Here are a few questions and thoughts to help you reflect on what your legacy might be in life. This month is What is Your Legacy Month — so why not start thinking about that now.
As you reflect back on your life, have there been pivotal moments that shaped and taught you?
I used to work, when I first started in this business, with a company called New York Life. They taught me the business, but at some point, I realized that it was very important for me to branch off on my own. Although they were a good company, no one company, no matter how big or how good, can have all the answers to all the client’s needs all the time in a cost-effective fashion. And in order to be truly independent, I had to start my own practice, and that was a pivotal moment from a career standpoint. I’ve had many pivotal moments, such as leaving India for Africa and so on, but I think from a career standpoint, that would be it. That was about 26 years ago.
Do you have someone who will hold you accountable? Leaving a legacy is no small task. Who is in your corner?
I went to a boarding school in India, arguably India’s premier boarding school, and it taught me the importance of teamwork. You never do it alone. And it also made me independent. I have always had the feeling that I can pretty much conquer any challenge because there is no growth in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the growth zone. You’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable until it becomes second nature to you, so that’s been my experience.
For me, from a business standpoint, I had the fortune and good fortune of getting involved in some business coaching. And I had been putting it off because it was kind of expensive, at least that’s what I thought. However, I cannot say enough good things about a business coaching program in general, and specifically about the Strategic Coach program that I participated in. And my coach was Gina Pellegrini, and she basically changed my life. And to be honest, in the beginning, I felt that I was just spending all this money and not getting any returns, but she said, “You signed up for three years.” And after about a year and a half, I started to see a big turnaround, and it changed my life.
How do you spend your time? It dictates your priorities.
We only have 168 hours in a week. It took me a long time to figure out how to manage my time. I went from a person who was working very hard in the business, to working on the business and having the balance that most entrepreneurs crave. And today, for instance, we’re talking about golf, life, and business. When I plan my schedule, what goes on my calendar first is my family time and my golf and my travel and my vacations, and then the business comes around that. And it’s amazing because it’s a mindset change, and it took a while to do that.
Who are you able to help and impact?
For me, one commitment I make is to mentor others. When I think of mentoring, I’m obviously mentoring people that work with me, but I’m also mentoring allied professionals, I’m mentoring, to some extent, even our clients. And essentially, the conviction convinces. So if I feel very strongly about something, it gives me enough inspiration and motivation, and determination to see it through, to convey that to other parties that might potentially benefit from it. But beyond that, I think it needs to be a two-way street. You cannot force something on someone. They must want it. But what I have found in my particular case is that almost always, the teacher actually learns more than the student, and I’m an ardent student of our industry. And I believe I will continue to always be interested in supporting others who want to improve their financial life, whether they are clients or allied professionals.
Supporting the community is where you work and live is an important element to consider about your legacy too. I’ve been involved with the Rotary Club of Potomac for almost 20 years. And it’s basically a situation where you feel good about helping others in a one-to-one peer service setting. And I did not join Rotary International for business reasons. I wanted to give back. I wanted to meet other people in the community, and so on. But over the years it actually has been very good for me, because people see how you behave, how you react, how you serve. And when they see that, and they see that genuine setting, when they have a situation where they need input, they’re willing to share that with you. There’s something about breaking bread with someone on a weekly basis, except for COVID, with Rotarian you get together every week.
Where can you improve and ask for honest feedback?
I think it’s very, very important to recognize that the most important resource that each one of us has is time. So when somebody’s willing to give that time, it’s important for the recipient to take that seriously, because that’s one resource that we can never, ever refill. And I think when I have someone committed to their success, willing to listen to you, willing to use your expertise. Instead of, like my dad used to share, he used to be a pilot in the air force. He said, “Look, in the air, you cannot learn from other people’s mistakes. Because you make a mistake as a pilot, that’s the last mistake you’re going to make.” They made you learn from other people’s mistakes. I have pretty much learned from other people, and I want to give back. I find that the best people, whether it’s clients or allied professionals, are the ones who ask questions. You have to embrace criticism and look at it from every different point of view, and I think that way you can get a better outcome.
What do you do to keep perspective?
I love golf. With respect to golf, I think golf is a metaphor for life. Essentially, some days are good, some days the bad. Today’s a windy day, there are different elements. Someday you lose your way. And that’s how life is. Sometimes you have good days, sometimes you lose some money in the market, someday you make money. And so I find that it gives me perspective, it gives me the place to be at peace with myself.
I don’t think success, or creating a legacy, is a destination. It is a journey. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy idea, and the road to excellence is always under construction. We have to remember that all that you want to do is give yourself the best shot when it comes to business and in life. I believe that proper planning prevents poor performance, the five P’s, as I call it. Our legacy is the sum of what we do day in and day out. It is a reflection of our journey. If you are interested in speaking with me more about your legacy, please reach out to me.
What is your legacy?
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