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Wednesday, 8 September 2021

The ABC of Success

When you find yourself struggling to succeed, what do you most dwell on?





You may find yourself thinking or addressing any or many of the above, but still, you may find success elusive. The reason success may still be out of your reach could be because of the way you may be approaching success. You may not have prepared yourself for success and this is exactly when you need to pay attention to the basic building blocks of success.

If there's not much clarity about the process, then it will always be a struggle to reach your destination. At times, you need to go back to the basics and work towards getting them right. Success is built by focusing on the fundamentals of preparing well and being ready to be successful. 

Getting your ABC right will set you on the path to achieving sustained success. 

Here's how the ABC of Success looks like     

A for ATTITUDE - This is at the core of the effort you put in for being successful. The right mindset is what differentiates success from failure. When you approach things and situations with positive intent and with a focus on giving your best, results will always be favorable for you. If your attitude determines your altitude, then carry the one (attitude) that's progressive and empowering.

B for BELIEFS - So many times, success is withheld because of our disempowering beliefs, which render us confused and immobile. The perceptions and views we hold about things and situations may make or break our quest for success. Challenge the beliefs that are a hindrance to your success and this will open up many new avenues and opportunities to realize your dreams and accomplish your goals. Be open to accept new perspectives on things and this will help you move out of your comfort zone, and lead you to accomplish more.         

C for CHOICES - Your everyday choices keep defining the course of your life and career. Let the choices you make be defined by your need to keep progressing towards your goals. Not every choice may turn out to be the right one every time but the learnings therein could help us do the necessary course correction. Your choices should act as enablers, helping you stay focused on the destination in spite of all the detours.

If you want to get the ABC of SUCCESS right, then pay attention to 

  • the ATTITUDE you Carry
  • the BELIEFS you Hold, and 
  • the CHOICES you Make

Monday, 16 August 2021

What's your raison d'etre?

Let's start with few simple questions

Are you excited about what you do?

Do you know why you do what you do?

If your answer is NO to any or both of the above, then it's time for self-introspection!

So, what should you do when you realize that your heart is not in the work you are doing and you seem to be just going through the motions?

The easiest thing to do is to start playing the blame game and look for the easy scapegoats, but the question to ask here is - for how long can you keep doing so and where would this lead to, in the long run? Is it going to lead to something better in your life or only lead to more confusion?

The feeling of emptiness that stares at you at the end of every workday and the frustration and irritation you experience in your work is an indication of "motivation" missing from your life and that's exactly what you should be addressing.

This is when you should start to engage in self-probe and discover the "WHY" of your work, the missing "PURPOSE" of your work/ life. What is it that keeps you going? What is it that gets you excited about life? What is it that makes you look forward to the day? 

It's not difficult to sense whether you are living with a purpose. When your head and heart are in sync while doing what you do, then it's an indication that you are living your purpose. When, at the end of the day, you feel you have made a difference with your action/ activities, you can be rest assured that you are living with a purpose.

PURPOSE and PASSION go hand-in-hand. Start by getting your purpose in place and the passion will follow suit. And, when you hit the sweet spot at the intersection of the two, you will be on course to discover your IKIGAI too!

Focus on the value you want to generate and the impact you want to create and you would start on your journey to discovering your purpose. get to understand the difference you want to bring through what you do and therein will lie your purpose.

There's always an impact you are creating with your vocation and all you need to do to realize that is to link your efforts to the big picture!

Summing up concisely, here's what you need to be aware of

Why do you need Purpose in life? As simply as to make your life worthwhile and live with an agenda.

How do you know you are living with Purpose? When you start to feel that you have accomplished something and have made a difference with your work/ vocation.

How do you go about identifying your Purpose? Observing whether what you are doing(actions) is generating the impact that you have identified for your life.

It's time to start living "purposefully"!

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

It's Time To Own Your Feelings!


