Some from my professional diary, some from my heart, some from my perspective, some from good reads, some from observation, some from life's stories, some from imagination, some from sweet nothings of life...
There is so much fuss about leadership. And as usual, I am least interested in the normal, regular stuff. What excites me are newer ways, newer perspectives, something unique & something that stands out from the crowd. All credit to my Enneagram style 4. Well, that's my box, I am aware of it and I am also open to embracing the good aspects of other styles. But around leadership, I have a very different view and may not conform to the normal ways that we look at leadership. For major part of my life, I have been led by others. I somehow attracted some influential figures one or the other way around and would abide by mostly what those leaders would think & say. I bestowed those leaders to have an influence on me. And when I say leader, it can be your parents in your growing years, your teachers, your friends whom you looked up to, your boss during your formative years while in your professional journey, your partner and so on. A leader is someone who inspires you, influences you by their being to bloom into who you truly are. You get drawn by them, their ideas and have a deep sense of trust on them to be able to lead, guide & take you forward to a path that you might resist or may not be sure of.
When you are not conscious, not aware of yourself, have a distorted self-image within for whatsoever reason, have the attitude of always getting affected by other's opinions and don't have the courage to look into the leadership within you, this very essence of idealizing & having admiration for others, become detrimental to your self-growth in reality. This very attitude of being just a follower takes a toll on your life and your being. You slowly start to get molded into ways that you are being shaped by them. You then get enrolled to the leader and slowly start to lose touch with your essence. The very essence that makes you unique in your own ways. You become so absorbed in their ways and ideas, that you start losing confidence in your own decision making capabilities. You start to doubt your ways, your ideas and slowly put a silent mask & become that person who your leader wants you to be.
THE FOUR TENDENCIES
For quite sometime, I felt trapped with such leadership. No offense to anyone. Everyone did their best. But I was unaware of what the real problem was. And I always felt like a victim to such leadership styles, where the relationship was majorly vertical. And I completely take responsibility for enabling such patterns in my life. My being was so, that I attracted those leaders in my life who could lead me to be like them or if not, obey what they wanted me to do. This was conflicting for me! Because in the inside, there was a rebel who wanted to defy everything and break-free. Which I very well hid from the rest of the world. Do check out the four tendencies quiz by Gretchen Rubin to know your style. For your benefit I am sharing the link here quiz.gretchenrubin.com/. It is a free test and worth taking.
Although I was being an obliger, the rebel in me wasn't getting any outlet to manifest itself. So, there was unspoken anger & rebellious energy in my being. But, my love for my leaders was also equally powerful. So, I accommodated and it went on for many years. Because of all of these, I wasn't growing or evolving in totality. In fact, as an outlet, I took it out on others like me using the same style of leadership that was modeled to me by my leaders. And I didn't feel good at all. There was something missing in all of this. My quest was always to free myself, to fly, to reach the mountain top, allow myself to feel the freedom that 'the caged me' was feeling from the inside. But I wasn't aware of what I wanted myself to set free from. This created a deep vacuum within me. But, I never give up. And that's why I kept searching, kept looking for answers and ways to find the way out. Finally, I got the first taste of what that gap was when I attended a coaching intensive to enable my evolution process. There I realized, in fact had an insight & these were my words after that profound realization.
"For years I have been hungry for a leader that would inspire me, whose work would be transformative & include a mission that serves people to an exponential level, who would elicit the genius in me & help me bloom into the person that I am truly meant to be. It is rightly said that great leaders don't make you follow them but they create leaders. My long thirst got quenched today. I went there seeking for a leader to follow, but the gift that I got was that, that leader resided in me, I didn't have to look anywhere else. The intensive was so profound that it gave the voice, the purpose & the mission to look at the leader in me & not outside. Yes, that day the leader in me was born. That day a great leader helped me spot the leader in me and gave me the courage to feed that leader inside me & not look around. This was my breakthrough moment."
EMBRACE THE LEADER IN YOU
I flew back with this deep sense of awakening & belief planted inside of me. And true, I decided to embrace the leader in me. That's when self-leadership was born and I was gravitated to everything that spoke about inward journey. Because I very well realized that leadership is about who you are being & not what you are doing or telling others to do. You do so much of deep work on yourself that you make a massive shift in your being and from that space evoke & enable that self-leadership in yourself & others. To me this is the essence of leadership. Rather than trying to influence or shape others, do the work on yourself. Then you don't have to try to be a leader. You will just be who you truly are. This itself is a journey & doesn't happen overnight. It requires courage to stand tall to your own inhibitions, your internal demons, external pressures, acceptance of self, embracing your imperfections, feeling comfortable with uncovering your gifts that have remained dormant for years, wanting to transform despite of all odds, buckling up to look into the mirror & keep walking the path, embracing uncertainties and many more. And once you do this, a deep sense of liberation comes in, you feel so good from the inside. You shed all the masks layer after layer, you realize the beautiful you, inside & out. Life takes a new meaning then. You start taking actions which you never realized you could and your life starts changing for good. Good is an understatement, your life becomes meaningful & you look up to living everyday as if it's a new start.
