DON’T TAKE THIS DAY FOR GRANTED

Last year this time on this day of new year 2020 I was at a party with my wife. There was some news about lockdown in a far off place in China . No one in their wildest dreams could have predicted what was to follow.

The world came to a halt , literally , everything stopped as the pandemic spread.

Lives were being lost , the was economic gloom , so many business suffered , people lost their jobs , there was panic across the world.

I had been postponing plans to travel the world and now there was no chance of travel.

During this period I lost my school friend and my mentor. So much changed .

The one big lesson of 2020 is don’t take life for granted. Life can change in a moment . It changed for many families who lost their loved ones in the pandemic and for the countless many who lost their jobs and incomes , who yet struggle every day.

Life changed for the family of my friend who died not out of COVID but due to sudden cardiac arrest. Till the night he passed away he was in touch and in good health then the next day he was gone.

Don’t postpone your dreams , don’t die with your song in your heart , you have but only one life , don’t take it for granted.

Living , loving and leaving a legacy behind is what life is about .

Life is not about playing safe , not living , postponing life to the future. It would be stupid , you cannot be sure of tomorrow.

The heavy baggage of what will happen in the future has stopped many from living now and playing safe . Yet the only certainty of the future is that it is uncertain.

2021 is another adventure that begins today , I do not know how this year will unfold but as I type these words I know this moment I am sharing my gift and that is all that matters .

Sanjay Mudnaney

SHOWING UP IS ALL YOU NEED !

I started cycling at the age of 50 . It was on my bucket list of things to do . It was not about getting fit or any of those reasons, it was just about reliving my childhood memories of cycling.

I remember the fun I had purchasing all the accessories and cycling gear. I started cycling a few kilometres on weekends.

I tied in another habit , going to Starbucks after cycling. Now that was the reward . So I would get dressed up every morning , start to cycle and feel the anticipation of being at Starbucks to have my favourite coffee.

Then I challenged myself with a tougher habit , to do long distance cycling starting with 25 km. The cycle I had was basic and would not help so I invested in a good cycle. And I started doing long distance cycling.

Now I was having fun , I loved the wind on my face , the feeling of freedom, the me time and to end the experience was a visit to Starbucks.

Today in the morning as winter has set in Mumbai ,it was chilly , tucked away under the blankets , I felt the desire to sleep a bit longer . But instead I just pulled myself up , put on the cycling dress and helmet and I got on my cycle.

The most important secret I understood of sustaining my cycling journey has not been MOTIVATION but SHOWING UP .

It is important to Show up , if I don’t show up I cannot begin. For me that is as simple as putting my cycling dress on . I have to wear my cycling clothes and the helmet and it pushes me to do the next thing , get on the cycle.

Once I am on my cycle, I have to cycle and then the next thing comes up , getting to Starbucks. That’s my reward .

Showing up and Reward are two things that keep me going and have helped me build my cycling habit .

And showing up is not about motivation , it’s about making a simple obvious process. I keep my cycling dress ready so I find it easily as I get up .

As I look at my another habit of learning guitar , I have just not progressed. I invested in a good guitar with the intention of learning to sing along with the guitar, but it’s not happened.

I realised I have put away my guitar in the closet and there is no reward that I have associated with the action .

Also my expectations are big , I want to start singing and play the guitar along and that looks difficult . Learning the chords and the strumming looks like a big effort.

For cycling I just begin with the simple idea of getting to Starbucks which is 5 kms away from my home , in the process many days I do 15 kms . So action step is simple.

The learning from my cycling habit which I have sustained is

1. For any new habit to form make it easy to take the first step . Putting on my cycling dress and helmet in the morning is the first step , I keep all cycling accessories within reach and visible.

2. Make a easy to take daily action . If you are trying to form the habit of reading books you can start with subscription to blinks which condenses books into short reads and then read one blink a day . For me it is just cycle 5 kms to get to Starbucks. ( and I also subscribe to blinks) .

3. Reward . For me Starbucks coffee is a reward ( I am trying to replace this )

4. Identity. I post pictures of my cycling journeys of social media and this has helped me build an identity as a cyclist. Don’t underestimate the power of identity for habit to become long term way of life.

I was not even aware of how I shifted my identity as a cyclist till I read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. I highly recommend reading this book .

As James says in this book , It is not about just Inspiration it is also about a system you put in place to make it happen.

It is not just about having passion but taking small action steps every day to live your passion . It is not the Destination but the journey that matters .

Like it is for me writing this blog now .

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

REFLECTING ON 2020

2020 has been a year like none before, a year when the world stopped. There are a few things I learnt that I cannot forget.

