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Aletta's blog

Life to paper: Musings to inspire (blog #4)

When stress makes you cry, embrace it and grow

Ambition and Success.

Like a sharp double-edged sword, these two words are often found cutting through the lives of a number of people – capable of lifting them up, while also plunging them into the depths of depression. Not many recognise the true power of these words, welcoming them into their lives with a dedicated face and a happy smile. I know I am definitely guilty of that naive smile.

Carrying along my dreams and aspirations of taking on the world, I often failed to acknowledge a small cry for help that began to echo inside of me. That cry felt like failure and I have always been afraid to accept it as a part of my life – until my meeting with Drs. Nupur Kohli.

When I first heard of Nupur, it ignited inside of me mixed emotions of admiration and a twinge of envy towards the path she had built for herself. With our familial roots based in the same country and being of approximately the same age, Nupur instantly became the true image of ambition and success to me.  I was determined to  learn more about her and her journey – with the hope that I could create for myself a roadmap inspired by her work.

We got on to what I would call somewhat of a rough start – put a seasoned speaker and a journalist together in the same room, the two are bound to talk shop. I couldn’t help but ask her the clichéd questions and she couldn’t help but respond to them in what I imagine to be a ‘practiced manner’. Nothing wrong in that – but it didn’t serve to feed my admiration of her in any way. Fortunately, at some point through our time together, we managed to strike a chord and chat in a relaxed manner.  Here are some of my takeaways:

For most part of my life I believed that success would come to me only if I pushed to break boundaries – both on a personal and professional level. This constant push and pull game that I play with multiple situations in my life I realised, was the root cause of that ‘cry’ I mentioned earlier. Nupur broke this notion for me. Talking about her career, she helped me realise that while pushing boundaries is sometimes important, it is also beneficial to look outside the box and create a new path for yourself. Feeling a sense of pressure is unavoidable, but how we choose to deal with the obstacles we face will help determine how much we let this pressure affect us.

Another thing that ambition drives people to do, especially when it comes to us ladies (I’m sure many of you will nod your head to this) is to learn the art of dabbling in multiple activities at the same time – some for work, some educational and some for the sheer fun of it. No doubt that at some point all that energy will cause a personal mental and physical burnout. But how does one recognise this burnout and accept it? It is hard right? Nupur was of the opinion that we as people should help those around us to recognise their own moments of stress. “But what about me?”, I thought. It took me a while to realise that helping others around me also helped me in creating a network of support for myself. In being there for those who need me, I would be encouraging others to be there for me when I needed it. Ambition can be selfish, but selfishness should be sought in personal wellbeing and togetherness, instead of pedestals that isolate you from others.

Nupur truly was an inspiration – but not in ways I anticipated. Meeting with her did not give me ideas for an instant success roadmap nor did it incite in me a feeling of strong determination. What it did however was encourage me to make a vow to myself – a vow that I would acknowledge and accept that small cry for help within me, that I would put myself first before all my worldly ambitions.       



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