And I always write my story authentically & vulnerably to let my people know that dreams do come true. We are all fearful, but when you choose to feed your possibilities, you start creating miracles. If you can dream it, you can do it. That every lasting transformation begins from within. What you want, must first be created inside of you. Spot the leader in you and feed it to enable you to newer horizon. Embrace self-leadership before you lead others. This is the essence of leadership.
I write for my people. I am drawn to serving people who resonate with my thoughts. If I can be that leader like the one who evoked the leader in me, my purpose this life-time will be fulfilled. I want to enable that leadership in my kind of people and I am looking forward to talking to them wherever they are, in whatever parts of the globe, in whatever sphere of life they might be. The diamond that I found, I want to gift it to them & enable them to live a life of freedom, joy, liberation, purpose, a life created by them because there is so much joy in doing this. This is my purpose.
If this resonates with you genuinely, do feel free to write to me at email@example.com. I would love to have a one on one conversation with you.
Believing in you,
I strongly believe that what you need exactly at the moment for your greater good, comes to you in different forms in disguise. So, just after my coaching session today, I had a gap of one hour or so. To relax myself, I thought of giving a call to one of my friends. She is someone whom I have known for many years now. And we talk on & off whenever we face any challenge or just a casual sharing about how things are in our life. Sharing is mutual & I acknowledge the fact that our conversations are intellectually stimulating, thought provoking & I always benefit from the discussions. Same goes for my friend too. So, today while we were discussing things, somehow a topic came up around coaching. And I asked my friend a question: "What kind of a coach you would like to have in your life given a choice?" Let me give you the context. My friend was struggling with some professional challenges and we were brainstorming to arrive at some possible solutions. To my question, my friend answered: "I would hire a coach who is well-known as an expert in his/her field, who has a proven track record in my area of expertise, who has many years of experience, who can tell me what I am supposed to do & how, someone who would guide me because he/she has traveled a path similar to me & someone senior. That would be my kind of coach, my mentor who would give facts, have strong data to support what he/she is saying."
Hearing this version of a coach from my friend pained me to the core. Because it didn't resonate with my essence of a coach or coaching for that matter. Had it been the earlier me, I would have instantly reacted to this difference and end up with something not so pleasant. But, I have evolved & transformed over these couple of years as a coach, as a leader & human being in totality. All thanks to my coaches, the coaching that I have consciously undertaken for my own growth, mostly because of my strong trust in the coaching modality & my coaches; a positive attitude backed up with my strong commitment to actions! Over these years I have become aware of myself & my patterns. So, I chose to just listen to what my friend had to say. I chose to understand my friend from her space rather than reacting to something inside me which triggered the pain in me. That needs to be dealt separately! I get that. I was aware of this and this helped me to manage my emotions well & turn around my responses. My current coach gave me a wonderful tool which is like this:
Over these years, since I have myself experienced the benefit of having a coach, since I have witnessed the transformation in me & how that changes my being & my actions, I have decided to always have a coach to enable me to grow to my next level. Coming back to the above spectrum in the above picture, many a times we choose to be in either of these two spaces depending on our personal experiences. But commitment doesn't fall into this spectrum although we might think it does. Commitment is absolutely different. Whenever I tend to move to either of these, my coach asks me this question: "What's your commitment? Are you reacting from the space of attachment to the outcome or from withdrawal due to neediness or you stand tall to your commitment?" For major part of my life, I choose to operate from either of these two spaces. But, that only temporarily satisfied my ego & didn't fetch me anything in the long run. So, as I became aware of this in me, I chose to stand up for my commitment to make a difference in my people whom I am drawn to serve without caring if they would approve of it or not. So, after my friend finished sharing her perception of who a coach is & whom she would like to hire; I shared who a coach to me is & what coaching is all about to make it more real.
