If you want to exponentially enhance the performance, productivity, creativity and effectiveness of your team, then inspire your people to bring their heart and soul to work along with their mind and body. Let me tell you a story that tells you what that means. 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 had a small pile of stones that he had cut so far. He said he was cutting stone. He asked the second stone-cutter the same question. He didn't look as fatigued. The pile of stones that he had cut was twice as much as that of the first stone-cutter. 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. His pile of stones was ten times as big as that of the second stone-cutter. He said he was building a cathedral.
Low performers cut stones and come to work to earn money; high performers build walls and do a good job so that they can get the next promotion, get higher than average salary increase and get an even better paying job with a higher designation than their current role; while super performers build cathedrals and work for a cause much bigger than who they are. They have the highest output, performance & productivity; and greatest energy, joy & fulfilment from their work.
How does one create such a space where we transform our people to super performers who are building cathedrals instead of building walls or cutting stones. Here's the process:
1. You cannot create a powerful space to transform your people to super performers 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.
2. Check in with yourself - Who are you Being? Are you Being someone who is cutting stones, building walls or building a cathedral. First step is for you to discover your Purpose of Life, your cathedral, your WHY of why you are working that is so powerful that heart and soul connects with you. Without you having a Purpose that inspires you, you cannot help your people discover theirs.
Create the space of vulnerability and authenticity by role modelling that. It is in that space, purpose has meaning. Outside of that space, we are resigned and cynical.
3. The next step is to have powerful one-on-one conversations with your team members from Gear 4 consciousness that touches, moves and inspires them by leading them with questions, coming from the space of Unconditional Love and Belief, supporting them to connect with their greatest dreams.
A Leader has 3 roles to play -
i. Leader - Do 10 times of what you tell your people to do.
ii. Nurturer - Relate to your people as your own family. Be compassionate love for your people and have unconditional belief in their highest potential.
iii. Coach - Support your people to realise their greatest dreams in deepest communion with their highest self.
Check in with yourself if you are playing all the 3 roles for your team members with integrity and authenticity. You know that you are on the right path if you are playing these roles because you want to play these roles, not because you are seeking something else in return.
4. Connect to the Light in the team member you are coaching / mentoring by creating - I BELIEVE in you - by saying it. 'I believe in you' are the four most powerful words in the world that gives power to the person to whom you say it to realise their impossible, unimaginable dreams. What you are really saying is that I believe in the Light in you. I believe in the potential in you, I believe you will make a difference in this world through your work and through your life. I believe in your dreams. You become Unconditional Belief by making a CHOICE to be Unconditional Belief.
5. The next step is to let them know you are the wind beneath their wings by saying - I am here to support you to realise your dreams and be the greatest version of you. You become Unconditional Love by making a CHOICE to be Unconditional Love.
6. Once that deep, authentic human-to-human connection is established with the team member you are in a conversation with, here are some questions to play with -
i. What do you really want?
ii. What is your impossible, unimaginable dream that is so big that scares you a bit?
iii. If there were no constraints, what would you be doing?
7. Have childlike trust and faith in the Universe, in the Process of LIfe and let the conversation flow. Support them to discover their purpose this Lifetime. Invite them to be in the self-inquiry of what is their Quest this Lifetime, what do they most want for themselves; and inside of that coach them to discover their Purpose this LIfetime.
Remember, Newton's third law - Every action has equal and opposite reaction. Fulfilling on your Quest is the reaction from the Universe, something that you want to receive. Therefore, you have to start the cycle by giving to the Universe, to the people in the world exactly what you want to receive back. Giving to others what you want most for yourself is your Purpose this Lifetime.
8. Lead the conversation forward to support them to discover their Vision and Mission.
9. Vision is the future you want to create through your life and your work. Our real opportunity to live our purpose of life is through our work and how we live our life.
If you are an entrepreneur, your purpose this lifetime will be the Vision of your organization. If you are a CEO, your and your leadership team's integrated purpose will be the Vision of your organization. If your purpose is not reflected in the Vision of your Business, the vision statement will essentially be empty lines plastered on walls with no meaning, connection or inspiration.
If you are a corporate professional, find your purpose and find the connection between your purpose and the vision of your organization. Without that connection, you are likely to remain busy being busy without meaning or inspiration, waiting to retire to start living. It is possible to live your purpose through the role that you play, however tiny it may seem to you.
Why is meaningfulness, authentic connection and inspiration important? It is because that is the doorway to productivity, performance, creativity and innovation; leading to profitability and market leadership.
10. Mission is what will you do now for which community to create the future you want to create, the Vision you want to realize.
You don't have to leave your job to become an entrepreneur to live your purpose. A powerful efficient and fulfilling way to work in an organization is to consider yourself an entrepreneur with a captive client (the company that you work for). The work you do is the service that your client is consuming and paying for.
11. Once each one of your team members have clarity and deep connection with their purpose, vision and mission this lifetime, it is time to bring your whole team together to integrate everyone's vision and mission to arrive at a common vision and mission for the organization, which is your and your team's cathedral, that deeply heart and soul connects with each one in the team, holds the team together and inspires each one of the team to step up to be a super performer.
Now, you are ready to play.
Enjoy your journey as you lead your business from good to great.
Is your business down and out because of the pandemic? Are you waiting for the pandemic to end to grow or start your business? I believe that there is no better time to start a new business or grow your existing business than now, even as Covid is raging around the world with a vengeance. I say so because a business is a construct for making a difference and you can make a much bigger difference when the situation is more challenging. Bigger the challenge, greater the opportunity to contribute and therefore, greater the velocity with which you can grow your business. In the last few months, my business has grown exponentially, and the members of Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence™ have either built a strong foundation for scaling their business or have experienced commendable business growth.
Here's how to do it:
1. You now have time to step outside your business and look at it as a whole, instead of getting lost in the business. When you are a part of the painting, you have no clue how to make it better because you have no clue how it looks like as a whole. When you step out of the frame and turn around to look at the whole picture, you will begin to notice the colours that are missing and the lines that would be better erased. You will get creative ideas on how to make it into a beautiful work of art. That's what a business is - a beautiful work of art. And, as a business owner, you are the artist. You can view your business, you work of art as a whole through a simple one-page representation called the Business Model Canvas. Here's a blank Template for you to fill in for your business by answering the questions in each of the 9 boxes of the template.
