Sometimes, you carry the zeal and great determination that can help you tackle almost every problem. Everything goes well- until you get hit by a crisis, and when it’s a health crisis, you can’t ignore the damage. Health crisis can thump your determination, leaving you completely lost. But, it cannot break you, unless you let it.
Since the age of twenty, I have had a series of health complications. I was doing my MBA when I underwent kidney transplant as both of my kidneys failed. And then within a year in my first job, I was diagnosed with cancer called as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Underwent a series of painful chemotherapy sessions, and, as a result of these sessions and the side-effects of the medicines which I had taken during kidney transplantation I developed a condition called as Avascular Necrosis. So, what can I say- I was back to the operation theater, undergoing hip replacement for my left hip. It happened in the year 2001 when I had not established myself professionally, still pursuing my Doctorate from IIMB. Those were tough times, but the thing is, I didn’t allow these to get the better of me. Well, honestly, I have become more resilient than I used to be and can handle stress in a much better way. And now when I encounter adverse situations, I just tell myself- “This is nothing, you have seen far worse, it’s just a phase, and it will get over soon.” The reason I am sharing this with you today is that people get so depressed by the hardships that they make themselves the victims. So, sometimes, you just need some real-life examples of individuals who have undergone similar hardships to cheer yourself up and get the zeal to fight back!
While health complications failed to shake my determination, professionally, I had to taste a few bitter moments. What can be more infuriating than moving out from something you love doing? I had to face it. I was working on a project, and it didn’t go as well as expected owing to some scenarios and a few mistakes at my end. The client was very upset, in fact, he made sure that I move out of that project as well as move out from leading the team. But he still wanted me on the team as an individual contributor considering the value I had delivered in the past. But sadly, he no longer had the confidence in me and was not sure if I could lead the team again. This incident was a big blow to my confidence as well. The typical response from anyone during such time would be, Oh my God! This is not working out for me anymore; I need to switch my job” But I took it as a challenge. The only thing that ran in mind was to prove my client wrong. What also helped that my leaders never lost their faith in me, which inspired me to give the situation my best shot.
And then, about a year later, I got my validation. The work was moving to our Hyderabad office, and I had decided to stay back at Bangalore, which essentially meant I would be leaving this team and moving to another role. My client was having a call with my manager to discuss the logistics. Unknown to him, I was also present on the call. In the context of building the team at Hyderabad, the client said to my manager, ‘‘Hey, I want a clone of Pankaj in the team’’. For me, his words were the validation of my hard work and capabilities. One year back, he was the same guy who didn’t want me in the project, and now he was the one who was uttering these words. The biggest thing this incident taught me, was not to lose faith in myself. It definitely boosted my confidence, hopefully not the ego. Another interesting fallout of this experience was that this change in role pushed me into six sigma, and I ended up eventually becoming Master Black Belt and certified Black belt trainer. So again, the lesson here was to grab any opportunity that comes your way and be open to all learning opportunities. This has continued to serve me really well in the fast changing world of analytics and data science.
Well, when not wrapped in work, I like to travel, swim or read. I used to be an avid reader of all kind of books but owing to my tight schedules I hardly get time to read whole books and instead have to satisfy myself with book summaries, as well as articles, podcasts and TED videos.
Meet Pankaj Bagri : A tireless fighter, go-getter, and influencer