Samia Hassan

Monday, March 13, 2017

“Have you ever wondered how the most beautiful things happen to you when you least expect them? It’s like serendipity, as if the whole universe came together to make those wonderful things happen for you. I feel the same way after switching gears from being a marketer to an entrepreneur, career & startup coach. It’s almost achieving nirvana; as if I’m in a state of trance. Pure joy and perfect peace.

The question is how did I get here?

It was a long journey; one that took fifteen years. Coming from a middle class; modest background, yet within me was this drive and perseverance to conquer the world. I wanted to make a mark and have an impact. With this determination, I set out on a journey of seeking success and growth. At the time, it meant getting top grades in school, landing a high profile job in a prestigious MNC, with dreams of becoming a flying executive one day. And, it did happen. I was the success story among my family and friends. Even before I finished my MBA, I had secured a job at Procter & Gamble, the most sought after FMCG Company in the world. I worked there for more than 9 years, experiencing tremendous learning and growth, extensive exposure and travel, managing a huge business with multiple geographies and teams. Throughout this time, barring the usual ups and downs of the corporate world, my overall feeling was…. well, this is it. I’ve sorted out my life, and achieved whatever I had set my eyes on.

Until the feeling of ‘is this truly what I want in life?’ crept in. The simple question I would often ask myself was ‘Am I really happy?’ I call it my ‘happiness meter’ and this gauge has served me well over the years. When you have experienced both phases in life, one where financially you did not have too much and the other where it seems you have it all, it is rather easy to put this happiness meter into play. In the initial years of my career, as I gained financial independence and career growth, the happiness meter would score 10/10. And like most people who seem to think they have made it, I had also put my life on auto pilot for it to stay the course.

Though, in the last few years, when the happiness meter kept dwindling, I was unable to answer why. My work had stopped giving me the same meaning as it used to before, it had started to feel inauthentic. Every day, I would go to work thinking ‘do I exist to sell shampoos and soaps to more and more people while killing myself with the hectic work routine and stress?’ I realized that with every incremental dollar I was earning, I wasn’t actually buying more happiness. Happiness, unfortunately, also follows the law of diminishing returns. Buying a new car, home, or even getting promoted stopped satisfying me the way they used to before. I was soul searching and looking for something far more meaningful in life. And so, what did I do when I got to this stage?

And so, what did I do when I got to this stage? I made a firm commitment to myself that I will not be among those who spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.

I stepped back to get to know myself better. To have the clarity of what is it that I find meaningful and fulfilling, and find out what is it that makes me truly, deeply happy.

All along, in my heart, there was this deep desire of empowering people, enabling them to lead a better life. In fact, in the last few years at P&G, my only motivation to go to work was my team. Directing them, mentoring them and then seeing them develop and grow into well rounded business managers gave me immense satisfaction. With almost a decade of solid business management experience and an innate drive for entrepreneurship, my colleagues and friends insisted that I should seriously consider pursuing the career coaching path professionally. I knew there was something there; it was in line with my life purpose of empowering people to excel, enabling them to discover their core and unlocking their true potential. But somehow, there was still something holding me back, but that wasn’t for too long.

Until I met my career coach..

It barely took four to five sessions with her for me to figure out that I want to become a coach. I got firsthand experience of the power of coaching, the profound impact that it had on me and what I could potentially do for others. What I loved most about these sessions were the beautiful visualizations into the realm of self-awareness. One where I let my mind and heart wander, on their own, aimlessly, with no barriers and limitations – until they met each other…harmoniously… almost melodiously. I realized that for me, the three most important elements that need to be present in my work are: 1. To be able to make a meaningful impact on people. 2. To build deep, authentic connections and nurture a sense of belonging and 3. To harness my creativity, to craft rich and profound experiences for people. That’s when I really knew, coaching is my true calling! Every session with my coach would engulf me with joy, clarity and fulfillment that I hadn’t felt in a long time. She would continue peeling the onion until we got to a point where my values, beliefs and strengths were in perfect congruence with each other and I mustered the courage to live my life on purpose. Soon after, Direction dose was born.

Do you now get the nirvana I’m in, after having turned my life purpose into my paid profession? I wake up every morning wanting to make a difference in people’s lives, wanting to enable them on the path of self-discovery, inspiring them, motivating them and empowering them to grow.

Was it easy quitting that prestigious job and the hefty paycheck? Not really, but then as they say, ‘nothing of great significance is ever achieved by playing it safe’. For people who view life with the lens of how much money you make, sometimes it is rather hard to explain that there is more to life and work than money. -Samia Hassan, Founder of Direction Dose