If Acid Attack survivor, Monica Singh, can endure, you can, too

Monica Singh Before Attack
(Monica Singh Facebook, 2017)

Monica Singh was a beautiful 19-year-old women growing up in India when a horrific event occurred.  Unbeknown to her, acid would be thrown on her face by an obsessed suitor because she would not marry him. Her perpetrators, though, did not know the strength Singh was made of.  Since, what they did to her actually made her even more beautiful and determined than she ever was prior to the attack.

MS 5
(Singh Personal Photo)

I first communicated with Singh after reading about her story on Facebook Link  There she describes herself as a, “Motivational Personality, Speaker, Humanitarian, Acid Attack Survivor, Speaker at UN, Global Youth Champion of UN Women.”  So, I reached out to her through LinkedIn Link and she graciously let me interview her.

Singh shared that it was her family, and in particular her father, Mahendra Singh,  who helped her heal and endure through 46 surgeries, not to leave out her own “will to live.”  In her father’s honor, Singh founded the Mahendra Singh Foundation  Its purpose?  To “help victims of physical and sexual abuse, acid attacks, rape and domestic violence in rebuilding their confidence and strength on their journey to becoming survivors.”

Today, says Singh, “I am currently dedicated to running my foundation.  Through [it] I strive to provide counseling, skills, guidance, and treatments to survivors of gender-based violence.”

“I am also work[ing] as a designer and creative expert for [a] fashion company in midtown Manhattan.”  This after reaching a pinnacle dream come true graduating from the School of Fashion at Parson’s in New York last year Link

Monica-Singh
(Karerat, 2015)

Additionally, Singh has been been “appointed as Global Youth Champion by UN Women and is also a Spokesperson at United Nations representing Face of Resilience from India – United States of America” United Nations

monica_singh
(Monica Singh, 2017)

In this role Singh, “spread[s] awareness about violence against women and gender-based violence issue[s].”

She has also been created into a comic book superhero.  According to her Facebook page, Singh says, “Here is the #first #sneak peak of my #charactersketch for #priyashakti #comicbooks for #violenceagainstwomen issue. #book your copy. Write us #info@mahendrasinghfoundation.org “

Priyas-Mirror
(Monica Singh Facebook, 2017)

“Artist and illustrator, Dan Goldman, sketched my character.  He consulted [with] me for the look and feel of [my] character.”  To find out more about this work, which will help other acid attack survivors, visit  Priyas mirror a comic book that depicts acid attack survivors as superheroes

MS 3
(Singh personal photo)

If all this weren’t enough, Monica positively impacts where ever she goes.  “When young girls see/listen to my story, they get inspired,” she says.  “It gives them motivation to stand [up] for themselves.”

“I have been inspired by different people and different qualities at different points in my life.  My heroes have been my father, my family, the people who do good deeds in their daily lives, fashionistas, people who make a difference, people who are happy with their lives, and also people who strive for bigger things.  There is no dearth of inspiration in this world.”

Singh considers herself a hope-based person.  “I believe … how you perceive, you conceive.  There is nothing in the universe which [isn’t] attract[ed] [to] you.  So, why not attract only good and positive things in life[?]  I start my day with a daily mission; [a] smile on my face and [also] sleep with [a] smile to dream good.”

Some of Singh’s favorite things to do include, “seeing places, meeting new people, experiencing new things.  Pretty much all the things that this world has to offer.”

When asked if she feels beautiful, she positively exclaims, “Absolutely!  And why not?”

In five or ten years, Singh says she hopes to be “living every moment and walking on my path.”

Her favorite quote?  To “leave the world [in] a better place than you found it.”

For anyone experiencing any kind of adversity, Singh suggests, “Education and self-inner power” are ways to endure.   Adding, “Nothing will stop you ever.”

“I survived something gruesome.  I believe that my life has a purpose now.”

“People see there is hope [in my story]!  If I can do it, anyone can.”

