If you can connect with another person on a deeper level, you open the doors to trust & intimacy. Once you build the trust & intimacy, you are more likely the person they will reach out to, like you & open up to. Many professionals complain that they have an issue in leading their team, in gaining their confidence & trust which leads to not so powerful professional relationships. Thus resulting in poor productivity, poor team work, friction etc. Also, many a times I hear this: "I don't want to share this issue with my boss/my HR?" So, it is important that as leaders, professionals and as people per se, we need to ask ourselves this question: Are we truly connecting with others? Are we creating that safe space for them to open up? If not, what tool do we need to connect with another person? I urge you to peep into the relationships that you have, both personal & professional & do an honest speculation of what might be missing according to you.
The simplest tool that can be used to connect with another person is to give your undivided attention, listening & genuine interest in the person that you are talking to. Yes, that's all you need. But wait, it seems easy but if you observe your own behavior, you'll notice that many a times, we don't connect the way we ought to. We deny the simple tools and we make things complex till it manifests into scary data & statistics.
I want to cite a personal experience here that I encountered yesterday. To maintain confidentiality of identity, I will use X & Y as the two person that I interacted with. Someone reached out to me yesterday, seeking for help for someone who was in need. I didn't know whom to reach out to. The first thought that came to my mind was to check with X since X is well known in that industry. I called up X and exchanged few words. To my utter surprise, in the entire conversation, X was advising for a thing which I didn't want to know. The problem was something else, since X didn't listen very well and started to assume based on the exposure & knowledge X had, the crux of the matter got lost & X just spoke about something which wasn't making any sense. I was for a while taken aback at how people tend to speak more & listen less. I didn't feel heard, nor I wanted to share anything further. My mind completely shut down and was just longing for the call to just end. I was relieved when X stopped talking & I thanked X for the time. On the other hand, I reached out to Y after my call ended with X. Y was on the other hand very warm & listened to what I had to say. The questions that Y was asking was very apt, it showed that Y was listening to what I was saying & the questions were based on the inputs that I gave and finally we concluded with a solution. My trust for Y increased and a deeper connection was formed. I then connected Y with the person seeking for help. I know this is a very simple example but the crux is, many a times we are oblivious of what we are doing, how we are showing up. Simple & powerful tools are ignored & we tend to get lost in things that looks important but not necessarily.
Same goes with the professional connections too. When you drop everything that you are doing at that moment & give that exclusive attention to the person in front of you talking, you not only win their respect & trust, but build a connection deeper than you ever realized. The same goes vice versa. So next time you ask this question, "How can I gain trust & intimacy?", don't forget to check if you are using that simple powerful tool or not. Also, while talking are you preparing the next question in your mind to impress the other person of your knowledge/wisdom or you are deeply listening? The connection will be formed when you do the latter not otherwise.
"When you know your worth, no one else can make you feel worthless."
As I look back on my journey as an HR professional, look past the path of both success and failure as an HR professional; I see times of both exhilaration & despair walking the path. There are times when you are appreciated, you get a thank you note; there are equal times of rejection, venting and cold feelings. While deeply analyzing the walk through, I have clearly realized that there are few things that HR professionals must embrace to truly own your power & essence of your role.
During this journey and while talking to many ex-colleagues, HR professionals; I saw some common patterns, thoughts that echoed in my ears and made me ponder: Do we even realize our worth or do we live in the mercy of the opinions that people hold for this profession? Are we responsible for all the feedback that our profession gets or are we responsible for not being able to work towards a better mindset, a culture of good values such as acceptance, gratitude & appreciation for what HR is about?
There can be two things for totally strong opposite reactions for all the work that the HR professionals do: either you are too good at what you do & don't realize your worth or you don't know the right way of creating impact & value in the eyes of your stakeholders for all the work that you do and hence the mismatch in expectations. Whatever it is, the bottom-line is, you hold the power, the key is in your hands; you can unlock it. When things are slack, often HR is seen as no-concrete-value function, but when market regains shape, when hiring is at it's peak, when appraisal times are nearing, sentiments change and HR practices becomes important. Many call HR as the puppets in the hands of the management, similar to a pendulum who sways from one side having employee views of things and on the other side having the employer's perspective.You juggle between different views, different thoughts, numerous takes and finally when the work gets done, the credit is definitely not graciously given to HR. Do you agree? Well, my point here is not to make you agree to any of the above thoughts but to enable HR professionals to use this power to their benefit and make them realize that you are already standing on top of the gold mine, you now just need to unleash your inner wisdom, reflect on everything and create the awesome HR that resides in you, for which you had chosen this profession and nothing else. Recall the essence your role and embrace it fully. Let's explore what makes a great HR professional. When I say this, I also emphasize on your well-being as human and your growth too. For you to take care of everyone else, you must first take care of yourself at the core.
