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  • Malar Villi

Time to Reap

If you hear people of Indian heritage wishing each other ‘Pongal Valthukkal’ or any other sort of Pongal wishes, YES, it is time for yet another celebration. It’s thanksgiving again, the Indian way. A time to reap the rewards and celebrate the fruits of labour, as the saying goes ‘As you sow so shall you reap’. An auspicious day where ‘pongal’ also known as sweetened rice, a mouth-watering concoction of newly harvested rice is cooked with fresh milk until it boils over from an earthenware pot. The overflowing of ‘pongal’ denotes prosperity, a sign of abundance for the coming year. ‘Pongal’ initially starts with ‘Bhogi’ a day before, a day of discarding everything that is old and of no use, a cleansing ceremony to bring in new fortunes in lives.



Very much like us and this ever challenging world we live in, we all need renewed spirits and vigor in life. That is why it is such a blessing to be a Malaysian, as we are able to celebrate a state of ‘renewing’ minds in various ways through different cultures. I am celebrating my ‘harvest’ publicly this year by writing. The first Ace Factor, my trump card that I wrote about was none other than my mum, who was the first person who believed in me.


As I wrote about her, I realized that there were many strangers who are now friends, some became my mentors. They came into my life at various stages of my life journey when I was trying to find my true vocation. As I shared my career aspirations with them, they gave me true guidance, helped me formulate my thoughts professionally and helped me shape my future. For that, I’ll be forever thankful.


My mentors who were my source of inspiration and driving force in the training industry directly were:


  • Mr. Gopalan Kannan - who gave an inexperienced person like me the go ahead and try the unknown, an experience which helped me re-focus and made me ready to take on new challenges, my first encounter in training.

  • Encik Fuad Abdul Rahman – who provided me with the much needed kick-start in my quest to define my career pathway, gave the much needed confidence by allowing me to co-facilitate, provided unfailing kindness and selfless support to me every step of the way, in my initial journey.

  • Mr. Terry Netto – my guiding force who helped me grow at my own pace, the individual who gave me valuable feedbacks and moral support, which has a bearing on my professional outlook.

  • Mr George Aveling - the wind beneath my wings, who believed in me more than I have ever believed in myself and I found affirmation that I can engage any type of audience.

There were and are many more Angels who guided me but today I am celebrating my harvest as a professional. These amazing, selfless leaders have helped me pave my way and ensured that I was anchored in the right way. They influenced me in the right direction, challenged me stay true to myself, live authentically and find my true potential against all odds. Their INFLUENCE over me has been a positive one, thank goodness for that. As I was reflecting on the similarities of these leaders, these attributes came out strongly:

  • They are authentic

  • They have clear ideals, grounded in their decisions

  • They are guided by a set of values in their thinking

  • They are givers

  • They walk the extra mile

  • Their sense of purpose is clear


Influence is so powerful for great leadership. Every one of us will have stories to share about the influence others have had on us throughout our journey in life. Some influenced us in the right direction, some not. These mentors surely set a strong foundation for me to find my life purpose through my profession today, as I saw them live their lives purposefully through their vocation. Today, when I meet professionals at work, I can set them apart instantly; The first one which says to self “It’s just a job, just get it done, how I do it and the effect it has on others doesn’t matter”.

Life is straight forward for this person; it’s about ticking the box of KPIs. The second one’s life can be a little more complicated because he/she is often contemplating about the choices , consequences, values , impact on others and life’s purposes.


In your professional journey, what type of leaders have you experienced and how has it shaped your thinking and path today?


As you lead, what influence do you have on other?


Happy Pongal.

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