“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal”. Maria Pawar, founder of Inspire and Career Achievers, with more than 20 years of experience in the service sector turned the tables in her favor as she started her entrepreneurial journey. She says, “Progress is better than perfection, once you start you get better and better with each passing day”.
KYE: What was your motivation behind being an entrepreneur?
Maria: I’ve come back from Dubai, been there for 15 years in the customer service industry actually in the aviation field. I’ve been flying for 19 years. Then I did my MBA in the US. The training was my passion. There comes a point when you gather all your knowledge and skills and say “okay, let me start this journey on my own and see how it goes”. I left a very fat pay-cheque in Dubai along with all the luxuries and comfort and I told myself mentally that I’m gonna get this done. That’s me, I make the impossible possible. I found that I had the strength when I was in college. I had just about graduated from Pune at the age of 19 and had an interview in Bombay for Jet Airways, so I rode a bike all the way from Pune to Bombay at that age all alone, to attend that interview. Nowadays, I find that all the entrepreneurs I have come across and the many clients I’ve had, a challenge when it comes their way the first thing they think and feel is “I can’t do it”. It starts with I cant! Why take that first step with a native thought of I cant? Why can’t you start with I can? The motivation for me to start this venture was to help people find themselves, to inspire people, and to make a difference in this world. As women, we have that power.
KYE: What gives you a sense of accomplishment?
Maria: The driving factor for me is, first n most importantly the mindset. I believe its all about having the correct mindset. 80% about your mindset and 20% about the action you take. Being able to inspire others to achieve their goals always makes me feel like I have accomplished something great myself. When people succeed because you helped them, you get appreciation from them and they come and tell you “Ma’am because of you I was able to go to the US”. Coaching them how to present themselves, guiding them how to develop presentation skills, speaking skills. Being able to empower people to live the life they want to live gives me a sense of accomplishment. Their success story is my success story, when they succeed I succeed along with them.
KYE: What were the challenges/ obstacles you faced?
Maria: There were too many challenges. The biggest challenge for me was to re-adapt to becoming and being an Indian again. When you are used to living in a western culture surrounded by a western mindset, they are very accepting of women holding a powerful position and in India, women are held back. We as women have the power to do achieve the unbelievable. I’m not a male-racist but women just need to come out of the shell that it’s only the males that can hold a powerful position. Women have power. We can be the best entrepreneurs because being a mom in itself is being an entrepreneur, you’re managing so many jobs at one time. We know women are traditionally devised to be moms and so successful entrepreneurs. Start believing in yourself, as a female you’re a daughter, a sister, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a mother, you’re holding so many positions so why not an entrepreneur.
As to another obstacle, some CEOs and MDs who are men, asked me “How can you be so confident and how can you articulate and communicate so well?” and I said just come and attend my session, be a part of it and we’ll take it ahead from there. They couldn’t wrap their head around the fact that a lady can be so interactive, so funny, and at the same time get the learning done and get them to do what they had to do.
Another obstacle was moving from the employee mindset to the entrepreneur mindset. In an employee mindset, you always have that “I will be an employee all my life” attitude, you come to do your job, get your performance review, get your pay and you’re done. Whereas an entrepreneur mindset is that you don’t only have to do your job you have to see they get jobs, they get paid, you have to see that the entire team gets to work in a nicely knitted manner. It’s not one hat, you’re wearing several different hats. It’s about how well you can shift from one hat to another hat.
Another problem was getting well-versed with ever-developing technology. And Human Resources also proved to be very challenging in the beginning but as I moved forward I learned to figure it all out.
KYE: At this point what according to you is required to achieve your business aspirations?
Maria: I believe 80% of your success is our mindset and our self-talk. People often start on this journey with a step back, doubting themselves if they will be able to pull it off. If a person is in that kind of space, he/she should try shaping their mindset first and then take a step ahead in the direction of their goals. The most important factor, something that has helped me in my journey and becoming a successful entrepreneur is networking. A post on social media, seminars, meeting people, passing on information, etc all of this is very important for building a strong network.
KYE: How has this venture changed you as a person?
Maria: When I was an employee I had to do a job. I trained people and I always did my best, people loved my training sessions. I trained around 30,000 people and it was fantastic but now it feels surreal. After being on my own journey of entrepreneurship I felt this immense power in myself with which I have been able to empower so many other people. It has changed me so much because it gave me absolute love and a need to give. Giving all my knowledge to people who really have a thirst for it, people who really wanted to do something and all they needed was the direction. This journey has made me more compassionate and more understanding.
KYE: What are the words of wisdom you’d like to share with budding entrepreneurs out there?
Maria: You will not know what it feels like to get wet unless you put your hand in the water. Put your finger in the water, embrace the feeling and so take your first step. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal. First, you need to understand what is the end goal you want to achieve? Break it down into short-term goals and start taking actions to achieve them. Every time you achieve any of those small goals pat yourself on the back, treat yourself to your favorite food or a spa session. This promotes self-appreciation. We can be our own biggest motivators if we learn to do it the right way.
Watch the entire talk here-