By | Anand Bhaskar | Jt. President & CHRO Adani Airports
I would like to share today an experiment that I have been doing with myself for the last few years. My invitation to all of you is not to judge the experiment but stay with the process to understand. The experiment is about being a nobody and nothing.
When I left my corporate job in 2015 as CHRO for Sapient and started a venture, I went through a lot of emotions regarding my identity. Was I now just Anand Bhaskar or an ex-CHRO or something else? When I had to wait for hours at receptions to meet clients to demo my product, I wondered if I had lost all respect and stature by doing what I was doing? I rejoiced at the thought that my success as an entrepreneur would change it all with time. As years passed, I started getting more comfortable with the notion that I was a nobody from a somebody. I met many so-called friends, who appreciated my product and my journey; but never gave me any business. I detested them at first but soon learnt that most people don’t tell you what they truly think. They only tell you what is nice to say and probably what we want to hear. Interestingly, I got most job orders from people who didn’t know me at all. They had met me for the first time, loved my passion, product and the idea of what I was doing. Eventually, I did get orders and was able to do a true-blue startup, though a small one.
Today’s story is not about my startup but my experiment with being a nobody and nothing. Though I should admit that had I not been an entrepreneur, I would not been able to do this experiment. As an entrepreneur running an unknown entity called Planet Ganges, I was truly a nobody and nothing. Earlier, I had gotten comfortable with the notion of being identified by my company brand name, my CXO title, having a car & a driver wait for me, a secretary book my meetings etc. It wasn’t an easy reconciliation in my head. It was hard for the first few years as my ego got in the way. I felt I wasn’t being valued/respected enough etc. It took me some time to realise all these brands and titles I flaunted were never truly mine to start with. I created a false sense of pride and connection with them; to satisfy my esteem needs inside of me. As I continued to do so, I started to believe somewhere inside that I was the brand or title; while I actually wasn’t. So, what did I do? I decided consciously remove any connection between my perceived image and my self-esteem. I started working on connecting who I actually was with my self-esteem. Over the last few years, I am happy that am a nobody and nothing. My current title or my position, or my perceived status means & feels nothing to me. Being a nobody doesn’t feel like an identity crisis either (as a few may think). It feels truly liberating and light.
My life lesson from this experiment is – “working on oneself to move the locus of control (of one’s self-esteem) from outside to an anchor inside of one-self is both helpful and liberating”