Contact and Connection

After listening to a discourse from a monk, a journalist (foreigner) was left confused. So he approached the monk to clarify.
Journalist – Dear Sir, in your last lecture, you  told about Jogajog (Contact) & Sanjog (Connection). It’s really confusing. Can you explain it to me ?
The Monk smiled a little but apparently deviating from the question, he asked the journalist – Are you from United States ?
Journalist – Yes…
The Monk – Who are there at home ?
The Journalist felt that the  Monk was trying to avoid answering his question since  this was a very personal and unwarranted question. Nevertheless the  journalist responded.
The Journalist – “Mother has expired. Father is there. Three brothers and one sister. All are married…”
The Monk (with a smile on his  face) – “Do you talk to your father?”
Now the  journalist looked visibly annoyed.
The Monk  – “When did you talk to him last?”
The Journalist (suppressing his annoyance) – “May be a month back.”
The Monk – “Do you brothers and sisters meet often ? When did you last meet as a family together?”
At this point, there was sweating on the journalist’s  forehead.
The Journalist (with a sigh) – “We met last at Christmas two  years  ago.”
The Monk – ” How many days did you all stay together ?”
The journalist ( wiping the sweat on his brow) : “Three days…”
The Monk – “How much time did you  spend with your Father, sitting right  beside him ?”
The journalist was perplexed and embarrassed and started scribbling something on a paper…
The Monk – “Did you have breakfast or lunch or dinner together ? Did you ask how he was? Did you ask how his days are passing after your mother’s death ?”
The Monk saw the journalist’s eyes sadden.
The Monk (placing his hand on the journalist’s hand) – “Don’t be embarrassed or upset or sad. I am sorry if I have hurt you unknowingly… But this is basically the answer to your question about “contact and connection (Jogajog and Sanjog)”.  You have ‘contact’  with your father but you don’t have ‘connection’ with him. You are not connected to him. Connection is between heart and heart… sitting together , sharing meals , caring for & hugging each other. Touch , shaking hands, having eye contact,  spending some time together…You, brothers and sisters have ‘contact’ with each other but you have no  ‘connection’ with each other….”
The Journalist (wiping his eyes) – “Thanks for teaching me a fine and unforgettable lesson”
This is the reality today. Whether at home, in society and elsewhere everybody has lots and lots of contacts but there is no connection. No communication…. Everybody is in his or her own world.
Let’s not be just well “contacted” – let’s be well “connected“, with each other… caring, sharing, touching, hugging, spending time together with all our near and dear ones, and other co-passengers in our life’s journey.

 

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The Invisible labels

Invisible Label Image

I was on the road, and driving in a hurry to meet an appointment . A car ahead was moving like a turtle and not giving me way inspite of my continuous honking ! I was on brink of losing my cool when I noticed the small sticker on the car’s rear !
“ Physically challenged ; Please be patient.”

& that changed everything!! I immediately went calm & slowed down !! In fact I got a little protective of the car & the driver !
I reached for the appointment few minutes late , but it was ok !
& then it struck me !! Would I have been patient if there was no sticker !???! Why do we need stickers to be patient with people !??

Will be more patient and kind with others if people had labels pasted on their foreheads???

Labels like ——-
“ Lost my job” , “Fighting cancer”, “Going through a bad divorce” , “ Suffering Emotional abuse “ ,” Lost a loved one”, “Feeling worthless” , “ Financially screwed up” & more like these !

EVERYONE IS FIGHTING A BATTLE WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT !

The least we can do is be patient & kind !

Let us respect the invisible labels !

Planning a Career Transition

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Research indicates globally ~75% of employees are disenchanted with their work life. It’s easy to confuse stress, monotony and a poor company culture with professional unhappiness. Sure, all of these things can lead to disenchantment with your job, but it doesn’t mean you should jump off one career path and onto another.

Before you get emotionally involved with making a career transition, determine the root cause of your desire to change paths. Are you truly unhappy with your current professional path? Are you being realistic about how making a career transition will impact your happiness? Are you ready to start over professionally or are you merely trying to run from something else?

Companies are looking for talent ready to hit the ground running — not someone hitting reset. If your current skills and abilities don’t closely align with your new area of interest, don’t expect to waltz into a new role at the same level of responsibility and earning potential you enjoy today. It is critical to weigh your options financially. Are you willing to work for less considering you most likely aren’t ready to perform at the highest level in a new field?

The answers to the above questions I have posed are not simple and straightforward. It is unique to each individual and getting the right answers often requires getting several layers deeper to know yourself, your values, your likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses and most important of all what is YOUR definition of a successful career. At the end of the day, only you know what makes sense for you personally, professionally and financially.

