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Esc Hero #29: ‘I realized that the upside to resigning was infinite’

A quick note:

Meet Kshitij Gheewala. Kshitij left his job in management consulting with Capgemini to start rural village schools in Uganda. He is also interested in helping people volunteer in Uganda – drop us an email and we’ll put you in touch. Check out his unconventional and inspiring story below…

1. What are you currently doing?

I moved to Uganda 9 months ago and have started a school in a remote village.

In that time we have built it up into a technical college for orphans. We started from scratch and now have 60 students learning carpentry, textiles and sewing.

The village is predominantly populated by peasant farmers. Whilst there is no starvation, serious health issues remain (HIV, TB and malaria) and basic water sanitation is poor. The 2 primary schools in the area have a 1:210 student / teacher ratio – basic items like meals, uniforms, chairs, blackboards, text books are in very short supply. Less than 30% of kids go onto secondary education.

The vision is that in the next 5 years, we will have created 15 schools across the world.

The ultimate purpose of the schools is not simply to provide people with the tools to gain employment, the schools are intended to provide children the framework to tap into their inner power and bring themselves closer to who they are at their very best.

New topics on the curriculum will include subjects such as yoga, mind over matter, power of the subconscious mind, parenting skills, stages of human / child  development, relationship skills, basic personal financial management, civic responsibilities, how to tap into your inner creativity, find your purpose, understanding different cultures and ways of living, creative visualization, improve memory skills, being of service – access to fulfillment, tap into your intuition, listening / communication skills, conflict resolutions and leadership development.

2. What did you do before this?

I spent 9 years working as a strategy and change management consultant (for Accenture and then Capgemini)

3. How long have you dreamt of doing what you are doing now?

I had thought about leaving my career for a year or so, but had no idea what I would do afterwards. I didn’t imagine that I’d end up building schools in remote villages! It would have been the last thing on my mind. I just knew that what I was doing in the city was not my destiny and that there was more to life, and more to me than the daily struggle, the promotion, the girl, the flat and the “looking good” with friends.

I have always wanted to learn, and explore and do something with a deep sense of meaning, and it became more about knowing what I didn’t want to do, vs knowing what I did want to do.

4. What inspired you to do it?

I attended a course (Date with Destiny – by Tony Robbins) and in that I became clear that I had to leave my career (I would recommend it to everyone!).

I set myself a target date by when I would resign (5 months in the future) and got myself a life coach and put myself on a few other personal development seminars. I knew that it was going to be a big change for me and that I needed to know as much as I could and I wanted to learn from people who were already ahead of the game to me.

The day came when I said I was going to resign and I started making all sorts of excuses:

“Well I’m going to leave after the next bonus round”

“I need a few more months to consolidate my position and have a clear exit strategy”

“I’m not quite ready yet, don’t want to leave too early, but I will be ready soon”

“I don’t want to make a mistake”

I was adamant that I was going to defer my decision for a few months…and then my coach spoke to me…and she encouraged me to really enquire into what was driving my thinking…in the end it became clear that all the above underneath it had fear…fear of change, fear of messing up, fear of losing security, fear of making a decision. All the reasons for resigning were coming from hope, possibility and my dreams

The thing that really hit me in the heart was the quote:

“You can’t discover new oceans, until you have the courage to fully let go of the shoreline”

I realized that the upside to resigning was infinite…I could literally create ANYthing… the downside was that I mess up and lose 6 months and a few grand…

After a painful, soul searching 2 hour conversation pacing up and down my work canteen, I knew I had to leave and it was as if a switch had been clicked inside of me. I suddenly just knew…it was as if I had no option. It was such a relief and from that moment I started acting from instinct and heart instead of fear and mind.

For the first 6 months after I resigned I tried a few different things and worked in a partnership on software / outsourcing company in India. Pretty soon it became apparent that this wasn’t my passion either and it wasn’t going to make money and my plans for that failed

…and then I decided to move out to Uganda and do business with the family… that also failed

…and then suddenly this literally fell on my lap. It was as if IT found me vs I found IT…the school literally magically happened through a series of synchronistic and miraculous events way out of my control. There was a knowingness and a compulsion that this was my thing…finally…something that turned me on just by thinking about it…I find myself so passionate about this…could talk and write about it forever. I have never felt like this about anything and it feels very natural. The quote that seems to sum up the feeling is :

“What you are seeking is also seeking you, sit still for a while, watch, wait and trust…and it will come and find YOU”

5. From a practical perspective, how did you plan for it?

In truth, I didn’t plan it much. I just kind of leapt into the unknown and trusted that I’d find a way to swim. I was on a 4 day work week for a few months before I resigned and theoretically I was going to use that time to plan and make contingencies. I didn’t use the time well, and whilst there is stuff I could have done, looking back I don’t regret the way things happened. I learnt about myself more by just jumping.

