Episode 17 – Nikita Khandelwal: The Extraordinary Ordinary Series.

I am really excited to bring you these answers because I honestly think that everyone can learn something from Nikita. Whether you are looking to push yourself in your career, take a brave step into an entirely new field, or dedicate yourself to more travel or a passion point of yours, she really is someone who is excelling in all these areas and can be a true inspiration for your next steps and goals.

I first met Nikita through work, and now have the pleasure of working alongside her on a regular basis, although unfortunately more remote working than in person.

Nikita is someone who always goes above and beyond to connect with you, care about your interests, feelings and life outside of work. She is genuine, a very good listener and also incredibly proactive with her life and the lives of others when her help is needed.

She knows that to get where you want to be in life, you can’t give up. This is something I respect in Nikita professionally and from her interview, have discovered it goes a lot deeper personally too. From training as a Civil Engineer, studying for an MBA to working tirelessly towards her dream career in Marketing, her energy and dedication to follow her dreams and goals is contagious.

Oh, and I forgot to mention whilst being an incredible role-model for women in leadership with her impressive MarTech role, she is also an avid traveller (I think somewhere close to 15 trips in 2019?!) and cook.

I love visiting the Barcelona site where she works as there’s often treats handmade by Nikita to enjoy on the tables, and honestly they are fantastic.

Truly, I am really excited to share with you Nikita’s answers. Her passion, her drive and her ability to do everything with a smile is infectious. Let’s all learn from her and put a little more kindness, determination and sense of humour into our days, it will benefit us all.


So here are her answers to my twelve questions:

What makes you happy?

Happiness is so tricky to define as it comes in sudden, small moments every day and also so relative. A few of such everyday moments are helping people, especially on the days when I am in a dire need of help, cooking for people, and knowing people’s story. The last bit, sometimes for westerners, comes across as intrusive but I love to get lost in people’s world when they share. 🙂

What book had the biggest impact on your life?

There are so many books from which I pick up something to learn/remember or bring a change. So a lot of them have an impact.

However, I feel very connected to the book, Le Petit Prince, which funnily I was introduced to last year. Getting to know about this book at 33 might sound strange as people in Europe read it at a younger age:) What I remind myself from this book to never let the child in you die. The child who is curious, genuine, selfless, fearless, patient and above all keeps thing simple.

It’s a good book which brings a smile.

What quote, or saying, do you live by?

One thing which I learned from my dad and always remind myself of is,

“With genuine efforts and strong will, things will eventually fall in place. Just be patient.”

And two other quotes I truly believe in,

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” In my own words, I say stop complaining and start acting.

How do you remain, or regain, your focus?

By taking my train of thoughts to the spatter, crackle and a blend of spices in my kitchen. I feel my playful time in my kitchen helps me disconnect, replenishes my creativity and helps me come out with a clear headspace.

Sometimes blended with music and a glass of wine (only one) is the best meditating moment.

What inspires you?

People and their genuine stories. Every day there is family, friends, someone at work, a stranger on the street, mother nature so much inspiration all around.

I admire people who are self-learners, never give up and always wear a smile no matter how tough their day is.

At home, Ed is so inspiring. His goal in life is to help people with his products which in turn can bring him passive revenues so he can spend all his time with his family and kids in the future.  He taught himself how to code 4 years back to build apps. He quit his job at Google last year and today has two successful iOS apps loved by 10k+ users.

What are your top three priorities?

  1. Be able to live the life I dream of with my people and be always there for them
  2. Achieve my professional goals – the job which can make me jump out of my bed every morning, publish a cooking e-book, excellence in photo editing
  3. Dance and travel like there is no tomorrow.

Amidst the madness of these priorities, keep the inner child alive. Be always self-aware. Embrace every moment. Be kind and never disrespect.

What’s the biggest misconception about you?

I might come across as cold because I am very focused or overstretched and on top of everything I am very introverted and shy. Yes, people who talk to me on digital messaging apps, and people who see me in my comfort zone will say I am blatantly lying.

But I really need my space, in my kitchen, photos, or painting to be able to talk like a chatterbox every day.

What two purchases have you made this year that you really value / had most impact?

  1. Given that I have talked about cooking so much, it’s not surprising that one of my biggest purchase is a cooking equipment. Kitchen mixer/robot – I received it today. I cannot wait to be able to fail with ease until I achieve expertise in Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  2. Trip to Peru in addition to 15 other crazy travels planned this year

Top tips for someone who wants to do what you do?

  • Be curious. Never stop learning.
  • Never give up, work hard and be patient.
  • Be honest and true to yourself and your values.
  • Always ask for feedback to your people. You don’t know how much opportunities to learn and change you can find in different perspectives.

What are you most proud of?

That I don’t give up. Coming from a family, where women aren’t supposed to be very ambitious and work out of home, I feel that I did well in pursuing my dreams so far. Patience, perseverance, and thanks to my parents who changed their mindset with me.

I am a Civil Engineer. I worked in the real estate consulting sector for 6 years. Then moved out of India to do my MBA. I genuinely fell in love with Marketing. All I wanted was to start my post MBA career in Marketing.

All those exhausting career coaching sessions had one tip, you cannot change three things – industry, function, and geography. Overcoming my introvert side, I networked hard and managed to change all three of them to find my first job at Facebook. 🙂 Shit happens, couldn’t join.

But on the right track starting from digital & advertising to martech in FMCG today.

An unusual habit of yours?

Cooking and baking at random hours like 2 am, 4 am because I just feel like it and I can. LOL

What do you do every single day?

  1. Smile at people as I read somewhere that when you smile at people, in the art of mimicking it brings a smile on their face too.
  2. 100 squat.. a challenge I took up this year since 1st April
  3. Laugh out loud
  4. Work.. I don’t go on vacation without my work laptop. This is one thing I want to change though.

Nikita, I am so grateful you took the time out to answer these questions. I love how your life is the perfect recipe of passion, determination and interests. We can all learn a lot from you on how to make the most of every day and push ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. 

Her Key Advice:

  • Happiest comes from the small things, and helping others. Perhaps we could all benefit from helping others out more.
  • Smile at people, as it makes them smile too!
  • Don’t give up, and network as it really can pay off and give you the results you have been aiming for. Be patient.
  • Be curious. Never stop learning.
  • Be self-aware
  • Amidst the madness of everything, keep the inner child alive.

If you want to follow more from Nikita, her travels and her incredible cooking, you can find her on Instagram at @ni_kita_aa




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