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Be passionate about what you do

Author Shabnam Asthana talks about her career, the mindset needed to achieve success, her writing process and her new book

more lifestyle Updated: Sep 11, 2017 20:04 IST
Anjali Shetty
Shabnam Asthana on how to her writing process and new book
Shabnam Asthana on how to her writing process and new book(HTPHOTO)

Life is a canvas of experiences, and any professional can tell you that a varied career can be a source of myriad hues. For author Shabnam Asthana, a public relations professional, her career has unleashed a wealth of opportunities and experiences, which she explores in her book, Romancing Your Career. In an interview with HT Café, Asthana talks about her writing rituals, her book, and shares tips on being successful.

What prompted you to write Romancing Your Career?
I’ve been fortunate to have had a rich and diverse career. It wasn’t straightjacketed like a career in engineering or medicine, where there is not much scope for experimenting and your work has to necessarily adhere to certain guidelines and formulae. I had a lot of freedom and liberty to experiment in various fields. I explored different professions and finally landed in the wonderful world of public relations. So, a large part of what I recount in the book is based on the various jobs that I had. Each of my jobs was enriching in its own way and let me meet different people, who in turn provided ample food for thought.

Success depends on a lot of things. How do you figure out a way to achieve it?
The definition of success is very personal. My benchmark for success is result-oriented communication and a wealth of relationships. I pay a lot of attention to good communication and feedback — both imparting and receiving it — to further my communication goals. Being organised and punctual in your personal and professional life should rank high in your list of priorities. The starting point and the key attribute for any successful career, however, is a strong belief in yourself and your capability to deliver the best in whatever you do.

What are the factors that you should keep in mind for a successful career?
You should be passionate about what you do. The mind should be in a constant state of arousal, because intellectual arousal and stimulation are great catalysts. You must tell yourself that each day is a learning experience and no two days can ever be alike. Some days may be better than others, but the failures should not curb your enthusiasm to perform. On the contrary, failures should galvanise you to perform better the next day. Planning and organising your day goes a long way towards helping your performance. I also lay great emphasis on networking.

Did you follow a writing ritual?
I had decided that whenever I would write a book, I would earmark some writing time by going to some holiday destination and devoting time to writing. But it never happened that way, since it wasn’t practical and I had too many things to take care of. So I had to either postpone the book or start writing by making time for it in my busy schedule, and I settled for the latter. During my daily routine, I would jot down points and thoughts as and when something occurred to me. I work with different time zones, since I have clients across the globe, so I could never get free time at night. But I took a few hours off after dinner to only write, and thankfully, to a large extent, those were undisturbed hours. I am very pleased at the speed at which I completed the book — it took me only two months. I believe that if you are in love with an idea and a subject, you really don’t need to think too hard — your writing is fluid, smooth and flows easily.