32: Today Is Your Day

32: Today Is Your Day

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Time to Thrive

Today Is Your Day

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.

~George Bernard Shaw

I was a triple major in Economics, Policy and Management at Rice University so when I got a summer internship at Goldman Sachs, I was supposed to be thrilled. Driving to work in the dark at 4:30 a.m. and leaving in the dark around 8 p.m., I slaved away at a cubicle as an Excel monkey, chipping away at my soul and heart every hour. I was focused on making the rich richer, and lost my path to what I truly wanted.

Here I was, on top of the world, focusing on data analysis at the top bank in the world. It didn’t feel like success, yet everyone around me praised me for getting this internship. Luckily, I had a mentor at Goldman who gave me good advice. He said I would succeed in anything I tried, and that I should try doing something creative if that was what I really wanted. My banking job would still be there for me if I wanted to come back to it.

I then landed an internship at Coach in New York City. Leaving Texas for the first time, I signed a lease through the Internet, hopped on a plane, and headed off for the Big Apple. I had a closet-sized apartment, but I had walked into the world of The Devil Wears Prada, except everyone was dripping head to toe in Coach. As a fashion assistant and color expert, I got to pick colors for wallets and small handbags that were going to be produced in the thousands around the world.

After three months, I was one of forty interns who were hired full-time. Although the work hours were much more controlled than at Goldman Sachs, there was still something nagging at me. I couldn’t understand why I still felt unhappy.

It was then that I sat down with a mentor, a vice president at Coach, who said to me, “Neha, the world is your oyster.” It was that day that I quit. I quit working on the corporate track where I felt like a cog in the system. I gave myself time to breathe, time to find out what it was that my heart was aching for.

Over the next few years, I realized that my passion lay with something I had stumbled across at sixteen. I had been hired by three second-graders to choreograph and tutor them for their dance talent show. Greer, Ana, and Sarah — bubbly little second graders — loved coming to my house to learn dance as we danced the evenings away to Beyoncé. I was making good money at sixteen, and I loved every single minute.

So, after quitting two of the most prestigious companies in their industries, where hundreds of people vied for the positions I had, I turned to tutoring. I launched my tutoring company, Elite Private Tutors, where I was able to start focusing on the value of contribution, instead of significance. Before, I was focused on a title, on an end goal, and on having a level of certainty in my life. As an entrepreneur, I am able to focus on growth and contribution. My mission statement changed: the more I grow, the more I contribute.

I built my company into a six-figure company in a matter of months, finding new and unique ways to reach my audience of moms. I was able to connect with moms from the heart and started to truly make a difference for their children. In the last year, I was inspired to write a book that could help students across the nation, instead of just making a difference with the clients in my area.

I know that many people look at a twenty-something as noncommittal, flighty, and not dependable. But, I have to say that with our focus on thriving, growing, and finding our passion, this trait is beneficial. We make extremely happy employees or entrepreneurs because we know that our goal in life is to thrive at a deeper level — to find real meaning and fulfillment in our daily lives.

~Neha Gupta

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