Talking about Humility with Sangita Patel

26 May

Featured ThemeLogical Smart Theme ~ Talking Humility with Sangita Patel, Engineer turned Entertainer

 

We were so impressed by Sangita Patel during the past Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) Breakfast event, that Sister Leadership resolved to follow up our feature of Sangita the engineer turned entertainment star with another.

Sangita Patel

During the WCT event, Sangita made time for everyone in the room to meet her and snap a photo or two. I was impressed by her humility and consideration for others. What better theme to touch upon than that of humility for this Canadian star and host of ET Canada? Over a phone call, our Sister Leadership writer, Catherine, asked Sangita about her experiences around this quality. Sangita’s answers were so brilliant, we’re going to share as much of that interview as possible with you so that you can feel as inspired as we did from this exchange.

But first, what is humility? We see it as a joyful approach to even the most menial tasks that can help ground our purpose/spirit. To be humble is to accept that we are here to be of service to our community, universal energy, Mother Earth, God, Buddha, or other great creation. Humility doesn’t make a fuss over fame or failures.

Now let’s read how Sangita interprets humility, and how that quality has expressed itself throughout her career.

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Sangita, how do you think humility plays into you being real?

I don’t know how to explain it. When I take a job or whatever it is, I keep it real. I try to be myself. That’s really all I know how to do. Being fake is too much work. My kids keep me grounded, my family keeps me grounded. My dad still says to me “I don’t hear you on 680 News.” He doesn’t even know I left 680 news. He doesn’t know that I’m on an entertainment show. They keep me humble.

Best part of my career is that people have taken a risk on me and who I am. No one has ever said “Do this, be somebody else.” It’s been, “You know what? You should try this.” Or “This will fit you.”

I remember once I was on breakfast television and I was three months pregnant. And I forgot the camera was there and Kevin Frank was just talking to me. And I go, “Oh! I think I felt the baby!” and he goes, “What baby?” And I say, “Oh, I’m pregnant!”

I kind of forget there’s a camera there. That’s how I announced to our viewers that I was having a baby, and my boss.

But that’s what works for me. Just being myself.”

Do you see yourself as a humble person?

I don’t know. I was always brought up that you re happier if you make people happy. Sometimes it works against you when you try to make other people happy before yourself, but I still live by that. Luckily my husband lives by that as well. Some people think we’re pushovers, but that’s what makes us happy. If I know other people around me are happy, that will bring a smile to my face.

That’s what I live by.

I mentioned this in the interview; the word I live by is passion. Everything I do is based with passion. If I’m not in love with it, it’s not going to work for me. And I still do that to this day, and I’ve done it since I was a kid. My parents say that love is something you bring onto yourself, and you support and take care of and nurture love, and that’s part of who I am.

One thing I found really interesting was that you mentioned how you love telling other people’s stories, bringing their stories forward. You work on ET Canada, you are a personality for them and are this bright presence on the show, and yet you are also telling other people’s stories. How do you make sure other people shine?

For me, the idea of sitting down and doing a chat, I don’t even call it an interview, chatting with somebody, I learn so much more. Every day I try to talk with someone new. It could be my daughter’s teacher, or another student or something. I think that’s where I learn a lot. People are so fascinating, their stories are so fascinating. For example our stylist, who has been working for years, and she has so many stories to tell. I find it so remarkable what people have gone through. And when I compare to my life, I think this is a story people need to hear. I love talking about other people. Even if it’s one day of something crazy that’s happened to them, or just taking out the garbage and they found a bunch of worms. Whatever it is, I find it really fascinating.

What I find fascinating I believe other people will find fascinating. That’s what makes me want to tell other people’s stories.

You’ve said you are ambitious and go after what you want. How do you think humility plays into ambition?

Sangita on the set of ET Canada

In this industry, it can go two ways. I find people are go-getters, yet they have a product. And I don’t think humility plays into that, and they do well. For me, I’m new to this business in terms of – I don’t get the drama behind it. I do things that I really enjoy and I have fun. There are opportunities that are not given to me, and I’m like ‘that’s okay, it will come in the future’. Other people are like ‘no, I need that. That’s mine. This is supposed to be mine, I need to get this.’ So my ambition, it goes with the flow and I think people will recognize what you love. If you have a good team behind you like I do with ET Canada, they really support me for what I want to do.

I’ll be like, ‘this is interesting, why don’t we try this?’ And they are willing to let me do that.

I’ve been blessed by the people I’m working with.

You’ve shared a story about realizing that you can be yourself after Gord Matineau called you to his office and said, “You don’t give a shit, Patel,” and that’s what he liked about you. Who were you before that realization, and how did that change afterward?

I was pretty new in this career, and even in television. I used to work at the weather network where I was myself. It was a platform where I was growing. That job had such an important impact on me because it wasn’t scripted; it was just me talking for six minutes about weather, putting in my personality. And when I joined City (TV), you are surrounded by all these incredible people, like Gord Martineau, and you think you have to create this brand.

It was my second day (on CITY TV) and I was having a blast, and the reason they hired me was because they liked who I was. That didn’t dawn on me until after Gordon Martineau said “you don’t give a shit what you do on television.” That was the moment for me when I realized, I’m not going to create this brand, I’m just going to be me. And if it works, it works.

Can you share a moment of being a humble leader?

I think in general we are really hard on ourselves, we are our worst critics. We find our flaws very quickly before anyone else does. And I’m going to be honest with you, to this day I still don’t think I’m good enough. And there have been moments when someone will say something to me when I’ll think, ‘are you sure you’re talking about me,’ ‘are you sure you want to give this award to me?’ And I think that’s part of it. You don’t realize what you are doing, and that you are making a difference. The only time I really know I’m making a difference is with my kids. That’s where I know it works for me. If I’m raising them well I know I’m doing a good job. But in my job, I kinda just go there and have a good time. I don’t think about the effect it has on people. When I’m on television my attitude is that I’m talking to one person through that camera. If I can relate to them and make them smile – it’s entertainment. If I can make them smile, I’m doing something right.

What do you see as an idea that’s bigger than you, and yet something you’re part of and you are contributing towards?

I think the biggest challenge in my life has been being a mother. And bigger than me, my kids – raising two good kids. It’s one of the hardest challenges in my life. When I first became a mother I wasn’t even sure what to do, and you question yourself. From that point on, becoming a mom I realize I need people’s help, I need advice I need people part of my life to help make things better. So I think that’s the biggest thing, and I’m still on that challenge to this day.

If you were a fictional character from any book or film, who would you be?

Sofia the First is a new cartoon on television. You know how there are so many princesses in the Disney world? They created a character named Sophia the First, whose mom gets married to this king and she becomes a princess. But she’s such a humble princess. She teaches other people how to be nice. I love my kids watching her. She’s a little tall and I relate to her, I was picked on, and I didn’t close up – it makes me stronger. I was bullied in grade six, and I thought ‘you know what? I’m going to prove to this person that I’m better than that.’ And this is the attitude she has. So I would say Sofia the first.

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If you want to learn more about Sangita, you can catch her on Entertainment Tonight Canada weeknights on Global 7:30 ET/PT, and we also sourced some of our own research from this fantastic interview between Raj Girn and Sangita on Open Chest.

Many thanks to you, Sangita, for being so open with your responses and sharing your experiences with our readers.

And for those reading this post, I’m curious to know: How does humility play into ambition within your own life?

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One Response to “Talking about Humility with Sangita Patel”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2014 Round Up of Inspiring Interviews & Moments | sister leadership - December 22, 2014

    […] spoke with the vivacious Sangita Patel about helping other people to shineas a host of ET […]

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