I began this way: I firmly believe in coaching and I see that impact in me; which my friend agrees too. I never hire coaches based on how much experience they have or if they have expertise in my field or not. I factually & intuitively look for two things: who they are being (how authentic & genuine they are?) and will I gain by being in their presence & container? It's a matter of deep trust in my coach's coaching skills & not subject matter expertise, it's a kind of space that is built where I can freely lower my guards & talk about my deepest challenges/fears, secret dreams that I have & then take actions with self commitment & trust. It's a relationship where I don't have to look up to & feel inferior & intimated by who they are, but be inspired to raise to their vibrations. I don't want anybody to tell me what needs to be done because that would be a disrespect to my wholeness & resourcefulness that I am bestowed with. Neither do I want others to influence my decisions but honestly give me feedback and leave the choices to be made by me to me. We all are different and as a high potential, driven, ambitious person, I need a partner to partner with me to be able to be my side & support me to get to where I want to. I am not looking for tips, quick fix solutions, because I believe I am reliable & competent enough to find the answers myself. Just that I need a coach who is an expert in coaching skills which involves rapport building(to enable me to connect deeply with my coach), intuitive ability(to understand beyond data & facts), deep listening(to read what I haven't shared, pick up on subtle cues), questioning(to know the underlying truth, the real reason), feedback giving(to enable me to make the right choices & take actions accordingly), holding me accountable for my goals & dreams, someone who is committed to me, while I am committed to my goal. Because after all its my goal. I hire my coach to support me in achieving that goal. It's never the other way round. My coach doesn't have to attain my goals for me.
My coach is an expert in coaching who shows me what I don't see, what my spouse doesn't see, what my friends don't see, what my mentors don't see & what I resist seeing & doing. My coach is such an expert who in a seemingly skillfully easy way inspires me, elicits the answers from me, draws me, pulls me towards an action oriented mode to be able to get to a space where I myself move forward to my goals. This in itself is an exceptional art & science that needs mastery & only coaches who have done deep work, committed to deep work on themselves, who have intentions bigger than self, an intention to creating an impact & to transformative service, who have strong leadership presence not necessarily in professional area only will be able to do that. And years of experience doesn't matter to me at all. I look for such coaches. And I model exactly that with my clients too. May be then I am not the right coach for those who are looking for tips, short-cuts, quick success, spoon-feeded strategies. For a transformation to happen, it takes time, commitment & doesn't come cheap. And I am ready to invest or create the money to work with my kind of coaches because I know it is powerful, impactful & life changing.
Here are examples of coaches who I look up to & who has made remarkable life transformations in their clients' lives & who has no background in any of the fields that their clients are into. They are skillful in the coaching skill and so in their result creation for their clients.
And as I shared all of these, my friend towards the end told me,"I didn't know that coaching is all of these. I thought coaching is all about self-discovery & nothing more than that. So, it never appealed to me because I thought to guide me, one has to be an expert in his/her field. Otherwise how will he/she guide me? I didn't know the art & science behind coaching. Thank you for the enlightenment!" I responded to my friend,"Buddy let me simply gift you a session or connect you to my coach & then you will have an experience of what it is. No amount of my telling will support you. Experience it and see for yourself." To which my friend readily agreed & we had a great laugh together.
P.S. This blog doesn't intend to demean any modality but just sharing what the essence of coaching is from the author's perspective who is a professional coach.
Love & respect,
If you really want to do a favour to the Universe, then don't hold back, don't hide your magic. Let the magic flow through you. And everyone has the magic in them. The only thing standing in its way is "YOU". Yes, you are getting in the way to creating a magical experience not only for yourself but for others who can benefit from your magic. It's a proven fact that people don't change unless they want to. So, unless you get out of your own way, you can't change. And by change, I mean changing from where you are, to being at the peak of your being unleashing all your gifts, stepping into your zone of genius, your seemingly unbelievable possibilities.
Every person I have come across in life, is endowed with unique gifts, their special magic. But many a times they don't see that in them, they don't believe in it, they don't trust the magic, they are fearful of stepping into their own hidden power, they wait for the right moment, they wait for their gifts to be perfected, mastered till they feel it worthy enough of showing it to the world and what not. I get it totally. But, alas that day never comes in their life. Only they hang on to newer fears and reasoning for postponing it. The irony is just the opposite of what they believe. Once you get a glimpse of your magic in you, which you will for sure; all you need to do is to take the magic wand and just play with it without any further delay. As you play, you become expert in that over time, you gain mastery & you grow. By holding back, you are doing an injustice to yourself, the Universe which entrusted you with that magic for you aren't using it because of your own inhibitions & fears.
