It takes a village to raise a child!


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It takes a village to raise a child, they say.

Whether on a job, running a business, when in school or even when raising a family, any pursuit demands constant self-analysis in comparison to the environment around to assess where and how you fit in, to make the most effective impact on what you have set out to do. I have come across many that pay more attention to what they do not know or aren’t the best at than what they do and rock at.

For instance, those with strong technical skills question the business acumen they possess while those with a strong business background, question their technical knowledge. Financial whiz’s’ are uneasy with specific business domain knowledge they work in. Operations stalwarts tone down when it comes to business development.

This is something that I have seen to be very dominant in our times. Being aware of your shortcomings is wise and essential. But, to fret over it is not. Not everyone can be a star at everything they do. What is important is that they make an effort to know about things the best they possibly can so they are, in the least informed, when it comes to understanding how that fits in the big picture and this gives them the ability to make good decisions, many a time in their own work realm.

When you know your preferences, likes and strengths, focus on being the best at them. Do not worry about the rest. In fact, find the best possible help you can get on things that you are not very good at. It’s smart to surround yourself with people who are better than you so that you have that part of what you want to do covered. Now, you can focus on what you are excel at and trust others to focus on what they are good at so, all around, you come out successful. Remember, everything in life is a team effort; no one person did it all!

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New Year and Your Resolutions – Make it Happen!


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There is something to be said about New Year resolutions. They come around every year for you to brood over and make them, some new and some probably carry over from the last year.

It’s okay to carry over a few, so long as the past year wasn’t enough to accomplish them or if the timing wasn’t just right. But, to have them show up just because you put them together last year only to forget about them or provide an excuse as to never follow up and lo, here they show up again. That’s a big no-no.

Well, on a positive note, you still seem to have a yearning to get through that them this year. That’s why you remembered and put it on the list this year.

Resolutions are your self-appraisal notes for the year to improve you before it ends. The first task is to put some thought into them and make a priority order of things you want to ensure you achieve during the year. They could be as simple as to dress better, exercise regularly each week and lose a set number of pounds before the year ends to more formidable ones as to save a certain amount of money for the down payment on that new house or new car , make the jump into being an entrepreneur and getting your own company started.

Making resolutions is the easy part. After all, it’s just a list you throw together, right.

More important is to keep them top of mind, each month, and week and day. Make sure you have them written and staring at you everyday. Put them up on your mirror to stare back at you each morning or as the background screen of your computer so you look at them all the time, whatever works for you as a constant reminder. The only way to muster motivation and strength to work on them is to have them right and center, in front of your eyes.

Next, make time each week, or perhaps, every two weeks to go back to your resolutions and evaluate yourself for the time that just went by and your adherence to them. Have you kept up with the work needed to accomplish them? Have you slipped on any? If so, why? What is your excuse to yourself? What can you do different so that you make the effort to not strike one off your list, but make changes in your daily routine, so you get started on that one resolution that you know, you HAVE to accomplish.

Measure, recalibrate and move forward. The harder part is to get moving on the work to accomplish your resolutions. Once you start moving and get inertia out of the way, the momentum and the excitement of the positive results you continue to see will ensure you get through them.

And, what better moment than the euphoria you experience when you have accomplished your resolutions and are in a better place than when you made them and now, you just have more improvement and accomplishments to look forward to!

Happy New Year and all the best with your resolutions! I will see you accomplished over the next 12 months.

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Making Things Work…..


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In the most trying of times, those that come out, probably tired, exhausted and even with a few chinks in their armor but definitely, triumphant are the ones that work together as a team.

After all, we have all heard that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

In business or personal life, working together is inevitable. After all, no monumental accomplishment was due to a single person’s effort. Working together can mean tremendous pressure, but if the pressure is faced and the energy channelized to build on the effort, it can mean great experiences, stronger bonds and finally impressive accomplishments for those involved.

With generations to come, and the need for instant gratification, there is less patience in those that interact. Just a tad bit of perseverance; restraint and focus can make things work through interaction, than personal gripes and would mean so much more for everyone together and individually.

Yet, this is hardly understood in colleagues working together or families working on their relationships. Personal egos get the better of everyone and as a result, everyone collectively and individually suffers whether they acknowledge the latter or not.

No matter who you are and what your role, the end goal has to be upheld over personal goals. And eventually, success in togetherness reflects on individual success as well.

So, teams out there that are working on projects 24×7 because, that’s what they demand to get accomplished, work together with complete trust of each other. There will be a time to reflect, work things out between colleagues and gather lessons to improve the next interaction. For now, focus on resolving tasks at hand to accomplish the end goal.

Families and friends, the relationships you cherish are a blessing. Happiness is in giving. Give of your time and attention to nourish and strengthen these relationships. All those tasks that you pile up to get done and seem so urgent vying for your attention can wait a tad bit. You will always have the time in the world to get them done. What you will not is the time to interact with your family and friends. Put them before your chores. Better yet, spend quality time on doing stuff together. You will enjoy such time and tasks get accomplished before you know of the effort put in.

