Monday, January 13, 2014

Reflections and Interests: Approaching 2014

2014 has started and I have allowed myself a bit of a leeway, all the days, to gradually settle into a plan.

My agenda has already been set by 2013: I have perhaps irreversibly committed myself to set up a global education business. This is a complex enterprise which will take many partnerships and linkages, and will only slowly come into shape. However, I see now that my life is inextricably linked to this - in a way, this is what I have been doing since 1999 and this took me more than a decade to get it fully going - and all my plans revolve around this central enterprise now. Indeed, in the course of 2014, I expect the shape of the business to change. This is a large scale enterprise requiring deep connections and flow of capital, and indeed, 2014 may be a year of building those strategic partnerships or even mergers, but whatever the organisational future may be, this seems to be what I shall be doing for a very long time.

This, in turn, shapes my personal agenda as well. This is not just work: This has now become my identity. This is not an enterprise just to make money, though it should sure generate a profit for its investors and partners to remain viable. But, at the core, this is about creating an enterprise which attacks the problem of global education, creates a framework for truly global learning that works. This task has a large personal preparation element as well. There is no let off, so to say: If this has to be done, this needs a commitment of all my waking moments.

Having said that, I take to heart Doris Kearns Goodwin's lessons from life of Abraham Lincoln that one must seek to balance love, work and play. To some, my life may seem incredibly boring because I have taken on this one goal, which is bigger than myself, and for many years, I have been living a somewhat obsessed life just to pursue this. Some people indeed complained that I forgot to play, and that I neglected family and friends. This is my big task of 2014, and that is not to seek a balance of work and life (because my work has become my life) but to bring it all together, so that my commitment to family, work and play all lead to the same destination.

How I do that I don't know yet. Usually distrustful of management guru stuff, I have taken on Robin Sharma's concept of 'Holy Hour' though: I am now getting up very early in the morning to allow myself an hour of exercise, learning and journalling (this post is one of those) to charge my mental abilities and getting ready for the day. But I think engaging is a great way to bringing back the balance in life: Making friends not with those who happen to just happen to be there, but with those who are on the same journey but needs seeking out; and engaging family and friends in the enterprise of one's work rather than trying to erect artificial boundaries between the two; learning those skills and abilities that engage the mind, because if the mind is focused, it will automatically seek out things which it needs, rather than one has to consciously directing it to useful things. (This happens to me a lot - I shall read a history book and often will end up bringing it out in context when talking about work)

And, finally, this is also part of my enterprise to go home too. As I have always said, I wish to go back to India. But this is not about just leaving Britain and going home, but to craft a journey, just as I did while coming here, making the pieces fall in place and being able to construct a meaningful return and meaningful existence thereafter. My project remains, at its heart, my commitment to my roots. 

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