“There are times I feel I don’t want to live.”

“My mother’s dying. And I cannot do anything to help her.”

“Every morning I get up, I feel I would never be as good as my elder brother, whom my parents completely adore.”

I, as a CEO, have always been an ardent listener of feedback.
Thus, I started a wonderful thing at nearbuy, called the “Lunch with warikoo”.
Anyone in the company could fill up a form, and every day, I would have lunch with them for 30 minutes.

What I had expected was plain, simple feedback.
What I did get was something I wasn’t ready for.

Within 5 minutes, I felt I was not the CEO anymore. I was rather someone they thought would listen to them, without judging or mocking them for their choices.

And they opened up to me in ways I (or perhaps them as well) had never expected.

Here is what I learnt from so many conversations like this:

1. When people told me their stories about where they’ve come from, and what they have been through to just get to that point that I took for granted, it left me humbled. And that I cannot take the privilege I have been blessed to sit on, for granted anymore. 

2. Leadership cannot scale up.
It should take the best out of you every single day to lead someone. It should be the hardest thing that you do every single day.

3. All of us live in the shadows of what we think people think of us.
And that lunch broke that shadow, when it said it’s not important. It is not important what the world thinks of you because you are you. You exist. And you’re still here. And that is more important than anything else. 

After having conducted 252 such lunches over a period of 3 years, the one thing I concluded was that all that is important is for people to be heard. To be seen.

Which takes care of work better than you ever thought.