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...
"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,
I was at the famous Murchie's Tea & Coffee at Victoria reflecting on my experience of THE Intensive, a coach workshop that I had come to attend to; hosted by two extra-ordinary coaches who have done deep transformative work on themselves & who chose not to just be content at being credentialed coaches but to keep raising the bar for themselves & the coaching industry. Yes, I flew all the way from India because I knew this is going to be different. Somehow I love to learn from such coaches; it makes me happy, fulfilled & content of the fact that I am at the right place, in the right room full of genuinity & radiance. So, here I am basking in my own thoughts, reading the book, "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon gifted to us by coach Adam Quiney & Bay LeBlanc Quiney during the workshop(To know more about Adam & Bay, click here). As I was sipping my hot coffee & reading through the lines of the first page of the book, something just struck me. It caught my attention & made me think. It read, "Give what you have. To someone it may be better than you dare to think." And this is so true! We hold back and don't share our work, our ideas, our views etc. hoping for the perfect day to come, hoping to master the craft & then share; fearing our work might be stolen; believing that we might be like a dumb person sharing without any reason or being called for. We can add on to this list of judgments that we make about self & others & thus hold back. We do this often and yet feel guilt & shame for avoiding what we want to do. We make peace with this avoidance & numb the pain with other things. You might as well choose to say I never do this. This way you are just putting yourself back into your box, unaware of your own blind spots. We remain in our box again & again. We gravitate towards it and that's who we are until we choose to ask ourselves this powerful question: "Where might I be doing this in my life?".
Just as I was about to get inside my box again after this awakening, my inner voice told me: "Look at you! Did you hear what others think of you?! What they think your essence is?! Did you truly believe them or ignored?" We were given an activity during the workshop to discuss about the essence of every person that we see through our eyes. And my group members shared some amazing stuffs about me & it was hard to believe it myself. I was embarrassed for putting myself down for such a long time, for not believing who truly I am. The group that I worked with in the workshop, were strangers to me & they didn't know who I was, neither did they have any vested interest to share good stuff about me with me; but they saw in me what I didn't. They saw radiance, brilliance, possibilities, wisdom, groundedness, feminine power, free spirit in me that I hadn't viscerally acknowledged. Intellectually may be I owned that, but viscerally I didn't and hence I refrained from showing myself, my work to the world. I knew there are people out there in the world who would love what I do, my work, my ideas & what uniqueness I bring in, only if I allow that to happen. Well, I have come a long way in this; blogging & you-tubing are few ways of showing my work to my niche community, the community of people who would relate to me & understand me. But, it's just the beginning & I am glad I have made that start. It is scary, fearful & uncomfortable; but much better than sitting in avoidance and not creating your possibilities. I want my obituary to be awesome after all!
See we all have the essence in us. It's like a light bulb that lights up at the back of our head which every person can see except us. May be we too got a glimpse of it when we were just born; but we were too caught up with other things but notice our essence. And thus chose to operate from fear. As a result of which, we over or under express our essence. Just being conscious of this phenomenon is powerful! Making sense?! Try it out to see for yourself. What did I get by holding back?! Certainty of who I am, but missed out exploring my possibilities; comfort of being inside my box using my survival mechanisms but missed out on experiencing the evolved & radiant me. Was fine with what I had in life, but failed to embrace the other spectrum of being not fine. Because only when you allow yourself to experience both the sides of the spectrum, you truly can embrace & enjoy every emotion(positive or negative) & experience life in totality. In letting go off our old ways, we discover new ones. In letting go off the contentment, we realize what we are running away & numbing ourselves from. More guarded you are, more you stand in your own way of feeling even the goodness in your life with the power & velocity that it might have been possible for you. Because the possibilities of the spectrum is infinite! As you expand, it expands. Evolution is never upwards but it's like going up & down and up & down for you to experience its power. As I learnt this beautiful acronym during the workshop for the word FINE (Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional or Emotionally unavailable), I realized that many a times we just say a plain "Fine" we are not being aware of the underlying experience of the emotion (energy in motion). So, next time you say you are fine or hear someone saying it, know that there's hell lot of emotions running beneath the surface of your fineness which you might be aware or not even aware. Whether you own it & dare to accept it & dive in to explore, is completely your choice, depends on your being: if it is fear-sourced or love-sourced in essence. And showing your work is just like that. You have to be courageous enough to be seen, copied, stolen & ridiculed or praised but yet you show it no matter what because you don't want your essence to die out & fizzle but show up in the world as it is. And this piece of thought, my insight is what I have to give you, may be you might not resonate with what I had to share or add some more from your story & create a new insight for you to create magic & miracle in your life. After all you need to first enroll yourself to your dream, the possibilities that you can create. I don't need to do this for you because you are whole, complete & full.
