‘Devieka, what is on with you? What are you doing these days?” is my pinned text since the wake of the pandemic lockdown.
Some of you who know me professionally may classify me as a workaholic. Those who know me personally would be well-versed with my quest for existentialism. While my existentialism crisis is a topic for some other day, I have wanted to answer what has been on with me recently. Or as I designate my 2020.
As I constantly find myself driving down NH1, shuttling between Delhi and Chandigarh, these days of 2020 stand as a stark reminder of truly imbibing a Growth Mindset.
Some years back, I came across a quote that made me realize what I had been looking for all this time.
“Someone once told me the definition of Hell - The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”
I resonated with it so well that it made me embrace the Growth Mindset.
You see, I did my Masters’ as they wanted, and then I scored a stint at a corporate as they wanted. I followed the ‘right’ path all along, yet my demons refused to leave me.
Yet here I was, struggling to wake up every day to work at a Fortune 500 that I excelled at. It wasn’t the crazy metro route initially or traversing 3 cities while getting stuck in the traffic that was marred by daily protests. It wasn’t the routine of taking care of parent’s homes, under their virtual directions, singlehandedly or managing a life of one pumped with mundane chores. Neither was it lack of mentorship across all levels at the workplace nor dearth of nurturing side-hustles all along. Yet, something was amiss that was killing me every single day. I just didn’t know what.
There has not been a single week wherein I have not bombarded my mom and close friends with ‘Is this all that there is?’ My propensity for freedom and creation was clearly getting at me. I didn’t have the time to take care of my own self. While colleagues suggested that shifting cities would be a great idea, there was always a voice in my head, which made me want to help out my parents in any way that I could.
Yet nothing seemed to be working out the way I would have liked it.
The alarm used to go off at 3.30 am followed by a half an hour session of mulling over my self-worth and the lack of expression therein. The days I managed to drag myself out of bed, could I use the remaining strength to fit in half an hour of workout. While the maid was trying her best to be a mother figure at ‘home’ while my mom took care of grandparents, I was cooking my food for the day. When ‘How was your day’ was usually met with ‘I am still at DND’ (a busy flyover in Delhi NCR) followed by a shocking ‘but its 11.30 pm’, there were few things that were keeping me going - A liter of cold coffee, a long drive to work and an unwavering work ethic.
My demon, simply put, was the potential that always haunted me.
Every day seemed like a struggle shortly after which the pandemic happened. I work in the retail industry, which was hit pretty badly, and despite all efforts from my mentors, I was asked to leave. Colleagues were surprised, batchmates were shocked, and well-wishers were worried. When everyone was trying to find other avenues for me, I was done.
I decided to relax and make the most of the time I had lost in the past one and a half years. After sleeping all day for almost a week, my Growth Mindset naturally made me employ Darwinism. You see, it wasn’t my lack of loyalty or abilities that led to things pan out the way they did. I couldn’t blame anyone except for circumstances happening on a macroeconomic level. All I could do was to be adaptable and see all of it in a positive light.
We live in some brilliant times where if you are skilled and armed with the right mindset - then just a laptop and an internet connection is enough to build your own empire.
I picked up freelancing at the behest of a friend who had always been pestering me to recognize my content writing skills for quite some time now. Funnily, all it took me was making some major bucks and 5-star reviews from clients globally to understand what he meant.
With my workouts now spanning one hour, my staggering self-confidence was in an ongoing tiff with worried Indian parents who now wanted me to get another job. A little sit down with the parents explaining to them the RCA (Root Cause Analysis) of a 9-6 job, sprinkled with enough savings that can sustain my lifestyle for a considerable time and acting as a living proof of the sleepless nights to build up a freelancing profile seemed to do the trick.
The bottom line was - as long as I had an income and maintained my work-ethic, they were good to go with whatever I wanted to pursue. I wouldn’t lie but prioritizing my daily chores and working never felt this good and rewarding. Every day (and night), I was pumped to upskill at my new definition of work and give it my all.
Shortly after, I announced to my parents that I had reached break-even with what I was making earlier, all while sitting at home.
Through this time, I started a venture (www.brandxhood.com) that was supposed to grow at a snail’s pace. But, when a college mentor reached out and showed belief in that idea and me, I knew I couldn’t let her down. Viola! I was now dreaming of opening my own firm - BRANDxDASH (COMING SOON)
BRANDxDASH is a data-science backed Brand Intelligence firm empowering organizations to become customer-centric.
You see, I now knew why I was struggling. Money was never a goal for me, for money is just the means and not the end. Instead, it was living a healthy lifestyle that would allow me to make the most of my skills. All it took me was the aftermath of the pandemic to finally realize that what was killing me the most - The inability to live up to my best self.
Stream it with a string of other opportunities, and I made acquaintance with a kind mentor in another continent who patiently heard this whirlwind story of growth and self-belief. One assignment with him, coupled with his belief in my potential, and he ends up offering me way more money than my last drawn salary. He tells me, ‘Devie, please focus on making the most of your time - build your company while you help me build mine,’ and I agreed.
Since the supposed doomsday, I am in the middle of launching three DTC (Direct to Consumer) brands in the Indian market, fostered long-term client relations, stepped on the way to establish other two companies, and made some decent money - all from sitting at home and on my own time.
I am sure entrepreneurship is no joke, and this might be the beginning of another storm, but I am raring to go! In the end, I am going to leave you with this thought.
Right now, with the work you are doing, are you trading in time and effort in exchange for money and a chance to do work you’re proud of?
And just like that, I was done with being haunted by my potential.