Reinventing Yourself!


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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.

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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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Leadership Today – From Command & Control to Being Inclusive


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Leaders are built, not born…..

Lead from the front…..

Yawn! This is old school.

Let’s look at leadership for what it is in the new age. Gone are the days of command and control. Today, there is an altogether different leadership that is expected.

Leadership, as we have understood it through the ages, stands for someone, being the champion of a cause and then, enlisting the help of others and influencing them in the realization of the same. It has also been seen as the act of leading others, directing them toward specific achievements through a means that is most effective.

However, leadership is not always about being at the forefront of a team and giving directions as to what they need to do next and how.

The entrepreneurial and corporate engines of today run with a different fuel, an altogether different steam. Nobody is directing anyone, people have the intellect and drive to choose and follow the paths they want to adventure onto 

Leadership is effectively sharing a compelling vision

What they need is a purposeful and meaningful vision, an articulation of how to get from point A to point B and finally, if you are someone who has been there and done that, there’s acknowledgement of what you’ve done and people want to listen to you. Mind you, I said listen. Today’s generation would love to listen to glean lessons from someone else’s experience. They do not care for direction. They will chart their path as long as they buy into the vision, the strategy laid to adopt and the results to be realized. They will chart their own path, a path that works for them to get there under the larger realm of the organizational vision and mission.

Leadership is being respectful of other’s intellect, skills and time

Everyone develops expertise over time at different things and then, can lead within that field, thanks to the skills they have accrued. Leaders are respectful of that. It’s often said that good leaders are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and surround themselves with people better than themselves in areas they lack expertise in. It’s important that to effectuate strong leadership, leaders are respectful of those that work for them and with them. These helps nurture a mutually healthy relationship between leaders and followers and only then, do those that follow, do it willingly. Followers have the freedom, not to just follow blindly, but to question and opine before they follow. A leader’s recognition of every associate’s skills, role and contributions are critical to maximize productivity in any organization. 

Leadership is being transparent, showing strength of character and conviction

A leader is respected for who they are more than what they represent. People need to believe in a person before they decide to follow. A leader needs to ensure that more than having a charismatic personality; they are transparent, just in their dealings and have a high level of integrity and moral values. Trust is a key aspect of any relationship and nothing can establish it more than your true self, reflected in your words and actions. Another important aspect of reflecting true leadership is to show conviction in what you believe and stand for. Decisions that you take need to be solid and no matter what, you should be able to stand behind them. You should not take a decision without much forethought and facts to back it up. And when you do, stand behind it, no matter what. These qualities are vital in ensuring true followership that will stand behind you all the way.

Leadership is putting your shareholders, but first, your employees before you

Leaders focus on the big picture. Yet, they need to have a handle on the tactical stuff. Leaders focus on providing shareholder value, and will put their employees, those that are working on the realization of the articulated vision before everything else. Happy employees lead to satisfied clients and they, in turn lead to a thriving business, eventually ensuring shareholder approval. As long as you’ve got your people’s back, they will have yours.

Leadership is not about directing, but about listening and co-sharing direction

Leaders of this age are no longer the ones that can sit in their ivory towers, draw the shades down and call the shots from yonder. In this day and age of Internet, social media and fast paced actions and outcomes, its important for a leader to stay in absolute touch with their organization, the competition and the market. With rapidly shifting dynamics, it’s about effectively listening to what your people have to say to you. What are they seeing out there? What are they experiencing? What do they advise? All of this needs to be appraised constantly and decisions need to be made based on every input you can possibly get. Its shared leadership as to which direction the organization should take. This is the only way to remain relevant is a fast paced ever changing market.

Leadership is personal

Leadership is personal to every leader. Every leader is unique and to be effective, needs to be comfortable with their own style. You can be at your best as a leader when your leadership reflects your values, skills and life experiences. People seek to know you for who you are. They will look to you to be ethical, moral, righteous etc. before they follow you but eventually, your unique self will be a key aspect of why they would follow you.

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?

After all, you create your own legacy


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I saw an interesting facebook post by a cousin the other day. He, being around 40, concluded that he might live for another 20, perhaps 30 years which he stated turn out to be roughly 10K days. He realized its time to have a plan in place and ensure none of these days are merely wasted. Now, that’s an interesting way to look at the future; 30 years vs. 10K days. Suddenly, things seem to fall into perspective, don’t they?