Look back to the earliest memory of you as a child. If need be, pick up an old picture of yours when you were a kid & saw that magic in you, believed in your possibilities & did whatever you felt like & wanted to. Who were you then? If I recall my days of who I was, I will be amazed at my own magic. A carefree, smart, confident, fearless spirit, a performer, a singer, a dancer, a happy kind person, unrestrained in my being, a sportsperson, full of possibilities and creativity. But, I let my inhibitions, my fears, my ego, my attachment to outcomes, my neediness, my impatience, my withdrawals, my version of stories get in my way & didn't allow myself to bloom to my exceptional possibilities. I allowed my magic to fade with time. I let it simmer inside me without giving it an outlet to expand & bloom. The first time I woke up from my illusions was when I attended a coach & leadership intensive at Los Angeles. There were brilliant coaches across the globe and their being had an impact on me, on who I was. All my fellow coaches saw the light in me, but I was the one who refrained from seeing that in me & so my actions reciprocated what I thought who I was. And then thankfully, one of them walked up to me and said,"Priyanka, do a favour to the Universe and the people out there who are waiting for you to make an impact in their lives by not holding back yourself. Don't hide your magic." Those words were enough for me to question myself as to what was bigger for me: my fears, my inhibitions or my commitment to be who I am meant to be? And thankfully I chose commitment over everything else. Hence, my insight from that intensive was: "It's so beautiful to bloom into the person that you are." In a way, embracing your magic. That was my breakthrough moment because I decided to act on that realization & not just leave it there. From there on, there was no looking back. I made up my mind to give an outlet to my magic, no matter what.
If you have forgotten your magic let me remind you with these lines:
You are full of possibilities,
Waiting for its release;
Don't hold back, don't hide,
Embrace your magic & just dive,
Today is the day to start,
Your inhibitions, I invite you to part;
Stand tall to your magic, your commitment,
You are here to make a dent.
And by writing all of these, not caring & fearing if I get likes or not, whether people follow me or not; I am refusing to bow down to my internal inhibitions, my ego, petty needs & standing tall to bring my magic to this world whatsoever. And if this inspires you to move ahead in your journey, my magic gets a shout out, I will ever be grateful because I am walking my path for my magic to bloom.
Before I leave you in deep reflection, let me share few of my learning from the movie, The Lion King that I watched recently and I believe it had the magic that we needed to look beyond our fears & feed our possibilities:
Love & respect,
After an onsite session today, my mind was totally blank. Everything was fine, the session went really well. It was productive & forward moving. Yet, the critic in me never stops working. I am not sure if this is how the mind of a passionate & driven person works! You work, you give your best, yet you aren't satisfied. You feel as if something is missing. Sometimes no amount of reward or applaud works. Sometimes it's just how it is; just being with that low feeling. And many a times we aren't aware of the exact emotion that is running through us. We give it different meaning based on what we perceive that emotion to be. But as I dived in, I realized it wasn't because of the session today but the exhaustion piling up from couple of days. And being a hands on person, always on the flow; I didn't realize that I had put myself down by not taking care of myself. Due to my busy schedule (my own creation again), I had missed my daily time for reflection & slowing down.
Sometimes small things like self-care, pausing, breathing right, eating healthy, sleeping adequate matters & makes a huge difference to our energy levels. Although everything was fine, I gave my tiredness the name of inaction & low feeling. The body too needs rest & I was not giving that to myself. As I sat down to journal my thoughts, I became aware of what was happening. Along with mental exhaustion, I realized there was physical exhaustion too. And instead of living in this moment, I went ahead & started thinking about the next thing that I had to do & prepare for. This mechanistic approach that I used to just switch from one mode to another, refrained me from experiencing the gratitude of the moment. I went way far ahead & so even caught myself with a headache. Our body is a great tool, only if we listen to it. My mind started working on another project that was ahead of me. And I was not doing all of these under any obligation but willingly because of my habitual thinking patterns. But this time I was aware. I caught myself since I was running away from acknowledging myself & my presence today. As a result of which, I found it hard to even experience the joy of the moment. Yes I find hard to acknowledge myself! Period!
The irony is, today itself I was coaching my client on how he was missing on looking at his progress & his constant focus was on his lack. "What he didn't do, haven't done, could have done etc.?" And he too said that intellectually he is aware of all of these but slips into this habit of looking at the lack. And so he never feels the happiness in the moment. It's true that we don't see our blind spots unless we do the work on ourselves to uncover it. And now I am just letting my thoughts flow without having any attachment to the outcome whatsoever. As I write, I get the clarity as to what is actually happening to me. It has nothing to do with drive or passion or thinking about another project; but a message that my physical being is giving me & that is: "Fill your cup. You have emptied it to support others that needed your energy & vibration. It's time to fill that up to be able to again start a new day with renewed power."
In similar lines, how many of you have forgotten to take care of yourself? If you have, it's time you don't put yourself down but rejuvenate yourself. Only from that space you can serve more powerfully. And the self-care can happen right from the simple act of giving self-love to oneself by just breathing deeply. Take care of your mind, body and soul to be able to multiply your energy & strength. Had I not chosen to sit in this discomfort & pen down what was happening, I wouldn't have arrived at this conclusion today. Yes, journaling is powerful! It is a great stress-buster. It gives clarity of thought & centers the mind. And sometimes just acknowledging your thoughts & emotions allow your mind to calm down. Just acknowledging the fact that it is there & letting it go, is enough to do the work. A small pause, slowing down, makes a huge difference. And journaling enables one to do that.
