Separate the personal and professional – lessons from a mentor

You don’t know my children – they will take care of their mother!

My father was in the process of making a will, and was not too happy with where the conversation was going. Badrinarayanan, chartered accountant, good friend and a mentor, didn’t back down – he was polite yet firm. “I have no doubt your children are the finest people. But it is better that you make sure your wife is not dependent on any of them.” I think my dad did not speak with Badri for a few days after that – yet he did go with Badri’s recommendation.

Photo : Ravages via Compfight

Photo : Ravages via Compfight

In this meeting and many others I had a chance to see Badri handle a variety of issues with a great deal of finesse in his own understated style – never raising his voice, using humor, often self-deprecatory, to overcome objections or cut through hard problems.

Here are two lessons that I’ve learned from Badri.

Separate the personal and professional Badri and I met when I was working for his brother – so it was a social connect. It was when I was toying with kicking off my startup – a full year and half after quitting his brother’s firm, that he connected me with my future partners. With them I went on to build, grow and sell our first startup Impulsesoft. Since then Badri’s been the auditor for two of my startups, his firm were my personal tax accountants, till I took my (miniscule) business to a one-man firm. Through all these changes – working with his brother, working with one another professionally and then not – our relationship has only grown richer and deeper. Badri sends a steady stream of young entrepreneurs whom he believes may benefit from my experiences – even though I probably learn more from them! Through the last 18 years, he’s repeatedly been an exemplary model of professionalism worth emulating.

Keep a sense of perspective Just as his business was taking off, Badri faced some serious health challenges, which severely stressed his professional and personal situation. The manner in which he not only traversed the hard times but the optimism and good cheer he carried with him to the other side is not something I’ve encountered outside of books. The acute sense of perspective – of what is really important has enabled him to balance the endless challenges of work with the needs of personal health and family. He’s my role model when I find myself either getting too self-important or overwhelmed by what’s happening around me.

Thank you Badri, for being a wonderful friend,  an inspiration and a role model. I’m grateful that you are in my life and appreciate all the support through the years.

This is the fifth entry in my 30 days of Gratitude series.

5 thoughts on “Separate the personal and professional – lessons from a mentor

  1. Pingback: 30 Days of Gratitude | Design of Business

  2. Pingback: Make Haste Slowly – lessons from a mentor | Design of Business

  3. Pingback: Get your hands dirty and other lessons from a friend | Design of Business

  4. Pingback: Answering uncomfortable questions and others lessons from mentors | Design of Business

  5. Pingback: Taking risks and other lessons from a mentor | Design of Business

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