As the world moves on to produce more and more entrepreneurs and visionaries looking to enter the world of business, Lakmali Abeynayake, Founder and Life Coach at Life Cocoon, has made it her purpose to inspire and guide those many potential individuals on to professional and personal distinction. With a focus on making positive reformation and development of any given client, Lakmali herself stands as a powerful role model of courage and confidence.
Lakmali is a robust personality who caters to the multiple responsibilities she performs on both a personal and professional level as a lady of development culture. As a mentor, she tries her best to live her life as an example for others to follow. As a coach, she gives very practical advice and as a corporate trainer, she keeps the bottom line of the company at the forefront when training. As a devoted daughter, sister and friend she enjoys spending time with her loved ones. With such a support system around her powering her forward, Lakmali truly fits herself to be capable of all these roles as she looks ahead to exempt positivity around her generously and amicably.
“I tell all my clients that we all have many roles to play in life, and whatever role we play, we need to play it to the best of our abilities. For us women, among others, it will be as a daughter, wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur, and role model. We also have a role as a caregiver to ourselves therefore it is important that we have balance and put boundaries where necessary.”
Lakmali has 25 years of finance experience in diverse fields such as IT, hospitality, and wellness, and she has an exemplary vision to balance and generate a productive lifestyle. The experience she got from playing the role of a corporate woman in these various industries now powers her thought process, allowing her to tackle any issue of concern with an astute portfolio of knowledge and an inner-built system of leadership qualities.
“Regardless of gender, culture, or nationality, there are certain traits that need to be adopted and ingrained in a leader. Among them are discipline, optimism, adaptability, decisiveness, resilience, and determination. Coming from an Asian background where the social-cultural norm is to consciously and unconsciously favour masculinity, the main trait I had to adopt as a woman was to trust myself and to believe my capabilities are enough.”
Striving through the challenges, especially as a woman who is looking to make an active change beyond the outdated norms and perceptions of patriarchy, Lakmali stands as a motivating personality to many women and men involved in the business culture. She advises candidly to power through any challenges, as she implies, if there’s a strong will and passion towards what you do, nothing or no one can stop you from fulfilling your purpose. Exemplifying this advice, she follows back to when she was building her wellness retreat, “Mahagedara Retreat,” when she first arrived in Sri Lanka. She recalls how certain perceptions stood in opposition to her vision of establishing her retreat in Sigiriya, along with a comparison of how it is even difficult for a very capable man to do so. Lakmali had powered through these hurdles, as she now recalls the unwavering trust, she had in herself, and her drive to fulfil her thoughtful purpose, which has now helped to establish an award-winning and internationally recognized retreat here in our motherland.
As she looks back at the recent past, where the world took a revolutionary turn in many ways, Lakmali expresses how her purpose as a coach kept her going through the hard times.
“The last few years have been hard for everyone, regardless of gender. What kept me going was my passion to help people transform their lives to achieve their version of success and happiness. We all have our own version of what success and fulfilment mean to us. The first step is to be self-aware enough to know what our version is then we can take steps to archive it. What kept me going was also the conviction that I could achieve anything that I set my mind on. Our mindset is the only thing that limits us and through my training and coaching, I wanted to help people to understand it. It is not the world that is limiting us but ourselves. Besides my passion what kept me going was focusing on the next step rather than the mountain I had to climb, and sheer determination.”
As she expresses that individuality plays a big role in overcoming the many hurdles of life, she emphasizes that gender does not segregate this concern in any way. With an approach that unifies individuality with a bigger purpose that stands to serve society, Lakmali continues her journey with passion, conviction, and dedication while guiding her clients to achieve excellence.
“The percentage of females in the corporate and business world is increasing but women are still underrepresented at the strategic decision-making level. More than half of Sri Lankans are women yet only 7% of board seats are filled by women. This is not only a Sri Lankan but a global trend. despite the fact that many research studies have shown that women’s participation not only will increase the company’s overall triple bottom line by a significant amount but also will benefit the economy as a whole, only 12% of the global corporate board seats are held by women and less than 5% are chaired by women.”
As Lakmali takes a look at the hard-cold statistics proving that there’s still a long way for women to go to reach a level of equitable fairness, she remains hopeful of a new future and a progressive, reformed culture.
“The world will be happier and in a more economically stable position if the roles are assigned based on capabilities and skillsets rather than on gender and other biases. I do not believe in gender-assigned roles, whether in business or at home. I got into training and coaching to inspire women and men to carve the life paths they desire. We are brought up to think that there is only one “right” way of living and finding happiness. I wanted to show there are many “right” ways and we need to explore these avenues and choose the best path for us. As a unique piece of advice, I will give to women; I will say take responsibility consciously for your own life and happiness and have a fulfilled balanced life in a holistic manner. This is the ultimate gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.”
True happiness starts from within, and Lakmali firmly believes that positive change is never far away if one is willing to do her/his best to reach it. Lakmali will continue to empower many around her with her astute mindset and progressive personality while steadfastly contributing to get closer to that unique purpose day by day.