"Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things." - Arthur Schopenhauer
The angel of death teaches us how to be truly alive, how to be free and how to be oneself. Yesterday, I attended the prayer meet of one of our acquaintances who left for his heavenly abode, leaving behind his family & his young son. As I sat there and as I saw the face of the little boy who lost his father, I could see a smile in his face. An innocent smile who is yet to figure out what really has happened to him. As I walked towards him, he greeted me with a smiling "hello" and it melted my heart. I could no longer stay strong and allowed my emotions to silently flow. I was amazed at the strength of the young boy of 7, which of course came from his innocence to the reality of the current situation. At that moment, I also realized the true meaning of life yet again. A new understanding of life triggered inside me that moment. It made me think where I stand as far as living my life is concerned. I realized I am not living my life to the fullest. It was a reminder to me to live life, make new agreements with myself, understand life from a new perspective and live life the way it is truly meant to be. Although I have come a long way breaking many of the old agreements that I made with myself based on my older understanding of life; I have just touched the tip of the iceberg. Sadly, the very beliefs that we live with, are not our personal choice but something that is bestowed to us since we are born and unconsciously we agree to accept them the way they are. I realized that there is much more to becoming alive, living life truly and being oneself to actually enjoy its power. We never know when this life will leave us suddenly, leaving behind nothing but regret/probably not even that, for not living life to our fullest. Be like the child, be wild & free; but with a difference. And the difference is, instead of innocence we can use wisdom to free ourselves. Don’t be afraid to be alive again. Live a new understanding, a new dream.
Along with this realization, I also came across a book that shook me to the core and made me think about my own beliefs that I have been holding tight. Beliefs about myself, people, life in general. You get in touch with those beliefs when you harness the strength to face them & challenge them. These beliefs got formed much before I could gather my wisdom to accept/reject them. And as I grew up, I agreed to accept these because these were gifted to me by the people around me, my well-wishers, my environment. Saying 'No' to them means being rejected and be thrown into a world unknown. So, acceptance was the only thing that I could do. Their intent was good, even they didn't realize about the harm that they have been causing to others and themselves by transferring these beliefs without really confronting them/rebelling against them. They too couldn't be free from its shackles. But, as I grew I realized some of these beliefs didn't make me happy. Some of these didn't serve me. I wanted to do away with them but I was fearful of leaving them because that would mean upsetting the very people who always wanted my well-being. Fear of judgement, fear of being a victim clouded my mind. These beliefs were deep-seated and were around my own capabilities, my self-worth, my potential; about people, about life. When these beliefs are passed on to you, you accept these as a gift. But, then you loose out your ability to form your own empowering beliefs. So, here I choose today to go one step deeper: accept a new way of life, a new understanding of life by embracing the following:
1. Use words as a power to inspire you & others to experience joy, love & possibilities & not to judge others/self or make others/self feel guilty. Words are powerful! Your choice of words have the power to create your dream or even destroy them. So, be mindful from today.
2. Don't get affected by what you hear about yourself from others, including your self-talk. It's nothing but an emotional reaction. Whatever may be the opinion of others/self of you, don't take it personally. It is their perspective that is talking and has nothing to do with you, including yours. So, be compassionate & loving no matter what; to yourself and others.
3. Don't use your judgement & consider them to be true.. Assumptions will ruin your thinking power & fog your decision making capacity. Assumptions spoils your communication flow, depletes your energy and creates unseen barrier.
4. Always give your 100%. Never refrain yourself from giving your best even when you are not in good mood, or even when things are not working right.
It is easier said than done. These are difficult to embrace at one go. One has to keep practicing it. You can transform only when you become aware. You will know what to do with the awareness. So, the key to transformation is awareness. And then by using your power to create your intentions, you can transform yourself. Personal development is the journey that we choose for ourselves to be alive again, be free and be truly happy.
When the curtain of darkness drops and when you throw light to your unawareness, you will viscerally feel breakthrough happening. Every time I feel I am growing, I bump across an area within me which needs light, which needs my awareness to transform into light within me. Today I am glad I again got present to something inside me that I wasn't even aware of. All thanks to my Coach! I resisted and defended myself from acknowledging it. I denied that I felt that way because long long ago I learnt my way of dealing with uncomfortable emotions. I learnt to protect myself from feeling the hurt, the pain. And the way I choose was, to not feel that emotion, not acknowledge that emotion and even ignore it when it hit me. And after doing this, I became very good at it. Practice turned this into a habit and habit became my second nature. I became very adept at hiding my emotions, my feelings and could quickly cover that up with something, which sadly after a while even I lost sight of it. And I thought it was okay to be this way. I thought this is how emotions need to be dealt with. As I ignored my uncomfortable emotions, I also deflected the good emotions coming my way. My being got created this way and so my energy with which I showed up!