At a fundamental level, that's how our feeling oscillates during the day. Feelings are fleeting by nature and we can't hold onto any one of them beyond how long they have to last. And how long they last are a combination of external and internal factors. But to a good extent, we can always control the longevity of an emotion/ feeling.
Emotions/ Feelings keep occurring in different shades and all that they need to get triggered is a stimulus (internal or external). The stimulus could be big or small, real or imaginary, internal or external. And that's what makes the world of emotions so complicated!

There is a dire need to understand how emotions/ feelings operate at a basic level so that we can be in control of our actions(mental or physical) while addressing the emotions. Being aware of our emotional state is how the entire process of emotional well-being starts. 

Talking about emotions/ feelings in a personal context, here's a small check to gauge the level of our awareness about our emotional state.

Here are the three important pointers:

We experience them all but do we actually feel them? 

we know there's something happening within us, at a physiological or psychological level but do we take the effort to recognize that and understand what's happening inside us. It makes sense to move beyond the level of awareness and into level of recognizing the impact of these emotions/ feelings.

Do we own them and accept them as part of our being or we treat them as something external/ outside?

For reasons known and unknown, at times, we tend to pass on the responsibility of our emotions/ feelings to external factors. Alienating ourselves from our feelings is not going to alleviate them. Rather it will only make the things worse. No one can force us to feel a particular way unless we give ourselves the permission for the same. 

Do we treat them as lasting or transitory?

Research says that most emotions last for only 90 seconds and beyond that its us who let these linger on for as long as we allow them to (through some stimuli or triggers). If we can manage to recognize an  unproductive feeling within 90 seconds of its occurrence, we stand a better chance to avoid its negative impact on us.

A quick self-check on the pointers mentioned above gives a good insight into our perception of emotions/ feelings and this goes a long way in determining the state/ status of our Emotional Wellness. The moment we start to accept our feelings is when we start to treat them as integral to us, something that's an undeniable part of our personality. Once acceptance is in place, the next stage of "addressing the emotions" becomes much easier.

So, first things first - "Have you started to own your feelings?"

Friday, 12 March 2021

You Too Can Be A Hero !

When things go bad, do you wait for a HERO or you get up and become one?

Aren't we all smitten by "Heroes" and secretly yearn to be one, especially when crisis hit us hard?

There's always a HERO lurking inside us and it does not take much to bring it to the fore. A bit of clarity and courage is all that's needed to summon the hero within. A HERO has all the ingredients of being a saviour and crusader of hope. 

Let's see what makes a HERO and how each one of us too could become one  

H - Hopeful, Helpful

When negativity is in the air, the HERO in us could help survive this fear and uncertainity by having/ providing hopes of good times ahead. The HERO in us could take a lead in providing a helping hand to those who are struggling to come to terms with reality or finding it difficult to cope with the times. This could make a huge difference to the struggling souls.    

E - Empathetic, Empowered

Only when we start relating to the feeling of others is when we start invoking the HERO in us. Put yourself in the shoes of others and feel their pain to establish connection and trust. Motivate others to feel empowered enough to take control of their lives and actions   

R - Resilient, Realistic

As goes the famous quote, "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going" and so should a HERO also behave/ act. Standing tall in the face of adversity and bouncing back whenever needed will ensure riding over the tough times with ease. Be a HERO by doing a reality check of things (as they stand in present) and then acting accordingly so that it doesn't dampen the surviving spirit.  

O - Optimistic, Open 

It is so easy to send the HERO (in us) off to a slumber when in a state of gloom. Looking at what we can change will make the road smoother and open up new opportunities. A HERO is open to taking actions (however small they may be) and trying out new things (experimenting) to keep the door open for new possibilities.     

So, stop waiting for a HERO. Brace up to be one and make a difference!

Monday, 18 January 2021

From Achiever to Super Achiever in 7 Steps !

Think about the times when you have found yourself in awe of someone highly successful and been left to wonder 

- how do these super achievers manage to accomplish much more than most of us? 

- what does it take to become a super-achiever? 

So, what exactly differentiates Super Achiever from an Achiever? Well, "potential" may make you an achiever but when you add the power of "discipline", you make a shift to be a super achiever. So, the secret to be a Super Achiever lies not just in our "potential" but in our ability to harness the potential we possess. 

