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...
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.
As we are progressing, as technology is facilitating connections, giving us new ways to interact with one another, we are becoming more & more disconnected. Technology is not the problem, but our ability to use our wisdom is! We have lost it. We have lost our ability to sieve high quality from low, from what is real to superficial, we have been conditioned & molded to believe what is just projected to us. We have lost our ability to decide, gauge & even reflect on what should be believed, absorbed, held on to & let go.
This blog is an outcome of many incidents & awakening that I have experienced over the last few days/weeks. I see many people posting their best pictures, best days, their highest thoughts, their success stories etc. etc in the social platforms likes Facebook, LinkedIn & tweet about their best ideas/thoughts. Whether they uphold it or not, that's a different debate altogether. All these things are good momentarily but very distracting & short-lived. At least to me this doesn't create any impact because behind the reels, another reality lies. A reality that you are running away from, a reality that you are finding hard to acknowledge & accept, a reality that you have become uncomfortable with because of all the illusions that you created. The rat race of being seen as the best is increasing amongst people & this pains me. Sometimes I too get tempted to be in this race when I see the world just believing in what is shown & not taking a moment to reflect, use their wisdom to figure out what is true & what is fake. But then fortunately I can see the consequence of that choice which I know is short lived & not fulfilling to me. Slowly, rather than creating an impact, your focus gets shifted to how I can get admiration & approval for being best, seen as best. And for sure, that's not my intent.
The saddest part is, in this chaos when someone genuinely puts something concrete, of value & impact, we ignore it; rather it gets ignored amidst the fake. A habit of being in haste is slowly getting formed. Majority of the people don't even realize that they are being influenced by this social "seen as best" revolution which isn't taking them anywhere. And a new form of disorder is taking shape: Social Media Obsession & Anxiety. Read more about this. Hail Google!
Recently an incident happened & it shook me to the core. One of the acquaintances who was always projecting the best on the social media, suddenly gave up on his life. This news was shocking for me! What happened & why? Everything seemed alright. Life on the social media seemed so good. No one could even doubt that something substantial was happening on the inside that was hidden from the world. Something so troubling that one decided to end one's life?! Based on what was shown, nobody even cared to look past the projection. Nobody cared to even ask just one simple question: "Is everything ok?" We assume that everything is fine. But trust me, things may not be as it is shown. Deep down the reality may be very different. This is a trap that we are trapped in!
Many years ago I saw a couple posting pictures of them projecting their best into the world. They were one of the couples who set couple goals for others to follow & imbibe. And months later, I got to know that the man committed suicide because of some personal relationship issues. This shook me. What's wrong with us? Social media is here to facilitate connections & not to enable our attachment to our best projections. We are human! We have ups & downs. We have problems in our career, relationships & its okay to have these. What if we choose to drop the projections & show what's real without packaging, filtering & sugar-coating? What's the fear? Fear of abandonment, rejection, looked down upon? Do you then think that those individuals who only puts you in the pedestal for your projections, worth your time & effort? Who are you then putting down by holding on to them? If not dropping it altogether, can we at least choose & care to ask: "How are you?" That would make a lot of difference in someone's life. And I say this from my own experience & encounter with people. They have huge follower-ship but say, "I don't have a real connection or a real friend. They all come to me for some ulterior motives not because they care for me." Isn't this a sad state of affair? They cry in front of me, they share their stories, their pain, their concerns but that doesn't make them bad, low or unappealing. That doesn't mean that they are not having good memories or goodness in life. All it means is you are human & its okay to be real, to embrace yourself with all your imperfections, challenges, dark sides.
Our work is not to be perfect but be real. So, drop the mask, the projection & be real. At least if not anything, you will give flame to a movement where people will be comfortable being themselves, being seen as they are. Living your life is more important than the petty projections! Sooner you realize, you will make a better & meaningful living for yourself & your significant others. I would be keen on seeing that real self in you; no filter, no projection, no packaging but the real you. Let's use technology to connect with that person & not ignite the "seen as being best" race. Likewise, let's see the real talent, the potential, the possibilities, the real value, the depth & not just the projection. This way we will create a better world for us & generations to come. I take the responsibility for creating an environment for people where sadly projection is given more importance than substance & reality. Will you too? If yes, start from today. Acknowledge a person who is real; reach out to one person & ask how he/she is. Read beneath the lines & make a difference, save a life.
