Tête-à-tête with a New Age Storyteller: Annesha Dutta

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This week, Team TDB caught up with the vibrant Annesha Dutta, a corporate trainer, consultant, and social media influencer from Bengaluru, Karnataka, for an exclusive tête-à-tête for our daily dose of inspiration. Annesha’s exuberant personality coupled with her persistent efforts to redefine the role of content and storytelling through the effective utilization of social media channels has helped Dutta gain the recognition of being one of LinkedIn’s “Top 15 Video Creators to Watch” in 2017 and a “LinkedIn Influencer” for India in 2017 and 2018.

365 Videos

The idea came from daily video creators on Facebook – ‘Nas Daily’ and ‘Dear Alyne’ – I have been making videos on my YouTube channel ‘AskAnnie’ since 2016. However, when I watched ‘Nas Daily’ hit 1000 daily videos in December 2018, my friend Sagnik suggested, “Why don’t you try it next year?”

As crazy as it was, I took it up as a challenge. Initially, the intention was to film for at least 30 days non-stop. However, it’s been over 230 days now and I am find the support to be nothing short of exhilarating! It’s been a challenge to shoot daily and upload on multiple platforms but it has gotten me a lot of fans. Also, I find there are innumerable subjects on topics as basic as communication and interview skills – I’m trying to answer them all for my community.

Here’s hoping I will reach 365 daily videos successfully!

What Next?

It’s been a dream to write a book on the impact of video on education and as a medium for personal branding. So will be sharing the journey of this ‘year of video’ in a book!

I hosted a few webinars on some of my video topics and they were quite successful so looking to host more and create a Udemy course on personal branding.

Annesha Dutta

Finding the Balance

I have always been impulsive – this year has forced me to become more disciplined. The thing that helped me the most was reading the book ‘Essentialism’. It made me realize that I should focus on the things that give meaning and value to my life. A lot of the other work can be delegated. There is no need to be ‘perfect’ all the time – a trap many Indian women fall into. No one can have it all – it’s pointless. Focus your time on what matters to you and people you care about.

I learnt to prioritize what was essential – what brought meaning to my life – both relationships and work. Also, I give it 200% – for whatever limited time slot I have dedicated – work or relationships. I have been honest with friends and family when I needed to take time out for work and videos. They have supported and helped me get the other aspects of my life in order.

Finding time early morning to read and exercise – along with a cup of coffee always brings me a sense of peace.

Inspiration

I have tons of role models – the teachers who made me a teacher – Mr. Amit Bose and Prof. Rohinton Kapadia. Amongst creators, I love how brave and creative Lilly Singh (from the YouTube channel ‘Superwoman’) is. Sushmita Sen was my role model of a woman who knew her mind and fearlessly lived her truth – I adore her. Malala Yousafzai– for what she has done for education around the world. My constant source of strength has always been around me – my mother who has single–handedly brought up my brother and me (my father passed away when I was 10) – she has always been fiercely independent and taught us to be so.

Life Changing Experience

In my time as a Teach For India fellow (2011-2013), I made community visits to my students’ homes. One of my students was very mischievous in class and often bullied other students. I was at my wits’ end with him. I decided to visit his home and talk to his parents about his behaviour. When I arrived at the address, I saw that they were living under a building’s staircase. His mother shared how her husband had lost his job as a security guard and they had to make – do here when they lost their shanty home. My student was a witness to domestic violence at times and his alcoholic father would often beat him up.

Yet, he loved school so much that he would never miss a day – he used to love watching Harry Potter movies with the class! That was a life changing perspective. It made me realize the power of empathy and the power of  education – this is the only thing that can change the future of so many children in India.

Dealing with Negativity

As a creator, I often get trolled and have been fat-shamed a couple of times. It feels bad but I pour my energy into my work again. As James Altucher says, “Only 30% will love your work…” – so keep creating and working for that group. I choose to focus on the positive comments and the love from my community – I must be making a difference and I will continue to do so.

Advice for Young Women

  • Get a mentor early in your career. Someone from the industry you want to start off – LinkedIn is a great place to connect and network for the same. Try to get a sponsor after 2 years in the corporate workforce – a mentor guides and a sponsor talks about your work.
  • Talk about your work. It’s not enough to work – it needs to be visible to the management/ people who can take your career to the next level. Learn about personal branding and learn how to express yourself in meetings and public presentations. As Richard Branson says, “Say yes and figure out how to do it later…”
  • Learn about personal finance and start investing early. Earning and saving money will give you the freedom and confidence to make the right choices.
  • Learn how to negotiate at work. Watch Prof. Deepak Malhotra’s videos on negotiating your salary and the terms of your employment. It will give you more power in the role and help you create work – life balance.
  • Once you get married or have a child, do not leave the workforce – have a discussion with your managers and mentors and chalk out a plan of how you can come back to work with flexible terms. Ask for all the help you need from your spouse, friends, colleagues and family.

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