Playing with Fear


photo-1531704118376-ec637130bfa0

Fear is a primal response to threat. And, it has played a crucial part in the management of human instincts and survival trends through the ages. While it served its purpose of taking a fight or flight decision when faced with physical danger during primitive times and also serves for the same, during modern times; it has also shaped into a formidable management tool through the industrial age to modern times. This time, it’s not necessarily about facing physical danger but facing uncomfortable situations as a result of not following planned direction. However, it’s usage and potency is arguable and I am sure there will be people on either side of the fence deliberating fear’s effectiveness as a management tool.

photo-1517984922331-8dbaa8ffa9c1

Today, I am more interested in exploring fear for what it is and how, as an individual and leader, you need to understand it, to use it effectively to your advantage. Like someone said, risk or danger is real, but fear, it’s a choice. Either you can decide to let it control you or you take over the reins and control it. And, if you do manage to take the reins in your hands to manage fear, let me assure you, you will experience freedom in its full glory.

Fear, like many things that are the most potent when used in calculated measures, is the most effective, when used sparsely. Life is a swing, there are ups and there are downs. That’s a given and most of us have experienced it and continue to experience it. There is euphoria with the ups and fear with the downs. However, with effective preparation and management of the downs, fear doesn’t have to rule you when you are experiencing them. Fear, at optimal measures, can be a great motivator for yourself as well as when applied to a team that is pursuing a goal, to nudge them in the direction of achievement, deft responsibility management and understanding accountability. In such situations, triggering fear can help with the release of tension and buildup of energy to tackle the problem at hand and eventually result in a sense of accomplishment.

photo-1502086223501-7ea6ecd79368

However, when fear starts to engulf you or you end up using it beyond its potent value, it can be very damaging; its potency is lost to keep you or your team on track and as a result, chaos can take over. Knowing when to pull back is as important, if not more than to when and how much to push. When fear takes control, it tends to paralyze creativity and decision making prowess. As a result, there is a tendency to shift responsibility and depend on others’ decisions to act on, in order not to be held accountable. That just goes against the grain of accomplishment and progress. Be what you expect of others. Foster a flexible and positive atmosphere where mistakes are allowed but challenged not to recur, and when not on track, to come back to it. Knowing that its okay to screw up, so long as you learn from it and get back on track, helps everyone and instills a sense of camaraderie and trust among co-workers. It’s also important to understand that being on a constant alert to tackle stress is not healthy and can cause burnout. Winding down, relaxing and rejuvenating before picking up the mantle, is all a part of fostering the right stress management process.

On the individual front, fear tends to curb adventure and can hold you back for no reason. Any venture can either flourish or flounder. The risk or reward for any steps you take, tend to stay defined. If you fail, have the willpower and planning to get back up and try again. It can’t get worse than that. Then, why, let fear take you over and hinder you from make an attempt for a prolonged period, when there is a decent chance of you succeeding? Go ahead, and do what you plan to do. Believe me, the rest will all follow through.

Advertisements

Knowledge is NOT Power, sans Application


ID-100573724

Everywhere you turn, there is a lot of emphasis on learning.

“Be a life long learner”, they say.

Learning is most definitely a vital skill for it is the one thing that validates for you, that you are living and growing, growing and living. The quest for knowledge keeps ignited in one, no matter the age; a spirit of curiosity, of yearning and seeking to understand more of the things around us.

With all due respect to the power and importance of learning in one’s life, more important is the application of what you have learnt. Of what use is all the knowledge you have acquired over the years, if you haven’t managed to learn how to apply and benefit from it and/or how to impart it to others so they may benefit from it.

You see, learning is a life long exercise, and for good reason since there is so much to learn that an entire lifetime is just not enough; but more important is the application of what you have learnt. Else, knowledge is perishable. If you don’t apply what you have learnt, or impart to others what you know, you are bound to forget or weaken your knowledge. With application comes depth, a better understanding and perhaps, further exploration, research and as a result, better command of your knowledge. And the cycle continues where, you are able to apply this new knowledge with much success.

Successful application is the fructification of the learning process and knowledge acquisition. That is the end goal of all knowledge, to reach its optimal end result – to share, apply, grow and evolve.

Hence, my dear friends learn what you seek, but better yet, learn how to apply and share your knowledge to the benefit of you and others around you.

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

DayDreaming – Designing your life from the clouds


ID-100200368

Day Dreaming is actually a very good pastime. Did you know that?

Although abhorred as a waste of time by many and especially where parents admonish kids from doing so, it’s not truly a “waste of time” as its deemed to be.

Daydreaming is not just about building castles in the clouds and fantasizing about what could be and living through it in thin air. Agreed, to a certain extent, it’s just that. However, it speaks to your vivid, no bars held imagination and fiery creativity, it speaks to your intelligence, potential and your vision of what could and should be.