Switching jobs is challenging enough, but making a transition into a new field or industry can be overwhelming. This is where career coaches like me can help you to make the transition decision well informed and journey less stressful. Based on my coaching experience, I have co-created a six week career transition package with my clients who found it very useful and rewarding. It will be a journey of self discovery designed to help you understand who you are, what you want, identify your career values and explore career options aligned with your values. The end result will be a conscious and well informed career transition plan for effective execution

What does my six week career transition package offer

1. Reclaim your power at work : In order to make changes in your career it helps to understand what you enjoy, and what you don’t, in your current work. Then you can make yourself more comfortable where you are while you ponder and take action on alternative careers or new directions. Please remember that it’s very important when making big changes in our lives to move from a position of STRENGTH – and not from a position of weakness or unhappiness

2. Personal SWOT Analysis: To distinguish yourself, recognizing your unique skills, strengths and talents, plan strategies to manage your weaknesses and threats and take advantage of any opportunities

3. 360 Degree Feedback : This will help you to get a glimpse of how do other people see you? What are your blind spots – hidden talents or shortcomings you’re not aware of? When we get clear on which talents or strengths other people value in us it gives us the chance to showcase these and strengthen ourselves. And when we know what other people consider as our shortcomings it gives us the chance, if we decide it’s necessary, to improve ourselves OR improve how other people perceive us.

4. Identify your Work Values: Knowing your work values enables you to understand what drives and motivates you while at work. It also helps clarify what you may want to avoid in the workplace. And once you’re clear on your work values (whether you’re looking at a new role, career change or just looking for ways to improve your current situation), you can do so in an informed manner. Knowing your work values will enable you to choose roles, careers and activities at work that support and enhance your values – and avoid those that contradict them. Because one definition of career fulfilment is simply “living your values”.

5. Your Career discovery Journey : The purpose of this session is to help you look for common threads and patterns that run thoughout your life. These threads may point to possible careers or simply qualities to build into your work-life

Interested to know more about the career transition package and how it can help you make your career journey successful? Email me at contact@amazingcoachsri.com to set up a complimentary 30 minutes phone conversation. In your session, we’ll talk specifically about further details of how the career transition package can help you meet your goals. If I can help you further, I’ll tell you how. I always endeavor to add value to my clients and do not believe in hard selling.”

Managing Change using “The Nudge” Technique

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It has been said that change is the only constant, and all of us will experience changes, both large and small, in our lives. In today’s fast-moving world, we are confronted with changes daily whether we are “ready or not,” leaving many of us feeling overwhelmed, confused, or uncertain about the future. More often than not, we ourselves are the change initiators, be it at the work front, family front or personal front. Managing change using the Nudge technique will help you understand your reactions to change while suggesting ways you can respond more positively and productively through transition periods.

There are 3 core beliefs that help people make positive changes in their lives.

Belief #1: Something must change : In order to make a lasting change you must be convinced that the time has come. Something MUST change.

Belief #2: I must change it : It’s vital that you take full responsibility in making the change. Sure, others may assist you, but in the end you’re the one who has to make it happen. You have to want this change enough to make it your personal mission – no-one else will do it for you.

Belief #3: I can change it : It’s important not to let past failures get in your way. The truth is that you can do amazing things when you put your mind to it.

At first glance, the above three core beliefs looks simple and easy to apply. So why do most people fail to make lasting change? Because they leave it up to willpower. Willpower works for a while, but without the 3 beliefs above, you’ll always revert back to what’s easy.

The solution : Change what you’re comfortable with 🙂

Another helpful idea – switch around your pain / pleasure motivations. You’ve probably heard that humans are motivated by two things, a) To avoid pain and b) To gain pleasure. So when you want to change a behavior pattern the key is to associate your pain with the behavior you don’t want and connect pleasure with the behavior you do want. For example, let us consider you want to lose weight. You know you need to quit eating comfort food late at night and that you need to start exercising on a regular basis. Up until this point your brain is trained to associate pleasure with eating comfort food late at night and to associate pain with exercise. It’s time to retrain your brain to feel good about exercise and to feel bad about eating late at night. How? Think about all of the negative things about being overweight and connect these unpleasant thoughts to your late night snack. Now think about all of the wonderful things about being in shape and connect these pleasant thoughts to exercise. Switching around your pain/pleasure motivations combined with the 3 beliefs is going to make a huge difference when people want to make changes in their lives.

