Here’s what we need. Of course, as I always say, mine is a view from a point. Walk to this point and choose to stay there, only if it serves you to take powerful, effective actions to create unimaginable, impossible, magical outcomes that are authentically yours.
A. You need someone
Assess every guru, coach, mentor or a teacher on the above parameters; before giving them the right to be your guru, coach, mentor or a teacher.
A good question here would be – Why does one need someone outside of our self? Why does one need a guru, coach, mentor or a teacher? There are many reasons but the most important is that we cannot see our own blind spots. Growth is available to us only in continuous uncovering of our blind spots as only that allows us to take powerful effective action effortlessly, which is not available to us before the uncovering.
B. You need to be – You need to be committed to realize your greatest dreams in deepest communion with your highest self.
C. You need to do – You need to take action every single day, action that accelerates you on the path of fulfilling your intentions and realizing your dreams.
D. You need to have – an intense burning desire to live your Greatest Life.
E. You need to surround yourself with people who are on the path to their Highest Self because you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
When you can cause all the above five to come together, you will find yourself living in the expression of your Light, your Genius.
Wishing you aliveness, deep fulfillment and joyous freedom of experiencing and living in the expression of your Greatness this lifetime.
Here’s my definition of intellectual laziness: Working long hours and not having the time to have it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, joyful relationships, happy responsible kids with their Genius joyfully expressed, lots of nourishing me-time; while making a huge difference to the world.
If you are upto some intellectual gymming, let's get started to understand how to reduce your working hours and yet increase your prosperity.
A. Commitment: The first step is to make a commitment to make it happen. Commit to reducing your working hours and yet increasing your prosperity.
B. Choice: The next step is to make the choice to believe that you can reduce your working hours and yet increase your prosperity. If your whole Being is rebelling at the preposterous idea, then pretty much you are blocked from exploring, experimenting and creating your way forward. We need Agility of Mind to turn our mind 360 degree around any reality.
You ask how? Lets do an experiment together. Place a box with different colours on each side in the center of a circle. Walk around the box, on the perimeter of the circle always looking at the box. Can you see that at each point on the perimeter, you have a different view? Infact; at two points 180 degree apart, you see completely different colours. Imagine 2 people standing at 180 degree looking at this box called Reality; refusing to acknowledge there are 360 different views of the same Reality and shouting – You are wrong, I am right – on the top of their voices. Who is right, who is wrong? Till each of them don’t focus their energies to increase their Leadership Depth by strengthening their Agility of Mind to recognize, acknowledge and accept with reverence every view of the Reality, however contradictory; is there any progress available to either of them?
Therefore, I am asking you – Do you make the Choice to Believe that you can reduce your working hours and yet increase your prosperity?
There is a very real reason why you may not be able to make the choice to believe, inspite of intellectually appreciating the view from my point. And, that is – Maybe, you don’t want to reduce your working hours. It could be you want to work long hours:
Self-awareness is the foundation for fulfilling your intentions and realizing your dreams. It is important to be aware, very aware of your choices and the reasons behind your choices; really be authentic about your own inauthenticities – that is when you progress with velocity.
If you made the choice to believe, move forward to explore and experiment. If you are in the space of – Prove it to me, then I’ll decide; then you don’t as yet have the mindset of exploring & experimenting and the outcome will prove to you the belief that you originally started with.
If you are an entrepreneur (start-up or seasoned), here are five broad ways you can create to increase your prosperity while reducing your working hours:
If you are a corporate professional, view yourself as a solopreneur with your organization as your customer and the work you do as the service offered by you in return of which your customer gives you a fixed retainer month on month. Go ahead and read all the below five ways you can increase your monthly income (you can call it salary, if you like).
C1. Process Innovation: Reducing the number of hours taken for a particular process through Business Excellence, by making each of your process repeatable and scalable.
Questions to ask yourself for a breakthrough in this area:
a. Which mistakes keep happening again and again? Can I put a checklist at those points with measurable input and output performance indicators to reduce the mistakes to zero? (Repeatable)
b. How do I re-design this process that it can function effectively and efficiently without my continuous supervision or me? (Repeatable & Scalable)
c. How do I simplify this process that with a single day’s training, a new employee will be able to deliver results as per the defined performance indicators? (Repeatable & Scalable)
d. Which things the team members or I keep doing multiple times during the week or during the month? Can I batch them together? (Scalable)
e. Are there too many people on this process? What if I had to manage this process with half the number of resources? (Scalable)
f. How do I de-expertise this process – meaning how to re-design the process to reduce the dependency on experts? (Scalable)
C2. Value Innovation: Increasing the value of your product or service for your customer that they are willing to pay you more through deepening your Craft Mastery, by you playing the game to be the world’s best in what you do.
The value of your product or service to your customer increases by your customer being able to achieve more in less time.
Questions to ask yourself for a breakthrough in this area:
a. How can I give 10 times the return on customer’s investment on our product or service?
b. What is the real problem the customer is trying to solve through our product or service?
c. How can I deliver 10 times more value while reducing customer’s time 10 times in consuming our product or service?
C3. Impact Innovation: Increasing the impact your product or service has on your customer’s life through increasing your Leadership Depth by you willing to take responsibility of all that is not working and willing to give away credit for all that is working. When you shift your Being to that depth, you will suddenly get access to increase your impact in the world by transforming your customer’s life in ways beyond the direct scope of your product or service.
Questions to ask yourself for a breakthrough in this area:
a. What is not working for which I am not taking responsibility?
b. What is working for which I am taking all the credit and not giving it away?
c. How does our product or service fit into the life of the customer?
d. What is the customer’s purpose of life? What can I do to support him / her to live that?
e. What are the customer’s intentions and dreams? What can I do to support him / her to fulfill them?
C4. Increasing Personal Productivity: Here are few ways you can increase your personal productivity –
a. Applying the Ultradian Rhythm – Pioneering researcher Nathan Kleitman discovered that our bodies operate in 90 minutes rhythm not only during the night but also during the day when we move from higher alertness to lower alertness.