Love & respect,
"The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage." - Carrie Jones
How would ultimate success look like to you? "Metaphorically, it would be like standing at the peak of the Mount Everest with my arms wide open and feeling the breeze on my face. I will see the world from the top most point, I will hear an unusual calmness that I have been longing for & feel peace from within, a sense of freedom that I had never experienced before. And when I experience all of these, I will be sure of being successful." So, literally there was a starting point and an end point. A line segment, from point A to point B, that I had defined for myself to experience the feeling of being successful, free and calm. My happiness was attached to an outcome that I had defined for myself! Anything short of that won't make me happy.
The spotlight of my life was not on my present moment, but into the future. And as I craved for that experience, it went further & further. My present looked gloomy to me because I started to draw the line from the past and stretch it in a similar way that I am habituated to do. Picking on the excuses, explanations for not being able to make it happen despite of the desire, feeling frustrated at the results that I was creating for myself. Oblivious of the fact that the best that anyone can do is here & now, performing fully, to the best of your ability right here, right now! No dragging of lines from the past, or fixating on the future; but living the moment like painting a fresh new canvas everyday with renewed zeal & vigour, is the key to real happiness, a master's journey! And there is a master in each one of you only if you allow yourself to see that.
It is rightly said that when you live either in the past or the future, you live your own sweet lie, your cooked up story, denying the here & now. And so you loose out the possibility of creating the future that you desire. Because it is in here and now that your power lies. You can't go back and change things in the past nor can you guarantee that this is exactly what will happen in future. Here I am talking of future in a broader perspective. Power lies in this moment to create a new beginning from where you are and just perform earnestly & conscientiously what you want. It is in the process that you experience happiness, a sense of contribution; a feeling of worth and peace within. But can we accept whoever we are at this moment?! Can we shift the spotlight not to the past or to the future but to the present moment?! Are we ready to perform in the hot seat and in the moment experience everything that we are wanting to?! For that we need courage. Yes, courage to perform our life's tasks with the believe that we are self-reliant & we make a difference by just being who we are at this point. Psychologists say that the greatest needs of human beings are to feel worthy & to have a deep sense of belonging; community feeling. And we all do things to secretly meet these two needs. We focus more on the future & the past because it is easy to help us evade from our responsibilities & not muster the courage to act now.
Our feeling of worthiness comes from external achievements, rewards, recognition and eventually because we fear to be disliked and focus only on recognition as a sense of worth, we loose the freedom to live a life created by us but live a life defined by others where they are the guiding star who has the power to either give/take away recognition from us. And eventually we don't feel like making any contribution, nor get a sense of belonging to the larger community when we get rejected, when our growing expectations get rejected in the process. True feeling of worth comes from self-acceptance, building deep unconditional relationships with people & from that space contributing to the world right now, in the present in whichever way you would love to. This feeling is something created by you and is not dependent on anyone else but you.
If you really want to create an outcome, you do it no matter what. You don't pick excuses from past nor dwell into the future. But, sadly we spend most of our energy not on the now but every other thing. Once we get lost in this trap, until we muster the courage, we can't get out of it. We then constantly live in excuses fabricated by us; stories we create to cover everything up. We live a life of lie. And when we encounter someone living a life of freedom & real happiness, we detest or don't buy in because secretly it reminds us of our incapability and cowardice.
When you are ready to uncover deeper truths of life, you are given subtle hints. If you are conscious and mindful, you will be able to pick on the cues at right time. So, thankfully I picked on the cues that Universe was sending across me. Instead of feeling happiness and freedom only after climbing the mountain top, I realized wisdom lies in daring to let the spotlight shine on me now, shine a light on the here & now & from that space earnestly & conscientiously perform. It is in every performance that I derive that same metaphorical experience of being at the top of the Mount Everest.
What would you like to choose: run away from the spotlight adopting the escapist route or let the light shine on the here & now?
Love & respect,
"Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power."
Success on the outside has no value when there is no success inside. And ironically, because of various reasons and excuses, we tend to forget the inward journey. Or let's put it this way, in this humdrum existence & superficiality, we easily tend to get lost. We are more involved in making the outside world better than making our inner world radiant & vibrant. We start doing things for people who are important to us without even really understanding what they want. Best of all, we forget what excited us, what made us alive as a child & what we truly wanted. We forget/refrain from asking ourselves this question: "What's my real reason for being here & how can I muster the courage to act on it?" And so, like a rudderless boat, we keep sailing to eventually reach nowhere & keep leading others to the same destination. The way we lead ourselves in any area of our life is the way we lead ourselves in every aspect of our life. The basic dynamics never change however hard we may do otherwise. And we inspire our younger generation who is observing us, to lead in the same way. We do everything to look good from the outside, but sadly we do nothing to beautify our inner world. And what does your inner world consists of? Your powerful mind, your pure soul & your body that is an anchor to both of these. All of these has to grow in tandem. You can't do away one & outgrow the other.
