What Should I Do?

Have you ever found yourself feeling bored and uncertain about the direction of your life? When you are as clueless about the path to take as you are about the destination you wish to reach?

It is December of 2018, and the scene at home is chaotic. My ten-year-old son, Tanav, is repeatedly asking, “What should I do?” His mother, Deepti, attempted to suggest activities, but her words seemed to fall on deaf ears. Tanav’s response was always a resounding “No!” followed by the same set of questions:

“What should I do?”

“What should I do?”

“What should I do?”

This cycle escalated, with Deepti growing frustrated while Tanav is on a roll, well literally, on the floor.

This situation often spirals out of control, as these questions have become a regular occurrence in our household.

No matter what suggestions we offer, they were met with indifference. I often wondered why this was the case, but I never found a satisfactory answer. Nevertheless, I persisted in my search. They say, “What you seek is seeking you!” and I eventually stumbled upon an unexpected revelation.

Another morning a few days later, I have a realization that my own situation is no better than Tanav’s.

After all, I’m halfway through their career, and sill unsure of where I am headed. Deep within I, too, am shouting the same questions internally:

“What should I do?”

“What should I do?”

“What should I do?”

Nor ears can hear nor tongue can tell, the tortures of that inward Hell

The worst part was that no one could hear my silent cries for guidance. I sought advice from friends, but each suggestion left me infuriated, echoing the same pattern as my son: “No!” “No!” “No!” The relentless cycle of questions continued unabated.

Every morning felt purposeless, and I struggled to find motivation to dress for work. The monotony of my days haunted me to the point where I couldn’t distinguish between yesterday and today.

During one such morning, as I sipped my tea, I overheard my mother humming a tune in the kitchen. She had a habit of singing long-lost phrases while working:

“Kiya karo kuch kiya karo udhaed kae bhi siya karo.”

which translates into

“Do something. Anything. Even if it means to unstitch a cloth only to stitch it again.”

Initially, I didn’t pay much attention to those words, but they left a lasting impact on me.

That evening, I made a decision. I decided to run for the Executive Committee elections at our Toastmasters club—an endeavor that lay beyond my comfort zone, but still an achievable goal. It provided me with a glimmer of hope and happiness.

I pondered over why I would be the right person for the job and how I could serve the members. I prepared a speech and took action. I had a purpose and diligently worked towards it.

After the election process concluded, I achieved my goal of becoming a part of the Executive Committee as the VP-Education. Returning home, I shared the news with my loved ones, and they cheered in celebration.

Later, my wife, Dinky, asked me a poignant question, “Are you happy?”

I replied, “Yes, I’m happy to be the VP-Education, but I was even happier when I made the decision to pursue it.”

Tony Robbin’s has said, It’s in moments of decision that destiny is shaped.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt unsure of what to do?

During such times, it is crucial to recognize that, no matter how well-intentioned the suggestions from others may be—whether it’s your boss, spouse, or friend—you will never find true happiness in that.

Even if the suggestion is well-intentioned

Even if the suggestion is right.

Even if it promises excitement.

“Why?” you may ask.

Simply because it wasn’t your decision. It was theirs!

Instead, just decide, commit, believe, and act. Do something. Anything. Eventually, you will discover your life’s purpose.

Since that moment, one thing has led to another and I have accomplished much more. I have served as the President, Sergeant at Arms, Area Director, and even Division Director at Toastmasters. At work, I have transitioned into a role that aligns with my passions.

When I set a goal, I treat it as my baby and pour my love into it.

As for real babies, they have achieved remarkable things too since then. They have won speech contests, participated in debates, excelled academically, and even published a book.

Children don’t do what you ask them to do; they do what you do.

However, the question still arises occasionally. Just as I finished writing this speech, my daughter Sohana asked me, “What should I do, Papa?” Setting aside my laptop, I replied, “Well, I have decided to be the test speaker at Estoile, the Speech evaluations contest of 6 clubs, maybe you can decide on something to do too!”

To my surprise, Sohana quickly got dressed, putting on her hat and goggles, ready to go to the library.

The Report Card

  • Smart
  • Confident
  • Intelligent
  • Go-getter

If I were to condense my entire life into a report card, that’s the feedback I always wanted but never got!
What I did get however was:

  • Helpful
  • Kind
  • Funny
  • Friendly
  • Someone even labeled me the Main Hoon Naa guy! at an office spot award, meaning He’ll be here, no!

