Twenty years ago, I decided I was going to be a banker and gave up on my old love which was writing and reading. I did the same old rookie mistake of forgetting about my passion and hobbies and focussed only on my career. It was making me money, how could I not? So I got buried deep into the world of banking, and I thought I was doing myself a word of good. I worked for the greatest brands in banking and was doing reasonably well. I knew I could climb the corporate ladder faster, but knew it was not for me entirely. I also wanted to enjoy my family and life in general. So I thought I was making strategic choices in my career. But in reality, all I did was settle for less, work excessively and get paid less than I deserved. I spent a lot of convincing myself that it was for the greater good and that I had to look at the bigger picture, but a part of me was dying inside.
Dying because I settled for less, allowing people to walk all over me, call the shots and decide my life for me. I was working for the big brands, and it gave my ego a colossal stroke, but at the same time, it was dimming my light. I always knew I wanted to be a working mum and financially independent, and I loved the world of finance. So I stuck through it all.
I also was one of those who held cliches like ‘Hard work is the key to success’, and ‘An idle mind is the devils workshop’ close to my heart. These cliches do not work well in the corporate world. Those ideals of hard work, resilience and determination did not take me soaring to the stars, but down below, designated as the department donkey, which means the one who did all the work without complaining. I was the one who asked for more work because it made me feel capable. The ones who dished out their work to me worked ‘smart’—in the lingo of the corporate world, working smart means kissing butt or networking or getting to know the whos of who of the bank to get their promotions and career advances. While, all I saw, despite running myself ragged was the feedback that I was a hard worker and efficient, but I wasn’t visible enough! Why being visible wasn’t part of KPI’s, I don’t know. Probably would have worked on it then!
I heard this time and again and didn’t learn much, because I held on to my ideals hard and tight, till such a time, I felt disillusioned.
I changed careers to become a teacher hoping a job which moulded the next generation could light up my spark. But I learnt that the field of education had its share of demons. Thoroughly disillusioned, I focussed on another personal venture trying to make some sense of all I knew.
Through that, I learnt I loved the world of finance. There was something about it that lighted my soul, but I didn’t want to do it cut-throat, corporate style. I wanted to be’ me’. So I decided to do it on my terms. I didn’t have the know-how but was determined to find out.
In my confusion and despair, I started working for a broker for three days a week. It wasn’t a fulfilling job, but it ticked other boxes, so I stuck with it. In my despair and in trying to find life’s true meaning, I turned to my true love- books and started reading books on Psychology, Philosophy and Spirituality, which in turn inspired me to write. I started writing for forums and started my journaling practice, and from that, I realised that the answer lay right in front of me.
I had been in the mortgage industry for most of my career in banking. I had even worked for a broker helping him with admin. What if I could be a mortgage broker? Mortgages was something I loved; it would be on my terms; it could compensate me adequately financially as well.
I soon got certified, licensed and became a self-employed mortgage broker. As much as I loved it, it came with the sense of responsibility, that I was responsible for the client’s mortgage, and their hopes and dreams associated with it. Some part of me wanted to run away because it is scary being accountable for others hopes and dreams. I learnt that when you work for others and things go wrong, you always have others to point fingers at. As an entrepreneur, it is all on you- the good, the bad and the ugly. Writing once again helped me work through my fears and anxiety about it, and now I have overcome them. Soon I started my blog, and now write for publications and also do mortgage advice.
I believe a hobby or passion helps you thrive, become bigger than life, look at the bigger picture rather than just focussing on one area of life. It brings out your strengths and helps you navigate through your weaker areas. It teaches you what you want from life and what you absolutely won’t stand for. It uncovers areas of yourself that are buried deep within you. It makes you whole, continuously evolving, yet grounded.
Wouldnt you want such an ally by your side? I hope my journey inspires you to follow suit. Ask yourself what is your life hobby and passion? Are you giving it the time it deserves? It is there for a reason- To take to great heights. Could you not keep it at the backburner?