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Wisdom Stories Ep.36: Sanjiv Sachar

Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage.

“There were two turning points in my career. The first came when I gave up my regular job with SRF NipponDenso to start my entrepreneurial journey, and the second was when our entrepreneurial venture became part of a global network at Egon Zehnder. These two incidents went on to define my professional path, and I feel fortunate for the experiences and partnerships I have had along the way.

 When Rajeev Vasudeva and I started our tax and audit firm, we tested out many ideas for the verticals we wanted to build, ranging from tax and audit to direct marketing. We were young, and high on energy. We even decided to get into the business of furniture distribution at one point! The furniture landed up at our homes as we couldn’t find buyers, but we were unfazed. Hits and misses are inevitable. Learnings that come from our missteps hold us in good stead in the long run.

My father, Rajindar Sachar, has had a deep impact on shaping my world view. While he is no more, he continues to guide me through his legacy. Not only was he an outstanding professional who was deeply respected for his abilities and values, but he was also a dedicated family man, who poured in as much energy into the lives of his loved ones. He contributed to social causes very naturally as it was important for him to share his learnings with a wider community.

My father followed the four H Principles – hard work, humility, honesty and humour. I try to do the same. There is absolutely no substitute for hard work so if someone believes that one can get away without hard work, I would love to know what that recipe is! Another aspect is the humility with which one conducts oneself. Being ambitious and humble at the same time is possible, as long as you achieve your goals in a manner that no one questions your methods. Reputation is the only asset one should focus on, the others will follow.

If I could change one thing from my past, I would try harder to spend more time with my family, as I missed out a lot of special occasions with them. My father was a busier man than I was, and he balanced his work and family beautifully. That is one of the many reasons I have a lot of respect for him.

I have always been motivated to learn. When I started my chartered accountancy articleship training, I told my office manager that I was willing to travel anywhere and meet anyone. Going to remote places didn’t bother me as I felt that it was the only way for me to engage with new companies, meet new people and discover new places. That philosophy has stayed with me as I continue to have the mindset of a student. I start my day by reading the newspaper cover to cover and engage with people from different walks of life.

Retirement can have a negative connotation, marking the end of a fruitful and productive period. I don’t necessarily prescribe to that thought. While it is a crucial point of transformation, it can bring many positives. One can give this phase the same energy, and continue to contribute to a portfolio, rather than one focused company and role. I am the Chief Mentor at Huddle, which accelerates venture-backable businesses from Pre-Seed to Series A and an independent director on the boards of KDDL(holding company of Ethos Watches) and Infoedge. In addition, I spend a majority of time in the social sector space as a member of the Delhi Chapter of Social Venture Partners, which is a not for profit platform. These opportunities continue to challenge me intellectually.

Post-Retirement phase can be deeply enriching if you have a gameplan in place, and a positive approach to it. It is important to know what you want to give your energy to, and plan your life around it. Age is just a number, and I will continue to keep learning, keep having fun and share my knowledge with those that need it, for as long as I can.”

Sanjiv Sachar

Interview Credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle

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