I struggled with this internally without even my awareness. Every time something happened, every time I couldn't progress in my life I defended myself with circumstances outside of me, by putting the blame on people around me and even judging myself. Least did I know that there was actually a bug inside me that was stopping me from blooming into who I was, from flying high, from achieving my goals, from showing up the way I am meant to be. I was looking for answers outside me while the real demon lied inside of me. I even tried to understand this by gathering information around people, their habits, ways to deal with them, etc. etc. The more I looked outside, the more I enabled the demon inside me to grow. I knowingly nourished the demon inside me by putting my focus on things outside me. I thought that if I understand the situation well, I can adjust to it. I thought that if I understand people well, I can accommodate their view points....The list is never ending. The moment I decided to look within, the moment I decided to throw light to the demon inside me, I realized that it was there sitting inside and just trying to stop me from having limitless access to myself & my being. I decided to take responsibility and engage in a discussion with that demon. Let me call it my limiting mind inside me instead of demon because I got to know that it was there lying in me to protect me and not to destroy me. But that limiting mind wasn't aware that even though it's presence had a protective undertone, it did more harm than help to my being. Because anything limiting can just be a bonsai and not a blooming plant. It did give me the requisite ingredients to survive and be protected but not what needs to flourish, thrive and bloom into limitless possibilities. And I want to have a limitless experience.
Tears rolled down my cheeks just after my session with my Coach ended. As if, I was bidding adieu to my limiting mind who protected me, showing gratitude for it's presence inside me for so long that today upon joining hands with it to embrace and welcome my limitless mind, I am feeling joy & courage. I thanked my limiting mind for having been there with me in my journey and for all the protection. But, I also said,"It's time for you now to leave me and whenever I will need you, I will call you not to limit me but to help me embrace my limitless mind. This way you'll be empowered too. Because now I want to embrace limitless possibilities and I want to spread this awareness to people around me." I know there are numerous people out there who will resonate with what I have felt and I want to support them in embracing their limitless mind the way my Coach did for me. As a first step, I am going to do this with a group of leaders that I am addressing in a session next week. I am glad that this breakthrough happened today. Now I can take the participants to this joyous journey that I viscerally experienced.
My limiting mind, I acknowledge you,
I thank you for being with me.
I take responsibility for defending you all through out my life,
And as a result of which my experience of me, people & life was limiting too.
Today let's together embrace my limitless mind,
And set on a journey of limitless experience of myself, people & life.
Let's take it to the next level. Let the journey begin...
"It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world." Chaos Theory
A minor change, such as flapping of wings by the butterfly can create a phenomenal change. Hard to believe right?! How can such a tiny action create a massive reaction?! This is the way we doubt ourselves too! Many a times we don't realize our power until a situation arises which enables us to play with our strengths or until when someone shows us our power. A butterfly cannot see the designs that's there in it's wings but everyone can see it & believes that the butterfly too knows it. Much to our surprise, we don't realize who we are. But, the fact is we are enough, we have enough within us to be, become who we want to be. We can make a difference in our own subtle ways. We don't have to be someone to do that. But, just be ourselves and keep doing our tasks with passion & conviction. Every action matters because it causes another reaction and eventually another and it's a chain reaction. Only when you forget to believe in yourself, you give the power away to what happens outside of you.
I see everyone as gifted. There is not a single person on this earth who lacks potential. Yes, the difference lies in whether you are able to ascertain that gift in you, what you do after you know you have that gift and whether you are consistent enough in honing that skill inside you. Best of all, when you can find an outlet to use that skill for something greater than yourself, you have more possibilities of creating miracles with that gift. But for all this, you have to be comfortable in your skin. You have to first decide if you want to be a copy or someone original. Because, a copy remains a copy and an original is always in high demand. It doesn't loose its effect but a copy fades away with time. We hold lot of fears in us. Sometimes these fears are just groundless. We are more than our fears. Fears don't make us, it's just a part of us. It has a protective undertone to it. Sometimes, a certain belief comes to the surface & holds us back till we confront it and lean against it to rise to who we are.
Small gestures leads to great impact. You never know what difference you might be making in someone's life, till the time you stop doing what you are doing. So, believe in yourself. Trust in every action that you take. You are powerful beyond measure! Sadly, when we stop believing in our strengths, the worlds stops believing in us too. Leave aside humility for a while. If what you do is true, there is nothing wrong in speaking up for what you do and who you are. So, first acknowledge yourself, your strengths; then work towards mastering that strength. Keep taking tiniest of the actions and you just reach your destination joyously, purposefully & most of all, you surprise yourself with you own abilities. You look back and smile at your own inhibitions & disbelief!
Sometimes, we just need a reminder to ourselves: "You are powerful beyond measure!" And this post is just an attempt to do that.
