As a Life Coach, Corporate Trainer and Keynote Speaker I travel to different cities for training assignments. On my journeys, I love to interact with people to know more about them as am intrigued by different personalities and people I meet. In one such train journey recently to Rajasthan, I met a woman who had great clarity of thought and sense of purpose.
Her name was Aayat. She used to make decorative items and sell it to local businesses where tourists would frequently visit to buy Rajasthani artefacts. But this was not the introduction she gave to me when we first got chatting. She just said with a beaming smile “Hi I am Aayat. I am a housewife”. The way she said it was very different. There was a great sense of pride in her voice and a serenity on her face that was unparalleled. I could easily comprehend that she was extremely happy being a homemaker. While talking to me she was doing some embroidery work and I absolutely loved it. On asking her if she was making it for some family member she said,” I make these decorative items and sell them to shop owners. My mother had taught me how to make these things and I was good at it. So after getting free from my family duties, in my spare time I make these items and sell it off. It gives me a sense of freedom and also helps me get some extra money which I save for my children’s future and as a safety net for any unforeseen circumstances.”
She had started this business only a couple of years back. She had 2 kids, her daughter was in 6th standard and son was in 3rd standard. She used to be alone in the afternoons and didn’t want to just waste time sleeping or watching TV. So she started making small items like diyas, toran, artificial jewellery etc. and sell it to other Moms in the neighbourhood. One of them had a relative who had a small retail shop and liked what Aayat made. From there on, the business picked up and now she is selling these in around 10 shops. She also has employed 2 other women and has trained in various aspects of her business. When I asked her about her goals in terms of revenues and profits she said something that really made me think about business in a different way.
“Rabab, I am more keen on doing good work and I don’t mind taking it slow. If I reach the revenue targets in 3 years or 5 years doesn’t matter. The more important thing is I should enjoy the process. I make things to the best of my ability and ensure that I pay salaries on time. These are 2 of my main goals. If I am able to do both of them without compromising my family time, I am happy.” Her goal was very clear; she was doing it as a side business. For her, the family came first and didn’t want to take it up full time. She added, “That doesn’t mean that I do not want to expand my business. I work very hard for it, but I am not fixated on the monetary gains. If I work hard enough, enjoy what I do and give a good quality product the success will follow. I am not worried about the competition. Each one has their own goals and objectives. Mine is about doing good work with good people and the other things will fall in place.”
Then came another great piece of insight from her when I asked her about her idea of success.” For me, success is the answer to 2 very simple questions – Is my today better than yesterday? And will my tomorrow be better than today? If the answer to both these questions is yes then, that’s good enough for me.”
What an amazing way to define success!
But then I was curious about her idea about how much improvement is good enough. When I asked her about this there was a slight smile on her face. Probably she was expecting the question. “That would depend on your objectives. You will have to define how much is enough. It also depends on how much you are ready to go out of your comfort zone. For me, starting this business, meeting people, hiring people, packaging, delivering everything at some point or the other was out of my comfort zone. But you take it up as a challenge, stretch yourself and soon you will find that what felt like uncomfortable at some point of time might become a part of you. It is like playing a game. First, you start as a hobby, then you play with kids bigger than you, then probably at an interschool level, then state level, national level etc. At each stage, you will be out of your comfort zone at some point in time but if you believe in yourself and work hard enough soon you will start progressing. Also, one should not just sit on their laurels. Once you achieve one set of goals, set another. Then start your journey towards achieving these new set of goals. Each journey will be beautiful and will help you learn a lot of new things, so enjoy the journey. It is as important as the destination.”
“My father always used to tell me Aayat spread your wings and just fly. Explore the world –the outer one as well as your inner one. Believe in yourself and you will do great” That was the last thing she said before we exchanged contact details and parted ways.My station was just around the corner, and had to discontinue this awesome conversation. It was one of the very few times I talked less and listened more, but nevertheless, it was great.
In the coming days I found myself thinking about this chance encounter with Aayat and the things we discussed. It is so true, that if we believe in ourselves, we can climb mountains, cross oceans or touch the sky. As Henry Ford said,
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
We need to believe in our abilities and take that leap of faith, spread our wings and fly.
Have you come across such people in your life who have a different definition or a unique take on things and which has changed your perception about those concepts? If yes, write to me about these unique characters and some of their “hatke” philosophy in life.