Many a times, I am asked by my prospects & people whom I meet & connect generally as to what professional coaching is all about. This question makes me think because I don't want them to have a superficial understanding of what coaching is and just derive the intellectual meaning; but have a visceral experience of it. Instead of explaining much, I many a times invite them to experience what coaching is all about by gifting them my pro bono session. This would make more sense to them and they would be in a better position to relate to what I say about professional coaching. More so, the maximum benefit & the power of coaching is only derived & perceived by those who are coachable and are open to receiving not because someone else wants them to, but because of their own choice, own commitment to grow, learn, improve, excel & peak-perform. And it is said that the highly successful people are the ones who are coachable. Quoting Michael Jordan: "My best skill was that I was coachable. I was a sponge & aggressive to learn." Now you must have got some idea why he is known as the best basketball player ever.
I want to take you to my journey of how coaching changed my world. In fact, I have just touched the tip of the iceberg, more to experience & enjoy as the journey unfolds. Have you wondered why I used professional coaching & not coaching per se?! In professional coaching, the commitment of the client to derive immense value from the sessions is much higher because here you are consciously making an investment for your growth & development. You have build your intentions to create, act & receive. This shift in your thoughts, takes your commitment to an altogether new level. When your inner commitment is high, the actions that you take are profound too. Because at the end, no matter what, you create your situations, circumstances & the life that you want. The choice to create is always yours and no one else. When there is no choice, nothing can force you to make that choice. A coach will act as a catalyst, an enabler who would help us to see the light within us & believe in our inner wisdom. That's also one of the reasons that professional coaching is not everyone's cup of tea. It requires high level of commitment, actions and most of all the willingness to drop our strategic self (the mask, the amour).
So here I am sharing with you all how coaching transformed me and as a result of which, my world (personal & professional) looks different now. I hope this will help you to understand the power of coaching:
1. It increased my awareness of self to a great extend. Earlier I used to find problems & solutions outside of me. What happened because of that was, I could never find fulfilling & long lasting solutions. Anything outside of me can never be controlled. It resurfaces with time. When my awareness of self increased, I then tried to look within for problems hiding in my inner basement of my psyche & found solutions accordingly. I took responsibility for what was happening in my world.
2. I got an access to my inner wisdom, my light within. I became more open to receiving what Universe is giving.
3. I shed away drainers and embraced energizers.This includes projects, people, thoughts & habits which either drained me of my energy or rejuvenated me. I learnt to say YES and NO; the word MAY BE was totally scrapped from my space. In a way, I became powerful to see and decide what I really wanted.
4. I acknowledged my strengths, my top fives and leveraged them. I got to know the strategies that I use to block myself from living the exponential life. With this awareness, I also learnt what strategies people use to block theirs. This gave me a better understanding about human dynamics & contributed in building better relationship with people both professionally & personally.
5. I have a deeply fulfilling successful career. I am doing what I always wanted to do but never knew what it really looked like. My work inspires me to do more. I don't get drained or get busy being busy. From a zombie, I turned into a fulfilled person.
6. I learnt to lean against my fears. My growth lies there. Because I never knew how to face my fears, I didn't explore that segment wherein my strength lies. I did many things that once upon a time I was fearful of & only wished for. I learnt swimming(there was a time when putting my head under water scared me); I did paragliding which I never had the courage to do so, I traveled to US all alone for the first time and was pretty comfortable, I could leave my son behind for more than a week to attend a workshop abroad which seemed very difficult in the first place given the kind of mother I was. The list goes on. These are very simple things yet, it makes a whole lot of difference to my being, the way I show up and as a result what gets created.
7. The inner shift in me enabled me to perform all my other roles of a professional, a partner, a parent, a daughter-in-law, a sister, a friend & most of all, a human being more efficiently & joyously.
8. I connected to myself. With this my ability to connect with other people increased manifold. Instead of running away from emotions, I learnt to feel it completely and learnt to process my emotions which paved my way in removing the blocks/the guards/the armour that I used to protect myself & never allowed to bloom.
9. My nurturing time includes those activities that rejuvenates my soul and doesn't hold me guilty of the fact that I have my own space which is very personal. I learnt that donning different roles in life doesn't entitle you to less of your time, but is a reminder that you need more nurturing time to fill your cup. I exercise, meditate, read, listen to music, blog, interview inspiring individuals, go on long drives, connect with nature and yet have it all.
