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December 2019

My Hero of 2019

Friends as we draw curtains on 2019 and ready to welcome the new decade with 2020 time couldn't be more apt to share amazing life experiences that life must have bestowed upon us in the year going by. Allow me to share one that I had during 2019.

Source of learnings can be anything and anywhere provided we are wearing the lens to see through these. We can learn in a university classroom from a teacher, from a coach in a curated learning and development program or simply from people around us in the university of life. It is the last one where our learning could not only be more profound but stay with us for life since we have been part of the experience. Amongst numerous such enabling experiences that 2019 blessed me with I wanted to share one that I had with one of my colleagues at Client Associates.

This was in the month of October when I was visiting our Bangalore office. I had my final meeting planned at Central Bangalore in late afternoon at 4 pm so that I have enough time to leave by 5 pm to reach the airport by 6:30 pm for a flight which was at 7:30 pm. Despite this planning as per Murphy's law when things have to go wrong they certainly will. The meeting was flowing well. It was getting very well received with more interest and queries from our guests than we had imagined. The time from 4 to 5 pm time just flew and soon I realised its time to wrap up in line with our time planning. But despite that it took us additional 30 min to close. During this time I had requested my colleague to book an Uber while I focus on concluding. Thanks to erratic network Uber took forever to come by and by the time we finished it was already 5:30 pm with no Uber to transport me from Indira Nagar to Bangalore airport which at that time of the day would have taken anything between 60 to 90 minutes.

Responding to the situation my generous colleague decided to take the charge to drop me to the airport in his car. Accepting that it was the only visible and reliable choice that we had we took off under the guidance of google which by then was showing arrival time of 6:55 pm and it was a shot worth taking since the match had stretched to the final over and not the final ball as yet. As luck would have it with the evening rush hours beginning the traffic started crawling up and so did our very dear google which was showing now an arrival time of 7:10 pm very much going beyond the final ball when you are flying Indigo who take pride in leaving you behind if you don't reach the boarding gate 20 minutes before the take off time.

It was time to pivot and think beyond the obvious which was google in this case. My colleague switched to another app which showed an alternate route to the airport which was shorter and showing our arrival time as 7 pm while I kept tracking google. So we gave ourselves the benefit of multiple sources of reality which could help us navigate through the crunch time. Once we crossed the busy section of the city and hit the access control road and the expected time of arrival still being 7 pm we knew we'll make it. Thanks to some spirited, skilled and safe driving by my colleague we improved upon the estimated arrival time to 6:55 pm just to be surprised by the last leg of our adventure. The final approach road to the Bangalore airport now had a diversion which even google hadn't anticipated. Such are the realities of life! Thanks to that last minute surprise I could reach only at 7 pm and had no more than 10 minutes to enter the airport, go pass the security and reach the boarding gate. I had no other option but to run all through. It was important for me to make it to the flight not just for my sake but more importantly for my colleague's sake as it was his effort which should have won us this match against time. Therefore, having come this far the last thing that I wanted was to miss my flight. So I ran and to my surprise I had zero wait time at entrance or security as everyone helped me to reach my destination and gave me a preferred access. Even the elevator to the level below came just in time with no other passengers as if custom made for me. And here I was boarding amongst the last block of passengers. The first thing that I did after making the cut was to share the good news with my colleague. He deserved to know the first that we have won the match.

So friends what are the life lessons which we could draw from this life experience. There are quiet a few. Firstly, despite all the planning there could be last minute surprises at ground zero therefore it's good to budget for enough reaction time to come up with plan B. Secondly, there must always be a plan B which in this case was the decision taken by my colleague to drop me to the airport. Had that plan not been there I would have missed the goal certainly. However, even as you latch on to the plan B you have to be hands on as you execute it to ensure you accomplish your goals. You have to keep tracking the real time data to ensure the required run rate. You have to keep improvising your execution strategy in response to the dynamic times that we live in. Next and most importantly as you play the game of life you have to stay calm, cool and collected. Pressure situations combined with a cool and focussed mind gets the best out of us. While I could imagine that my colleague must have been under tremendous pressure to deliver on time since it was him who was behind the wheel and not me but sitting next to him I couldn't tell that there was any storm brewing at the seat next to me. There was no panic. Belief that we shall be able to make it despite 90 minutes to prove it this or that way made us go all the way racing against time minute by minute. Had belief not been there we would have accepted defeat and made it a reality. Lastly and most importantly unless you are surrounded by superb people in your life you'll on your own will never be able to fly. Such people help you provide a solution in terms of a plan B. They have the intent to execute it minute by minute with a calm mind without getting intimidated by constraints around them because they are driven by the belief of making the cut. Such people are true enablers who are able to help us fly.

If we look around then we all are blessed to have such wonderfully enabling souls around us. They could be our family at home or they could be our family at our workplace or they could be simply our friends. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such souls in my life who give me the wings to fly. They make me who I am. They make me run to work everyday and sleep well every night. They are my real life coaches from whom I learn every single day. Their positive intent and belief is a daily fuel that I need to refill. They are the real super heroes of my life.

Thank you family at home, work and friends for being around and making 2019 another very special year of my life. The flights that you boarded me on in 2019 have already set an excitement for the ones that you'll make me board in 2020. Am ready to take off yet again and so I believe you would be too.

Warmest wishes for a relaxed closure of 2019 around your loved ones. May you collect the best moments of your life over next few days.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Rohit Sarin