Shahrukh Khan has said he has no plans to retire. Because he never gets bored of acting. He is someone who found his genre and has stayed with it and enjoys it enough to keep doing it long after the bread-butter-EMI has been covered. He does, however, have a fairly diversified portfolio of businesses through his digital lab, production house and endorsements. Aamir on the other hand tries very hard to keep reinventing himself as an actor, taking time to invest in each character and storyline. He does not do many endorsements and as far as I know has no significant other lines of business.
Every now and then I get a request for career advice. That’s really hard to give because there are so many routes to success. And success itself is a personal definition. First is to understand if you need to change what you do or change where you do it. Today, if you are not tech-savvy and able to enthusiastically use and apply tools you will need to change what you do and how you do it. Changing where you work will not make the problem go away or at least not in a good way. Secondly, I was taught by one of my mentors that the way to measure whether the next job is “better” is to assess whether you have more control over your destiny. Destiny in terms of – do you have more control over what you do? Budgeting authority? A team? A P&L? Your time allocation? Your work hours? If none of these is changing, then the promotion isn’t real. People often ask how it is to move from the corporate world to being an entrepreneur. The main difference is, that as an entrepreneur, you are more in control of your destiny. If that sounds too high falutin’ let me change destiny to destination and perhaps it’s easier.
You may say that destiny (or destination) are influenced by so many other factors which are not in your control – GST, demonetization, immigration rules, flight rules, currency fluctuations, rains. Yes, of course. But the other piece of valuable advice from that same mentor is that one of the key success factors for a leader is his or her ability to “Control the variables”. Sure, you may not achieve 100% coverage of these pesky things but the more you can, the easier it is to steer your course.
But what should be your destiny? Ideally employment that is at the intersection of something you can be really good at, you have a passion for, and is profitable. No, and it’s not just actors who find this golden Venn – Warren Buffett is 87 years old. His long-time business partner, Charlie Munger is 93 and claims to be a better investor than he was at 50. But it’s ok to outgrow and transform your destiny – Azim Premji is known for Wipro and the totally different Azim Premji University. Nandan Nilekani for Infosys and Aadhaar. Bill Gates for Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s important not to retire from your work but to progress to another, more fulfilling or enjoyable calling.
Do excuse this sudden outbreak of philosophy. I’ll be back with regular programming next week 🙂 At Paul Writer we are a bit (over) excited with the upcoming shift to a new office – we have an outdoor chai corner! and shall shortly invite you over for cupcakes 🙂 As we near the end of 2017, we also have lots of programs – a series of #letstalkCX webinars in partnership with Oracle, CMO Roundtables in Bangalore, Mumbai and Gurgaon and some new consulting engagements.
If you’re still confused about what Paul Writer does, we’re a B2B marketing and advisory firm that designs omni-channel campaigns that result in Profitable Conversations. And if you want to email me just reply to this newsletter. It isn’t from a bot and I read all responses!
And now I’m off to my first Board meeting with a new organization. Yes, much excitement around that too 🙂