10. As I grew along all the bodies: mind, body, emotion, spirit; I could lead myself more authentically & powerfully, became more present & more productive. I gained craft mastery, leadership depth & business acumen.
As I embraced all these, I could definitely see my intentions getting fulfilled, things falling in place. Today, I am empowered. I see life from a newer perspective and I show up differently in my work & life as a whole. I now know that we can have it all.
I may have missed few things, but the crux is I have experienced the power of professional coaching. I believe in it. Only when you experience it, you can relate to what I am saying. It will make sense only when you see the transformation happening within you. It is beautiful.
Mastery is a journey. You don't stop but keep moving.
When you say YES to something, remember that you are saying NO to many other things indirectly. When you chose the easy path, your default path; you are in a way saying NO to the growth path, a path of fulfillment of having it all. As social beings, we have a tendency of following what seems certain, common and accepted by majority. But, we never allow ourselves to follow that which is different, difficult and challenging without a strong created intention. What stands in our way is our awareness about what the two paths may do for us. Our grit to lean against our fears and the sense of discomfort at losing our mediocrity stands tall in our way to having it all in life. We enjoy mediocrity but we dislike challenges. But, growth happens only when we do what we fear the most. When we see majority of people living a comfortable life, we fear living a life lived by minority of people. But, this minority of people created something for us that we all cherish & get inspiration from. It is the intention of this minority of people who thought differently, believed in their instincts and acted on these without fearing consequences. That's how they created a legacy & impact worth remembering & following.
We create the energy space around us. Many a times we fear saying NO to things that don't serve us. I accept I have this tendency in me & that's my blind spot. We regret later but we don't gather the courage to drop that from our space that which is limiting to our growth. This may be moving out of our comfort zone, leaning against our fears, a limiting perspective, inaction, unproductive habits etc.
To grow in life, we need to ask ourselves few of these questions:
1. What do I want? An easy life or a growth path of fulfillment where you hold the power to create & have it all not only for yourself but for all those that you chose to inspire in your space? In case your answer is an easy life, then you can carry on without moving to the next questions.
2. What are those 80/20 thinking & actions that will serve your bigger intention & pull you out of the majority? Refer Richard Koch's book The 80/20 Principle to know more about this.
3. What do I need to drop that is holding me back from living a growth life?
A life of a zombie is what majority of us live. This unconsciousness keeps us busy and distracted from our purpose. The shift in us will happen when we decide to wake up, be aware and consciously make a choice to walk the path of growth. Are you up for it?
Leaving you with this query : How many people do you need to change the world? Research says that we just need 25% of population to affect any social change. I leave the choice to you whether you want to be a part of 25% or 75%?
Last but not the least, enjoy the following slide on some awesome thoughts by inspirational leaders that are a part of that 25% who chose the growth path & not the easy one. They have inspired me to walk my growth path. #Gratitude
“I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.” - Louise Hay
I hear my client tear up saying that things are not happening, I am lagging behind. I am getting older and yet I haven't progressed much in life as compared to my peers, friends, relatives. "I feel low & sick," I hear many people say. That I am running out of time is a very common expressive phrase used by people now-a-days. Comparison with another person dampens your joy of enjoying your moment & your story. This is a natural and a very human reaction to feel the pain when you see others moving ahead of you. Be it in your profession or in your personal life when you see your peers moving up the ladder, acquiring materialistic possessions, getting married, having a family etc. at their perfect time; you feel bad about yourself. That's when you recall your good old days and try to pacify your pain by saying that I did this, that; I was this, that; I had this, that; your thoughts keep pouring. You even try to put yourself in that person's situation and fool yourself by saying that if I were in his/her situation I could have done this/that; if I got that opportunity, I would have had this/that breakthrough. You try hard to convince yourself that you are good too, you are worthy too and you too have had some experiences which defines your worth, success. But the truth is, as you forget your journey & focus on the journey of another; as you ignore your timeline and focus on the timeline of another person; you dis-empower yourself and disrespect your being. True success doesn't lie in relative growth with another person but with yourself. Look back and see how far you have come. That's what your story is, your success is, your milestone/s are. Be proud of them.
