The most common way people give up their power is by thinking that they don’t
have any. Alice Walker (American author and activist).
My name is Kanchan Shine. I am an Education Consultant – to put it in simple
terms; I study the science (yes, it’s a science) of how children learn. I work with
schools and organizations to create engaging learning experiences for children.
I did not plan to be an Education Consultant. For that matter, when I was
growing up, such titles or professions did not even exist. I was an average
student in school and college. In every class, you have that one student who sits
with her head down avoiding any kind of eye contact with the teacher, secretly
praying that the teacher wouldn’t ask her any questions – yeah that was me.
I did manage, with great effort, to pass out from each standard and move ahead
with the pack. At the end of 15 years, I emerged as a product called ‘B.Com
Graduate’ from the factory of education.
I began working right after my 12th. And after graduation, I spent the next few years exploring different professions – aspiring software engineer, lab instructor, computer faculty, centre manager and business development executive, until I
arrived in education.
It’s not easy to find the right profession, or at least it wasn’t easy for me. Findingthe right profession is a combination of multiple factors – you have to first be able to find that one thing that you love doing, then find how you can get paid for doing what you love. Of course, then you need to also find the right boss/mentor who will guide you and the right leadership team to inspire you.
The quest to finding this perfect combination was not easy. I quit many jobs,
because it wasn’t what I wanted to do, or because of the boss, or because
working meant indulging in office politics more than indulging in work. But I am
glad I went through all these experiences, as they made me stronger and, I
believe, a little bit wiser.
In mid-2007, I quit my last corporate job, because I could no longer handle office
politics and also because I wanted to live a balanced life. It was a scary move
because I was married, and we were living the DINK (double-income no kids)
lifestyle. The lifestyle of two people earning a good corporate salary and living in
a city like Mumbai is quite different from that of a single-earning member
I thought that I would take a break and enjoy life for a few months. But I could
not. The thought of one less salary drove me nuts. And after a one-week break, I
immediately started scouting for freelancing assignments. The next thing I knew,
I was overloaded with assignments and working all through the night, which was
worse than my full-time job.
That’s when the better half asked me to stop and think about what I wanted from
• Did I want to earn the exact same figure that my corporate job was paying
me – more money meant working more hours?
• Or was I okay with earning less, yet enjoying my work and living a
The choice was easy. I chose the latter option.
In 2008, I set up my own firm, Episteme Learning Solutions Pvt Ltd. Through my
network, I met women from the same field, who were freelancers. I began taking
up projects and engaging freelance consultants on projects. My goal was always
very clear – I will do what I love and love what I do.
Today, my firm is almost 7.5 years old, as old as my daughter. It is a small-size
business, because I choose to remain a small-size business. This means that I
only take up handful of work; the size/volume allows me to enjoy my work and
leaves me with enough time and energy to dedicate to my home.
My team is my biggest strength and they are all women. Wonderful women, who
led great corporate careers, and then left their careers, because they chose to
live a balanced life. They are highly disciplined, committed and sincere to the task
they take up, and have the flexibility to work at their own pace – and they do a
fantastic job of managing work as well as their home responsibilities.
Being a woman makes you very powerful, as only women have the ability to
multitask, something that no man can do, as well as a woman does!!
Women are born to be multitaskers.
If you look back into your family, into the past generations, you will see many
such examples. It could be your grandmother or great-grandmother. That one
lady, who gave birth to six or more children, managed her children, the house
chores, the finances, the pantry, the cleaning, the rituals, the social obligations –
she was always on top of every little matter that related to the house or its
people – and she made it look like a cakewalk.
We all have that power within us. And we also have an advantage, because we
have resources at our disposal, something that our ancestors did not have. We
have access to cooks, drivers, maids, and can therefore choose to do only those
tasks that need our specialized skills.
I have a full-time maid at home to look after the needs of the children, while I am
working. And I have a help who comes to clean the house and to cook food. I do
not feel guilty about hiring help. Yes, I can spend two hours each morning to cook
up a tasty meal for my family. But I don’t, instead I choose to spend the time
with my children and the family. Sometimes, I use free time to do my bit to give
back to society. And of lately, I use it to study for my Masters degree, because I
firmly believe that if I stop learning I will become obsolete.
Kiran Bedi said “Empowered women who reach tough or unconventional positions
make choices, not sacrifices.”
I’m where I am because I recognized my powers and made choices about what I
wanted to do with my powers. And, I have a very supportive family who has
always stood by my choices.
I know that like me, you too are blessed with many powers – so look inside, find
your powers, make your choices and RISE!!