Thursday, November 20, 2008

A mesh of thoughts

(Disclaimer: Too much self-praise, nausea possible!)

Some events trigger some thoughts. Which spin more thoughts. Which spin some more thoughts. Today was one such.

After experiencing a sudden spiraling down of work load, I was getting rather itchy. I had gotten so used to working 15 hour days that 8 hour days were making me edgy. I needed to feel more useful. I needed to feel more capable. Working 8 hour days was not making me feel so capable anymore.

Today I did a couple of things (actually three) which made me feel a sense of achievement of some sorts. One of them was local work. And it earned me some email kudos. Nothing big. Nothing spectacular. Definitely not one of the bigger ones I've earned to date. But it felt good. So I was thinking about it. Was it because it was the first real kudos after moving to India @ work? So far 8 months have gone off just riding on past glory. I was doing my San Jose work, and coaching people out here, helping engineers with their queries and so on, but all that was based on what I did in the past. Nothing new was happening here. Nothing that made people here say "Good".

So I realized that this "feeling of success" needs to constantly fed and fueled. Its definitely not a one-timer event. You achieve success and you are done. No sirree.

The other thing that stemmed out of this is that maybe it felt good because the past few days I did a lot of "gap pointing". In the culture. In the system. In the process. In the inefficiency. (I am a hater for inefficiency in anything). And I was unhappy. Unhappy that I was pointing out gaps. If you've known me for a while, you know that I normally never complain. About anything. So I was unhappy that I was not seeing paradise around me like I normally do. Then I decided to do something about one of the problems (this was at least in my power to make a difference to), instead of just complaining. It was tough. I had some support but it was tough. And I did it. And I felt good. So I realized. Just complaining about things not working makes me feel even more agitated than the stuff that doesn't work. Either I do something to fix it or I don't complain. Period.

I also remembered something that my English lecturer in Francis' wrote in my autograph book. I always remember that whenever I try to get a perspective of where I am. She had said "You always do the best with what you have. You never worry about what you don't have. Keep this up, it will make you successful". Or something to that effect. I felt she was too effusive. I didn't realize till then that I had always tried to do my best with what was given to me. She sort of showed me a me I had not known. This got me thinking.

So long as I didn't know what I was worth, I was good to go. I always worked hard, I always just did what I had to without expecting much. The moment I felt I was doing something extra-ordinary, things changed. And I suddenly started "expecting results". So I feel that the biggest challenge to achieving success is to keep a level head and to continue working just as hard even while keeping in complete perspective the greatness of things you've already done. This is more tricky than it sounds. And I live in constant dread of not being able to achieve this balance. My move to India was a challenge. I came with a lot of baggage. Good baggage, but baggage all the same. "Ohh she knows everything" baggage. Suddenly, I realized, ohh people think I am good. And that threatened to change things. Only my dread of becoming a monster kept me sane. I've regained some balance and learnt to put all that kind of baggage safely stashed in one corner of my brain now. But I should practice this lesson constantly.

I should, if I want to be a successful me :)


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