• Puja Malhotra

Lessons from my Father

Father's day is around the corner and it has me thinking of my dad.


I speak a lot about female empowerment, share stories of the women in my life, especially my mother, heck, I even named this branding boutique after my grandmother! But, I would be doing everyone a disservice if I didn't share the value my dad brings to the table in raising three strong and independent women. My empowerment doesn't just rise from the women who raised me but the first man who was in my life too.


Genetics asides, a lot of what makes me who I am, like, my strong will, need for independence, ambition and even my stubbornness (which we will both admit is not part of our personality), all come from him and the lessons he shared with my sisters and me.


So let's dive in...



Lesson 1: Focus On The Journey, Not The Destination


I've always spoken English with my dad, Hindi with my mom, Punjabi with my grandmother and that way we learned all three languages before the age of 5. I still do this, but, my sisters and I know there is a lesson coming when my dad breaks into his favourite Hindi quotes.


The one that sticks with me the most is "Karm Karo, Fal Ki Chinta mat Karo" which translates simply to - focus on your service/journey, not the reward. Whether he is giving advice on dating, education or our professional careers - this quote was always around.


To be honest, it annoyed me growing up. How could I not focus on the results or reward?


It wasn't until I started my business that I truly understood the value of this statement. In order, to create something that is sustainable and smart you need to focus on the service you provide. It's about building an unforgettable experience that creates trusts. This will reward you not only in the form of payment but also client loyalty and referrals. ⁠That's why my focus for my business is building sustainable, smart and cohesive brands, as well as, being there for my clients while they navigate and streamline their offer, all while providing them with the foundation they need to build their brands.


On a personal note, it's about focusing on the journey - similar to what Michelle Obama speaks about in Becoming. Focus your energy on the lessons of today, what's happening right now and allow it to shape you into who you want to become - the reward will always follow!

Lesson 2: Invest Today


Whether it's education to further who you are or simply investing to ensure your money makes you money, my dad has always taught us not to wait around for those "perfect moments," but seize them!


Who says you need to wait for things like marriage to invest in your first property?! It's up to us to build ourselves up and be ready. Make room for it, budget it and DO IT, don't wait for the "perfect moment" - otherwise, you'll end up waiting for your whole life.


Lesson 3: Wake Up Doing What You Love


This is a funny one because although my dad believes in this, he was really worried when I told him I was starting my own business. Not unsupportive - just really, really worried. Which is understandable given the immigrant experience. Yes, my parent came to this country with hopes and dreams, but they had to adjust a lot of their goals, especially when degrees didn't transfer over perfectly and money was needed.


Regardless, he was the one who taught me to close my eyes, envision my future and do what I know will make me happy to wake up every day.


Even if he had to give up on some of his dreams, he still pushed us to follow ours.


Lesson 4: Speak Up, Be Clear and Work For it


My dad told us from a young age that we would have to fight harder for what we wanted, which meant we must at its core, always speak up and be clear.


He knew, being women and especially women of colour, there would be higher mountains to climb but this simple lesson gave us the confidence we needed to speak up and clearly state our wants and needs without playing the victim card or putting on a "baby voice."


We had every right to anything we wanted so long as we were ready to ask and work of it.


Lesson 5: Relax + Take Naps


My dads actually a funny guy and if you ever ask him for advice he will tell you one of two things. Relax, don't think about it right now and take naps and I'm not going to lie, sometimes you just need to step away or sleep on it.



___


So this is my tribute to my dad- thank you for working alongside our mom to help create and shape three strong, independent and beautiful women. I only hope I can do the same someday!



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