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Sunday, February 27, 2011

At the starting line of life again - 2009...

Well, I discovered few things in this one year.  And oh boy, what a journey it has been in the last 18 months.

Some background before what changed my life.  

I had thrown my entire weight around my job and career.   I am not a natually aggressive person.  

But since 2002, when I made my move from being an engineer to sales and pre-sales, thought I would really leverage on my three assets - a flair for quick learning and  understanding, ability to connect with people, and the gift of the gab, to be successful.

Since 2002 till 2009,  I had given everything, I mean, everything to the work I performed at office.  I admit, I liked fancy titles, travelling, and meeting people.   The journey was exciting, and heady- the higher I went, the more intoxicated I became.

What suffered - my fitness, my focus on personal finance and family.  

I will touch upon each of these in separate detail in subsequent blogs.   But net-net, it was something I discovered when my all-or-nothing approach in Jan-March quarter of 2009, succeeded partially and  inevitably, as I realized in hindset, there were fallouts.   

Numbers done, but behind me were burnt bridges, heavy heart.   I sunk within the immense feelings of despair and loneliness.  Victory was forgotten, only bitter taste remained.

In toto, the fallout meant that I had to restart again.   New role, new outlook.  In 2009, at 34 years, I was born - again.

Few things I realized, I would correct forever -
  1. Never take a business decision alone.  Remember, you are working for others, when you are in a job.   There exists a larger organization.  You have to take that organization along.
  2. Never trust verbal approvals, take them in writing.   Sometimes, they become legal material.
  3. Over aggression in sales leads to overzealous commitments - you think you are right at the moment, but that is a castle in air.   Build deals with strong business fundamentals.  What organizations need are health business, not quick deals.
  4. All-or-nothing is like a sprint.  If you win, it is great and heady; if you lose, it can sink you.  It is better to run a slow marathon, and finish.  
  5. Learn to accept failure.   Success at all costs is not worth it.  Be practical. 
  6. Life is much more than work.    Life, like business has multiple pillars.  Each of these pillar has to be built strongly.  Otherwise, it will be a one-trick pony.
  7. Sometimes, you think that you can always count on your boss, but it is always better to have a larger organization into confidence.
  8. It is good to have Plan B's.  It goes back to the adage ' dont put all eggs in one basket'.
  9. Personal finance, fitness and family, the three 'F's are the other pillars of life.  Focus in equality.
  10. Give it back to your team - spend time with them apart from discussing business affairs.  Build friendships.Your experience and perspective, without sounding as advice, is a key input their decisions.
These realizations, and a few other threads, led me to my midlife birth again.
  • I needed to connect back to people - outside work.  For example, I could not connect with a person outside work when I visit a city.  
  • I needed my great family back;  they had been waiting for the last 7 years.  I gave family 'time windows', but did not realize that I became an outsider, a paying guest at my won house.
  • After all my focus on career, it was sad to note that my personal investments were next to nothing; and I was chasing credit card bills.   I still do, but have improved in the last two years.
Wow, wow... that is a lot of time to be lost in life.   Never can it be gained back.   But the realization was hard earned.  Could not lose it, never.   So, two steps. Self- pardon and plan.  

Connect the dots.   Make the list.   Dwelve into the details.   Make the beginning, the first step.   The journey starts.   I am born again.   At 34, after so many years, another Ashok is born.
  1. Fitness - start doing things you like.   Be fit.   Stress free.  Do something with passion, vengeance.  Need a sink to empty emotions. So was born, RUNNING.  
  2. Finance - Save, Invest, Track.   Plan your retirement, and child's future - education!  Invest your life to work for 20 years. Quit at 55.  Be happy with this plan.  More you need, it becomes greed. 
  3. Family - Spend time, explore, argue,  play - enjoy time. 
I called this 20 year plan as 35-55.  There could be additions, reviews, changes, but the base of the rest of my life is now planned. 

Now, a few other points -
  • I always liked chat and blogs - the 90's tools for people to communicate over the Internet.   This last one year, after a long break since 2008, I entered the world of Internet.  Socially active, if that is what it is on FACEBOOK.
  • I took to sporadic running since 2008, and it is 3 years now. But during the last one year,  have run more than my entire life, and felt fit and confident.   Now belong to 900 or lesser crowd in a population of 6 million, called CHENNAI RUNNERS.
  • Also was born my social work-out relationships through DAILYMILE.
  • Taking my family along during my fitness journey is also key.
  • My tummy has been popping after lot of culinary and spirited endeavors; now guy prefers less spicy and craves for a flater disposition than it was.
  • Planning of finance, have completed for my kid's edu plan and retirement, has been completed.   Still trailing on few counts, but should close all outstandings this year.
  • Holidays - holidays - spend time with family , twice a year.   More time with parents.  
Well,  this is a journey, and it has began. Here was a starting line to run the marathon called the 'rest of my life.  'As I look back, as I keep running,  it is the most cherished part of my life - post my childhood and college years.

I have discovered passion and purpose in my life.   It can go only positive from here... and therefore I continue to run.