26):
(laughs) You know, if there’s anyone saying no to me, it’ll be me.

Soniya Gokhale (16:29):

AJ Rao (16:30):
Not you.

Soniya Gokhale (16:30):
Yeah. I’m with you. I, I get it.

AJ Rao (16:32):
You know?

Soniya Gokhale (16:32):

AJ Rao (16:33):
And that’s why I decided to continue and finish that degree. And frankly speaking, a part of me even wonders, like, what might have happened if they had pushed me instead of saying no. Maybe I wouldn’t have pushed myself. I don’t know.

Soniya Gokhale (16:48):

AJ Rao (16:48):
But the fact is, they did try to stop me, and that really, it was, it relit that fire, and I was like, “Oh, I’m sorry. Did I just hear you say no? Watch me.”

Soniya Gokhale (16:57):
(laughs) Exactly. I get it. That’s amazing. I love that.

AJ Rao (17:02):
Yeah. Yeah. And so then, from there, moving forward to my child, yeah, you’re right. It was, so, in full transparency, before my daughter was born, I had already experienced two reproductive losses.

AJ Rao (17:16):
And I was not doing well emotionally because I was told that it was very likely that conceiving and sustaining, you know, life, you know, a fetus was, because of the nature of my traumatic brain injuries, it was an unknown.

AJ Rao (17:37):
So it wasn’t that, oh, you can’t. It was given the particulars of your injury and, and the impact that it has on various parts of your brain… In my case, my injury was very close to my pituitary and pineal glands, which are major sources of hormone and neurotransmitter productions, which then affect, as you know, people may know, many aspects of our reproductive system and other systems, too, we truly had no idea.

AJ Rao (18:08):
And these injuries and the scar tissue and all of the after effects of it were in places of the brain where they could not go in to kind of take a biopsy and examine and o- you know, do any sort of actual tissue examinations. Everything was e- external based on symptoms because of the nature of my injuries.

AJ Rao (18:31):
So I didn’t even know if I wanted to be a mother until these experiences happened, you know. But having gone through these, it really just… I wasn’t in a good place. I definitely wasn’t in a place where I was processing things, where I was healed, where I even thought about what motherhood would mean h- if I were able to have a child. None of that. I, I was in a really, really, really bad place.

AJ Rao (19:02):
And then we actually found out that I a- you know, that I was pregnant. And I literally didn’t think it was going to sustain. So every single day, I would just tell my spouse, you know, and, like, you know, people would, you know, talk about… We didn’t tell anyone until almost five months in, until I, like, massively started showing-

Soniya Gokhale (19:24):

AJ Rao (19:25):
… because I was like, “Nope.” And even then, the doctors actually did not tell me until… You know, the anomaly scan happened at th- 20 weeks, everything was fine. 24 weeks. It wasn’t until about week 29 that the doctors even told me that, “Okay, at this point, we think it is sustainable to near full term.”

AJ Rao (19:49):
So those first 29 weeks, it was a haze. It was a complete haze. I didn’t have time to process anything, you know, nothing. So then going from 29 weeks to 39 weeks, 10 weeks just flew b-

AJ Rao (20:00):
… went from 29 weeks to 39 weeks, ten weeks just flew by because I had to have fetal monitoring three times a week, I had to, I mean, I was at the doctor’s… thank gosh this was, like, you know, pre-COVID. I was there almost every single day.

Soniya Gokhale (20:15):

AJ Rao (20:16):
For all sorts of monitoring, testing, because nobody knew what was, you know, going to happen to the fetus and nobody knew if I was going to survive it. Both of those were on the table because we just did not know what was gonna happen. So, it flew by, next thing I know, I have this little, you know, wrinkly little human bundle in my arms and I’m like, “Uh… now what?”

Soniya Gokhale (20:44):

AJ Rao (20:46):
Cause I didn’t have time to think about this until now.

Soniya Gokhale (20:49):
Right. Yeah.

AJ Rao (20:50):
And now she’s here.

Soniya Gokhale (20:51):

AJ Rao (20:53):
Oh boy, you know? And then I had postpartum depression on top of all of that. Just talking about it, thinking back, not sure how I survived with some shreds of my sanity intact, but here we are. And I think, you know, again, it was, it really was when she started interacting with the world and she was very very active. She was very conscious from a, within, like, 12 hours of her being born, it, it was, even my parents and everyone that saw her, kind of, being like, whoa, this baby’s really active and really wants to interact with the world. It forced me in many ways to pay attention and to figure out what was going on. But at the same time, it reduced things to the simplest, right? Okay, so this baby’s crying. I know nothing about babies. Why is this baby crying?

Soniya Gokhale (21:47):

AJ Rao (21:48):
Could it be hunger, could it be a diaper, could it be something else? You know, like, I, there’s only four things, right, for babies.

Soniya Gokhale (21:55):

AJ Rao (21:55):
Which one of those four? And then it expanded. And so, in so many ways, she brought me back to the foundational basics of human needs, and then ex- so, as she grew and her interaction with the world grew, I was able to grow with her.

