There’s no better time to permit yourself to be you.
There are often things holding us back from becoming our true selves and they’re not always external. Learning to permit yourself to just be you is something that Om Chitale’s been mastering for years. He’s been sharing his story for years and wants to help you realize your passion just like he’s realized his.
Om Chitale has been striving to break boundaries for years. Om started his career in counseling at Deloitte then switched to education access and equity work through a program called Education Pioneers Fellowship in Memphis.
In his early 20’s Om worked in early childhood education but wanted to break his barriers and start down a different career path with this transition. Working at Deloitte was a great experience but Om has always been passionate about education and wanted to incorporate that into his everyday work.
Life and Current Role at Haas
With a transition to a more education-focused role at Haas, Om gladly took on the position of Director of Diversity Admissions after graduating from the full-time MBA program in 2018.
His position at Haas is one that Om remains passionate about helping increase access to Haas for anyone in an underrepresented community. By focusing on closing the gaps at every level of education, Om hopes to change the way education and access to it are perceived by the world in general.
As part of his role at Haas, Om has the great honor of helping prospective students through the application process. This role allows him to share his insights with students and applicants and help them achieve their goal of admission.
Self-permission is a cause that Om has continued to champion throughout his work. Whether he’s working in education or counseling at Deloitte, it’s an idea that’s taken root and grown in his work around the country.
Rather than framing the conversation about careers, jobs, and other decisions that anyone makes in their life by what society wants of them, Om has been championing the idea of self-permission: deciding to follow a path simply because it’s what YOU want to do. Through personal experiences of following a career path simply because that was what was expected, Om came to realize that empowering people to reevaluate was a cause worth standing behind.
All of this self-permission is just a way to help evaluate your life and your path. Taking a step back and asking “am I still happy?” with this path will help you give yourself permission to continue or turn back. Rather than relying on outside influences to determine which way you want to go, self-permission teaches and guides you to make the decisions internally.
Self-permission also gives up the idea of a long future path and focuses on the here and now. Are you happy and content with where you’re at right now? Om wants to help guide people toward focusing on where they’re at right now rather than create a narrative that drags you along for the long-term.
For Om, self-permission came in the form of moving from an area of strict counseling to guiding students in higher education at Haas and expanding his desire to help all teachers. But rather than driving himself every day, Om has given himself permission to just be in the moment and help his students with whatever they need.
The crux of self-permission is letting go of one thing and latching onto another. Om moved from a career of counseling to one in education and education access. His self-permission was giving up the need to push hard to finish a career path.
Letting go of the major career path but still hanging on to the values that guide your life is a key to self-permission as well. Om permitted himself to let go of a director position to then move on and help teachers with his non-profit media company. The values he pivoted to be ones of service and community and building them up through serving teachers in the community.
While taking time out to give yourself self-permission to follow something at the moment is often framed as selfish, there’s a lot of freedom, Om claims, in choosing what makes you happy right now. While it may be framed as selfish, if the decision you’re making is the right one, the selfish aspect is not a bad one.
To truly help society, we need to be the best version of ourselves, and often that can only come when we give up the narrative placed on us by society and seize our own choices that make us happy.
Om has seen himself utilize his privilege to help others. While he’s been given opportunities that others have not, Om has made a “selfish” choice to do what makes him happiest which is helping other people thrive. By investing in his work of closing the gap in higher education, Om has given self-permission for a major career change but one that makes him very happy overall.
Truth to Power
There’s no doubt about it: those in power, like to stay in power.
Those in power won’t give up that power easily and those who want more recognition or rights have to demand this from those around them. All of the strikes, protests, and other calls to action are all, in their way speaking truth to power.
Om has seen his privilege come into play when talking about speaking truth to power. By going through the rigors of an MBA program, holding prestigious positions around the country, and then turning that influence to help others, Om has come from a background of power.
Now he turns his eyes and goals toward speaking the truth to those in power around him. While some may speak truth to power through protests or strikes, Om’s mission is a little different.
Rather than march in the streets as a way to speak truth to power, Om has focused on selling the truth to power through individual, one-on-one relationships with those around him. Using his position on the inside of a powerful institution has given him insight into the way he can influence and speak truth to those in power around him.
Om focuses on the values of those around him, including the broader values of America as a whole, and pushing on people to see how they can focus on those values and make changes. Speaking truth to power doesn’t always look the same but for Om, it always requires speaking and telling stories.
Teachers of Oakland
Inspired by the idea of the Humans of New York street portrait series, Om decided to start a company that focused on telling stories of teachers in Oakland to bring a focus to their struggles and triumphs.
All of the posts from the teachers and their stories are intended to start a conversation about education in Oakland. Some of the starkest contrasts in opinions exist in the world of education. Om wants people to read the posts from his startup and realize that more things are connecting than separating us.
Mainstream characterizations of teachers can often put them in an unflattering light. Om hopes that Teachers of Oakland will draw attention and change the flow of conversation when it comes to education.
Rather than following and pouring into the broader narratives, Om focuses on individuals and their stories to change the overall story. There’s no better way to speak truth to power than to share personal stories.
Create a New Narrative
Whether he’s changing career paths by giving self-permission to be happy at the moment, speaking truth to power, or reaching out to hear the stories of teachers, Om Chitale is always looking to create a new narrative.
Om has been breaking boundaries and changing things up for years. Coming from a background of privilege, Om wants to change the story surrounding the way people seek out career paths and speak truth to power. Instead of making large sweeping statements, Om focuses on the smaller details and individual stories and values to get his point across. To learn more about how Om has changed his narrative you can check out this podcast episode.
Change Your Narrative
But the ideas that Om has used to shape his life, don’t stop with him. You can give self-permission to change your narrative now and be happy and content at this moment. Speak truth to power, even if you are in power, by focusing on the individual values of those surrounding you.
Whatever your new narrative might be, we want to hear about it. What have you learned from your experiences in this same area? Leave us a comment and share your changes and narrative!