Want to figure out how you can start doing your deep work, I recommend you hire a coach.
Love & radiance,
The joy of uncovering our blind spots is so fulfilling because it leaves you shifting your being which is the key towards massive growth & transformation within you. When your being shifts, your actions will accordingly shift and so your results. Today I uncovered yet another blind spot in me where I realized that more than living my own values, I was actually expecting others to live those values. This realization gets triggered at the most vulnerable situations, when you are in the grip of your limiting mind, when you are under stress. It is rightly said that if you have to know the true personality of a person, you have to see him/her at his/her lowest points. How one behaves during these periods will actually reflect what insecurities they have, what fears they are holding on to & what their inner world without masks & armours truly look like?! In moments of despair, we usually give in and we project our inner self. Not that our inner self is not good or so, but we then get aware of which space we are operating from: fear based or love based.
We all have values that we uphold, our actions are shaped by our values. But many a times, we don't realize that living our values is different from expecting others to live by our values. Even I didn't have that awareness until I uncovered that blind spot in me today. And I am so glad to have got in touch with that side of me. Values are what we uphold to be important to us & that which influences our behaviours and attitudes. My top values are: freedom, fulfillment, joy, authenticity, empathy & abundance. Great values to have! But, at moments when we are not at the centre of our being, at moments when we are out of balance, is the moment when we need to uphold our values most because it will serve us since it defines our identity, our actions that makes who we are. Noticeably during these moments we don't live by our values & instead expect others to live by our values. How? Let me share an instance. I arrived late for a meeting by 2 mins or so. The person with whom I had the meeting scheduled was upset and the body language reflected that. This was my perception though! Before the person said something to me, I clarified why I was late & expected the person to empathize with me. But that really didn't happen and the person started to question me & I felt judged. Here I was sitting feeling judged and not being empathized. I was completely zoned out because I had a very high benchmark for the person & that it wasn't matching up to that really irritated me. I sat in that anxiety and was flooding my mind with all sorts of judgement around the person. Later, after centering myself again, I realized that I was the one judging the person and not empathizing with. Empathy & authenticity are my values and I wasn't living those at that moment but expecting the person to empathize with me and be authentic too. Because I wasn't living my values & I was expecting the other person to live my values, I withdrew myself from being totally present in the moment, from giving my committed listening and hence my actions weren't serving me & the intent of the entire meeting got lost till I got back to my senses and reminded myself of the fact that I need to empathize and be authentic. That small shift just changed the entire dynamics of the meeting and eventually it turned out to be a fruitful one but with a massive breakthrough for me.
Many a times, in organizations also, we carve out these values yet we forget to uphold them. We expect employees to abide by them. The leaders who create these organizational values don't live by them and expect every other person to adhere to these. Leadership is beyond forcing but inspiring. And you inspire others not by saying but by being what you want them to be. Likewise, pick up any relationship in your life. May be with your spouse, child, sibling, colleagues, friends etc. Notice that many a times we don't do what we want them to do for us. If we want love, we must first give them love; if we want them to be truthful, we have to be truthful first. Do think over? What serves us powerfully: living our values or expecting others to abide by our values? Our values are unique to us. And more importantly, values have to be just lived without any inner benchmark. Benchmark will derail you. But simply living the values will empower you. Nothing external can trigger you if you live by your values in every situation and not just put the power on external locus of control like expectations from others.
