How my story took its turn and gave back what I was looking for.
My story started right after my senior secondary school in Varanasi. Or rather when I was finishing it. I was a very average child in school. Neither too sharp to rank in class nor too slow to flunk any. I was in that beautiful middle. Generally called average in common language. But I had a flair for something else. I had a flair for the stage of any kind. By any kind I mean – any occasion when I have to come in front of a small of a large crowd and do or say something.
I used to be the head of the school band, where I used to start the march past on sports days. I think more than that position, I used to love that acknowledgment, that facing the crowd, that little stage, and some kind of influence I used to create. This was me, a guy who loved to be on stage!
Many things happened in my life in those days, that kept me going back to the stage in some way. I worked in plays and got some stage in the theatres. I used to write poems and got some stage to read those poems. After school, this love took me to the Radio and eventually to television to act in Music countdown. Wow, that was powerful, I was loving it. I was me at my best, on my stage, in my moment of glory.
Then the career happened! A lot of advisory from my loved ones said that this all is cool, but you cannot make a career out of this.
It’s too unpredictable, too risky.
This anchoring as an emcee, reading your poems can be your side hobby, but they cannot be a career.
Well, we get this stage in life when we are not sure, so we go out and seek advice. If all the advice is against something, you start to believe in it. And I was just 19 at that time, generally a very confusing phase anyways.
I was a pretty curious kid, and the one who always used to look out for new things and new challenges. When this happened, the next most exciting thing in front of me was computers.
So, I got into learning computers and moved to Delhi. Many kids used to migrate to Delhi in those days. It was the place of opportunities for us. I never went to college. Did my graduation from a distance learning institute and hopped into a call-center job at the same time. It was fun to work in night shifts and I used to earn pretty well. I worked in many business processes at the call centers.
My next stop was Sales. I got into selling credit cards, then into selling IT products and software licenses. Then into selling Managed IT services. My strength is in networking and building relationships. This is a fairly good ingredient for sales.
So, I was doing good. Had an experience of a few years behind me and was rising on the corporate ladder. By 2011, I was the regional sales manager at a reputed firm in Noida. Had a team to manage and certainly doing good in the eyes of the world.
But I was not happy, something was missing in all this! There was an unknown void, I felt stranded. I had no big life goal until this time. Rather, I was not even sure about my direction. The job was like a routine for me. I was doing good, but I was not doing my great.
Then I crossed roads with a start-up that was working in the field of facilitation. Team building facilitation using experiential learning. This rang bells in my ears, it was different, challenging, and most important of All – it had a stage of some kind. But changing careers after 8-9 years of working in a field is no easy thing. A lot of fears surround you.
- What, if you fail? You never tried this earlier.
- What will happen to all this experience you acquired in your present career?
- What about job security?
- Will you join like a fresher?
The list is long. I was also surrounded by all these fears, but I took my leap of faith. I was so sure of my choice that I left my current job even before I got an offer from the new firm. I was moving, I was getting my stage back. I joined this new venture at 40% of the salary I was drawing at that time. It was tough for my family to manage, but still, it was too little a cost to get into the work you love. To do the work that gives you energy.
After 9 years in facilitation and after conducting 100’s of workshops for the leading corporates in India and abroad I can tell you that this was no easy journey. You have to constantly keep learning, take new challenges, get uncomfortable. Work hard to make each workshop successful. But I just love it for 2 reasons.
- First is, that you bring a positive impact on a team or an individual’s life in some way.
- And second is that “I got my stage back!”
Is there something you truly wanted to do in life? Is there something that gives you energy? If yes, do let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.