More often than not, people already know what action is required for a desired outcome, they are often overwhelmed by a huge inertia to act despite having the three core beliefs and the pleasure / pain equation re-framed as mentioned above. It is in times like these that the Nudge technique can be used to overcome the inertia and move forward. I came across the concept of Nudge Technique from the book ” Nudge : Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard H Thaler and Cass R Sunstein. The book defines Nudge as any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. In simpler terms, a nudge makes it more likely that an individual will make a particular choice, or behave in a particular way by altering the environment so that automatic cognitive processes are triggered to favor the desired outcome. The book explains how the concept of Nudge is used at various levels by the different governments and the marketing industry to influence the behavior of the masses without infringing their freedom of choice. For example, when we sign up for a cellphone contract, most people are happy to live with the default options which almost always include some freebies like news subscription, magazines for the first 1 – 3 months. It may be noted that these options are not forced on people, all that is required is just to un-check the options. However, these marketing companies capitalize on the inertia of the people to make choices and hence set these as default in the name of freebies. Most people only realize they have been paying for added services at the end of a year or two while the monthly subscription fees have already kicked in at the end of the promotion period. Another example would be how a food stall owner influences the choices people make for the food they buy by altering the display of the various food items. He can choose to display the food items he wants to sell more visibly at the front. By doing this he is capitalizing on people’s behavior to order the food that is immediately visible upfront instead of searching all through the place. Of course, there will still be some people who are particular about their choice of food and will take the effort to scan through all the food items available but they are only a handful.

Similarly, concept of Nudge can also be applied when managing personal change to overcome the inertia for action. Human behavior like water will always gravitate towards the path of least resistance. This means if we are able to architect our actions for change such that it is the path of least resistance, we will be able to successfully implement the change with little effort.

In our work environment, for example, coming up or co-developing a work-list with our reportees and having regular discussions (fortnightly or monthly) can serve as a good nudge for staying on track for meeting the goals. Another example of nudging at workplace is the use of visual mapping; for example visuals of live unit energy consumption estimates, showing in the red zone, will nudge the behavior of the technicians to monitor and identify means to operate the unit processes more energy efficiently.

A personal example would be giving up over-eating to manage your weight goal. One possible nudge could be to replace your dish size. This would require you to make multiple trips and pose a natural restraint to avoid over eating. Another possible nudge you can try is to limit the cash you carry when you go to the canteen. Often the willpower gets unduly challenged when we have that extra dollar in our pocket :-). But we are naturally more restrained to borrow money from colleagues to buy that additional dish.

Coming up with nudges that will work for you requires heightened awareness of your motivations and behaviors. It is not something you can read from a book and start applying immediately. This is where engaging a professional coach can add value in terms up of speeding up your awareness level and discovering your unique nudges.

I believe each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.

Are you Listening ?

 

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Ever wondered why is it that with some people we feel good after talking while with others it doesn’t make a difference. Many a times, this is irrespective of whether we know the person well or not. What is it that makes us feel good? What is so special about these people? Are you one of them?

Until few years ago, I always believed talking must be purposeful, that is it should have an end objective. In fact, I had been always an admirer of people who talk less and do more. Many a times, I would politely excuse myself from the person or group, if I feel people are just chatting through without a clear objective. That was me. But all that changed after I was introduced to the world of coaching and art of listening.

Earlier, listening to me was all about assimilating what the other person says. I never used to read in between the lines. My focus was always on what is being said. In fact, now I realise that what I did was hearing. On the contrary Listening is all about connecting with the other person. It is not just hearing what is being said but also being aware of what is not being said. It is a skill that can be developed.

Did you know there are multiple levels of listening?
Level 1 or ‘Internal listening’: Here as the listener your focus in on yourself and your own thoughts rather than the speaker. As the speaker is talking you interpret what you hear in terms of what it means to you. This is normal everyday conversation where it is natural as the listener to gather information to help you form opinions and make decisions.
Level 2 or ‘Listening to understand’: As a listener operating at level 2, you are focusing totally on the speaker, listening to their words, tone of voice and body language and are not distracted by your own thoughts and feelings. By listening at level 2 you can get a real understanding of where the other person is ‘coming from’. This makes the other person feel understood.
Level 3 or ‘Global Listening’: This involves the listener focusing on the speaker and picking up more than what is being said. It involves listening to everything available using intuition, picking up emotion and sensing signals from the other person’s body language. You can gauge the energy of the other person and their emotions as well as picking up what they are not saying. You will understand what they are thinking and feeling, and trusting your own senses can be extremely responsive to the needs of the other person by knowing where and how to steer the discussion.

