A Turning Point Interview
Please briefly intro yourself in terms of who you are, what you do and the companies you own now.
People spend a lifetime trying to “know thyself.” I just know that I provide services like keynote speaking, management training, development facilitation and cross-cultural executive coaching.
Please share with us your childhood, where you were born, where you grew up and your formative years.
I was born in Mumbai, raised in a city called Pune. I grew up surrounded by Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities but I went to Parsi (also known as Zorastrian) school. I grew up with a motto: Think Good, Speak Good and Do Good.
What kind of student were you in primary and high school and university?
I was a top ranker all the way up until I graduated from high school. In the university my academic skills took a downturn. Though I studied engineering and economics I stayed interested in the arts and humanities.
What were your first few years upon your graduation and entering the job market?
I changed professions often. I was good at most any tasks but found fulfillment in dealing and negotiating with people. Thus, the five books on communication skills in the last 15 years.
Which did you discover your passion for speaking? When did you start to realize that you can make a living from your passion speaking and improving lives?
I did not discover my skill in communicating. I was discovered by the British Council of the Philippines. I was asked to come, train and speak for them even though I had no qualifications or experience in it. I loved it. It paid well and I, naturally, got addicted. So here I am almost 19 years later.
How challenging was for to start your business? Can you share some of your early mistakes and failures and the lessons you have learnt from those failures?
This second phase of my life at the age of 40; this turnaround from being an international businessman to a speaker, trainer and a coach was very challenging. I realized having talent and potential and passion is not enough. You need to put in the 10,000 hours to gain mastery….I have put in 50,000 hours and more.
What are your top three strengths and top three weaknesses?
My strengths are my weaknesses too….I am sensitive therefore I feel things quickly and I care for other also very quickly. I am a big-picture, spatial thinker and that’s a strength but then I shrink away from detailed, routine administrative work. I am always looking for new experiences thus I am adventurous and innovative. That also makes me restless towards mediocre stuff and attitude.
What are some (around three) turning points in your life?
At age 15, I was beaten up badly by a bunch of hooligans and that, at first, made me afraid but then years later it made me a sort of daredevil. Now at 62, I still will do rappelling, mountain climbing, scuba-diving and participate in thrill rides. I will walk into any kind of a crowd and audience and be not afraid.
Who are the three to five people you want to thank for your success today?
- My Mom for saving pennies to put me through school and college and then instilling me in strong values and ethics. She said I must always do the right and the good thing no matter what and be compassionate towards the weak and meek.
- My mentor and idol, the late Wayne Dyer, who brought to light the power of intention and inter-connectedness in this world.
- My three children inspired me to be cool, laid back and make sure that happiness is not a “be” thing but a “do” thing. That means you have to work your mind to be happy. It is mental action.
What’s your purpose in life?
To help people unleash the power hidden within them the way others helped me.
What’re some do your future plans for both your business and your life?
I would like to convert all my books and training programs into online, easily accessible learning programs. My business and my life is the same.
Five things young people must know and apply in order to do well in life?
- Get crystal clear about what exactly they like and want. The key word is “What do you WANT?”
- Be not afraid. Just form a plan and work the plan day in day out towards your dream.
- When faced with failure think of it as the first stone towards success because it teaches you what not to do with your next step.
- Forgive others fastidiously and easily. Remember those that do you wrong, really know not what they do.
- Accept the fact that we are mortal and make that fact become your daily reality. In the olden days Samurais were qualified to be Samurais when they showed no fear for death.
Is there anything you would have done differently knowing what you know now?
I would have started early but then I wouldn’t have been as good and matured as I am now. So the answer is I would have done all that I have done and be happy with it. I have NO regrets in life.
Thank you very much. Any message for our readers?
When you chase your goals relentlessly and ethically and with love in your heart for the world then you become a magnificent sight to behold and be inspired by.
Questions by Ken Loong, Australia
Asnwers by Raju Mandhyan, Philippines.