Can you Think Yourself into Your Desired Level of Success?


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During the days when I taught management courses, many a student has asked me, “How do I become as successful in life as I possibly can?” In some cases, the question was, “How do I become as successful as I want to?” The de facto answer was, “Work hard.” And there were several others such as establish goals, pursue them diligently, dream big, focus, plan your work, work your plan, etc.”

Now, in hindsight, I would have given a more introspective answer for them to reflect upon. Not that all said above is untrue; it surely is a requirement for success. But, there are several intrinsic behaviors and patterns that determine the level of success you achieve in life.

It’s often said that in order to be successful at what you do, know your strengths and weaknesses and surround yourself with people who are strong in your weak areas. As a result, you develop a circle of strength from which to operate and find positive results in your endeavors.

However, how do you determine your level of success? I mean, how do you ensure you make a positive impact in the lives of thousands of people versus a few hundred or even tens? How do you build a business that is multi-national than locally or regionally focused? How do you build a billion dollar corporation than one that plays in the hundreds of thousands? How do you land the job you desire in the field of your choice in the organization you aspire to work for? How do you grow your career prospects as you gather experience? How do you move into your desired lifestyle? The answer to this lies in the daily life you cultivate and nurture. In other words, your daily interactions, the people you interact with, the books you read, the inspiration and thoughts you cultivate and the rapport you share with those that have done it before.

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Dreaming big and executing on a roadmap to realize your dream is just not enough. You need to build and interact with the right network, develop a nourishing atmosphere so that you can constantly draw inspiration; all your interactions, thoughts and actions need to be a sum total of this. Draw inspiration to chart your own path, the way you see it. Talk, read, and contemplate on what you aspire to do every second, every minute of your existence. Build on the intensity so that your thoughts are shaped by it which shows in your decisions, your actions and finally in your results.

It’s also often said, “When in Rome, act like the Romans.” Well, this is not about acting like Romans, but about getting to be the King of Rome. Not when in Rome, but on the way to Rome, so you arrive King!

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The Promise Of Hope!


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An entrepreneurial journey.

A creative endeavor.

Graduating from school.

Starting a family.

Raising kids.

Planning your future.

The promise of hope is what keeps the world going! Hope is the magical elixir that keeps the rainbow-hued horizon always bright, no matter the present or past; and rightfully so. The promise of your future should be pursued using lessons from the past and applying them in your present. And, at all times, the promise of the future is always bright!

How else would you find yourself getting up each time you fall, just to work as hard, if not harder in pursuit of your goals, unmindful of all that you have been through so far.

Sometimes, the hue of hope tends to show the future in a skewed rosy tint. Beware! It’s alright to be hopeful but not by being blindsided to the facts of the present. Hope keeps the pursuit of a better tomorrow alive but in order to make that possible, plan your present well and follow the plan, analyze each step you take, make adjustments and corrections to sustain your immediate goals and collectively, these small successes will propel you toward your ultimate goal. The best part is that all this can begin anytime you are ready and there is no better time than now!

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Have your daily life themes planned for 2013?


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You wake up early, probably get some exercise, freshen up & get ready, have a quick bite and grab your coffee on the way out to work. Then, at the office, you spend an entire 8-10 hours tackling what you came for, work. Somewhere in between, you grab a bite for lunch and if you’re lucky, get a coffee during a break. You leave and on the way back, review the day’s proceedings in your head or perhaps, brood over that nasty meeting you endured that noon or mull over how to tackle that timeline problem or resource issue, take your pick. You make it home in the evening, acknowledge your family with a faint smile and go over to freshen up and change. Next, you grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage, park yourself in the couch and hit the TV remote. Your spouse wants to share their day and your kids cozy up to you and want to play with you or need you to help with their homework, but you hardly have the energy or the willingness to spend time away from relaxing. You may force yourself, once in a while to engage with the kids or the family in activities. Or you want to get down to completing the work at hand, personal or work related, that has been lagging behind.

Bored yet? Hey, this is the regular life of an average adult. Don’t you see yourself somewhere in there? Well, its regular, its average & it can be boring. That’s where you come in. How do you go about adding the zest into it? There’s not much you can do about how regular life is structured but you can slowly but surely make amends to its nature by consciously making changes. Resolve to change your day to day life for the better in 2013, conscious change for the better. What changes, you may ask?

