I cannot achieve success by giving up on my values. That would not be success. Real success would come the day my company does well, my products change lives because I stuck to MY VALUES.
This is a small anecdote from my own life. Right from my childhood, my parents ensured that my values were right where they needed to be. I was told stories and I saw my parents. I saw my Dad, observed him, saw how brutally honest he was, fearless in his own way, always with his head held high. I knew those were the exact kind of values I wanted to be a part of my persona.
Now, coming to the story. This is from the day I was writing the IIT-JEE test in April, 2007. The background is that dad used to live in Patna due to his posting and I lived with mom & sister in Ranchi.
My dad had been to see my grandparents in our village to meet my grandparents and was scheduled to arrive at Ranchi (via Deoghar) early in the morning via train.
I woke up early in the morning, had a relaxing bath and was ready by 7:00 am. Dad was supposed to be home by then but at the precise moment we got a call that the train has been delayed by about two hours. I was really disappointed. I had not met him for about 3 - 4 months and would have loved to meet him before I went to write that test. The test centre was far away (about 14 km) and Mom & I left for it by 8:00 am.
I was constantly hoping that I would get to see dad before I went for the test. Finally, he called up at 8:45 am saying he had just reached home and was taking the Activa (yes, the same one I still have) rightaway and starting for my test centre.
I knew it would take my dad about 30 minutes to get there. It was 9:00 am soon and everybody entered the test centre. Mom insisted that the exam was more important and I should go in. I refused. I said I will wait.
Finally dad reached there at 9:15 am, I took both my parents blessings and entered the school. By the time, I was at my seat, it was 9:40 am. I had missed the first 20 minutes of the test, and given my preparation over the last 2 years, doing well in the test was a long shot.
When the results were out, I had 30 marks in the Test 1 and 120 marks in Test 2. I had 25 in Physics, 67 in Math, 59 in Chemistry (cut-offs cleared in Math & Chemistry only, the overall cutoff was around the 190s). But, when I look back to that day, it was not about IIT-JEE. It was about my values. My dad arrived by an overnight train journey, immediately took the active and came - just to meet me! I had to reciprocate and for this if I need to goof up a 100 tests like IIT-JEE, I absolutely would not mind that.
Many years later in 2013, when my parents met Shekar Sir for the first time, the first thing he told both my parents was that he 'knew them through my values'. Yes that is right. I cannot tell you how happy I was to hear it. Shekar Sir keeps encouraging me to keep continuing with my values, my beliefs, my honesty, my modesty - given that he is the most amazing human being I have met in my life - because while it may cause me many a pain, it will ensure that I stick to the right path. The path to true success.
In 2014, I met a gentleman who I thought was interested in investing in our startup and helping it grow. I kept meeting him in hope of finally striking a deal with him despite him stalling me for over 6 months. Finally, the last time I met him, he told me that 'Shekar Sir does not bring much value to the table and we should not have him as a part of our Advisor'. I left that meeting and never spoke to that gentleman again. My values came in my way. When someone talks bad about a man who has held my hand from the day I started up, helped me overcome every hurdle, has only put his entire weight behind me when I got in trouble, he stops existing for me.
My values do not make me a very savvy entrepreneur. I cannot lie easily, I have difficulty showing off, I struggle to making my start-up look glamorous for no reason.
But there has not been a single day when I have regretted being who I am. I cannot achieve success by giving up on my values. That would not be success. Real success would come the day my company does well, my products change lives because I stuck to MY VALUES.