What makes a great HR professional?
1. The mindset that you hold about HR as a profession: It is imperative to have a positive mindset, how you see yourself as an HR and what you think you bring to the table. If you have a low self-esteem for yourself, if you feel stuck about the ways of working, if you feel that HR is just a support function; then you can't expect people to think any better than this. Ask yourself what is the deeper belief that you are holding about your profession? Do you consider yourself powerful enough to lead the pack or you want to follow? The choice is yours. The great HR professionals that I had come across during my stint believed in their work, led like a leader and chose not to succumb to unwanted pressure of being liked. They were there to serve people and not please. So, before you try to pick up any other attribute of being a great HR professional, do win the war within; that is very important for you to win the battle outside.
2. Being truly passionate about serving people: Do you consider people as resources which gets depleted over time or do you consider them to be an asset in which when you invest, grows? Passion is when you stand up for them when needed, when you influence decision making and enable stakeholders to see people as human capital and not commodity. Are you truly passionate?
3. Being aligned with the business objectives: At the end what is your broader goal? It isn't any ounce separate from where your organization wants to head to. HR strategies should be such that it promotes fulfillment of the broader vision of the organization. Every business has different goals, every HR practice must be tailored to those specific goals.
4. Being the leader & not just follower of instructions: If you fear losing your job, if you fear that if you speak up, chances are that you will loose being in the good books of your employer; then let me help you to recall what your role is all about. With such a mentality you will one day be no where. You are not doing justice to all those HR professionals who never appease top management to secure their job. They voice out and play a strategic role to bring about the desired change. They hold the power to influence and hence eventually leave a mark. Decide you want to see the big picture or play trivial. Only when you don't realize your worth, you will succumb to such scarcity mentality. As an HR professional, you are the people expert and you should be the one offering the strategic counsel & not the other way around.
5. Walk the talk, be the role model: Honoring commitments, promises, deadlines are important. You have to walk the talk & model, mirror the behaviour that you expect from others. When you design the policies, guidelines, it is important that before you make it public, you have to do that 10X times. Saying is not enough, you need to sense how it feels to actually do it.
6. Be a life-long learner: "Leadership & learning are indispensable to each other." - John F. Kennedy. Keep yourself updated. Do away with limiting behaviours, beliefs, old ways of workings. Be adaptable to new ones & open for exploration of your own gifts. Don't be limited to just one aspect of your function. Come out of your comfort zones.
Have a look at the graph below for more insights. Sourced from HBR.ORG
I would like to leave you with this task of looking at the picture above at the top, the title picture which says: I am ......... I invite you to fill up with what you feel about yourself and start practicing that daily.
Do feel free to add on more qualities of great HR professionals, or anything that came to your mind after reading this article. Let me know your way of thinking, your outlook.
Meditation simply means focusing, being fully present in the moment. In the words of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, a global spiritual leader, "Meditation is offering your genuine presence to yourself in every moment." Our thoughts usually control us & define our world. Meditation enables us to control our thoughts & thus help us create the life that we inwardly, joyously want to live. The word meditation somehow bring these symbolic thoughts & metaphors to my mind: saint, a peaceful place mostly mountains, in the nature, sitting in a particular posture etc. I have had the experience of meditation in the past and I have been doing it for quite sometime now. But, my recent experience with heartfulness meditation somehow resonated very well with the essence of coaching & hence intrigued me more than any other form of meditation. I am exploring the many forms & wish to learn more & more. Sharing with you all the steps towards heartfulness meditation that I learnt, my understanding around this:
1. This is a form of meditation which originated from the days of King Janak. Heartfulness meditation talks about the divine light that resides in every heart. When this light is allowed to shine via meditation, you gain the access to your inner power, the ability to live in the expression of your highest self.
2. Focusing on that light within, feeling & embracing that light and meditating is the first step. This is usually done in the morning.
3. As you experience your day and come to a close, it is very important to cleanse your heart of any negative emotion, energy that affected you in the day. This is called cleansing of the heart of all negativity & letting the divine power flow through you.
4. Before you go to sleep, you call your day off by praying which is nothing but reflecting on the day gone by. Not concentrating on any specific event or thought but just meditating to lighten yourself. This continues and as you practice more, you will experience the transformation.
I have derived immense power from this form of meditation. This has no obligation, you do it in your comfortable way. The best for me was the cleansing bit. The way we clean ourselves, it is very important to clean our heart as well.
