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It’s Never Too Late to Fulfill Your Dreams | Ashu Khanna

I Am Freedom

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” — Harriet Tubman

Delhi is my city of birth and education. Now, the world is my horizon, limitless. This is the change that was unanticipated and nothing short of a miracle.

I grew up in a middle class family and followed the tried and tested path of education, marriage and children. The difference however was that I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged education and financial independence and above all, expression of opinion and equality. My next breakthrough as a woman happened at Arthur Andersen. I was employed as one of the first women trainee accountant and was the first woman to qualify as a Chartered Accountant. At Arthur Andersen, I worked with some of the best professionals and clients and was exposed to a plethora of assignments that challenged my potential.

Life had more adventure in store for me. After getting married, I relocated to Mumbai. Within a year plus, I was pregnant and was on the move again – this time to Hong Kong. I saw little option but to take a break from work. I resumed work when my son was about two years old, and managed to balance life by meeting my son at lunchtime or carrying work home. The organization (PricewaterhouseCoopers) was supportive and I continued to progress. My career was realigned with other priorities of life. Just as I thought I had settled well into the city and job, I found myself packing bags and going to Singapore.

I went on a lateral transfer to Singapore but I decided against joining, as it was time to stop being hostage to external circumstances and look to create a career where I was in control. There was no easy answer. I experimented with various options – executive search, short assignments in corporates, import-export, graphic design, restaurant and even banking. I joined courses to learn, established a company in Singapore, interacted with entrepreneurs or senior professional to brainstorm. I was not willing to give up my dream of being an independent professional. I wanted to make the most out of life. It was also the best time to attempt because by now I had two young boys and Singapore offered several avenues to learn. The learning was not limited to a professional level only. I also attempted to learn piano, do glass painting, play tennis and swim etc.

I believe there is always light at the end of the tunnel. While working at a bank, economies were booming and the entire focus was on executional excellence and development. I saw a great window of opportunity – there was limited emphasis on people development. I quit and embarked on a journey of learning and entrepreneurship once again. I was so excited because suddenly with this concept most of my wish list was met.

After some months of search for an appropriate training program, I went to England to study Image Management. One course led to another and finally, I discovered coaching as my niche. I was home!

At that time, the awareness about coaching was negligible, so I continued to travel overseas for training and conferences. I was more than fortunate to be supported and encouraged by my family in discovering and recreating my professional life. I dived into understanding my brand, developing a website, brochure and training modules, sending mailers to many heads of businesses or units, and meeting people. Re-entering the Indian corporate world after a 10-year hiatus was not easy but definitely possible with perseverance.

I believe when you work with authenticity and conviction, miracles occur. I got a break with a few corporates very quickly. Over the years, work has changed dimensions regularly. It morphed from training, into executive coaching and then transformational leadership coaching. Simultaneously, I discovered the ability to express my thoughts through writing and launched a book.

I have had my share of trepidations and struggle. I have made mistakes and learnt along the way but most of all, I have grown exponentially as a person. The excitement rarely diminishes, there is always something new and life continues to take me by surprise at its perfection and vastness. My universe has expanded and I am loved by so many more because I chose to be open to being human.

About Ashu Khanna

Ashu KhannaAshu is a transformational leadership coach. She partners with senior executives to create a higher vision and achieve holistic success. She is the author of the book, ‘I Am Freedom.’

‘I Am Freedom’ is available on Amazon India in Paperback and Kindle


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