Redefining Success: How I Live with Intent

This is one part of a ten-part Q&A series featuring women who have found success on their own terms in the mindful age. For more stories like this, click here.  

What does success mean to you in the mindful age? Whose advice is influencing your most important decisions? Traditional teachers and cultural norms often shape our personal goals. But today, women are looking within to determine what they want to uniquely express and accomplish in the world.

Meet wellness leader Mallika Chopra, author of Living with Intent, TEDx speaker, founder of, and daughter of Deepak. She’s rich in family wisdom, but she’s also leading a life of deeply personal expression and purpose. For Mallika, success is not about a trophy, but a soulful connection to which every young woman can aspire.

How do you define success?

Living with intent and living with purpose. Feeling healthier, happier and more connected in life, where I’m doing something meaningful and significant. Am I nurturing the relationships I feel most connected with? Also, a sense of giving on a daily basis.

When we were younger, my dad would have my brother and I ask three questions after our meditation: “Who Am I? What do I want? How can I serve?” These are the questions throughout my life that I keep asking myself on a regular basis.

Do you feel successful? Does this vary day-to-day?

I feel successful in some aspects and in others I’m not quite where I would like to be—and I’ve come to terms that that’s totally fine and okay! It’s a balance and it’s all a journey.

What do you consider your #ActuallySheCan moment?

It’s feeling that I have the ability to shape the life that I want. I do that through many techniques. Some of my talks include a phrase from A Course of Miracles that my father used to have us say when we were young: “I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience and set the goals I will achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I asked for and receive it as I have asked.”

Asking for the qualities in our life that would make us feel more purposeful, and happier, I can shape the flow of my life! I can also accept that it’s not always going to be perfect, but I don’t need it to be either.

What are you most proud of?

My children. They’re incredibly sweet, empathetic daughters who represent a lot of the love and intention that has come out of being a mother. At the same time I’ve learned so much from them, and they’ve been such a gift to my husband and family.

What were the greatest challenges you faced and how did you surmount them?

I’ve had a blessed and privileged life and I always feel that’s a gift that gives me personal responsibility to give back. Although I haven’t had many of the challenges some have, like everyone, I have daily challenges.

I think the key, as a parent who is trying to teach my children resilience and accepting that we don’t always succeed, is that with every failure, there is opportunity. I’ve watched how my family has dealt with challenges, and learned from the idea that we can’t take responsibility for what is beyond our control. Sometimes life, or where we live, can be a scary, mean, and harmful place.

What was the most difficult moment for you?

I do think 9/11, like for so many people, was a very challenging day and time. For me it was in the context of being five months pregnant and thinking about the child I was bringing into the world. That was a time of deep reflection and thought in terms of, “What is my intent? How can I serve my children? How can I serve my world? How can I be joyful and positive?”

What are words of inspiration for someone else also facing a challenging moment in their life?

There’s a time for what I call “incubation” (thinking, reflecting, connecting, and asking ourselves “what do I really want?”). Sometimes we need to take the time to be quiet—which may be a scary place to be—but out of that place we start feeding the intents.

Intents are different from goals; intents come from our soul. We start setting those intents for the life that we want to live. In time, when we come from a place of deep soulful reflection, at the right time to take action, it’s then aligned with our values.

Written for ActuallySheCan by Julie Balter