In his renowned 1993 study of young violinists, performance researcher Anders Ericsson found that the best ones all practiced the same way: in the morning, in three increments of no more than 90 minutes each, with a break between each one. Ericcson discovered the same pattern among other musicians, athletes, chess players and writers.
Experiment with scheduling your day in slots of 90 minutes interspersed with 10 minutes of break.
b. Define one big win to focus on, the day before.
c. Applying Pareto’s Principle – Pareto’s Law: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs.
80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes.
80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time.
80% of the company profits come from 20% of the products and customers.
Identify your 20% that will give you 80% results, the day before, and focus on completing that 20% before 11 am.
d. Applying Parkinson’s Law - Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will expand in perceived importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. The end product of the shorter deadline is almost inevitably of equal or higher quality due to greater focus.
Therefore, identify few critical tasks that contribute most to your income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.
e. Do not multi-task – Experiments have proven that multi-tasking actually reduces productivity and efficiency. Have one task at hand and focus all your energies on completing it; then move on to the next.
f. Schedule email, whatsapp, social media time once during afternoon and if needed, once in the evening. Restrict your usage strictly as per this schedule
C5. Increasing Personal Creativity and Innovation Index: You can increase your personal creativity and innovation by nourishing, growing and evolving all the four bodies of your Being – Physical, Emotional, Intellectual / Mental and Spiritual by dropping Limiting Habits and adopting Growth Habits in each one of these bodies.
The questions to ask yourself to get an access for growth in each of your four bodies are:
a. Physical – How healthy am I?
b. Emotional – How happy am I?
c. Mental – How well can I focus on something?
d. Spiritual – Why am I doing all of this? What is my purpose?
This write-up is about reducing your working hours and yet increasing your prosperity. How will you know if you have achieved your objective year on year; if we don’t have a way to measure?
Lets call this measure the Prosperity Index and define it as the amount you earn per hour spent in working.
In Year 1, you worked 12 hours a day, six days a week and earned USD 1,000,000 in the year.
In Year 2, you worked 8 hours a day, five days a week and still earned USD 1,000,000 in the year.
In which year, did you create more wealth?
It is in the domain of possibility that in Year 3, you work 8 hours a day, five days a week and increase your earning to USD 2,000,000 through Process, Value and Impact Innovation; and by increasing your Personal Productivity and Creativity & Innovation Index.
Here is an over-view of the three steps to increase your prosperity year on year, while reducing your working hours:
1. Make the Choice to Believe that it is possible.
2. Commit yourself to it.
3. Create through
a. Process Innovation
b. Value Innovation
c. Impact Innovation
d. Increasing Personal Productivity
e. Increasing Personal Creativity and Innovation Index
Looking forward to applauding you as you soar higher being the best in what you do, creating wealth and prosperity while having it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, joyful relationships, happy responsible kids with their Genius joyfully expressed, lots of nourishing me-time; making a huge difference to the world, leaving footprints in the sand of time.
Consistent means unchanging in nature, standard, or effect over time, as per the Oxford Dictionary. Applied to our intentions, it means fulfilling on our intentions irrespective of the chaos inside or outside. If we commit to waking up at 5:00 am daily or exercise daily or move to healthier eating alternatives or reduced social media time, why is it such a struggle to do whatever is our commitment and to be consistent day in, day out?
The pattern shows up in number of ways:
1. We don't even start-off.
2. We start off, struggle to maintain the commitment, slide out of it and stay out of it.
3. We start off, struggle to maintain the commitment, keep sliding out and keep getting back.
First of all, know that you are not the only one who is plagued with inconsistency. It is our human design. That is why the world over, most people forget their New Year's Resolutions within a week of setting them up.
All we are is a collection of habits. Habits are automated hard-wired ways of thinking, feeling, speaking, doing, reacting based on past data; put into motion by triggers that have now become unconscious.
Not waking up at 5:00 am, not exercising daily, not eating healthy, excessive time on social media etc. are the current habits; which we are seeking to replace with a new set of habits. Imagine the complexity of fulfilling an intention of taking on a new habit of waking up at 5:00 am, where as now you wake up at 6:30 am:
1. Waking up at 6:30 am is currently hard-wired. That is the way all the four bodies of your Being (physical, emotional, mental / intellectual, spiritual bodies) know how to react to the trigger of 'waking-up in the morning'.
2. Waking up at 6:30 am is an automated way of being, the trigger for which is not even in your conscious awareness.
3. You want to let the current habit of waking up at 6:30 am go and take on a new habit of waking up at 5:00 am. So pretty much, you need to re-wire your inside at the level of all the four bodies of your Being.
If this is how complex it is, can we be a little compassionate with ourselves when we inevitably slide out? Taking on a new habit is literally like teaching a toddler how to walk. We don't get upset, resigned or cynical or question why she is like that or try to find out what's wrong with her; when a toddler falls down while trying to walk. Instead, we lovingly encourage her to keep trying; delighting in the numerous efforts she is making to walk on her own, without support. We need to be that kind of a nurturing parent to ourselves, if we want to make the new habits a way of our life traversing all the way from
1. Unconscious incompetence: At this stage of our evolution, we are not even aware how our current physical, emotional, mental / intellectual and spiritual habits are limiting us.
2. Conscious Incompetence: This is the Starter journey, when we begin to see ourselves authentically, when we begin to become authentic about our own inauthenticities. We begin to realize and value the importance of Growth Habits; and make a commitment to re-wire ourselves to drop the Limiting Habits and take on Growth Habits. During this journey, you will slide out of the new habit 90% of the time. The way to make progress is to keep coming back every time you slide out.
3. Conscious Competence: This is the Champion journey, when we have strengthened our Agility of Mind to stay with the new Habit 90% of the time. It is much more difficult to get back when we slide out because the fall is deeper. The way to make progress is to keep coming back every time you slide out.
4. Unconscious Competence: This is the journey to Mastery, which is when we can own up to the new habit as ours forever.
Here are the 5 steps for dropping a Limiting Habit and making the Growth Habit yours forever:
1. Commitment: Have an intention, not just a desire to embrace whichever Growth Habit you want to own. Remember, Intention = Desire + Commitment.