I once had a business owner, who had been in the business for over 15 years, reach out to me. His complaint was that - Even after 15 years, I am struggling. I am still doing Operations, still chasing customers, whatever I earn gets spent and not much gets left behind. I work so much and yet, I am making no progress. He was stuck in what I call the Plateau of Mediocrity. I dug below the surface and wasn't surprised to find that he had no articulated Business Model, even after being in business for more than 15 years.
I had an opportunity to study another business, which started their venture with a clear Business Model which they tested to validate with real customers and ended up breaking more than 10 business models in their 1st year alone. At the end of their first year, they finally discovered a Business Model that they had tested for profitability, repeatability and scalability; and laughed all the way to the bank from Year 2 onwards.
So, the first thing to do to grow your Business in the time of Corona is to step outside your Business and look at it as a whole, using the Business Model Canvas, to identify areas to innovate to create greater value and make a much bigger difference to your customer community from the ecosystem of your Business.
Here's an article in Harvard Business Review from Steve Blank, the father of the Lean Startup Methodology, to understand more about the process of using Business Models, start-up assumptions, how to build experiments to validate the Business Model assumptions to discover your way to a deeply fulfilling, profitable, sustainable, successful Business:
Why the Lean Start-up Changes Everything?
Better would be to read his book written along with co-author, Bob Durf - The Startup Owner's Manual.
2. The second thing to do is to connect with your customers even more deeply and understand what are their challenges, what would contribute to them in this time, how has the pandemic impacted them and their business, listening from a place of 'Being of Service' to identify how you can innovate your Business Model to serve them even more powerfully, in ways you probably hadn't even considered before.
The business of one of the entrepreneurs I was coaching is to bring together suppliers and consumers of a particular service for networking in a physical meeting space. The idea really worked well till Covid happened and she could no longer offer the service the way it was designed before. She was feeling apologetic about suggesting to her customers about getting them together online and looking at offering the online model at a discount till we had a business model review. Here are the highlights of our review:
i. Her customers still have the need and are irritated at not being able to work at the velocity with which they could work before Covid and Lockdown.
ii. Covid and Lockdown has given them exposure to and familiarity with the online channel.
iii. The key benefit they received from her Business Model was an opportunity to make a new set of connections from their industry in a single place.
iv. They were spending hours on the road from all over Delhi NCR to come for the meeting.
v. One on one meetings were a critical component of the value being delivered in the earlier physical model.
As an outcome of our review, she innovated her Business Model to launch a premium higher-priced version of her service through Zoom using Breakout Rooms in Zoom to enable one-on-one meetings.
Before our review, she had hibernated her business in quiet frustration at the pandemic. After the review, she was grateful for the growth opportunity that the pandemic offered her.
3. Use the situation to breakfree from the 'Activity Trap' that most entrepreneurs get caught in. It is this 'busy being busy' that kills our creativity and productivity; and leads us on the path to Mediocrity. Use the current Corona times and the forced 'lock-in' to free yourself from the tyranny of 'busyness' and use the freed up time to learn, grow and evolve to be the world's best in your domain; be a master of your craft and become a key person of influence in industry globally.
I not only completed a Certificate Program in Psychodrama and Expressive Arts Therapy; but also started a 2 years Post Graduate Diploma in Psychodrama (a type of therapy work done in groups) with Tata Institute of Social Sciences. I am a CEO Coach; and work with CEOs, aspiring CEOs, Business Owners, Start-up Founders and High Performers to support them to lead their business from good to great. How can such a theme of learning support my customer community for me to invest so much of my time training on a topic that seems so irrelevant at the first glance? You see my work is about coaching people to step into their zone of genius and that requires an inside-out approach. That means I have to work with my clients not only on their Business Excellence and Craft Mastery journeys on the outside but also on their Leadership Depth journey on the inside, which would include supporting them to be healthy and fit - physically, mentally, emotionally. psychologically and spiritually. Only then, would they get the courage and clarity to lead their business from good to great.
4. Strengthen your Leadership Depth to build momentum to lead your business from good to great. Without a strong foundation of Leadership Depth, Business Excellence is a house of cards that will fall down eventually.
How do you measure Leadership Depth? You measure it by rating yourself on a scale of 0 to 10 in the 5 areas of your Wheel of Life. Your Leadership Depth is the lowest score you got across these 5 areas:
i. Deeply fulfilling, successful, profitable business / profession supporting you to live your purpose of life; gifting you with impact, contribution and financial freedom
ii. Loving, harmonious relationships at work and at home
iii. Happy, healthy, responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed
iv. Nourishing, nurturing yourself to the highest level of fitness and well-being (physically, emotionally, psychologically, mentally, spiritually)
v. Making a massive difference through the work you do
Wishing you the joy of the journey to learn to lead from inside out; which is when you get the courage, clarity and support (at work and at home) to lead your business from good to great.
My daughter says that Mother Nature has grounded us for not listening to her. I am constantly awed by her wisdom. Let us use this time to reflect on where we are on our leadership journey and learn to lead from inside out.
5. As I work, meet and interact with entrepreneurs, I get present to why there's a Harvard statistic on 75% startups failing in their first year and Fortune statistic on 90% businesses failing in the first five years of their existence. The founders are passionate about their domain, they are experts and are technically very strong though where they miss is to learn the art and science of entrepreneurship. They miss that the 3 aspects of their personality needs to be in balance for the business to grow - The Entrepreneur, The Manager, The Technician - in the words of Michael Gerber of The EMyth fame.
Now that Mother Nature has grounded us for not listening to her and being naughty, let us use this time to learn, understand and apply the science of Entrepreneurship. Just because you are a great technology expert, photographer, consultant, baker etc. does not mean you are a great entrepreneur or a great manager. You have to learn the entrepreneurial and managerial domains, as well, to be able to nurture and scale your business.
Make a list of all that you now know you can do to lead your business from good to great, even in the time of Corona, and experience the joy of implementing wonderful ideas and watching your business grow.
Love and gratitude for who you are as a human being; and reverence for your commitment to make a massive difference through your work,
What is the single-most important reason why entrepreneurial ventures die? What is the single-most important reason why dreams never get realized? What is the single-most important reason why most of us never live our destiny to make a dent in the Universe? What is the single-most important reason why we never achieve what we most desire, professionally and personally?