The problem with that kind of feedback is that one, it will ever get you a promotion. And two, it’s a polite way to let you know your weaknesses.

So, I hated my feedback and longed to be that person who’d get the feedback I never got – Smart, Confident, Intelligent, Go getter!

The first step to change something is to understand the current state and so that started my voyage of self-exploration.

It is said that dreams convey a lot about one’s personality. So, I looked at my dreams first to understand my personality. I could be seen quickly jotting them down in my notebook right after getting up to avoid forgetting them in the course of the day.

I’m one such dream, I saw myself driving back all the way from Gurugram, the initial venue of the dream to my home in Delhi. I took the underpass, went through the traffic snarls, wiped my sweat, spent 2 long and tiring hours to get back home. It was disgusting. I didn’t have to go through the entire rigmarole in a dream. That was a shocking revelation about my personality- It was that I was a big bore.

I decided to give up on dreams and looked at my past life – the school life. To understand a new concept, I would read it, write it on paper, use the black board to write it, speak about it and be so gaga when I finally understood something that I would leave most of the rest of the syllabus in the process.  That analysis helped me discern that not only a bore but also utterly foolish.

Toastmasters is also mainly about self-discovery. I’ve been a Toastmaster for eight years and thoroughly enjoying the journey. I’ll complete my Level 5 of my first pathway soon, and I’ve been saying that for over 2 years now. In this time, lot of my friends, some of them are in this room have become twice DTMs. That retrospective opened me to another rude awakening – Not on was I a bore, foolish but I was also terribly slow.

So, here I was – bore, foolish, and slow. I was so miserable. And, to make matters worse, I couldn’t do a thing about it. After all, that is who I was.

I didn’t quite have any choice, so I kept going my voyage. It took its own sweet time, but I realized something funny was happening along the way.

When I was sharing my rather long drawn or boring account of events as stories, I was seeing the audience connecting with me. It was because of my rather eccentric or foolish ways that I made new lifelong friendships.  The same also helped end some relationships which were going nowhere. My so-called slowness meant that I was checking all the boxes resulting in successful projects at work.

It was a gradual process but, I realized that yes, I may be a bore, foolish and slow but another way to look at it was that I follow the natural steps, I celebrate the small wins, I build relationships, I be and let others be. And that was by no means a weakness. In fact, that is where lied my biggest strength.

My whole point of sharing this story is that we live in a world where we are often tempted to becoming someone who we’re not, while completely ignoring and even abusing the unique gifts God has endowed upon us.

If you’re a fish, be happy with swimming rather than feel stupid over your inability to climb a tree.

I’m Helpful. Kind. Funny. Friendly. Yes, The Main Hoon Naa guy. And I’m happy with my report card, what about you?

Stay tuned!


t’s Sunday. Ankan is looking for a place to hang out. He searches the MeetUp app. Our club meeting pops up. He decides to join us as a guest.

Ankan tells us that he is a medical professional and likes dabbling with poetic expressions.

He participates in Table Topics session where he takes us down his memory lane to the Mall road in Shimla where a monkey had once snatched his spectacles off his nose. It was hilarious. We exchanged a lot of smiles.

By the end of the meeting, we think we know a lot about Ankan. But it’s not until he recites his poem that we realize there is a lot more to Ankan than meets the eye. Here’s a para from his poem, “All I Want”:

Sometimes I just wanna talk... Sometimes I just want to pour out.
I have stacked up a lot, all I want is to say it out loud!

But there is no one to listen... There is no one to care.
And all I do is cry a little, when all I want is to smile a little!

We would have completely missed this side of Ankan if it was not for this poem. We are glad we were tuned in. Indeed, the art of conversation lies in listening – both to what’s spoken and what’s not.

Surely, there are a lot of other sides to Ankan. And to each one of us. All we must continue to do is… stay tuned!

[5-Bullet Tuesday] 3Cs to Bring Out the Leader in You!

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering. This time it’s all YouTube videos which I recently learnt is called YT (just like I figured recently that WAG refers to WhatsApp Group!).