2. Choice: Make the Choice to believe at each of the three levels by identifying where it is missing by asking yourself the following questions:
a. Do I believe I have the Power to fulfil on my intention?
b. Do I believe people around me (at work and at home, friends and family) are supporting me to fulfil on my intention?
c. Do I believe the Universe is supporting me to fulfil on my intention?
If any one of the beliefs is missing, you will not be able to move forward to the Create phase. If belief is missing, all you need is to make a choice to believe. You will find it will take all your Agility of Mind to get past this stage, which is usually where people really get stuck. Without belief, no amount of huffing and puffing will get you anywhere.
3. Create: Create a powerful Structure of Success to have you be successful in your game of embracing a new growth habit. A structure of success has the following elements:
a. Actions, you need to take at each of the four bodies of your Being, to fulfill on the intention .
b. An Accountability Partner who is not you, your spouse or your best friends. Ideally, it should be your Mastermind Group; a group of people committed to journey to their Highest Self just as you are.
c. A 21-day cycle to 100% do the habit daily, followed by another 21-day cycle, followed by another 21-day cycle till the new Habit is yours.
4. Choice: Making the choice to take actions as per the above structure of success moment by moment, irrespective of the chaos inside or outside.
5. Commitment: Staying in the commitment to make the choice to be happy, fulfilled and grateful; irrespective of the outcome.
Go back to Step 1. Keep going round and round from Step 1 to 2 till Step 5, then back to 1, 2 till 5. You will find yourself experiencing being a Starter, Champion and finally Mastery; as you progress forward. That's it. Keep walking, keep creating, keep realizing your Greatest Dreams in deepest communion with your Highest Self and have it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, joyful relationships, happy responsible kids with their Genius joyfully expressed and lots of nourishing me-time; while making a huge difference to the world. What else is there to do?
Being a parent is an opportunity to become a better version of ourselves as human beings. We are heroes in our child's world and that gives us the power to go on the Hero's Journey. Left to my own devices without my kids, I wouldn't be half the human being that I am today. I owe my evolution, growth & transformation; and performance, productivity & effectiveness to them.
Each child is a Genius and if the Genius does not get expressed, we must hold ourselves as parents responsible for that because they feel, think, do and become in our space. Before moving forward, lets first define Genius so that we are on the same page. A human's Genius is the expression of their Highest Self; doing something that fills their heart with joy and passion, their mind with stillness, their spirit with freedom of fresh air, their body with aliveness, their eyes with stars; inspiring them to take that something to Mastery level and inside of that, making a huge difference to the world. Lets call that something their Craft, whatever it may be - Maths, Science, Dance, Music, Art, Drama, Robotics, Literature, Sports and so on.
To support our child's Genius to be joyfully expressed and have them show up in the world as happy & responsible, here's what we need to do, feel, think and be:
1. Play our own game of being the best in our field: We need to believe in our own Genius and play the game to express it joyfully. Children learn more from what their parents do than from what their parents tell them to do.
2. Nurture: Provide unconditional love and acceptance, however they are and however they are not. No pre-conditions or demands. They should never have to earn our love. It should be a given, whatever they may do. Discipline them for sure by taking away their privileges, not withdrawing your love. This means never vomiting your anger on them. Sure, get angry but process it on your own through journaling, meditation, walking, listening or dancing to your favourite music but never ever vomit it on them.
3. Lead: Be a Leader at home, not a Boss. Leaders do 10X of what they ask their people to do and that is it. You want your child to wake up at 6:00 am, you wake up at 4:00 am. You want your child to reduce their screen time, stop watching TV altogether. You want your child to reduce their intake of coke, you switch to drinking only water instead of tea / coffee / alcohol / soft-drinks. You want your child to excel in academics, stop playing the game of mediocrity yourself. No amount of your huffing and puffing will make a difference to them. What will make a difference to them is you playing a bigger game than you ask them to play. If you put on a facade by doing the right things only in their presence, you are raising humans who will lack integrity in their life and will never have a chance at happiness.
4. Coach: Yes, you not only have to nurture and lead them; you are their coach too. A coach is someone who supports their coachees to realize their greatest dreams in deepest communion with their highest self, who believes in their coachee's Genius even if the coachee does not, who coaches their coachees to live in the expression of their Light. That is your job, you are your child's coach. Learn the technique of coaching - agility of mind (the ability to have 360 degree view of any situation), being of service (serving your child from a place of no expectation), communicating in the world of others (committed listening, leading with questions). Work with a coach to take your life to 10X and learn how to coach.
5. House-hold chores: Kids need to do house-hold chores so that they learn to be responsible from the age they open their mouth to talk and stand on their feet to walk. Doing house-hold chores is as fundamental as eating food. Infact, there's a Harvard Grant study which establishes the importance of kids doing house-hold chores and puts it out as an indicator of child's success when he grows up. Are your kids making their beds, managing their laundry, laying the table, dusting their rooms? Are you doing that? Remember they will only do, only if you do that.
6. Habits: A human being is only a set of habits. Give your child a legacy of world-class habits by inculcating them in yourself first. Do you daily exercise, meditate, set your intentions a day ahead, review & reflect at the end of day, acknowledge yourself, consciously look out for positive aspects, deepen your experience of gratitude, read. These are few of the habits of the Great Masters. If you take them on, your children will adopt them as naturally as bathing in the morning.
7. Purpose of Life: Do you have a purpose of life? If you don't have, your children will not have and grow up as directionless. Mastery is a function of practise. Put in 10,000 hours practising something and you have cut-over to the first level of mastery. 10,000 hours is 3 hours daily for 10 years. That is the time-frame for reaching your Genius. I meet a lot of school kids, not clear about what they want to do in life. I talk to their parents and I know why. Your child gives you signs of what they might be potentially passionate about right from a very young age. The problem is you don't believe in your own dreams and you scare them away from their dreams, out of fear of an unknown future. Unfortunately, communication is only 7% verbal; 93% is through your body language and tone of your voice, which is arising from your thoughts & feelings that you may not be even aware of. If you are a parent, you have no choice but to move from
2. awakened consciousness
3. deep inner awareness
4. powerful creation of the new reality that you want
5. effortless transformation of your existence itself, transforming who you are as a human being.