Thanks to Clarence Thomson, a great Coach and an expert in Enneagram style that I got to know my style, the box in which I have been living my life and operating from there. Remember, everyone operates living in either of the nine boxes called the nine Enneagram styles. After having read Clarence's books and after having been coached by him on my Enneagram style, now I know why I do what I do; why I behave the way I do; why my inclination towards innovation, creativity and intense emotions; why people misunderstand me at times & likewise; why my resistance to systems; why my affinity towards those who are discarded/considered as misfit; why the mood swings and the like. When inside the box, everything made perfect sense to me. I saw myself, life and the world living in that box. But with that came lot of other things that hindered my growth & progress which I wasn't aware of. The very gifts become bottlenecks when you are not aware of your style because every one has their own way of reacting, behaving and doing things. I am so glad to have uncovered this aspect of mine that now I find so much comfort not only in accepting myself but every other view that comes my way. I now don't consider myself as flawed because of my uniqueness but a huge gift which can be utilized in projects, situations that seems like a deadlock to others. To read more about the Enneagram styles, do read my earlier blog post, the link is given here: your-views-are-skewed-and-not-shared-by-everyone.html.
I dedicate this post to all those people who are highly creative, innovative and can think out of the box but fail to convince others to buy into their ideas or upon facing resistance to their ideas, they just sulk and give up like me. You see there is high demand of people with these gifts that I had quoted above. Don't take it as bragging, but I have all those gifts too along with the dark side of these gifts. I have come out of these by learning hard lessons, I don't want you all to do that. Hence, I am writing for you all. How the world looks like to us when we operate by living in that box which has innovation, creativity and out of the box thinking and when this doesn't make any sense to others living in a different box, what we do? So, here it goes and if you can relate to this and want to add more points based on your experience, please feel free to do so either by commenting or writing directly to me.
1. It's difficult to change something that is rooted deep, that which makes sense to everyone else. Your out of the box thinking may not be accepted at one go. Because that idea, thinking is making sense to you but not to others. If they have to buy your idea, remember you have to understand the box, the well that they are in. Only when they allow you in their well, you can lead them out. Got it!
2. Don't take resistance personally. In fact, be happy that your ideas are too unique for others to understand, assimilate and even accept that to be real. You see the way forward, but others can't. They will resist, but if you allow the resistance to put yourself down, then the idea remains an idea without any execution. And that's not at all good for something that needs revamping and innovative thinking; needs YOU.
3. You are not flawed, you are unique. Many a times, there is a tendency to doubt ourselves. This happens because not all think like us and hence, we don't have the majority supporting us. Instead of considering yourself as unique there is maximum probability for us to consider ourselves as flawed. This thinking erodes our very gifts and disables us from making huge impact in the world. We are meant to do that.
4. More the resistance, greater possibility of you making an impact. Challenging status quo needs courage and different set of skills. The more you face resistance, remember you can make a greater impact there. So, instead of sitting back when faced with opposition, try to understand the reasons for their resistance. It might be due to fear, due to discomfort or seeming threat to their very existence. To help them, you have to allow them to first over their fears and inhibitions. Be patient here.
5. Along with empathy, comes mood swings. There are times when because of the empathy, we tend to have our own mood swings to deal with. Because we can feel so much, we live by looking at what is missing and hence have to deal with a surge of emotions when we don't see others understanding the flaws of being where they are. We see great possibilities, but we also lament over the idealistic things that we have in our mind which leads to melancholy. These are the times, when others misunderstand us and our behaviours.
6. Seek to understand first and then be understood. In a world where it is hardwired to first be understood, let's play the game other way around for our own good. Let's understand first by getting curious when faced with resistance, and then help them understand our point of view. Makes sense?!
My biggest take away is, "To help them, you have to allow them to lead you in." Only then you can really make a difference through your uniqueness. Only then you can make the best use of your gifts. If you give up, you lose and they lose the opportunity to let innovation, creativity and out of the box thinking solve the problems that they are stuck in. So, let's not resist but let's try to persist. Let's try to overcome our dark sides to enable us & others to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our intention is to make a difference and not to win an argument. Be creative about your approach, rest you have it all to make it happen.
Before we even dive deep, let's first see who is in which category of this social construct of generational nicknames. This is based on a recent report by Pew Research Center published in March 2018.
I attended a conference today on millennials. But, the insights that I gathered from it aren't anything new. It's the same old blame game going on. No one is ready to take responsibility for them. Government can't provide them jobs/a platform for them to flourish; industry cannot find a fitment for them and academics cannot give them a platform to learn new, advanced skills required for the fourth industrial revolution. We have created the systems, we have set things in place; so now here we have a generation of highly capable people who have been considered as misfit in the corporate world and otherwise. Let's wake up! The real issue may not be what has been discussed over the years. We are trying to solve something without even taking into account the perspective of the millennials. Are we ready to take the responsibility of creating these misfits (as you say), in our very own space?! Are we ready to talk about the real issues here? If yes, let me spin your thinking a bit here.