How a Movement is Made –

Ankur Yadav, DTM showed this video urging everyone aspiring to grow as a leader to Be Crazy, Be Courageous and Be Consistent. 

He followed this with his own example of the time he overcame his fear by being a little crazy, a lot courageous and by staying consistent. This let him devise a unique way to woo a seasoned Toastmaster to speak at his club meeting, which was at the time a seemingly impossible task.

When Leadership Training Goes Wrong—

Leadership is a behavior. Life offers us many opportunities to practice this behavior and make leadership a habit. If you’ve never been a leader, there’s no point to your life…

ABCs of ‘Canva’

New to Canva? Jittery about creating Toastmasters brand compliant posters?

I was. Big time.

Finally, here’s a 14-minute YT video that has just what you need to create posters that can be published! Check it out.

Quote I’m pondering —

Yes, leaders are born; all they need is just a reminder that they are the ones! -Ankur Yadav, DTM

Book I’m looking forward to reading–

This one is a highly recommended leadership book I’m looking forward to reading: Extreme Ownership – Recommended by Ankur Yadav, DTM and Deepak Menon, DTM. That makes is a must read.


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[5-Bullet Tuesday] Who is the most important person in your family?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering. Did you ever feel an unexplained, undiagnosed pain in the body? Well, it has happened to be several times now.  I have realized that my achy back has a pattern – a direct correlation with my stress levels. So, before you swallow a pain reliever or head to a doc, try lightening up by getting yourself in a good mood. So, why not we focus on a few things which can pull up your mood.

Article I loved reading –

Who is the most important person in your family?

I bet if you’re a parent your answer would be that it is your child or children. But does that mindset help bring up the child the way you’d always wanted – a caring, responsible and one who’d take the family values forward?

According to Dr John Rosemond, having your child as the most important person in the family is the first step toward raising a child who feels entitled.

Show I watched — 

Last week, Dinky emceed a Toastmaster’s event for an audience of over 400. #proud. Something like that surely takes a lot of courage but gives back a boost to one’s confidence. A confidence which brings in truckloads of energy to do things one never thought would be possible. One that raises your spirit.

One thing leads to another, and we also managed to watch our God (Sartaj’s) musical show despite several other urgencies.

And the show was more than just mesmerizing music, lights and an exhilarated audience. It was much more than just that. Much more. The entire experience taught us many big and small lessons some of which have been deciphered, some will be deciphered, and some will perhaps never be deciphered.

All I will say is: Thank you, Dr. Satinder Sartaj.

Negotiation tactic I learnt –

I dropped Dinky, my wife, to BLK hospital on the way back from Soha, our nine-year daughter’s parent teacher meeting. Soha and I were waiting in the car assuming it would take less than thirty minutes for getting doc’s advice for Dad’s growing health concerns. We were both keeping ourselves happily busy with eating the famous pasta we’d purchased from the school to singing to making vlogs. Then, Dinky called to say that there is quite a queue at the doc and it’ll take longer and that she things we should head home, and she’ll come back on her own. I kind of’ knew that in this situation it wouldn’t take longer than another 30 minutes and was insisting on waiting for her. Negotiation went in her favor when she said that Soha needs some rest and therefore I must understand. Now, the thing about negotiation is that when you don’t get exactly what you asked or wished for, you can ask for something else in return to make it a little better for you. I said, “OK, I’ll go now and drop Soha, but when you’re about to be done, give me a call and I’ll come to pick you. You have you agree to this if you don’t want us to wait now.”

Well, these negotiation tactics might work in boardrooms but not with your wife. She simply refused and declined my next call. Phew! 🙂

Anyway, within minutes of my reaching home, Dinky called back and said that she was done. Without much effort, she let me come to pick her up. Infact, she seemed keen on that now. My negotiation tactic worked after all. ♥️

Quote I’m pondering —

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but by your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment

– Marcus Aurelius

Was at the dentist’s cleaning for mom’s root canal. I was sitting nearby all through the procedure. Mom is extremely delicate in anything that can cause pain (she’s run away from orthodontist’s clinic when eyes dilation was suggested for basic eye checkups for example). As I was observing her, I realized that I have two choices to experience the suffering based on my (likely incorrect) estimation of her suffering or be detached from it while providing herself assurance that all shall be well. We’re almost programmed to seeing our loved ones go through pain but is really the time when they need you to remain calm and composed to be able to make rational decisions for them.