That is when you are truly owning up to your responsibility as a parent.
Yes, you were born to be on the Hero's Journey. Wishing you deeply fulfilling, joyous walk on that path; with you and your family experiencing each other's love, understanding, appreciation, respect and friendship. Then watch, how your productivity and effectiveness explodes. I am right here applauding you as you win the gold medal in the Olympics of your Life.
In the last 7 years working in the trenches literally, in search of a solution to the problem of leaking pipeline of women talent, through Mums At Work™; I learnt, grew and evolved as a human being working with women across all phases, ages and professional existence - homemakers; women on sabbatical; corporate professionals - entry, mid-level and senior leaders; entrepreneurs - aspiring and seasoned; young, mid-life & grandmothers; single, married with kids, married with no kids, separated, divorced. Here are some of my key learnings:
1. The root issue for the leaking pipe-line is performance, productivity and effectiveness. Let me expand on that a bit. Men have x responsibility, Women have 2x because they have both work and domestic responsibilities. After women have kids, women cannot extend their hours in office because they need to take on the nurturing role and overall work increases to 3x. To deal with growing responsibilities at work, men can extend themselves from y to 2y hours to do x amount of work at office while women have only y hours to do x amount of work at office because other hours are committed to home and kids. And, that's why women leak out - x amount of work to be done in y hours at office besides 2x amount of work to be done in y hours at home; while men have 2y hours available to do x amount of work at office.
There are couple of ways for a woman to solve this problem:
a. Become a Fighter - Fight with the world at the injustice of 3x and fight her way up. Be the man and show the world.
b. Become a Victim - Give up and walk out, feeling helpless for the rest of her life.
c. Become a Peaceful Warrior - Learn, grow and evolve to the next level of what it means to be a human being and exponentially increase performance, productivity, effectiveness, innovation and creativity to effortlessly manage 3x in y hours or even less. This requires Leadership Depth. This requires a new way of Being within a new model of Leadership; inside of which all the four bodies of the Being (Physical, Intellectual / Mental, Emotional, Spiritual) are nourished, strengthened and transformed.
The job of the CEOs who are committed to increasing Gender Diversity is to solve this problem not as a woman issue but as a performance issue; and support their people, not just women, to become Peaceful Warriors; which will transform the organization from Good to Great. That means the CEO needs to herself / himself take on being a Peaceful Warrior.
Click here to read - How to be a Peaceful Warrior (Gear 5 Leader™) to lead your Organization from Good to Great
2. Corporates rise to the occasion by creating Women Interest groups, hosting workshops, trying to set-up mentoring programs in the old Leadership Model which only trains women to become Fighters. All this and more like this actually camouflages the real issue and pushes it away under the carpet. There is no sustainable long-term impact. Yes, the Leadership Team, though, comes away with the satisfaction of having done something. These kind of initiatives is like thinking ironing the shirt will solve the problem though the person is suffering from severe migraine. We need to go much deeper but where is the time to even think about it, when all the Leaders are busy being busy, rushing from moment to moment and driving everyone to be busy being busy. You need Stillness in all your four bodies for this kind of transformative work.
3. The biggest paradigm shift that is needed is to have the belief that you can Have It All - deeply fulfilling successful career, joyful relationships, happy responsible kids with their Genius joyfully expressed and lots of nourishing me-time; while making a huge difference to the world. Infact, not only you can have it all, but that it is the very purpose of your life. In the corporate world, where everyone is busy cutting stones instead of building cathedrals, coming to work only for their lifestyle; we have unsung songs, wistful dreams and outer motivation instead of joyous inner inspiration.
Because a woman needs to make a choice in the world where you cannot have it all; she first drops Nourishing Me-time; then she drops Deeply Fulfilling Successful Career; then Joyful Relationships and then nothing is left of her to raise extra-ordinary human beings. Either all four balls will be up in the air or none. You drop one and all will come crashing down one by one over a period of your entire life-time.
Therefore, for Gender Diversity, senior Leaders beginning with the CEO have to have the belief that they can have it all and make it happen in their own lives to create the space for everyone in their organizations to make having it all a way of life. Do that and you will never have any woman leaving; and creativity and innovation in both men and women will explode to create breakthrough profitability because you will have happy people working, not stressed out zombies.
There is a huge amount of stress in the corporate environment. The way to solve this is not to become stronger to deal with the stress but to remove the stress altogether because under stress, the mind is ineffective. Imagine how much human potential is wasted in the corporates, more so at the senior most levels because they are all working with a limited mind efficiency, considering the amount of stress they are dealing with, day in, day out.
Therefore, though my commitment remains to transform what it means to be a woman; over the last 7 years, I realized the journey has to begin with transforming what it means to be a Leader; what it means to be an organization, a business and at the heart of it, what it means to be a human being.
If Leadership is not working, it is because the foundation of Values in the organization aren't strong. If Parenting is not working, it is because the foundation of Values in the family aren't strong. Values not just as a concept or something to talk about but as a way of life. How so?
Before taking that on, lets first attempt to answer what is the meaning of Values. Oxford Dictionary describes Values (in the context of what we are discussing) as - Principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life.
Our actions and communication with others determine the results we create. Reactive actions and reactive communication result in ineffective outcomes or outcomes not aligned to 100% of our intentions. Values are our promise to the Universe and to ourselves of who we are committed to Being. Having Values give us an access to step back and respond powerfully; instead of reacting blindly. For example, my Values are Love, Gratitude, Reverence. Why did I choose them to be my values? I chose them because they connect with me, they inspire me. Therefore, it is my promise to be, act, speak, think from there; irrespective of the chaos inside or outside. They become my Rock of Gibraltar; which I can hold on to in the crashing, forever changing waves of the ocean called Life. Then, life becomes easy because there's one part of life which is unchangeable. Everything may change in the world around me, but my values are constant and help to soothe & still the crashing, forever changing thought waves in my mind. In that stillness; creativity, innovation, performance, productivity and effectiveness bursts forth.