If you are a formidable personality, it can help ignite your passion, accelerate your motivation and push you to achieve your dreams in real life. Although you may think that daydreaming is unintentional, it’s actually purposeful and shaped by your environment, your surroundings and experiences and in many a case, perhaps a tad bit of escapism from present reality to where you would like to be.

Zoning out helps. You focus better when you zone back in. While having your mind wander is seen as being inattentive and lazy, it helps take you out of the constraints of the current situation and look at it from an outsider’s perspective, truly “out of the box” perspective to find solutions that you would otherwise overlook, or perhaps be unable to see at all.

It’s important to understand the difference between day dreaming and multi-tasking. Multi-tasking, where you end up thinking of or paying attention to something else while doing one thing, because either that one thing is too easy for you to do and doesn’t need all your faculties involved, or you are plain disinterested in it, is about division of attention and has nothing to do with giving your imagination wings.

Daydreaming is perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of our brain. It truly liberates your imagination and lets it fly independently to conjure whatever you feel like. From fantasies to realism, it’s all in there for it to build upon. However, not every daydream is created equal. While fantasies may lull you into momentary happiness, once you are out of it, you may feel more frustrated and disappointed. On the other hand, if such daydreaming has a path toward realism, you will find purpose and are bound to feel motivated to realize in real life. Now, its up to you to strive and make it happen, thus creating that sense of accomplishment and lasting happiness for yourself.

Daydreaming is assumed to be an unbridled horse wafting across the clouds. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that. We can structure our daydreams to work for us. For instance, if you have a realistic daydream, you can help structure it by applying yourself to it in the dream, as you would want to in real life, to achieve it. Never jump to the result straightaway and dream your success, just because you can. If you have a realistic dream, and aspire to achieve it, constantly thinking about it, creating the details and the depth of it. When you daydream, you can work through it step by step; all that needs to get done in detail. From the actions to take, the challenges you may face to how you will overcome them, all the way to achieving that goal. You can live that experience before you actually experience it in real life, thus better preparing yourself to make it happen!

When you have the ability to build your own world in your head, why not leverage it to make a change in your real life as well.

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When learning is ineffective


ID-100384113

Being a student for life is considered a virtue and a skill that is highly sought.

Having an everlasting thirst for knowledge and the will to learn and absorb is indeed wonderful.

No amount of learning or unlearning is useful to anyone unless you do one of two things; share the knowledge you gain so others may benefit from it and/or act on what you learn. Use the knowledge you gain to benefit from it. Apply it to improve your own life and the lives of those around you. If you do not do one of these two things, no matter what and how much you learn, is a sheer waste of time and energy. You might not think so since you are the one who has learnt something and perhaps, enjoyed learning it but, without application, that learning is not fulfilled.

Whatever is learnt has to be applied, not just because I am saying so but for in order to further the learning as well. Unless applied, what is taught and learned doesn’t evolve on its journey to its ultimate culmination. Of course, you might argue that there is no end point for anything that is coachable or can be learnt. Perhaps, how ever it can always be on a progressive journey and what we can do as the seekers of knowledge is accelerate that journey through application. And, in the process, benefit from such along its evolution.

Be curious and inquisitive, seek knowledge, apply and share for that is the essence of our time and our lives here.

Image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

It takes a village to raise a child!


ID-100213835

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!

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Reinventing Yourself!


ID-100314533

They say, you grow when you learn. Give up learning and you have stalled. There are many who deem that their learning days are behind them and that they can fare relatively well in life, using the skills they have learnt so far. Nothing wrong with that except that nowadays no such luxury exists to say that you will get through your earning years on skills you acquired years ago.

Ever evolving technology has sped up the way we have known organizational structures, roles and responsibilities and they, tend to evolve as well. It’s not changes occurring over decades or even years that I am talking about. Now, it’s down to months and days. Keeping abreast of what’s trending in your line of work is the only thing that allows you to survive and be viable, much less excel.

Let’s look at this through another lens that is more personal to you than just the environment around you. You are best served when you are intensely curious, have a sense of wonderment and in the true sense of the word, enjoy what you do. For some of us, our ambition and end goals are crystal clear early on. For others, it takes a little bit of soul-searching, a bit of trial and error before we figure out what we actually aspire to do. For yet others, they simply have no idea and end up doing something and then, learn to accept it. Better yet, they should learn to fall in love with what they are bestowed with and that love opens the door for their aspiration to get better at what they do; not just get better, in fact excel.

But, life is not just about doing what you do best. It’s also about seeking to discover qualities in you that you never knew you had. On your journey to discover the best in you at what you do, you tend to discover a lot more about you. Pursue what you learn about yourself and that will lead to greater opportunities and more than that, a sense of fulfillment and pride for what you are, who you are. And these qualities, when revealed, help open a plethora of opportunities for you to pursue which you had never imagined were available to you and in fact, you are absolutely capable of their pursuit and achievement. That, my friends, is reinventing yourself.

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In Pursuit of “You”


ID-100264857

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.

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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


Unknown

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?

