Whether it is finding the right mentor or pursuing opportunities relentlessly, the action points do not change even if the industry does. Neena Gupta’s candid autobiography tells you how to have a long and fulfilling career of your choice.

Autobiographies of famous personalities always have lessons that one can apply at work and in life. ‘Sach Kahun Toh’ is one such book. It is the autobiography of Neena Gupta, an Indian actor, and a popular name in television and theatre circuits. In her autobiography, she chronicles her life from her childhood days spent in Karol Bagh, Delhi, her journey to be an actor, and how she came about taking various courageous decisions in her personal and professional life.

The book offers nuggets of wisdom to all professionals, whether those trying to find a toehold in a career of their choice or for women who are in their golden years and want to remain relevant in their fields.

Here are some lessons that we learn from this book:

Finding the right mentor can save you from making mistakes

One of the first lessons that Neena Gupta learns in her professional life is the need to find an effective mentor. She explains this through her initial struggle. In a bid to see herself on the silver screen, she agreed to do a minor role which ended up becoming a comic caricature. Although she was praised for her role, she got typecast in it and all future roles offered to her were similar.

Girish Karnad, a theatre veteran, had warned her of this, but by then she had already filmed for it. It is then she realized that if she could have had the benefit of Karnad’s wisdom and mentorship before she had taken that role, it would have served her career much better.

The lesson we learn: A mentor in the initial stages of your career can be extremely beneficial. This can help avoid grave errors of judgment that may lead to making wrong choices.

Not asking for what you want may result in a lost opportunity

Neena Gupta shares a story when she had discussed a possible movie role with the renowned Writer-Director Shekhar Kapur. After the discussion, she waited for a call from him for the next few weeks. She later found that the role had been given to another actor and when she confronted Kapur about it, he took her to task for not having contacted him after discussing the role with him. Neena Gupta says that she lost out on a golden opportunity because she was afraid to ask and her advice is to push for what you want, rather than to wait for things to come to fall in your lap.

The lesson we learn: Sometimes, you may lose out on professional opportunities simply because you do not pursue them for the fear of coming across as pushy. Follow up until you get closure on the opportunity.

Self-esteem is as important as talent

This is a lesson Neena Gupta keeps coming back to again and again in her book. Despite being an immensely talented actor and a two-time National Film Award winner, when it came to speaking up for what she deserved, she would repeatedly think that she was not good enough. It happened when the role promised was not the one delivered or even when her scenes would get cut on the editing table. She now states that if she dared to speak up then, she would have done better roles in her career.

The lesson we learn: Lack of self-esteem is a common affliction in young professionals. Neena Gupta’s book tells us that you have to value your worth and ask for what you deserve because no one else will do it for you.

Apart from the life lessons that the book teaches, it is also a roller coaster of emotions, which makes you live each moment of her life as she narrates it. This is definitely a book that you will keep coming back to.

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