Getting up at the 6.00 in the morning, rushing to catch the Mumbai local train, reaching office by 8.55 am, spending the long hours looking at the screen under the pretense of work, and then awaiting for the clock to tick few minutes over 6.30 in the evening so as to slyly walk out of the work place with a hope to avoid the gaze of those who either were more pretentious than I was or were workaholics; My life was no different from the thousands of the employees for whom the joys of life are limited to the weekends and the salary day.
I would get up, complain, spend the day, sleep – all the while awake to the reality that I was not at all enjoying my life as an overpaid MBA graduate. Being from a business class family, I always had the itch to start my own venture. But my comfortable salaried job acted as a deterrent to follow the itch. As the days went by, the intensity of the itch kept on augmenting when finally I did leave my job to start on my own.
The transition from an employee to a self –employed had been very critical. In this article, I will share what happened in that transition period – the period between the point when the thought about doing something of my own seeded in my mind and the point when I actually executed that thought.
Here are few lessons from that page of my life:
When In Doubt Do not Commit: My earlier boss taught me an important lesson ‘When in Doubt say No’. Boss’s statements are like laws, open to interpretation!! So what I interpreted was this ‘When in doubt do not commit, buy the time and analyse’. Of course following this lesson often causes deferment, but then it definitely helps to avoid mercurial decision making.
Very often in life, we take decisions under the effect of emotions, thinking ourselves to be intuitive. (Intuition is one of the many over used corporate jargon). Many a times even I had intuitively mistaken an infatuation for a serious affair and then regretted. But when it came to taking the jump, I followed my boss’s lesson. To decide whether the desire to start on my own was merely an infatuation or a serious affair, I gave myself time frame of six months, thinking that if the desire persists after six months it has to be a serious affair and hence to be followed.
I must say that I did interpret my desire correctly. I apply this ‘When in doubt do not commit’ strategy whenever I feel arrested by my emotions. It always works for me or may be my perception makes it look working for me. But anyways I am happy.
Pluck the low hanging fruit: Desiring to start the enterprising journey is one thing and having an idea (Idea, another overly used corporate jargon) on how to do it is quite another . I have seen many people cribbing about their life and desiring to start the entrepreneurial journey but not doing so because they think that they lack the next BIG IDEA. Somehow they equate the entrepreneurship to the BIG IDEA.
Thankfully, I never had such equation in my mind because I knew that I would never possess such BIG IDEA. So I decided to do something which would be easy to start, something as low profile as starting a coaching institute. I thought that I had the skills and the passion to be a decent teacher. For me, I thought training would be a low hanging fruit to pluck. I started off with a belief that someday the BIG IDEA will eventually strike me. It has not yet striked or maybe it has striked but my happy engagement to my occupation has made it redundant for me.
Garner Support of family and few friends: They are the pivot. During tough times we need few people who can stand by us. I am fortunate to have parents and a wife and a friend who have always supported my decision. One thing which I did when I was leaving the job was that I did not seek opinion from many people about my decision. In fact I never talked about the plan to anyone apart from the people I mentioned.
I think talking to many people only increases the complexity of decision making. All we need is the agreement and support of 4-5 people who are at different stages of their life. They usually happen to be the most important people in our life.
Respect what is in your hand: Often we daydream and start counting the chickens too early. What we have in our hand is the only and the ultimate insurance against the volatility of the mind. During my transition phase, I was always apprehensive about the fickleness of my mind and so I decided that till the time I actually start my journey, I need to take ownership of whatever job was assigned to me. I think it helped me in more than one ways – I was able to concentrate on my then present assignment, I was able to make myself count to my boss till my last day in the company and most importantly I was able say and listen a real heartfelt Good Bye.
The ending note of one chapter is perhaps more important than the starting note of the next chapter, as then we have something to fall back if the next chapter does not turn out as per the expectation.
Trust the positive forces: There is no bigger a success puller than the positive forces of the mind. I always thought that the only thing required to taste success was hard work. But as I am maturing as a person and trainer I have started to realise that the equally big – if not bigger – condition for success is living with the positive belief. The belief that eventually one will get what one deserves, may be even more. I do not know whether the forces have gifted me what I deserve, but surely they have made my life much easier by making me believe that if I remain positive, positive will happen.