For major part of my life, my focus was on the journey outside. May be that's why I was addicted to exploring new places, new routes & never satisfied. Hardly did I realize that there was an untapped place inside me that I never knew existed, and so never traveled to, until my intuition awakened me to do so. My quest is getting quenched as I walk the inward journey, unlike other times that made me more thirsty. This truly proves the adage,"You don't get enough of what you don't need." As I walk this inward journey, I find inner joy, purpose, fulfillment, forgiveness, gratitude, peace & meaning in my existence. Many more to uncover. And I am sure you must be wondering like any logical & highly driven leader/person: How do these have an impact in my productivity, creativity, performance, my aspirations etc. etc? How does this even impact the organization & the practical world that we live in? Yes, I too did have these thoughts of getting real, practical & not just talk spiritual because I didn't want to go to a no man's land & meditate there with no awareness of what I am doing & how it affected me. But, I realized there is so much power in these simple things as we call. It has the power to better our external world. What's the science behind this: tap your mind, you change your mindset and with a transformation there, your actions change and so does your results (inward & outward). Tap your physical energy, you tap your infinite vibrancy, vigour & zeal just like the younger you. Tap your soul power, you tap into the power of the Universe, your intuition, the collective power & can transcend to your highest self. And then, from that space what do you think you are going to create?! An entire new world, a world that you wanted to live, living your deepest dreams, having deep connections with self & others, mastering your skills & gifts, enabling self-leadership & discipline, personal growth & heightened awareness. As you tap into your infiniteness & potential deep inside, you carve out possibilities for yourself that you have never imagined. You are guided towards the miraculous outcomes effortlessly. And as you grow, you enable the growth in others too. And all of these intangibles lead to tangible results in your outer world. You kindle your inner fire to light up not just your world but the world of those whom you lead, nurture, inspire & care for.
Leadership is so easy only if you allow simplicity to creep in. But, in today's complexity, simplicity is hard. Sadly our focus has always been on complexity. And so we make every bit of thing complex to get the kick, drive and what not. Simplicity is hard because we have cultivated the habit of hoarding; hoarding everything that comes our way. As a result we can't identify the essential and do away with the rest. The famous artist Michelangelo quoted,"Every block of stone has a statue inside it & it is the task of the sculptor to discover it." To uncover that masterpiece in us, we have to dive inside to discover that by making our way through every complexity that we have created for ourselves.
How will a leader at the top lead an organization to the next highest level when he/she has never walked the inward journey to lead oneself towards excellence?! And the impact of this percolates down to not only the leader's life, but every life that he/she touches professionally & personally. It depends on the leader's choice to embrace Kaizen (a Japanese concept that means continuous incremental improvement) in his/her life. What kind of game he/she wants to play, it all depends on that. A game of mediocrity or a game of infinite excellence?! When the leader is ready, positive transformations starts happening in his/her life & other's lives too. Takeaway is: Self-mastery is the DNA of leadership mastery.
Love & respect,
"I keep a lot to myself because it is difficult to find people who understand me, not judge me & take advantage of me".
These are the exact words expressed by one of the executives at the top after a deep conversation around current challenges. Most of the successful & driven people that I have come across share the same piece of concern. What is your greatest challenge at this point in time? And to this they just say, "Combating loneliness. It's lonely at the top. It doesn't feel great. You miss being just heard genuinely. Most of the time it is the role that is being heard to & not the person embodying that role. You miss expressing yourself the way you want to. It looks like I have lost the freedom to experience myself." Being alone is one thing & feeling alone even when you are surrounded by people is another thing. And here I am referring to that latter feeling. It sucks and is painful! More so, research says that loneliness has been associated with problems like attention, stress, cognitive function & in worst scenarios also lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
WHAT PROPELLED YOU TO BE IN THIS SPACE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
When you let the external world decide how your life would turn out to be & allow it to define success for you, this is what happens gradually. You drift away from the very thing that you are craving for: that is deep connection. You can't have enough of what you don't need. Driven people are focused on getting things done, they are go-getters who achieve things quickly & are always on the look out for the next thing to tackle. They don't settle for low-hanging fruits but strive for the next big thing. They have an innate desire to stand out from the rest. Slowly this becomes a habit and a drive that becomes hard to resist. You start seeing everything from a lens of success & big picture pre-defined by the world & your influencers. And as you grow, you start playing the role of a self-critic to yourself. You lose sight of what truly matters for you. Yes, success is what is important for you but when success at all cost becomes the defining mantra for you, you slowly start losing that connection with yourself & others that truly matter to you. You outgrow your friends, communities, people in your life as you grow. You feel disconnected to most of the groups that you were a part of because of the journey that you have had. You cannot leave, nor you can cling on to. You are somewhere midway oscillating between the two extremes and trying to figure out how to combat this. Leaving is painful & hanging in there is unfulfilling! And thus you slowly loose the connect and feel lonely despite of being a part of so many groups, communities and the like. There can be numerous reasons for you to have arrived in this space. Some might be due to voluntary choices that you had to choose from what you had; some might just be an unconscious pattern of life that you follow through. But the fact is, this space isn't serving you because it is taking up lot of your time & energy. Loneliness is depleting & so something needs to be done to combat that.
