Our second feature is about Indroneil Mukherjee, India based transformational coach, speaker and musician. Here he shares his incredibly inspiring stories around re-invention and following your dreams, regardless of age.
Hi Indroneil, tell us about your background – where you grew up and your childhood.
I was born and brought up in a city in India called Lucknow, a city of Nawabs (rulers of princely states). Lucknow has always been known as a multicultural city that flourished as a North Indian cultural and artistic hub and is a host to one of the most respected institution for Indian classical music.
As the only son and youngest off-spring I always had, what I think, more than required attention of my parents. While my mother, an astute, orthodox Brahmin housewife rubbed off on me the seeds of individuality, personal power and wisdom, my father, a relatively more liberal person and a connoisseur of Indian classical music, infused in me the love for this music at an impressionable age of 12. He also took meticulous care to ensure I had a good diction and command over English language and would personally train me in oratory and elocution.
As a child, I therefore grew up, underscoring my strengths and uniqueness, faring well in studies and exceling in writing, reading, elocution and music. Even as a child, I was reflective and curious about meaning of things. This led me to become a voracious reader and books became my best friends. My hobbies were stamp-collecting, listening to music and playing with make-believe Gods!
So, how old are you now and what are you currently doing?
On September 16, this year, I will be 63. I accompany people, in groups and one on one, on their transformational journey as a coach, mentor and guide. Besides I evangelize what I call “mindful music” as a Founder of a fledgling institution – Swaratma India (www.swaratma.co.in) – meant to mainstream mindful music. I also conduct sessions of mindful music to guide meditation and heal people from across the world. Besides this, I write and speak in several forums and blogs. Two of my
compilations are on way to being published.
What would you say you have been doing for most of your career?
The first 16 years of my career were as a sales and marketing professional in the Indian IT industry where I had been evangelizing and enabling adoption of futuristic IT solutions amongst early adopters in the industry. After I left the corporate sector in 1999 I started my first enterprise iProdigy (www.iprodigy.in) and since then have been offering and enabling adoption of learning solutions for business impact in organizations. As a part of my latter initiative, since 2007, I have been coaching leaders for impact and performance through my practice Transformational Coaching and Human Alchemy.
What would you describe as the proudest moment of your career?
There are many. Early in my first stint with the IT industry I had a great breakthrough in getting one of the largest diversified group in India enlist and adopt office automation solutions I was offering, as a first-time initiative for productivity improvement. Much later I felt proud to establish world’s fourth largest ISV in the country as the most preferred ERP solutions provider to industries in India, with a sizeable market share, as per Gartner. During my second stint, I was proud to have redefined the way people learnt in business organizations to contribute to the business results. The approach, framework and methodologies that made this happen across 60 plus clients, touching more than 10,000 lives were created by me and are now time-tested and proven as evidence based.A recent moment of pride and joy was when one the senior leaders I had coached came back to me, with gratitude, to share that, thanks to the coaching, he has now been moved up to take charge of a high net worth business for a large, diversified group.
I also feel very proud for having launched Swaratma India, in October 2017. It was, in some ways, acknowledging the gifts imparted to me by my father and a homage to his soul.
What has been the turning point in your career that led you to explore other avenues?
As a Human Alchemist and Enabler, I have always honored my inner voice – the voice of my calling, my personal DNA. Time and again, this nudged me to look at directions which seemed purposeful and offered unique value to individuals and institutions. My stepping out of the corporate to start on my own, my founding of Swaratma as an institution meant to preserve, protect and promote the ethos of Indian music, my launching of the practice of Human Alchemy – these are all turning points that have
led me to explore other avenues of being purposeful and offer value to human beings and humanistic institutions.
When not at work, what brings you joy? Could be hobbies or passions in life? What do you most enjoy about them?
A very interesting question. I never feel I am ‘working’. All that I do, every day, most of the time is driven by my passion and powered by my purpose. This includes big chunks of time that I dedicate to my music and meditation.
Does being older bother you? When does it bother you the most?
Normally, I do not even realize that I am old. While I do gracefully acknowledge that I am ageing, I do not think I am growing old. It nevertheless bothers me when I sense subtle discriminative behavior coming from some prospective clients and investors, especially when they are considering me as someone to engage with, on a long-term basis.
Tell me a time in your life when you looked for a job after you turned 60. What was that experience like?
I have been an independent consultant since I was 43 years old, I have never looked for a job thereafter. Said that, I often do aspire to be retained by one or more organizations where I could offer my talent, energy and wisdom. I haven’t very seriously pursued this option perhaps because of a niggling apprehension that I would not considered because of my age.
What advice would you give to those who are older and exploring second careers?
Stay purposeful and pursue your purpose with passion. There is a lot of value you have to offer, which nobody else can. Also, an intimate association with music and mindfulness will not ever allow you to grow old at heart.
What keeps you motivated to stay productive?
I have a small group of people who love and respect me a lot. Being in their company or connecting to them makes me feel immensely motivated, especially during those rare moments when I feel a little out of sorts.
Which aspect of work gives you the most joy and why?
Purpose – all else are by products. My purpose of life is to awaken humanity and make manifest divinity in the human. Any opportunity to be purposeful as above makes life worth living.
How would you say your approach to work has changed since you first landed a job?
In my mind, I have never felt that I worked for an organization. I have always considered myself as a unique asset for the industry. Even when I started working on my own, I held on to this belief. Today, I am more than convinced that people like me cannot be fit into a pre-defined structure – be it an organization, department or role – and therefore need to be reckoned as individuals who can bring phenomenal, measurable value through their skills and passion.
What advice would you give to your 30-year-old self to prepare for a 100-year life?
Go and invest in self-growth. The more you grow, the more valuable you will be for others.
What advice would you give to companies who are not sure if they should hire older talent?
Companies need to shrug off the old constructs and stereotypes they carry – individually and collectively to see the new world with newer eyes.
Where can people find out more about you?
Where do I see myself 5 years down the line?
I see myself running a school – School of Human Awakening and Manifestation (So’HaM). It’s a physical space of about 10 acres somewhere in the foothills, where two rivers meet, near a forest. Where people from all over the world could come to live consciously – in a conscious environment, engage consciously and are enabled to stay conscious. It’s a dream (written in present tense) to empower its realization soon. Would love to partner with kindred souls to realize this vision.