October 10, 2017
Thought for the day:
I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom…….George Patton
I want to revisit 2010. I was CEO of NASSCOM Foundation (NF) for the past five years then, on the verge of a successful merger between Guidestar India and NF. At the top of my game there, i decided to cross over back to the for-profit sector and therefore joined an Animation company as their Head – Strategy and HR in 2010. This was a complete contrast to what i had expected and experienced. I had entered into an era where there was no structure, no or almost absent corporate fiscal discipline, employees were not paid salaries on time, the bench was unsustainable, there was no alignment in thought and action between the CEO & COO, work was trickling in and all this resulting in a really bad phase of corporate life for me. I had never experienced anything like this every before. Suddenly from the top of my game, i was in the pits! Literally speaking, i was in doldrums. I just was sinking lower and lower……didn’t have the inclination or energy to do something. Didn’t know what to do, how to do and most importantly kept thinking on how i got into this mess. Oh gosh, what a horrible period that was.
I needed to garner all my positivity (whatever was left of it by then) to try to bounce back. Luckily for me, i have two great friends, who motivate me, nudge me, give me a reality check every time i have my head in the clouds etc. They contributed tremendously to keep me sane and sound. They just didn’t give up on me. I thank god for them. They just kept me alive, mentally!
So when I finally decided to quit the Animation company, I didn’t know what to do next. How on earth can i now, after two years of being in the dump, admit that i was there. How do i reach out to people asking for help, when i was always the giver? How could i tell them i failed and now i need their help? How do i save my face? How will people react to my call for help? Will they take advantage of my situation or will they rise above that to genuinely help? I just didn’t know what to do.
But what choice did i have?
I could have just got mentally paralysed with my situation (the easier option), or I could have just picked up myself from down there, gather the pieces, swallow my pride or ego, and started to move……
It was not easy…..drove me crazy to think that here i was, stupid to leave at the peak of my career, take a risk, cross over (after doing a lot of due diligence, research etc. but still it went wrong), and now down but not out….
So i picked up the second option of bouncing back….
I listed down 20 top CEOs that i knew from the NASSCOM Foundation network of IT Companies. I wrote to each of them, asking for a job, telling them that i made a mistake etc., but now need to get back on track.
To my pleasant surprise, i received positive feedback/ responses from a few (more than i expected). One such email resulted in me getting a job within 15 days, and i moved to Bangalore to join VBHC Education Services.
This entire episode taught me several lessons:
- It’s easier said than done about this falling down and getting up, or bouncing back when you hit the bottom……OMG, is that something…..it’s tough, it’s a test of your mind, your spirit and confidence. Phew! It was a crazy ride
- You really get to find out who your real friends are (a friend in need is a friend indeed…. should be read as ‘a friend in need is a friend in DEED!!)
- Factors that arise out of your locus of control, can affect you both favourably and adversely and one must be prepared.
- Don’t over-leverage yourself. Don’t overspend. Save for a rainy day. etc…..this is advice we hear over and over again, but in my case, i thought i was over-smart and didn’t give this much credence. Till this adversity hit me. It’s better to learn faster than later.
- Beggars can’t be choosers: I put this idiom to use in my life at that time. I picked up the first job i was offered. I didn’t wait for the perfect one, i didn’t wait for a convenient location or profile or position. I just grabbed with both hands whatever came my way
- Gratitude: is the best attitude. I will never forget those who helped me through this tough period
- You are your best friend and you can only depend on yourself. Believe in yourself and you will never let yourself down.
Therefore from that day forward, i believed in myself alot more than before. I loved myself a lot more. And my attitude towards gratitude became stronger.