“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.”

As the founder of nearbuy, I started an initiative called “Lunch with warikoo” where I had lunch with a new colleague everyday. 

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

During almost every lunch, I felt I was not the CEO anymore. I was instead someone who they were openly sharing with, in the hope I was listening. Without judgement. Without any mockery. Without any bias. 

Here is what I learnt from 252 such lunches over 3 years:

1. When people told me their stories about what they have been through to get to that point that they were at, it left me humbled. Because I took those points for granted.
I recognized my privilege that I was blind to, so often. 

2. Leadership should not scale.
It should get HARDER for you to lead a bigger team and not easier.
Because people are people.
Not data points on an excel sheet. 

3. The best gift you can give someone is to listen without judgement.
We all have something to share.
But we may not have someone to share it with.
Become that someone, for someone. 

It is important for people to be heard.
To be seen.
To know that they matter, without offering solutions to their problems.