A Super Achiever thrives on the discipline of achieving consistently and makes it possible by building a structure to the process of achievement. Here are 7 steps, which when followed sincerely, could make super achievement a possibility. Let's begin the process

  • Become aware of your dreams - Unless you have a vision for life, you will struggle to find meaning in anything around or inside. Spend time to figure out your purpose and/ or passion and you will always find yourself  "getting excited" about life and living. Knowing the destination always helps in identifying which direction to take. So, work on knowing yourself better by being your best ally and digging deep inside. The moment you discover what you are meant to be is when you will see yourself "raring to go".  Never be scared of dreaming big because that's what you are meant to be. Remember, dreamers become achievers by building clarity of purpose. 
  • Establish your goals - Dreams remain wishes if you don't build bridges for them. Set milestones in the form of goals that will keep you moving in the right direction. So, before dreams leave you intimated or overwhelmed, tame them by establishing short-term (long-term) achievable goals/ mini-goals, as these then will cumulatively add up towards materialising the big picture you have in sight. Chunking helps in making things achievable and therefore spend some time mapping your dream(s) to a set of tangible items. 
  • Find your inspiration/ motivation - A trigger is needed not only to get you started but also to keep you moving. Firstly, find out what inspires you towards pursuing your dreams and ambitions. Once you take that first step in the right direction, find out what will keep pushing you towards your goals, which are leading to your dreams and ambition. There's no dearth of inspiration and motivation around and all that you need to do is to move out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to suitable possibilities and opportunities!
  • Set the intention - The accomplishment of anything important is made easier by aligning our energy and focus on the task to be done. Whenever you set out to work towards your dreams or goals, ensure you are internally prepared for it. Bring your whole self in alignment with what you plan to work on. This alignment will ultimately ensure that your efforts are focused on the important goals in your life and you are prepared to give your best to the task at hand. One of the easy ways to set an intention is to create a few positive affirmations which you can continuously use/ repeat to yourself. 
  • Take action - All your planning may turn out to be a total waste if not put to application in the real world.  You may be a great planner of things but you need to make things happen too. Remember, what matters most is taking the right action in the right direction. Irrespective of the size of your dream or goal, keep executing your plans. Even a tiny action at your end, on a consistent basis, will take you closer to your goals. So, never let any day go by without moving closer to your goal, even though its by an inch. 
  • Make correction - Where there's action, there's bound to be friction. So, when you are taking action, always anticipate some resistance. Most of the time you may not be able to remove the friction completely but you can always prepare yourself to address it as much as possible for you. Don't get put off at the sight or occurrence of a problem because you cannot control all the factors in your environment. There will always be opposing forces, some natural and some non-natural, so move ahead with this acceptance in your mind. The best approach would be to treat every obstacle as an opportunity to get better and moving closer to realising your true potential. Make necessary and relevant alterations/ modifications in your approach, wherever needed, to keep the forward movement intact in pursuit of your goals and dreams.
  • Ensure completion - The actualisation of a goal/ dream is not always about the end result but also about the realisation gained. At times, you may find yourself pursuing the wrong goals, the ones which do not align with your values, passion, or purpose, and when that happens, accept it and be okay with it. Trying too hard to make things happen or leaving it totally unattended will not help your cause. To do justice to your energy and effort, put a proper closure to the things, even when you realise that the pursuance was wrong. Focus on preserving your effort, energy, and time. Whatever the means of closure, whether withdrawal, release, or realignment, just do it and get back on track.  

The above steps may not be the most comprehensive list but the intent behind putting these steps is to get you started on the path of super achievement. Do not expect to become a super-achiever overnight even when after applying the above steps a few times. Success would come when you make the above steps a ritual in your life, something that you do over and over again.

Let your journey to be a super-achiever begin from whichever step you find yourself at! 