Interestingly, the answer to all these questions is the same - Self-doubt. If there was only one enemy that I could shoot down for all my clients, it would be self-doubt. It is a great equalizer. It doesn't matter how successful, how wealthy, how accomplished someone is or isn't, self-doubt has sneaked its way and hid itself very cunningly beneath layers in the mind. It is the legacy of our evolutionary process of survival and is
a vestigial emotion found in all human beings; except those who have consciously worked on themselves to go beyond the clutches of this demon by inculcating daily growth habits. If we stop practising those growth habits, the demon raises its ugly head all over again by getting its nourishment from our default limiting habits.
Let's explore the relationship between self-doubt and business success. Building a successful business is about iteratively discovering a profitable, repeatable, scalable business model much before your passion and resources run out. That means having the inner strength to keep listening to a 100 NOs before that one YES. If you feed your self-doubt, you will give-up after the first few NOs. I echo what Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz say in their book, 'Go for No' - 'Yes is the destination. No is how you get there.' Learnings about your business model really happen in the failures you have. Without the failures, you have no chance of learning and moving forward to discovering your profitable, repeatable and scalable business model. The whole process from a start-up to a Unicorn is an iterative process, with falling down, learning from the fall, integrating the learnings to decide the next action, moving forward, falling down again, and repeating this cycle again and again till you find profitability on Mountain 2 of Building a Great Business; continuing the iteration to climb to the peak of Mountain 3 to discover the formula for Repeatability and Scalability; learning by continuing to fail and discovering the way forward to Scale on Mountain 4; and finally learning how to Corporatize on Mountain 5, again through failing. So, there's no getting away from failure, rejection, NOs if you are upto building a great business that is an expression of your purpose this lifetime. If self-doubt is one of your best friends that won't leave you, then the journey to building a great business cannot be completed because you will give up along the way, lose your motivation, your inspiration, passion, commitment, energy, enthusiasm, self-belief, confidence to keep getting up every time you fall.
Let's understand Self-Doubt for what it really is to get an access to find freedom from it. Self-doubt is really the emotional expression of what I call the 'small mind'. Our 'small mind' is our default limiting experience of ourselves, of others and of life itself. If we don't make a conscious effort, our 'small mind' runs the show in our life, creating limiting circumstances and limiting / no results in our lives. Our brain, by default, is hard-wired with negativity. And, our generic purpose in this lifetime is to learn, grow and evolve to our highest potential by rewiring our brain to be positive and growth-oriented to shift to what I call the 'Big Mind' by working at the level of growth habits across all the 4 bodies of our Being - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
The 'small mind' is a reaction to the 3 fundamental fears that we humans have:
i. I am not good enough
ii. I am all alone. No one loves me.
iii. I am not important.
Self-awareness is about being aware of our default core fears and the limiting thought pattern that is a reaction to those fears. Without this self-awareness, we will unconsciously continue to be a prisoner of our own fears and limiting thought patterns; and continue to bang our head against the wall of circumstances without being able to fulfil our intentions or realise our dreams to grow to our highest potential.
My core fears are a combination of 'I am not good enough' and 'I am all alone. No one loves me.'. My small mind is - 'I don't deserve the best. I am not worthy. No one loves, appreciates and respects me. Life is a struggle.', which is a reaction to my core fears. My default limiting personality is a reaction to my small mind - 'I work incredibly hard in my life but without rewarding outcomes in relation to the enormous hard work I put in. I don't experience love, appreciation and respect. Infact, I keep experiencing the opposite of that and the result is I am unable to unconditionally love, appreciate and respect; which keeps the vicious cycle going. I keep working hard playing to get the best but the best continues to be beyond my reach, without my realising how I am at the source of all this melodrama or Maya as we say in our culture.'
How does one get out of this vicious cycle? There are many ways though I have chosen to integrate the many ways after studying, interviewing or getting coached from the master entrepreneurs, the super successful leaders, the masters of their craft, the giants of their field. Not surprisingly, they all share similar growth habits that they inculcate in their daily lives to protect themselves from the ferocious grip of the 'small mind'.
The first step is to be aware of your core fears, your small mind. The second step is to make a commitment to live from your Big Mind and feed that. Our Big Mind is our creation, that we will create consciously; while our small mind is our default limiting way of Being which will continue to run our lives till we choose to consciously feed our Big Mind to win over our small mind by stopping to feed the small mind.
Here's my Big Mind, it's my commitment to myself, my promise to myself how I choose to relate to myself, others and to life - 'I am love, gratitude and reverence. I am success and prosperity. I love, respect and appreciate myself and all beings. Therefore, I experience people's love, respect and appreciation for me. Life is fun and easy.' When I feel people walking all over me, I feel the grip of my small mind and then I remind myself of what my Big Mind is and I know how to respond. When I feel unappreciated, unloved and disrespected, I feel the clutch of the small mind and then I remind myself of what my Big Mind is and I know how to respond. When life throws challenges that throw me on the ground, my small mind wants to push me deeper into the deep ditch of dreariness and then I remind myself of what my Big Mind is and I use my creativity to use the trying circumstances and people who have betrayed and cheated me as opportunities of tremendous growth. If my business hasn't extinguished as yet, it is because I chose to be Big Mind though to chose small mind was tantalizingly easier at numerous occasions. Each time, my business seems to be near its death-bed, my Big Mind helps me to keep the small mind and it's best friend, self-doubt, at bay and brings back my childlike trust and faith in myself, in my impossible unimaginable dreams, in my mission to make a dent in the Universe, in the Universe to help me transform the impossible into possible, the unimaginable into the imaginable.
So, the next important question is how to stop feeding our small mind and start feeding our Big Mind to nourish and nurture it to become strong and healthy. It is through the practise of growth habits. The below habits are your 1st stage habits. I call them Gear 1 Starter RYD (Realize Your Dreams) Habits. By practising these habits, you will awaken the Big Mind in yourself; and de-fang and weaken the small mind. When that happens, self-doubt no longer befriends you and walks out on you, leaving you free and in the joyous experience of - I am me and that's enough. No longer anything to prove, no longer caught in the anxiety of what will others say, nothing to hide, nowhere to go to prove a point, nothing to be embarrassed about. Just a blessed feeling of having arrived on the inside to make a difference through your work on the outside. You will observe success and wealth coming your way as by-products of your having arrived on the inside and having found authentic happiness not linked to any cause. Inside of this transformation, the journey to build a great business truly begins.