Is Your Work-Life Flexibility Debatable?


WFH

A few days ago, Yahoo! took the decision to summon all of its associates in-house, to work from one of their offices. It scrapped the remote work option citing that the most creative of ideas birthed from water-cooler conversations or rather, face to face interactions at work. Now, that’s their vision of extracting productivity and unique to their situation as a company. And here, we have the world debating the pros and cons of remote workforces!

Those of you who read recent articles about this step that Yahoo! took might have found it very clear that it is pertinent to their particular situation. When you have associates that are not accountable, don’t even VPN in regularly, what do you do? No wonder that with such a dispassionate workforce, the management had to get to the stick rule when the carrot of free lunches and free gadgets didn’t work. If you know that your kids are slacking and not doing their homework as they should, what do you do? You ensure there is a set time to complete the homework and sit with the kids until they learn to acknowledge the practice.

One company’s situation doesn’t categorize working from home as a boon or a bane. Remote work, when not abused is an absolute boon as it helps uphold associates’ work-life flexibility. This flexibility in turn, ensures reduced stress levels for the associates who work in their own environs and in fact, also helps improve productivity for engaged employees. Is remote working suitable for all employees? Not really since one needs to be a self-starter and have an immense sense of accountability and responsibility to be successful in a remote situation. Again, a change in scene also helps when the employees want to get into an office once in a while for that personal interaction they might crave for in an office setting.

In today’s environment where work extends beyond its stipulated time and associates seek the flexibility to work through their regimen and have to shuffle between life and work, it is a great tool that helps keep that balance, yet ensures that the time spent on work is of a quality nature and associates are fulfilled while delivering their best work.

Case in point, one company’s situation and a corresponding decision to bring back the workforce in-house doesn’t mar the practice altogether as there are other examples out there who have leveraged the remote workforce model to save millions in infrastructure & logistics costs and continue to do so year over year while benefiting from a self-reliant, self-motivated & highly productive workforce. Some simple and immediate benefits include not having to depend on local talent and able to tap into the best of talent across the country and internationally as well, no relocation expenses, lower training costs by deploying on-line training, etc. Managing a remote workforce comes with its own challenges but the benefits outweigh the challenges. Of course, again; not all jobs are suited for this model. But, where possible, leveraging the practice is beneficial and trends show that this is on the growth path among U.S. organizations.

In fact, I know of a management consulting firm that was started using a remote model and till date continues without an office where the workforce is entirely distributed. The organization has a mailing address for a head office, some space to store secure and sensitive documents, conferences and client meetings are either virtual or at rented out conference rooms at one of the several business centers. The company concentrates on its core capabilities while all the functions of running the company such as payroll & legal are outsourced. Not saying that this is viable for every organization out there, but there are companies doing this and being highly successful with the model. Look up Brand Velocity to learn more.

What keeps you awake at night? Not an issue, I hope!


awake

What does your daily life comprise of?

A regular scheduled work week, chaperoning the kids to their after school activities, a family dinner night, a date night, drinks out with friends, some TV time, a weekend movie perhaps, so on and so forth.

But in between these regulars that we call “life”, is there anything else you do that actually excites you? Most people may find their calendars full and their strength & resolve exhausted just keeping up with the daily rigmarole. It may sound daunting but you can actually find rejuvenated energy by pursuing some exciting moments during your daily schedule that eventually will provide you with the excitement, the fuel and as a result renewed strength to refresh yourself and truly “live” unbounded. If you have heard the old adage of adding life to years and not years to your life, this is exactly what it is.

It could be gardening, golfing or spending time discovering the world with your loved ones. It could be doing service, reading, writing or singing and it could also be something totally unrelated to what you do daily. Perhaps a hobby,a project to the side or anything that piques your interest. Something, that takes your mind off your daily life, keeps you highly engrossed where you hardly notice the time spent and are not so much focused on results as you are in the act of pursuing it. And you do it, for the sheer joy of doing it. Some of us are lucky whose regular work is their passion too. For those pursuing an interest outside of your regular work, you will find renewed energy and zeal for your regular work as well resulting in better influence in that sphere. Not just your hobby or work, your life in general will be holistically vigourous.

Excitement, adrenalin pumping and pure joy are to be experienced. When I say that life is to be lived, this is exactly it, this rush of excitement is to be experienced and it only comes from your pursuing something for the pleasure of it. When work is not really work anymore, it is exciting, you want to pursue it further and this interest leads to your perfection and mastery in this pursuit of your choice. All of this sprouts from your interest in the pursuit and without you even knowing it, you excel in your choice. While you enjoy the pursuit, it further fetches you success unimaginable without your asking for it.

What is unique about us humans is that we are all wired so differently that we share a variety of interests. Imagine all of us pursuing our own excitement and as a result, we have every field flourishing due to the passion each one shares for their pursuits.

As I always say, seek & do things exciting enough to either give you a great night’s sleep or rob you of it, that’s when you know you are living!