The choice you make today is what makes you

Last week I was spring cleaning my laptop and came across many old photographs, writings and other documents, which at that time had seemed important enough to be stored. Nestled amongst them somewhere was the appointment letter for my very first job at the National Association for the Blind (NAB), way back in 1986.

Scenes flashed across my mind – as a student of TISS, I was fortunate to have got a campus job as a social worker in one of the prestigious Government municipal hospitals in Mumbai. At the same time, on the notice board I had chanced upon the opportunity to work with NAB. I went with NAB.

On seeing that appointment letter, the thought occurred to me – what would have happened if I had instead chosen to work for the government? Life would have been so different! May be many of those events that happened because of my being at NAB would not have happened at all!. Or, who knows, I would have turned out to be a different professional altogether.

The choice I made that day lead to a series of events that has eventually brought me to where I am today.

Everything is connected

In life, whether in personal or professional, one can find the thread of connections running all across. My graduation was in Genetics and Immunology. And my Master’s in Social Work. I could see no connection between the two. Yet, when I joined a biotech company, it all fell in place. I could easily understand the science of biotech and innovations. My learnings of genetics automatically kicked in. The choice that I had made way back as a student entering college had found its way in my career years later. What if I had not chosen those subjects? Where would I be? What would I be doing?

In our professional life, we are presented with multiple choices every day. These choices come either in the form of assignments or projects or decision making. When we pick one option, it kickstarts a series of activities and there is a sense of connection all through. Have you paused to think what would have happened if you had taken that other option? Would it have had a different outcome?

While we do not know the outcomes of the choices that we never took, being aware of the impact and journey that lays ahead of us from the choice that we eventually take, helps us crystallize our thoughts.

Making that choice

But, how do we ever know we have made that right choice? We don’t always. There are times when the choices we make turn out to be bad decisions. That is how life in reality is. The point here is not to run away from choices but to be conscious and be prepared to embrace what changes because of it.

As communicators and people in the PR business, scenario planning is second nature to us. We love to live and swear by prediction tables. In real life however, life can be very unpredictable and at times, also throw us off track.

Making a choice and staying with it calls for agility and the nimbleness to change as the situation evolves. One has to keep the mind open to experience the newness of doing things differently. It is only then that one grows and learn. Working in a collaborative environment with cross functional teams is a great example of living with your choice and at the same time, imbibing fluidity in your thinking process, adapting to different conversations and making room for debates and challenges.

If we were to measure every choice that we make against a risk matrix, we may perhaps never ever take that first step forward to experience something new. For, everything that is new, is prone to risks and the fear of the unknown. Magic happens when you gather the courage and make the choice of entering a new zone, thereby surprising yourself with what comes with it.

The next time you make a choice, pause and remember that choice is what will make of you as you progress on that path. Here’s to then, happy choices!

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

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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