We have tagged millennials as misfit because of our inability to understand them and because we are unable to control them the way we want to. Millennials are highly informed and educated people, thanks to technology. They get what they want at the flick of a second unlike the other generations. Leadership, for generations, have been authoritative and control freak. There were very few cases where leaders inspired others to bloom, accepted them the way they are and challenged them to grow. Millennials love different form of leadership. Actually, they like that leadership which creates leaders and not followers. We too would like to have that leadership but we remain satisfied with what we have, known and are used to. Titles, positions and years of experience cannot elicit respect for you from them. What matters is how genuine and inspirational your experience is. Let them decide whether they want to follow you or not. They aren't job hoppers but risk-takers who derives clarity by engaging in things unlike the other generations who stuck to one way because of their conditioning & social ways. They will remain and be engaged only when you give them a platform to utilize their gifts and satisfy their deeper needs which can be any of them: variety, certainty, love/connection, significance, contribution and growth. I have spoken to many millennials myself, I did it today too while driving back from the conference. During the conversation, I was told that they are ready & willing to go beyond their call of duty if it connects to them and if you treat them well. If they realize that you genuinely care for them, they will also be genuine in their approach to you. Human connect is missing. They want to feel valued. They don't want to follow anybody just because you ask them to follow but because they can see the value themselves. They want to enjoy life. They have seen their parents working hard and saving for future without enjoying life. They don't want to live that way but to enjoy life in the moment, right here, right now. Things aren't permanent. In a volatile world, things change. They know this very well. They have learnt to adapt to this VUCA environment. They don't want to stand in long queue when they know how to use technology to their advantage. They aspire for a easy, carefree, purposeful and happy life. They can see when you fake it.
What do we want the millennials to be, is the big question?! Do you want them to be like Gen X, baby boomers, any other generation or accept them the way they are, drop the judgement which comes from our limited thinking; leverage their strengths and work on the areas that they too are struggling with?! Their level of impatience comes from the technological & social environment they have been exposed to. Now when things have become challenging, it's not enough to just blame them and dust our responsibilities off. Just tagging them as misfit is not enough. Let's empathize with them and then truly find a solution to maximize the potential of millennials. Let's together take responsibility. The space that we have given them to bloom also needs a review, the environment which conditioned their ways; variety & information overload that reduced their attention span needs a review too. Can we create an environment where the gifts of millennials and all other generations will be utilized to create a better workforce and a better community? If need be, we need to dismantle what we created, reflect on our perspectives, our conditioning too and also try & understand each other. Let's stop pin pointing their flaws, enough has been said on that. Let's look at helping them overcome their challenges.
I am a Gen X, 1 year short of falling into the millennial generation. May be I can relate more to this generation and hence thought of penning down my thoughts around the perception around millennials. Let's accept them and instead of trying to change them, let's hear them to find better solutions for solving their challenges. Let them open up. Don't tell them, ask them. They will answer.
After leaving my corporate job, I started working independently. There was no time-clock to guide me and nothing to set boundaries for me, except ME. For every entrepreneur, freedom is one of the most important values that they uphold & cherish. They are visionaries and risk-takers too. The reason for them to break-free from the 9 am to 5 pm work cycle is to have freedom, choice, their dream lifestyle and of course their passionate purpose which they want to work upon. Once you move from a structured system to a highly flexible system, where all the time is yours; the idea is both exhilarating and daunting too. Exhilarating because you enjoy the whole time thinking about your dream, planning, articulating, ideating and then acting on those plans. While doing so, you tend to immerse so much into the process that you forget time and finally you land up working more than what you had aspired for. You are left with no control over your time and it just flies. You land up picking more assignments to fill your calendar and generate more business/income because now you are all on your own. There isn't a fixed salary every month, you need to manage your funds, your time, your energy, your being etc. That's when your leadership agility comes to play. The more depth you have in your leadership ability, the more you can lead yourself well during this journey. You know very well that entrepreneurship is not for faint-hearts but for those courageous few who can surf through the occasional tides without losing the very zeal, energy and spirit which propelled them to take this first step towards exceptional self-leadership called entrepreneurship.
Few years back, I would have dreaded even thinking about myself as an entrepreneur. I never thought on those lines because I was a person who adjusted in the default systems unwillingly ofcourse. But, when I took plunge, I just took it because there lay a vision that is much more powerful than my fears, inhibitions; there lay a purpose much bigger than my small goals; there lay an inner commitment that is much inspiring than external curbing forces. Yes, I am a Coach Entrepreneur! Only when you see yourself this way, you actually move ahead in your path towards becoming a Master Coach and a successful entrepreneur. I guess I am digressing a bit here. So, let's get back on track. It's all about leading yourself than you lead others. As entrepreneurs, you are majorly alone in this journey, at least in the initial phase. So, it is very important to be able to lead yourself effectively. Everything you do will be reflected and so will your energy. If you move ahead with fear, you will attract more fear. If you are feeling insecure, you will attract insecurity. If you walk the path without being mindful, you will attract distractions, stress and other negativity along the line. Undoubtedly you have a lofty dream, a lofty purpose; you are a master in what you do and hence you have chosen to move forward alone. But, what will determine your success eventually is your ability to lead yourself every time you fall, every time you feel low, every time you want to give up, every time you doubt yourself, every time you loose focus.....the list is endless. Here are few areas for you to ponder & lead yourself well.This is from my personal experience. If I can do it, you too can. This isn't a destination but a journey of self-discovery and mastery. A journey to connect with your essence.
