This Was Not Part Of My Five Year Plan

*Like the side hustle article this was also originally published on LinkedIn but also feels relevant for the blog :).

If I were to meet myself from five years ago, I feel I might not recognize her — at the very least, I’m almost certain she wouldn’t recognize the person I’ve become. Five years ago, like most college students, I was trying to navigate through life, to prove my worth to potential employers, and to figure out what it means to have a career. When I landed an internship at LinkedIn, I felt like I hit the jackpot — my career had been set. Little did I know how transformative my professional journey would be.

If you told me five years ago I would leave my job to pursue my own projects, that too in the wellness space, I would have looked back at you with a dumbfounded blank stare. That was never supposed to be in the cards for me. It was definitely not part of the the five year plan I had perfected to a T while preparing for my job interviews.

It’s serendipitous that my own wellness journey began right around the time I started at LinkedIn. In the last four years I’ve held three different roles in advertising, market research, and sales analytics, but that only covers a portion of my journey. I’ve also ran three half marathons, a handful of Turkey Trots, and an obstacle course race — all thanks to LinkedIn’s amazing wellness program! I’m grateful my passion and career coincided.

My career in wellness began with this simple blog about a year ago. Then I received my first group fitness certification, created an online community for women, worked with multiple brands and now, I’m developing a healthy Indian food recipe eBook with my mother. Only time will tell what else is in store for the future.

Perhaps ironically, the knowledge I have gained at LinkedIn is what has given me the confidence to leave. From writing content with some of our best marketers to learning how to tell stories with data, LinkedIn has given me the tools to succeed regardless on the role or industry I choose.

Not to say that I know everything quite yet. In fact, I have a huge learning curve ahead of me and I know there will be many restless nights during which I’ll question my decision to leave. I don’t know what success looks like for me yet, but I know this leap will get me one step closer to finding my version of it.

Thank you to all who have been with me through this incredible journey.

I’m Creating a Healthy Indian Food Recipe eBook!

sarika-akansha-recipe-ebook

Guess what guys, I’m creating my first recipe eBook! I’m partnering with my mother to develop a healthy Indian food recipe eBook with 40-50 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages. We will also include a guide on how to build your own spice kit, a grocery check list, and general tips on how to cook Indian food and make it a bit healthier.

The idea of creating my own product has been on the back of my mind for a few months, ever since my boyfriend and I did a little prioritization exercise (on a side note, would you guys like personal growth/productivity tips? I’ve been thinking about sharing a few). However at that point, I didn’t think it would be feasible to create my own product for multiple reasons —time, confidence, and resources as the top three.

Though when I made the decision to leave my job at LinkedIn, time was finally on my side. After some encouragement from friends and family I got the confidence to pursue this project. As for the resources, we are figuring it out as we go, but having my mom as a partner makes it much more manageable.

turmeric-indian-chicken

The survey I sent out a couple of weeks ago, as well as general conversations in the C&G Girl Gang (join in on the fun here) really helped me validate the need for something like this. Here are some of the interesting findings from the survey:

  • General stats: 217 respondents, 92% female, 34% South Asian
  • Top three reasons people cook: to be healthier, to control their ingredients in their food, to save money.
  • On a scale of 1-5, the average skill-level with Indian cooking is a 2.36
  • 30% of respondents have never cooked Indian food in their life!
  • 2/3 of respondents want to learn how to make Indian food healthier while over half want to learn how to make Indian food in general!
  • Not too surprising, but South Asians are most likely to be vegetarians (41%) compared to other ethnic groups (11%)

There were a couple of questions that I forgot to ask (rookie mistake). The biggest one question being “what Indian food would you guys like to learn how to cook and/or making healthier?” Let me know in the comments or feel free to email me at akansha@citrusandgold.com.

As for our timeline for the recipe eBook, we would like to get this to market before the holidays!If you’d like to participate in feedback sessions or get the latest news on the eBook you can sign up below. Thank you all so much for your support. We really couldn’t create this without you.

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