Recently, Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director And CEO of ICICI Bank penned down a letter to her daughter who is all set to face the world.
Here are a few lessons learnt:
Equality at home
She was taught equality at home, by both her parents, who showed no discrimination based on gender between her, her sister and her brother.
‘It was important to focus on what gave us satisfaction and to work towards it with utmost care,’ was the same message her parents always had for them.
Her Journey of Discovery
At 13, when her father passed away from an uncalled-for heart-attack, her mother was left with the job of raising three kids all on her own.
‘It was then that we realized how strong she was and how determined to do her duty in the best possible manner.’
Must Not Let Work Affect Family
She recalls the time when she became MD and CEO of ICICI Bank, her name was in all newspapers, and her daughter from the U.S had emailed her saying, ‘You never made us realize that you had such a demanding, successful and stressful career. At home, you were just our mother.’ Chanda Kochhar asks her daughter to live the same way.
Keep moving forward in life
She learnt from her mother that ‘You have to handle the challenges and emerge stronger from them, rather than allow them to bog you down.
Crisis Makes You Stronger
Her mother’s advices and her decision-making ability, floated her through this situation where, the ‘Bank’s survival was in jeopardy in the face of a global economic meltdown.’ She understood how worried the stakeholders were, and communicated with all of them. Every withdrawer was allowed to take their deposits back, but they were given a seat, a glass of water and an explanation ‘because there was no real crisis situation’. It was during these days, she took some time off to go watch her son’s squash tournament, that some parents recognized her and were instantly assured their money was in safe hands if the CEO can make it to a tournament in spite of everything.
It’s a two-way street
She says, ‘Also keep in mind, that a relationship is a two-way street, so be ready to give a relationship just as you would expect the other person to be giving to you.’
She assures her daughter that she will not face any trouble with that, as she has always been very understanding and supportive.
Father’s support was crucial
She also adds, she would never be able to rise up to her position if it were not for her husband, who never breathed a word of complaint because of her absence. And neither did Aarti. She says she is ‘blessed with a great and supportive family’.
Independent and responsible
She adds, ‘I also think in some ways, having a working mother made you much more independent from a very young age itself.’ That she not only stopped at being independent but also took on her little brother’s responsibility in the absence of her mother.
Fate and hard-work go hand-in-hand
‘We all write our own destiny.’ Hold Fate in your own hands, dream out loud, and set out to accomplish your goals, ‘one step at a time’. ‘Aim for the sky, but move slowly.’ She asks her daughter to relish her journey to success.
Stand up for what you believe in
At times, life is not going to be fair, decisions will be hard to make and the society might criticize you, but be brave, ‘Don’t let sceptics distract you from your path.’
Don’t lose your integrity
‘In achieving your goal, don’t compromise on the values of fair-play and honesty.’
Face everything equally
Face stress, good and even bad times, ‘with equanimity’, she adds lastly. ‘If you don’t allow stress to overtake you, it will never become an issue.’ Embrace with a brave heart all the challenges and opportunities life throws at you, make the most of it, and rise stronger and bigger.