‘Invest in yourself’ was the message at a recent WeAreTheCity India event held to discuss the significance of devoting time for yourself to achieve success.
The ‘Invest in Me’ event was held in association with event partner, Marriott India and sponsor EY. WATC India bloggers, supporters, contributors and members from across India gathered at JW Marriott Hotel, in Juhu, Mumbai for the event.
Vanessa Vallely, co-founder of WATC India, described how she felt when she decided to give up her job in corporate and launch her own business fulltime: “About four weeks after I left corporate, I was sitting at home with my head in my hands thinking what I have done? No one knocks on your door and give you anything in life. No one is going to give you a courier, you have to earn that. You have to do that.”
She advised: “You have to have goals and you have to put stakes in the ground. Please do take that time out for yourself. Whether it be your career or personal.”
Tejal Gandhi, CEO and Founder of Money Matters India, used the event to advised females to open their own bank accounts “giving you that confidence and independence.”
Encouraging the attendees to invest in themselves she shared information about opening a bank account, the risks, tips and advice about interest rates and extra charges. She said: “In India no one feels that women are left behind. We have one of the highest CEO rates in the world in the financial sector. However, even if there is a woman 73% of financial decisions are still made by the husband or father.
“You could hand it all over to them to take care of for you, but you shouldn’t. Break the mental block and you could go a long way. Is the stock market safe? Not everyone is willing to take risks, nobody likes uncertainty. We all need to have goals, each goal lead you to a higher level in life. Each goal has a financial impact.”
Sheena Thompson, Business & IT Transformation at EY, chaired a panel session with a selection of industry experts from across India.
Kicking off the discussion Thompson said: “At the end of each week I feel like it was a whirlwind and I feel guilty that I didn’t invest in myself. We really need to prioritise things that we value the most.
“The thing I love most about India is that people here just change direction when they like.”
On the panel was Katie Day, Founder, Realising Dynamic Potential International and author of The High-Heeled Leader.
She shared the moment when she realised she needed to make some changes in her life and invest in herself. Day told the story of a trip home from the airport at the time in her life when her parents had just died and the relationship she was previously in had just ended. She saw a car accident on the side of the road and thought to herself “If I didn’t make it back from my holiday who would know? I sold my dream car, at the time, and use the money to go on an investment course.”
Also present on the panel was Moira Dickson, who is a Global HR Executive and is currently Financial Crime Compliance Standard Chartered Bank.
She said: “There are very few things in life that you can do alone, even though I am a control freak you can’t control everybody. I’ve always invested in myself from a young age.”
Dickson is the co-founder of a Mumbai based charity Audience of One which is focused on bringing life skills to many underprivileged youths in Mumbai.
She added: “My passion isn’t my work my passion is supporting the younger generation. I’ve been in positions where I thought I can’t give this up as I’ve had a senior job that supports a lot of other things in my life.”
Puja Kohli, People & Change Catalyst, Founder of Unfold Consulting, noted that self-doubt and fear are natural emotions when deciding to invest in yourself and launch a business. She advised: “Self-doubt and fear for a business to be successful are real but you have to have financial goals.
“Passion, success and failure is common but one has to deal with it. Build a financial plan and see if it’s sustainable.”
Panellist Pavithran Nambiar, General Manager, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, said he believes in investing in yourself, however he admitted that he has needed the occasional nudge in the past: “Sometimes in life there have been people who have nudge me, sometimes with extreme discomfort and I’ve done things I might not have done myself.
“I have been very fortunate to have people who have nudged me and supported me.”
Suchi Ray, Director, Business Manager at Barclays, shared her experience of taking maternity leave and finding the time to reset her priorities: “When I had a baby I was going to quit my job. 16 weeks into my maternity leave I was going to resign, but my boss said don’t. He told me to take a break, take more time, take a sabbatical and come back when you need. Five and a half months in I was thinking what is my identity? My friends and family clearly know me better than I know myself as I was getting nasty at home.
“I went back to work and now I think quality over quantity time with my child. Sometimes I take a day off when I need to spend time with her. Sometimes my guilt is worse than other days.”