In our new series Leadership From Failure, this week, we highlight what entrepreneurs and leaders have learned from their mistakes and how they have used failure as a stepping stone to become leaders and role models. Today, we hear from Padmaja Ruparel, Co- Founder, Indian Angel Network (IAN).
Padmaja Ruparel heads one of the largest groups of angel investors that comprises successful entrepreneurs and dynamic CEOs from India and abroad. An angel investor herself, the 56-year-old is also Founding Partner of IAN Fund that provides seed stage funding.
Padmaja’s experience comprises stints in corporate entities, M&As, and startups/early-stage companies. She spent 16 years with Xansa India. Padmaja also revived and scaled her family’s real estate business in Kolkata. She is also part of multiple councils and boards such as the Governing Council of EM3 Services, National Expert Advisory Committee on Innovation, Incubation and Technology Entrepreneurship and Committee of Telecom Centre of Excellence, Selection Committee of MSME.
In a career spanning 30 years, she has faced failure first-hand.
“I have failed many times. Sometimes it’s because of a wrong decision, losing out on a key business opportunity or even a missed deadline. But what’s important is how you look at failures, to accept that they are a part of your overall learning process, and that to move ahead you must learn to make it a tool instead of a roadblock,” Padmaja says.
She explains that it does not get easy with time. She recounts her recent challenges.
“It has been a journey strewn with challenges, hurdles and contradictions every year. Since the launch of our fund in 2017, it has been no less than a roller-coaster ride. But in order to sustain the momentum of the fund, it was important for me to keep moving forward. Every day of the year has seen “action” and the most critical ones on a day when I needed to focus more on the personal front. I found myself in situations where I didn't even have the time to grieve over the passing away of a near one.”
She also shares that there were times when she thought of giving up. She says, “I sometimes asked myself if the hard path of building something unique was really worth it. After all, one is only human! But then I looked at the purpose: building India’s single largest horizontal platform for seed and early-stage investing, and bringing in the best entrepreneurs and high-quality investors together to engage. I then found myself pushing forward and moving ahead in the face of everything.”
While it has not been easy, in the past three decades, Padmaja’s learning have stood her in good stead. “What I have understood from failures is that you learn to either go around hurdles or go over those hurdles. I think that is very important. If everything was right that means I was not required,” she exclaims.
This understanding, along with the right support, makes a winner. “It’s the existence of my team and the people I closely work with that motivates me each day to do better without quitting,” she says.
How do you make sure you show up every day? How do you deal with failure and move ahead with renewed energy and enthusiasm? Tell us, in the comments below.