Accolades and achievements are inspiring. They motivate you to accomplish more and add to the list of successes. But if you pause, and ask yourself if all this makes your life worthwhile, meaningful and justified, the answer is both yes and no. Why yes, and why no? In simple terms, it is a yes, because it drives you. And no, because I strongly believe that the innate joy an individual experiences from accomplishments outweighs, or at least lends more meaning than accolades.
This approach is not, in any way, my make-believe or a utopia of individual happiness. It is the outcome of my journey and experiences, both professional and personal. I’ve realized- through my academic pursuits, entrepreneurial ventures and human relationships- the need to look beyond what meets the eye and weave imagination and reality, to create a space of your own.
More importantly, I’ve realized this the arduous way. Born with debilitating fear- caused by a rare condition at birth- and adversity, even before I could recognize, realize and absorb the condition was an eye opener, just when my eyes had opened to the possibility of life. Infancy, brought with it’s arrival, strange fears, but had given me the courage, I treasure today.
Opting to be the first entrepreneur, in a family of doctors, was perhaps a sign of things to come. From breaking stereotypes to being a rebel with a cause my journey had started to find its feet. Being a single mother at 23 was definitely a life changing phase of my adulthood. It propelled me to significant achievements that followed, of which, being the first female co chair of NASSCOM Product Council was one.
The decision to contest NASSCOM Product Council elections was the result of thinking, that brought forth perspectives which form the cornerstone of my decision making even today. From selling everything I owned to having lived in a paying guest accommodation after having abandoned all comforts, every endeavour, experience and decision has been a learning curve that has resulted in making me the person I’m and what I represent.
In addition to this, it triggered in me the calling to explore my ideas of business, leading to investments in diverse business verticals, many of which stand testimony to my convictions, dilemmas and the penchant to achieve.
Having authored my first full fledged book- Decoding Digital- before I turned 35, I feel a sense of both gratification and a renewed sense of purpose to write more, learn more and reach out to young and old visionaries and entrepreneurs who are out to create impact and change the world to adopt a positive approach.
Besides professional endeavours, indulging in not-for-profit work that shapes society and imparts a new, effective vision has always been at the core of my life goals. In this regard I worked with Ramakrishna Mission, imparting digital education to aspiring children, who embody the hope for change, progress and peace. Complementing their spiritual education with burgeoning digital tools, I believe, has the potential to transform the world in more ways than one, all leading to making India and the world a better place.
Another issue that is close to my heart is empowering women. To this end, I founded Ira – a crowdsourced social enterprise employing 250 women in the area of garment designing and fashion. Weaving new ideas and financial empowerment of women to form one business idea, Ira today celebrates and inspires many women across the country and offers them hope.
Making my first angel investment at 29 and following it with 8 other investments has been a rewarding experience, both in terms of accolades and learning. In conclusion,I’ve this to say: The innate joy an individual experiences from accomplishments outweighs, or at least lends more meaning than accolades. If you’re happy, it’s already purpose served and accolades shall follow.
Somdutta is an Indian entrepreneur, and was the first women co-chair of NASSCOM Product Council. She is the first Indian member on Philip Kotler’s Kotler Impact Board of Advisors. She is a member of the Women Economic Forum. She is a teacher at Ramakrishna Mission, core member of Atal Innovation Mission as a Mentor of Change, and a mentor with Google Launchpad that helps global and regional startups.