1. THE UNIMAGINABLE CAN AND WILL HAPPEN : No one could have ever predicted that the world will grind to a halt.

One cannot control external events in life one can control how one responds to those events.

2. HUMANS CAN ADAPT SOON : The world quickly adapted to the new normal and moved digital. Non essential consumption stopped overnight.

Be flexible, this is going to happen often in the future, entire industries and jobs would get disrupted. One cannot hold on to Ego of the past and not change.

3. WE CAN SURVIVE WITH A LOT LESS : That I could do without buying anything other than essentials for months was a revelation , it was clear that I needed a lot less to survive.

Often we land up buying things we do not need and then stock them to use at some later date . Clutter is stuck energy.

4. CUTTING OUT DAILY COMMUTE SAVED TIME : Locked down travel stopped completely, this resulted in excess time on hand , while some struggled some made best use of the time to self develop.

Cut all non essential travel , it also helps our planet.

5. THERE WAS NO OPTION OTHER THAN GOING DIGITAL : Even those that were reluctant were now forced to go digital. This is a trend that will continue.

Reinvent, Reinvent , Reinvent .

6. REMOTE WORKING WORKS : That I could service clients from across the world has been a plus . All organisations other than those that need physical presence have adapted to remote work.

Interesting thing I notice is that where innovation is needed and deep collaboration is called for teams have started coming together again while the bigger organisations that have process driven work continue remote work.

If you can move to smaller towns with great views , quality of life matters .

8. MORE ME TIME : The time saved on travel did give me lot more time to be with self and reflect , read books , meditate.

Build an inner practice for calm in turbulent times .

Here are a few more tips on things I will follow .

1. Build a contingency fund for emergencies , one cannot predict events that may occur but one can build a reserve that protects against shocks.

So I plan to build a contingency fund besides two years survival fund aside. Before I spend income I will save for contingency, this is the essential.

2. Cut down the non discretionary spends and focus on what is truly important . I have been fascinated by minimalist lifestyle and now I even know it is possible.

3. Invest on experiences, travel places , explore the world post the vaccination. It was something I had postponed , won’t do that again. And travel can be low budget .

4. Make my bucket list of things to do and tick off each one . Life is uncertain don’t wish to die with incomplete dreams.

5. Don’t take life for granted , live every day fully . This is the most important lesson of the pandemic. Live , Love, Leave a Legacy behind.

6. Build inner resilience it is a must , faith , surrender, prayer , meditation are practices I will continue.

7. Keep reinventing and learning new things daily and always be ready for the new world. This is a habit I will never stop.

Finally don’t take life toooo seriously!

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

HE TRAVELLED 80 CITIES IN INDIA WITH JUST 220 $

He slept in buses and trains and on platforms on his journey.

One day he slept in the slum and the next day he was in a palatial house on 35th floor in Mumbai !

He says he drank water from the taps of 80 cities of India , lived on had street food and if he found the food was expensive he would just have bananas and drink water.

He has a network of friends he has built on social media who he called on during his bag packing journey.

Amit Jain lost his father at the age of 3 , he was moved by the plight of his mother.

From a small village Bhusaval In Maharashtra, India he travelled to the city to for education.

He joined Bank of New York and started volunteering collecting old clothes for the needy .

He gave up his job to start a social venture Mitti ke Rang that provides employment opportunities to widows and poor women .

He has done it all , from travelling from a village to living in a city for education to getting a dream job to starting a social venture to bag packing across cities.

Amit says what he has learnt is that the greatest truth in the world is a lie .

What everyone tells you you can do and not do is a lie , his life is an example he says , he has challenged every norm .

Amit is fearless and believes he can do anything if he sets his mind to it . He lives comfortably with just 32 $ a month !

His advice to youth is work hard , save enough , start a side hustle and when you are confident get out of your job to live your dream .

He advices against loans and does not believe in owning things . He says “if I am going to leave everything behind when I die no point in owning things .” Rather he believes in accumulating experiences.

At the age of 30 Amit Jain had wisdom beyond his years and I am blessed as a storyteller to interact with such amazing individuals as part of my journey of Heroes of India project .

Wish I had heard his story when I was in college.

Sanjay Mudnaney

Founder , Heroes of India

I LOST A CLIENT AND THIS IS WHAT I LEARNT

Recently one of my clients backed off just when I thought things were looking up , social media presence was up , engagement was high and now it looked the sales funnel would kick in as we identified the niche and the product offering.

And yet the client backed off , why ? “Don’t have the funds and sales have not yet happened so I am unsure of the future.”

