Learn from the "Juggling Showman", the art of balancing work life and pursuing one's passion.Anubhav Shrivastava
My warm, heartfelt greetings to all of you. Well, you guys have signed up for precious 10 to 12 minutes of your life to hear me babble, so I’ll try to make it worth your while. My talk is on the topic ‘The Juggling Showman’, but sadly I won’t be juggling any props today, rather I’ll talk about juggling 2 very important aspects, something many of us fight on a daily basis. How to juggle perfectly between your professional life and your life of creativity and passion.
I started my life as an introvert and it stayed that way till 12th standard. All the introverts sitting here can relate to it, I felt I was boring and something was wrong with me. People were into things, they were courageous and outspoken but I guess I took my fair share of time to open up and when college happened, things changed and that was pretty spontaneous.
In college, you tend to see a lot of talented folks around you which can sometimes be intimidating and at other times inspiring. For me, it was a wake-up call that I needed to be good in at least one more thing besides studies. And that’s how I began to write. After a lot of struggle and nervous interview rounds, I managed to somehow sneak into a major writing club, which was our college blog at that time. The first writing assignment was a tragedy, to be honest. I was very proud of my writing skills until that moment-the moment of self-realisation after my editor in chief gave me some nasty but rightfully deserved comments on my work.
I thought that raw talent was enough to make it big but that day, I came across the fact that I needed to work hard and hone my skills even further. So it was around the third semester when my friends and classmates were chilling after the class, I took a new challenge and decided to work for BookMyShow. Now this was quite a transformational experience for me as I was interacting with the PR firms of major production houses of Bollywood and Hollywood writing promotional articles for them.
I was also earning some money and free movie tickets while most of my classmates would be binging on the likes of Friends and How I met your mother after class. The improved confidence reflected in my college blogs as well! they improved drastically. Slowly and steadily, one step after another transformed me from someone who was just an amateur writer to the highest read blogger in the college!
All this went well till placements happened in 2015 during my final year. With only six months into my first job, I began to feel a sense of stagnancy in my life. Writing, a medium that I always considered an important part of my heart and soul, was robbed from me. I would go the distance to give lame excuses to myself –'"I don’t have the time", "It was just a phase that passed on with college", “this is the time to make money” and so on. To be very honest, in retrospect I think it was all my fault.
The writing was my one true love and I did not even write a single word for the first 6 months I started working! This was when I realised that any creative pursuit, be it writing, painting, singing, dancing or anything else- is neither about the talent, nor it is a phase that can just come and pass by. It is about perseverance. It is about how badly you want it, in spite of the tough times and failures you face and that marked the beginning of my blog Quintessential Thoughts.
This time I made sure that I was persistent with my efforts and it paid off pretty handsomely as well. In April 2016, Quintessential Thoughts was awarded the most promising blog of the year. From no writing whatsoever to an award, that too the most promising blog of the year- I felt like I was born again! I felt that rush of adrenaline, fuelled by positivity. Now, I had something even bigger in mind as I felt it was time to start working on my first book, called One Last Time. But then, I did something that I should’ve never done.
I DECIDED TO QUIT MY JOB!
Well One of the reasons why we go for “a job” is that you will get paid at the end of the month. That is the reality. Money talks, baby! but money is not everything and whosoever said that, had tons of it! because if you are looking at survival, money is an important factor, sometimes the only important factor. You just can’t go to your parents one day and say I’m leaving this job. If you do not have a strategic thought about how you are going to manage your finances while you are following your passion; you will soon find yourself on the path of doom
Which is exactly what happened with me. I left my first job and joined Ola, obviously because they were paying better. But surprisingly, my stint at Ola wasn’t a very long one as it lasted only for a day. I quit that too because suddenly the fact that I was soon going to become a published Author sounded too overwhelming to me.
It consumed me to no end. So for the next two months, I dedicated all of my time to getting my book published and getting it promoted PAN India through social media and offline marketing channels. Promoting it was fun as I learned a new set of marketing skills and ways to reach out to people. but again, nothing lasts forever and my savings too went for a toss. I knew I had to get a job to make things work. The path of doom was soon approaching.
Being financially broke made me realise that following either one of them- a work-life or creative life- was not going to help. I have to find a way to balance them both if I wish to be happy in the long run.
At the beginning of 2017, Luckily, I got an opportunity to join an Ed-Tech startup based in Noida as a core team member. And this time, I consciously decided to play the game differently. Even after slogging for 60 to 70 hours every week in the office, I used to devote my remaining time to writing my second book, titled Letters in the Rain, without making any excuses.
The challenges were many – sometimes I felt like giving up, in other instances it felt like trying to balance a see-saw which rarely happens. But I did not give up. There were no weekends. There were no parties. Relaxation suddenly was a word that never existed in the dictionary because, in 24 hours, I had to basically don two hats simultaneously. I wanted to write a book which sold ten times more than my first one, and at the same time, I wanted to be one of the top performers at my workplace.
And luckily, I managed. Today, I am honored to be the Vice President of that startup. My second book is out of stock, having completed its first print run, telling you a little about my book titled- Letters in the rain, the book is a gripping and heart-wrenching narrative that will make you relive your college days.
Having accomplished all this, if you were to ask me my secret recipe – I can summarize it in four simple words.
“GET COMFORTABLE, BEING UNCOMFORTABLE”
“Oh my bed, you look so lovely tonight”. That is the thought that comes to your head when you come home from work. Don’t fall for that seductive bitch! Comfort betrays. It will keep betraying you till you learn the lesson it is trying to teach you. It is life’s most beautiful betrayal. Break the walls and step out of the zone of comfort you have made for yourself.
Do what you were meant to do. Do follow your passion. Live your dream, chase them till you reach them. but as a great man once said, “follow your heart, but don’t forget to take your brain with you”. And there is nothing like establishing the perfect balance between your creative life and work. You have to take both of them together.
It is your love for something, anything, that drives you. Love should never be a secret. If you keep something as complicated as love stored inside, it’s going to make you sick and I might sound like a love guru right now, but it is not going to be easy. You have to find a way to work it out. A way to keep it together and hit the right notes just like on the piano, to make it bring the melodies to your life.
The important thing is to take a step forward. You need to move, you’re not a tree for heaven’s sake! The time invested to take a step forward is way better than the time wasted in procrastination.
Your loved ones, especially your parents- they love you and want to keep you safe. They wish for you to have a bright and brilliant future but you are the one who should call the shots, not them. You are the one to make that extra push, the one to step out of the comfort zone, take the necessary risk that majority of people wouldn’t even dare to think about.
You should take an oath to rock them both- the work life and the creative sphere. It can be demanding – you would probably have to sacrifice weekend parties, socializing or any other things that would help you chill out with family and friends but it is up to you if you want to be out there wasting time on unnecessary stuff that can wait or you want to work your ass off, sleepless and pursue what you have always dreamt of- It is all up to you.
The most successful ones out there are the most efficient jugglers. They know how to juggle the things that are important. Neither do they cry for time nor do they complain? We all have a juggler in us, we all are showmen. So I ask myself, this one question, every day- What is the biggest stage on which the juggling showman inside us, can be remembered forever? The answer I get back from my inner conscience stirs my soul, every single time!
LIFE! Life is the grandest stage of them all, a stage where you need to perform, not for some people who are judging you; but for yourself. Rest of the things will fall into place, they always do.