COMMON MEDIUMS ADOPTED TO COMBAT LONELINESS
Numbing oneself from feeling this loneliness with other distractions such as forming new unfulfilling & unavailable connections, going the virtual way, being busy in the social media, partying, travelling etc. All these are nothing but tactics to run away from loneliness to eventually land up being more lonelier. Inability to figure this out leads to stress and anxiety. This is a vicious cycle, a never ending one & it is up to you to decide to cut it once & for all.
When you are not comfortable with who you are, with your own self; when you have gone to that spectrum of your being that becomes so unfamiliar to you that you start doubting yourself & your very essence is where the first disconnect starts. When you are connected deeply to who you are, you are connected to the source of every origin. And from that space, no amount of loneliness shall be experienced. But when we go afar in the journey and get lost amidst the crowd is when we feel lost & lonely. We fail to see connections within & outside of us.
SUGGESTED GROWTH STRATEGY FOR HIGHLY DRIVEN & SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE TO FORM DEEP & FULFILLING INNER CONNECTIONS WITH SELF & OTHERS
Wishing you a life that is fulfilling, abundant & having meaningful connections for you to be able to experience the authenticity & greatness within.
Love & respect,
“NEVER CONFUSE A SINGLE DEFEAT WITH A FINAL DEFEAT.” – F SCOTT FITZGERALD
Until I worked with my coach, I didn’t realize that the memories of my past failures, negative beliefs, low self esteem & self-image was sabotaging my own growth & success. I was stuck & so were my clients. I could take them deeper only to the level that I dared to go & not beyond. This reminds me of the words of a Master Coach, “You can take your clients as deep as you have gone yourself.” What did this exactly mean?! I wondered as I started my journey as a professional coach two years back. All I was excited about then was to get certified, credentialed, head towards the magnificent & elite world of coaches & make positive difference. But as I progressed in this journey, I realized that it is very important to uncover the blind spots that are there in each & every one of us. However successful we might be, there is always scope for improvement! This mere realization shifted my being. And so, I decided to have my own coach to enable me to see through everything that I resisted.
A SHIFT IN MY OWN BEING AS A COACH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE
That day I was confused & was unable to decide what to choose from. Another certification to stand out from the crowd or hire my own coach to do the deep inner work. Why was I wanting to go ahead with another certification? What was my underlying motive for getting one? I realized that certification was another validation for me that I unconsciously sought for; but transformative work with my coach was for myself to take me to the next level. This required me to shift my awareness of myself, work on my leadership depth & be edgy to do something that I was uncomfortable doing. A shift in my being is more important than anything else! I chose to be vulnerable & retrospect. Some questions that came up for me and that helped me to make the choice were:
FAILURE QUOTIENT: BEING ABLE TO USE FAILURES TO ADVANCE IN YOUR LIFE
Here’s how I redefined my failure quotient and started playing fearlessly in my journey as a coach. I used to be fearful of failures. My failure quotient was very low! Noteworthy that the failure quotient of highly successful people is usually very high. Being a topper all throughout my school life, when I first tasted failure during the crucial transitioning period to adulthood, I felt very humiliated and lost. I couldn’t take that failure. Although intellectually I knew the benefits of graciously failing, a part of me rejected failures since then. If I look at my patterns, I started to play low after that one failure. I was devasted and subconsciously imprinted a negative self-image and lowered the bar for myself. Although I looked very confident from outside, I felt very low from the inside. As the author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Secret”, Rhonda Byrne says, “You attract what you think about most.” And so, I was attracting everything that would prove this belief of mine to be true. I played only to that level that I was sure of winning to escape from the pain of failures. This was nothing but a sheer way of blocking myself from exponential growth. The moment I was about to take the leap to the next level, I sabotaged it unconsciously & repeated my old patterns to find me in the same vicious cycle. Only if I won an award, a trophy, a certificate or the like, I felt validated and it was a boost to my self-worth. Ultimately, I had to challenge my old patterns and form new ones that would serve me. Today, I am confident from inside and don’t seek for any validation. I look forward to failing and have raised my bar. I have redefined my failure quotient! And I am glad I did that. I have sailed my journey from the comfort zone, through the fear zone, surpassing the learning zone and finally to the growth zone. I give credit to my coach for this transition. And I have also realized that the more coachable you are, better a coach you become.