Focusing on another with negative emotion just as envy, anger, rage, fear will only affect you and no one else. This will remind you of your scarceness and will give you more pain. And when you don't process these emotions well, you will further be dragged into the vicious cycle of being self-critical or become critical of others. With this emotional state, you will either over-perform or under-perform based on your coping strategy. Either one isn't good for you. Remember that you are moving at your pace, at your time zone that best suits you. You receive what you need at this moment. No less, no more. And if you haven't come very far as you may think, then that's also your choice to remain in that state. Keep walking and keep giving your 100% and let the rest unfold in it's own time, a time that is perfect for you. Don't be impatient to arrive at your PERFECT TIME. You may regret later.
Achieving things at the earliest possible time has become so toxic that even at work we manifest that desire. This behaviour does no good but shadows our ability to see our gifts, our potential and our strengths which come to the fore at its own unique time.
Sometimes we do so much, yet we fail to see that till we sit & reflect on how far we have come. I urge you to acknowledge all that you have done in your entire lifetime and then share your experience. How you feel about yourself? Do you still feel low or you feel great about your own self after these acknowledgement? Paste these at a place that you can easily see and remind yourself of how far you have come.
Let's practice acknowledgment, let's acknowledge ourselves and let us enable ourselves to see our own gifts, achievements. These acknowledgement can be as petty as you can remember. Because once these were those precious moments that you wanted & longed for. Dive back & collect all of them from your memory.
When you operate from your BEING; things seem effortless, the results are profound. But when you function after donning your STRATEGIC SELF, things backfire. The very purpose of wearing your armour, the mask to hide your hidden fears in the basement of your psyche gets amplified and it springs out in ugly forms. What we fear the most gets replicated in every aspect of our personal & professional life. What we belief deep down gets manifested. We may be good at hiding our essence, our BEING from the real-world fearing consequences, but eventually we keep attracting those that we hide, defend and suspect. That is the energy exchange that we have with life.
Of late I have very strongly realized the need to shift from my strategic self to embracing my BEING. Our subconscious mind gives us cues that we can pick up only when we challenge ourselves and muster the courage to uncover the underlying truth. This year, when I had attended Master Coach Rich Litvin’s intensive at Santa Monica, the insight that I was reflecting upon was: “How beautiful it is to bloom into the person that we truly are?!” This was the message from the Universe to me that needed my attention and action. I realized it’s meaning intellectually and left it there. At the back of my mind, a thought was lurking: Why did I even pick this insight out of so many intellectual ones that I knew? What was so special about this one?! As I sat down with my Coach to decide on my journey ahead and plan my actions forward; I again chose the name of my Organization as People Essence. I was oblivious of the fact that these were some of my own intuition at work which I didn’t pay much heed to. Now I realise what this was all about! The message that I needed to know & work upon as a part of my own deep inner reflective work was my own essence. I need to let my essence, my BEING bloom into what it really stood for.
When we give more power to our strategic self and ignore our BEING, our essence; we become powerless. We don’t allow our authentic self to come out but shadow it till it hides in the deepest basement of our psyche never to be seen again. But, this self-doubt that we hide from the world gets manifested every time in our actions, in our behaviours, in our relationships, in our existence. Like a spring, the harder we try to suppress it, the harder it becomes for us to hide it; it bounces back with greater velocity.
Isn’t it sad that we disconnect ourselves from our own BEING and then expect others to connect and empathise with us?! The lens with which we see the world, creates our reality. Our reality isn’t created by anyone else but us. To realise and even accept this, you must have the courage to unmask yourself and drop the armour if not in front of all, but to yourself to begin with & then with someone whom you deeply trust. Once you are comfortable, you can then share it with all that you come across. We are naturally good at defending ourselves. Projecting the reasons of our pain outside us, is what we have mirrored back from our life’s experiences. More the fear inside us, the better our defence mechanism and armour will be. We learn to strategize to hide our deepest fears, insecurities and challenges. As we strategies, we reinforce our fears and mask them only to realise that the demon that we are battling with still resides in us and has the power to influence our overall growth and success in life. Sometimes we take a lifetime to unveil it and accept this bitter truth. Sometimes we live our whole life in unawareness.
When you embrace your Being, your essence; you are not only dropping your guards for good but also inspiring others who emulate you, follow you to drop their own too. This could be your team member who adores you, your friend who believes in you, your child who copies you, your spouse who trusts you, your parent who is proud of you. Authenticity is power, it is courage and contagious too. Let yourself embrace your BEING and drop the strategic self to experience an exponential life of joy, happiness living in the expression of your highest self.
