This 27-year old CA and Success Coach shares how he went from shy & average to confident and brave. And you can too.
- Hi, I am Mudit Yadav, a Chartered Accountant, entrepreneur, global professional speaker and author.
- In 2019, I was awarded the title of ‘Millennial Coach of the year’ at the World HRD Congress. I have spoken to more than 415,000 people from 48+ countries and also at multiple TEDx events...but this was not always my story.
- Growing up I was an average kid who never topped a class, won a sports medal, or was in any way other than ordinary, and to add, I idolised my father who was a CA!
- Fast forward, by the age of 23, I was not only a CA but also recognised as India’s Youngest Executive Coach.
- Here is my story.
Discovering my passion at an early age
As a fat, not so smart kid – the only recognition that I received as a student was winning at the public speaking contest in the 5th grade.
It was unnatural for me to even volunteer for such a contest given I was one of those kids who kept their head low, ate lunch with the same friend every day, and barely socialized.
When I won INR 500 in a little envelope in that contest, it was the first time I received any kind of recognition. That is when the bug bit and I began to work on my communication skills.
Being a shy kid helped, because the more I listened, the more I was able to observe, analyse, and sharpen the art of communication.
After school as well, if I knew there was an elocution contest, I had to participate.
I was emotional every time I lost a contest – blaming the judges or some other excuse. Although I won 58+ awards in 4-5 years, it was the losses that forced me to look inward and work on myself.
I learnt to isolate emotion from the losses and that is when I could objectively study and improve my speaking skills.
Determined to fulfill my father's dream, who is my role model!
Growing up, my father who was a CA was my role model. Each time we went to a party and he introduced himself as a CA, people’s body language changed and they treated him with respect. I thought, “I don’t know what he does but I want to do that”.
Also, I was barely able to solve sums in Physics, balance equations in Chemistry, or mark diagrams in Biology – so I knew I would get dismembered if I pursued Sciences.
My father, who is an NM college alumnus (one of the most prestigious colleges in India), I wished for me to be in that college. I knew it would mean the world to my father if I could make it there.
However, with my abhorrible 10th grades, it only remained a dream. By pursuing CA, I thought I at least had a shot at dad’s other dream for me!
A challenging CA journey, and discovering my passion
As a student who was terrible at math, clearing CA entrance was my life’s greatest achievement.
I was on top of the world – until I realized what was in store at the next level - IPCC. It was easily 10x of CA entrance in volume and difficulty.
It felt like swimming in the ocean with 12-14 hours of lectures every day with classes stuffed to capacity.
I am sure every CA student would relate to this. To clear Inter CA with multiple exemptions, this journey was more emotional than I thought it would be.
The next beast staring into my face was CA Final. Although the exam was 3 years away, I opted for classes for an earlier batch and began studying almost immediately.
There was barely any free time left but whenever there was, I kept participating in elocution contests (what a nerd!).
In 2014, while pursuing my articleship, I got the opportunity to represent India in London for a Speech Contest where I ranked finalist among 44,000 global contestants.
Any time outside of articleship was invested in this and I did not remember taking a day off because I was so obsessed about winning this contest.
However, in the final round, I didn’t win the title!
As I was carrying my dejected self outside of the speaking hall, I came across this middle-aged lady, from Africa. With tears in her eyes, she said - “Your five-minute speech has given me a new direction for her life”. (wow!)
At that moment, (I have goosebumps as I type this) I knew I had to ultimately do something which will allow me to positively impact people’s lives.
Fast forward, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2015...a day I still cherish.
Starting my career at a Big 4 & taking speaking services on the side
I was interested in strategy consulting and understood that it is not perceived as a traditional fit for CAs. So for 12 days straight, I sent bespoke emails to 10 consulting executives and read three books on consulting.
On the 12th day, I was enthralled to receive a “Hello from PwC” email from PwC’s Infrastructure Consulting team.
While I enjoyed doing consulting - it helped me develop skills and meet some wonderful people, there was always the itch to do something in a completely different direction.
I started My Success Coach in 2015 to provide training and keynote speaking services. I received no paid assignments for a whole year and grew the brand through articleship and videos.
Then in the year 2016, the first half was extremely busy with my job and CFA Level 2 prep.
Luckily, I got my first TEDx speech invite, ticked it off my bucket list and started some pro-bono speeches and workshops on weekends.