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Gearing up for Life 2.0

When confronted with crisis, there are 2 possible approaches we can adopt - 1. Reactive, and 2. Proactive, though many of us find ourselves stuck between the two extremes of the continuum. A reactive approach is built mainly on the element of passivity, which is characterised by a "wait and watch" mindset/ attitude, with occasional reactions to things,but clearly not displaying any intent to resist or respond to the unfavourable status-quo. There's no attempt or effort to move out of comfort zone. On the other hand, though the Proactive approach is also about accepting the status-quo but then there is an effort to prepare (oneself) for post-crisis scenario. Getting fully versed with the prevailing situation and preparing oneself to deal with future challenges (some anticipated and some otherwise) is what entails the proactive approach during crisis.

When "writing is on the wall" and a "paradigm shift" is inevitable, then it's wise to adopt a "proactive" approach and prepare oneself for the anticipated changes. Given the magnitude of the current crisis, one could say that we are at the cusp of a major (macro) revision in our lives, and soon, we all, would be catapulted to Life 2.0. Whether we like it or not, there's a new "normal" that awaits us in future, post-crisis. What's most scary about this situation is the fact that the transition from Life 1.0 to Life 2.0 is not going to be as smooth as we would have wanted it to be because of the fact that we have been caught off-guard by this calamity.

The 180 degree turn that our lives have taken has necessitated us to take a broader view of things while gearing up for Life 2.0. This "paradigm shift" is going to give rise to a new "normal" and the sooner we become aware of it, the better equipped we will be to deal with it and manage our lives better. A holistic understanding of the changes that may sweep our lives could be a starting point to gear up for Life 2.0. Let's look at some aspects of our life that are bound to get impacted immensely

  • Lifestyle - the free flowing nature of the way that we are accustomed to living (till yet) will take a bad hit. The careless and, at times, callous attitude would get replaced with a more mindful attitude. For a major part of the next few years, we may find ourselves operating at the bottom of "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs". Luxurious Living will become a passe and we will let go of need to be overly materialistic. Instead we will tend to adopt Minimalism or Essentialism as the preferred way of life. (For all those, who may not know about Essentialism and Minimalism - these are concepts which promote living a life only with the minimum or essential of needs, only with that much as is needed to live/ sustain). Life 2.0 will see a lifestyle (hopefully), bereft of any brandishing of our status or achievement.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

  • Work - The dynamics of the workplace and the way we transact at work will see a drastic change. The organisations are going to tread slowly on investment and manpower. The job/ job role may not be an assurance or something that we may take for granted and rather may give way to maintaining a balance between our aspirations and needs. Life 2.0 may see us leveraging technology to hilt, as the work trend will see a shift to "virtual". The new mode of working give rise to a different set of professional skills, ethics and etiquette (rather netiquettes). For Work, Life 2.0 will throw open challenges related to transacting, teamwork, accountability and productivity and we need to focus on addressing them before going full throttle in Life 2.0.      
  • Relationships - The need for developing and maintaining a support system, comprising of our family and close friends will take precedence over the need for expanding our network incessantly. These difficult time have taught us the importance of real connections, family and friends, whom we can fall back on, during times of difficulty. However large our social/ virtual network may be but it can't make up for a few trustworthy comrades and family members, who could be our source of strength always.

  • Goals & Priorities - The ambitions may not top the list of our goals and instead may give way to stability. Having witnessed the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) nature in action, the priorities may shift in favour of safety, security and health. From a goals-perspective, we will find ourselves taking recourse to setting only short-term goals for the identified priorities. We may find ourselves creating Plan B and Plan C. 
  • Living - During Life 2.0, there is bound to be a major shift in our perception and perspective about life and happiness. The stark realisation that life is so ephemeral (in context of a crisis) has only made us value it more, in the truest sense, in terms of all the cherishable moments and relationships. It has also made us realise that life is a gift and we should live all our dreams, before it is too late. The crisis has opened us up to the real meaning of happiness and that is in displaying gratitude, compassion and empathy. Life 2.0 will be more about WE than ME and we can hope to turn out to be better humans, living with the feeling of togetherness and camaraderie.