Value-based Leadership and Value-based Parenting is what will give you sustainable, joyous, deeply fulfilling results. Never believe what someone else asserts because wisdom can only be accessed through direct experience. No amount of teaching, coaching, reading, learning, training will ever lead you to wisdom. The only thing that will is your jumping into the court and playing. Inviting you to play and experiment to find out your truth for yourself. Here's how you play:
1. Make a Choice of your Core Values - Ask yourself: What am I committed to being? Being what inspires me? The answer to these questions will give you an access to your core Values. Remember, values would have the energy of giving and not the energy of receiving. Therefore, success is not a value but an outcome you want to receive. Being Happy & Fulfilled can be a value, if you mean that you will make the choice to be positive, happy & fulfilled irrespective of anything and anybody, without making other people or situations wrong; because then it has the energy of giving.
2. Make a Commitment - Promise yourself to be your Values, irrespective of the situation or people. Make a commitment by saying aloud to yourself and keep reminding yourself of who you are -
I am ____<your values>_____ .
Fill in your values in the blank above.
3. Play The Game - Its a tough game but here's my promise - Play the game to be your values, moment by moment; and you will find your performance, productivity & effectiveness enhanced exponentially. If it doesn't, write to me at email@example.com and I will respond to tell you what you may have missed.
We talk about brand values, organizational values and have them be plastered all over the walls in our swanky offices. It makes zero difference because we, as leaders at the helm of our organizations, have to live and die by those values first. Not to show our employees but to feel them deep inside in the most authentic part of ourselves. Leadership is about doing, being 10 times what we expect others to do and be. So, we have to live our values with 10 times the intensity for it to percolate in our organizations and families. That is the only way it works. If I say - I am living all these values - and don't have anyone outside of myself to show me the mirror; then it's only a tall claim and may need to be verified.
Wishing you a joyous, deeply fulfilling journey to lead your organization from good to great.
Being a Leader is being a Space; space for other people to realize their greatness, space for other people to joyfully experience their Genius. A title does not make you a leader, you don't need a title to be a leader. The higher income is only a by-product of being a Leader. The real reward is the huge impact you have on your organization and in the world; the deep fulfilment of having made a difference; of living in the expression of your Light.
Wealth is the tail of the dog, Being of Service is the mouth of the dog named Leadership. More you feed the mouth, more rigorously the tail will wag. If you want just the tail to wag and don't feed the mouth, you will only whip the dog to death. Sure, not in the short term where one could get by, ignoring the Laws of Nature. We have to live with ourselves till the end of our life and who knows, even beyond; we cannot escape forever the outcome of the energy we put in.
Each one is on their own path of evolution, it does not matter what others do. What matters is what I am doing, moment by moment - Having people experience their greatness by focussing on their Light or dragging them down to their darkness? When I contribute to the expansion of Light, I expand. When I contribute to switching off people's Light, I drag myself to darkness. How else can it be? You may say, this may be so but what has it got to do with Leadership or building great businesses. I say, everything.
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” - Sam Walton. Founder - Walmart, Sam's Club. Net Worth at the time of his death in 1992 at 74 years: USD 8.6 Billion
To build great organizations, you need people who believe in themselves because we need them to accomplish at amazing levels. Therefore, if leaders aspire to lead their organizations from the rut of mediocrity (also called good) to great; they need to evolve to a level where they become a Space for people to experience their own greatness. I will go one step forward and assert that Leaders need to evolve to a level where they become a Space for people to not only experience their own greatness but also become a Space for people to experience each other's greatness. That is when you create an enduring culture of joyous Growth, authentic Leadership and inspiring Greatness. Life is too short to play a game smaller than this.
The question then becomes - How does one become such a Leader? Just as you cannot crash your car's gear to 5 without going through steadily from Gear 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5; similarly, you cannot gatecrash to being what I call Gear 5 Leader.
Before you begin reading further to deep-dive into the different stages of leadership evolution, let me pause and invite you to step back. Is everything I am saying the only truth? Ofcourse not. Reality is always in the centre providing you 360 degree views as you walk around it in a circle. At 180 degree, you will have 2 contradictory views of the same reality. Both are equally valid or equally invalid. Then, how does one decide which point to stand in to view reality? You walk around in a circle, 360 degree to view reality from different points and decide for yourself the view from the point which gives you farthest clarity of path and maximum power to take effective action.
The reason we have problems in the world is because each one of us gets stuck to the point of view we have, assuming that is the absolute Truth. So, take from here what supports your evolution to your highest self and drop everything else.
Here are the different stages of Leadership Evolution:
Gear 1: Discover your destiny, your purpose this life-time. Strengthen Agility of Mind leadership muscle to experience unconditional love, gratitude and reverence for who you are as a human being. There is deep stillness within, with nowhere to go and nothing to prove.
Gear 2: Make a difference through your work, playing your big game with peace in your heart and mind. Strengthen Being of Service leadership muscle to see the light in everyone and have the leadership depth to give your unconditional love, gratitude and reverence to each one in your space, irrespective of however they are and however they are not. Experience oneness with the Universe.
Gear 3: Experience joy of effortless existence as the world around you experiences you as extraordinary. You receive unconditional love, gratitude and reverence from everyone as you strengthen your Communicating in the World of Others leadership muscle.
Gear 4: Experience deep fulfilment as others in your space experience themselves as extraordinary and experience unconditional love, gratitude and reverence for themselves. The Authentic Leader in you is born as you get access to significant Power to Create™ by strengthening your Delivery on Your Word leadership muscle.
Gear 5: People in your space experience each other as extraordinary and give their unconditional love, gratitude and reverence to each other. Your presence causes a shift in the space around you as you inspire a culture of trust, partnership and compassionate love; with each one supporting the other to be successful. The Master in you is born, as you strengthen your Excellence leadership muscle to have your Power to Create™ in full bloom. You become The Master Creator. You intend; it gets created effortlessly and almost instantaneously.
From here, we cycle up to another question - What gives us the access to transform from one Leadership Gear to the next?