The power of meditation is immense. Here's one beautiful thought on meditation by Lord Buddha. Very simple yet so profound. Look at what you loose when you meditate.
Let's look at what we gain from meditation. Why you should meditate? Meditation helps increase your Emotional Intelligence (EQ), one of the determining factors for living a truly successful life. Scientists have confirmed this too. As you progress in your life, rise up the career ladder, walk the path of leadership be it professionally or personally donning different hats, it is important that you have better understanding of yourself, which we call awareness; better understanding about others, be able to detach from negative thoughts, be able to let go, stay calm & relaxed, read emotions of other people, your understanding of other people's vibes, energy, do away with dysfunctional patterns, habits, increase your creativity & inner wisdom & thereby make right decisions that would serve the bigger intention. Meditation paves the way for all these. Meditation helps you increase your EQ. Do look at the picture below to see what you actually give yourself access to when you meditate.
Welcome to the world of meditation. Start now, right at this moment just for a minute today and then increasing slowly to a longer time. See the difference in you over time.
What are you waiting for? Until & unless you make up your mind, no amount of support, help, resources will seem enough for your growth. You may have immense potential, you may be intelligent, you may know many things, but only if you make up your mind to use these, only when you make up your mind to create something out of these; you will see the beauty of your creation.Only then life will be worthwhile.
You may face obstacles, life may at times knock you down, times may be challenging; you will be a victim if you don't make up your mind to create & look past these. If you have a tendency of being in the victim mindset, then do ask yourself what is it that you are getting by being in that state. Is this satisfying your ego(small mind), your craving for attention & sympathy; covering up & not acknowledging your limiting habits such as procrastination, fear of failure, inaction etc?
Sometimes asking blunt questions to oneself really helps. Many a times we go through inner turmoil, inner conflicts because of which we are unable to decide & take any action. We need three things to achieve any goal:
1. A powerful motivating goal itself
2. The path, the support that will take us to the goal
3. The desire to move on that path
Lack of anyone of the above will not let you achieve that goal. The third one is very crucial. It is that making up your mind bit, the inner conflict. If you don't have a propelling need to achieve that goal, if you see that you will loose out more by achieving that goal, even if you consciously want it, your subconscious mind will refrain you from attaining that. Thus giving rise to the inner conflict.
I spoke to someone few months back and got to know that the situation that the person was in, was not serving at all. All the blind spots could be seen, all the areas of improvement were visible. The person realized that too. But, due to the inability to make up the mind, the person is juggling still. The person is in the same challenging situation, complaining & cribbing. Every day I see the victim born with new ways of justifying the current situation. There is support, there is help only if the person chooses to accept it. This is a very common state that many of us go through including me. All I say is make up your mind before it is too late.
Creativity is a skill that is going to be the buzzword in the coming years. The more creative you are, the more secured your job will be; the more productive the employee will be leading the organization from good to great. In a report published by World Economic Forum on the future of jobs, the skill sets that the workforce of 2020 will need are: complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment & decision making, service orientation, negotiation, cognitive flexibility. Creativity is at number 3 as the top skills.
We are innately born with the potential of a creative genius. This has been proven by NASA scientists as well. As we grow up, this tends to shift and we become less creative. Creativity is a skill that can be learned, honed & developed over a period of time. Let's look at the factors that generally kills creativity in a person:
3. The need to fit in & be liked
6. Fear of being wrong & ridiculed
All these lead to inaction & hence the loss of creativity. Employees are expected to be creative, think out of the box without realizing that they have been boxed by rules, policies, manuals, scripts etc. Let's see what kills creativity in our profession.
2. Restrictive job profiles
3.Lack of simplicity & over complication
4.Lack of resources
5. Approvals at various stages
6. Silo working
So what do you think needs to be done to help creativity flourish? If you look at the three components of creativity: expertise, creative thinking skills, motivation; you will find out that creativity can be influenced through workplace practices & conditions. A leader can influence his/her team's/team member's creativity by focusing on the motivation aspect, an organization can by enabling an environment where creative thinking skills can be nurtured & an individual can by developing a growth mindset.
"Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world."-Brene Brown
As mentioned in my earlier blog post, there are different types of people and Enneagram points out 9 specific types. One of these types is a number 2 type categorized as helpers. They are close to my heart because they genuinely care for others. These helpers are usually loving, caring, generous and empathetic people who feel deeply for others and their needs. And often for these types of people, saying NO becomes a challenge. They overdo for others, they are givers, they are sensitive to other's feelings and they are driven by the constant need to serve others. But, the negative impact of this great attitude can be this that they ignore themselves and their well-being & hence very often become mere door-mates, sounding boards for people.
The art of learning to say NO even though it is important for all types; in particularly for type 2, this is very much required for their own self-growth & development. Hence, my focus is on type 2 personality in particular in today's post.When you forget to take care of yourself while taking care of others, you are doing absolute injustice to your inner being. Remember that there aren't other types who are going to take care of you the way you do for others. In such as a case, you have to consciously learn the art of saying NO when you are drained out, when you know that it is not worth your time & energy.
Say NO to takers, to relationships that aren't of equals, roles that don't value your contribution, to people that don't care for you, to things that drain you of your energy, to people that tries to control you & use your service without gratitude.....Define what you want to say NO to. Set your boundaries. Yes, giving is good but not at the cost of your well-being. Accept when you feel hurt, pain when mistreated and walk away from that, express your needs to others, don't expect them to empathize with you the way you do for others, everyone is different, they are a different type. The most important of all, try to find some others sources of feeling loved, accepted & cared for other than helping others. Don't let people to take you for granted. Speak up when you feel you are being treated unfairly. Only when you invest your time & energy for the right people, thing & work; you will make a bigger contribution that you are meant to make. Only then you will realize that your qualities are truly valued & appreciated. Only then you will leave a mark in your chosen field.
Some famous 2s are:
Jimmy Carter, Princess Diana, Celine Dion,Jesus Christ, Madonna, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa.
So do you see your possibilities & what you can create? Love yourself, take care of yourself & learn to say NO when required. Some of the positive things that 2's can tell themselves are:
1. I need to take care of myself as I take care of others.
2. I need to receive love and not just give.
3. I will say NO when required & I don't have to feel bad about it or be critical for not being able to help everyone that comes my way.
Last but not the least, wait until asked for help.
Have you ever wondered why things keep repeating in your life? The same experience keeps occurring time & again till you become aware of your pattern & do something to either change or heal. Behaviour patterns are the characteristic ways in which a person acts. I am reminded of a very thoughtful quote here: "We attract what we radiate". This many a times left me wondering because I couldn't really understand the deeper essence of this phrase. But, now after experiencing deeper inner shift, after analyzing my client's patterns including mine, after experiencing & reading lots of relevant stuffs, I get what this actually means.
As we grow, we change, our behaviour change, we think differently, we become conscious of many things; good/bad and maturity envelops us. But, that inner child within us still radiates certain parts of us that was probably hurt when young, probably feared certain things then, some unresolved issues inside still dwells that manifest in certain patterns unknown to us. This is the root of the behaviour patterns that we display as an adult. Interestingly, this is manifested at an unconscious level and hence the confusion is more. We grow up but the unresolved issues keep projecting in one form or other. Thus, we keep attracting what we radiate. That inner child which experienced certain things in life, maintains certain rules to protect us unconsciously, without our awareness even when we grow up. But, the truth is, as grown ups we don't need that protection any more. We are equipped now and so it is important to deal with that to express our highest self.
Whatever you have experienced in your life, you have unconsciously attracted that. This may be anything starting from people, situation, things, environment, energies. So, look past and analyze the similarity or repeated patterns in your life. You will find the answer.
For instance, as a child if you believed/made to belief that you are not good enough and that belief got imprinted deeply; then as an adult even if you grow up to be an awesome person and attract good people around you; somehow the inner child having self-esteem issues will keep doing stuffs that will manifest that belief. The people around will be confused, including you because that is done at an unconscious level. This person then will have difficulty in building fruitful relationships be it in personal or professional life. External validation will be important, insecurity will surface and this will be contradictory to the behaviour of that grown up person.
Well, this is little complex; but this awareness will itself pave the way for your growth as a matured person. Embracing the inner child is very important. Acknowledging the patter is again crucial.
Let your mind swirl a bit. We repeat what we don't repair. What are you waiting for?
I dedicate this post to all the brave hearts who tried something differently, who ventured out on a different path, who leaned into their comfort zones and looked past the impossible; cheers to all those who failed in their efforts & attempts. Yes, failures are meant to be celebrated the way we celebrate our success. Both are results just with a slight difference: one is as expected and the other wasn't as expected. But, do failures define us. No, we are who we are despite of whether we succeed or fail. So, take the pressure off and take the failures in your stride. The amount of learning that failures can give you is beyond measure. In fact, you need to feel lucky when you fail because that means that you are now provided with an immense learning opportunity which otherwise wouldn't have been possible.