The members of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence™, Centre for Transformational Leadership™, Mums At Work™, Centre for Personal Excellence™ and Centre for Coaching Excellence™ can click on the link below to access the online curriculum for the detailed note on these habits.
Gear 1 Starter RYD Habits
1. The Dream
2. Mirror Work
6. Read Your Book
7. Daily Inspiration
8. Buddy Call
9. Physical Exercise
10. Restoring your Word
11. Intention Creation and Scheduling
12. Keep a Journal
These habits are designed to strengthen you in the first leadership muscle - Agility of Mind™.
Wishing you the joy of living your purpose this lifetime through the work you do, the business you run and having the fulfilment of not dying with your Light intact inside of you.
Do you remember how you felt when you last carried out a random act of kindness? And, how you felt when somebody did something kind for you? Did you not feel gentle waves of uplifting warmth, joyous energy and soothing restfulness wash all over your body?
At the beginning of our journey, when I ask a client - How are you feeling?; the usual response is - I think good. That tells me how disconnected he is from his emotional body because you cannot think feelings, you can only feel them in your physical body. If you are in touch with your emotions, you will know exactly in which part of the body is the emotion arising, and how exactly is it arising. It may be a tightening of the stomach or heaviness in the shoulders or stiffness in the neck or discomfort in the upper back or stinging in the eyes or a catch in the throat or various other expressions of feelings in the physical body.
As you exercise your emotional body to make it fit, you get reconnected with your authentic self, your Source. At that point, you may feel an expansiveness as vast as the sky above, as deep as the ocean below, spaciousness all around, a sweet homecoming; as the feeling spreads from inside to outside to everywhere. And, your productivity, performance, creativity and innovativeness rises to be at the peak.
One of the the simplest ways to reconnect with your authentic self is to do a random act of kindness and then keep doing them daily like a must-do just as you brush your teeth daily. The idea is to make it an automatic habit. Though in the beginning, it will feel ritualistic and forced, to mandatorily do an act of kindness to tick it off from your list but after a point, it will begin to feel genuine and something you cannot do without. This act is one of the ways you exercise your emotional body.
Just as you have to force yourself to exercise your physical body daily in the beginning but after the lowest point of wanting to give up, you experience an energy that has you wanting to exercise your physical body daily that you can no longer stop. It is interesting that the energy graph of inculcating any growth habit is similar to the shape of a hockey stick. Your mental, emotional and physical energy continue to drop till the lowest point but if you continue beyond that point using your spiritual energy of higher purpose and deep connection with your own self; your mental, emotional and physical energy suddenly turn around exponentially to support you to stick to the habit forever.
Based on experiments conducted by University College London, we now have proof that it takes 66 days to hold on to a habit daily for it to become automatic. So, play the Kindness Habit game daily for 66 days even as your energy dips to reap the benefit of a healthy and fit emotional body.
Of course, there are many other exercises to keep your emotional body fit. Let’s take those up in subsequent articles for discussion.
Coming back to Kindness, how do you define it? It is an act coming from a place of compassionate love and empathy for the good of others with no expectation of a reward in return. If the act is done for appreciation, acknowledgement or some other intrinsic or extrinsic reward, the act serves you no purpose and you stay disconnected from your authentic self.
The next logical question is why do we even care that the emotional body is fit and healthy. It is because the Being of the Human Being that we are is like a car with 4 wheels on a journey to reach its destination of fulfilment of its purpose of having been born. The 4 wheels are our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. If any of these bodies is weak, then the car is unable to drive forward with velocity towards its purpose and we feel a lack, a longing, an incompletion, something missing, a void in our hearts and souls that no material wealth or a loved one can complete or fill.
Interestingly, if we work on our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies to become intimately connected with our authentic self, we will find ourselves becoming loving, compassionate and empathetic. The reverse is also true, if we work on practising feeling love, compassion and empathy viscerally not just playing around the idea in our head; we will automatically find ourselves becoming intimately connected with our authentic self.
That is the true purpose of our life - to find and reconnect with our authentic self, our inner Wisdom, our inner Light and live in the expression of our undeniable greatness. Not to undertake this journey leads us to an experience of pain from which we find no recourse till the time Pain has forced us to choose the path to our Highest Self. At that point, Pain has served its purpose and we no longer find ourselves in the grip of it. Each experience, painful or not, is a nudge from the Universe to drop our masks of being a Victim or a Fighter and step forward as Peaceful Warriors that we truly are, to fight the battles inside rather than their reflections outside to allow our inner Light to shine through to make our world brighter than we found it.
That is why Kindness matters in Business. Because it gives us access to our authentic self and an opportunity to step into the Light of our inner Wisdom for us to operate at the highest levels of productivity, performance, creativity and innovation. That has definite economic outcome higher than available without highest levels of productivity, performance, creativity and innovation in people engaged in making the business work. There is a direct correlation between Kindness embodied in the culture of a Business and Profitability generated by the Business. Interestingly, you cannot tell or mandate people to be kind.
Leaving you with a question - How do you create a culture of kindness at work and at home?
Your fellow traveller in this Journey towards Purpose, Abundance and Contribution through the work we do, communities that we are a part of and families we are blessed to belong to,
Photo Credit: www.thehansindia.com
A son of a coffee planter to a Billionaire Founder and Owner of India’s biggest coffee chain, Cafe Coffee Day, committed suicide earlier this week. His tragic end is a huge wake-up call for the Global Business Community and has learnings for all of us that we must pause to reflect and ruminate upon. And, hopefully, this helpless act of a powerful business magnate will trigger a transformation in the way we work and who we are as human beings.
1. His death is a reminder that a Business Model is not only made robust, profitable and sustainable by the business elements that define it; but also by the human depth of the founder and the leadership team, displayed by the fitness levels of their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies.
A business model’s effectiveness needs to be measured not only by the outer business elements, but also by the inner human elements of the people engaged in that business.
We mostly get carried away by what is visible - number of outlets, number of employees, turnover, number of cities, national vs global presence etc. - that we miss the foundation on which all of this is standing.
