In this podcast, guests open up about less visible parts of their journeys -- about their deepest insecurities, and how they dealt with criticism, managed self-doubt, and emerged with a greater understanding of themselves and their unique strengths. Although these aspects don't get a lot of press, they tend to be defining entries in the personal journals of most people. The hope is that these untold stories of inner struggles from 'successful' individuals will provide interesting takeaways for others in their own quest. Our guests include entrepreneurs, creators, social innovators -- in fact, people from across industries and professions. Season 1 features Shradha Sharma of YourStory, sports broadcaster Harsha Bhogle, Captain Raghu Raman, Nitin Kamath of Zerodha, Samina Bano of The Right Walk Foundation, Santosh Desai of Futurebrands, and Neelam Chhiber of Industree Crafts Foundation. Do tune in for these candid conversations. You can also join us in the audience for live interviews. 


Bala Srinivasa

Over the course of my working life, I have often had conversations about success -- with peers and colleagues, not to mention a group of close friends. These conversations spanned my early career as a wall street analyst as well as the time I helped run two start-ups, and continue till date with the many entrepreneurs I interact with as an investor. However, they remained largely focused on factors such as career paths, personal networks, business outcomes, personality types, etc. Questions about self-worth, peer pressure, difficult choices, happiness, external validation, and dealing with failure were rarely discussed.  

I found that these thoughts were often playing around in my head -- hidden behind the mask that I put on for the external world.  As I looked around, it struck me that I was not really alone with these issues. I saw it in many founders of startups weighed down by their own expectations of themselves and of those around them; young people trying to figure out their twenties; professionals in their thirties caught up in the endless grind.

The pattern was this: a seemingly successful life from the outside, but a fair amount of turbulence within. The more I started to open up about this with people, the more I realized how big and widespread a problem this is. These were people we put in boxes and label as super-talented, successful, creative achievers, go-getters...I felt it would be to invaluable to find out how each handles this internal roller coaster. So I asked a group of them if they would be willing to talk about this with me.

It's been an amazing set of conversations with these individuals sharing their personal journeys in an open and vulnerable manner. They talk about some of their toughest moments, as well as how they made peace with that critical inner voice in their quest for personal and professional happiness.


Karthik Vijayakumar

In the past 20 years of my working life, I have been fascinated by how stories have played a central role in shaping people, culture, and brands. But as a podcaster, storyteller, and podcast producer, I've been particularly fascinated by the inner journeys. These are journeys that people take from hiding behind protective identities to discovering and experiencing their true essence.

At Design Your Thinking Labs we create podcasts in-house and for brands that want to make a difference. When Bala and I met, it was clear to me that he was set out to make a difference. In the Inner Reel podcast, Bala "takes off the mask" to have conversations close to the heart, and that's led to insightful conversations with guests. We hope you'll enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoyed putting this together for you.