I have been attracting all that I am fearful of in my life. However beautifully and adroitly I might be using my strategic self, after some time something gets triggered and I land up in the exact space I was fearing to be. Unless and until I deal with the demon inside, nothing will change. So, I decided to have a one on one conversation with the demon. I told myself not to use my mask/armour at the most vulnerable moments but to feel the way I am feeling. No running away, no blaming, no victimizing but to confront. As I did this, I realised that my fears were nothing but some experiences of my life that I chose to give power to and define me & my very existence. To refrain myself from feeling those fears again, I made some rules to protect myself which became my perfect system in which I operated. But, ironically and well-conceived, these fears never went away but became more bigger than I could have imagined. Only when I decided to embrace my BEING, my essence, my fears lost all their powers to influence me and dictate me. Now I feel empowered. A long journey though, an end of a beginning for a new beginning.
I invite you to experience yourself the power of owning your BEING, your essence.
The faintest memory that I have of my childhood, dates to the time when I was just 3 years old. I was always a fun-loving, chirpy child who used to talk, play, make friends, win people’s heart by her innocence and wit. That was my authentic self, the real me. I was fearless, unguarded, loving, enthusiastic and playful. I don’t remember when I started to pull myself to a cocoon to hide myself from the world and the people around. School happened relatively early for me. Most of my class-mates are older to me by few months or a year. That’s my rational mind speaking, in fact my small mind talking to show you that I am young. Ah! Thanks to me that I could figure this out! How does it even matter if my friends are of the same age or older?!
I loved going to school. I loved my teacher, Miss Ida Mary who was my first role model. I loved the way she dressed, the way she talked, sang, cared for us and most of all I loved her moves. I wanted to be like her. I even imitated her when I was young. Those were the days that were carefree, fun and simple. It resonated with my being. I loved acting with her, rhyming, singing, dancing and imagining a beautiful life. The environment was positive, I was positive. I was kind too. In fact, I was very kind and vulnerable. I still remember once while I was going back home from school, I had an apple which I was about to eat since I was hungry. But just then a beggar came towards me and asked for the apple. The young girl in me never ever gave a second thought but gave the apple to the beggar happily. I wasn’t driven by the need to be loved, to feel important or to feel good; but it just came from a space of kindness. That was the leadership depth of a young girl of 4 or 5!
Empathy wasn’t taught, it came naturally. This is what we all human beings have at the core. Love, positivity & warmth. That’s what is people essence to me. But, slowly I transitioned into a different person. I no longer found that innocent girl in me. Every time I tried to be one, I feared the consequences. I tried to guard myself slowly and even unconsciously. It took me 37 years to even dare to look back at my life and be aware of that fear that stood in the way of my authenticity. I wonder why this happened and I sat in the inquiry of this transition. Today I am doing this because my Coach has inspired me to do it. What good did this transition do to me?! I am living my life, I have a family, I am blessed with a son, I am doing well in my profession, people know me, I am loved, respected. What more do I need?! I feel fake. Every time I feel fake because I know I lost my authentic self, long back and the person who I am today is not the one who I was truly born as. God created me to give love and kindness but as I walked the journey and experienced few challenges, I started guarding myself. I put a curtain on my authenticity and I tried to satisfy my small mind: to be loved, to feel important & to be good. These needs drove all my actions and eventually made me who I am. But, at the core, my essence got hidden and I let this happen to me. Probably, unconsciously I chose the name People Essence for my organization too. I didn’t have that depth and maturity to not let it get guarded.
I loved the subject Moral Science. In fact, I used to score good marks in that subject. It’s not just about scoring but I loved the subject because I resonated with its teaching. For an innocent mind, I foresaw a world of morality, love, freedom. There wasn’t word like impossible, no, can’t, negative in my dictionary. My parents also tried to reinforce that believe in me. My grandfather also lived by those values and walked the talked. He inspired me to live those values. His actions gave me strength and courage. But as I grew, I wanted to be a part of the herd. I longed to be accepted by my peers. I wanted to be included in their groups. To be included, I had to compromise somewhere. I realised that when I showed my goodness, my deepest core to them, they took me in different taste. I didn’t like being alone. So, I slowly started to cover up my core. I tried to be like them. I acted to be like them which I was not. I started to have a dual face. One for the outer world to accept me and one for myself & those special people who would accept me with my core. This happened unconsciously. And I became so good at this that I slowly lost touch with who I was. Whenever I wanted to connect with my real self, my rational mind stopped me. My rational mind, my small mind told me that to be loved, to be important and to be good; you must abide by the norms of the society & people around you. Yes, at the basement of my core, there resides a fear of being left all alone. When left alone, whom would I care for or shower my kindness to?! So, I need people around me to give them my love, affection & kindness. This belief in turn created some deeper thoughts in me such as: To be accepted, I need to act like the crowd; to be loved, I need to follow the common rules; and when will I feel important, when these people like me not for who I am but for who they think I am. When you put shadow in your gifts and let your dark side come out intentionally; eventually what happens? You break down/you become numb/a part of you dies. When people don’t belief your genuine intentions, what you do is slowly drop it and just become one like them. This is so easy, and you gain admiration very easily. My unconscious motto all my life had been: Play low to be liked; don’t display your core because for them this is not real. I am amazed at my coping mechanism and to a great extend ashamed also that I destroyed my own core, my gift with my own hands.