In one of these workshops, an executive came over and asked if I could coach him on executive presence and presentation – that was my first paid coaching client.
Quitting my job - a well-planned move
After I had decided to move on from my consulting career, I wanted to establish ramen profitability before I quit – i.e. ensure that I can earn enough money to cover my basic living expenses.
I found workshops, classes, assignments, programs, and speeches that I could deliver on my own to make 25-30% of my then salary.
Once that was established, I was confident about moving on. The second half onwards picked up on my dream and began to plan my exit.
My parents were extremely supportive and only asked constructive questions to help me be clear about my objectives.
Did I feel nervous? Of course yes. I remember on my last working day I was feeling extremely anxious.
“What if things don’t work out?”
“What if I receive no assignments?”
“Should I pull back my papers?”
It was then that my manager, Akshat Pushp, said “Mudit, I hope you succeed. However, if you ever feel like it is not working out, my team will always have a place for you.”
He does not know it but that statement tremendously reduced my anxiety and I remain grateful to him. It gave me the confidence to go all-in on my dream.
Luckily, so far, things have been great!
Building my success coaching business
- Once I quit, I found a few workshops and keynote opportunities – most being pro-bono because nobody wanted to pay a fresher with no name.
- However, gradually through my work on social media and recommendations from early clients, engagements began to roll.
- I started getting more opportunities for public speaking and workshops.
- Meanwhile, I threw my comfort zone aside and applied for the Jagriti Yatra – a 15-day train trip that changed my life forever! (I’m so glad I did it).
- It was on this journey that I was able to boil down to a theme and started writing Be Invincible.
- Was possibly my blowout year.
- Travelled a lot for conferences, worked with many coaching clients more than twice my age.
- Got invited to speak at Google and IIM A!
- Also became popular for conducting personal interview coaching for B-school call-getters.
- A highlight was that took a 15-day solo trip to Vietnam at the end of this year to disrupt my thought process, learn new things and understand a new culture.
- Things began to become larger!
- I spoke at IIM C, IIFT, XLRI, NMIMS and some of the top B-schools in India.
- I Completed writing Be Invincible and began the publishing process, did my 4th TEDx talk and spoke in the USA and Singapore.
- This was also a year of lot of reading and reaching a milestone of 2 million views on my social media content.
Questions I get asked most often.
“Did I have to face societal pressure”
There is no interesting story that is complete without naysayers!
I had many who told me that this is not sustainable and I should do this after a couple of decades of formal work experience. Their intentions were always good but that was not a piece of advice I was willing to take!
I genuinely believe that such people are an important part of the journey because they help you stay even more dedicated and focused on your goals.
I did not know the magnitude of success in this domain ( I still don’t know), however, I try to take things by the day and do my best in every engagement that I am entrusted to deliver.
“Three important aspects to become a success coach.”
There are 3 ingredients – skills, credentials and brand.
Skills can be built through pro-bono assignments.
Credentials can be built through coach certifications and assignments.
The brand can be built through steadily writing, creating videos, and attending and speaking at conferences.
“How I built on my self-confidence while doing public speaking.”
I am still nervous before every big speech.
I think that feeling of nervousness is my greatest strength because it channels into preparation before the stage and then into energy on stage.
The day I stop feeling nervous about that speech, is the day I will stop preparing. When I stop preparing, I will start to become complacent and when that happens is when I will start disappearing.
Wrapping it Up…
Since I am a conservative risk-taker by nature, I completed my CFA exams even after quitting my job.
Even in the worst-case scenario, my back up plan is my second love – finance :)
I don’t think one size or one piece of advice fits all. However, I would suggest having a backup plan.
In the worst circumstance, what is that one skill, degree, or vocation you can fall back on? Once you have that in place, take the leap.
With passion comes pain. If you cannot take that pain for your passion, perhaps you are not passionate enough.
Mudit Yadav mostly talks on greater presence, enhances their communication and leads a life of abundance. He conducts coaching interventions as well as workshops for leadership skills, executive presence, communication and life strategy.
He has conducted sessions at Google India, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta and many other renowned organisations and huge firms.
Mudit is also an author of Be Invincible. If you are a senior or mid-level professional looking for coaching around career growth, leadership, presence, or communication, feel free to write to Mudit here.