A new term I heard –

Exit interviews are passé, how about Stay interviews?  Have you ever sat down with your best employees in one-on-one discussion and asked:

  • What makes you stay?
  • What’s the one thing that would make you leave?

It is a simple, powerful discussion that can help identify problems before they become reasons for quitting. Studies show that companies that conduct Stay Interviews enjoy a higher % of engaged, motivated employees – and their turnover is much lower. If nothing else, it will surely bring up the mood of both the boss and the employee.

I’m basically suggesting that getting oneself in a positive frame of mind both at home and work is that magic mantra which will relieve you not only of the stress but also those unexplained aches and pains. Give that a shot and see for yourself.

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[5-Bullet Tuesday] Why Should You Know Who’s the PM of UK?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering. I have been inspired by Ram for this consistency in coming for morning walk and the way he does it all so rigorously. At the age of fifty plus, that is awe inspiring. But today, Ram gave me a piece of his mind on an entirely different topic – general knowledge.

He picked a couple of topics related to politics -the recent SCO meet, Gyanvapi mosque, WAKF board – and I hadn’t an inkling about most of these. Seeing me stumped, he said, “You’re like my brother, so I have to tell you that you must read the newspaper and watch TV news daily. (He even recommended Black and White on Aaj Tak and DNA on Zee TV).  If you don’t keep yourself posted, how will you educate your children?

Ouch that hurts. Real bad. Today’s blog will hover around this topic err.. hurt.

Conversation I enjoyed–

My 9 year old Sohana is enthusiastically prepping up for her GK quiz when my teenager Tanav jumps out to prove to her that there is no use of GK. “How will it help?”, “Why should we know who’s the PM of UK?” and on and on. 

Now the truth is that I’m not fully convinced how GK would help (which is part of the reason for my plight at the morning walk!).

However, being an equal opportunity parent, I can’t take any ones side. Besides, I don’t see any reason why anyone should bring down the passion for someone else.

But the usual arguments would never ever work with a teenager. So, I tried something new. It must have been profound because all I saw after that was a silent puzzled teenage face and a mouth continuing her practice for tomorrow’s GK quiz.

I had just said, “If you believe GK will help you, it will. If you believe GK will not help you, it won’t”.

I later realized it applies to everything else in life too, isn’t it? Belief is powerful.

What I learnt—

What should one do to live a high class life in a place like Delhi?, Tanav asked me when we were waiting for dinner to be served.

Thankfully, 😅 I recalled Scott Adams advice to he highly effective or successful (He suggested these as proposed additions to Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people):

  1. Education (the right kind)
  2. Overcoming the fear of embarrassment (/fear/ shame)

I gave Tanav just these as the secret sauce for success. He’s hard to convince in general but he seemed content with this.

Adams is clear that these two qualities can compensate for each other. Successful people either have a great ability at something (through education) or they keep experimenting and failing without ever giving up.

New TV program I’m watching –

I have watched two episodes of Sudhir Chaudhary’s Black and White on Aaj Tak. It is really interesting and the information is shared in a way that make it sticky. Well researched and well presented.

Quote I’m pondering —

Blog I loved reading–

Peter Fuda explains how best to connect with your audience using the heart-head-hand technique (in that order). Read his full blog here. (TL/DR? – see the summary in the image below)

(And that makes me wonder, Did Ram from the morning walk use this technique to connect with me? He did cover the three although not in the right order.. It was more like Head (those news topics got me thinking), Heart (how will you educate your children?) and Hand (action to watch specific programs, which I eventually did!)  

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[5-Bullet Tuesday] How Often Do You Ask For Help?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering. Some relatives were over yesterday including my brother in law from the US. He asked my 13 year old son, Tanav what he wanted to become. I was utterly shocked when Tanav replied, “Software Engineer“. Knowing how shy he is, he is likely saying something safe to avoid a conversation. I’m wondering how might we help him see the available career options to help him decide. Hence, today’s blog is to share what my career experience has taught me:

Quote I loved –

I certainly haven’t lived my life by this principle but I’m glad I was lucky to find friends, books and Toastmasters which nudged me to keep trying and failing at things and moving on (QA, BD, Training, Blogging, Poetry…).

