Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Journey of my Transformation

Today is a great day to write this article about the turning point of my life, since I complete my 12 years of entrepreneurial journey on 10th March, 2003. The strange part is that in my life never ever had I dreamt of plunging into being an entrepreneur. This transformation didn’t happen overnight but is the resultant sum of lot of incidents. Today, when I look back, I feel that although it was tough whenever I went through a low phase, but, every low phase could help me to learn from the same and move ahead in life. What I am going to write won’t be just about my entrepreneurial journey but a combination of some of those incidents which made me the person who I am today.

I feel blessed to be born to two most wonderful souls. Initial twelve formative years were the best ones in my life, and were extremely active, secure, and protective with my parents and brother. A transition happened when I had to move out of cocoon to be in hostel for my further education. Moving from a protective secure zone to an independent zone was not easy for me. Suffered from lot of home-sickness and emotional troubles. I went on to become an introvert person from a very gregarious person. Years went by and lot of changes happened in and around. The biggest turbulence was to lose my father when I was 19. My mother stood strong and I completed my Post graduation in Chemistry from Delhi University.  

Starting my Professional Journey: I started my actual professional journey in March 1996 as a Trainee Chemist in Noida. I started learning the things but I never was confident to present the work which I used to do. One day, I was being given the responsibility to design Standard Operating Procedures Manual and I completed this much before the deadline. My immediate superior was very happy and he took me to the Executive Director’s room and I was trembling with fear though I was being called to be appreciated. The ED said: ‘Bindu, you should not be afraid of anyone. Remove that ‘fear factor’ out of your life. Realize that you are a great person and also a great professional.’ 

This day I decided, I would not be afraid of people and situations. I tried to conquer the fear within me, and slowly I started opening up my natural self.

Lesson No. 1: We need to conquer the fear within us.

Setback in the Professional Domain: In the seventh year of my service i.e. in 2002, in spite of being a great performer, my credibility, dependability and reliability factor was questioned, when I refused to accompany all alone a foreign client for his site seeing to Agra, Jaipur. I did not have good vibes about the same person, and so I could not manage to say yes. This was very personally taken by the CEO of the company, and he applied his own techniques to put me down i.e. humiliating me in the shopfloor, not granting me even short-leaves, scolding for no fault of mine, giving me an increment of Rs. 800/- against Rs. 3000/- to my counterpart in spite of me being instrumental in ISO certification and establishing a new department Product Development successfully. He expected me to confront him, which I did not do, and also I did not criticize about him to others. His acts of emotionally harassing me continued, then one day, I thought to talk to him. I asked him – ‘Why you are doing this to me. Haven’t I performed to my optimum. Customers are also happy with my work who send appreciation mails. But why you are not happy. Tell me, where should I correct myself. Tell me one incident, when I have taken my work for granted. What complaints do you have with my work?’ He said – ‘Kaam to sab karte hain (everybody does work)”. I was experiencing great anguish and I felt as if I was slapped, it hurt my self-esteem. This particular statement ‘Kaam to sab karte hain’ hit me actually very very hard. I felt, he looked at me as a commodity to entertain clients. I just got up and said –“Sir, ideally I should be giving you the resignation letter now, but I will not give you. Since, if I go now, you will say that Bindu could not handle a crisis gracefully. I will resign on that day, when you will change your statement publically”. And I walked out of his cabin. I was deeply hurt emotionally. That incident made me think and relook at my professional goals. I continued working passionately as ever and one day my CEO declared on the shopfloor – ‘I find Bindu to be better than any of my male colleagues. She is a great professional and so I have decided to promote her to the Assistant Manager level (from an executive).’ It was a victorious moment for me, and I walked once again to his cabin to give my resignation letter since I had decided that when he would change his statement, I would quit my job. He persuaded me to stay back, but I decided to stay with my decision. I left my job in December 2002.

Lesson No. 2: Never ever compromise at one’s self-esteem.

My Entrepreneurial Journey - Birth of Insignia Solutions: After quitting the job, I sat with one of my ex-colleague and good friend to conceptualize and float an HR Consultancy with recruitment as core area and we started Insignia Solutions Private Limited on 10th March, 2003 with our PF amount. Meanwhile, I had also pursued a Post Graduate Diploma in Business management from Amity University (2001-2002). Though I had not done this course with specific intention to be an entrepreneur, but this did gave some amount of confidence to explore the unexplored.

Initial Hiccups:  We failed disastrously in recruitment, but were fortunate enough within a month to explore another competency i.e. of imparting soft skill training programmes.

A new journey began with Summer Camps for Personality Development for school students to Soft Skill training programmes in Corporates. In the process, lot of learning happened to me as an individual. I came out of my shell shedding my inhibitions and started becoming adept in handling various aspects of running the company, brand building and giving quality to the customers.

What Transformations happened within me: There was a time, when I used to hesitate to even interact with known people due to my own inner complexes, today, I am able to address strangers everyday as part of my profession. There was a time, when I used to look at certain turbulences of my life and used to feel that ‘why me only?’, but now, I count my blessings since I am able to facilitate people to come out of ‘Why me only?’ attitude. There was a time, when I used to sulk sitting at a corner and wonder how to bring changes into my life, today, I have taken command of my life in my own hands and take the responsibility of bringing positive changes in and around me.  

Today after 12 years of this satisfying and enriching entrepreneurial journey, I am happy, content but not complacent. I intend to take this journey ahead by becoming an Organizational Development Consultant so as to become a catalyst for Change Acceleration of self, and others.

Lesson No. 3: One shall be satisfied but never get complacent.

Felicitation by my College: In 2013, my college St. Joseph’s college in Kerala celebrated Golden Jubilee Year and they selected 50 students as Golden Jubilee Ambassadors over the last 50 years on the basis of various parameters viz. growth as an individual, growth as a professional, contribution towards the society etc. I understand that there are many more St. Josephites who are doing great in their lives and I was chosen as just one of the representative of that bigger lot. I feel humbled and blessed to be one amongst those fifty.   

What Drives me further: Turbulences would happen. According to Paulo Coehlo, turbulences help us to decide between what is temporary and what is permanent. Turbulences are just temporary, whereas the learning which we get out of turbulences are permanent.

Finally want to quote a dialogue from a Malayalam movie (I have reframed it a little bit) – “How Old are You” as Lesson Number 4.

Lesson No. 4: Make the lowest point of your life as the
starting point of a new chapter of your life.

I am writing this article as part of : Housing.com https://housing.com  #StartANewLife.