You are good the way you are. Do you believe in this? I am sure we don’t because many a times we spot the goodness in others but don’t see it in us. I had a lovely voice and had a flare for singing. I got the first prize in the school singing competition too. But, because I didn’t belief in my own gift; it was very easy for few bad mouths to break my moral and aspiration. I always needed validation. Unless and until there is validation from others, I wouldn’t belief in it. But, the truth is this that because we are good, the talent gets validated. It’s not because of the validation that our talent gets nurtured. Validation came in different forms to me: wearing the aura of being the good student, getting top ranks in the class, winning medals, being liked, the adjectives that we hear from people and those that make our parents proud, the kudos from the teachers, the rivalry even because of being good, the competition…You name it and I have it! Yet, I feel I am not important, nobody loves me, and I am not good enough. Why, because only I know at the core who truly I am and what I am doing to fake all these.
When you fail, you just crush. Why? Because it is a biggest validation to your small mind that you are not good enough, you are not capable; hence nobody will love you and when no body loves you, this means you are not important at all. See, you have attached your sense of worth, a sense of your existence to such trivial thing that you try to escape this vicious cycle by sulking, dramatizing and blaming situations, challenges in your life. But, the truth is that we are here in this journey of life not to prove anything, not to be validated but to live by connecting with our core, living from our essence, from our being. That is our purpose. But, we wander here and there till we realise that we are living in disillusionment. I am angry at myself for this sheer stupidity on my part. I grilled myself, I walked a path to realise that this is not my purpose. My path was well walked by that innocent girl in me that I didn’t give importance to, that I ignored, that I didn’t care for, that I didn’t love.
When the need to be loved becomes addictive and when it gets into our head, we then operate from a space of rationality. This again takes us away from our authenticity. When I didn’t crack my medical entrance exam, I broke down. My mother was so upset that she told me that she wouldn’t expect anything from me in future. It was her small mind operating then and hence she said that to me. But, she has all through out her life loved me, taken care of me and guided me with her best intentions. I took this in a negative way because something inside me got triggered. My failure mirrored back the believe that I have for myself: “I am not good enough.” One exam defined my existence and that’s the impact my validation had on me. My mother had always been proud of my achievements. But, I failed to receive that because I had long back blocked my core from being authentic to any emotion, feeling because it would display my true self to the world. And I thought that showing that beautiful self to the world will seclude me from all and hence to be included, just wear a mask that makes you look like everyone around.
