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  • Mohamed Aslam

One more step

When life throws lemons at you, it is up to you to decide what you do with it.

I decided to make a nice chill refreshing lemonade out of it.

Today as I am sipping through my coffee sitting in the middle of the bustling streets of Brussels, I am thinking absolutely nothing.

Yes, NOTHING! Peace as I call it.

It wasn't the case until a few years back.

My head was completely messed up with problems and liabilities that I happen to hoard over the years while chasing my dreams and ambitions.

Out of my university with an Engineering degree, I was like any other young chap, in a hurry to grab that first job!

So yes I made it. I had the job, I had that freedom I have been waiting for forever. I had the money to do what I call "living life to the fullest". Movies, hanging out with friends, parties, biking, and hiking was the norm.

Few years went by celebrating life and then gradually celebrations wrapped themselves into monotony.

In short, life became mechanical! I pulled off this show for few more years.

At the end of 6 (million) long years, putting up with this 9 to 5 job, my whistles blew!

Then a comet struck which made me ask myself "what am I doing in my life? Why am I doing this?"

Slept over on that thought and the next morning I went to work full of enthusiasm and put down my papers.

Well, when I look back, I do feel how stupid of me.

No thoughts, no plans, just a plunge, but I guess sometimes that leap of faith is what is required to steer your life.

In 2013 Archon Solutions happened, my new venture which I started with a simple line of thought "what I do for MNCs, why can't I do it for myself"

I used my skills, my experience, and all that little savings I had, to kick off this start-up.

But then the adventure began, my line of thought was easier said than done.

For few years I was literally running paycheck to paycheck. Any investment to the business came with a liability attached to it.

I assured myself that all these are the initial teething issues. "Achche din aayenge" (good days will come)

Forget good, I longed for a normal day.

But then slowly my perspective and definition of success raised above the monetary profit, when I realized, though I was not getting big fat bank cheques or having a long list of clienteles, my services were highly appreciated for their quality.

My blogs and my inboxes were flooded with positive feedback from my customers and end-users. That was a big morale boost for me. At least I was on the right track.

I diverted all my focus further, in fact only onto customer satisfaction and continued to do what I was doing.

Slowly, there was a steady growth in my graphs and life was getting better.

The word of mouth and good-will earned in 5 years got me, my first big client, from Belgium in 2018. Then there was no looking back.

Now my charts were spiking not just for good service, but also for awesome revenue.

One step up each time. I wasn't ready to sit back yet. Not that the hard lessons I learned in these 5 years made me saner.

I was still the same - over-enthusiastic and over-confident.

Looking at the potential market for my services in Belgium, I decided to start up a company in Brussels.

Once again no roadmap, no concrete plans, no prospective clients in my bag.. just a plunge and the history repeats!

I took a leap of faith again, but this time it steered me into a storm.

Starting a company in Brussels put me into a choking amount of debt, which I was confident that I will be able to recover in a couple of years.

Then COVID happened and the rest is obvious!

Since I had no plans, of course, I did not have a fallback plan too.

It was like banging my head against a wall. It just wouldn't move.

In spite of all the odds, I decided to do whatever I could. I knocked at every door possible. I reached out to all my connections.

But the timing was so not good, that even if the clients were interested, they wanted to hold on until Mr. COVID decided to spare the world.

I knew the market isn't great for me to sustain, But I did what I should and could. But all in vain

Almost a year of sleepless nights passed by and all I was left with was bills, expenses and debts.

Absolutely clueless, my spirits crushed and disappointed at its peak!

Again a comet struck and I asked myself "what am I doing with my life? Why am I doing this?"

I slept over that thought and the next day morning I decided to quit but this time with not much enthusiasm.

I knew it will take a lifetime for me to recover from the damage I have caused.

To salvage the situation, I had no option but to shut down my operations in Brussels and pack my bags.

Just one more week for my flight and a miracle happened!

Here comes a mail from one of the prospective clients I had reached out a few months back. They came in straight with a contract of work.

I read that mail time and again. What if I was hallucinating!

Not funny at all, it was unbelievable.

When I thought all my efforts were in vain, but not really. Instead, my decision to pack up was a grave mistake I would have regretted life.

Every step counts. Every action matters. Each and every move is one brick laid to the foundation. "Achche din zaroor aayenge"

Fighting till the end is all that matters, even if visibly shows zero results. That is my takeaway from this journey.

Not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some just clear your path!

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