Ending this post with a couple of quotes on "Paradigm Shifts" that will help us get started smoothly on our Life 2.0 journey

"Paradigm shifts aren't always obvious when you are in the middle of one" - Michael Brune

"A paradigm shift is a revolutionary change from one way of thinking to another; a transformation or metamorphosis, rather than an evolutionary process. The paradigm we use and accept is dependent on us believing what we perceive to be true and accurate" - Unknown 

Let Life 2.0 begin ! 

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Series on Emotional Wellness - Five DON'TS of "Feelings"

Feelings are a tricky lot and unless addressed appropriately, they can play real havoc with our overall wellness. Feelings evoke a range of responses in us and most of the time, our ability to nail the feelings effectively hinges on understanding of our current emotional zone. The first step towards sound emotional health is knowing where we are stuck in our journey of emotional wellness and then preparing ourselves to take that leap towards experiencing our feelings in fullness. I share about five such emotional zones that we may find ourselves in, and the sooner we move out of them, the faster would be our journey towards Emotional Wellness.

In this post, I present these "emotional zones" as "Five Don'ts Of Feelings

DISMISS -This is where the tendency is to shun/ rule out the very existence of "Feelings". Citing a variety of reasons, some people don't believe in or relate to the concept of feelings and end up lost and confused when feelings hit them hard some day. It's an irony that the modern work culture of "busyness" professes the necessity for good emotional health but rarely encourages us to adopt it as an integral part of our lifestyle. Thinking that feelings do not exist cannot deny the fact that they are integral part of our personality and manifest as natural responses to external stimulus/ trigger so dismissing them is not a possibility ever.  

DREAD - I came across the term "feelings phobia" and that got me thinking about how so many of us tend to fear the very existence of "feelings". Some of us dread it so much that we let this phobia trigger in us a range of unproductive feelings and then end up surrendering to them (unproductive feelings). As it is said that we give more power to the thing when we fear it and same goes for feeling too. The more scared we would be about the existence/ presence of feelings, the more vulnerable we would become to triggers (events, circumstances, situation and people) that may trigger unproductive feelings. 

DISCOUNT - We do ourselves great harm if we do not accept the "feelings" in its full magnitude. Different feelings manifest in us to varying degrees (based on a variety of factors) and experiencing the feelings in their full intensity is the only way to maintain our emotional health. Imagine, what will happen inside us if we notice that a feeling is manifesting inside us at a score of 8 or 9 (on a scale of 10) but we address it or respond to it by putting it at a score of 4 or 5. It's anyone's guess that in such a situation and with that type of response by us, our body will never be able to completely relax and will always be in a tense and tight state.   

DUMP - This is a convenient approach where we cease to take responsibility for our feelings and resort to "buck passing". The objective here is to simply vent out our reactions/ overreactions onto  easier targets and put the blame for our unproductive feelings on some other person or the circumstance. In the long term, this tendency leads to never taking responsibility for anything in our life and ultimately losing grip on it. For every happening (primarily the not-so good types) in our lives, we have scapegoats in place to put the blame on. This may lead us to relinquish self-responsibility in favour of acquiring a "victim mentality" trait. So, let's watch out whenever we find ourselves blaming external people and circumstances for things happening in our lives. 

DELAY - Avoiding to experience feelings for a later time does more harm than good. We may think that the unproductive feeling will subside if not catered to for some time, but it does not happen that way. To prevent ourselves from falling prey to this tendency, we just need to ask ourselves - "Can postponing something important benefit us and leave us more balanced or productive ?" . The resounding NO from within (inner voice) would be a reminder good enough to prompt us to avoid postponing the "experiencing of the feelings" lest they might grow in magnitude and grow out of proportion for us to handle them. 

So, to sum up 
  • Do Not Dismiss (Rule Out) Your Feelings
  • Do Not Dread (Fear) Your Feelings
  • Do Not Discount (Bring down the Intensity) of Your Feelings
  • Do Not Dump Your Feeling on Others (People and/ or Circumstances)
  • Do Not Delay (Postpone) Your Feelings

So, if you find yourself in any of the above emotional zones, the immediate step should be to let yourself experience the "feelings" fully