You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. — Steve Jobs
One day on a late evening in March 2014 in Mumbai, I was checking my emails for one last time before going to sleep. There was Marie Forleo’s email with a subject line “Why you should sleep your way to the top!” I was intrigued by the headline and opened the mail! The mail caught my attention with a video interview by Marie with Ms. Arianna Huffington, the founder of Huffington Post! It was too tempting not to wait till tomorrow morning to watch it. I played it again and again and again. I was so overwhelmed by the conversation between Marie and Arianna. Arianna was narrating her own story of how her life changed one day and how she now redefines “success.” Her story and the latest book based on that life changing event in April 2007 made her re-define what is success and led to the great book Thrive – The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life.
Arianna’s story, insights and wisdom was a defining moment for me and made me question the core aspect of my life; am I leading an authentic life that is in alignment with my professional and personal life?
My defining moment happened one day in December 2013. I went for my regular health check up and the results were shocking. I was detected with Type 2 Diabetes .This was in addition to the portfolio of few existing bunch of illnesses I had acquired over the years. I had overcome those and been managing myself reasonably well by leading a normal life but I did not expect another one to add to my ill-health portfolio! I was going through the report again and again to check whether it was a mistake. Maybe it could be someone else’s report. No, it wasn’t. My world came crashing down. The first few thoughts that ran through my mind was… Oh My Gosh… How am I going to overcome and manage ‘this’ as well now. Am I going to be a big burden to my life partner and become more dependent on her? How will she cope with it? She has already got enough responsibilities on her plate and she has been brave enough to manage it well. On the Professional front, my biggest question was how am I going to build and nurture a firm that I launched in 2009 with great passion and purpose?
I was literally going through the motions of life and extremely depressed for the next three months not knowing how to adapt to this new reality of re-aligning my life style and improve my health. I knew the side effects of diabetes and I was determined to not go through those in the future. This was the time for introspection and I questioned every aspect of my life to find my strength to overcome the new health issues, my true values, priorities and happiness in my life. This was also the time I realized that I was not leading an authentic life at all. And I wasn’t spending enough time with my wonderful life partner. After all, as a Financial Life Planner our fiduciary duty to clients is to help them achieve their personal and financial goals by being their “choice architects,” “life coach” and “family counsel” apart from being the wealth planner and advisor. We are supposed to lead by example to help clients identify and lead a “rich” life. A life with abundance — health, wealth and happiness.
The four months leading up to watching the interview of Arianna Huffington in March, reading her book and another book by author Gary Keller, The One Thing, gave a new meaning to my life and helped me redefine my success. I started implementing many changes in my various aspects of my life. First was my health. Since my first diagnosis of my diabetes I have now brought down my sugar levels considerably through regular exercise, started eating relatively healthy food [ I was addicted to sweets and junk food till I got detected with Diabetes] and better sleep hours. Most important change that I was able to bring about since April is re-prioritizing my goals for my business. With health as the center of focus in my life, I am now able to focus sharply on my goals and priorities and execute it. In April 1st week, we decided to re-work our business goals, plan and few crucial milestones in alignment with my values and the commitment to lead an authentic life. After six months of successful implementation of the strategies, we are on track to achieve our short, medium and long-term goals.
Though my journey in the last six months has been short with full of challenges, it does seem to be a long time for me and I am so glad that things are shaping well. I am glad that I have achieved our first few milestones of success in personal and professional lives. I still have a long way to go but I am confident that I will be able to lead a healthier, happier, and wealthier life consistently. I am grateful to my family, colleagues, health care professionals, advisors, clients, business partners and some awesome friends around the world who have been extremely supportive, encouraging and made it all happen.
And a big thank you to Arianna for the inspiration and motivation to help me redefine my success to achieve my life goals and create a happier life!
This blog was originally published in Huff Post by Partha Iyengar.