1. Lead yourself towards cultivating an effective entrepreneurship mindset. You are playing the game for the long haul and not just for couple of years. There are times when you will forget your "WHY" for doing what you are doing specially during challenging and low times. That's when your entrepreneurship mindset will come to play. Lead yourself towards mastering that.
2. Lead yourself towards managing your energy and not time. Time is a limited resource but energy is limitless. Be mindful of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. Be mindful of what fills you up and what drains you. Lead yourself towards putting focus on those things that fills you and dropping things that drain you.
3. Lead yourself from a scare mindset to an abundance mindset. There is high possibility for an entrepreneur to develop the scare mindset. What you think and belief, you create. If you think of scarcity, your actions will show up and obviously the results will follow the pattern.
4. Lead yourself towards becoming a profound giver. The very reason for starting was to solve a pain point that is prevalent in your community and you are set out to solve it to add value to it. Never forget this while you create abundance for yourself. In giving you receive. Receiving is a by-product.
5. Lead yourself from becoming a workaholic to creating your dream lifestyle where you not only have a thriving business but loving relationships, happy & joyous family, your nurturing time. No point in becoming successful sans joy, love and happiness in your life. Integration is the key. Have real happy life and not just a virtual social life.
6. Lead yourself from being an individualist high performer to an inspiring leader seeking & harnessing support along the way.
7. Lead yourself from being a safe player to a risk-taker. When you feel uncomfortable, remember you are growing.
8. Lead yourself from being used to certainty to appreciating uncertainty. You might think that now everything is set, but the truth is, higher you go, you will have different challenges to overcome. So, the key is to develop your depth to be able to take on challenges as it come.
9. Lead yourself from being excited to being joyful. Excitement dies down quickly, but the state of joyfulness is the state of being that you must cultivate and be. Be joyful always.
Last but not the least, hire a good coach who will be able to support you during this transition. During our difficult times, we tend to lose our ability to decide and think. We get stuck in our habitual patterns and blind spots. That's when we hold ourselves back. It's important that we challenge ourselves during these times and keep going. Undoubtedly you will reach your destination, but with external support, you will reach it much faster, joyously and have an exponential growth.
"Problems can become opportunities when the right people come together." - Robert Redford
How do I find the right person for my team? This is a question that haunts many entrepreneurs, in particularly the ones that are all set to build their team for the first time. After having spend almost a decade in hiring people and understanding their patterns, after having even analysed my own patterns of leaving jobs after some point & after coaching corporate professionals transitioning to entrepreneurial roles, I did ask myself these questions, "What does it take to build a great team? Why some people stay and some don't? Even if they stay, why do they not stay for long? What drives them? What are their needs? Are they aligned?" etc. It's very easy to put a tag on a person as job hoppers, low performers, put them under PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) etc. We must take responsibility for this judgment and stereotyping. Somewhere our inability to understand things in-depth plays a big role. The fact is, just because they aren't meeting your aspirations, fulfilling your criteria of performance, success and creativity; doesn't make them failures, low performers or whatever you may call it. If you are to really select the right person for your team, you have to understand what's deep down there that comes into play. You have to master the art of hiring the right person! You fail here and everything falls apart!
It's very important for entrepreneurs (transitioning from corporate to entrepreneurial role) to actually have a team aligned with them because high amount of risk is involved if you don't have the right team to take you forward towards your vision. Opposites do attract, but similarities bond well in the long run. So let's try and understand what do you need to uncover and find answers to to hire the right person in your team. These tips can be applied to any relationship that you would like to form. It doesn't limit to just professional one but personal too.
1. See for their abilities: Are they capable enough to do the job that you intend to hire them for? At the beginning, everyone performs well. In fact, when you are interviewing, the interviewee will sell you pretty well. So, here you have to use your wisdom, acumen and intuition to uncover the depth of the person. What he/she is sharing? The truth and the untruth; the missing link, the cutting down of the real stories, the portrayal, the projection, their gifts, their shadows, their strengths, their blind-spots.
2. Will they do the job in the long-term? This isn't about blind loyalty but about inner intention/commitment of the person concerned. Many a times people would stick to you just like the parasite. But, what matters is, are they going to do the job in the long run with same passion and dedication which they showed earlier? What's their pattern? It cannot be gauged by just their past records but by understanding their "WHY" for doing the job. Are they doing it for some short-term goal that they have set for themselves or are they doing it for some bigger inner commitment/their bigger WHY? Because once the goal is achieved, there is high probability that they would leave to fulfill their bigger goal.