My maternal grandfather and I shared a unique bond. I used to have matured conversations with him as a young girl. I revealed my core to him. I felt understood with him. I felt that he saw my gift and encouraged me to nurture it. Yes, he was my undeclared Coach! I felt a genuine sense of security around him. A man to me should be like him. That’s again the young girl in me talking. He lost his parents when very young, then he was raised by his uncle. He was a Lieutenant in the Royal Indian Navy. He fought for our country’s freedom, worked with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. He became an advocate par excellence and raised his children to be great human beings. I always saw him mastering his craft, reading books, leading with grace and inspiring us to manifest our gifts. I wish I could spend more years of my life with him. I would have been a different person or maybe I would not have waited 37 years to realise what I am realising. When he left me for his heavenly abode, I was broken. But, I acted strong. I tried not to feel the pain at losing him. I didn’t even go to see him good bye for the last time. I wanted to keep him alive in my thoughts, my memories and most of all, I wanted to live in the oblivion that he is with me all the time, guiding me and coaching me. I learnt to numb my pain. I never let myself feel this pain. I gave this the name of being strong. I would miss him like hell, would long to hear him speak to me but never acknowledged this loss. Maybe it was anger, the helplessness of losing that special person who believed in me and my dreams. At least I felt that way. He made me dream big and think big. I didn’t know how to react and what to do. He just went away. That’s when I decided to emotionally withdraw from loving someone so deeply. It is painful. I could have relived my memories with him by living what he preached. But, I was back to square with my own small mind. I myself gave power to my small mind to lead me, my destiny and my life. Everything that I did, came from the space of my small mind. I lost touch with my big mind. I believed that I am not good enough, no one loves me, and I am not important for anyone. I numbed my pain by running away from realities and doing things that pleases others. What best way could be then becoming obedient?! Yes, I chose to graceful, polite, obedient, studious, committed, amicable…I chose to be Miss Perfect that would evoke jealousy in my friends, social groups, a pride for their parents, a bench mark for adults of my age group. But, I wasn’t doing all these from a space of truly owning myself; but to please others to gain their love, to feel special, to feel important. And imagine what happens when you operate from this space?! Do you become productive? Do you excel? Do you gain good reputation? Oh yes, you do! But, you feel fake and lost. Sometimes we don’t even realise that this is what we are doing to ourselves. At least I could nail the demon in me before it is too late. What kind of people, relationship, career, path would I attract from this space of triviality?! Just the way I did in my life. I topped my MBA, I scaled in my career, I am known as a good girl, I am known to be a committed wife, I am known to be a proud mother, someone living my dreams and purpose. But, I know the truth and I own it today.
Yes, all my life I operated from a space of living in my small mind. There was fear, there was neediness to be loved, to be valued, to feel important and to be worthy of love. All these negative emotions guided my actions & behaviour and it didn’t give me an ounce of fulfillment in true sense. Everybody around me said I am doing wonderful work, but I never believed in those voices because I knew where I was operating from. Deep down I knew what my deepest intentions were. So, today I take complete responsibility of my entire life. I own everything that happened to me and I let it happen. I don’t blame anyone. In fact, I thank them for being a part of my growth journey. Every soul that I encountered contributed in their own ways to make the person that I am today. However, the final touch needs to be done by me because I was the first person to have put the first curtain on my beautiful core. I was born with a core that exuded love, kindness, compassion and reverence for all beings. I was the one who didn’t let this core bloom into a beautiful self. I take responsivity for my life and I am now shedding my curtains, guards one by one and cleansing my soul. I want to bloom into that person who I truly am. I want to operate from the space of my core and not from the neediness of my small mind. This shift in me and my being is my gift to the world. I wish to inspire people like me who wants to relive and reconnect with their core & operate from a space of limitless possibilities not for gaining love, importance or to feel valued, but to do things from the space of that being. Living by being authentic. I welcome the little girl in me again. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
"Peace & joy happen neither in the quietness of the forest nor out of the accomplishments of the marketplace, but only from within." - Sadhguru
Deep inner work comes from a lifetime commitment. It doesn't end with few degrees, certifications, titles, positions, accolades and awards. If you are really looking for fulfillment, meaning and purpose; then what is important is an inner commitment to a pursuit beyond self; for the larger cause of the community.
I have been interviewing people leaders and have asked them to quote one thing that they think is crucial to be true people leaders. The answer that I commonly get is having empathy & having a strong understanding of human dynamics. Now the question is how will you empathize and have this understanding of human dynamics without yourself doing the deep inner work on self-transformation & continuous development?! Is it even possible?! The deeper you have gone with your self, the more empowered you will be able to take your employees to that depth of transformation, growth & self-discovery which will eventually lead the employees to becoming their best versions. This will automatically contribute to Organizational excellence.
As I look back at my own journey as an HR professional, I see so many blind spots in me that now I realize that had I moved into this path of surrendering to deep inner work earlier,I could have contributed massively as a people leader. I had the passion, empathy, knowledge but I lacked in the ability to lead myself to mastery; to deep work within. It's not just about being liked by your employees or being known as the people's person, or being just a good people leader. The real courage lies in taking the responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and having the courage to develop that potential. That's who a true people leader is. To move to this space, you must first travel the journey of self-discovery & transformation. Only when you can spot the potential in you, you can develop it, master it and then use this wisdom to enable the growth for others. Once you move on this path, you don't care about anything else but focus on making a difference to the lives of people that you touch. You may not have all the solutions, answers but that you are ready to walk this path itself speaks of your commitment. And this shift in energy will give you the access to inner creativity and abundance.