I was disappointed, things were just falling into place and looking up . It had just been three months since we began working on the account and we had even compromised on our fees .

So what did I learn ?

1. WHO : This is the most important question, clearly decide who is your client for the product or service you wish to offer .

In this case even before I took on the client I knew that the budgets were tight and social media needs time to build presence , but I had made the mistake of taking on the business.

Looking back I would rather focus on clients who were in it for the long haul rather than let’s see what happens.

2. EXPECTATIONS : It’s important to set clear expectations . Building a brand on social media is a long term game and if the client was not ready to play for the long run , I could just have avoided taking on the client .

This is also fair for the client as they are clear of what to expect . Being optimist is good but it needs to match reality.

3. LET GO : You could make a mistake in the client you picked up but as soon as you realise that something is not clicking take a quick decision and let go . It saves time and effort for everyone .

Let go of clients ;

1. Who don’t see value and are not willing to pay for the value you add . Better focus on those that see value .

2. Who do not commit to what it takes to succeed . If you are not well and you refuse to take the pill the doctor advised, you cannot blame the doctor. Either convince the client on importance of following the plan and if they yet refuse , just get out.

It is important to FOCUS you have limited time and resources . You cannot be everything to everyone.

I feel It’s a good learning to “LET GO OF BUSINESS/ CLIENTS THAT THAT ARE NOT COMMITTED TO CREATE MUTUAL VALUE.”

#Passionproject

Sanjay Mudnaney

WHAT STOPS FROM DOING WHAT WE LOVE

The fear of unknown is real . Look at the graves , you find worlds greatest treasures buried , dreams that were not lived due to fear .

Look at a child , you find no fear , dancing, jumping , shouting, all the stuff that kids do and are not ok for us to do as adults .

Who made these rules ? The NO has killed many more dreams than anything else in our world. The “No you cannot do this” , “No you cannot have that” , “No you are not good enough .”

And this is filled with , “you Must do this”, “You must stand first” , “You must win”, “You need to have a big house and a bigger car” . Then there is comparison, “look at your friend , he has topped the class and you ?”

Then we have idols , those that we see up there , in every magazine we see their pictures, they have made it , you see their lifestyle and wish you could be like them.

We pick up a job , get into a loan for that dream house , the car . Now we are trapped , bills need to be paid . The dream has been forgotten for more important things need to be done like , living life , climbing the ladder , paying the bills , getting famous .

Now the fear is real , we cannot do what we love because we need to keep up , follow the dream of the crowd . So we never ever break free because now SURVIVING is important.

Finally you find most of the beautiful dreams buried under the graveyard.

I believe no one must die with their song in their heart. We have but one life , we must Live it .

Love what you do till you find what you love to do. But for that don’t get trapped in the dream of the crowd and drop the fear . You have nothing to lose .

#passionproject

Sanjay Mudnaney

WHAT WILL THEY SAY

How many dreams have died because of this one sentence “what will they say”. The fear grips from taking that step into the unknown.

We always look for validation, first from parents then from teachers , school mates goes on to bosses.

When we truly look at life we will be shocked that we don’t live OUR lives but we live the EXPECTATIONS of others.

Who defined success as a big bank balance ? a big car , a big home ? Who even put into our head the concept “make a difference” .

All the baggage we carry is heavy, very heavy . And why can we not just be who we are dropping all the baggage of being like what we are expected to be ?

You put out your art into the world, because that is who you are . Some like , some don’t and that is ok , they are just not your audience.

Chase your dreams not the expectations and validation of anyone. Be yourself. It’s that simple .

#passionproject

Sanjay Mudnaney

WHAT IF THIS WAS MY LAST DAY

A strange question to ask in a business blog , but stay on it is relevant.

It is a known fact that we have limited time on planet earth and also it is known that no one knows when the final moment would come.

It will definitely come we know that we are all mortal so what would we do if it were the final day of our life ?

Would we obsessed over our bank balance , or the accumulations or the designation or what people will think of us ?

Or would we rather be ready to die peacefully knowing we have lived our life to the fullest, with no regrets , loved to the fullest , touched lives , given the best we can , lived our calling ?

So what if this as you read is the last day of your life ? and it may as well be. Do you have any regrets ? Is there some song you wanted to sing that you postponed ? Did you love enough ? Did you spend time with those you lived ? Do you make a difference in our world?

Don’t live for survival , you will die anyway!

Don’t die with any regrets of incomplete dreams . Sing your song before it is too late to sing . Don’t die with your song in your heart !

Don’t die with your song in your heart

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject