“NEVER CONFUSE A SINGLE DEFEAT WITH A FINAL DEFEAT.” – F SCOTT FITZGERALD
Until I worked with my coach, I didn’t realize that the memories of my past failures, negative beliefs, low self esteem & self-image was sabotaging my own growth & success. I was stuck & so were my clients. I could take them deeper only to the level that I dared to go & not beyond. This reminds me of the words of a Master Coach, “You can take your clients as deep as you have gone yourself.” What did this exactly mean?! I wondered as I started my journey as a professional coach two years back. All I was excited about then was to get certified, credentialed, head towards the magnificent & elite world of coaches & make positive difference. But as I progressed in this journey, I realized that it is very important to uncover the blind spots that are there in each & every one of us. However successful we might be, there is always scope for improvement! This mere realization shifted my being. And so, I decided to have my own coach to enable me to see through everything that I resisted.
A SHIFT IN MY OWN BEING AS A COACH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE
That day I was confused & was unable to decide what to choose from. Another certification to stand out from the crowd or hire my own coach to do the deep inner work. Why was I wanting to go ahead with another certification? What was my underlying motive for getting one? I realized that certification was another validation for me that I unconsciously sought for; but transformative work with my coach was for myself to take me to the next level. This required me to shift my awareness of myself, work on my leadership depth & be edgy to do something that I was uncomfortable doing. A shift in my being is more important than anything else! I chose to be vulnerable & retrospect. Some questions that came up for me and that helped me to make the choice were:
FAILURE QUOTIENT: BEING ABLE TO USE FAILURES TO ADVANCE IN YOUR LIFE
Here’s how I redefined my failure quotient and started playing fearlessly in my journey as a coach. I used to be fearful of failures. My failure quotient was very low! Noteworthy that the failure quotient of highly successful people is usually very high. Being a topper all throughout my school life, when I first tasted failure during the crucial transitioning period to adulthood, I felt very humiliated and lost. I couldn’t take that failure. Although intellectually I knew the benefits of graciously failing, a part of me rejected failures since then. If I look at my patterns, I started to play low after that one failure. I was devasted and subconsciously imprinted a negative self-image and lowered the bar for myself. Although I looked very confident from outside, I felt very low from the inside. As the author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Secret”, Rhonda Byrne says, “You attract what you think about most.” And so, I was attracting everything that would prove this belief of mine to be true. I played only to that level that I was sure of winning to escape from the pain of failures. This was nothing but a sheer way of blocking myself from exponential growth. The moment I was about to take the leap to the next level, I sabotaged it unconsciously & repeated my old patterns to find me in the same vicious cycle. Only if I won an award, a trophy, a certificate or the like, I felt validated and it was a boost to my self-worth. Ultimately, I had to challenge my old patterns and form new ones that would serve me. Today, I am confident from inside and don’t seek for any validation. I look forward to failing and have raised my bar. I have redefined my failure quotient! And I am glad I did that. I have sailed my journey from the comfort zone, through the fear zone, surpassing the learning zone and finally to the growth zone. I give credit to my coach for this transition. And I have also realized that the more coachable you are, better a coach you become.
Feedback, the word itself gives a beautiful understanding of the concept. Feed means to give and back means from furthest from the front. If you combine the two, it means giving from a point where you are not into it but far away to be able to see the whole picture. Feedback means to give back a critical information that would add value to the overall intent & goal achievement in a positive way. But the question is, do we really give the feedback or we impose our believes & views on to it? This reflection will make a great shift in the way the feedback is perceived, received & eventually holds the capacity to improve & excel. Sadly, we don't give feedback but we give our point of view only and want this to be accepted. Any good feedback holds the power to transform the course of actions, thereby enabling it to move towards the direction of the goal. You can pick any instance from your experience at work or generally. Whenever you feel that your feedback is not creating any ripple effect as it should, take a pause to see where you are faltering, where is the loophole, where are you missing out, what's the missing piece that will enable the feedback to be powerful enough to be accepted & taken into account.
Here I am quoting an instance where an executive came to me & shared the inability to give critical feedback and about its futility since the receiver hasn't shown any improvement in behaviour, productivity nor any concrete positive result as expected despite of the numerous feedback that was given. And what happens in such a scenario? We get defensive and try to prove our points and in this attempt, our intent of giving the feedback gets lost altogether. Well, here goes the conversation.
Me: Do you really want to see positive results?
Executive: Yes, of course. That's why I am bringing this up to you.
Me: Will you be willing to accept & adopt ways that may not be the usual ones but different from what you have been doing so far?
Executive: Hesitantly, "Yes, if that helps."
Food for thought: We all want to adopt short-cuts. We have no time to reflect on something that might be useful for us in the long run. We fail to see that these short-cuts are creating nothing but putting us back to our challenges again and again just taking longer time & leaving us in the illusion of creating results. Time we wake up!
Me: Great then. You have tried to do it in ways you thought was appropriate, but you didn't get the desired results. I would like you to reflect on these questions and come to me again with the answers, insights that you will have upon reflection.
Executive: Sure. But I don't want to waste time. I want this to be fast.
Me: You have already wasted much time giving numerous feedback which didn't work out. Will you take responsibility for that and the impact it had on your work & that of the team's? Can you just slow down a bit to be able to pace up soon?
Executive: Yes, I know that and understand what you are saying. Please tell me what I need to reflect upon.
This happened more in a conversational way but I am just laying out in the form of questions.So, here they are:
There were lot many questions like this and finally to my pleasant surprise (which actually is not a surprise because I had faith in the Executive's potential, wisdom & ability) the executive came up with some beautiful revelations that I am going to share with you in the form of some tips that will help you to give feedback that is well received, elicit actions & brings about positive transformation.
And as an outcome of all these, the executive could make that shift and evoke desired response from the team member that led to increased productivity & performance.
Next time you blame someone for not receiving your feedback, look within; reflect what you can do to change that. By doing this you regain the power to transform and not by holding another responsible for the outcome that you are unable to create. To be in this space, lot of awareness & openness is required. And great leaders cultivate that and so they hold the capacity to bring about change & live a life that looks impossible & daunting to many.
What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make and what kind of leader you want to be. The choice is absolutely yours. Whenever you are ready & willing, I will be happy to have a conversation to support you to be that leader that you wish to be.
Believing in you,
As a young girl,
I looked for this 'love pearl';
I looked here & there...
But in despair.
I longed for true someone,
In whom, I wished to cling on;
I hoped to see myself with my special someone,
But alas! From my own self I'd run.
I kept running & running,
I was exhausted living in my fantasies;
Hoping to find that perfect thing...
Called love; connection deep & wise.
My first breakthrough in love,
Was when I realized it resides within;
And that no one is responsible for your experience of love,
But only you can feel it in.
Self-love is the first seed,
Which we hardly ever sow & pay heed;
We look outside,
To fill a vacuum inside.
Love is infinite,
Love is the light;
That ignites our soul,
To experience who we are as a whole.
It has no bounds, no limitations,
It is not reserved for few or special someone;
But abundant & deep enough to embrace every spirit,
You can feel it in every rhythm of your heart beat.
Love is our natural source,
Love is divine;
Love is not possession,
Love is not attachment;
Love is free,
Love is kind,
Love is compassion.
Love is a power that keeps us alive,
Love is your experience of life;
Love is just not for any person or any thing,
But love is your experience of your essence, your being.
That's my breakthrough in love,
That's my discovery about love;
My search ends here,
And my experience starts & that's my treasure.
As we are progressing, as technology is facilitating connections, giving us new ways to interact with one another, we are becoming more & more disconnected. Technology is not the problem, but our ability to use our wisdom is! We have lost it. We have lost our ability to sieve high quality from low, from what is real to superficial, we have been conditioned & molded to believe what is just projected to us. We have lost our ability to decide, gauge & even reflect on what should be believed, absorbed, held on to & let go.
