Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 1

I had a rather terrible start of my 100 day project - my alarm clock died! Well, I set it up for 6am, and managed to get up only at 7:30, so by the time I came to rescue it, the poor Chinese free-giveaway clock was at its last gasp.

Then I opened my mailbox and was presented with my last month's mobile bill. I usually clock about £20 a month, but this time, it would be £102, all because of an inadvertent call to my sister spanning 50 minutes on my birthday, which cost me £80 by itself. The sad fact is that I never made that call; it was my mobile phone inside my bag, with an unlocked keypad, which decided to dial the number.

After this fairly tragic start, I set out to do an agenda for the day. This is something which always helped me - listing out all the things I want to do and wish to do. I learnt a lot of this from my former supervisor at NIIT, who made endless lists for almost everything she handled, and amazingly, followed all the lists and mostly achieved everything she planned to achieve. I realized now that given the terrible state I am in, my first priority would be to get organized.

Setting the agenda worked a bit. I prioritized on my visa application - as this is complicated and I am absolutely on a deadline and my current visa runs out on 20th June. A call to my visa consultant brought some good news, that they are happy with the documentation [finally] and they are sending this over to the Home Office. This process has been terribly demanding, due to the rather lethal combination of inconsistency at Home Office, and the callousness my employers treated me with. It was only a late intervention by one of the directors saved my day, and I shall surely remain grateful to her for that. But this was terrible - I was told that I would not be given an employment contract after I joined the company, and the whole issue remained unresolved for more than six months - which created complications in my record keeping and my National Insurance contribution. As I paused and thought about this for a moment, I also realized one big flaw in my character, that I am not assertive enough - I should have walked out there and then, and this whole willy-nilly thing about loving the project has no value in the real world. But, anyway, this is past and this is sorted now, and time for me to move on. Point noted - I am sure I am not going to make the same mistake again - and hopefully this should add into my change agenda.

Let me return to the list. The great thing about starting with a list is that as you do one or two things in the list, you tend to get a momentum. That's exactly happened to me. The next thing on the agenda was to complete the Partner contracts, which I immediately set out to do, and amazingly, got this sorted out in a few hours. That is the power of few 'focused' hours! I haven't been able to do this for almost a month, always missing commitments on this. But now, suddenly, I have an working copy in my hand, and I felt significantly upbeat by the mid-day.

Which made me go out for lunch! Something that was unthinkable at the beginning of the day! I knew Mark Simpson, the Sales Director of Linguaphone, for many years now, and he has always been kind and helpful. It was always a pleasure meeting him, and I relished the opportunity today to meet him for lunch and talk to him through the business problem that I have at hand. Essentially, it is a business model issue which I need to solve - something that I would love to solve and almost know the answer to - but it is my lack of motivation that's coming on the way. I am in a situation where we have a clear problem and an outline of a solution, but no one who is interested to listen and help out. So, I tried Mark, and as one would guess, he was surprisingly receptive to what I had to say. He can't solve the problem for me - this is something I need to sort out at my end - but it is a good start to be able to talk to Mark and get his words of advise.

So, after lunch, amazingly, I discovered how much of my problems actually sit inside me. By then, I was upbeat and positive, and a fairly disappointing interaction over email with our accountant [my interaction with accountants were always disappointing - possibly the accountants are trained to use their imagination in only one way, for evil things] could not diminish my spirits. By then, I have decided to give it a go - a final push to this business without having the trappings of expectations. I have always derided the short-termism among the business executives; however, I could see that a pure short-term approach is invariably helpful to feel free of baggage. I have now set myself a short-term goal, slightly beyond the 100 days but not much further, and decided to throw everything at it before an exit. Yes, exit, as I was reminded the golden rule of exit, as practised by Australian cricketers. Exit when everyone asks why you are going; not when they question why you should not.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Last Words

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

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