We are simply a sum total of our Habits at each one of four bodies of our Being - Intellectual / Mental, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual. All I will say today is that the journey begins with Awareness - awareness of our limiting habits, our blind spots and transforming each one into habits that support our growth and evolution. Therefore, you cannot go to a one-day or even three months leadership program and be assured to come out wiser and transformed forever. This is a journey of a lifetime and when you think you have arrived, that's the day you have to begin your journey all over again.
For this journey, here's what you need to pack:
1. The Dream - Your Commitment to be your Highest Self. Your Purpose.
2. The Mastermind Group - Your fellow travellers on the same journey, each one on their individual journey to their highest selves, committed and passionate.
3. The Coach - Someone who continuously holds the mirror, throwing light on the travellers' blind spots for growth to happen; holding them accountable to their purpose, their dream; creating Space for the journey to take place; who is there not to please you but to serve you through fearless high-flame coaching.
In the world, there are different experts in supporting growth of the different bodies of the Being - Intellectual, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual. The challenge is that the four bodies are deeply inter-linked with each other and are like four wheels of a car. An integrated view and approach would provide velocity and momentum to our leadership evolution.
Yes, more questions opened up than got answered. Then, this is an ongoing conversation. Wishing you the joy and deep fulfilment of realizing your greatest dreams in deepest communion with your highest self and have it all, while making a huge difference in the world. This is what is available to you as you walk the path of Authentic Leadership and thank goodness, your designation doesn't count.
Sending you Independence Day festivities from India to create a brave new world where human beings feel deep connectedness with each other, honour the light in each other, relate to each other with love, gratitude & reverence; joyously owning the legacy of Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Prophet Muhammad, Guru Nanak as belonging to each one of us. It all begins with how we work and lead.
Let me tell you a story that you most likely would have heard before. A traveller meets 3 workers cutting stone by the roadside, where a lot of construction seemed to be underway. He asked the first one - What are you doing? The first stone-cutter looked tired and exhausted. He said he was cutting stone. He asked the second stone-cutter the same question. He didn't look as fatigued. He said he was building a wall. The third stone-cutter looked happy and fulfilled; and was cutting the stone with a mesmerizing rhythm, flow and focus; almost like an artist. He said he was building a cathedral. No prizes for guessing which of the three would have the highest output, performance & productivity; and greatest energy, joy & fulfilment from his work.
Sure, this is a story. Let me get you some hard facts too. Here's a quote from someone who should know.
Being purpose driven provides a company the competitive edge, staff confidence and strong innovation. Recent research at Harvard shows that companies with a ‘higher purpose’ are more than three times as likely to retain their employees. Deloitte found that companies with a strong sense of purpose were almost twice as likely to be confident about business growth in both the short and long term.
- Richard Branson. Founder, Virgin Group through which he started and controls more than 400 companies. Net worth: USD 5.1 Billion.
Remember organizations are made of people. For the organization to be purpose-driven, people who are a part of it have to be linked to their purpose of life and be able to see their purpose of life being lived through the work they do. That will have them be inspired from the inside which has far greater momentum and longevity than the external motivation that the leaders work so hard at giving to their team members.
If you want to increase the productivity and profitability of your organization, you have to begin with yourself. To increase your effectiveness and deliver more while working for less number of hours to create time to have it all, you absolutely have to begin with distinguishing your purpose of life.
Let's first begin with what is your quest this lifetime. Quest is what you really want for yourself. If you have just that; you will be totally fulfilled as you lie on your bed breathing your last, knowing you lived a full life and created all that you wanted.
Therefore, the first question to ask yourself is - What is my Quest this lifetime? Your answer could be success, fame, prosperity, happy family, abundance, adventure, love, peace, freedom or whatever else that you feel would complete you. Having identified that, fill in the sentence and say it aloud to yourself - My Quest this Lifetime is to be _______________________
Check your body if you feel the connection. If you close your eyes and hear yourself speak the sentence aloud, you will know if you feel connected to your Quest. Keep changing the blank space in the sentence above till you arrive at the Quest that has you totally come alive, fill you up with joy, has you experience being centered & grounded.
Let's detour to Science a bit before coming back into this conversation. Remember what Newton discovered. What we learnt at school as his third law? Absolutely - Every action has equal and opposite reaction. If the reaction that you want from the world is the fulfilment of your Quest, guess what needs to be your action? Your action would be to give away exactly what you want to receive back. Reaction is the second step. The source is the action and you are the initiator. If you then support others to have what is your Quest, won't it logically come back to you in accordance to Newton's third law.
Then, your purpose this lifetime is to support others to have what you want. If you want happiness, fulfilment, success and prosperity. Then, your quest this lifetime is to be happy, fulfilled, successful and prosperous. The only way to create momentum for it to come back to you from the world is for you to give it to others, which then becomes the purpose of your life. Therefore, say this sentence aloud.
My Purpose this Lifetime is to support others to be happy, fulfilled, successful and prosperous.
Or fill in the blank with whatever is your Quest this Lifetime:
My Purpose this Lifetime is to support others to be _________________________________
Again, check your body if you feel the connection. If you close your eyes and hear yourself speak the sentence aloud, you will know if you feel connected to your Purpose. If you don't, go back to your Quest and go deeper to find another quest below the one on the surface. This is an iterative process. You will know when you discover your purpose.
Your purpose is your vision of your life, the future you want to create through the work you do. Your mission is to take specific action today to create this future. Summing it up - Your vision is the future you want to create through your work. Your mission is what specifically will you do today and for whom to create this future.
For example, you head sales for your organization and your organization sells technology solutions to businesses. Ask yourself what benefit will the solutions provide to your customers. Maybe, it helps them to attract more customers. Therefore, if they attract more customers, they will become more profitable and be able to hire more employees and add to the economic development of the country and increase standard of living for more number of people in the country and the world, support more families, have more children experience love, peace & prosperity as your customer becomes even more profitable and bigger. See, you are at the source of the transformation in the world. You have to keep looking at the difference you are making beyond here & now and exploring iteratively to find a connect between what you are doing and the big difference that you want to make that brings back stars in your eyes, makes your heart beat with passion & commitment, makes you feel young and full of energy & enthusiasm. Through this process, you may arrive at something like the below which is by way of example:
My purpose this lifetime is to support people to be happy, fulfilled, successful and prosperous by enabling the organizations they work in to be profitable through our Technology Solutions.