This blog is an outcome of many incidents & awakening that I have experienced over the last few days/weeks. I see many people posting their best pictures, best days, their highest thoughts, their success stories etc. etc in the social platforms likes Facebook, LinkedIn & tweet about their best ideas/thoughts. Whether they uphold it or not, that's a different debate altogether. All these things are good momentarily but very distracting & short-lived. At least to me this doesn't create any impact because behind the reels, another reality lies. A reality that you are running away from, a reality that you are finding hard to acknowledge & accept, a reality that you have become uncomfortable with because of all the illusions that you created. The rat race of being seen as the best is increasing amongst people & this pains me. Sometimes I too get tempted to be in this race when I see the world just believing in what is shown & not taking a moment to reflect, use their wisdom to figure out what is true & what is fake. But then fortunately I can see the consequence of that choice which I know is short lived & not fulfilling to me. Slowly, rather than creating an impact, your focus gets shifted to how I can get admiration & approval for being best, seen as best. And for sure, that's not my intent.
The saddest part is, in this chaos when someone genuinely puts something concrete, of value & impact, we ignore it; rather it gets ignored amidst the fake. A habit of being in haste is slowly getting formed. Majority of the people don't even realize that they are being influenced by this social "seen as best" revolution which isn't taking them anywhere. And a new form of disorder is taking shape: Social Media Obsession & Anxiety. Read more about this. Hail Google!
Recently an incident happened & it shook me to the core. One of the acquaintances who was always projecting the best on the social media, suddenly gave up on his life. This news was shocking for me! What happened & why? Everything seemed alright. Life on the social media seemed so good. No one could even doubt that something substantial was happening on the inside that was hidden from the world. Something so troubling that one decided to end one's life?! Based on what was shown, nobody even cared to look past the projection. Nobody cared to even ask just one simple question: "Is everything ok?" We assume that everything is fine. But trust me, things may not be as it is shown. Deep down the reality may be very different. This is a trap that we are trapped in!
Many years ago I saw a couple posting pictures of them projecting their best into the world. They were one of the couples who set couple goals for others to follow & imbibe. And months later, I got to know that the man committed suicide because of some personal relationship issues. This shook me. What's wrong with us? Social media is here to facilitate connections & not to enable our attachment to our best projections. We are human! We have ups & downs. We have problems in our career, relationships & its okay to have these. What if we choose to drop the projections & show what's real without packaging, filtering & sugar-coating? What's the fear? Fear of abandonment, rejection, looked down upon? Do you then think that those individuals who only puts you in the pedestal for your projections, worth your time & effort? Who are you then putting down by holding on to them? If not dropping it altogether, can we at least choose & care to ask: "How are you?" That would make a lot of difference in someone's life. And I say this from my own experience & encounter with people. They have huge follower-ship but say, "I don't have a real connection or a real friend. They all come to me for some ulterior motives not because they care for me." Isn't this a sad state of affair? They cry in front of me, they share their stories, their pain, their concerns but that doesn't make them bad, low or unappealing. That doesn't mean that they are not having good memories or goodness in life. All it means is you are human & its okay to be real, to embrace yourself with all your imperfections, challenges, dark sides.
Our work is not to be perfect but be real. So, drop the mask, the projection & be real. At least if not anything, you will give flame to a movement where people will be comfortable being themselves, being seen as they are. Living your life is more important than the petty projections! Sooner you realize, you will make a better & meaningful living for yourself & your significant others. I would be keen on seeing that real self in you; no filter, no projection, no packaging but the real you. Let's use technology to connect with that person & not ignite the "seen as being best" race. Likewise, let's see the real talent, the potential, the possibilities, the real value, the depth & not just the projection. This way we will create a better world for us & generations to come. I take the responsibility for creating an environment for people where sadly projection is given more importance than substance & reality. Will you too? If yes, start from today. Acknowledge a person who is real; reach out to one person & ask how he/she is. Read beneath the lines & make a difference, save a life.
This blog is my gift to you to ignite this awareness in you to hold on to reality & let go projection.
Believing in you,
Life & Organizational Development Coach