By placing his pain to paper, Sameer Bhide has accomplished more than his own personal rebirth.
Raised in Mumbai, India and long a resident of Vienna, Virginia, Bhide’s life came to a dramatic halt when, in 2017, at just 47-years-old, he suffered an extremely rare and massive hemorrhagic stroke in his cerebellum.
Amid the ensuing, intensive rehabilitation – coupled with having to leave behind his successful corporate career and also getting divorced – Bhide could well have chosen the road of the “Why me?” Instead, he chose the path of the pen.
“I wanted my stories, experiences and lessons learned from my journey to help others going through any adversity or life changes,” he says.
In December of 2020, Bhide published One Fine Day, a memoir detailing his journey of recovery, battling adversity and mid-life self-discovery.
“The stroke, it changed me, both physically and emotionally; everything from learning to walk again — with my left side paralyzed — to dealing with dizziness and balance issues,” he says. “After the stroke, emotionally, I began noticing things that I hadn’t before. I became a much more empathetic person, more compassionate, and more accepting of things rather than getting upset at all these tiny problems in life. I developed a more positive attitude, a greater sense of gratitude and I became more open to a lot of new and different things.”
Pivoting his purview to the “Art of the Possible,” Bhide embraced a combination of Eastern and Western medicines and care, along with the value of holistic healing.
“Before, like many people, I was careless with my diet and my health. I never thought of holistic medicine,” he says. “But now, through a combination of Eastern and Western medicine, I believe we need both, for the best chance to align mind, body and spirit. It’s now shaped my life and my life choices.”
His recovery combined physical therapy, Yoga, meditation, diet and seeing a clinical psychologist. Through the process, Bhide was able to recreate not merely his outlook on the life — but also an inner belief in himself.
“I realized, through this journey, that I had more strength and resilience than I thought I did,” he says.
Bhide’s recovery also coalesced with the struggles of the world around him. Amid the ongoing global pandemic of the novel coronavirus, he recognized that application of his words could be used by a broader audience.
“But never in a million years, of course, did anybody realize that a dramatic new normal would be faced by the entire world because of COVID,” he says. “So, all my own lessons learned about overcoming adversity and embracing the new normal with positivity, grace and gratitude do have a broader application to the times of pandemic.”
In concert with the release of One Fine Day, Bhide was approached by several journals to write about his experiences, adding a perspective both practical and personal to academic outlets. Bhide contributed a piece on rehabilitation from a stroke survivor’s perspective to the Journal of Experimental Stroke and Translational Medicine and shortly thereafter was approached by the Journal of Psychiatry and Mental Health Research to become an Editorial Board Member, where’s he periodically assists the Journal to increase the quality of its articles and provide editorial suggestions.
For more general readerships, Bhide is borrowing from his vast experiences in the corporate and business world, where he spent nearly a quarter century across roles in management and technology consulting, knowledge management and sales at a host of top firms, including Ernst & Young and Grant Thornton.
One such example is how Bhide applied his personal lessons to business advice in a recent piece on professional engagement in the work world’s “New Normal” penned for YourStory.com, one of India’s leading outlet for start-ups and entrepreneurs. Sampling from his own professional experiences, one facet of the article touches upon the tenets of ‘Diversity in the Workplace.’
“So many people from diverse backgrounds, in both the U.S. and in India, helped me in my recovery. Whether it was people of different colors of skin, different religious beliefs, different ethnicities or castes, or from different economic stratum. – I realized I was truly blessed to receive help from all of these people,” Bhide says. “People should realize the importance of hiring employees from various ethnic and social backgrounds, as more diversity can help bring alternate perspectives to different challenges and problems within a company and drive innovation.”
On the importance of Empathy in the modern work climate, Bhide wrote in his YourStory piece: “It is important to remember that each one of us have gone through multiple challenges in the past few months – from loss of a loved one, physical and mental health issues, health concerns of family members, financial strain, social isolation and business and employment uncertainty.”
On the topics of Balanced Decision-Making between heart and mind, and Identifying Fatigue, Bhide also writes toward the importance that the days of “New Normal” are no time to Compare one’s business to another.
“It’s common to compare your business strategies, practices and goals with your competitors. Yet, in this new normal, that can be counterintuitive and cause more mental stress than be productive because every business is in a different place, a different stage right now because of the pandemic. Leaderships needs to have faith their business will not just survive the pandemic but will reinvent and thrive and will grow at its own pace.” — Sameer Bhide
As he considers a business-centric sequel to One Fine Day, Bhide’s corporate experience and his own tale of fortitude translate to a palpable message, coming at a time when much of the work world is seeking such a compass to navigate the unknown.
“For centuries, man, woman, businesses – we’ve all dealt with challenges, and worked to survive them,” he concludes. “The pandemic is our newest challenge; and, for businesses — just like I’ve had to reinvent my own life – it’s a matter of reenergizing and reinventing and reshaping how they operate during a time of adversity. It might be slow, the process might be hard, but we learn how to survive.”
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