Why do we fear failures? Are they that bad or did we attach our sense of worthiness, self-esteem & identity to failures/successes? One failure and we crumble. Another failure and we give up thinking that we aren't good enough. We give power to failures to define our capabilities. But, we tend to forget that it is just a result and result don't define us but our actions does. Failures mean we are taking actions & not just thinking/articulating which many of us do. Failures mean you are trying something different, something that you are not used to but yet you took the step forward. To me the word FAILURE stands for:
F: Freedom to experiment with your abilities
A: Actions without attachment
I: Intention higher than triviality
L:Love for yourself unconditionally
U:Unlimited exploration of your resources
R: Real guts
E: Energy beyond measure
So, dare to fail till you drop. Make yourself immune. Overcome the fear of failure and unleash the possibilities of creation. You'll be amazed at your abilities and laugh at yourself once you unveil the trick behind failing. The more you fail, the more closure you are to your goals. If not anything else, remember that when you are failing, you are atleast ahead of those people who haven't even dared to take any steps or actions. In perfection, you cannot find creativity; only when you fail you realise the beauty of your gifts.
Make a journal of all your failures and write down what you learnt from those failures and how it changed you as a person. I want you to write the good aspects of failing and not the negative ones. And if you can't find any good in your failures, then it simple means you haven't failed gorgeously, drastically. So, step up to fail more. Let's celebrate our failures & work towards our own revelations.
A holistic life means a whole & complete life where you have it all; living in the expression of your highest self by taking care of all the four aspects of your being: mind, emotions, body & spirit. As a metaphor, the example of a car with its four wheels can be taken into account, each of the aspects representing one wheel. Without any one functioning effectively, we can never expect the car to function in its highest efficiency.
It is our responsibility to take care of all the four sets. Ignoring one will lead to the halt of the entire system, the being. Have you wondered why despite of having a positive outlook, a great mindset, a great physical body you may still not reach that level of your potential either in your profession or life? Have you taken care of your emotions, have you addressed these or have you hidden those under the carpet thinking that they don't matter & will go away with time? When one set is ignored, the being gets disturbed without your awareness. Here the emotion set is ignored and hence the difficulty in reaching to that efficiency that you truly are capable of.
Even physical ailments are a manifestation that at the core of our being, something isn't right. Our thoughts create the emotions and emotions in turn gets displayed in actions/behaviours and physical ailment, however minor it may be. Interestingly, without having worked on mind, emotion, body; we cannot have a joyful spirit.
In today's world, many few are having it all. Some are lacking behind in some aspects; we need to check which one we need to take note of at this moment. We land here as beautiful souls, but because we forget to take care of ourselves, because we ignore one of the four sets, we turn out to be who we are. But, that's not our highest self. What if you start working on all the aspects simultaneously and walk towards the path of having a holistic life?!
Leaving you with these simple yet powerful questions:
1. What's your holistic life goal?
2. Which path have you chosen?
3. What's the inner conflict that you are dealing with?
The first step is daunting, then it gets messier and then you see the light at the end of the tunnel only if you keep moving. But if you wait till you become certain of what's at the end, then you will never make it. Crossing the threshold sometimes consumes much of our energy & time. Fear grips us and don't allow us to move forward. Yes, many of my clients who have moved ahead in their entrepreneurial journey were once stuck with hidden fears: fear of failure, fear of losing the good things while on the current path, fear of the process ahead, fear of the outcome....FEAR altogether pulled them back from moving ahead in the direction of their path that they wanted to go, longed for & somehow knew that they wanted to be.
Fear enveloped them in a shield that was seemingly hard to break.The fear seemed so real that they started believing those & created supportive stories around these to feed their logical mind. When you break down the fear and look through it from another perspective, you realize that may be the story that you cooked wasn't so scary but was just a thought that you fed to your mind.
You must choose what to give power to. To your fears or power within, your undiscovered resources. Many a times, we keep juggling between the two and then we realize that we ran out of time. Even if we may take the first step, we give up when things get difficult & challenging. And by doing so, we are reinforcing our believes in our fears. We are saying to ourselves that our fears were rational, logical & we didn't pay heed to those, we ignored. But the truth of the matter is, we gave more power to our fears knowingly/unknowingly and hence we attracted a system where we are bound to fail & not succeed.
When we move in the directions of our fears, we challenge ourselves & therein lies our growth. It may sound crazy, but only if you do this, you will realize the essence of this line. So, my invitation to you is to move in the direction of your fears & unravel the reality. Do share your stories about what you discovered while you did that.
Remember, the fears we don't face become our weakness and limits us from growing. Thinking, re-thinking, analyzing will not do anything but only actions will help you remove your fears. I am on my journey to mess up, fail, do what I fear to discover the real me.
Coach to People Leaders, Start-up Founders & Transitioning professionals