Travelling the journey of a professional Coach, I understand how important it is to know and belief that every human being is whole, complete & resourceful. Every individual has potential and that the right person can inspire them to move towards their growth path. Likewise, the right people leader will be able to inspire the people he/she leads and not just motivate which is temporary. Organizational excellence shall take place through HR transformation: transformation in the way you think, you show up, the way you lead, the way you express and the way you inspire others & elicit the greatness.
Deep inner work involves lot of things like:
1. Knowing your blind spots and your improvement areas.
2. Acceptance of self and commitment to embrace growth.
3. Being open to seeing the mirror and work towards leveraging one's inner strengths.
4. Walking on the transformative journey of developing the four bodies: mind, emotion, body & spirit.
5. Working on improving one's leadership depth and truly understanding the essence of leadership.
6. Mastering the craft for better understanding of our work and the deeper meaning of it.
7. Improving the agility of mind to be able to widen the perspectives.
8. Developing empathy, compassion, limitless belief and dropping the limiting ones that hold us from exponential growth.
9. Understanding and knowing ones' behaviour patterns.
10. Unwinding those things that triggers you to really understand the power behind one's thoughts.
11. Connecting with the highest source to fill self with positive energies.
12. Refueling & replenishing self.
13. Embodying & generating deep inquiry.
14.Skillfully channeling energy, sensation & emotion.
15. Have an access to multiple ways of knowing & understanding.
This list is massive and it will continue as we chose to walk the path. My journey is on and I invite you all to take this journey too. You will be transformed for better and will hold the power to create, transform & inspire others.
I was in conversation with someone who once upon a time was doing really well in life, stood out from the crowd and made a mark for himself. Life just unfolded for him and he was undoubtedly a high-performer. Everyone flocked around him and he enjoyed all the attention and success. But, there is a dark side to this standing out if not handled wisely & strategically. And these tips come from the person himself who reflected on his life journey & concluded that the following points are very much required to protect one's uniqueness and sustenance as being different from the crowd. Yes, to stand out, you must embrace the dark side of it too. To maintain confidentiality of the person concerned, I have refrained from using the name.
Here goes the tips:
1. Never stand out too early in life. People will start seeing you as a competition & will stop being your ally. You don't want insecurity to creep in other's mind because of you & your presence. So, tone down to be in the battle for long.
2. Learn to play politics. Of course not the dirty ones, but at least you should be able to save yourself from its clutches. Professional world is full of such politics. You must know to deal with such situations. Or else, it will kick you out of the game.
3. Simplicity is a gift not to be displayed in front of takers. They will stick like parasites if you show your simplicity as your weakness. Make it your strength and not allow anyone misuse you in the disguise of being simple.
4. Know how to handle your emotions. Being overly emotional will send across a message to others that your decisions are based not on rationality but on emotions. This will be enough an opportunity for your critics to highlight this as your weakness. And you know what happens next.
5. Have a mentor or a senior person who really appreciates your strengths & uniqueness. This will enable you to grow and have a strong foothold in your professional life. It will save you from much of the turmoil & unwanted hassles.
6. Develop the social intelligence to understand how to mingle with the crowd and harness their support. Even if you stand out, it is the crowd that decides your existence in the professional world.
7. Be prepared to face lots of challenges and roadblocks along the way. The path isn't easy. So, either do your home work well or make your strategies to be a long-term player.
8. Perspective taking, sharing & gaining mutual consent is the key towards your growth.
9. Choose your battles wisely. Never compromise on integrity & values.
10. Know these distinctions and communicate in a language that is commonly understood: tact vs rudeness, empathy vs. apathy, communication vs aloofness, assertion vs. dominance, intention to create vs. intention to win, inclusion vs. standing out.
Last but not the least, leaving you with this thoughtful quote from the book, Mastery by Robert Greene: "Often the greatest obstacle to our pursuit of mastery comes from the emotional drain we experience in dealing with the resistance and manipulations of the people around us. If we are not careful, our minds become absorbed in endless political intrigues and battles."
"Calmness, gentleness, silence, self-restraint & purity: these are the disciplines of the mind."
- Bhagavad Gita.
Sometimes being quiet is all you need to rejuvenate yourself. You don't need anything; no people around, no distractions but just being with yourself. This connection with self is very important. It enables reflection, filtering of thoughts and seeing through the things that are happening around us. This comes naturally to introverts because they are inclined to this process by default.