One of the secrets to a zestful life is having an aspiration and a strong determination to follow through, no matter what your age. It doesn’t necessarily have to be just one or something lofty. It may be numerous aspirations, which are perhaps simple pleasures in life. Some of you, my friends may prefer to call it the bucket list.

Once you aspire for something, to plan for it meticulously, executing on that plan while ensuring you aren’t deviating from your goal, impromptu decisions to tackle unforeseen obstacles and finally, achieving what you planned to accomplish have their own unique sweetness and sense of fulfillment that each must cherish.

Change in perspective only helps put us back on track where we might have indulged in inertia for too long. I believe that such incidents or differed views only help refocus on a track previously treaded on and perhaps you meandered away from. Although, such wake-up calls are necessary, one in pursuit of a burning aspiration should never need them. Constant focus is imperative but, being human does come in the way and that’s where they bring you back on track.

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While doing this, you will time and again come face to face with your persona, will be able to review and improve upon a better self, will cross your achievements and cherish that sense of fulfillment I related before.

Not just professionally, but aim to have these aspirations in your personal life as well.

Seek to be a better parent, a better spouse, a better brother or sister, a better friend, a better you.

After all, you create your own legacy.

“Out of Sight” is “Out of Mind”


It is said “out of sight” is “out of mind”. Don’t you agree?

As a professional, the day job each one of us carries on with is an everyday reiteration of this. You are only as good as what your contribution is for the day. Yesterday is in the past and tomorrow didn’t arrive soon enough. Hence, it’s important to ensure that you are at your very best each day. Bring your best attitude, your acumen and collective experience to execute on your expertise each day. Never rest on the laurels of a day gone by.

At the same time, ensure that you leverage your accomplishments of the past. Carry them with you and reflect upon them yourself as well as reflect them on others you interact with to ensure that you gain the maximum benefit from your past laurels. Although, these are from a time gone by, they are useful to provide a vision of what you have to offer and are capable of. Hence, never let your past accomplishments go stale. It’s not just for you to value but to reflect on others so they value them as much, thus helping you make significant strides in things you are set out to do.

Tell your story to anyone who is willing to lend an ear. Get excited about your story each time you relate it. Excitement is contagious. Your passion will rub off on your audience and will benefit you in the long run. Remember, you are your best spokesperson. Passion and Attitude you carry will pave the way for greater accomplishments you are set out to achieve. After all, the journey needs to be as wonderful as the destination.

In your personal life, it is vital to ensure that you live and renew your relationships each day. Never take a relationship for granted. The more you put into one, the more you get out of it. Once in a while, get nostalgic. Remember those who have had an influence on you and continue to do so. At the same time, there might be certain bitter experiences you’d rather forget. Do so, but remember the lesson you derived from such experiences.

Keep the best of your past and most of your current fresh, in your mind and your heart for these shape the future you aspire for.

As I said, out of sight is out of mind.

You just cannot please everyone…


There is a story that I came across recently. You might have heard it before, but let me relate it to you.

There was on old couple riding along on a donkey when 2 onlookers commented on how cruel they were to overburden the animal. The husband got down and walked while the wife rode along. After a short distance, some other passersby laughed at them and wondered what a fool the husband was to walk and let the wife ride. Immediately, the husband asked the wife to get down and walk while he rode the donkey.  A few minutes passed by. They came across some more onlookers who thought it was very harsh on the part of the husband to ride the donkey while his wife walked along. Finally, the couple decided to walk along with the donkey. After another half a mile, a few people passing along laughed at them for having a donkey and not riding it!

What did you learn from this story? That, you just cannot please everyone no matter how hard you try.

In your personal life, you want to ensure your family’s happiness. Fair enough.

In your professional life, it’s about pleasing your customers but that again, has to be done within some reasonable limits. When you try to please each and every customer by agreeing to every one of their demands, you are not pleasing anyone since, what you offer does not meet the needs of anyone in particular. Hence, saying no to a customer is not taboo. You have to choose your customers so that they are a cultural fit to your organization and then, give your best to keep them.

Other than that, there are a myriad of professional relationships you balance as a part of your work life. It’s a learned skill to successfully maneuver these. Again, the fact that you cannot please everyone trumps. And the only way you trump in a professional setting is with sheer smarts, integrity and acumen to deliver results. Be yourself, be answerable to your inner self and experience confidence in what you say and do. You succeed as long as you are your true self. Any deviation from this to please anyone other than you results in a conflict within. And, conflicts with self do not nurture all that is needed to truly succeed. So, simply, be yourself and enjoy all that it brings your way!

