Where do I belong?

Recently, I moderated a panel on ‘organisational belonging’ by ANI i.e. Agile Network India. As part of the preparation, I spent a lot of time thinking about my own sense of belonging and how it impacts my leadership. And an interesting revelation emerged.

In April this year, unrelated to COVID, emdash hit its rock-bottom. I’d made several hiring mistakes, had many ideas that didn’t work, and all employees had found their way out. I was alone in the business and began contemplating going back to freelancing. COVID only strengthened my resolve that I’m not cut out for leading a business.

As I launched The Whole Works and kept my head down in writing everyday, things began to change. All clients who had hit pause in May returned by June. Both emdash and The Whole Works grew. I hired my first intern for The Whole Works, the extraordinary Shreya Muley, and things slowly picked up. Since then, we’ve had multiple people join both emdash and The Whole Works teams. We’re now on a steeper growth trajectory.

In thinking back on my journey for the ANI discussion, I realised that the most important part of this change was internal.

I had gone from “emdash belongs to me” which led me to hold a suffocatingly tight grip of every little thing in the organisation to “I belong in emdash” which gave more space for everyone’s ideas.

This shift in the way I approach emdash eased a lot of the burden I’d placed on myself. I didn’t need to lift the weight alone anymore. As a result, emdash was no longer equal to Ranjani. It is a lot more than me. This realisation — and its acceptance — is as humbling as it is liberating.

I no longer feel like I’m giving my most favourite notebook that someone will surely defile every time I delegate something. 😛