Feedback, the word itself gives a beautiful understanding of the concept. Feed means to give and back means from furthest from the front. If you combine the two, it means giving from a point where you are not into it but far away to be able to see the whole picture. Feedback means to give back a critical information that would add value to the overall intent & goal achievement in a positive way. But the question is, do we really give the feedback or we impose our believes & views on to it? This reflection will make a great shift in the way the feedback is perceived, received & eventually holds the capacity to improve & excel. Sadly, we don't give feedback but we give our point of view only and want this to be accepted. Any good feedback holds the power to transform the course of actions, thereby enabling it to move towards the direction of the goal. You can pick any instance from your experience at work or generally. Whenever you feel that your feedback is not creating any ripple effect as it should, take a pause to see where you are faltering, where is the loophole, where are you missing out, what's the missing piece that will enable the feedback to be powerful enough to be accepted & taken into account.
Here I am quoting an instance where an executive came to me & shared the inability to give critical feedback and about its futility since the receiver hasn't shown any improvement in behaviour, productivity nor any concrete positive result as expected despite of the numerous feedback that was given. And what happens in such a scenario? We get defensive and try to prove our points and in this attempt, our intent of giving the feedback gets lost altogether. Well, here goes the conversation.
Me: Do you really want to see positive results?
Executive: Yes, of course. That's why I am bringing this up to you.
Me: Will you be willing to accept & adopt ways that may not be the usual ones but different from what you have been doing so far?
Executive: Hesitantly, "Yes, if that helps."
Food for thought: We all want to adopt short-cuts. We have no time to reflect on something that might be useful for us in the long run. We fail to see that these short-cuts are creating nothing but putting us back to our challenges again and again just taking longer time & leaving us in the illusion of creating results. Time we wake up!
Me: Great then. You have tried to do it in ways you thought was appropriate, but you didn't get the desired results. I would like you to reflect on these questions and come to me again with the answers, insights that you will have upon reflection.
Executive: Sure. But I don't want to waste time. I want this to be fast.
Me: You have already wasted much time giving numerous feedback which didn't work out. Will you take responsibility for that and the impact it had on your work & that of the team's? Can you just slow down a bit to be able to pace up soon?
Executive: Yes, I know that and understand what you are saying. Please tell me what I need to reflect upon.
This happened more in a conversational way but I am just laying out in the form of questions.So, here they are:
There were lot many questions like this and finally to my pleasant surprise (which actually is not a surprise because I had faith in the Executive's potential, wisdom & ability) the executive came up with some beautiful revelations that I am going to share with you in the form of some tips that will help you to give feedback that is well received, elicit actions & brings about positive transformation.
And as an outcome of all these, the executive could make that shift and evoke desired response from the team member that led to increased productivity & performance.
Next time you blame someone for not receiving your feedback, look within; reflect what you can do to change that. By doing this you regain the power to transform and not by holding another responsible for the outcome that you are unable to create. To be in this space, lot of awareness & openness is required. And great leaders cultivate that and so they hold the capacity to bring about change & live a life that looks impossible & daunting to many.
What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make and what kind of leader you want to be. The choice is absolutely yours. Whenever you are ready & willing, I will be happy to have a conversation to support you to be that leader that you wish to be.
Believing in you,
As a young girl,
I looked for this 'love pearl';
I looked here & there...
But in despair.
I longed for true someone,
In whom, I wished to cling on;
I hoped to see myself with my special someone,
But alas! From my own self I'd run.
I kept running & running,
I was exhausted living in my fantasies;
Hoping to find that perfect thing...
Called love; connection deep & wise.
My first breakthrough in love,
Was when I realized it resides within;
And that no one is responsible for your experience of love,
But only you can feel it in.
Self-love is the first seed,
Which we hardly ever sow & pay heed;
We look outside,
To fill a vacuum inside.
Love is infinite,
Love is the light;
That ignites our soul,
To experience who we are as a whole.
It has no bounds, no limitations,
It is not reserved for few or special someone;
But abundant & deep enough to embrace every spirit,
You can feel it in every rhythm of your heart beat.
Love is our natural source,
Love is divine;
Love is not possession,
Love is not attachment;
Love is free,
Love is kind,
Love is compassion.
Love is a power that keeps us alive,
Love is your experience of life;
Love is just not for any person or any thing,
But love is your experience of your essence, your being.
That's my breakthrough in love,
That's my discovery about love;
My search ends here,
And my experience starts & that's my treasure.
Coach to People Leaders, Entrepreneurs & Transitioning professionals