Tuesday, July 13, 2021

My story - from an architect to a quilter to, now, a life coach

 Everyone asks me, who are you? And did you decide to become a life coach? Today I am going to share my story with you. A complete raw, honest and heartfelt story. So take a cup of your favorite beverage, or a glass, sit back and join me as I go through my journey!


I was born into an entrepreneurial family, one where back in 1959 - when women did not even dare to step out of their homes - my grandmother ran a shop. She was soon joined by my aunt and then my uncle as they grew up. We even had a small shop in the front room of our house when we were growing up.

I was 15 when I first became an entrepreneur. I had a product (Diwali Lanterns), a manufacturing team (yours truly), a source to get the raw material cheaper (my uncle's shop), sales team (my three brothers) and a sales strategy (asking my littlelest brother to approach the customer and making sure that he looked malnourished - wasnt hard as he was very thin, we just made him wear the middle one's shirt so that he looked thinner!) We also invested our money in firecrackers that year! It was a fun venture and I still have amazing memories of seeing the smiles on my little brothers' faces!

Five years before that, at the age of 10 I had decided to become an architect. I loved a house near mine. And it belonged to an architect. I came to know that architects design homes and I wanted to live in a beautiful home - that was my motivation at the age of 10 - to be an architect! I became one in 2001. After working with a legendary architect in my town for an year - the same one whose house I loved - I went on to start my own practice under the name Niti Consultants. I worked on over 20 projects independently and was absolutely loving my life.

In 2004, I met Mr Right. Though it was an arranged marriage, I knew he was the one the moment I met him; so did he. He got married in 2005 and I moved to a town 100 km away from mine. I still continued working on my projects from before my marriage. Niti Consultants changed to Shruti Dandekar and Associates as Shruti Pandit became Shruti Dandekar. Life was new and exciting. But my practice was a total failure in the new town. So I went back to work with another legendary architect in this town. Till date he remains my biggest supporter and my mentor.

2007, my wonderful son was born. Things changed. The rainbow started to disappear. Life was  no more exciting. It felt like dark clouds surrounded me all the time. I loved my son, but I really appreciated help that I got in the form of a maid to look after him. I did not even realize that I was depressed. In 2009 I finally started therapy after realizing that things are going too far when I started having suicidal thoughts. Later I realized it was post-partum depression. 

I took a sabbatical from my career to pull myself together. During this phase, I accidently discovered quilting. And I fell in love. Life was beautiful and exciting once again. I was working from home looking after my son while I created artwork through the medium of quilting. As my son grew, so did my passion for quilting and my talent too. Soon I went from being an unknown quilter in a quaint little town in India, to be sort of a quilting sew-lebrity. I made the quilt I was  born to make - the Shivarajyabhishek - a 19 feet x 8 feet - 7 kg quilt made with 22,888 pieces in January 2019. After that I started feeling burn-out. Nothing that I made excited me. I loved quilting, but I started having trouble coming up with ideas to monetize and I knew I should change my focus.

I started focusing on teaching more than making and I started enjoying it once again. My 2020-21 calendar was filled with teaching gigs all over the world. I went to Chicago and Austin i n February 2020. I came back to a world that was totally different than the one I had left. As people started realizing the magnitude of the virus, events started getting cancelled and my calendar started emptying. I did not enjoy teaching online - as I feel that quilting is a  tactile medium. So I decided to take my second sabbatical.

I spent the first lockdown making masks and donating and selling them. I donated over 10000 masks to the district police and many more to so many people that I have lost the count. But that was not something that gave me satisfaction. So after 4 months, I handed all he material over to my friend and diverted all mask enquiries to her.

During this time, I started looking for a work at home opportunity, as my pockets had also started emptying just like my calendar. Fortunately, I got a job at a leading edutech and started  teaching coding to little kids. I do enjoy my job, but I also knew it right from the beginning that this is not my purpose.

During this  time, all the free time I got, I spent a lot of time in retrospection. During one of my journaling sessions, I had to write about "Am I happy?" I kept thinking and realized that I have always been happy. Even when my business was  not doing well. Even when I was going through depression. Even when I was working 18-20 hours a day. Even when I was away from my family for major milestones like 10th anniversary or my son's 10th birthday, and 12th and13th. Even when Mr Right did not seem to be that. Even when I lost 80% of my stuff when my studio was flooded. I was happy because I was always doing  something that I was passionate about! My passion was my purpose during that time. And it always gave me immense happiness.

That was the light bulb moment for me. I felt as if suddenly the path in front of me was  lit up in fairy lights! I knew what my purpose was. Having just crossed the big 4-0 s and venturing into my 42nd year, I felt as if it was time I passed on my knowledge that I have gained through over 20 years (actually 26 years) of being an entrepreneur. I got certified to become a Life Purpose Coach. And now I help others find their guiding light. Help them find their purpose - which helps them stay smiling and fills their life with abundance.

I offer coaching in group programs  as well as one-on-one sessions. I will write more about my programs very soon. Sign up for my newsletter when the form pops up to stay in touch if you haven't already. And most important grab my FREE Take decision worksheet to find out if your BIG idea is worth it!

 

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