Daily routine after getting back home from work.
After a wink, a hug or a warm smile depending upon who opened the door for me, I love to hear my own voice booming through our home.
‘Hi, everybody!’ And that’s a yell, not a polite question. I want to reach all my loved ones at the earliest before my body can. Shoes off, a saunter down to our bedroom, change, a wash and I am looking forward to my very special cup of ‘roasted Orange Pekoe’ brew. This one, I love to brew it myself so that I get the decoction exactly as I want it – strong aroma, acidic and piping hot. My daughter is the only one I trust to get it right. Why this one is even more significant than the one I begin the day with, is that it has to match in acidity the turgidity of my mind after a day at practising management. While the morning one works like an enabler to rev up the mental engines, this one flirts with the remaining currents of the day before caressing them to bed – only to be aroused afresh for another day of management.
I understand only a bit of biotech and can’t be sure but I strongly believe that this turgidity must be coming from the adrenaline. The churning that the ocean throws up during high tide does make the water turgid although there is nothing physical that has been added. The practising manager’s day is also about churning and high tides. It is anxiety that creates the turgidity of the mind coming from riding the waves of uncertainty and opposition of managerial tasks. My roasted orange pekoe’s wafting aroma and the acidic brew is what helps me drain this turgidity. The santuary of my home gradually soothes off anxiety off its high stool for the mind to be left alone to resuscitate for another day of turmoil, challenges, choices, decisions and change management.
Om Puri, the noted character actor from Bollywood had just returned from Hollywood where he acted in a movie together with the legendary Steve McQueen. Although my sense of the semiotic puts them on the same pedestal, the TV anchor interviewing Om Puri posed the obvious question, ‘Mr. Puri, did you feel nervous to shoot with a legend like Steve McQueen?’ Puri’s raspy but benign response made me a bigger fan of his than his ratings as a thespian. He said, ‘Of course I was, but I have always been nervous before I went on stage or prior to a take since I started acting in my university days’. He went on to explain that it was his anxiety to perform his chosen task that made him focused on the character he had to bring to life.
Anxiety may be a negative emotion for most, but for the impassioned, it provides the incline on which climbs the will of man to finally take a leap across the rubicon. The imprisoned life of pendulation between pros and cons in the motivation arena would never end without the escape velocity that anxiety provides to the mind to get hooked to a volitional pursuit.
Anxiety of fulfilling a chosen purpose is a life that is alive. Alive with things to do, distractions to avoid, strategies to change only to reach that destination that you imagined as your Xanadu. Else, you live a life of meeting everyday expectations, a life of gathering the crumbs that you can merely survive upon, winning one moment when you got more than the other and losing the next minute when you meet someone with a bit more than you. Anxiety is the fuel of mind that unleashes the latent potential of human existence. It is not made of base emotions like greed, envy, wants and desires rather exuded from the passion with which you own the purpose you live for and subsume yourself to.
Leaders or practising managers are looked up to and followed not because of the facts they rattle of in excel sheets or power points but due to the anxiety that they infect others with. People around them are as anxious about the fructification of the purpose as them. They want to walk the same Xanadu as their leader. It is the anxiety of the leader that soaks up every thinking cell of his team with the elixir of a purposeful life. The daily grind becomes the means not the reason to live. Pain and pleasures of the day are just small breaks in the journey of a purposeful life.
PS: My first book ‘ASCENT: A Practising Manager’s Growth Mantra’ is now available on Amazon, Flipkart, etc. Foreword by Prof. Jonathan Gosling.