My journey to self-discovery in a calendar year!

It was Christmas of 2015 and I really wanted to give a gift to my best friend. I pondered a lot on what I could send her. After 25 years of togetherness, it becomes difficult to shop. What could I possibly give her that could hold special meaning? Just as my mind wandered in my aimless thoughts, I realized I probably wasn’t a good best friend. Life had taken over — kids, job, and day-to-day life. I had not been there for my friend. We remained very close over the years — distances of continents and long gaps with no communication. All this had not affected the strength of our friendship. I guess she is very forgiving and tolerant. I must have done something right to deserve such a wonderful friend.

So this story begins a little before Christmas. Yes! I will get to what I finally decided.

We had turned 40 in 2015. We reflected on our lives through chats on WhatsApp, Facebook, and Facetime. We talked about how life had panned out for both of us. Our discussions started to include our careers and how she was unsatisfied. I wish, I can claim the Aha moment came from me. In one such conversation, she mentioned how she should have listened to me and pursued her MBA. Life had its course and she wasn’t able to heed to that recommendation.

I guess it was my wine talking, but in that crazy moment I asked if she would be interested in pursuing a new career path suggested by me. Would she be willing to learn new skills? She is more courageous than I am. She said YES! So started our crazy plan. In that moment of euphoria and drunkenness, I emailed her couple of blogs and courses that she could read. We started working on how we would use her earlier experience to help launch the new career. She update her resume and completed the courses . Certification achieved!

We were still chatting on gathering new skills and making her profile attractive enough for a recruiter to call her. Then Bam! It occurs to me that a big corporation was hiring in the said field, why not refer her resume. I emailed her profile to the right authorities and then started series of interviews. She aced each interview. I didn’t tell the recruiters that she was my friend. There were two reasons for it — first, I wanted them to assess her skill with a neutral view and secondly, I wanted my friend to accomplish this success on her own. This was her moment, I couldn’t interfere. She not only got the job but they offered her a management position as well. I always knew she was brilliant in her work, all she needed was a chance.

Oh yes! I still haven’t told what I got her for Christmas. Nothing! I got her nothing. But I did make a promise, to help as many women in their career as I could in the coming year. And before you think this is a selfless act, it is not. Very selfish motives to be honest. I wanted a purpose in life. I was 40 and was questioning what I had done in my life. Here started my journey to self-discovery in a calendar year!

She was my December. As each month came in 2016, I was able to keep my promise. There were more women and more stories, I started helping women I had never met. I helped women who were capable, needing just a slight nudge to achieve success and a person who would believe in them.

And before the male bashing start, full disclosure, I hired men and promoted them too. I helped men get bonuses and visas. This piece is highlighting the women in my life and their success. With the same belief of help and success, I go into 2017. Here is to women power and more glass ceilings to be broken!