This blog is my gift to you to ignite this awareness in you to hold on to reality & let go projection.
Believing in you,
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.” - Roy T. Bennett
Many a times we tend to tell our story more than listening to what others have to say to us. We want to sound good, look good in another's eye, as if we are competing to prove who is better and in that space we tend to forget the very intent of having the conversation in the first place. As as result of this what happens? We don't connect with another person, neither do we create any impact in their nor our lives. I have often been told that while I am in conversation with another person, I make them feel comfortable; comfortable to that extent that they share some of the deepest secrets with me that they had never shared with another person. This makes me happy, but at the same time I used to wonder what did I do differently to enable that! I didn't apply any technique/tool, then what?! When they asked me as to how I did that, I had no answer because I actually didn't do anything consciously, neither tried to project something on to them. All I did was listened deeply, got really curious about the person & what he/she had to say. Undoubtedly, I am a very curious person and I just go with the flow out of that curiosity. I forget everything at that moment and just allow my curious mind to take the lead. I let them say that they always wanted to say but were too intimated by other's clever words that they just shunned themselves away. Well, here the point that I am making is not about me but about deep listening, about understanding another from their perspective, about accepting & respecting another as they are, creating a safe space for them to share & be comfortable and to do this, all you need is genuine curiosity.
Curiosity is caring in action! You can get curious only when the focus is not you but the person in front of you; when he/she is more important than yourself at that moment and that comes only out of sheer care for the person. And how has that curiosity helped me & the person?! It helped me save lives of people, transform people's perspective for good, helped them find solutions to their problems, helped them take off burdens that they had been carrying all throughout their lives. By this simple way, I have helped individuals who wanted to end their lives not give up but see for possibility amidst adversity; not give up on their dreams but believe in their innate gifts & uncertainty to be able to make it come true; people into addiction recover & give up addiction to be able to replace that with something not to numb their pain but feel it to let it out; have helped people to grieve, let out their emotions & not be left alone; the list is long. In fact, I acknowledge myself for today instilling hope in a person who wanted to end the life out of sheer distress and loss of hope in possibilities & self. And yes, that's a huge difference that I could have made to them. They say that and that makes a difference to me. The light that I see in their eyes, the spark in their voice, the shift in their being after the conversation is what gives me immense pleasure of having made an impact, a difference. Imagine what will happen when you simply get curious?! I hear from a lot of professionals/individuals who are leading teams, building teams, wanting to form deep connections, wanting to create long lasting relationships both personally & professionally but with failed attempts. My invitation to them is to ask one question to oneself: How curious you are?
As I dug deeper, I found that beneath that curiosity was the genuine care & compassion for the person. As I got curious, I also brought empathy & care along with that curiosity. I wasn't just collecting random data to create something out of that but caring for the person in front of me, who to me had so much to share & speak. Compassion doesn't come from having experienced someone's life experience but through imagination. When you use your mind to creatively think what they must have gone through, you are filled with compassion & love. So, to me to form deeper connections you need the 3 Cs: Curiosity, Care & Compassion. The more time you spend in questions starting with "what and why", you will figure out the answers to "how". And only with curiosity you can uncover the "whats & whys". The answers to "hows" is a by-product of how well you spent your time figuring out the "whats & whys". Last but not the least, it is important to get curious without attachment. Because if you are in it, you can't see the perspective outside of it but similar to what the person is saying & that won't make much of a difference because then you are putting back the person to the same box that he/she is in. And if you are wondering what box I am talking about, do feel free to read my previous blog to get more insights into that.
I am curious to know what's coming up for you at this moment after going through this blog. Can't stop myself & my curiosity! Get curious!
Believing in you,
Life & Leadership Coach