My father used to tell me, a pole vaulter uses the pole to gain height and lift off the ground. But, if she wishes to cross the bar, she cannot afford to keep holding on to the pole. She needs to let go of it! What got her so high up, will become what will keep her crossing the bar.
For many years, I never understood exactly why he told me this story.
As a young MBA graduate, I was filled with many dreams and ambitions. I did a stint in an MNC and got a taste of the corporate world for a few years. Sooner than later, my marwari nature (Marwari’s are a community that hails from Rajasthan, India, where children grow up listening to worlds like interest rates, profit, return on investment, almost from the time they are conceived) got the better of me and I departed from the corporate world to start an innovative venture with my artist mother.
Fast forward a decade. As I look back, we were very successful in launching at least two lines of products that have attracted interest globally. Every single person who sees it tells us we are onto something brilliant. We have exported to 14 countries, had more than 50 points of sale across India, doing a healthy clip of online sales, regularly have interns from design schools in India and abroad, have collaborated with artists and designers, and have worked with the best of architects and designers in India. We do some beautiful and innovative work.
Yet, the truth is we never made it as big and as profitable as we should have. Our growth stagnated. As I look back, I realise I never took any ‘leaps of faith’. I could analyse a lot, I could make plans, and I could create plan B’s brilliantly well. But, I didn’t put enough skin in the game. I never made any significant financial investment. My inaction on that front held us back.
Analysing and planning can get me only upto a certain point. Beyond that, I have to let go, and take the plunge.
I had gone bungee jumping. It cost Rs.500 to buy the ticket. I climbed up a 500 stepped steel tower and reached the platform from where the jump would be made. There, I saw a sign that read “You paid Rs.500 to reach till here. The jump is free!"
Intellect, analysis, planning, can get me till that platform. Beyond that, only ‘faith’ works. I have to jump. No one is going to push me to carry me.
I can never know with 100% confidence what the outcome will be. Things may go wrong, horribly wrong. Will it kill me or will I be able to bounce back? Even if I fail, what will I have gained? Will the journey be worth it? These questions have helped me take decisions after I reached the point where I could see no further.
In choosing a life partner. In choosing a career. In spirituality. In business. In friendship. Analysis and faith are both equally important. But a point comes when analysis has to be dropped, and action has to be taken.
Today I’m ready to make the leap of faith. We are investing to create a digital platform for the youth. A few brilliant minds are coming together to make it happen. Analysis has happened, risk assessment has happened, some plans are in place. Now comes the ‘leap’!
I know it will be worth it! Thank you for reading!