Most of my friends, long lost but now in fb friend list and old buddies, still in touch …all of them have one big question for me.
“How did you manage to establish such a big and successful organization in just one decade? What special have you done?”
OK guys. I understand what do you mean by “special”. You mean what wrong have I done to erect and make a tannary, manufacturing unit, export house functional. You want to know the secret… of making money. Ok Janémanns! Here, I go.
As kids, we are encouraged to dream, both at home and in school, about what we may want to be when we grow up–
astronauts, writers, detectives, or just
about anything that tickles our fancy. A few years later, the same people tell us to suck it up, face reality, and aspire to be engineers and doctors, and in the more recent version of growing up, investment bankers. We lock up our childhood dreams, which have now evolved into something more concrete, in a quiet corner of our heads and swallow the key.
We throw away our creative hats and bow our heads, now to crack the board exams, now to pass the entrance exams, now to make it through college, now to land in a good MBA
school, now to fight for the best ‘package’, now to settle down aka get married and have kids.
A decade later, no one cares how much we scored in our boards (do you even remember?) and it doesn’t matter if we remember the definition of a good leader. We have however, started looking for that key we swallowed.
The Special (or wrong) factor I think drove me toward building a business house was the Risk factor. Yes, I never hesitated risking my cushy IT job, I didn’t hesitate putting my saving in a new venture. “What will happen if it is lost?” is a great wall, standing between business owners and their employees. People who risked, with positive approach, who tried to jump across the wall, sometime fell down, tried again and again fell down …tried again and crossed the hurdle.
Last year, a friend of mine told me how desperate he was to start an enterprise. It’s been his dream ever since he visited a steel fabrication unit. He has put that dream on hold, first because it didn’t impress his parents, then because he could not really build a career out of it, and now in his early forties, he thinks it might be too late, what with a wife and two kids who rely on him financially.
Somewhere deep down, he probably knows how he could have fought his battles differently. So, I
tried to show him that he still has important choices to make. A bulk of his expenses goes towards his children’s education, i.e. towards the same system that crushed his dreams.
Would he consider home-schooling them? His day job is IT, but that still leaves him with evenings and week ends where he could slowly start pursuing his dream. The possibilities are still endless, I told him, but also a factor of what he is willing to sacrifice.
I never heard back from him and to be honest, I don’t know everything about his life and situation to think that he can still chase his dream.
His story and the stories of many others usually start and end the same way, with the thought that you have to be really lucky to spend your life doing the one thing you love. I think luck is a small factor, definitely smaller than the things you’ll sacrifice on the way.
Definitely smaller than the perseverance you need to win your battles. And battles, there will be plenty.
From my own experience, I’ll tell you this: If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to convince your parents, you’ll find the
guts to tread paths that only a handful have trod before and you’ll find ways to make at least enough money to survive. If after all this you don’t make it, you won’t spend half your life wondering what if you had tried.
His story makes me wonder about my many friends, whose Facebook profile tells me are already getting married and having kids. Are they putting their dreams on hold too? Dreams that don’t revolve around 9 to 6 jobs, dreams that they have been told all their lives are silly and impractical, dreams that are different from what the Indian society categorizes as worth aspiring for.
I hope not.