What matters to me?

These days I often face question, weren’t you doing what mattered to you?

What matters to me? A question easy to ask, but difficult to answer. I have tried to response it in several instances, but I understand I haven’t been able to satisfy anyone with my answer. We cannot always satisfy other, and its being true to yourself that is essential. Still, the question remains. What is it that matters to me? Its the other way of saying, what is that which really drives me, or comes before anything else.  It was back in 2013 when I first pondered on this to draft into words & wrote the first version of this post.

When I was at 19, I had entered  Dharmashringa for the Vipassana Meditation, with a confused mind and completely perplexed, in search of emotional stability, focus and rejuvenation of mind. It seemed that I had lost the direction of my life, as if I was caught up in something. My confidence was shaken and I really needed strong will power and determination to push myself forward. I was selected by the Ministry of Education of Nepal among two candidates, for BBA in an University in Japan, but a career prospects with a Chartered Accountancy degree appeared more fascinating for me. My parents in turn would have preferred to see me as a Government Officer. However after struggling in Intermediate in Science, I had felt knocked down lower than I ever expected; I didn’t know what I should do in my life and if I could ever do it.

The period I spent in Vipassana, without an iota of word spoken to any one, and out of touch with the outer world, allowed me to negotiate with myself as I passed through 10 continuous days of self-introspection. I stepped out more relaxed than ever before, with new vibes, more confident and an increased awareness of people and life around me. Followed by two more similar camps in two years, Vipassana became a guiding stone of my life; it taught me the importance of righteousness, gave a positive perspective to look at things and greater tolerance to face adversities.

Back in my young days, it was my dad who always motivated me to live a life of character. He was my first teacher, my role model and the inspiration for my life. The importance of education ran through our family-blood. My dad and grand dad’s had served a Sanskrit school established by my great-grandfather in 1880s in a remote mountain district of Bhojpur. My dad always faced never ending financial hardships and was marred by early losses of family members. But despite a life far from affluence, both dad and mum ensured that I get a good educational foundation for my life. Till 19 years of my age, we were without land and home of our own, living in a single rented room and if a gentleman hadn’t supported me with necessary logistics for studying in Kathmandu and trusted on my ability, I could have never come to Kathmandu for further studies and materialize my desire of being a Chartered Accountant. The gentleman, a medical doctor by profession, was someone whom I met by chance while he was transferred to Bhadrapur (Jhapa) where I was studying my BBS. From this humble background to where I am today, my story is a story of perseverance, determination and leadership.

The professional career had plenty of ups and down, as we stumbled together in Banskota & Co. and later moved on to Dev Associates in a new setup. During the process, we had several decisions to make, which were business decisions apparently, but tested me emotionally. The major one, of course, was leaving Banskota & Co. (and Kishor Sir) and moving the team to Dev Associates, as per the understanding we had with Baker Tilly International. I always felt that the decisions in the firm and responsibility in our daily life should not exclude ethics and social responsibility (including toward staffs).  Despite this, even in our own firm, we were not 100% to it, and sitting at the helm of decision making I knew very well that I was not positive to eyes of many. There were give and takes. We were right, we were wrong; some were in full compliance to our norms, some were compromises. Sometime I had to remain silent, sometimes I spoke up. As I introspect today, the decisions were a necessity of that time; those were the truth at those moments.  I am not proud of my mistakes, but have taken them as learning. You rise when you learn from your mistakes.

Ethics was not something that I learnt from text books, but values planted during my upbringing. Whatever be the circumstances, I have always kept myself away from party and professional politics, though we live in those surroundings and are influenced by it in everyday life. I can’t always stop myself in giving my views on it, with one of my friend commenting that 70% of my tweets are political. But I am happy that I was never inclined towards political relationships of any kind for purpose of securing business, an appointment or to step higher in my career. When I think of it, that gives me strength. Today I am experiencing different things each day. But I am happy what I am doing. If I can keep this doing, I will always remain happy.

I have realized that people honor your professional expertise, and if you are always straightforward and honest in your dealings. I evaluate people too with the same yardstick. In my career and life, leadership cannot be different than what General H. Norman Schwarzkopf defines- “… a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.” This is what matters to me. I will have no regret to compromise on status, wealth or position, to stick to it. And If I ever fall down, I am always ready, to get up and go.