Being an entrepreneur is a rewarding but a tough job. I am a proud member of the community having my fair share of fame, money and difficulties. While the society at large considers an entrepreneur’s struggle as tough, I consider the struggle of an entrepreneur’s life partner to be tougher and lesser rewarding.
I have been a huge fan of Mr. Narayan Murthy from the very beginning of my professional stint. His philosophy of ‘If I can do it, why can’t you?’ has inspired me and led me to make my dent in the universe.
There was another thing about him that has equally inspired and taught me about being an entrepreneur; his love story. The phases through which Narayan and Sudha Murthy went as they saw one of them create Infosys and become one of the most celebrated entrepreneurs of the country while other sacrificing her career to take care of the family is mesmerizing and imparting at the same time.
I was going through one of the numerous inspirational interviews of Sudha Murthy, when I was reminded of the lessons they subtly impart to an entrepreneur when it comes to maintaining or even choosing someone as his/her life partner.
Honesty is always the best policy
There was a time when Sudha’s father had almost rejected Narayan Murthy for his daughter. The reason was, when he asked Murthy about his career plans, he was brutally honest; he said he wanted to join a political party or open an orphanage or anything that would have a lasting effect for the betterment of the society. Not an answer any father-in-law would expect, leave alone liking it. But it was this trait of Murthy’s that eventually led Sudha fall in love with him.
The second very important instance when Mr. Murthy confronted Mrs. Murthy about either only him or only her being at Infosys, for having the balance of power; it was the honesty of Mr. Murthy that stopped any friction to occur between them, even when one of them was sacrificing their whole career just for the sake of the other person’s dream.
During their courtship, Narayan Murthy was earning way less than Sudha Murthy. In fact, Mrs. Murthy accuses him of owing her Rs. 4000 which he took as a loan while they were dating. Even when early funds were required to set up Infosys, it was Sudha Murthy’s savings of Rs. 10,000 with which Infosys was started.
It was her selfless support that kept Narayan Murthy going and eventually creating something as big as Infosys. It was Sudha Murthy’s liking for the man that made their love bloomed, but it was her finances that fuelled their courtship.
We should always keep this in mind; though money isn’t everything, it can still take care of quite a few things and while on a journey to chase your dreams, your partner must not only be by your side but also understand the financial implications of it.
Time matters more
For an entrepreneur, his venture is like his child and child needs constant and undivided care. This care always comes at a cost of the other people who deserve the same. The spouse must know this and should be ready to stand by him or be alone.
When Sudha Murthy gave birth to their second child at Hubli, Narayan Murthy was not able to be present for everything and he even flew off to US, just after 10 days of the birth to complete one of Infosys’ client projects.
That was the level of care, attention, and priority, Mr. Murthy had for Infosys and that was the level of support and understanding Mrs. Murthy had for her husband.
Space matters too
A person fully wound up in creating a company and raising it is expected to be involved in it but he needs to unwind too. The other person in the relationship must understand the fact and the person in order to support him/her.
Mr. Murthy isn’t a talker. He is very famous be a laconic guy and it is a personality which makes it difficult even for Mrs. Murthy to understand his mood and guess his thoughts. But she has an ingenious trick to do that. She knows when Mr. Murthy is completely silent at the dinner table, he has something in his mind; something that is troubling him. She persists on talking about it with him in the process of letting him ease.
The ability to handle ‘failure’
Mr. Murthy was neither an overnight success nor a success at his first attempt. His first venture, Supertronics was a failure and he had to shut it down in almost a year. He then moved to Patni Computers to earn and support his family. It was not a good time for the family but in moments, like these Mrs. Murthy stood by him and supported him while not reminding him of his failure but his potential.
This is the kind of support system that can make a person sail through any number of difficulties and achieve stupendous feats.
The things, that I have learned from – raising a company and a family, is; your life partner may be different from you but not differ from you. The other person should complement you in the different aspect of life. He/ She should support you and stand by you in the darkest of times and proudly stand beside you to celebrate you achievements. Your life partner must be the strength and complete an entrepreneur.