The foundation is the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health of the person at the helm of the business, who is leading from the front. The business really ends up being a mirror of who she or he really is, what his / her personal, leadership and business habits are.
2. In the light of the above point, it is important that the leadership team at the helm including the CEO / Founder / Business Owner have a mentoring / coaching structure so that they are building themselves to be the world’s best physical, emotional, mental and spiritual athletes; without which a great business cannot be built.
3. The reason that the leaders don’t create a support structure for themselves is because as a society we tend to idolise those who have created ‘success’. So, the idols fail to realise that they too need to continuously learn, grow and evolve with the support of others.
Sooner, as a society, we realise, encourage and walk towards a relationship of equals between all, irrespective of all labels; the sooner will we all experience freedom to be and less pressure for all to put up a brave face to hide a sad reality within.
4. Don’t replace ‘building a sustainable business’ with ‘raising money’. Let the money in the business ecosystem be because the customers are crazy about your product / service, not your investors.
5. Just as highest levels of fitness across the 4 bodies of the Being of the Founder / CEO is the real foundation of the business model, so is Integrity. Without integrity, the business will fall sooner or later. Sooner is better because then there is less damage. Though unfortunately, mostly it is later where both direct and collateral damage is massive.
6. Create, own and enjoy wealth but don’t be owned by it. At the end of it all, you can take none of it with you. If you can’t take it with you, then all you really are is the custodian of all the wealth that you create.
So, why be perturbed when you have less of it or somebody takes it away from you or become jubilant when you have more of it. It is this emotional instability that causes so much of the stress and heartburn we have.
Yes, it is a lot of hard work to reach that balance. Yet, the struggle to reach there is totally worth it allowing you to experience ‘happiness without a cause or reason’, which is when happiness can truly be yours.
7. We are part of an energy system and every action we take has an impact. We cannot act as if what we do only has an impact on us. Imagine what Siddhartha’s 2 sons, one in college and the other as yet in school) and his wife must be going through.
Of course, the net worth of Cafe Coffee Day fell. Probably worse than the fall of the net worth, which is easier to re-build, is the widespread discouragement and disillusionment experienced by his employees and aspiring entrepreneurs.
8. You don’t need fancy foreign degrees to build big business. A local school and college is just as good. All that matters is the size of your dream.
9. One really doesn’t know what anyone around us is really going through on the inside. Choosing to act and speak from a place of loving kindness is probably the biggest difference we can make to people in our lives, known and unknown.
10. Being a Fighter is exhausting. What would serve us is embracing the way of the Peaceful Warrior, who knows that the real battles are really on the inside and, therefore, all battles on the outside are merely reflections of the chaos inside.
You can’t kill the reflections by shooting them. Shooting the attachment and being ok with owning nothing after building an empire ground up may be a lesson one is meant to learn and having learnt that, it is likely that no pressure on the outside can cause the balance to disrupt on the inside.
That is what stress really is - disruption of the inner emotional balance.
11. What has spirituality got to do with all of this? Everything because a spiritual perspective gives us a higher meaning and purpose to all that we do from moment to moment. It strengthens in us childlike trust and faith, giving us the ability to see the gift in all challenges along the journey of life and to receive them gratefully.
Loved the story of a doctor that I read in Mother Teresa’s Biography sometime back. His pregnant wife and unborn child were battling death. On being asked what he was praying for; he replied he was praying for the strength and faith to accept God’s will, whatever that maybe. This spiritual perspective is the only way to access emotional balance, which is necessary to create anything masterful, genius-level and extraordinary on a sustainable basis.
Siddhartha’s soul will rest in peace if we can learn and live the above lessons from his life and death because then, how he lived and how he died would not be in vain.
The first stage of stepping into authentic leadership is building your Agility of Mind leadership muscle. As I work with leaders to step into discovering what is authentic leadership and making that a way of life to lead their lives, professionally and personally, from good to great; I find that from good to great is a 5-stage journey. Each stage is about elevating one’s consciousness by developing a specific leadership muscle. Each subsequent muscle requires the preceding muscles to be at the highest level of fitness.
Here are the 5 muscles in the order in which they need to be strengthened. Actually, the right word really is ‘can’ be strengthened and not ‘need’ because human consciousness can only be elevated in that order as below:
Gear 0 - Good Life. Good Business. A vague sense of emptiness; and disconnect with oneself and others. Living life as a Victim or a Fighter. Stress and not being at the highest level of fitness is an accepted part of life.
Evolve to Gear 1 by strengthening A. Agility of Mind™ leadership muscle
Evolve to Gear 2 by strengthening B. Being of Service™ leadership muscle
Evolve to Gear 3 by strengthening C. Communicating in the world of others™ leadership muscle
Evolve to Gear 4 by strengthening D. Delivery on your word™ leadership muscle
Evolve to Gear 5 by strengthening E. Excellence™ leadership muscle. Great Life. Deeply Fulfilling Successful Profitable Business. Loving Harmonious Relationships at Work and at Home. Happy Responsible Kids with their Genius Joyfully Expressed. Nourishing Nurturing Me-time. Highest level of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual fitness. Making a Difference. Creating an Impact. Making a Dent in the Universe. Peaceful Warrior.
The above is the journey from being a Victim or a Fighter, both limiting ways of Being, to being a Peaceful Warrior, a Gear 5 Leader.
The way to evolve is to work at the level of habits across the 4 bodies of our Being - physical, emotional, intellectual / mental, spiritual. Bit by bit working at the level of habits across the 4 bodies of our Being, we grow from inside out, get connected to our own authentic self experiencing coming home to ourself. Our consciousness evolves when we go beyond understanding a concept intellectually to experiencing it viscerally and living from there.
Before moving forward, let me explain what is a Distinction. Imagine an Object inside a ball. How many points are there on the ball to view at the Object? Numerous, isn’t it? At each point on the ball to view the Object from, won’t the Object look different. At two points on the ball, the views will even be contradictory. Then, which view is the Truth? What if I tell you that the Object inside the ball is Reality. View from which Point, alternatively which Point of View of that Reality is the Truth?
The point that you choose you stand at determines what you see. What you see determines your actions and therefore your outcome.
How do you decide which point to stand at?
