“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future“
– John F. Kennedy
I truly believe in creating a dent in the universe and leave a strong legacy as I journey through life. Friends, what’s the point in living the same year 80 times and calling it a LIFE? The two most favorite subjects of my study and about which I am so passionate are ‘Life’ and ‘Leadership’. Through my blogs and in personal life, I do my very best to lift up lives, to bring smiles on the faces all around, celebrate, help and inspire people and give my ultra-best to make this world way more beautiful, peaceful, truthful, lovely and most adorable than it is today. Friends, in times when people are losing their human values, becoming self-centered and highly egocentric, it is time we must rise to our true calling. The world needs more of pure-hearted, selfless, charismatic, energetic, enthusiastic and passionate people and I know if you are reading me today – you have it in you. I most humbly challenge you to come forward and lead by example. Everyone lives life for himself but a life lived for others is worthwhile, meaningful and powerful. I invite you to live a legendary and an epic life.
I recall of the words of iconic Steve Jobs, my favorite megastar. He once said “for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” Friends, I have had similar feelings for past 2-3 months. Well, please don’t take me wrong. I am not comparing myself with this great human star. I have just presented his words to describe the feeling inside and kick start the content of this blog which is the ‘need for change’. I am my true self and I have a different calling and purpose in life.
Change at times is pretty scary but do you know what’s scarier and even more painful – It is the regret of not even trying, not taking calculated (wise and sometimes even un-wise) risks. Friends, why resist change when change is the only source for your growth? Today, as I move to a new city and step into the most challenging assignment of my life yet, I share with you my deep insights on why change is so very important?
“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up” – James Belasco
At a time when I was going strong in my career, received volumes of appreciation and multiple requests to stay with my existing customer (none other than the top management of the Customer itself), I decided to leave the comfort zone of easy and what’s known and chose to dive right into the blue ocean of un-known.
Friends, without any exaggeration I put forward my point grasping which you can apply in your own life and be ready for the change which is yes, painful but worth it. I could have easily stayed for five or even ten more years, I was offered position multiple times even from the customer side, joining which is certainly against my value system. I was not feeling challenged in work, the deliverables were looking so easy for me, even at the customer side, I was working with people who thought and worked the same way (same nationality). I was surrounded by people who had lost the lust for growth, and the ones who should inspire had retired to mediocrity.
Change is needed at times to better yourselves and truly be happy. We should never stop working on the best we can be. Every single of us have infinite potential and exploring all our potential is not a choice or an option but it’s a must and urgency. It’s a lifelong endeavor. Noted Irish author and playwright, George Bernard Shaw once said ‘Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.’ So Friends, we must be ready for ‘CHANGE’ with an open mind. So for ‘why change?’ – I always cite of the Pond Vs River (and ocean) metaphor. My wife, Rani, is so used to listening it. She often teases me saying ‘you know nothing but the pond and lake story (only half jokingJ)’ Well Friends, this example has a deep meaning. The pond water is stagnant, limited within its own confines, and becomes dirty very often. On the contrary, the River water is always flowing, clean and clear. This is true in our lives. If we be in the same place, do the same mundane thing, not take enough risks, we will become stagnant. We will lose the lust for growth and eventually life. And if you are open to challenges, meeting new people, committed to making your todays better than your yesterdays, you are bound to grow.
“He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.” – Paul Tillich
As I step in a very high demanding role where expectations are way high and I have the responsibility to grow business for my organization, I sometimes have that ‘feeling of the fear of unknown’. In fact in my first meeting with the Customer last week, I fumbled twice and was not well prepared. It is certain I am not going to win every battle. But with my mental switch of awareness, I am so open to taking risks, if I win, better, and if I fail, it will enrich my experience and teach me a lesson to become my better self.
While I wrote on the importance of failing in my earlier blog– The Beauty of Failing, today I share some powerful lessons from Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCCESS magazine. He says “the people who have reached extra-ordinary levels of success, have also gone through extra-ordinary level of pain, failure, heart-breaks, disappointments, suffering, sadness, and rejections. It is a part of pendulum effect that to have more success you must go through more and more failures.” Friends, the key to massive success is massive failure. If you are not willing to go through all the pains and heartaches someone you idolize has gone through, how can you achieve an equivalent or even greater level of success?
Mr. Hardy says “Show me the most successful person and I will show you the person who has failed for the maximum time.” Friends, if you understand and digest this concept well, no one, literally no one can stop you from what you want to be in life. So please, please embrace and love failure. If you are failing that means you are expanding your limits. Today I challenge you to come out of your comfort zones and yes, GO FAIL!
Risk is Adventure!
Friends, the greatest risk in life is not taking any risks. At this point, I recall of the quote by John Shedd, a Businessman in the early 20th century in America said “ A Ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are made for” Friends, in the adventurous journey called Life, we are the ships and the harbor is our comfort zone. We are not built to stay in our comfort zone. We must realize our fullest potential in the limited time we spent in our physical forms. Friends, a life half-lived turns to pain and regrets. Sometimes I take risks and willingly put myself into troubles and coming out of that risk serves as an adventure and gives me pleasure.