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Time passes ever so silently…


It’s my birthday today. It’s also my uncle’s who passed away about 8 years ago. When I look back, it surprises me that 8 years have already passed without him. I remember the couple of times we celebrated our birthdays together.

My dad is one of 7 siblings. As a kid, I remember all of them getting together and having great banter during festivals and special occasions. I remember my grandpa who passed away in 1996. He was such a strong man just a few years before.

I remember the fun times we kids had when the whole family got together. After I grew up, did I learn of some of the hard times my grandpa, my dad and the whole family in general faced. However, I do not remember ever as a kid to have experienced this. To me, when around the elders, my dad’s siblings, we, as a family just seemed infallible. It amazes me that they never let the shadow of whatever highs and lows they had, fall on us.

Time has a tendency to slip by so silently that before you know, years have gone by. Now, my siblings, cousins and I are grown-ups with kids of our own. I still yearn to see my elders together and seek that warmth of infallibility from them. I fear for my kids and question if I am able to provide the same to them.

It’s my birthday and here I am reminiscing about several things from years gone by, perhaps something has touched a nerve.

Connected, yet drained!


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In the current digital era, the highly networked age, everyone you know or do not know has a connected device at hand. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops and personal computers are everywhere around us. You have them at home, at work and everywhere in between. You can reach anyone across the world at the speed of thought! You can call, leave a message, email, text, and chat or get on social networking sites and apps and share. Boy, are you connected! You have the reach at your fingertips that, a couple of decades ago was only dreamt of.

But, do you really connect? The human mind is so flirtatious that it cannot afford to stay put on one interaction for longer than a few seconds to perhaps, a couple of minutes. It has to keep moving, has to find new interests and fleet to the next as the previous one starts to wane away. That is what the rapid and overwhelming influx of information and our highly networked times has done to us. How many times have you glanced at your mobile phone today? Checked that Facebook app, that LinkedIn page, those Twitter tweets for the nth time yet?

There is no denying the fact that what technology has enabled is highly valuable. To reach someone on the other side of the planet in real time is immense. It has brought us all together in various aspects of life, personal and professional, and made the world smaller. It has made us one people and erased boundaries and other demarcations that once divided us. And, in every sense of what it set out to do, it has enabled us to make progress as better educated, aware, enlightened and open-minded humans that care about, not just what’s around us, but across the world.

And, this ability, in the larger scheme of things is highly efficient and valuable. However, what it has also done is, robbed us of what we once cherished and valued. True social interactions, in person meetings where we greeted each other and shared bonhomie, family and friends get-togethers where we cherished knowing each other and encouraged finer aspects of our personalities, social events where we met, talked, shared opinions and thoughts, all those are not as frequent or as rich as they once were. Perhaps, it is now that we reminisce the value of what we are continuing to lose. Think about it, you live in the same home, but communicate with your spouse and kids via devices. The family room conversations, the dinner table chitchat, the long ride interactions and coming together to participate in events that enriched us and strengthened our bonds are becoming rare; perhaps only on special occasions do these occur, if at all. Its in our best interest to save these and cultivate them, not just in ourselves but in future generations for they enriched us and defined our very existence, as people, as those who loved each other for what we were and strived to excel.

Technology has to be leveraged and used to enrich our lives, but we shouldn’t become a slave to it. It takes a conscious effort to do that and it’s in the best interest of us, humans to let it not rule our lives. And who better to begin this reversal than you. Take up the challenge and bring life back to you and those around you.

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In Pursuit of “You”


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It is said that as you hit middle age, you start to come to terms with yourself. Well, in some cases, I believe you struggle to do that. However, I have seen that most people start looking back and introspect to find themselves, their purpose, start to analyze if they are on the path to what they have always wanted to do. If not, they make plans to adopt the path they are on. Overall, everyone looks to make peace with his or her existence.

There are a lucky few, who get to do this much earlier in life. They are blessed. Blessed, because, this sets them on the path early on where they set out to do what they really wanted to. For most, the realization itself takes time.

The first ten years of life pass in playful abandon, blissfully ignorant of a higher purpose in life. The second decade brings along with it, the pressure of growing up. We set out on a path that we have grown to recognize during the first decade of our life; a path traversed by our parents, relations and other elders we see growing up. We are unsure; if this is our calling, yet trudge along on what is in front of us. The third decade brings with it the responsibilities of life: work, relationships, marriage, kids and all that raising a family entails. There is hardly time for anything else. Toward the fag end of this part comes the retrospection and introspection I talked about initially.

Better late than never, you correct course and proceed.

Life is actually very simple, yet we make it so complex for ourselves as we pass through it. Part of it is due to the continuous influx of all that life has to offer and the rapid pace at which we pass through it, that we never get a chance to catch a breath and look at it from an external vantage point. And, part of it is due to the fact that we have never known it any other way. Of course, there are those lucky few who catch a break early on and are thrown on the right track to begin with.