Think and make a list. Then, follow through with the execution of that list. For example; spend time with your family & kids, get them involved in your life and you involve in theirs. This strengthens the bond between you and cultivates positivity in mutual involvement. Instead of spending time with the TV, play a game of chess or scrabble with the kids. If there is an activity you are inclined toward, perhaps there is something that the family can contribute to. Delegate to them, no matter how small and complete together. Togetherness is key here.

You don’t want to sacrifice your TV time? Find a time that works for all and watch a favorite show together. Make it a habit to have dinner around the table as a family and discuss the day or any topics of choice together. Communication is key here.

Have a hobby and encourage everyone in the family to have one. Pursue hobby time together. Variety is key here.

Just the way you plan your career and work toward it, plan your daily life and work it. Trust me, it’s as important, if not more as your career, for a healthy home life ensures you have a happy and successful life outside the home. Find the themes you want to pursue in your and the family’s daily life, set goals, milestones throughout the year; plan for togetherness, happiness & sharing; cheer for each other while building a great quality of life. Act consciously and track progress. You will be surprised at how much more time and variety you can find within the 24 hour day. Don’t let life fleet by at its own pace and will. Take Control. Well, what are you waiting for? Get started!

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Let bygones be bygones, I don’t think so!


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12/14/12; Newtown, Conn. school incident – Children & Adults killed by an “unwell” 20 year old

It’s been done. All any of us can do now is regret what has happened and try to console ourselves, those around us and those affected; and more so the ones who survive the departed. It’s the cruel truth of the matter for an incident bygone.

But, this shouldn’t be the end of it. There have been too many of these ends. This should be the beginning of introspection. Introspection of our own selves, of the society we live in, how it’s being shaped and what kind of personalities it’s creating. At one end are those that take us, as a civilization to greater heights and on the other end are those that dwindle down into depths unseen before. But do they end up there? No. They drag others along into those depths or leave ugly marks for others to mull over after they have left. What is the cause for such darkness of character, such ugliness where one doesn’t just suffer in silence but goes on to inflict harm on innocent others while on their path to dereliction? Are the trials of achieving more than before, taking steps toward an advanced world creating a wider chasm for the failed ones as well? Are we so focused on the modernization of the world we know that we are neglecting the basic tenets that make us human?

Things we have learnt throughout our lives; courage, passion, kindness, warmth, love & compassion, are they just mere words in a book today? Have we been unsuccessful at passing these values to the younger generations? What is going wrong? How do we rectify it so we do not have to deal with the ugly side of humanity gone wrong anymore? We have had too many of these incidents that at times, I fear that we have developed a pretty thick skin since we move on from incident to incident regretting the wrongdoing. For once, we need to take a stance. Pause for a moment and think. How do we revive “humanity” as we have known it, pass it down the generations and safeguard it with every inch of our being? How do we route out the ill and nurture the sick back to health? How do we enrich compassion for each other and learn to take control of our issues so that we move ahead in our pursuits of tomorrow as one global family, the human kind?

I am keen on learning & sharing. Pray, tell!

My prayer for tonight as I hug my kids - May all those affected by the recent disaster find peace.

Mind What You Hear & Speak Your Mind!


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Greetings, Folks!

I have been out of the loop for a while. Sorry about that, had several things competing for my time over the last few weeks. However, I shouldn’t let this suffer, our interaction.

Last week saw the demise of a great motivational guru, Zig Ziglar. Zig has lived a rich and diverse life, a well-deserved one, one that he chiseled the way he sought; as you can gather from several of his talks & writings. I have always been deeply inspired by the simplicity, yet profoundness of his words. I love the way he gets his point across, through simple stories from parables to his vivid experiences. In my mind, he is the father of motivational speaking of this era. I spent some time reviewing some of his videos and talks today. They are as inspiring as ever, every time you listen to them. Here’s wishing him peace where he rests today.

LinkedIn has started sharing a smattering of posts from various popular print media that have been termed as posts by “influencers”. In the current information age, there is abundance, a tsunami of information of any kind that you choose, coming at you from every direction. A few decades ago, before the spread of technology as we know it today, collection of information was a big deal. Any access you had to any kind of media was much appreciated in order to increase your horizon. Today, there is a huge influx of information coming at you without your asking for it. The issue today is very different; it’s about sifting through what comes at you, selecting what you want to spend time on and then, deciphering what is fact from fiction, and finally, assimilating the facts to help with the enhancement of your horizon. At the same time, it’s also about interaction. You can no longer just be the receptor of information. Technology places immense power at your hands to help you react within a matter of seconds, if not minutes and share the same with millions across the world. The fall of Egyptian & Libyan autocracies from the recent past are examples of the influence of information exchange among the masses.