Ever since, I have started developing my listening skills, it has changed me as a person both internally and externally. I am now able to connect with people and have deeper richer communication. At the end of communication, I often get feedback from people that they feel refreshed after the discussion. The same is true for me as well. Because of the internal change I have gone through, I also now come across friends and colleagues who take time to connect with me sometimes even over a cup of coffee just for being listened to. Sometimes, it could simply be something that they are not clear about and want to crystallize their thought process. This is usually achieved by me listening to them and extending my curiosity and challenging their assumptions and belief levels. Other times, it can simply be the need to vent out their frustrations after which they feel better.

Did you know, having someone with whom you can talk and feel listened to can be a great stress buster. In today’s world, where everyone is struggling to make enough time for their needs, people often don’t have the patience to take time and connect with people. This also explains why the stress levels continue soaring up in our society as this fundamental human need for being listened to is not always being met.
More than 80% of the time people hire coaches not because they are looking for solution or external motivator but for just being listened to. In my own coaching experience, I have observed that my clients often have all the answers for the questions and issues they are facing. What they really need is someone non-judgemental who can listen to them and help crystallize their thoughts. Finally when they arrive at their own solutions, they feel energized and empowered. Because at the end of the day every one of us is unique in our own little ways and there is never a one solution fit all.
Want to build upon your listening skills or looking for someone who can listen and connect with you and recognize you for who you are? Write to me at contact@amazingcoachsri.com for setting up a complimentary appointment for 30 minutes to explore how we can partner to achieve your end game.

Dare to become the Butterfly

Butterfly

Until a few weeks back, the butterfly to me was just another insect albeit sometimes beautiful. I never really gave much thought to it. But all that changed after I went for a leadership course. My entire perspective of this little creature changed. Butterflies are natures way of telling us that behind everything beautiful, there is struggle which can be overcome with hope, optimism and courage. It is typical of we humans to associate beauty or success with luck but what we often forget or not visible at the surface is the hard work and struggle that has gone in to create the finished product.

Every year at the start we all come up with resolutions to change ourselves as well as the world around us. The first few months tend to disappear due to procrastination assuming there is still enough time available. Before we know the year is coming to an end soon. What seemed originally as a realistic and achievable goal now suddenly becomes a big mountain and impossible to achieve. Typical responses include either compromising goals what we originally set out to achieve or give up entirely and perhaps hope we can start fresh on it next year. This little image I recieved through WhatsApp beautifully captures the gist of my message

Goals Procrastination

Does this resonate with you? Have you ever wondered what is the difference between the minority few who manage to achieve their goals what they set out for while the majority end up not achieving it? The general success factors often attributed to people who achieve their goals include focus, perseverance, commitment, hardwork, passion etc..The funny part is for most of us if we were to reflect back on these attributes, we will be able to relate with them. Perhaps we can even identify instances in our own life when we excelled in one or more of these attributes. Why are we not able to employ these attributes at will now? What is stopping us from moving ahead with our goals now?

The reason is we often tend to focus more on the HOW and either seldom or not enough on the WHY. The answer lies in the question WHY. Once we understand Why we want to do something, the success attributes follows. The Why feeds the success attributes and keeps it alive to accomplish the goal. Many a times, people assume they understand the Why for their goal. However, if the Why is only superficial, it will not be able to feed the success attributes long enough to sustain them. On the other hand, the deeper you can get into the Why, more gigantic the success attributes manifests into. Let me share with you an example to illustrate my point.

Many people often have weight reduction as one of their goals. To achieve this goal, they come up with a list of items to focus on for eg, going for a jog every morning, joining the gym, stay on a diet plan, buying advanced fitness trackers etc. While they start on all this with great deal of enthusiasm, it eventually dies off in a couple of week or month’s time. The reason being their actions were initially driven by superficial Whys (for eg,  to recieve compliments, show off to friends and colleagues, to be able to fit into a certain dress, follow the band wagon because friends are also into it etc)  and not an authentic, strong Why (eg. impending health reasons, a promise to be upheld for someone special, innate desire to look good or pursue adventure etc).

Now the question is how to get deeper to identify our stronger, authentic and unique Whys. This can be done by improving our own self awareness. For each person, this journey will be unique. For some this would mean spending more time reflecting about oneself, understanding one’s thoughts and actions and the link between the two. For some it could mean taking up meditation, yoga and other similar activities that help calm the mind and focus thinking. For some this could mean hiring a coach who can facilitate the self awareness and the reflection process to help you identify your unique Whys as well as the change management process.