The point from where you can access your inner power (Power to Create™) to fulfil your highest intentions and realise your greatest dreams is the point to stand at to view the Object called Reality. That Point of View is called a Distinction. My job as a coach is for you to discover the Distinctions on your own as your own Truths so that you become them instead of you learning them by heart because I tell them to you. Though I will still tell you the Distinctions so that you know what you are looking for. You know you have discovered a Distinction when you get an INSIGHT (sight turned inwards instead of outwards), an AHA or a Eureka moment when you discover something about yourself that you hadn’t known before and that gives you the missing key to unlock part of your inner power. The discovery may be as quiet as a ‘Hmmm’ and silence afterwards. Coaching is a skill for you to access insights, uncover Blind Spots and discover Distinctions to live from a place of power.
A leadership muscle is a state of consciousness defined by a level of physical, emotional, intellectual / mental and spiritual fitness achieved through letting go of limiting habits and taking on growth habits across the 4 bodies of our Being. By consistently working on habits on a daily basis, Distinctions associated with that leadership muscle begin to become a way of life.
Today, lets discuss what is Agility of Mind™ and its relationship to Leadership Development. This is the first stage of leadership development. Your Agility of Mind™ leadership muscle is fully developed if you can live moment by moment the below 5 Distinctions, or 5 Distinct Ways of perceiving reality:
a. I am responsible for all that happens in my space.
b. Being able to experience one’s own self as whole, complete and perfect with nothing to fix or change. Living in the authentic experience of - I am extraordinary and I love myself. Being able to make the choice to be happy and fulfilled, irrespective of situations and people.
c. Being able to see 360 degree view of any reality. Being able to stand in a place where you can see that your deepest beliefs are really your points of view; and that contradictory beliefs are just as valid. To live in the joyous experience of - Your point of view is just as valid as my point of view.
d. Being able to recognise your own upsets and have the agility of mind to drop them by recognising that the source of your upsets is not out there but in here, that you are not upset because of how people are and how they are not or because of adverse circumstances. You get upset because your expectation didn’t get fulfilled, what you want to communicate you could not, your intention didn’t get realised. When you can understand that your expectations, communications, intentions belong to you, not to others; then you can laugh loudly when Upset tries to take you in its grip.
Being able to recognise your Small Mind™ hiding behind every upset and strengthening your Agility of Mind™ to shift it to your Big Mind™.
e. Recognising all your complaints as your Small Mind™ in disguise and being able to use your Agility of Mind™ to see positive aspects instead of giving in to complaining.
There are 3 levels of competencies in strengthening your leadership muscles. Before we start our journey of inner leadership development, we are unconsciously incompetent.
a. Starter: This is when we live from the Distinctions of the Leadership Muscle or Gear of Evolution only 20% of the time. The reason you progress is that 80% of the time when you are not living the Distinctions, you are aware that you have fallen off your path and get back every time. You fall off and yet you make the choice to come back to the path. This level of competency is also called Conscious Incompetence.
b. Champion: At this level of expertise, you are living from the Distinctions of the Leadership Muscle or Gear of Evolution 80% of the time. The 20% of the time you fall off, you make the choice to come back to the path of living from the Distinctions. This level of competency is also called Conscious Competence.
c. Mastery - At this level, you are living from the Distinctions of the Leadership Muscle or Gear of Evolution 100% of the time, without even being in conscious awareness of it. You become the Distinctions. This level of competency is also called Unconscious Competence.
Inner Leadership Development can only happen at the level of habits across the 4 bodies of our Being. Let's explore few daily habits that will support us to strengthen Agility of Mind™ leadership muscle to elevate our consciousness to Gear 1 of Evolution:
i. Exercising - Yoga, Martial Arts, Functional Training
iv. Acknowledgements - Viscerally experiencing your wins
v. Gratitudes - Viscerally experiencing your blessings
vi. Buddy Conversation - Experiencing being listened to by a committed listener
vii. Reading Books if you don’t read books and stopping to read for some time, if you are an avid reader.
viii. Identifying what you resist, fear, hate to do, get embarrassed doing, don’t want to do, makes you uneasy and uncomfortable; and then doing exactly that.
The journey to your highest self, to the highest expression of your inner genius is a journey which is both deeply fulfilling and joyous. Wishing you the strength to choose that path.
May you choose this gift of Life. That is my intention for you. That is my prayer for you.
Further Recommended Reading:
1. How to use Gratitude as a Leadership Tool for Business Growth?
2. How Reverence for all of Life Supports you to Lead your Business from Good to Great?
3. Without Integrity, nothing works; not even your business. Why, and What to do about it?
4. Why Must You Deepen Yourself in Mastery Consciousness to Lead your Business to Market Leadership?
Met an ex-colleague after 10 years. He looked younger than he had then. He retired few years ago after contributing massively to one of the largest multinational IT companies. Originally from India, now an Australian citizen, living for most times in Singapore, he keeps coming back to India. Though, he is on multiple boards, is a serial entrepreneur successfully and profitably running several businesses of his own, is a mentor to numerous start-ups; he is most passionate about a give-back project he is doing in Udaipur (his place of birth, his home town) of bringing world-class technology education to a local college.
I love having joyous, real, authentic conversations - as much with the drivers of the electric rickshaws, drivers of Ubers / Olas as with my client community from around the world, with the people from the various communities that I have the privilege to be a part of, with anyone with whom I have the fortune to share a bit of a journey this lifetime, whichever the context. And, from all these conversations, I uncovered a secret that I will share with you today. You will find it hidden in the brief story I told you about my ex-colleague above.
Our degree of happiness is a function of how deeply we are connected to our roots, how much contribution we have made to the communities that we come from. We are tribal at heart and our tribes define us. It is only in coming home to our own village that we can find our way back to who we are as human beings.
No tribe is better than the other, just that my tribe gives me a sense of belonging that no other tribe can; just as it is for you. I can only have deep respect for all tribes if I can reconnect to the deep respect within me for my own tribe. I can contribute to other tribes powerfully when I have contributed to my own first. Just like, only in finding a deep connection with my mom and dad can I find the deep connection with my own self; and then only can I uncover a deep connection with all beings in the world.
The reason the programs I run create massive outcomes for my clients is because apart from coaching them to create business success; among other things, I also work with them on their relationship with their parents if I smell a disconnect. There always is a little bit of disconnect, that is part of our coming into adulthood. Unfortunately, this disconnect is part of our human design.
