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BW Businessworld

Column: Dreams and Decisions

Clarity of purpose and unfailing pursuit of goals in both your personal and professional life should be your driving life energy

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Life’s experiences have been far grander than I would have imagined. What would I have advised myself to do at the age of 35 years, now that I know that the choices I made have proved to be the right ones? Well, I would advise myself to have more confidence in my decisions.

I have had to choose paths under some very adverse circumstances. But I listened to my heart and took bold and often unconventional action at almost every turning point of my life.

And that’s why I stand where I am today.

Career First

I chose to pursue my career with a vengeance when my husband passed away when I was 33 years old. I decided that my very young children of seven and three would be just fine with their caring grandparents even if their only surviving parent was absent most of the time. I decided to drop all hobbies and have only two priorities: work and children, in that order. I have lived to be very pleased with the outcome of my choices.

I always consciously had to take stock of what I need to keep me going and what I believed will make my children proud of their mother and, more importantly, proud of themselves. My career was no simple upward spiral either. Although I worked for the ICICI group for 23 years, I took the risk of grabbing risky opportunities that came along in the group. I had to constantly navigate through the maze of professional choices and seek the unknown to create a niche for myself. When I abandoned a comfortable position in the bank to pursue e-commerce activities in 1999 and later move on to a subsidiary company called ICICI Venture, to many professionals who were my friends and well-wishers, these choices seemed suicidal career moves.

Confidence In Me

In retrospect, each of those seemingly pointless career moves have proved to be the important rungs in the ladder that I have climbed to having a successful private equity firm, Multiples, of my own making today.

When I was 35 I could not have dreamt that the marketplace would know and recognise me by name. My aspiration was to climb the corporate ladder with consistent performance and secure the family financially. Pursuing my goals doggedly over decades and letting good things happen beyond my dreams pivoted my life.

Looking back therefore, I wish I had taken the same decisions without the stress, extreme anxiety and doubts I experienced. I could not accept and live with the idea that some or many of my decisions could have proven to be wrong over time.There was an inhuman self inflicted-pressure to be right all the time.

I can say today that each one of the choices we make either through a sub-conscious or conscious process is always the best choice for each of us. There is no need to evaluate yourself every day. The choices that you make are for a long-term outcome and therefore subjecting those decisions to a weekly or even a yearly scorecard would only confuse you. And there is a possibility that you would deviate from your long-term goals. In other words, life is not an exam you pass at frequent intervals but about living to your fullest potential. It is just about exploring confidently what you want to do.

When you are young, you nurture a few fantasies and you imagine that those fantasies are your birthright. Every blip such as not getting a job you wanted or your child not getting into a preferred school seems as if you have been wronged. In the worst of personal circumstances, not losing sight of the bigger game plan is what helped me stay my course and achieve my full potential.

Unexpected Opportunities
So life is not about your dreams coming true but about how maturely you respond to unexpected opportunities and threats that come along the way and how you use them as your stepping stones to reach a higher echelon of self-actualisation.

Clarity of purpose and unfailing pursuit of goals in both your personal and professional life should be your driving life energy. Treat the obstacles that may come your way as useful tools to deepen your convictions. It is good to remind yourself that merely because you have become a wife or a mother the you in you need not cease to exist.

For women particularly, this becomes a daily battle as your time has competing claims from family, children and your own professional pursuits. I wish I knew then as surely as I know now that nobody needs your time and physical presence as much as you imagine. Everyone around you, including your children, is busy with his or her own choices. If you are transparent and articulate, you will find that everyone around you will adjust to accommodate your plans.

And finally, in your journey of achieving your full potential there are many enablers. Your colleagues, friends and family are part of your story and not incidental to it. Relax and “chill,” and enjoy the journey.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Renuka Ramnath

The author is MD and CEO, Multiples Alternate Asset Management

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