 

If you would like Monica Singh to speak at your university, school, business, etc., click Book Monica

References

Karerat, R.  (2015, July 29).  Retrieved from https://www.americanbazaaronline.com/2015/07/29/acid-attack-victim-monica-singh-finds-new-life-at-parsons-school-of-design-in-new-york/

Monica Singh. (2017).  Retrieved from https://wordpress.com/post/howtobehopebased.com/3310

Forgiving & loving your leader: From enemies to friends

 

images-2
(Passionate Giving, 2012)

“You sure you want to work for her?” a senior administrator asked me point-blank.  “She is an absolute jerk.  She’s come into my office, this office right here, screaming and demanding things.”  Similarly, another senior leader told me, “I’m fond of you and she’s not someone I would recommend you working under.  I’m worried for and I’m warning you.”

But I went anyway.

And they were somewhat right.

But the thing is, we sometimes have to find out for ourselves.

Later, once in that work environment, people would ask me in passing, by phone and email, “What’s it like working for so-and-so?”

Or, “How can you stand her?”

And even, “You okay?”

That leader fired people when they messed up.  Course, when you know someone’s looking for your mistakes or focusing on them, and sometimes sets you up for failure, you tend to mess up more.

You also got fired if she didn’t like you.  And she went to great extents to ruin your reputation, credibility and career.  Once fired, and not under her micromanagement umbrella anymore, she still worked to sabotage any of your future success.

Funny thing was, she made mistakes all the time.  Yet, it was okay.  It was a classic, “Do as I say, not as I do” culture.

And when a “high pollutant” person (to her) came into our department, she did the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dance.  You know, where she became someone we did not recognize.  Trust me, the special treatment was envied yet, stomach-upsetting.

Shouldn’t, though, we all be treated with the same respect regardless of our position, last name, salary, popularity, history, status, or connections?

images
(Brushfield, 2014)

Eventually, no one in our department felt their job tenure was safe or wanted to be at work.  And everyone I knew was looking for another job while they became a “yes” man and played “the game.”

And creativity and productivity?

Forget that. It was non-existent.

But let’s get to how I survived.

FOP_Logo_White_Med
(Somewhere Creative, n.d.)

I worked to focus on what was working.  What she was doing right because everyone does things right.  And her potential because everyone has potential.  And told her.  Over and over and over again.  Even while she reminded me and others of what we did wrong and held grudges.  Yet, “anger and blame are unproductive emotions that tie up energy in destroying rather than creating” (Kanter, 2013).

I also worked to love her (i.e., professionally and Christlike so).

And forgave her.  Which is something that was not reciprocated.

“Leaders must be firm and foster accountability, but they also must know when to forgive past wrongs in the service of building a brighter future” said Kantor (2013) in her Forbes piece, “Great Leaders Need to Know When to Forgive” (para. 1).  She explained “Instead of settling scores, great leaders make gestures of reconciliation that heal wounds and get on with business” (para. 2). Even Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi believed, “The weak can never forgive.  Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong” (Santa Barbara.com, n.d.).

Gandi
(Santa Barbara.com, n.d.)

To date, although it once appeared we were enemies, we are now friends.

I believe people are placed in our lives to teach us, and perhaps, them too. I do not believe it is by coincidence, but divine placement.

The real questions, though, are what will you do with the folks’ and circumstances placed before you?  Will you murmur or will you make and do good with them?

So the next time someone warns you not to work for someone, do think and pray about it.

Yet, keep in mind that it could be just what you need.  After all, explained church leader Monte Brough (2016), when quoting the Apostle Paul, “… tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope … ” (para. 11).

References

Brough, M. J. (2016, April).  Lessons from the Old Testament: Adversity, the great teacher.  Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/ensign/2006/08/lessons-from-the-old-testament-adversity-the-great-teacher?lang=eng

Brushfield, A. (2014, August 11).  Are you respected in the workplace?  Retrieved from https://www.thindifference.com/2014/08/respected-workplace/

Kanter, R. M. (2013, February 26).  Great leaders know when to forgive.  Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/02/great-leaders-know-when-to

Passionate giving.  (2012, April 30).  How to confront bad leadership.  Retrieved from https://veritusgroup.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/how-to-confront-bad-leadership/

Santa Barbara.com. (n.d.).  Forgiveness.  Retrieved from http://hindi.santabanta.com/sms-cat.aspx?catid=621&page=2

Somewhere creative.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://cargocollective.com/somewherecreative/focus-on-potential