3. Are their goals aligned with your vision for your Organization? It's an art to allow people to be vulnerable and share their truth with you. When does this happen? Only when you are honest, truthful and vulnerable yourself. When you can create that space for them to open up to you, you will understand what their deepest desires are and what their lofty aspirations are. Once there is a match, you will see alignment of purpose for both.
4. Understanding their basic nature: Everybody has a basic nature. Some are introverts, some extroverts, some are creative, some are silo workers, some love privacy, some love openness, some reserved, some talkative etc. It's important that the job reinforces their basic nature. Or else, things will fall apart. You can't make a Doberman a Labrador! Some basic natures can't be played around with. You nurture their basic nature, they grow, you grow. You tame them, it'll explode at some point.
5. Do they fit well with the team? Team fitment is not just about team-work, team dynamics and the like but about the intrinsic needs that drives the team members. More aligned the intrinsic needs of every team member, higher the team performance. To understand more on this, check the info-graphics below:
Selecting the right team is very important for you to succeed. It saves much of your energy and time. A misfit will rob you off your peace of mind and put you off track. So, be mindful of whom you are hiring. Also, be mindful of your judgments and own limitations while selecting the right team. Judgments and conditioning blocks our ability to think well, decide well and bond well. Sometimes our own blind-spots stand in our way and holds us from making the right decision. Before you hire, be sure of yourself and what you seek. Need help, ask for it. Don't shy away.
Do share your hiring stories with me. What other ways you found effective? What worked well and what didn't? I would be happy to know.
"Your perception of the world around you is not necessarily the same as what is actually occurring."
Why we do what we do? Simply because it makes complete sense to us! More stringent our views, more difficulty we have in accepting others & letting go of our narrowed perspectives. With these specific views about ourselves, life and people; we box ourselves into certain categories. When we are unaware of this aspect, we protect our world view at great cost to our full potential. With awareness of our underlying motives and openness to shift our views, we embrace greater possibilities and liberate ourselves to understand life, people & ourselves from a better, newer and wider perspective. This is like getting hold of a magic wand to understanding ourselves, people and life. There is so much joy in variety. Earlier, familiarity gave me confidence, but now disagreements give me joy because there is an opportunity for me to view things, situation from a different angle, unknown to me. Also, when we don't have control over our gifts due to unawareness of our box, they become our shadows that stop us from blooming into our best selves.
Enneagram (from the Greek words [ennéa, meaning "nine"] and [grámma, meaning something "written" or "drawn"]), is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. I have attempted to collate few traits from each style, mostly from good reads on Enneagram so that you can figure out which style you relate to most and accordingly become aware of the fact that your views are skewed and not shared by everyone. Joy lies in being flexible and embracing the gifts of all the other styles and dropping the shadow sides to develop into your fullest potential. So, let's get started.
Gift: Ability to see and work towards perfection.
Shadow: Often notices what's wrong & what needs fixing.
Communication style: Sounds over controlled & restraint.
Emotion: Low-key anger, tight control over their emotions.
Behaviour: Sarcastic & angry out-bursts, problem in delegation.
Gift: Ability to anticipate & tend to someone else's need. Notices people.
Shadow: Lose themselves in the intent of taking care of others.
Communication style: Talk about others.
Emotion: Strong feelings.They aren't acting out of love but making an emotional investment. Engages in emotional blackmail if you don't reward that investment.
Behaviour: Manipulative, operates behind the scene, difficulty in admitting their own needs openly, neediness in their body language, indirect, requires lot of positive affirmations and recognition, gives non-verbal messages.
Gift: Drive to succeed in attaining a goal. Notices what others expect.
Shadow: Competitive striving may rob them of their souls.
Communication style: Language of the role they are playing.
Emotion: Avoid their feelings in the effort to keep up a successful image.
Behaviour: Become workaholics, ruthless, measures success through the eyes of others, claims credit, wants to look good in order to succeed.
Gift: Passion for creativity, emotional depth & a profound desire for authenticity, notices how others feel.
Shadow: Fear of being ordinary.
Communication style: Mood based.
Emotion: Become stuck in melancholy, feel different from others, believing anything good is unavailable.
Behaviour: Conceptual, intuitive, visionary, unrealistic. Getting buy-in for ideas is a problem. A sense of longing is always there.
Gift: Ability to conceptualize & to master knowledge, notices information.
Shadow: Emotionally remote & socially awkward, less attention to their physical side of life.
Communication style: Likely not to talk arising from their desire to keep distance.
Emotion: Hoard emotions, time, energy & thoughts.
Behaviour: Reserved, unworldly, intellectual isolation, stingy with appreciation,hates talking to people below a certain level, loves to debate.
Gift: Loyalty, notices what can go wrong.
Shadow: Questions their inner authority, anxiously anticipate anything that could go wrong.
Communication style: Change thinking & style to match that of the group.
Emotion: Believes world is not a safe place because they feel powerless from inside.
