She was born in a small town in India, the middle child of 8 kids in a family with limited resources. From an early age, she learned to be responsible for herself and her siblings. It shaped who she became in her life, taking care of those in need.
Arranged marriage led her to the big city. As she settled into her new life, she observed two things: (1) lack of good education for children and (2) lack of suitable employment for women. She was driven to make a difference in her community and launched a school to educate children and create jobs for women.
She had no capital, nor prior business experience. She faced significant hurdles along the way – financial setbacks, social pressures, and health issues. But every obstacle made her stronger and even more determined. For her, no mission was too big and no goal was impossible.
What began in 1979 as an idea is now a highly regarded educational institution that graduates hundreds of students every year and provides employment for women in the community. Even after more than four decades of hard work and grit, she continues to live her motto of purpose, passion and perseverance. She is fierce advocate for social justice and has helped thousands of people get access to opportunity.
She is an inspiration to so many, including me. She is my hero. She is my mom.
Here are 5 invaluable lessons I’ve learned:
Dream Big. Choose faith over fear.
Everything you achieve begins with a belief and burning desire. Stop negotiating with yourself and trust in the sheer magnitude of what’s possible.
Act Now. Choose imperfection over inaction.
The biggest dreams and best laid plans are worthless without execution. Make a big problem smaller and take one small step towards your goal.
Grow Everyday. Choose change over certainty.
Challenge yourself to let go of what you know and embrace what’s new. Adopt an attitude of curiosity and humility and become a lifelong learner.
Lead Courageously. Choose impact over inertia.
Move forward boldly, instead of standing still in the face of adversity. Let your mission be the north star that guides your decisions and actions.
Lift Others. Choose community over competition.
You have more power and influence to change lives than you realize. Pave the path and empower others to achieve their dreams.
Take Action Now
Career success today poses new and exciting challenges. You need an entrepreneurial mindset, agile leaderships skills and digital expertise. But you also need visible role models that embody what you aspire to become, and an empowering community that helps you get there.
My mother’s journey has shaped and influenced my life and career. She is one of the many everyday heroes changing lives. I’ve also been fortunate to be surrounded by leaders who inspired me, peers who supported me, and mentors who guided me. They all paved the path for me to get to the next level.
Each of us has the ability to create impact if we overcome your own fears and insecurities. So unleash your potential because you may be just the inspiration that someone somewhere has been looking for. Ordinary people create extraordinary impact.