Soniya Gokhale (22:14):
Wow, that is amazing.

AJ Rao (22:16):
[crosstalk 00:22:16]

Soniya Gokhale (22:15):
Really amazing. Well, I was gonna say, too, that, um, I have a daughter, and it’s almost impossible to prevent living vicariously, to some degree, through them. Cause in some respects, you see yourself at that age, and I’m struck by the fact that you had a lot of loss. I mean, you really did, and in such a short amount of time of your life. And, in going through a pregnancy like that, again, my heart just goes out to you. Pregnancy is always, well, for some women it’s a very happy time, it’s a time when you’re elated and joyful. And, to your point, even that was an exercise in caution and even, sort of, waiting for the other shoe to drop, because that’s what your life had been up until now. So I think it’s a beautiful, beautiful expression, uh, of your next stage in your life and your journey. And I can’t imagine, what a special young woman that is going to be and is already, but to grow from all of your experiences as well.

AJ Rao (23:20):
Absolutely. I call her my boss-

Soniya Gokhale (23:22):

AJ Rao (23:23):
… [crosstalk 00:23:23] um, because she’s always been. She has no problem, she’s, she just turned five, and she has no problem-

Soniya Gokhale (23:30):
Oh (laughs).

AJ Rao (23:31):
[crosstalk 00:23:31] calling, calling things for what they are and calling me in, calling me out, telling me when her needs are not being met and telling me when things are not fair. Again, keeping up with her keeps me on my toes and keeps my mind sharp, I think (laughs).

Soniya Gokhale (23:45):
Oh, no, no doubt. I mean, and, and that’s what I’m raising, a strong young woman, and mine is 19, but I agree with you. She is my boss (laughs) and I love it. I would not have it any other way. I really wouldn’t. Forget about whatever the stereotypes sur- are around Indian woman, South Asian women, I, I think this next generation, and we can see it now. They will not be satisfied unless they have a seat at the table and are running the meeting. So (laughs) and I’m, I’m all for that. And, you know, in listening to you today, I have to say that it makes perfect sense why you are so successful in your role as a coach. You support other trauma survivors, immigrants, people of color, in their own metamorphosis. And I think that your experiences make you so uniquely positioned to do this.

Soniya Gokhale (24:38):
And so, we are going to have you back again to really dive into some topics on diversity and inclusion. But, I did want to make a segue into this next journey of your life and your life coaching practice. Because, as I stated, I’m, I’m having you back again because you have a very comprehensive program, and work with everyone from corporations, CEOs, executives, to every day ordinary individuals. So, if you could just tell me more about that and, sort of, your mandate. I know that there’s four aspects that you, you lay out on your website including wellbeing, authenticity, interconnectedness, and inclusion. I love each and every one of those, and, but we’d love to hear more from you on this.

AJ Rao (25:26):
Absolutely. So, it goes back to, you know, it touches on many points that we spoke about today. My, kind of, mandate, or what I do, is I help people make their own invisible visible, so that they can exponentially increase their impact, leadership presence, and of course, income, you know, at the end of the day with that. But, it goes back to, you know, my whole life journey and the life journeys that all of us, regardless of who we are, have had, in that society conditions us in a myriad of ways in terms of who we ought to be, how we ought to think, who we ought to think we are, what we ought to do, what we shouldn’t do, the, kind of, the limits and the boundaries and the parameters and the restrictions, and all of those. We get them through parental upbringing, socialization, peer socialization, formal education, community spaces, religion, so many other things. All of those are spheres of influence o- on us, we know that from psychology, and influence conditions. We also know that.

AJ Rao (26:52):
When someone has consistent and prolonged influence on you, they sway your behavior and your thoughts to be in a certain way. That’s conditioning. So, society conditions us in a million different ways, and then we take all of those conditionings and we create these internal stories about, you know, we think we are actually capable of, and what we should do and what we shouldn’t do, and why not, and who we’re gonna hurt and how we’re gonna offend somebody else, and how we’re gonna be perceived, what will other people think, and just, all of these, right? All of these questions. In doing so, we render the essence of us, that limitlessness of us. That universal divinity that’s within us that aligns us to this ecosystem around the entire universe. We render all of those parts of us invisible. But when we start making them visible again, that’s when our potential becomes limitless. That’s when our impact becomes limitless. And that’s when our leadership presence becomes magnetic to where those that we need to help actually seek us. We don’t have to go out and seek them.

AJ Rao (28:21):
And this is not even about that law of attraction, this is about the law of being you as a conduit of the energy in the universe. Not to get all woo-woo, but, you know, I’m talking about energy in a very physics, physical sense. All of the potential energy in you, how are you turning that into kinetic energy? How are you turning that into action? How are you turning that into impact? Especially if you are limiting all of the potential energy within you. That’s really what my mandate is, that’s what I work on. And of course, so, it’s, the kind of coaching that I do, it is both developmental coaching, you know, so development oriented as well as action oriented. I tie the being with the growth and then the doing. Also follows the neurological processes of learning, so everything that I do has the educational and informational components, then the reflective components on what it means for you, and then the transformational pieces on how do you then transform all of this thought into action.

