Of believing impossible things, not being the same person, poison and some more …

This quote from my favourite Alice book(s) sums up 2021 for me. I am not just talking about the pandemic that the entire human population has faced for the past two years. When 2019 turned to 2020, no one could have predicted such an awful turn of events, and even if someone did, it would have been dismissed as an outright impossibility. The situation is so bizarre that it sometimes feels like we are all in a nightmare and will soon wake up from it.

The Queen is correct – Humankind (at least our generation!) did not have much practice at believing impossible things! And her advice is also solid – we must learn to accept and adapt to ‘impossible things’.

Like millions of others, I also contracted COVID (the entire family was down at the same time!) during the second wave. It was a difficult time, and it took me almost two months to recover from it. Body aches, fatigue, and mind fog lingered on for months.

“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).

Wait, there was more to come! In the middle of the health situation, a couple of other tough issues cropped up, including a big business fraud. However, with the support of my family, my team, and a few close friends, I faced those issues head-on. I think I have come out much wiser and stronger than I was earlier. I consider myself a mildly aggressive person but was pleasantly surprised at how calmly I faced the tough situations. A few years ago, they would have impacted me much more. The best part is that I have managed to move on.

“I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this morning,” said Alice a little timidly; “but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

I agree with Alice wholeheartedly! It makes no sense to bore you with the details. I am a much wiser person today because of those experiences. However, I would also like to interpret this quote differently. I used to think that I had outgrown some of my old hobbies. The silver lining of the downtime was that I rediscovered some of my old interests. In 2021, I have listened to a lot more music and read poetry and fiction after an extremely long gap. They have a soothing effect on me. I also started reading more about Astrology. In a way, I rediscovered my old self.

It was all very well to say “Drink me,” but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. “No, I’ll look first,” she said, “and see whether it’s marked ‘poison’ or not.”

The entrepreneurship journey has been a tough one and with each passing month, some new and unexpected challenge keeps cropping up. For the first 22 years of my career, I was an employee. The transition from being a corporate ‘employee’ to an ‘employer’ requires several fundamental shifts in mindset. One of the shifts is to stay the course even if the going is tough and not jump at every opportunity that comes along the way. When one is starting a new business, especially in a tough pandemic year, the tendency is to look for an easy way out. This year, I had to make several tough decisions, and I am glad that I did. The technique is to change the lens. I tried to visualise the results of my action both from a short-term perspective and from a long-term perspective.

So they sat down, and nobody spoke for some minutes. Alice thought to herself, “I don’t see how he can ever finish, if he doesn’t begin.” But she waited patiently.

There are a few things that I have not been able to focus on in the last year, which I have resolved to do this year. The first is regaining lost physical strength (due to the extended COVID), which will require a combination of exercise and healthy eating. The other one is a pet project that has been on a back-burner for quite some time. The good news is that there has been positive movement on both fronts in January. Now, I must keep the momentum going to achieve my goals!

Before I close, I must state that my family, friends and my team have all had an integral part to play in this journey and I am thankful to them for their support. I leave you with another one of my favourite quotes.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pradeep Wadhwa
Co-founder & Principal at Kritical Edge Consulting
Pradeep is a seasoned communications professional, having witnessed both the client side as well as the consultancy side of life (in equal measures) for close to two decades.

Fortunate to be part of building and protecting reputation of leading organisations and brands across a variety of industry verticals, he has recently founded his unique C-Suite Consulting firm, Kritical Edge.

Previously he has worked in leadership roles with ReNew Power and PepsiCo India among other roles.

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