Behaviour: Looks to group for security, often the ones to challenge authority, fear of fear, anxious & self-doubting.
Gift: Positive, energetic and ability to generate ideas.
Shadow: Easily frustrated when things slow down.
Communication style: Love to talk.
Emotion: Out of touch with the more negative portions of reality, avoids sad or painful feelings.
Behaviour: Little tolerance for boredom or discomfort of any kind, habitually over-schedule & fill their lives too full of activity in order not to feel their inner fear.
Gift: Natural confidence & ability to take charge, notices who has what kind of power.
Shadow: Claims power whether others like it or not.
Communication style: Have loud voices.
Emotion: Feels they are larger than life and are driven to excess.
Behaviour: Intimidating, stirs things to spice up, generous if you comply.
Gift: Being calm, easy-going, capable of understanding divergent opinions.
Shadow: Avoid conflict, deadlines, unsettling thoughts.
Communication style: Talk in sagas.
Emotion: Suppressed anger.
Behaviour: Agree with all sides, either achieves consensus or remain inactive, lack assertiveness, appear not to notice but in fact they don't notice themselves.
Have you figured out your box? Are you finding difficulty in acknowledging the shadow side to your gifts? I too found it difficult. But I choose to drop my inhibitions, I choose growth over arrogance. Are you open to drop the ones that aren't serving you and embrace the new ones? The gifts that we admire in others is nothing but our unacknowledged gifts. Acknowledge these and transform into your whole being. I am an Enneagram style 4.
As a young HR professional it was one of my dreams to work with one of the top HR leaders whom I admired to the core. Today I got an opportunity to interview him face to face as a part of my personal project and it's like my dream come true. After the interview, my admiration for him has increased all the more. When you connect with a person on a deeper level and can see through the person underneath, the authentic individual that he is, his uncut story and the person beyond his professional aura, you feel good from within. I had an awesome experience today and I feel so much joy doing what I did. I would reveal the name later when my project gets completed but today I will just share with you some of the insights from the interview. And the insight on leadership essence is Passion, Empathy, Courage & Grit.
Leaders don't just do the job but they do it because that's their calling. They love what they do without any hidden agenda. They do it because they find joy in the process and the journey. They are least interested in name, fame, achievement. And interestingly, they do become famous not because they wanted to, but because of the work they do. Mind it, when I say achievement; it's not that they don't want to achieve the goals, they want to but they work not to achieve for personal gains but for what is right and for the betterment of people they serve. Sometimes, the Universe plays a massive role in steering the wheel towards our destiny without us knowing anything about the next step. Only if we choose to listen to the subtle messages that we land up being in the path of our true calling. That's how many notable people landed in what they did and excelled in that. And once on that path, no matter what, they chose to move forward till they arrived at the highest destination that one could think of. The curious & inquisitive person inside me always wanted to know such leaders and so I dived in to know more about what made them who they are, how they handled challenges, how they grew and the like. Sharing some of the insights.
1. High level of passion: They have a high level of emotional investment in what they do. They don't do for the sake of doing it, but they do it because they are passionate about what they do. Passion is nothing but intense emotion. They feel for it, they love it and they just dive into it without if's and but's. As they proceed in the journey, they learn, unlearn many things and this level of engagement gives them more clarity of thought, hone their skills and help them become who they are. They have a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for what they do and this enables them to think out of the box, do out of the box and act extra-ordinarily. Passion is from within, it's their driving force. It keeps them going. This makes them fearless risk-takers. This makes them great learners and passion invokes humility because they become masters in what they do. There's nothing to show, to hide but an open book to be read and absorbed the way you want to.
2. High level of empathy: I thought I was an empathetic person. But today I came to know of a high level of empathy that leaders possess. Leaders don't just empathize, but they act on it to help the person they empathize with. Along with empathy, they provide doable solutions and they stand by it. They choose to disagree with top authorities too when they empathize for the right thing and when they truly believe in what they do. Empathy is beyond just feeling for the person but genuinely helping the person and enabling his/her well-being. They risk their stake for others. They ignite the leader in others and help them shine.
3. High level of courage: Courage is the inner strength, the belief in one's power within. Leaders par excellence have the courage to accept who they are, connect with their authentic self and are fearless of showing their dark side too. They embrace criticisms as an opportunity to grow, learn and lead themselves from naivety to experts. They don't stop when things starts unfolding not as per their terms but they have the courage to embrace embarrassment. Every criticism is a trigger for them to do better and be the best in what they do. That's the courage that I am talking about. It takes real courage to see past the triviality of the ego and actually dive into the real issue at hand. This enables them to be courageous enough to disagree with what is not right and thus paves the way for fearless leadership. Because they are courageous in owning the wholesomeness of their being, they inspire that in others by challenging their thinking, their thoughts and rigid views. This may seem to be daunting, but when you do from a space of authenticity, people are bound to buy in your ideas and views.