Even as a coach with all my deep understanding of human behaviour, psychology and the rest of it; I will still end up creating disconnect in my kids’ hearts. Though the story should not end there. The story must continue with me working on myself and creating an environment for the kids to work on themselves to remove the disconnect. It is important to remove the disconnect because it comes in the way of our experiencing ourself and other people in our lives as whole, complete and perfect; which is the source of troubled relationships at work and at home. This is also a hidden source of stress which messes up our health, well-being, productivity, performance, creativity, innovation and impact.
It doesn’t matter whether our parents are with us or have transitioned to another realm, it is always possible to reconnect powerfully with them with love, gratitude and reverence; not from a sense of obligation but from a deep visceral sense of joyous embrace of the source from where we sprang forth.
A deep connection is only the first step to come home to ourselves. The next step is to contribute to our mom and dad. In doing that, we will find the energy and strength to contribute to our own self by nourishing and nurturing our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual bodies. That will get us reconnected to the primal need to contribute to our tribe, the communities that we are a part of, our country’s consciousness that flows through our blood. In that contribution will we experience being whole and stand tall to let our inner Sun shine brightly to light up the world. In our doing so, our children will learn to do the same, the people who are entrusted to our care at work will learn to do the same. From there will spring forth unimaginable levels of health and fitness, performance, productivity, creativity, innovation and the massive impact that we are meant to make through our lifetime.
I highly recommend to all coaches, leaders and parents to understand this part of the jigsaw puzzle called leadership development. Before moving forward, let me tell you that another phrase for leadership development is “elevating human consciousness”; in people entrusted to our care at home and at work, by elevating our own first.
And, yet, beyond physical tribes, we belong to intellectual, emotional and spiritual tribes that may as well be globally dispersed. We can only find higher connection by laddering up from physical (our roots), intellectual, emotional to finally, spiritual tribes.
We are meant to belong to each other, though first we must belong to our own self. When we evolve to experiencing ourselves as whole, complete and perfect, we will find every relationship whole, complete and perfect. The problem is we are seeking relationships, external success, wealth, fame, creative hobbies, sports and everything on the outside to make us experience wholeness, completeness and perfection on the inside. That’s what we are really seeking.
The only way to get there is not by trying to create something outside of ourselves, it is by going within to do the deep inner work to evolve from the stressful forceful ’survival consciousness’ to the restful, joyous, soothing, tranquil, equanimous, lyrical, poetical, melodious, gently flowing ’abundance consciousness’. That transformation within shifts you from good to great, professionally and personally.
May you choose this gift of transformation. That is my intention for you. That is my prayer for you.
Have you ever experienced that you have so many ideas to solve a problem and yet when you give them all to your people, nothing happens. Nothing gets implemented. The problem remains just as unsolved as before, even growing bigger. You end up being frustrated and irritated because you did tell the solution and you know that your solution will fix the problem in its bud and create amazing results. But, the people to whom you give your ideas to continue to resist you and resist doing what you tell them to do.
And, then, you begin to face the same problem with your kids. They have so many more opportunities than you had. And, yet, they are floundering these opportunities and the resources that you are working hard to provide to them. Leave alone being grateful, they don’t even listen to you. You know exactly what they need to do. If they did exactly that, their lives will begin to shine. And, yet, they continue to resist you, resist doing what you tell them to do.
What’s happening here?
So far, while you were an Individual Contributor at the workplace or your kids were not pre-teens as yet, your brilliant ideas supported you to create success because you were implementing them. Now, that your role has changed. Instead of an Individual Contributor, you are a Leader at work and at home. Your success is a function of other people (your team or your kids) implementing your ideas, your old model of Being will not only not support you to create the success that you dream of, it actually will hinder you from moving forward as you will come face to face with a wall of resistance from those who you are privileged to lead, both at work and at home.
You may use the brute force of your charisma, the power of your personality and conviction to get people to follow your lead but that’ll take you only that far. You may end up leading your organization to climb the tree but flying to the moon will escape you.
If you are committed to creating impact, making a massive difference, making a dent in the Universe by leading your business from good to great, have loving harmonious relationships at work and at home, raise happy responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed, nourish and nurture yourself to connect with your highest self; then listen.
Yes, LISTEN and not tell. Yes, LISTEN and not TELL. Don’t tell them what to do. I know your ideas will make them fly so high, but they cannot fly with your ideas. Just as a baby bird can only fly with her own wings. They can only fly with ideas that are their own. They can’t see with your Light. They can only see and walk with their own inner Light. Giving them all the knowledge and information to convince them to do what you are telling them to do is making zero difference to them because they are not listening. They are not listening because they haven’t become leaders as yet and don’t know how to listen. The constant chatter in their head about the limiting view of themselves, of you and of life itself are 3 big walls that does not allow anything to enter.
You are privileged to be a Leader. It is your privilege to grow beyond the default design of a human being, become aware of your own chatter in your head and STILL it, so that you can LISTEN. It is your privilege to drop your 3 walls so that you create a space for them to drop their 3 walls. Then you can really step into their world and communicate in their world so that they really understand what you are saying.
Till that time, you will say, they will resist because they haven’t as yet learnt to LISTEN. It’s your privilege to grow your inner leadership, to increase your leadership depth to listen, understand and lead your people at work and kids at home to their own ideas, to their own solutions so that they can implement them. Your job as a leader is no longer to be a star performer, it is to create a space for star performers to grow to their highest potential.
Next time, someone comes to you with a problem, create a space of listening by asking questions. Not questions to make them wrong but genuine questions, sourced in deep love and care for who they are as human beings. As you ask questions which uplift and expand them, their inner wisdom will trigger and yes, they will come up with solutions that are much better than yours. That is our privilege as leaders and as parents, to raise our people and our kids to become better than us by letting them find their own answers and solutions rather than creating fixed structures for them to follow based on our own knowledge and information.
As leaders and parents, it is our privilege to do 10 times of what we ask our people and our kids to do.
As leaders, it our privilege to unconditionally give our love, acceptance and care to our people as we would give to our kids because just as we are custodians of our children, we are custodians of our people. They have been placed in our care and it is our privilege to provide them a space of loving kindness, total acceptance and gentle caring for them to throw the lampshade off their inner Light to fearlessly shine brightly.
