Estranged 2020 : My Song, My Life, My Way
2020: Early Warnings of Devastation
I started 2020 with a very positive outlook. Our investment heatmaps were indicating upswing in investment activity, term sheets in progress for investments, strong investment flows on the back of Sino-US trade blockade. By 15 March, it was clear that some Chinese bug has hit Indian shores and I started out moving back our teams to their home bases, talking to the authorities on the situation. On my birthday, just a day before the first 14-hour lockdown, I was working late in office to mitigate the risk that may be arising out of the business disruption. Then there was the forced lockdown preventing me to work from office. The start of the Financial Year 2020-21 was clearing going to be a devastating one for all due to the Covid pandemic. In the first week of April 2020, all the financial and business outlook turned negative and also I suffered huge financial losses never anticipated in my life as a result. It was a very depressing personal situation for me which I had never faced in my life. It was clear I needed to bouceback. Suffering losses is a temporary situation, letting the frame of mind to continue with being mentally ‘broke’ was just not acceptable to me. Clearly there were four key issues that I observed in Q1
- the volatility and pace at which the situations changed
- all plans and predictions went for a toss
- there was utter chaos and no one had a clear head and view to handle the complexity and solutions to solve it
- with more bad news, there was no view when things will bottom out
That’s when I started my journey of My Song, My Life, My Mantra, My Way, My Avatar.
2020: My Song
During my long walks during the first week April, I would listen to Bon Jovi’s hit Estranged, the lyrics of which went like this and my responses (in brackets)…
When you’re talkin’ to yourself (about your situation)
And nobody’s home (although at home with family in the lockdown)
You can fool yourself (that All is Well)
You came in this world alone (I am all alone fending for myself)
So nobody ever told you baby (nobody had a clue)
How it was gonna be (the lockdown and beyond)
So what’ll happen to you baby (rather be strong than helpless)
Guess we’ll have to wait and see (no way)
The nine minutes song played out the remaining nine months of 2020 of my life.
2020: My Life, My Nine Mantra
There 9 minutes of the song inspired me to write my nine mantras to bounced back and come out a winner in 2020. These were:
1. Love Thy Self: No Self Empathy
Every one in my circle of networks was very scared and required empathy. How would you empathise if you are yourself shallow and lack self-love? The toxic energy in the environment that was flowing around just was not doing good to me. I need not be a victim of this toxicity. That’s when I decided to manifest myself with a new energy and to fight the situation, I need to be stronger physically, mentally, spiritually. I started out with a healthy diet and high-end nutraceuticals, doubled up on my daily walks, increased my heart points by 3 times and started drawing on positive energy. As a result, I was over 10 kgs down in weight, much fitter and well energized positively to empathise with the people
2. Renewed Vision for My Future Avatar
My mission in life has always been how to make healthcare cheaper, better, faster. Healthcare for All | Kapil Khandelwal (KK). With my interactions and calls with our investors, there was confidence in what we were doing. In fact, we raised even more funds during May-June 2020 for healthcare investments. The critical issue at hand was what investment strategies worked in the past would work in the post-Covid era. It was time to rework and restrategise the vision for my future avatar. With the positive energies, I set fearlessly out my renewed vision with Josh, Jonoon and Jigar. My best is yet to come!
3. Focus, Focus, Focus
With the my Avatar 2.0, it was time to focus. I clearly had 24-hours in a day and many unfinished business and agendas. It was with the renewed focus, that I cut down that was not required through a VED analysis of my work load. Clearly three key agendas for focus emerged out of this which I set forth in my work, declining, regretting and pre-closing many ongoing commitments as a result. This helped me put my time to get the maximum impact and the outcomes that my new Avatar was to emerge out.
4. Build the Safety Net and Resilience
My primary responsibilities during the lockdown was to ensure that my people and their families are not adversely affected. To build confidence in my people, I build a safety net and emergency response for any eventuality due to Covid. At the cost of selling off my personal investments at a loss, I ensured that my people had food on their table and committed to my renewed vision with confidence.
5. Create Impactful Behavior and Environment
To rebuild the economy and our healthcare systems for the future, it was clear that capital and investments would be with empathy and impact along with positive investor returns. One of the unfinished business was to ensure that there was a holistic and inclusive regulatory framework for the Social Stock Exchange (SSE) in India. I had been part of the journey with SEBI from its inception and worked with our team to produce a white paper with several recommendations which is now being on the table for the final regulation.
6. Network like never before
Other than the usual networking activity virtually during lockdown, being an investor allows you access to world politicians, thought leaders, think tanks, industry bodies, academia and opinion makers across the diaspora. My time was well spent speaking with them and gathering their take on various issues emerging out of this world crisis. Over the last 9 months, I had 1×1 with over 200 folks. I really thank them for taking their time to talk to me.
7. Guides and Mentors
I renergised my circle of guides and mentors and opened up communications where we discussed may of my fears and issues heart to heart. This provided me the inspiration for being a better leader for the emerging new world order.
8. Inspirational Leadership
With the current crisis, the model of leadership that I demonstrated is lead from the front and demonstrating everything is possible with less to do more. The constraints-based parochial leadership was passe for my people whether they were in front of me or virtually.
9. Communication and Feedback with the World
In order to guide my peers and folks in the industry, I launched a podcast series QuoteUnQuote With KK which quickly emerged as India’s leading business podcast globally. QuoteUnquote with KK | Kapil Khandelwal (KK). This platform allowed me a means to communicate to the wider diaspora and also gain feedback from the world on what they were thinking on the issues.
2020: My Way, My Avatar
When I look back what I started alone in 2010 leaving Cisco as the top-200 Executive and compare what I have emerged out of 2020, I see that my way for the last 10 years could have only taken me so far. 2020 pandemic and situation, forced me to estrange my previous avatar and reincarnate into a new avatar that will be strong and durable for the 2020s decade.
The strong motive and motivations for my new avatar will drive me forward in the new normal for the world. I thank all those who have been part of this journey in 2020 to make it possible for me.
Here’s wishing you all a healthy, wealthy 2021!