After too much of stimulus from external world, the introvert, the highly sensitive & intuitive person in me seeks solace in silence & reconnecting with my inner self. I love being left alone to recharge, recuperate and bounce back. I find power in being just quiet. When you quieten yourself, you can hear the voice of your soul. You can hone the listening skills which is again a very powerful tool for coaches like me. You can listen for insights, deeper cues when you quieten your mind which is full of reasoning & logic. Sometimes there are things beyond rationality which you need to hear to make the right choices & decisions. Silence has so much to say & offer, if only you are willing to listen.
Let's look at the power of being quiet:
1. Deep internalized processing leads to significant time for reflection. This helps in building self-awareness, self-knowledge & self-acceptance.
2. Heightened observing & listening skills which enables maintaining a physical, social, and emotional distance with others that gives insights into dynamics that are less visible to everyone.
3. Better monitoring of self & ones emotions.
4. Better perspective-taking gives a deeper understanding of what others are experiencing.
Putting ourselves in the zone of stimulation that is right for us is the key, quotes Susan Cain, the author of New York Times bestseller, Quiet Power.
Do listen to this TED Talk by Susan Cain on the power of introverts, Quiet Power.
The crux is picking up the right mix required for us to be better versions of ourselves. Whatever serves us, you should welcome that. The power of quiet is profound, we all need to imbibe this.
"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."- J K Rowling.
Life doesn't end there, in fact life starts from your rock bottom. If you think that I am saying these words to soothe you, then just google to have a look at all the successful names who rebuilt their lives from an absolute state of despair. They rose up like the phoenix & flew higher than ever before. They converted their very rock bottom into foundation for growth & excellence. They leveraged their challenges into opportunities, they converted their weaknesses into learning opportunities & shone brighter than they could even think of. True to its words, sometimes it requires an overwhelming breakdown to have an undeniable breakthrough.
Rock bottom can be experienced in any aspect of your life. It can be a dead-end in your career, a closure of a relationship that mattered to you, an end of a part of you that needed healing, a phase of your life which held meaningful & fundamental significance for you. Anything that makes you feel like you have lost everything you thought that life could offer.
As you reach the rock bottom, you feel like your world has crashed down upon you and broken into pieces. You are left with nothing but a feeling of vacuum from inside. Fear, despair, frustration, lifelessness hits you. The world moves on leaving you stuck at your life's lowest point. These are the times when you are judged, when all your negatives are highlighted, you are made to feel as if you are good for nothing. It is during this time that our self-critic is at its peak. But remember that sometimes you have to go through the hard times to realize how strong you can be. Sometimes you need to experience this to value those aspects & parts of your being that you never paid heed to or got access to.
In order to rise up like the phoenix, something needs to shift inside of you to bring about a drastic transformation. You can't keep playing the game the way you did. You have to play it differently, because now your battlefield is pretty different from the ones that you had been playing. The moment you decide that you need to now stand up on this rock solid, gather yourself & move to a newness of your existence, that's when you embrace the first step towards transformation. This is one of the most difficult phases and many perish here. How do you move on from here? You need to ask yourself this question again & again till you find the answer yourself. And I know you will because every person is whole, complete, resourceful & unique; only if you are willing to look for the wisdom inside.
At this point, you have to trust yourself more than anyone else. You have to trust your strengths, your abilities, the person that you are which no one else can see. You cannot leave yourself alone but churn the inner power to take the tiny step forward. When you have survived the pain, what else can deter you?! Nothing, except for the figment of your own imagination. If you choose to be victim, you remain a victim. You have the power to create, only if you believe in its power. If you want to see if you are in the victim state or the creator state, then do click here for a self-assessment (Locating yourself: Above or Below). It is important to ask oneself, if I should be in the victim state or move on from that state & transition into a creative state of mind. Which is more empowering?
Will you leave this legacy of being a failure or the legacy of being a successful person rebounding from the bottom, setting an example for generations to follow?! Success is not in never failing, but in rebounding.
"You are given this life because you are strong enough to live it."
PS. I dedicate this post to all those people who have hit the rock bottom of their lives; specially to one of my friends who is at the rock bottom of life. I welcome you all to move one tiny step at a time towards life, growth & prosperity. I am there to support you in this journey. Welcome to a new phase: RISE AGAIN.
Coach to People Leaders, Start-up Founders & Transitioning professionals