Stand Up To Live

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 “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” – Henry David Thoreou.

I’ve spend about two decades, as was expected at several work assignments, in motivating and inspiring people to perform to excellence. This was in often being handed charge of the weakest or most troublesome ones – with ‘attitude problems’ as was commonly termed, in the system. But I’ve always looked at, preparing my wards not just for the job at hand but for a lifetime – by trying my best to instill ethics, values, drive, and ambition in them, to succeed and soar in life. This was by respecting each one, even when the organization and external training departments would give them to me as a last resort before showing them the door, either due to poor performance in the tests or misbehaviour. This after telling me at times, I was free to ask them to quit right away if I did not see they had a chance to sustain the long haul. But I never disclosed to these so called ‘misfits’ why they were sent to my department, rather I treated them at par with my smartest staff, thus making them first believe in themselves, and that they really matter.

These people in time grew wings – strengthening which, learned to fly and moved to other departments or jobs. How then, having viewed for myself – what trust and belief in a person – thereby in oneself, can do to ones confidence and performance levels, could I not follow this learning for myself when I took up writing seriously. This was even when no one was willing to give me a chance at it, what with the greatest critic and resistance at home.  I kept telling myself, I can, I must, I can, I must. 🙂

Now let me share another case of my confidence in the philosophy – of persisting when no one will believe in you, more you do not find the value you’re seeking: After a year or so working in an airline, this after a stint with a travel company, I decided to test my intelligence and numerical skills and aptitude, by applying and joining a bank, that too one as large and reputed as Bank Of America. After six months of working there, though having won the trust and confidence of my boss who not only appreciated, also demonstrated to others as examples he intended to make mandatory – my organisational skills in handling documents – be it cheques, the vault and stuff, also cash,  I was bored to death of the job.

This was more, since meeting the sales team of the airline I had just left, at a New Year’s eve party at a premium club and being teased by the Head – that I must surely be bored at the bank after the airline stint. He told me now, that I had left just when there was a great opportunity coming my way, from a new plan. He knew well of my previous travel company stint from clients and thus knew I would not be kept at the job I had joined at the airline for long, unless elevated soon. Thus lured, I decided to return to the airline. Now when I handed in my resignation at the bank, I was summoned to the Vice President’s cabin, after my boss could not convince me to stay on.

“You see when you join a new job, your equity falls to zero or so at the start, that it why you tend to want to return to your comfort zone and a growth certainty” said the middle aged, elegant looking man with curly hair and steel rimmed glasses.

He was looking into my eyes earnestly, also in seeking my trust in his words, from lifting his head from the notepad on which he was graphically sketching this to explain, convince, and thus retain me at the bank. In response to my silence, he began to draw with firmer strokes on the sheet again and continued to speak.

“If you will only allow some time to cross the most difficult stage of unease and uncertainty at the new job, when people have not yet learned or appreciated your skills – for which you will have to diligently prove your worth over time, you will see that your equity at the new job will double and grow manifold. This is taking into consideration your past experiences too, that others here at your current level do not have.”

In spite of being totally convinced with his words, more so with an elevated sense of esteem and confidence now from his sincerity, I returned to work for the airline. As I had already accepted the offer letter and promised to return and join immediately. But I never forgot the valuable lesson that I learned from the bank’s VP that would stand me in good stead through out my career in changing industries several times, but much more when I would give it all up for an untried climb.

When I started to write initially, people would treat me like I was a fresher, as one taking up a new job, this even after two decades of my corporate communications – by way of emails and reports even to top level executives as a head hunter being well appreciated. It was like any writer, blogger, journalist (I tend to meet plenty in being married to one) even with a few months or a couple of years of experience, acted like they were so superior – ready to advice and talk with a condescending air. After all, I was the ‘wannabe’ writer, while they were one. But I swallowed my pride every time from the comments, in all maturity, and stuck my ground quietly, recalling the BankAm VP’s words – that they could not take away all the experiences I bring to my writing, can they? One day, that’s going to give me headway over all those literature students, and long time writers, who mocked me, I am confident.

So never allow anyone to steal your esteem and self confidence even if you are a late bloomer or entrant to any vocation or creative pursuit…just keep marching steadily. Soon you will leave peoples taunts, laughter, smirks, even those who then tend to ignore you out of insecurity…you will walk onto a carpet of acceptance and then cheer. As for the laughing, mocking, bleating brigade, who’ve obviously never tried anything themselves but the mundane…they will find other scapegoat. 🙂

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