Pursue your strengths and give back until it hurts

Following are my notes from a recent talk at the Perth Young Professional meeting on 23 April 2015.

The world is changing at an accelerated pace. Five-year and three-year plans are no longer reliable. They are almost redundant. The taxi industry, for example, would never have predicted the transformation of its business model three to five years ago.

Today, businesses need to look at daily and weekly changes in their environment, interpret them, and adapt accordingly.

Innovation is as much about planned abandonment, as it is about creative strategy.

Jobs, professions and even careers are no longer the singular lifetime commitment they used to be.

This generation will likely change careers two or three times over the span of their 50-60 year working term.

So what then, must we pursue?


PYP3Growing up in India in the 70’s, there was little upward mobility. A farmer’s son could only ever realistically aspire to be a farmer. If anything, ill health or disability often resulted in downward mobility. All one could do was seek excellence. As I was taught at a very young age –  be the best you can be –  even if you are just a cleaner.

However, in Australia as in most developed societies,we have the freedom to pursue our dreams and, most importantly, our strengths.

But the same rules apply. Be the very best at what you’re good at.

Through reflective thought and self analysis identify your passions and strengths…and pursue excellence! There is no substitute for a good work ethic. Be the most prepared person in the room.


Another lesson I was taught early in life was the importance of giving – until it hurts! The widow’s mite.

My family was involved with helping the lepers of Madras. We did this every Sunday after mass. An incident when one of these lepers had an epileptic fit whilst I held her in my arms left a lasting impression on me –  a teenager at the time. To this day, I have a real passion for their plight. When I returned to India I made a point of spending time with them. Sadly, some of them are still being exploited.

The valuable lesson, however, was the importance of giving without reservation. Until it hurts!

I’m blessed to work for two benevolent West Australians – Andrew and Nicola Forrest, who lead by example in this regard.

During my term at the Perth Wildcats, the Perth Lynx and, more recently, the Western Force, we made giving back a priority and a non-negotiable requirement.

This must be something we must all pursue with as much passion as we do our careers.

For when we are done working, we will measure our lives, not by the wealth we have amassed or the careers we’ve built, but by the lives we’ve changed.

Photo credit (c) Perth Young Professionals

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