I am sharing this story as I feel truly blessed that I am among the few who have been given the opportunity to follow their passion and convert it into their profession. As a woman, I could not have asked for more...as I am a happier person (I know that for sure) because the work that I do is energising. It de-stresses me, it takes me to a place where all I feel is bliss and joyful. My energies flow and I know that I am doing so much with myself at that point.Here's my journey of how it all started and my first step to Entrepreneurship.
I was a typical Indian Kid , who was academically strong and wanted to always impress my parents and teachers by getting good grades. A master Rote learner in school. If you'd ask me one question after a month of exam - probabililty was I would not be able to remember the answer. I finished schooling and passed with 92% in ISC Boards and got admission easily into LSR College for Women (yes my parents were delighted that I had opted to go to LSR and not SRCC) for doing my undergrad in B.Com (Hons) . I write Hons . as it was apparently a cool thing to do it then as it meant you belonged to the more brainy set !
After College I managed to get through to SP Jain Institute of Management & Research to specialise in Finance. Rote Learning was my special skill so getti through competitive examinationswas never an issue! Two years I studied Finance and I hated every minute and every class of it. I could not understand a word of Finance. It did not interest me .. but I was not allowed to change my specialisation once I had chosen it. Rote learning helped again and I managed a great CGPA . As luck would have it, we had McKinsey & Company shortlist a few students for interviews and I happened to be one of them.
I believe in destiny, and I believe that was my chosen path. I got through the eight round interview process and happily accepted the job offer. I was happy with my package and the extensive travel the job offered - yes I was still single). I got married and that's when my path changed.
I loved dancing since childhood. I always took part in all the school events and choreographed dances and had even joined the Shaimak Davar's classes as my stress relief mechanism when in B-School. But dance was for fun. NI never even once thought of making a career out of it. Besides what would my parents think! Dance as a career - no ways! I was a good student so corporate job was the best option for a person like me!
I moved to USA after my marriage and had quit my job . One day my sisters friends approached me at a party and requested me to teach dance to their daughters (they said I danced very well) for a competition they had signed up for. I was delighted (something to do with my life!). I asked them to come to house for practice and would teach them in my garage. I had so much fun choreographing and teaching the girls and they won the competition! Rest is history... then the mothers wanted me to teach them on a regular basis .... Best part was that I was so enjoying myself . I spoke to my husband and told him that not only was I good at dancing but I thought I was a good teacher as well. I could really break it down and teach! and I wanted to start teaching more... he just said one sentence to me ... "I am doing what I have to do , and you should do what you want to do!" That really was the most amazing phrase he could have said to me.
My Business School education came in handy and I started my first Bollywood Dance studio (www.bollybeatz.com) in Silicon Valley, California in 2002. Rest is really history. In five years , I had 450 registered students, six instructors and a fledging flexible business born out of my passion for dance. I was giving opportunity to people who worked in full time jobs to teach part time for me on weekends so they could also live their passion for dance. It soon became a community of dance lovers, bollywood lovers. We all became a big group of friends... not to mention that I was earning well just working two hours a day. And the two hours that I worked were not work - they were pure fun.
Fifteen years later, I am still teaching dance. I have moved three countries, given birth to two kids (yes both pregnancies I danced will my eighth month and had normal deliveries), made new homes, started new franchises for dance in those countries, made new friends through my classes, managed to stay fit and most of all.... I have been Happy! Very often, my mother would tell me, its okay to have dance as a hobby but you can't pursue it as a career. Go to Stanford, do another MBA and take up a REAL job. I would get swayed, I would give a thought to it ... but I stuck to dancing as I loved it way too much
Today, I am better for it. I feel blessed that I have had this opportunity to live my passion, make a profession out of it and be dedicated to it. So if you have a passion that you know ticks you. If you know you can create something out of it - then give it a shot. Its scary - yes it is! But you know , If you are committed and you can spin a business out of it - your life will be fulfilled! Truly!
For all the women folks reading this... we have it in us. We are talented, multitaskers and persevering.So throw of that bowliness and start sailing..Our being happy/unhappy affects so many people around us - and we owe it to ourselves to be happier, content and committed. So find that lost passion , creativity or what you really enjoy doing and see if you create a career out of it. You will be the happiest ever!