Although there is abundant information out there, some fact and some fiction with effort needed by us to review and validate before we assimilate, the advantages of having access to an abundance of information at our finger tips outweighs the problem of validation of what’s available.

Most importantly, do not just be one that is absorbing and assimilating information of your choice. It’s time that you start providing a voice to your thoughts, your reactions as you take in what the world has to offer you. Take your stand, make your statement, and let your voice be heard. That is what makes the dialogue meaningful and ensures its authenticity and growth on the rightful path. It’s beneficial to you and everyone else.

A little self-restraint can save you some precious “Ahs” and “Ohs”!


                                           

One would think that one can be a free soul in certain scenarios; be yourself in the midst of your loved ones, primarily your family. Well, sure. But, every situation has its own rules and tenets. After all, we are humans. How did you ever think there would be a situation or scenario where all rules could just be blown away?

In any case, what we are discussing today is about self-restraint. Every person has a unique temperament. I know “spur of the moment; say it on your face” folks as well as “duh, were you talking to me?” folks. There are those that just absorb a situation and do not react to it at all versus those that absorb, analyze and then, come out with a self validated reaction based on their experience. And, then there are those that first react and then, go on to analyze what just happened.

There are several situations you tackle every day, be it at home, at work, in a social circle or even, in your virtual world, you know what I mean, social networks on the web, your e-mail etc. With the rapid exchanges these days and a horrendous influx of information to assimilate and analyze, it somehow seems that impromptu reactions are the best way to keep on top of such daunting interactions. As tempting as it might seem, it is in your best interest to exercise some self-restraint. If an interaction is important to you, take a moment, pause, think and store your reaction away to come back to later. That “later” might be a few minutes away, a few hours away or if possible, a few days away depending on the urgency of the matter at hand. When you come back to react at this later time, you will be amazed at your self and the vast difference in your reaction then, and now. Time is a great healer and brings about the balance in your reactions, the right balance that just probably saved you a job, a relationship, a life.

I am not saying that there should not be instant reactions at all. There are situations that definitely need these to save the day or cherish a moment, but judge those and react accordingly. But, if you feel hurried before reacting or feel that your urge has gotten the better of you, STOP! And follow the wait and react approach. You will never have to cry over spilt milk!

Would you rather lead from the front or follow through?

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Leaders and Followers are both vital to the fabric of any organization. As much as you need leaders to set the path and motivate others to follow through, you also need productive followers who are willing to listen, learn and execute on the plan set before them. No organization can do without one or the other.

The world is mostly made up of followers and a subset of leaders. Of course, leadership is a learned trait and most of us play both roles within certain limits.

Leadership is about:

  • Developing a vision, sharing it and building support around it.
  • Strategizing and planning execution to realize the vision.
  • Leading execution of the strategy while overseeing the completion of planned goals.

These tenets are universal to any organization and are mostly measured through fiscal success, I mean EBIDTA, profits, market share, stock value etc.

But, true leadership has other dimensions as well; corporate social responsibility and emotionally intelligent people management being two of these.

An organization that aspires for success ensures that every associate in the organization knows and lives the true reason of its existence. In order for this to happen, every leader in the organization, from the CEO to line management needs to imbibe and practice the principles of valuing the people assets of the organization. Customers and those that serve them are equally important to the organization. Motivating associates to perform to their potential by managing their individual hot buttons and then, channeling this work to meet the needs of the clients is the salient execution principle of any successful organization. This ultimately leads to the realization of organizational goals, the yardstick it measures its success by.

At all levels of management, a prime factor of success is optimal people management. The amount of effort put into strategizing and planning an organization’s path also has to be put into managing and growing the people assets who are instrumental in realizing the plan. With leaders that share in the vision and willing followers, any organization is destined to meet its set goals!

Finally, an organization has to think and act beyond itself.  Making an impact in the community it thrives in and standing up to be a pillar of the community’s progress enhance the perpetuity of the organization and take it beyond the plans it was conceived with. That, in sum is the true culmination of its existence and success.