Love & light,
We always hear about this concept called inclusion. Inclusion of women in top leadership positions, board rooms and breaking the glass ceiling and the like. I was wondering, if leadership only confines to board rooms and top corporate positions. If this is the case, then why we don't find women in these positions much?! Data says that there are very few women in these positions. It's not because women are incapable or any less than their men counterparts but because women choose to have different priorities after a given point in time. This is not a generalized statement but for most of the women who take a break after escalating to a certain point in their career is not because they aren't serious about their work/career; not because they couldn't cut through the glass ceiling; not that she is less a leader to lead her way up the ladder but because she chooses to cater to a different leadership role which many still don't understand and acknowledge. That leadership is still looked down upon & taken for granted; many a times not valued at all. Perception and conditioning problem!
For many, having a great career is all that they aspire for and prioritize. But for others, they want a balanced life having it all: a fulfilling career, loving relationships, happy & responsible kid/kids; nurturing me-time and above all meaningful contribution to life. What's the joy in getting promoted to the board-room and the top leadership position when your loved ones are waiting for you to spend some time with you, when your child needs no one else but your presence to experience a joyous moment in life & many more? It is so easy to scale up the corporate ladder when you don't have to pay attention to anything else but your sole career and your role! But when you consciously give up something that you love, to cater to other things that equally demands your attention, is to me leadership. I am not here talking about sacrifice and all; but a choice to choose from many options available: be just a professional leader or be a holistic leader who manages things not only at the work front but at the home front too.
Today because this choice is so hard to make, we see so many problems at the personal front. Broken relationships, difficult to handle kids, no meaningful existence etc. The child counselors and adolescent coaches are on the rise now-a-days, relationship coaches are on the rise. We are creating and leading in the professional world but remember that it is the women leaders at the back-burner who is doing a fantastic job at the backstage because of which the leadership at the board-room and at the top positions are possible. If we really want to talk about inclusion, let's first ask the woman what she wants and what will really make her happy: a board-room inclusion or an inclusion in your mindset that only defines leadership in a particular way and discards every other? Leadership to me is going beyond self and contributing towards the betterment not only of a particular segment that you are leading but also paving the way for a matured, meaningful and joyful world.
While I was at Mumbai, I took a woman driver cab from airport to my place of stay. I got to know so many things from her during my brief stint with her. She drives to take care of her family, she has an ailing husband who lost his job and is at home for the past six months or so; a child who goes to school and an old mother-in-law. She takes care of everyone in her family and is the sole bread-earner now. To me she is a woman leader in her own great capacity. I booked her cab again while driving back to the airport somewhere at 4:30 am. She was there and I felt so safe with her. That was Mumbai which is a safe place for women. But still the big question that leaves me pondering is: Are we living in an inclusive society? Most important of all, do we have an inclusive mindset? Can we think beyond the leadership titles, board-rooms and stereotype leadership roles or can we open our minds to new possibilities? Once you choose to look at women leadership from an absolute new angle, you will find many women leaders who have been facilitating your growth, your journey and your aspirations. They are burning like the candle, consuming themselves to light up their loved one's world. Leadership is not about power but your ability to empower others. So, who is a true leader then? One who just leads or one who empowers you to be able to lead in the world? If you still can't find any, then probably you need to look deep down and ask yourself: What is the mindset that you have? What is the opinion you have about women leadership? What is the judgement that you have made about them? Only then you are deemed fit to sit and decide the future of women including their inclusion in board-rooms and top leadership position.
Let's redefine women leadership. Particularly in today's world where the entire dynamics of work and culture is changing, it is important to change our mindsets first and redefine our assumptions around women leadership. She is more than what is mostly thought about her.