Comes this November 12, and I will complete 7 year of my professional experience which also includes 1 year of my Masters in Management. In this period I had the opportunity to be in 7 major cities (Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Birmingham (England), Kolkata, Dublin (US)) across the world which gave me a multitude of experiences – be it the people, the culture, work ethics, thinking pattern, and importantly the food J Friends, I have a reason and my own philosophy for staying in one organization for a considerable period of time. For me the most important thing in life after family and my set of values is the ‘INFLUENCE’, yes the influence in the most positive way, I have on my peers, the higher leadership and employees across the organization.
Keep your lust for learning awake!
Personally, If you are in IT sector, I would recommend spending considerable time in one Organization (minimum of 8 to 10 years) but do keep changing your Client every 2-3 years. You make an identity by being reliable given that you do your ground work and keep challenging yourself on a daily basis. At the same time changing the client every 2-3 years helps to come out of the comfort zone you fall into over the period of time. You also get the opportunity to work with different people, sometimes different place which keeps your lust for learning awake.
Focus on Present and Future..
Great Philosopher, Socrates once told “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new”. So Friends, don’t be afraid of change because changes lead you to new beginnings. Change is the essence of life and we must be willing to surrender who we are for what we can become. It is quite obvious that if you live in past and rest on your past laurels, you cannot move forward. Friends, how can you start the next chapter of your life if you keep reading and re-reading the last one? Willingness to change is a must for change to happen. When most are apprehensive of change, I took a pro-active stand and asked for change.
On hearing of my decision to change my Client, and location, my friends and well-wishers were surprised. They said things like – ‘Narendra, Why are you leaving Cardinal Health? life is so easy and comfortable here (No doubt, working for Cardinal feels like working for a Government company in India)’, ‘You are going from a cold to a much colder place (someone said its three times as colder than Dublin)’, ‘Dublin is quiet and peaceful, people come here to settle down’. Another friend said ‘it’s a bankrupt city, beware of the blacks there and comments kept pouring like this.’
Friends, in his book Man’s search for meaning (my current reading), Dr. Victor Frankl quotes the famous German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. Well, I want and am open to experiencing extreme and the most difficult conditions because I know this is going to make me stronger. Yes, what doesn’t kill you make you stronger.
If you are in Dublin and have ever interacted with me for some time, I must have mentioned how much I am in love with nature, it’s lush green fields, the leafy and shade-giving trees, it’s beautiful plants with colorful leaves and fragrant flowers. Dublin is certainly the most beautiful places I have ever come across yet but then I am here not to settle down, but to experience, explore and touch many more lives. While in the first 6 years of my career, I have ventured in major cities across India, it’s time to explore more of America. And friends, when it comes to people, you only get what you give. We have just made a perception about the African Americans that they are violent and likewise. It is nothing but a stereotype. A handful few (who are the exceptions) does not define the entire race. Last week in my flight to Detroit, I met this African American football player, Bob Sylla from Philadelphia (originally from Mali) and when I listened to his philosophy of life, I was spellbound. He was one of the nicest of a kind and generous guy.
For those of you who are resisting change..
Friends your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same. I will illustrate this by an example. A relatively lesser experienced co-worker, let’s call him Sam, came to me a couple of weeks ago saying – “Narendra, I also want to change my Client but then he started telling about all his fears– the management will not allow me to go, will I be able to cope up with challenges outside, I am so used to this client, making easy money in dollars, they are so easy going, will my risk going to be worth it?” and so on.’ I replied him saying what I am saying to you all – Friends, your management or human resources is not the owner of your career, you must do what you are willing to do and what your gut instincts says. I would say if you are not taking risks and playing small with your infinite potential, you are dodging yourself. The irony is Sam has been showing his willingness to change for past 1 year but never did anything about it. Friends, you will never be 100% ready to change. Please don’t wait for the perfect time. It will never come. You must start today.
Words of Gratitude and Thankfulness to Dublin..
Friends, in 10 months of my stay in Dublin, my first destination in America, I can say I did pretty well – be it work or the human relations. At work, with my ‘Go-Getter’ attitude I won confidence of Customer with quite ease and high-quality deliverable leading my extra-ordinary team, received appreciation from the customer multiple times with applaud from higher management, I won trust of my team, got a career progression with a handsome compensation hike. I was blessed to befriend some awesome people forming my circle of genius at Dublin. I learnt many lessons of leadership here, special thanks to my best friend, my books, and my leadership mentors Robin Sharma, Joel Osteen, John Maxwell, Jim Rohn, Darren Hardy, Sandeep Maheshwari, Les Brown and so on. I shared my learning and ideas through my personal blog and each of my blogs received over 500 views on an average with 2 blogs crossing the 1000 mark. So I personally feel delighted about my accomplishments in the past 10 months. Today, I leave Dublin with profound, sweet and happy memories.
Narendra’s Final words:
Friends, as I step into a venture which marks the major change of my life, and in quest of many more un-explored adventures, touching and positively influencing many more lives, I encourage you to be open to change. Recognize the need for change and please understand that you cannot do the same thing again and again and expect a different result. So go hug risks and embrace change. I thank you for reading me and leave you with my most favorite childhood poem by Robert Frost which makes me emotional every time I read it even today.
These woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Friends, Embrace C-H-A-N-G-E!