My three mistakes and counting..The journey to ‘Your Image and I’
My name is Shreya Dhingra; I am an MBA by qualification and an Image Communication Coach by choice.
It took me ten hard years to write this line with pride. You must be thinking why it is such a deal to write the first line. Well, it is a huge one for me. After a ten year nomadic professional & academic journey, I feel extremely privileged and proud to be pursuing a career that I believe I was born to do.
I was born and brought up in a middle class family in Delhi. Just like many people, I too have supremely loving, caring and giving parents, who despite limited means ensured I got enough freedom, scope and opportunities. But like many children, I too failed at leveraging most of those great opportunities mumma and daddy opened for me at every stage of my childhood and adolescence. As recent as three years back, I used to be very disappointed with myself for not playing up to my gut; for simply not having any faith in myself to achieve what I truly can.
Till the last three to four years, whenever anyone asked me about my childhood or some memories from the past, I would go blank. I would have nothing concrete to share because in my mind, there was absolutely nothing exciting about my past. All I would recall was a super average childhood, fairly good grades, fear of people, losing many friends, no adventurous memories, forgettable happy moments, a weak IQ and a very weak EQ (Emotional Intelligence). All I was ever worried and concerned about was people around me; and the fear of losing them all.
This was a strange fear which I developed at a very early age of my life. The insecurity seeped within me when I was as young as five years old. So all in all, an average protective childhood is all that I allowed my mind to recall.
My stint with being average continued as life pushed me on, until one evening in the train when I was traveling to Mumbai with a batch mate and a professor, to attend a retail conference on behalf of my management institute. I still don’t know how I got selected from a batch of 90 students to represent my college. Any way as we were on our way, my batch mate who I hardly ever spoke to in college started chatting up with me.
He told me about his interest in cars, travelling, reading etc. After a while, he asked me so “Shreya, what are you passionate about in life”? I went numb to that question which poked me right in my face. So here I was sharing space with a damn intelligent, futuristic, progressive and a passionate batch mate, enjoying listening to every bit of his life story until he turned the question back at me. That was the first big mistake I realized about myself- I was passionless.
I went on to take up jobs immediately after my masters. I sold fancy clothes, shoes, skin care treatments, I even sold newspapers. Yes I did that job. That was my biggest demotion and greatest learning. The second big mistake- I took jobs that undervalued my qualification and neglected my core skill set.
So I kept switching jobs that got my pocket money until one day when my eyes fell on a full page newspaper advertisement related to Personality Development. I took not more than a minute to call and enquire, and before I realized, I was studying and learning Personal Presence Management which is commonly referred to as Image Management. I fought with my boss, lied, quit my job which I anyway hated to hilt, friends and relatives laughed at me, parents were now very worried about my trajectory but did not give up as yet and hence, I dived into the world of business.
So, now when someone asks me about my childhood, I tell them that I liked fashion and beauty, but was not fashionable at all. I liked teaching but lacked the virtue of patience and learning but I spoilt all the brown coloured doors and cupboards of my house, by scribbling on them for hours with white coloured chalks. I spoilt my mom’s law books to score imaginary class kids on a scale of 1 to 10, with a red pen (my biggest fascination as a child). I liked people but I was scared of interacting with them. So I clubbed all my weaknesses and converted them into YOUR IMAGE AND I.
And after 10 long years of struggle, I am the proud owner and Chief Consultant of my own start up ‘Your Image and I’ in Bangalore where I now live. As a trainer and coach, I focus on every aspect of human image to help individuals and corporate’s build a strong and an authentic self- presence. I typically work on all formats of human communication right from self-image, managing emotions, life, dealing with people, networking, leadership development; to creating an impact through clothes, an empowering body language, great speech skills, looks management through hair and makeup amongst other things.
If I look at one distinct achievement of mine, it would certainly be my ability to become an independent consultant all on my own with little hand holding. Today I coach, counsel and train amongst many others; the CEO’s, MD’s, Owners, Managers and Artists almost double my age.
Oh and my third big mistake, I thought running a successful business was something out of my league. But while I make mistakes, the good thing is that I learn fast now!
Your Image & I, www.yourimageandi.in