Consider a butterfly: the butterfly begins its life going through stages of growth and transformation. It begins as a larva, then a pupa, and then it becomes the familiar caterpillar. I’m sure you’ve delighted, as I have, in the process of metamorphosis as a caterpillar emerges from its cocoon as a beautiful butterfly, ready to spread its glorious wings and fly. Now here is what’s important thing to learn: the caterpillar does not change its outward appearance alone—it does not disguise itself as a butterfly; it does not turn into something it was not—it experiences transformation/metamorphosis!

Similarly, whatever name we chose to give our creator, the important thing to understand is that we have been created on this earth with a unique purpose, a purpose that is often not always obvious to everyone. We may not always understand the reason behind the challenges and the struggles that we face every other day. But what is important is to listen to and follow our heart and not shy away from the changes that the heart desires. Perhaps who knows, what if that change you are avoiding, is the one that gives you wings? Embrace change and Dare to become the butterfly!!!

Butterfly Change

 

What is your Beautiful Question ?

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I was scouting through the titles in my Kindle paper-white and one title picked my attention. A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger. With questions scattered throughout, the book tells stories of breakthrough ideas, innovations, or new ways of thinking that began with a powerful and sometimes offbeat questions.

Research indicates average child four year old asks their parents approximately 390 questions per day. This tells us that questioning is something so fundamental and instinctive that we don’t need to think about it. It’s a given, an essential and accepted part of life and something that anyone, even a child can do. But ironically, as the age increases, the number of questions a person asks reduces significantly.

Anything that forces people to have to think is not an easy sell, which highlights the challenges of questioning in our everyday lives – and why we don’t do it as much as we might or should. Clearly, it is easier and more “efficient” to go about our daily affairs without questioning everything. It’s natural for our brain to find ways to “reduce our mental workload” and one way is to accept without question or to even just ignore much of what is going on around us at any time. We operate on auto-pilot which can help us save mental energy, allow us to multitask, and enable us to get through the daily grind.

What constitutes a beautiful question? A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something – and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change. The focus here is on questions that can be acted upon, questions that can lead to tangible results and change. In esteemed physicist Edward Witten words “A beautiful question is one that is hard (and interesting) enough that it is worth answering and easy enough that one can actually answer it.”  In today’s world, questioning is more important than it was yesterday and will be more important tomorrow, in helping us figure out what matters, where opportunities lies, and how to get there. While we are always hungry for better answers, we must first learn to ask the right questions. Because ambitious catalytic questioning tends to follow a logical progression, one that often starts with stepping back and seeing things differently and ends with taking action on a particular question.

What are your beautiful questions? Do you want to develop and improve your ability to question? Want to rekindle that questioning spark you had at age four? If you need help to discover your beautiful questions email me at contact@amazingcoachsri.com to set up a complimentary 30 minutes phone conversation

Looking for a Coach?

Do you want your creative abilities released, to maximize your potential within and get support in the process to conquer the peaks of your life?

Do you have a challenge that you are stuck with and want solved?

Do you have trouble finding the motivation to begin with the tasks that you really know are the most important? 

Do you want to go deeper to find out what you really, really want? Despite what the world around you is expecting, you want to find YOUR measurement of success and live in alignment with your values?

If your answer is YES to any of the above questions, then I can assist you in achieving your goals and dreams by helping you

  • Crystallize what you really want
  • Co-create strategies on how to get there, and
  • Motivate to take action

I’ll encourage you every step of the way and celebrate with you when you accomplish goal after goal.

 My Coaching Approach

I believe that everyone has amazing potential and a remarkable capacity to grow.

My role as a Coach is twofold; to help a client increase awareness of their situation and develop the behaviors that will ensure sustained effectiveness.  I achieve this through

  1. Questioning :- to understand what is shaping the situation
  2. Challenging :- to encourage alternative ways of thinking and behaving
  3. Providing feedback :- based on my observations.

I will give you “reflective space” in which to learn about yourself, your working style and your professional relationships with others. I will focus on you as an individual, on the context within which you work, and the influence that each has on the other.

Our conversations will help you to examine your current approach, to plan new strategies, to reflect on your progress and to learn from your experiences.  Our work together will enable you to become more effective in your work, in your leadership of others, and to make both immediate and lasting changes. It will be an exciting, challenging and rewarding journey, and an investment for life.

“If you think you’d like to coach with me, email me at contact@amazingcoachsri.com to set up a complimentary 30 minutes phone conversation. In your session, we’ll talk about your goals and how you can reach them. Usually, it’s a lot of fun. If I can help you further, I’ll tell you how. I always endeavor to add value to my clients and do not believe in hard selling.”