As usual, I logged into my office laptop today and I saw an email – Who is the most inspiring woman for you? and why?

It actually made me think. If I take a look, since my childhood, there have been multiple women who inspired me. When I was in school- she was Kalpana Chawla an inspiring Indian origin astronaut, When I was in college – she was Rajmata Jijabai – mother of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who is the greatest kind in Indian history, when I was in Engineering – she was Kiran Bedi – a fearless IPS officer who actually inspired me to prepare for Indian Civil services, & when I was doing my MBA – Indra Nooyi took the place of my inspirational women. Even there were friends & colleagues who inspired me and supported time to time. But who is she who is the most inspiring woman for me?

I got married a few months back. A friend who turned into my wife came into life with her new role. It was time to give a thought about the family stability and hence I was thinking about the location where we could work together. I had to make decisions on my job with certain tradeoffs between a well paying, good designation job or a job with a good visa. It was a tough decision and I kept thinking for days… It had put me under so much stress for many days…

Once my phone rang- it was my mother on the other side. She looked at my face and asked if I was tense & worried and I shared. She simply replied,

“Money comes and goes Vijay. You will keep working for the next many years, and there will be multiple opportunities that will come across your path to grow and correct your career. Family comes once and they are unique. This is the time where you both stay together, enjoy and manage work-stress and life together. And even after that, you find yourself in trouble – come here, we are not going anywhere. What to be tensed in this?”

“पैसे येतो आणि जातो सोन्या… अजून लई वर्ष काम करायचंय … म्हणून काय वेगळं राहताय व्हय … पुढं येतील की अजून संधी, त्यावेळी कर अड्जस्ट… नाहीतर ये परत – आम्ही हायच की इथं … जॉब लै मिळतील बाबा पण कुठूम्ब आणि वेळ ही परत नाही भेटत … लै टेन्शन नको घेऊ..”

My Mother

These were the words of my mother who has never gone to school, never been in any formal education, she was helping me to make my career decision. I was always trying to find the women who inspired me in the external world but I never looked closer. Here she is – My Mother – Radhabai Satappa Magdum.

Mother and Papa at my Graduation at IIM I

She is a farmer and housewife by profession. Never been to a school higher than standard 4th, but she encouraged her son to be the first engineer from the region, and then to get his master’s from India’s topmost management institution. She inspired and prepared both her children to go postgraduation. I look back on my journey and I could realize – she was always there with her very simplistic, easy and to the ground pieces of advice. She is like an invisible backbone of the family. Who held the head high all the time.

Today, whenever I go and talk about Agile in my profession, we talk about inculcating the values in the organization such as Respect, Trust, Transparency, Agility, Simplicity but these values were all around me, all the time since my birth. She was always ready to accept any changes and challenges and she found the best possible solution she could. She is the best adviser for me till today.

She doesn’t know what I do. Whenever I go back, she takes me to the farm. Many times she asks me about – How can I earn money by just talking and never getting out of the house!!! I have laughed many times when she asked me that but ..

My Mother with me and siblings

I can say, she is the most inspiring person for me ever. The world will never know, but true education is about values. I might be holding a better degree, and formal education – but she is the true coach irrespective of such papers.

I am very lucky to have her and if she was not there – I could never be – what I am today. She is the most inspiring woman throughout my journey…and she always will be!!!…

A simple living – high thinking, Always smiling and taking any challenge with the full trust of winning, keeping transparency with others, and always giving our best but preparing for the worst – such teachings are much more above any best B-School in the world could teach.

Thanks a lot for being there for me!!!

To my mother – Radhabai…

My Powerhouse