AJ Rao (29:37):
Yeah, that’s about in a nutshell, and I guess, you know, I just help people break free of the shackles of conditioning so they can be who they need to be.

Soniya Gokhale (29:49):
Absolutely, and you’re just so widely respected and award winning in your work. And so, like I said, in order to do it justice, I definitely am having you back because you talk about a whole host of things, [inaudible 00:30:02] reclaim it and our power…

Soniya Gokhale (30:00):
About a host of things, Shakti reclaim our, on our power, Shakti for conscientiousness, inclusive leadership, just absolutely. Um, so feel empowered by reading them. And so we will absolutely be revisiting this topic with you in greater detail, but wow, you have left us so deeply inspired. Me personally, I, I can’t tell you how much it meant for me to read your story, and I really wasn’t prepared for the depth of emotion and the sheer strength in human spirit that you demonstrated.

Soniya Gokhale (30:35):
So really just, just very proud to have you here and, and to do this interview, and just on behalf of other women who may be struggling and listen to this right now. We have a lot of listeners in India and really across the world, and, you know, I hope that you hear AJ’s story, and any last words you might have for somebody that maybe they don’t have necessarily a brain injury, but certainly so much that society is struggling with right now and the pandemic, ’cause we haven’t even begun to speak to that and, and what it’s doing, especially with women around the world. But yeah, any words you have of inspiration other than the (laughs) plethora of wisdom you’ve offered today?

AJ Rao (31:16):
Yeah. I’m not sure if there are words of wisdom, but, um, I do have a parting thought in that at least for this conversation in that, you know, it goes back to that quote you read about being silent enough to listen to the screens in your own head, enough to be able to recognize them in others. We all have those screens in our heads, and we all also have the capacity to see ourselves in others, as well as see their pain within us. We are all mirrors from ea- for each other, with each other. And neuroscience pants, you know, shows proof of that too with mirror neurons and the fascinating ways in which mirror neurons work. So it’s really by being these mirrors for ourselves, with others, for others, with ourselves across the board, the idea of being a mirror to first see yourself and then to help others see themselves.

AJ Rao (32:22):
All of us have the capacity for that, and that capacity and that potential truly, truly is limitless, maybe not in the traditional ways that you’re thinking, but I’d even invite you to think about if you’re resisting the idea of limitlessness, what are you leaving on the table that you could be thinking about? So even reflecting on that, we all have that capacity to be limitless, to unlock our potential and to keep unlocking it because our potential has zero capacity other than boundaries that we put on it. So I invite everyone to really just think about that and think about how we can do that in our work ourselves, and then how can we, how we can get together to move all of us toward an elevated level of consciousness, toward an equity-based lens, towards intentional inclusion, and towards belongingness, because that is the way forward for the future that we need to build a better society for our future generations, and actually that idea of belongingness goes back to the core of being a human being.

AJ Rao (33:47):
And so it’s a circle, it’s starting with your belongingness and coming back to your belongingness and everyone else’s. So we all, again, we all have that capacity at the risk of being redundant, and I invite everyone to really, really think about that and to join me on this journey so that we can, you know, I just wanna make a better place for my daughter, her peers, and all future generations, ’cause, Oh, they deserve a better society than the ones that, than the one that we’ve created. I’m not putting any blame on our past generations, what I am saying is that those of us willing to do the work, we can make it better. So I invite anyone listening to this who feels compelled to take me up on my invitation and to join the movement. That’s about it.

Soniya Gokhale (34:40):
Well, that is absolutely beautiful, and we thank you so much for joining us today AJ Rao. I will be having the link to your amazing book, Transform Yourself as well as your site in the podcast notes. And again, truly, truly thank you so much for joining us today.

AJ Rao (34:58):
And thank you so much, Sonya. I do have to say you have a knack of getting parts of people’s stories out that, that aren’t that obvious. You have an knack for making the invisible visible too, because I will say in full disclosure, I have shared some details that have not come out in the book that no other podcast host has even thought about, and you came in and you unpacked all of those so beautifully and so elegantly, you really have a gift with that. So thank you, thank you so much for giving me that gift today.

Soniya Gokhale (35:37):
Oh no. I mean, I, it, it’s such a privilege to speak to souls like yourself, and I never know what the life story is gonna entail, yours really just struck me so profoundly and can’t thank you enough for sharing it, and your compliments mean the world, but really this was a heart to heart conversation and we don’t get that, right? But your candor and your willingness to be vulnerable, I know is just gonna be embraced by a global audience, and I can’t wait to have you back again. So thank you again AJ.

AJ Rao (36:09):
Thank you. Talk to you soon.



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