P.S. I am not a feminist but I always try to portray in my writings what I see and experience generally.
Love & light,
I am a big fan of Simon Sinek because of his work, his thoughts and ideas. I find sync in what he does and I wish to imbibe the learnings in my life and profession. For those who is not familiar with Simon, he is a leadership guru, professor at Columbia University, founder of SinekPartners (Corporate Refocusing) and author. He is best known for popularizing the concept of “the golden circle” and to “Start With Why“. I chanced upon a beautiful video by Simon this morning and I found this to be so in tune with myself. The video talked about finite goals vs. infinite goals. I always had finite goals in my life. I always had plans in place for everything I did. Although I was spontaneous with certain things, but as far as my major goals in life were concerned, I always had finite goals set and I achieved them. But with every achievement, I felt the strong inquiry deep within me: What next now? I didn't really acknowledge myself for growing in that space of attainment of the goal. Even if I did celebrate my achievements, I didn't viscerally feel it. As a hind-side, my expectations of others were the same. My acknowledgements of others were as cold as my self-acknowledgements. In fact, the joy after every achievement was not as great as the zeal to get to the goal was. I didn't know how to enjoy the journey because majorly my focus was on achieving the goal. Life is infinite, our careers are infinite and so are the experiences. Along with the achievements, there were regrets of losing out on certain aspects, certain sacrifices and many more. And when I didn't achieve some of my goals, there was sheer resentment and shame for self. As if I never learnt to embrace the joy of learning and the growth that happened inside of me because of playing that game no matter the win or lose. After hearing Simon talk about finite goals, I realized that all my life I had set such goals and I didn't know how to convert these goals into infinite so that I find more fulfillment and joy in what I do. Converting finite goals to infinite means, how you now after having attained what you wanted to, become better and better at it. Because that is something infinite and boundless and not just restricted to just achieving the goal but getting better at what you achieved.
Of late, I have been interviewing inspiring leaders with an intent to know their inside world so that I can pen these observations & learnings in the form of a book that I want to gift to the world. I have spoken to quite a few of them, all high-achievers, excellent performers in their choice of field. But one thing was common: many acknowledged that there was no fulfillment, they looked for the next goal, there was vacuum inside, loneliness at being who they are etc. Some of these were acknowledged and some weren't. I could relate to them because I saw a reflection of me in them when they shared this. And today's video by Simon just was a bull's eye to this entire experience. When you focus on finite goals, you just focus on achieving it without really enjoying the journey. You focus on everything that you encounter with the lens of how this would help me in getting to my goal. You become absorbed in attaining that goal and hence, when you achieve that you don't derive any fulfillment in that because that was majorly focused on achieving and not on contribution bigger than self; majorly on feeling good and not on making a difference; on either success or failure and not on the journey of evolution as a result of embarking on that journey. Finite goals are fixated but infinite goals are filled with possibilities and limitlessness. One talks about achievement and the other focuses on potential and growth. It is important to find fulfillment by being on the journey and not just achieving it. There's nothing wrong in achievement but when that becomes an addiction and not a source of joy, you miss out on the major aspect of your being and who you are becoming/evolving in that journey. When the focus is on others, their growth and not on me, there is more joy in attaining those goals. The power is always in the journey. Goals are about what you become in achieving your goals not what you get. Getting is the finish line but goals are infinite and so are the possibilities of creation.
To play the infinite game, you need your will and resources to keep playing no matter the win or loose and then create infinite possibilities for yourself and others. There is scope for improvement in all of us. It's a matter of choice though to keep playing this game and realize your truest potential. Some of the questions that you can ask yourself to set infinite goals for 2019:
What empowers you to preserve even when you feel like giving up?
Are you up to be your better version of self to fulfill your bigger cause?
What would you like to leave behind you to outlast your finite presence and contribution?
Are you choosing the finite goal or infinite goal in 2019?
