I’m the Norm-Breaking Gold Medalist

Our NLP Transformer #01 is a fighter of a woman. We’re so proud to see her transform into her best self, post-NLP.

While we can’t get enough of Shumaila’s wonderful evolution, our NLP Transformer #02 is a hearty soul that doesn’t only find joy in seeing others succeed, but has made empowerment her passion and profession.

Sonal Dhanani is the Co-chair for Sweden Alumni Network in Pakistan and has recently been appointed a member of the President’s National Youth Council by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan. She has been practicing art for 3 years and counting…

Sonal is a proactive, certified art therapist with the voice of a nightingale, who has dedicated her heart and soul to mental health awareness and self-discovery, casting her magic through soothing vocals and art supplies.

Let’s find out about her journey that led her here and what she discovered
in NLP.

Why did you attend the NLP program? (What were you seeking?)

Sonal: I’m an art therapy practitioner, my core purpose to attend NLP was to have another set of tools with me through which I can help people in expressing themselves and find their way. Secondary purpose was to discover tools for myself which can help me in remaining calm.

What did you expect before coming to NLP?

Sonal: Nothing major, I was clear from the beginning that NLP will provide me concrete tools.

Any story of yours that is life-changing for you?

Sonal: Overcoming many stereotypes and presenting myself as motivation for many is a life-changing journey which took a lot of time. I come from childhood where I have seen bullying, body shaming and low grade struggles. What changed my life was just one permission from my parents to opt for business studies in high school, which gave me a lot of confidence. Despite having a mark that commerce group is for dumb students, I was confident that this is what will shape my future, I was able to secure the marks in my school and that gave me a lot of confidence and built my interest in studies. I opted
for BBA program and secured a Gold medal which was my response to everyone who bullied and shamed me for having low grades. I was an introvert and anti-social in my teens with just about a couple of friends, I was someone who never liked outings, nonetheless I always wanted to help people at large. One voluntary opportunity under which I traveled to Chitral to conduct an educational camp was my big break. pondering over the response from one participant “why there are no schools like Jugnoo camp” changed the direction of my life and pushed me to do what I love doing, I ended up quitting my job at Aga Khan university with remarks I want to do a job which is like Jugnoo. Since then I’m following the flow and now I’m here in Pakistan’s first National Youth council

What challenges did you face during that phase?

Sonal: Lack of motivation was surely there, and there weren’t many people around me to keep my sanity on track, my family at many points were also frustrated of the time I was investing in community work. Particularly when I wasn’t performing well in studies I became suicidal as well.

How did you overcome those challenges?

Sonal: By staying true to the chosen path. by pushing myself to find the light, I told myself many times there’s no stepping back from this, I kept reminding myself that all I want is a gold medal, I kept reminding myself that Jugnoo camp has to keep going.. All these constant reminders to myself helped me with overcoming challenges.

What did you learn out of it?

Sonal: Your vision should be clear what you want then only you can create paths around it. There will always be people who would love for you to stop, it’s only you who can show the worth of what you are doing.

What do you want others to learn out of it?

  • To find out what exactly you want to do
  • Find your bigger purpose.
  • Carry a vision so it can give you recurrent pushes each time you feel down or deviated.

Anything that you’re particularly proud of?

Sonal: I’m proud of my entire journey so far Alhamdulillah (Praise to the Lord) when I was able to secure my first international fellowship called “Emerging leaders of Pakistan” by Atlantic council and US embassy and the day I was in New York for first meeting I got validation of what I was doing and then I never stopped …

Why is it important for you to get your story out there?

Sonal: I want all students out there to know that it’ll be slow but you will get there. Eventually, everyone will learn. I want my story to impart hope and light to students and especially any girl that has self-doubt.

How would it make you feel when your story is shared with a lot of people?

Sonal: If it’s helping people then the purpose is served

Any short message for our readers?

Sonal: You are the creator of your journey. Just take a moment, stop, and look back. You will find and connect the dots of what you have done so far, design and create beautiful elements around it. It’s you who is making everything and when you have all the power so why not design the magic 🙂

Where can they reach you?


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