6. How are you funding it?

Well the last year I have been eating into my savings and things are now getting a little worryingly tight. I have failed in 3 separate business ideas in that time, and have not had an income. But I have grown tougher and wiser each time and the leanings have been worth their weight in gold…and then some synchronistic events happened last month which meant that my parents have earned enough to keep us riding for at least another 3 years. Again it was a series of miraculous events and it feels that there is some sort of weird “guiding hand” at work, which seems to sort things out as they need.

I still do however worry about the money situation, as the security and regular flow that I received from my job was a big comfort. I am not where I want to be financially yet, but I also know that I have decided for myself that it is more important for me to be following my passion and dreams than it is in having my life be about struggling for money. I believe that it is possible to do what I love and also make money and I am standing in the possibility of HAVING IT ALL! Somebody said to me if you are adding value to the universe, the universe will always come back and repay that in its own way. My focus is on adding value and I believe that things will always work out.

7. What was the hardest thing about making this happen?

I would be lieing if I said it was all rose-buds and daisies. There are times when things get really tough (usually internal noise and doubts in my head). Be prepared for experiencing an emotional roller coaster of for a period of exponential internal growth and strengthening. The hardest things are around knowing that there is no safety cushion and that I am 100% responsible for how things working out. My level of self discipline has had to increase and the internal battle is well underway.

I also find it hard being away from “normal society” and friends, and things can be lonely sometimes. I also want to have my own family and I worry if following this path will compromise the likely hood of meeting a partner and being able to raise my own children. (not that many eligible cute girls in the village -J)

8. What has been the best thing about having made this happen?

The inner joy of knowing myself to be someone who is creating my future and life the way I want it to go. The sense of satisfaction that comes from making a difference

I feel happier, more peaceful and more alive than I have ever felt…life has a type of colour and magic to it that amazes me every day!

9. What is the best advice you have received?

Don’t expect immediate results, be patient and just do one thing better, different every day

It is the journey that matters, not the destination – it is about who you become along the way, and not what outer things are manifested

Listen to yourself, and trust yourself…there is more power within you than you can imagine

The answer to your questions / yearnings are ALWAYS out there…just step out of your comfort zone and ask…ask…ask!!

You don’t have to know what to do, in order to take action

10. What advice would you give to other people?

Get a coach or mentor (I am available for those who feel like talking)

Be prepared to fail a few times (and learn from your failures)

Be prepared to sacrifice some things that you are used to, for a bigger prize

The real battle is the internal battle…focus on the inner journey, and the outer circumstances find their own way of working out

Follow your heart / intuition and not your mind (it messes you up!)

Dream big, dream bigger than you can imagine, and then become the kind of person that fulfills upon your dreams

11. What resources have you found really useful?

Read the following books:

Films:

Do the following seminars:

And a few quotes:

“Wanderer, there is no path…you lay the path by walking”
“YOU are what you have been waiting for”
“People, not things”

12. What else?

If any of you feel like having a taster and want to join here in Uganda for a short while (1 week to 3 months), get in touch! See first-hand what we are doing. We are welcoming volunteers to build the school, whatever your skill set (from teaching, to accounting, legal, PR, admin etc…) we are sure that we can find something meaningful for you to get involved in. We promise you an awesome authentic experience, one that you will not forget. It is a safe and beautiful country and while you are here, why not go on safari, rafting, gorilla trekking as well…?

  • David

    Great article and respect for following your dreams!!

    • Rob

      Impressive work isn’t it!

  • http://tiba-africa.com Daniel S.Marungu

    Thanks and keep up good job.

  • Angela Hunt

    Incredible inspiration – thank you for you contribution in the world.

  • Ronak Drone

    Kit, this is truely inspirational !!!

  • http://chatmasti.mobi Megh Hitesh Vora

    Gr8 man m also in Uganda… and thanx alot for the support for the children here…

  • Bijal

    Nice article mate. Aswell as giving up your time like that, you must be really brave to be that far away and drop everything at home. God is smiling at you. Remain positive and don’t worry about money. You should read The Secret – by Rhonda Byrne. All the best for the future.