Love and warmth, Priyanka
Every session with my clients is like a new project for me. It enlivens me and makes me come home to myself. It is an opportunity for me to learn something new, to uncover another layer of oblivion, believing in the strength within, trusting my body as my tool to lead me forward, because it holds everything inside its space: my mind, my soul, my emotions, my wisdom, my experiences, my beliefs, my memories, everything you name it. Nothing is outside of it. I share my time and engage in an energy exchange with them that leaves me with gratitude every time I see them grow across all the four bodies: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual because I then feel the growth inside of me too. It's a parallel journey and worth the take.
I was wondering what is that I find fulfillment in, after every session?! Is it because they have come closer to their goal? Is it because they are happy? Is it because one of their challenges got resolved? Is it because they are progressing in their path? Yes, for sure it includes all of these. But, there is something more. What is it exactly that gives me inner joy? My inner voice smiles and I fall in love with it again. I realized, it is the process of connecting with the other person on a deeper level where he/she becomes vulnerable, lays the trust and shows that side which is hidden from the world, it is like sharing their world with me during that time that holds my heart, that time, that space which tells,"Yes, I trust you and so showing you that side of me which I am afraid of myself, which I know is not so good in me; yet I know you will be beside me to lead me out, belief in my limitations and not judge me". Uncovering of the essence, the real you is what connects me to them and vice-versa and thus fills me up with deep joy, fulfillment, love and gratitude. When you get the glimpse of the genius, when you get to see the purity inside, the infinite possibilities, it transforms you because there is exchange of positive vibes which enables growth in both. As I see the light within, I realize how easy this is for them to take the next leap. I am filled with compassion at knowing their greatness, their strengths, their limitlessness. This reminds me of Simon Sinek's video on: "Why Leaders Eat Last?" There he talks about the hormones that are activated in our body based on certain activities that we do, he calls this model as EDSO. Endorphine are designed to mask physical pain; Dopamine are activated when we achieve a goal, complete a task. But these two hormones are selfish chemicals that lead to addiction. Serotonin makes us feel valuable. It is the leadership chemical as he calls it. With a release of this hormone, the confidence level goes up. Oxytocin is released when there is feeling of trust, friendship and love. Doing good things for others, giving your time and energy actually increases Oxytocin in your body and makes you feel happy, fulfilled and joyous. So, every time I coach, my Oxytocin goes up and I feel joy, love and fulfillment from within. Here's the video for you to have a better understanding about this entire model:
What I have learnt being a Coach?
- Your body is one of the greatest tool that you can have to feel what your client is feeling, to sense what they are thinking, to use your intuition when you have less data to support you. Because there is much beyond data and numbers; there is infinite wisdom within.
- To take your clients deep to their basement where their essence lies which will support deep, lasting transformation; you have to first do the deep work yourself to enable that mirroring to happen effortlessly. So, have a great Coach by your side to take you on that journey always.Be coachable.
- Be vulnerable first with your clients for them to trust you to be vulnerable with you.
- Make the four agreements to yourself: being impeccable with your words because you know the power of words, do not assume anything, don't take things personally and always give your best no matter what the situation, response or expectations are. Assumptions will ruin you and rob you off your soul and your ability to see the holistic picture.
- Last but not the least, a Coach is like a leader (who makes the client feel safe while going towards the deep corridors of their inner basement uncovering their strategic self because you know growth lies there); like a parent (who nurtures and cares yet challenges when required) and an ally who draws out the greatness in the individual and commits to support, walk the unknown territory, goes deep down to take the person to a place that he/she otherwise wouldn't be comfortable going, yet making them feel safe, valued and enabling them to enjoy & celebrate their wholeness.
And the most important of all learning: Learning is a journey and not a destination. So, keep learning everyday, every moment and keep making difference to others' lives & yours too. More work you do on self, more you evolve as a Coach & more impact you can create in your clients' lives. Coaching is leadership at its pivotal experience.
Love & warmth, Priyanka
Coach to People Leaders, Entrepreneurs & Transitioning professionals