Recognising change as a fact of life empowers you: Ajay Khanna, Amway India

The chief marketing officer of Amway India said leaders must challenge the status quo, encourage people to step out of their comfort zones, and embrace any failure as a catalyst for growth.

By  Kashmeera SambamurthyMar 2, 2024 7:55 AM
Recognising change as a fact of life empowers you: Ajay Khanna, Amway India
Ajay Khanna, chief marketing officer, Amway India, stated, "As someone who’s deeply immersed in the fast-paced world of marketing, I've personally experienced the pressures of an always-on culture and the looming threat of burnout. Through time, I’ve grown to appreciate the importance of setting boundaries and prioritising self-care, for both me and my team."

Ajay Khanna, chief marketing officer of Amway India, says “micro-breaks” have contributed to his overall well-being and helped pursue his goals. “By placing importance on these moments of self-care and integrating them into my daily schedule, I can maintain peak performance while safeguarding my physical and mental health. This proactive approach keeps me from burning out, alleviates stress, enhances productivity, and underscores the importance of self-care,” he says.

Edited excerpts from an interaction follow.

The creator economy has taken the world by storm. Which are the influencers and trends you are currently following?

I am particularly intrigued by influencers who advocate a holistic approach to wellbeing. I follow individuals who highlight not just physical fitness but also mental health, nutrition, and maintain a well-rounded lifestyle. Additionally, I'm attentive to trends like sustainable living, mindfulness, and inclusive fitness, as they resonate with my personal values. Content from Dr Andy Galpin, Peter Diamandis, James Clear, David Sinclair, Dr Will Cole, Sangram Singh, Mirabai Chanu, and various others captivate my interest.

I love keeping up with our health and wellbeing ambassadors, such as Pramilla Ohlson, Ravi Kiran, Samarjit & Minati, and others, and the communities they lead, like LifeShapers, Swasthya Warriors, Reshape Nation, and more.

As for the latest trends, I make sure to stay updated on how influencers are exploring the metaverse, utilising Gen AI to scale content creation, delving into AR and VR for immersive experiences, sharing authentic real-life stories, and refining expertise in their niche.

What marketing-related content do you consume in your free time?

In my downtime, anything tied to the health and wellness scene. I engage with reports and studies that analyse consumer trends in the wellness space, delving into the evolving perspectives on fitness, nutrition, and mental health.

I engage myself in reading compelling articles from various sources such as Harvard Business Review, MarketingProfs, HubSpot, and other blogs. Additionally, I actively seek out podcasts and articles discussing innovative marketing strategies within the health and wellness realm. Shows like Dr. Andrew Huberman's podcast and the Peter Attia Drive Podcast are my go-to for fresh ideas on engaging audiences and crafting successful campaigns.

Immersing myself in this specialised content provides valuable insights that guide our brand's marketing initiatives and enable us to connect with our target audience in a more meaningful way.

There is a lot of talk about burnout, workplace toxicity, and hustle culture. What steps have you taken to avoid the adverse impact of the always-on culture on yourself and your colleagues? What advice would you give to your peers and next-gen marketers?

As someone who’s deeply immersed in the fast-paced world of marketing, I've personally experienced the pressures of an always-on culture and the looming threat of burnout. Through time, I’ve grown to appreciate the importance of setting boundaries and prioritising self-care, for both me and my team.

This has been made possible by the nurturing culture at Amway, which prioritises health and wellbeing, empowering me to not only embrace self-care but also seamlessly integrate into a healthy lifestyle.

One strategy I've employed is fostering open communication within our team, creating an environment where members feel free to voice their needs and concerns. This collaborative approach has allowed us to set realistic expectations and boundaries, ensuring everyone has the necessary space to recharge and uphold their well-being.

On a personal note, I've integrated mindfulness meditation and regular exercise into my routine to stay grounded and resilient amid the demands of my role. These practices serve as crucial anchors, enabling me to navigate the challenges of the ever-active culture more effortlessly.

If I were to offer one piece of advice to my peers and the upcoming generation of marketers, it would be this: make your wellbeing a top priority and set clear boundaries from the start of your career. Success does not equate to burnout, and taking care of yourself isn't just important—it’s essential for sustained success and fulfilment in the long run.

Is there any sport or fitness routine you practice?

I've recently incorporated strength training into my routine, while also ensuring to achieve a daily goal of 21,000 steps. Additionally, I make a point of standing during most of my meetings. On weekends, I indulge in tennis, cricket, or football, enjoying these activities with both my sons and friends.

I consider myself fortunate to belong to an organisation that places paramount emphasis on health and wellbeing. Over my two-decade tenure with Amway, I've not just talked the talk but walked the walk, effecting substantial transformations in my lifestyle and fitness regimen.

What does your weekend look like?

On weekends, I prioritise quality family time, engaging in activities with my sons, enjoying moments with my wife, and occasionally watching cricket matches with my father-in-law. I also take pleasure in preparing a wholesome breakfast for the family to share. Amidst these family moments, I dedicate time to personal growth and professional development.

This involves reflective internal brainstorming sessions to evaluate our brand’s strategies and goals, along with reading industry publications to stay abreast of emerging trends. This time also serves as an opportunity to catch up on reading and gearing up for the upcoming week, outlining priorities and strategies for a productive and successful week ahead. Balancing family time with professional reflection rejuvenates me, providing clarity and purpose as I enter the new week.

Anything you’re watching or streaming?

I'm not an avid consumer of OTT content, but when I do indulge, I prefer a blend of motivational documentaries focused on health and wellbeing. Additionally, I find relaxation in lighthearted comedies, occasionally opting for an action movie for variety.

What are you reading? Any book recommendations?

I've just started on my reading journey for the year, and my list of intriguing books is already quite extensive. Some of the titles that have caught my attention include ‘Outlive’ by Peter Attia, ‘Lifespan’ by David A. Sinclair, ‘Mind-Gut Connection’ by Emeran Mayer, ‘The Song of the Cell’ by Siddhartha Mukherjee, ‘Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success’ by Ken Segall, ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear, and ‘An Immense World’ by Ed Yong.

Any work or life hack you swear by?

Work hack: A valuable work strategy that has significantly contributed to my overall well-being while pursuing my goals is the practice of “micro-breaks”. In these short intervals, I engage in stretching, deep breathing, or take a brief walk. By placing importance on these moments of self-care and integrating them into my daily schedule, I can maintain peak performance while safeguarding my physical and mental health. This proactive approach helps me from burning out, alleviates stress, enhances productivity, and underscores the importance of self-care.

Life hack: Engage in daily physical activity, cultivate mindfulness, prioritise rejuvenating sleep, fuel your body with plant-based foods, and foster a connection with nature.

A piece of wisdom you would like to share…

Echoing the wisdom of the philosopher Heraclitus, who said “Change is the only constant”, we acknowledge that change is as inevitable as the shifting seasons and flowing tides.

First Published on Mar 2, 2024 7:55 AM

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