Mentor makes a difference!

Rohit was about to enter his Alma Mater when he thought about his carefree time during his college days. It was the best time of his life. He remembered hosting fests, organizing events and putting his college in the forefront. They might have seemed little things back then, but they were all life skills that came to use later on his life — when he started his own event management company that was one of the top 5 in the country presently!

When the principal of his college had called him a week back, he was taken aback by their request. They wanted him to be their chief guest for the graduation ceremony of the 2017 batch. The principal who called him was none other than his favourite teacher who had taught him management, more importantly, to never accept defeat. It was a very overwhelming situation for him. He was asked to be a chief guest at a place that had given him so much! He accepted the proposition and cancelled going to the innumerable meetings that were scheduled that day.

That night he wondered what he would say to the crowd of budding entrepreneurs, managers and executives. Saying his life story was not his style. He liked being humble and keeping his feet on the ground. Maybe he could help them with being successful. He could share the few tips that were given to him and that he had learnt through his experience. From there, every night, Rohit was making drafts after drafts of how he would address the crowd and what he would say to them.

As Rohit entered the auditorium after meeting the current principal, he suddenly became nostalgic. This is where it had all started from. That first time he had failed and people’s laughter rang in his ears as clearly as it did back then. What made him go back on the stage was his professor who pushed him to be better and make his presence felt in a crowd of over-achievers.

There he was now, on the stage looking at that same professor, the same seats and an enthusiastic batch. It was time to make his favourite professor proud again. “On this very stage that I stand today, I failed and I was the laughing stock of the entire college. There was just one person at that time who didn’t laugh at me. He looked me in the eye and asked me to try again next year. I was told that I had to work harder than usual. I had to be dedicated and I had to learn to take failure by my stride. Interestingly, these three value have been the very core of my existence since then. So when this particular person called me and asked me to speak for the college, there was no way I could refuse your current principal!

He asked me to share experiences of being a successful person. I was unsure of what it means to be successful. It is a very subjective topic. For some, success could be being in the Forbes 50 list, while for some, it could be balancing their personal and professional lives. I have realised that in all of these subjective versions, the most important part of success is being humble. Always stand firmly on the ground even when the wind is taking you to the clouds. Because when you stand firmly on the ground, you realise that there is a lot you do not know. This brings me to another point, keep learning. Be a student all your life and then notice how life surprises you and showers the boon of eternal youth. It could be learning a new language or reading up about the latest trends in the market, keep yourself updated to the newest version possible.

Sometimes, it becomes too much to cram all that knowledge in. You deserve a break and you should give yourself one. You could either meditate or practice a sport. I would say there is nothing better than travelling. Travel teaches you a lot but don’t be fooled by pictures on Instagram and other social media sites. Travel when and where you have the finances to travel. Don’t spend all of your money for a world tour. There are necessities that are way more important than travel, such as medical insurance and paying bills on time.

Manage your finances well. Money is what will help you at every point in time. Divide your money into parts and remember to spend after saving. Never make it the other way round.”

Rohit looked at his audience and saw that they were paying attention to every word. He didn’t know what he should let these young bloods experience on their own and what advice should he be giving them. He knew the one mistake everyone made and if that is changed then anyone’s life is set for new opportunities and gains.

“You know what is the biggest and the most common obstacle of success? Procrastination. I will do it tomorrow attitude. If you finish what you have to do for the day, you will be able to do a lot more work. Plus, even your anxiety levels will be lower. But how to things get going, when you have been procrastinating from years? It’s simple- start with setting daily, achievable goals and then managing your time efficiently to fulfill those. These goals leave you with a sense of purpose and self-fulfilment.” suggested Rohit.

He continued, “The best way to be successful is to be confident. It makes people feel that you know what you are doing and they instantly look up to you. Read anything you get your hands on. My experience says that no knowledge goes waste. Reading will also help you in making your writing skills get better, which will help you while you are doing presentations and even in communication through mails.

One skill that I picked up during the process was that of learning to say no. There will be times where you might not want to do something because it goes against your values — say a no at that point. It might seem hard, but it will keep your conscience clear. There could also be times when you would be told to do work that isn’t your responsibility. If you think that it is too much work then learn to say a no.”

Ïn my 15 years of professional life, I have seen more downs than I have seen ups. But with a positive and a never say never attitude I have charged into life. My advice to you would be to experience life and let life teach you most lessons. There are going to be millions like me who will tell you thousands of things, but you are the only one knows whats right for you. Thank you and all the best.”

Rohit climbed down from the stage and saw that the principal had tears in his eyes. He looked at Rohit and was very proud with the man that he had become.

After handing out the degrees to all the students and wishing them luck for their future, Rohit walked around his old college campus, taking in all the memories and all the laughter that had enveloped him. His professor joined him below the Tamarind tree, Rohit’s favourite adda. “I am very proud of you Rohit. I always knew that you were meant to stand out.” said the professor. Rohit said, “With values that you have taught me sir, there is no way I could go wrong in my life.Thank you so much for those wise words on that fateful day.”

Both of them smiled and Rohit took leave of his professor only to realize that his sense of gratitude would never decrease for his all time favorite professor.

PGC is a boutique Management Consulting firm engaged in the business of enabling its clients to transform their Org, Culture & Capabilities.