Language can be used to describe the world which can leave us feeling disempowered or it can be used to generate a new reality. Be sure you use the power of language to generate the reality you want. So, keep iterating on your purpose statement, continue playing with the words till you feel settled, till it inspires you, till it makes you come alive with possibilities.
Sure, you can choose cynicism & resignation, and say all this is nonsense. And yet, you can choose something else - Deep connection to your purpose of life, using your job as a playground to live your highest purpose. When you play the game like this, here are the outcomes you create:
1. Your work makes you come joyously alive.
2. You get the same adrenalin rush, exhilaration and peaceful centering at work, as you get spending your time playing golf, photography or whatever else is your favourite thing to do.
3. Every day at work feels like being on vacation. You experience fun, fulfilment, freedom.
4. You come home from work totally refreshed & rejuvenated.
5. You work moment by moment with a deep inner knowing that you are leaving footprints in the sand of time.
Yes, this is in the domain of possibility.
The time has come. Let's march forth, Peaceful Warriors, to create this brave new world.
Let's first understand that time is a created concept. It did not exist when we were hunters and gatherers, in the beginning of our evolutionary cycle. As we progressed, along with other inventions to make our lives simpler, time was also invented. Time doesn't have a physical reality as you cannot hold it, taste it, touch it, hear it, smell it or see it. Therefore, time is not real. It is something that we create.
Then, the question is not why there is not enough time to do all that I want to do. The real question is why am I not creating all the time that I need, to do all that I want to do? When you ask yourself that question, you will end up facing a reality that you have been avoiding by hiding behind the wrong question.
The reason why we don't create time for what we think we want is the truth, hidden beneath many layers, that we don't really want to do it. You may belligerently shout at the top of your voice - What nonsense? All I am saying is you have been running around from moment to moment, busy being busy and whatever you have done hasn't helped you to create time. Why not listen to what I have to say and consider it just for the time you read this article?
Consider that the reason you don't have time to do all that you say you want to do is because you don't really want to do it and you hide that fact from yourself to avoid doing it.
Play along with me for a while. Bring with you vulnerability and courage to be authentic to your own self. Make a list of all that you want to do and haven't as yet found the time to do. Against each item, ask yourself the following questions. When you ask yourself these questions, make a conscious effort to still the jabbering monkey-mind by focussing your attention on your breathing, as it comes out and as it goes in, as it comes out and as it goes in, as it comes out and as it goes in.
1. What would be available to me if I did what I haven't found the time to do?
2. If this is important to me, why am I not doing it?
3. What is my fear?
Do this exercise in your journal by writing down the answers to each of these questions against every item you say you want to do and yet haven't found the time to do; from the list you wrote at the beginning of this exercise. If you really do this exercise with stillness in your mind and body, you will get present to fears buried deep inside. The only way forward is to drop the fear by working with all your four bodies of your Being - mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. When you drop the fear, you will suddenly create time on your calendar to do that for which you had no time before. Yes, the fear is real. I know you will feel it in your body if you pay enough attention to it. What's the point of ignoring it, keeping it under the carpet? It will not vanish by you not looking at it. It will only cause further and greater pain, the more you allow it to remain underground. Once you see it, I also know you will soon have all the data-points to tell me why you need to hold on to your fear. Why not focus on why you need to let it go? When you do that; you will fly into light, into freedom, into the vast open sky of limitless existence.
The most important step is to recognize that the fear exists. It is the first step without which you cannot move forward. This is Nature's way to support us to grow and evolve, which is the reason each one of us is born - to be bigger than who we were when we took our first breath on this planet.
The best part is the unfolding of your productivity, performance, effectiveness, aliveness and fulfilment not experienced before; as you progress on this journey. Wishing you courage to walk the path to your highest self and live in the expression of your Light, your Genius because that's who you really are.
You may be cynical and resigned about Life and about yourself, or may say you are just being practical. I know you are extraordinary, having studied masters and understood the science of what it takes to realize your greatest dreams in deepest communion with your highest self and have it all. Nobody is born a Genius. Each of the Geniuses have used their lifetime to uncover the light inside which each one of us has; with the single-pointed focus on making it happen and taking action in that direction - day in, day out. The human being; who keeps walking undeterred, persistently like the tortoise, step at a time; is the one who finds gold at the end of the journey. The one who is more a show-horse than a plough-horse gets side-tracked like the rabbit, loses the game and misses to find the treasure; though it is there waiting to be found.
The journey of transforming your organization from good to great begins with you transforming from good to great. Fortunately or unfortunately, the organization mirrors the leader at the helm of the organization. Fortunately because that means the power is in your hands to make this happen. Unfortunately because it is easier to work on the outside than on the inside.
For the organization to shift gears from good to great, there are actually 3 journeys that the CEO will have to undertake simultaneously:
1. Business Excellence
2. Leadership Depth
3. Craft Mastery
Even before we begin to explore each in greater detail, let us define what is good and what is great to assess whether it is even worthwhile to be on this journey. A good organization makes profit but struggles to do so, is in the red ocean of bloody waters with competition nibbling at its toes, primary motive is financial survival, does not have any significant impact in the world, employees work half-heartedly and only for their salary. Employee engagement is a huge focus because disengagement is so rampant. Employees don't feel connected with their own selves or with each other or with their leaders. Its stressful to be working and everyone is waiting to hang-up their corporate boots some day to follow their heart, to come alive. There are offsites to discuss mission, strategy, future etc. and everyone uses these as a way to get a breather from the boring routine and nobody remembers anything once they are back at work. Nobody understands what love is or what's that got to do with work. Leadership is bottom-line and top-line focussed. Another word for good is mediocrity and the organization is only leading itself to a certain death sometime in the future.