Have you failed enough?


As an old familiar saying goes, “Failure is the stepping stone to success.”

Everyone fears failure. Yet, it is an integral part of our lives, be it personal or professional. And failure gives way to frustration, despair, doubt and so many other emotions; more, from the perception the world around has of it than from the failure itself.

Failure is not something to fear or abhor. Failure teaches important lessons in life; lessons around what doesn’t work, what not to do and also who to truly trust and partner with. You do not come out of a failure with nothing, but with invaluable lessons which if applied on the next attempt, take you closer to your goal of success.

In order to succeed, it is not a must to fail every step of the way before you reach your goal. Lessons from failure do not necessarily need to be your own. You can learn from others’ experiences too. This will keep you on the fast track to success.

When faced with failure, it’s crucial to not give up as well as not to worry and get anxious. What is important is to stay calm, remain stable and have a coherent thought process to analyze the failure. Learn from the mistakes, take lessons from the experience as to what not to do and how to alter path to achieve success.

Taking risks is vital in the competitive times we live in. As another old saying goes, “No pain, no gain!” In order to grow and excel in your personal and professional lives, there is a need to take calculated risks. Else, stagnancy breeds in and one tends to lose the zest in living. Another important prerogative of growth and excellence is innovation. And again, in order to innovate, one needs to be open to risks and failures.

Not all failures are worthy. There are some that can be just termed as foolish and probably should not have happened at all. Then, there are those that are intelligent failures, those that occurred in spite of prior planning and execution per plan. These intelligent failures occur early enough in the process and provide new insights to alter course and continue towards success. Failures are truly valuable when they have a lesson to convey, are not repeated after the lesson is learnt and take you closer to success. Once you have faced failures, you are a much more valuable professional and a better human being.

Plan your work and work your plan. Do not fear failure. If it crosses your path, analyze it, learn from it and apply these lessons to change course and continue towards success until you achieve it. Once you succeed no failures matter at all!

Tell a story…each time….every time!


A universal truism the world over is that every one loves a story. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a good one. It’s another thing that if the story is good, you have more eyes peeled on you and more ears perked up than when it is not. In fact, story telling has been an age-old pastime that has enamored generations of humans. This is reiterated today in the success of Hollywood to Bollywood and all the woods in between. Also, there are channels galore cropping up each day the world over; everyone has a story to tell.

The story telling talent is one you need to develop, to inspire others’ interest in you and what you have to convey. In today’s age of social media and online networking, sharing tidbits of your life makes you more approachable and interesting for others. In fact, it gives a sense of familiarity to even those you have never met. Cultivating this talent accelerates success in both, your professional and personal lives.

On the professional front, it helps to build and leverage your brand. Privacy is definitely something that should be fiercely guarded and cherished. But, there are aspects that compliment you as a person and professional that should be shared with the world. That is how you enhance your professional stature and add value to your contributions. It’s important that these aspects are showcased to help build and share your unique personal brand. What you can expect as a part of this personal branding is more and better work, respect in your professional community and recognition for what you do and represent.

As a person and a professional, embrace story telling as a part of your communication techniques. It is bound to draw more attentive listeners and will ensure you leave a mark with your listeners. Whether interviewing for a job, leading a conference call, addressing a meeting or talking to your team, use the story telling approach. Mind you, it should be short, crisp and to the point.

Now, let’s discuss this technique further;

First, set the stage. Discuss the situation and characterize those involved. Develop the scenario.

Next, relate the conflict. Talk about the abrasion. It’s human nature that a conflict perks up our interest and then, the human mind starts to think in terms of solutions.

Third, describe the struggles, trials and tribulations in facing up to the conflict. Give listeners the unexpected. Tide over their expectations to peak their interest and encourage involvement. This keeps the listeners engaged in the dialogue around the conflict and will even encourage interaction in terms of the listeners’ ideas about solutions to mitigate the struggle.

Fourth, drive the listeners through the interesting discussion that began with the statement of conflict. Drive toward the end, towards a resolution of the conflict.

Finally, state the change in the situation. Ensure the listeners have assimilated the finality of the solution.

Your attendees will leave with appreciation of the exercise and will look forward to future interesting interactions with you. And, when in one, you can be rest assured that they are at their attentive best!