“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck” -Dalai Lama

Originally published on May 15, 2012 on trulysu.blogspot.in

When I was in college studying management, I was predicted to be one of the most successful persons in our batch. I certainly was on the way to becoming it. I participated in organizations and events in and outside college and felt superb about it. One day when I was showing my American friend around the city she asked me if my ambition is to work in one of these corporates and I said, “No, I have bigger ambitions”. Then I got a highly coveted job with one of the world’s best employers and I started working in one of those buildings.

So let’s go back two years. When my final year began and I was enrolling for placements, I took a systematic path to it. I sat with my uncle who’s a career counselor and drew a timeline. He asked “Where do you see yourself at 30?” and I said, “I’m running my own business.” And then back-tracked from there, put down where I see myself at 27 yrs, at 25 yrs, at 23 yrs, and so forth. I took it a little further and told myself where I saw myself at 50 yrs!

Now a year later I was at my first employer. Since our office culture doesn’t take very kindly to formal wear I put all those new, tailor-made formal pants and skirts in the back of my cupboard and brought out all my casuals. The first day I entered office I was ready to take on the world. I was ready to be one of the most successful people of my batch. I knew that I studied in an average college and even though I was one of the best students, I was still an average person. The point is, I was average and I knew it. So I gave myself some time to soak in the changes, understand the mentality and get into that groove. It’s human nature to take some time to adapt. And then I made the biggest mistake.

I told myself that I wasn’t as smart as everybody else.

Trust me when I say that it’s the worst mistake one can ever make. Nobody’s words hit you as hard as your own. So because I wasn’t as smart as others I wouldn’t actively participate in discussions, just be a passive observer. The irony is that one of my top five strengths is ‘Command’. Add my personal problems to this and you get a mess.

Months went by and in December I was dying. My mind was blank. I couldn’t concentrate on work; I couldn’t understand anything. I was dying to just get away and I decided to go to Singapore. My company was kind enough to give me that time off and Singapore changed it all. After ten days in Singapore I said to myself, “I can’t leave like this. I didn’t work hard in college to leave things mid-way. I will go back and I will give myself six months. I have to go a step further in the next six months.” So I came back and threw myself into work. And the three things I’ve lived by since January are a Constantly ticking internal clock,Gain knowledge and expertise and Do. Everyday I would go work with a sense of urgency telling myself that I don’t have much time left. On my calendars at home and work everyday I strike out the date at the end of the day to reinforce the time limitation. I placed a white board next to me, on outlook started noting down what I do everyday, wrote down important points on post-its and sticking them on my monitor. My work became my competition and my escape so much so that there were times I left office only around midnight to come back at 7 am the next morning. And my favorite part was acquiring new skills. Since I came back, coding and excel have become my pet. Figuring out logic became my drug. Soon you will a Facebook app made by me!

I’ve learnt to make my manager my confidant and it’s worked out pretty well. After three months when I asked her if I’ve moved forward since December, she said I’ve had exponential growth J. I went home and cried that evening! Now I have another three months left and a new problem at hand- I don’t know where I want to go after these three months. Ah well, I’ll deal with it as it comes.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

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