A great organization is purpose-driven; significantly and positively impacts human consciousness and evolution; passion, commitment, accountability, self-inspiration & purpose drive the employees who joyously work with their heart, mind & soul; is in the blue ocean, is a market leader running a monopoly with its nearest competitor miles away; is in an effortless self-sustaining cycle of creativity, innovation and profitability. No employee engagement programs are needed because employees are deeply engaged and connected with their work, with each other and with their leaders. Employees live their purpose of life through their work; leave the day at work feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. There's focus on value-based leadership with leaders creating a space of compassionate love through nurturing, coaching and leading authentically by themselves doing 10 times what they tell their people to do. This results in breakthrough performance, productivity and profitability.
Well, isn't leading your organization from good to great then a worthy goal?
If it is, then let's deep dive into what it takes to make that happen. There are three journeys that the CEO, the leader at the helm of the organization would need to undertake simultaneously:
1. Business Excellence
This is a journey over 5 mountains:
Mountain 1: Inquiring into his / her own Purpose, the CEO identifies a real experiential link between his / her purpose of life and what the organization is up to in the world. Without this, there will be mediocrity and death which is the only outcome available to a good organization. For the organization to be on the path of greatness; the CEO has to be on the path of greatness working with a mission to transform the world, committed to make a huge difference, driven to leave footprints in the sand of time.
Mountain 2: Discovering your organization's Blue Ocean and a Compelling Value Proposition that has prospects chase you to become your customers instead of your business having to chase the customers. Till the time you don't have anything to offer that has customers chase you, you are playing a losing game.
Mountain 3: Iterating to create a robust Repeatable, Scalable and Profitable Business Model, giving your business a solid foundation of long-term value-creation for your customers and for your organization. Here's how you test whether you are ready to cross this mountain -
a. Profitability - Is the cost of customer creation and product / service development & delivery substantially less than what she is willing to pay for?
b. Repeatability - Can you repeat the entire value creation cycle (from customer creation to post-sales service) following the same steps, with the same inputs and the same outputs, every time; delighting the customer the same extraordinary way each time?
c. Scalability - Can the entire process run without you?
Mountain 4: Scaling-up your business through Business Development, Operational Excellence and Extraordinary Service.
a. Business Development: Your sales team is more committed to the well-being of the community that your organization serves (your customers) than to the commission that they will earn.
b. Operational Excellence: Bottoms-up continuous process automation and innovation to reduce costs, reduce time to do any specific activity and increase quality.
c. Extraordinary Service: Delighting customers with such amazing service, at levels that the customers have no right to expect.
Mountain 5: Creating a Self-Sustaining Business. The fifth stage is when the organization no longer needs you and can function effectively without you, as you have not only created an organization with strong, robust fundamentals but also have created succeeding leaders to take the organization to its next level of evolution with even greater velocity. You are now free to contribute to the entire industry, leading the industry itself to transform through your thought leadership, impacting a lot more organizations simultaneously as you sit on multiple Boards of Directors and bring about social change, contributing to the evolution of the human race bringing people and countries together through who you have become as a human being as an outcome of leading your organization from good to great.
2. Leadership Depth
You cannot lead your organization from good to great without deepening who you are as a human being, without being on your own journey of transformation and evolution from good to great. This is a journey over 5 Gears by dropping Limiting Habits and inculcating Growth Habits to create the highest level of fitness and well-being across all the 4 bodies (Physical, Emotional, Intellectual / Mental, Spiritual) of your Being.
Each Gear is about elevating one’s consciousness by developing a specific leadership muscle, working at the level of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual habits.
Gear 1: Discovering your destiny, your purpose this life-time. Strengthening Agility of Mind™ leadership muscle to experience unconditional love, gratitude and reverence for who you are as a human being. There is deep stillness within, with nowhere to go and nothing to prove.
Gear 2: Making a difference through your work, playing your big game with peace in your heart and mind. Strengthening Being of Service™ leadership muscle to see the light in everyone and have the leadership depth to give your unconditional love, gratitude and reverence to each one in your space, irrespective of however they are and however they are not. Experiencing oneness with the Universe.
Gear 3: Experiencing joy of effortless existence as the world around you experiences you as extraordinary. You receive unconditional love, gratitude and reverence from everyone as you strengthen your Communicating in the World of Others™ leadership muscle.
Gear 4: Experiencing deep fulfilment as others in your space experience themselves as extraordinary and experience unconditional love, gratitude and reverence for themselves. The Authentic Leader in you is born as you get access to significant Power to Create™ by strengthening your Delivery on Your Word™ leadership muscle.
Gear 5: People in your space experience each other as extraordinary and give their unconditional love, gratitude and reverence to each other. Your presence causes a shift in the space around you as you inspire a culture of trust, partnership and compassionate love; with each one supporting the other to be successful. The Master in you is born, as you strengthen your Excellence™ leadership muscle to have your Power to Create™ in full bloom. You become The Master Creator. You intend; it gets created effortlessly and almost instantaneously.
3. Craft Mastery
For the organization to cut-over to greatness, there is no other option but to be the world's best in whatever the organization is upto. And, for that to happen, the employees need to be playing the game to be the world's best in whatever they are doing as part of the organized work. For the employees to be on the learning path to be masters of their domain, their craft; you absolutely guessed it - the CEO has to be playing the game to be the master of the domain the organization is in. This is also a journey over five stages.
1. Amateur: This is the stage of Passive Learning, when you learn on your own through reading works of masters in the field, training yourself through material available in the public domain.
2. Professional: This is the stage of Active Learning, when you implement whatever you are learning to make a difference to your chosen target community.
3. Expert: You become an Expert by learning through Apprenticeship, when you learn directly from an existing Master of your Craft.
4. Mentor: You become a mentor when you coach others to become Experts in your domain.
5. Master: You finally become a Master when you coach Experts to become Mentors in your domain. This is when you go inside your craft and become it.
The best way to travel on this path is to synchronize each of the five stages of Business Excellence, Leadership Depth and Craft Mastery.
Yes, it is a long haul forward. Why should you make your life difficult to be on this path? Because this path supports you to have it all - deeply fulfilling successful career, joyful relationships, happy responsible kids and lots of nourishing me-time, while making a huge difference in the world through the work that you do. The old model of leadership only gives you a successful career but at the cost of everything else. In this new model of leadership, you have it all. Then, why not?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.