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How pandemic helped Heads Up For Tails' Narang to schedule her day

The founder and creative director of the pet care company talks about the people who inspire her and how she keeps herself motivated

Rashi Narang with her pooch. 
Rashi Narang with her pooch.  (Rashi Narang)

Rashi Narang, founder of Heads Up For Tails is one of the leading premium pet care companies in India. Started in 2008, the company recently bagged 277 crores in its Series A funding round. It has 40 on-ground stores across seven metros, apart from presence in ecommerce. Apart from pet care products, it also offers pet grooming and spa and pet wellness solutions. Narang shraes about her thoughts on mentors and the process of mentoring.

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Who do you consider your mentor and why? 

I believe that a mentor comes in many forms beyond the traditional mentor-mentee construct. It could be someone who helps with introductions to wider, more helpful networks, someone you can discuss difficult situations with, someone you can learn a lot from by just talking to them, or someone who may just listen and help you navigate your situation.  

I am grateful to many- a friend who has helped me work through a personal situation, my core team with whom I spent weeks to ideate and reflect on the way forward, several friends within the founder network with whom I can discuss growth challenges and how to steer through them. A mentor could also just be someone who is wiser and able to share a new perspective. It depends on where I am on my journey at that moment. 

The TIE Delhi chapter has given me access to mentors like Deep Kalra (founder, MakeMyTrip), Saurabh Srivastava (Indian Angel Network), Geetika Dayal (executive director, TIE Delhi) and more such wonderful people. 

One major insight/change you worked on with your mentor's guidance?

One of my mentors Rosie Lore (leadership development practitioner) taught me about 'unlearning to please'. As women, we’re often taught to be accommodating, to be keepers of the peace. This usually comes at the cost of silencing our own needs, our voices and second-guessing decisions we make for ourselves. It’s so deeply ingrained in our upbringing that it’s considered to be ‘normal’. But with her advice and support, I believe, I have come a long way in recognising these patterns and it’s been very helpful in trusting myself even when I wanted to follow an unconventional path. 

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What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?

To me, being a mentor means walking alongside someone and offering help when needed. It's about making time for someone and helping them think through or navigate a situation. 

At work, I'm there to help my colleagues in the ways that they need. It could be offering a listening ear, coaching or pushing them gently to grow, or offering perspective when I see they feel stuck with something. 

What time do you wake up and what's the first thing you do after waking up? Basically, what's your morning schedule after waking up? 

I love mornings, this is when I take the time to just be with myself. I wake up by 6.30 am and do a little meditation, maybe some breathing exercises and yoga. I love learning and being introduced to new ideas so I could also spend half an hour reading something new or listening to a podcast. I usually use this time for quiet reflection and to plan the day. Maybe listen to some music as well, I enjoy discovering new artists. 

After this bit of ‘me time’ I enjoy the morning with my family before the work day begins. We have a daughter and two dogs so there is plenty of lively activity. 

What's the one positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic?

I was struggling to find that balance until I realised that scheduling is what gets this done. This time really taught me to strengthen my routine and I have since carefully planned my calendar each week. 

Any book/podcast/app/videos you would recommend about mentorship and workplace growth? Why?

I loved the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott. You can truly help someone by being very honest, caring personally and challenging directly. I would recommend it to anyone in a leadership position.

Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.

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