Most people find it hard to pinpoint what they want to do, but it’s easy to try and figure out what one doesn’t want to do. Keep experimenting to discover what you’re really meant to do and enjoy the process. And as Mr. Churchill says – stay enthusiastic!

New word I discovered —

Frexcitement” – its the feeling of fright + excitement. You are frightened about biting more that you can chew but equally excited about where it’s going to take you. A feeling common among project managers like me which should have had a name.

It’s a big #motivator for me too @Bindu Oleti. She’s the friend who shared this very relatable new word with me. I am so frexcited to spread its use :).

I am in this frexcited state every day. If you’re frexcited, remember it’s a good thing. It’s helping you grow!

Poem that made me nostalgic, “SOMETIMES”

I wish someone had shared this with me earlier. Keeping this in mind will allow you to squeeze the juice out of whatever your doing at present.

(Use https://quozio.com/ for converting your quotes to images like this one ☝️ )

Question I’m pondering —

That’s a question my 13 year old son, Tanav has been asking me.

What’s your IQ?

Here’s a different take on IQ which I totally agree with:

IQ, The “Irritability Quotient”:

The ability to absorb anger, criticism, and annoyance from others and how calmly we handle situations.

This IQ indeed determines our level of happiness, productivity.. and our growth in our careers.

(Source: LinkedIn)

What I learnt –

Do you feel a sense of discomfort in asking someone for help?

You feel that you’re supposed to solve the problem yourself, and that asking for help would mean you’re seen as weak or unskilled or lacking knowledge?

Well, the world has, thankfully, evolved from that school of thought. You’d be far better off if you keep yourselves in a circle where you ask/ discuss and apply the learning as you go. It keeps you and the people who support you energized and in a positive frame of mind.


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[5-Bullet Tuesday] How To Use Stress To Your Advantage!

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering. In my profession as a project manager, there are several time in a day when I feel anxious, worried and even fearful – tough stakeholders, nearing deadlines or technical challenges and on goes the list. This week, I share the some hacks I use to make these seemingly stressful times worth their while.

What I’m reading –

If you know me, you know that I read a lot. You might wonder where I find the time to read? Well, reading a few lines or pages instantly relieves me off the stress I so often find myself in. It takes the mind off the problem at hand, relaxes the mind which in turn helps to address the immediate challenge too. At present, I’m reading the book FLIP IT.

This is about training the mind for favorable outcomes regardless of circumstances.

Training I did —

Tell you a secret – I never ever get listed a defaulter for any of the mandatory office trainings. My secret is to pick up a training every time, I feel frustrated with something. When I have done or overdone my part and have to stop my self and channelize my energies elsewhere. Thankfully those situations don’t come up everyday but they are enough to remain on track on the compliance trainings and many other trainings which help us improve overtime. In the last week, apart from being up to date with mandatory trainings, I have completed a training called “Leading multi-generational workforce” by Dr Eliza Filby, an expert in the field.

What am I writing-

Writing is therapeutic especially useful when you’re having a stressful day. I find that writing helps puts things in perspective, helps deep dive and helps fill me back with gratitude and grace. Besides, writing will improve by writing. If that happens, you will find success in multiple fronts. It can even open doors for you that you never knew existed.
Here’s one article I read today which will help you become a better writer if you’re conscious about it. This week, I have written a knowledge byte at work, a blog to share my learning from a workshop on LinkedIn and a couple of blogs on mohitsawhney.com.

Who am I talking to –

Yesterday, in a 1:1 with boss, she said, “Mohit, you’re doing all the right things. Just hang in there.

That comment instantly uplifted me. I have realized that there are two type of people in the world – those who suck the energy out of you (energy vampires) and those who uplift you (energizers). Over the years, I have done away with many energy vampires from my life to make more room for energizers. I also try to act more like an energizer for others.

We have to remember that life is a marathon and not a sprint, and such subtle changes have a massive positive effect on your life over time to succeed.

And then, there is more guy I love talking to.. myself!

Quote I’m pondering —

“There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, ‘Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,’ and an optimist who says, ‘Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine anyway.’ Either way, nothing happens.” Yvon                                     

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