Now, ask yourself some key questions to understand where you are and how you need to fine-tune your work style to get where you want to be;

  • What do you do for work? Do you believe in the vision set forth by your organization?
  • Are you a leader or follower?
  • As a leader,
    • How much do you value your team? Do you take time to listen to them or are you just giving instructions most of the time expecting follow through?
    • Do you treat your team with the same respect that you expect of them?
    • Is your team totally sold on your idea of execution so that it will be a success?
    • Do you know your team members’ hot buttons so you can work on keeping them motivated and provide direction and help in the realization of their goals?
    • Do you exhibit enough appreciation for what your team does?
  • As a follower,
    • Do you truly believe in the vision and plan set forth by your leadership? If not, do you question and make suggestions?
    • Do you listen and follow through per expectations? Do you go beyond?
    • Do you feel a valued member of your team? If not, do you express concern and work with your leader to ensure mutual transparency and work to build a plan to help get there?
    • Do you offer suggestions and new ways of doing things?
    • Can you be the best lieutenant your leader can ever find?

Find your answers, make your course corrections and let me assure you, the journey towards your goals will be as fulfilling as attaining them!

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Stupid and childish, I don’t think so!


In the recent past, we have seen several scams and high profile issues where the accused come out and say how much they regret what they had done and that they were stupid and childish to have done so.  Stupid, yes; I can understand that but, why is stupid followed by “childish”. They were guilty and highly irresponsible and in no way childish.

This generation’s children and for that matter, of those before are/were hardly irresponsible. Stupid and childish should not go together. Children in fact are responsible for their age, are innocent, endearing and have all the right qualities that adults aspire for. Children are smart in ways beyond we can imagine. They are like sponges, always learning and imbibing from their surroundings. They may be naïve and lack experience in the ways of the world, but their heart and mind is in the right place. These scamsters and wrongdoers are in no way inexperienced or ignorant of what they were doing. Only when caught, they express their regret which once again goes to show their lack of true remorse. How can such actions be considered childish?

The character of children is malleable. As I stated before, they are like sponges, always learning from their surroundings which further helps chisel their character that goes on to shape their lives. All children are innocent and have an affinity for what is good and right. It’s amazing but, there is a lot we can learn from our own children. It is not about age or experience, it’s about a clean mind and heart and an affinity for love, peace, togetherness and harmony in life. First, its these basics one can learn from them. Further, we can learn transparency, tenacity, conviction and other such virtues from children. On second thought, it is actually a blessing to be childish. The definition of childish should not be representative of immaturity that is used to depict immature acts of adults. That surely needs to change! Don’t you agree?

Don’t rob yourself of life’s simple pleasures…


Of late, I have been pretty busy with work in general.  There have been several instances where I am tied down at the office and then, pick right back after I return home. Sound familiar, eh! My 4 year old daughter is a definite attention seeker. If she wants me to listen to her or watch her, she sure means it. Over the last few days, I have tried to feign attention while doing my work. She knows it the moment I try. She stops saying what she started and tells me, “Dad, Listen to me.” And until she is sure that I am listening, she will not continue.

The other day, she wanted to show me that she could jump over her mat on the floor. She jumped over and said, “Dad, did you see that?”

I said, “Hmm…Yeah, Great job!”

She replied, “Dad, Look!”

I lifted my head and looked at her feet as  she got ready to jump again. She said, “Dad, look at me….and keep looking.”

While I looked into her eyes, she jumped over the mat a few times, all the time, making sure, I was watching.

I made sure, I watched and then, exclaimed over her feat!

All the time, I was thinking of how quick the kids are to notice if you are truly attentive or not.  Next followed pangs of guilt for feigning attention that they seek and truly deserve.

It is important to plan your time judiciously between work and life and give each of these the true attention they deserve. Of course, there will be times when one will encroach upon the other, but even during such times, it’s vital to minimize and if possible, avoid inattention or neglect.

I made a pact with myself to spend some pure unadulterated time with my kids the next day. And, that was the best possible time I had with them in a long time. I learnt so much about my own kids and we had much fun together. And the best part, we bonded tremendously.

I am sure you juggle multiple roles in your daily life too. Make a decision to treat work and life with similar passion. Come back and tell me about the exciting surprises life threw at you!