Life’s simplicity lies in not taking it seriously and just knowing that, you need to take it one step at a time, living in the present. Its like when you learn to walk, take one step at a time. Put your first foot forward firmly, and then lift your second foot to put it in front of your first. Once you do that, repeat the process.

At whatever juncture of your life you are at now, just remember this and follow through. You will be happy and fulfilled. Do not overthink or over do, just focus on what is in front of you and do it with utmost sincerity. Although the future may seem uncertain, as long as you are in control of your steps, the path you seek will reveal itself, guaranteed.

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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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What if you always received so much more than you expected?


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What if you always received so much more than you expected? Saw an ad on TV at the airport today for some hotel chain that said this.

What if you did? Well, I think it would be exciting for a while to be surprised, but soon that would turn into an expectation. That is where it generally stops but shouldn’t. With such expectation should come greater responsibility, to raise the bar on expectations, to think beyond what is normal at that point in time and to look forward to more surprises that build on the last one. Isn’t faster, better, cheaper what the world is driving toward every single moment.

Now, let’s review the other side of the coin; giving more than what is expected. What if you give more than is expected of you? Give more to your work, your colleagues, your partners, your clients, your family, your pets & yourself. What if you extend yourself a bit more, to give more of yourself, to surprise those expecting from you. Isn’t that possible? Of course, it is. You just need to make up your mind and put conscious effort initially, and before you know, it will become a habit; more so second nature due to the thrill you experience in surprising others, not to mention yourself. Now that the bar has risen, you cannot go back to your old self since that is no longer relevant in view of current expectations. The new “you” is the normal now. And as the new “you” is what those around you are accustomed to, time to raise the bar & share surprises all over. All this is very much possible and puts you on the path of constant improvement & growth, both on your professional and personal fronts. What’s in it for you? You come out stronger & more enriched, enriching the lives of those around you and when you look back at where you started, that will be a distant memory, right at the beginning of a sweet, successful & fulfilling life.

And what did you have to do to make this happen; a conscious decision to surprise those around you by exerting a little bit more than they would expect of you.

Think about it, will you?

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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Did you really say that? Hmm…that’s not what I heard!


Have you ever noticed that children demand 100% attention when they are communicating with you? Why children, try being a little inattentive with your spouse when in a conversation and see what happens!

Have you ever felt that you asked for one thing and received something different? What went wrong?  You thought you were clear in explaining what you wanted but how did it not get across to the other person? Did they not hear right or comprehend correctly? Or perhaps, were you not clear with communicating your expectations while you thought you were?

Communication & Comprehension are the crucial factors of discussion here. Mastering these ensures your professional & personal success. We live in a world of conflicting egos and hence, this becomes all the more important.

We, humans are a social animal and hence, social interaction is inevitable. Whether it’s in your personal, professional or social life, interaction is an integral part of relating with one another.

Communication is key, yet so little is done by us at improving our communication abilities and approaches. Communication is not just about knowing a language or understanding its application or mastering technical lingo before you start using it. Mastering a language in terms of how to write, read and speak doesn’t mean you have mastered the art of communication. Communication in itself has several subtleties that are to be recognized, practiced and honed upon in order to have total control on the interaction dynamics.

The real life application of communication is unique. In order to succeed at any relationship, you need to ensure you understand the other party a complete 100% and at the same time you ensure they understand you a 100% as well. Every little struggle, strife, altercation & collective frustration leading to something worse, is all a result of that 100% not being met.

Communication is a two-way street. Most of us let our ego drive us and make the mistake of trying to expend energy to get our point across. It’s not about you always talking. Have you tried to actually curb your urge to speak, control your emotions and listen to the other party? Even in a situation where you feel absolutely sure that you are right, it’s important to give space and the due respect to the other party in terms of lending them an ear. Mostly, in such a situation, just listening patiently & attentively might take the frustration and animosity out of the mix and you end up having a real conversation. Respect the other party. Listen, and then talk. Never let emotions get the better of you while you are communicating. Always ensure you validate what you have heard, especially when a reaction or deliverable is expected of you. When there are expectations of you, ensure you ask for instructions in written for validation of the communiqué.

Talking about emotions, communication is not just talking and listening. Body language & voice modulation, your tone & gestures; all are an integral part of a good communication mix. Although, you should never let emotions get the better of you while communicating, you need to relate the emotion through these intrinsic aspects of communication. They can be much more powerful than the literal aspects of the act of communication.

It is so important that you come across completely when you communicate, whether through the word of mouth or the word of your pen/keystrokes. Communication is all about clarity. A little distortion in understanding can mean a sea change in the after effects or actions as a result of that communication.

Whether you are communicating to your spouse, kids, family, clients, customers, peers, bosses, prospects or strangers; always ensure clarity of thought in your speech or written word. Relate the respect you impart by listening attentively and reacting carefully. Say what you mean and mean what you say and never leave anything unsaid unless you want your audience to read between the lines!