4. High level of grit: They have a high sense of character and ethical ways of doing things. They know to set the tone and because of their grit, they ensure high level of excellence in their work. Passion combined with grit becomes an awesome combination towards excellent results. They ensure completion of what they set their mind to. No excuses, no missing of deadlines but just delivery.
Great leaders carve out their path. And along this path, they build deep connections with people, form authentic relationships, embrace both sides of their gifts and what makes them all the more appealing is their ability to learn despite of all the learning that they are full of. Learning and curiosity is something that goes hand in hand and doesn't make them obsolete. Learning makes them humble and wise. We all give excuses for what's not happening in our lives. But when you meet leaders like this, you feel that excuses are nothing but just cover ups for our own inabilities and blind spots. The day we chose to accept that and acknowledge it, we too can embrace the essence of leadership in everything that we do.
A leader is one who inspires us to be a leader. That's all I can say from today's interaction. I am inspired and fulfilled.
"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."
There's no denying that we have immense power within ourselves to create a life of our choice and to be who we truly want to be. We have gifts that make us unique and enable us to grow in life. But, these same gifts, habits, patterns act as a block in our progress beyond a limit. Yes, we set limits for ourselves. We create our perfect system and we operate within that system. We become so good in doing this, that we ignore the very gifts and tend to absorb the darker side of it automatically and not by choice. Sounds crazy?! Yes, it does and it occurred to me too. Sometimes accepting harsh truths is difficult and we tend to avoid it/ ignore it. That's our blind spot, that's our area of growth. I too have set a perfect system for myself, a limit beyond which I feel I cannot grow. I keep coming back once I reach that limit to start from scratch again. My default mechanisms inside starts to play the moment I tend to cross that limit & pulls me down. This is a subconscious agreement that we make with ourselves without even us knowing it or acknowledging it. The moment when we get irritated, get anxious, get angry, get mood swings, don't feel good, feel low, feel stressed, feel negative etc. are the moments we need to take note of our behaviours. That's the time to really figure out the answers that we might be asking ourselves unconsciously. Why haven't I been able to make the next cut? What is the perfect system that I have set for myself? What limit have I set for myself?
You won't find a single person who would say that he/she doesn't want to grow in life/improve oneself. Everybody does but not everyone gets to the root of understanding what stands in the way of doing that. Honestly, nothing except oneself. You are your biggest ally and your biggest enemy! The human mind, their behaviours are so unique and exciting that if we really try to delve deep into this subject, we will realize that all that we do, act, behave, think are nothing but our beliefs, conditioning, patterns in action. Based on these conditioning, we create a perfect system in which we operate. That's our comfort zone and we like being in it because we get comfortable with the ways, the results. We get comfortable with the certainties and start to see things being in that system. If the beliefs are too deep, we become rigid in our approach too. Then our restlessness when not being in our comfort zone, increases.
Citing here a conversation that I had with one of my coaching clients as an illustration to show how the perfect system that we create stops us from taking the next big leap. To maintain confidentiality, I am twigging the context a bit.
Client: "I am stressed out and I don't know what to do."
Me: Tell me more.
Client: "I don't think I can handle this. I am not prepared. This is my dream project and I know I am going to mess up because my team members are not serious about it and I don't see them taking ownership."
Me: "Can you be more specific as to what they aren't doing that you want them to do?"
Client: "They lack in confidence, they are not showing the professionalism that is required, I have to be on my toes to get things done, I have to send them reminders for things. How can I even do this? If I lose out on this, I lose out completely."
Me: "What is it that is truly bothering you that you are taking solace in blaming your team for their inefficiency? This is the same team with which you built your credibility. What is different now?"
Client: Refusing to admit initially. "I am nervous. I think I am not equipped to deal with this huge opportunity that is there. I feel I am not good enough. There is more abundance than I can handle."
Me: "Brilliant!!! I thank you for admitting this. This is a great realization and acknowledgement!"
Client: " Um mm...It's actually not about the team. I haven't handle this before. So, I don't know what I can do and how I can lead them."
Me: "What is the limit that you have set for yourself? What is the limit beyond which you think you cannot grow?"
Client: "Ah! I think this is it! Working on this project is like going beyond my comfort zone. I am fearful of the uncertain path. I need to be in control of the things which I am not. I can't see the big picture."
Me: "Brilliant! Do you want to take a cut to your next level? Do you want to challenge your beliefs that are handicapping your growth?"
Client: "Yes, for sure!"
And the conversation goes on....Finally, the client debunked the perfect system, the limit and chose to commit to living in limitless abundance for self and the team. What seemed like an external issue was actually an internal issue that my client courageously handled and moved forward.
It is important for us to challenge ourselves, throw the light of awareness and question ourselves as to what is the default limit that we are slaving to and why?! Do you want to break-free? Do you want to understand the behaviours that are keeping you stuck? You are meant to fly, so break-free right now, right here before you regret later.
Life & Organizational Development Coach