“In the Midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer” -CamusRashi Bhargava
Things do not always go as planned in life. My second lay off in 2012 came as a big disruptor. Suffering and challenges in life can serve as a springboard for a deeper experience of happiness. How we respond to life’s challenges is the key. Negative painful experiences are often there to motivate us, challenge us and polish our own inner lives.
Acceptance was up to me too and I decided to take this as an opportunity. For me this professional crisis was a self-discovery process. And it is still work in progress. 😊
In my mid 30’s lay-off was not an easy thing to be in when you work in an industry which had direct linkage with stock markets, and you had become an expensive resource in sales. It presented psychological and social hurdles you least expect.
But surprisingly it put me in a happy space and gave me a lot of ME time. First 10 years of my career were full of ups and downs, relationship issues, discontentment with folks over marriage and the list goes on.
Practicing a lot of gratitude set the tone for my next 10 years of career which has been nothing short of an amazing roller coaster ride. Additionally it marks triumph over adversities, some amazing relationships and life encounters that left a deep impact. From an introvert in crisis I was transforming into a magnet that finally started attracting a lot of people, the right kind of people. Clients who had been with me since the start of my entrepreneurial journey in financial services witnessed these changes and were taken aback by Rashi 2.0 who was clear, focused and exhibited aura.
The transition from a brooding, unhappy Rashi to Rashi 2.0 had a lot of elements to it .In that context 2013 was a watershed year for me. I started making concrete efforts in deepening my understanding about Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism.
2013 was the only year when my back didn’t trouble me in my 10 years of journey of back pain. It was 2013 that I DEFIED my folks and decided not to look for a safe salary job but give birth to my baby SBS FIN. As Seth Godin said, “If it scares you, it might be a good things to try” To me the decision was like If not then when?
2013 was also the year I let my heart rule and went all out to volunteer for a cause which was dear to me since my school days. My folks at home freaked at this new me. They just couldn’t understand why I would like to stand in sun/rain and do volunteer work, sweat it out and take part in a flash mob outside the Meteorological department.
I was inducted as a volunteer in Greenpeace with my first campaign Switch on the Sun on 5th June 2013, which we all celebrated as World Environment Day. Joining this crazy bunch of people, mostly Millennials was the best decision I took in my life. Volunteering at Greenpeace was an amazing journey. The volunteering experience brought sweeping changes from within. The outside environment started responding to these changes.
It is said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. I found my life’s purpose of serving others, building relationships, making a difference. Shifting focus from my joblessness to focus on making a difference to the city I LOVE, THE PLANET earth I live had a powerful effect on me. How much power I could yield provided I had the intent was unfathomable!
Working with strangers gave me the confidence, clarity, and focus required to become Rashi 2.0. More importantly, my volunteering experience helped me find greater joy in life, re-discover my mission. It was like I found my spark and spunk. A bunch of millennials running the show at Greenpeace, Delhi were huge influencers in my change of thinking. I was taken aback by their swag and confidence, clarity, and focus.
When things were not clear my job as a volunteer gave me a purpose, a reason to be alive, kicking, and Being Happy. Working FROM HOME IS never easy. My experience as a volunteer taught me self-discipline which led to stability and steadiness in my thought process and the way I wanted to raise my baby SBS Fin cutting the external noises. In short, Volunteering ignited my passion and ambitions.
Following are my Lessons from Volunteering that Shaped my Life – Personally & Professionally:
- It broadens my exposure and experience to life, in short added depth to my life.
- In ensured that anyone makes a difference and I witnessed that firsthand.
- It teaches that gratefulness should be practiced as a habit. Saying no to Coal and fighting for Mahan forests made me realize this.
- Experiencing life outside your comfort zone, made me realize how privileged my life has been.
- Volunteering is a choice. How you respond to the world and your choices affect other people. The smallest actions can cause a ripple effect of positive change. Switch on the sun campaign -my first campaign as a volunteer in case.
- We are stronger than we think. I was surprised by my own strength.
- Appreciation for what we have.
- Money is not the only thing in life. My folks could not understand why I would like to work as a volunteer over the weekend after slogging for SBS Fin during weekdays. Doing something meaningful, making new friends is as important as making money.
- It helped me create connections and build networks.
- I learnt to create impact through visuals and placards.
- Learnt a lot about social media.
- Helped super charge my existing talents.
- Strenghten my compassion for others.
- New sense of purpose, Greater happiness, and fulfillment. A sense of accomplishment that I am contributing towards creating a positive change for the benefit of mankind.
- Teamwork and collaboration-Shriram Millennium kiosk at their Annual Science fair (Feb 2014) case in point.
- Honed my organizing and managing skills.
Due to my increased responsibilities as primary caregiver for my mom, I had to say bye to my volunteering. But I walked away with lifetime memories, new connections, compassionate heart, positive attitude, open mind. Volunteering impart skills and lessons that are priceless which can be used in the corporate world.
Covid19 brought back my volunteering acumen and I am constantly striving and excelling as a volunteer for online collaborations among professionals, ranging from knowledge sharing, wellness, skill building etc.
Volunteering has a lot of benefits to the cause you pick and your ownself. This environment day, let us take our lessons in stride and pledge to volunteer.
Happy Environment Day ☺