Life is a race in which one fails, falters, wins, gallops and is stuck too most of the time.  It’s literally a mixed bag. Right from the early days, we are all busy with our respective struggles, be it for food, shelter or just wealth or even relationships. 

Whether one succeeds or fails, there is always a lesson to be learnt. It is not just what you learn, it’s how you learn also that is equally interesting and exciting. In the process, like growing up physically in life, one also ensures something is learnt on the way. How many times have we heard the phrase, “Grow up, man”?

I too have been a part of teams which failed many a time, mostly miserably. I have failed as a team, in a team and not to forget, mostly individually. Whenever and wherever I did manage to succeed, I had learnt it the hard way. Success doesn’t come on a platter for sure, but those who see and capitalise on every failure as a stepping stone to success benefit. Today’s world is evolving with changes happening faster than ever. This means one has to be always on one’s toes.

After many years of hard work, sometimes futile, but successful too at times, I am now convinced that the most critical things, if learnt at an early stage in life, will go a long way in ensuring one’s decreased struggles and improved success rate. Of course, every such experience will continue to be a learning experience lifelong. This applies to both individual situations or in a team or a group as well. This is true whether one is a student, employed, professional or involved in some sort of team effort, say in an institution, workplace or in a project. 

Based on my experiences, here are five critical mantras which add immense value:

1. Empowerment

Empowerment is all about making on the spot decisions in life. Many a time, we refrain from making decisions or keep delaying the decisions due to either inability, lack of confidence or sometimes even due to lack of authority. Sometimes, the avoidance of decisions is also due to the fear of making mistakes or fear of getting reprimanded for making wrong decisions. All this is mainly due to the fact that there is a cost attached to these. But the positive from empowered decision-making is the opportunity to learn from one’s mistakes as it is the mistakes which teach us what not to repeat or how to approach things or issues differently in life. Studies have proven, the rate of errors arising out of empowerment is only three per cent meaning the success rate is 97 per cent.  

2. Care

This is all about how one would treat others or like to be treated by others. This mainly affects relationships either in one’s personal life or in the professional front. Treat someone with good care and respect and they develop a sense of belonging because they feel they are important and they are a part of someone or something. In other words, it is being human and caring, by putting yourself in others’ shoes, listening with empathy and extending that hand which can do wonders in those moments. The best way is to realise and remember to “treat someone exactly the way you would like to be treated”.

3. Teamwork

When you are involved with a team or a group, it is best to remember your role as well as that of the rest as equally big and critical when it comes to the team’s cause. This means that everyone is important in his or her own way. The main obligation is to deliver standards which meet and exceed others’ needs full of motivation, positive attitude, courtesy and respect. You must be mindful of the fact that your delivery affects that of a teammate on whom someone else is dependent. Try to leave a legacy that you were someone who cared, who added value, who communicated remarkably well, who could solve any problem and most importantly someone who was ready and willing to accept mistakes and learn from them. 

4. Do it now

We all have grown up with the  myth that time management is everything and it is the most successful recipe ever. This was true, probably a few decades ago. As I mentioned, the world has evolved and come a long way in the last couple of decades. Now, it is all about making the best of the time at your disposal. What this means is, don’t just do things within the deadline. Instead, do them now so that you gain some free time. When you do them now, remember not to leave room for any errors. Do them right. This enhances the quality of your output and showcases you as someone who is dependable not only for meeting deadlines, but also for doing things earlier and the right way too.

5. Moving up

The last and most important lesson is all about grabbing opportunities in life and making a success story out of it. Be it in your learning and personal growth, your career, your profession, or anything you are passionate about. Let’s take these two examples: 

1) Learn to acquire skills or techniques to come up with solutions where there is a need or a high demand. Be the only one who has that unique preposition. 

2) This is equally relevant in a workplace situation too. All of us want to progress with rapid strides in our career. Be a quick and willing learner, be someone who always offers a helping hand, be that someone who is ready to accept additional responsibilities and challenges with a smile and be that unique and street smart person who is able to grasp and pick something about your colleague’s role or work. These are the sure steps to your own growth as you will be seen as someone who was always there with a positive outlook.  Most importantly, elevate your subordinates to your seat if you yourself want to move up the organisational ladder.


  • Venkat Balantrapu

    Transformational Coach, Insurance Consultant & Trainer, International Career Counsellor & Career Coach, NLP Practitioner & Master Practitioner, Columnist, Motivational Speaker, Singer, and Founder-CEO

    Weave Career (India & Kenya).

    Venkat Balantrapu has held senior management positions in the general insurance industry for over 33 years (14 years in India and almost 20 years in Africa including Kenya, Mauritius, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda). He is an ex-banker and has worked in the private sector as well for 5 years. He is currently the Founder & CEO, WEAVE, (India & Kenya) and a Member – Advisory Board, Paavana Insurance Brokers Limited, India and also represents Service Quality Institute, USA, conducting their customer service excellence certification programs globally. He is a member, Madras Management Association, delivering corporate programs on their behalf. He is an empanelled trainer for Kenyan Institute of Bankers, Nairobi, Kenya. Has prepared training modules for TATA AIG, India and HDFC ERGO General Insurance in India and delivers training programs for them. He is an MBA., B.Com, FLMI, AIII, ARA, and ACS.