As leaders and parents, it is our privilege to coach our people and children to fulfil their highest intentions and realise their greatest dreams; not by telling them what to do but by leading them with questions and guiding them to uncover their inner wisdom to find their own answers, their own solutions.
To be such a leader, it is our privilege to be on an inner journey to come home to who we authentically are.
Wishing you the self-awareness, courage and strength to be on such a journey.
Further Recommended Reading:
1. How to use Gratitude as a Leadership Tool for Business Growth?
2. How Reverence for all of Life Supports you to Lead your Business from Good to Great?
3. Without Integrity, nothing works; not even your business. Why, and What to do about it?
4. Why Must You Deepen Yourself in Mastery Consciousness to Lead your Business to Market Leadership?
I went to watch the final day of the top golfing event of the country yesterday - Hero Indian Open. I followed the leader of the first 3 days. After a dissatisfactory tee-off at one of the holes in the back 9 of the golf course, he beat the ground with his club. At that moment, I had an inner knowing that he will not win the tournament. After almost being an easy winner based on first 3 days performance, he ended up 4th earning only USD 80,850 instead of USD 291,660.
My 10-year old son was volunteering at the event and had the fortune to be with the 3-ball that the tournament winner was a part of on one of the 4 days of the event. I asked him to describe his experience and he described the tournament champion as having so much humility, being kind and cool even after a particularly bad shot.
I heard other stories of other players cursing or throwing their club down or at the caddy, when a shot didn’t go their way.
I have seen this as much in Business, as in Sports and in all other areas. Your craft mastery only takes you forward that much. Beyond a point, how much of an expert you are no longer counts. Of course, it is what gives you entry to the top league in the first place but to be the leader of the top league and to stay there; you need something more.
After you have worked your way up the pyramid, everyone is now working just as hard with almost similar resources. Let’s call Craft Mastery (being a master of your domain, a super expert) the first lever in the game of Life. You have to put in the 10,000 hours of purposeful, persistent, deliberate practise (made famous by Ericsson) for you to reach at the top of your industry.
Once you are top 100 of your field, what then gives you the leverage to be number 1? It is no longer Craft Mastery. What got you to Top 100 or Top 1000 league will no longer take you forward.
What, then, is the second lever? Compare the 2 players above, the one who could have been number 1 and the one who did become number 1. Notice the difference between the two players’ response to an adverse situation and their way of Being. Observe the stupendous difference between their earnings. That is what the second lever does - push you to Top 10. I call the 2nd Lever - Leadership Depth which is who you really are on the inside. Humility, kindness, still calmness in the face of chaos are all characteristics of people who have worked hard at growing on the inside. Their success and prosperity on the outside becomes a mere reflection of the shine inside.
You can beat the ground, people around you, yourself but all that will not get you to win the tournament of life.
Lets say, you made it to Top 10. The 2nd Lever will no longer take you forward. You need a 3rd Lever. What could that be? For fans of Bollywood and Indian History, what made 21 soldiers fight a heroic battle at Saragarhi against 10,000 to 12,000 Afghans? What made the Indian Women underdog hockey team win in Chak De, one of my favourite Hindi movies?
Let's take an example from Business. Under JRD Tata’s leadership, the assets of his business assets grew from Rs 62 crore in 1939 to more than Rs 10,000 crore in 1990. He is a founder of many landmark Indian businesses - Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Titan Industries, Tata Salt, Voltas and Air India - contributing significantly to the economic prosperity of our country.
What is common between the 21 Sikh soldiers of Saragarhi, the Chak De team and JRD Tata that had them be so successful in their own domains?
Each one of them were not playing their game for personal wins, they were instead standing up for a cause so much bigger than who they were.
There are JRD Tata’s words - If I were to attribute any single reason to such success as I have achieved, I would say that success would not have been possible without a sustained belief that what I did or attempted to do would serve the needs and interests of our country and our people and that I was a trustee of such interests.
The Chak De Team weren’t playing for themselves. They weren’t playing to earn money. They were playing for the freedom of the spirit of womanhood, which they experienced being denied to them. They were playing for their country, for the sense of belongingness to their country beyond the region, state or religion they belonged to. The Saragarhi bravehearts were fighting for the honour of their community, for the honour of their country.
That is the 3rd Lever. I call that lever Business Excellence or Sports Excellence, depending on the domain. As long as you are running your business or playing professional sports to earn money for yourself and your family, so much of your inner power is denied to you. When you can evolve to be a stand for a cause, have your work be a way for you to live your purpose to make a difference in the world; you have unlocked the 3rd lever.
Wishing you 'all the 3 unlockings' to experience deep joyous fulfilment and abundance at levels unimaginable before.
Infact, the real question is - How to stay inspired to continue building your Business with passion and joyous energy inspite of the ups and downs in Life? There is no escaping from the trials and tribulations that Life invariably throws up to test one’s commitment to realise one’s impossible, unimaginable dreams.
How does one then continue walking the path with unbridled and unstoppable energy? All of us have the seed of genius in us. Only those of us are able to nurture it to fully blossom, who keep walking on the path towards our highest self; irrespective of chaos inside or outside.
Chaos is the Universe’ way of supporting our growth. Therefore, expect chaos, confusion, self-doubt to be your constant companions as you build your business. If that be the case, then it would be more effective to befriend chaos, confusion, self-doubt and their various other avatars than to resist or struggle against them. Imagine pushing a wall with all your might. Can you feel the wall pushing you back? Can you see you are still standing where you were before? You see, half your mind is struggling against the wall, resisting the wall and you are only left with half your mind’s capacity to creatively figure out a solution to go to the other side of the wall.
What if instead of pushing the wall, struggling against it. resisting it; you simply stood still and accepted it the way it is and the way it is not. You may get a brilliant idea to take support from the wall by resting your back against it. In that moment of mental and physical restfulness with your mind’s energy fully available to you since half of it is not struggling against what is, how likely would it be for stroke of creativity to unfold a solution for you to gracefully and effortlessly walk to the other side of the wall.
Therefore, in the moments of chaos, confusion, self-doubt, criticism, illness, lack of support from those who really matter, loss of energy, scarcity, financial ruin or any other limiting experience; drop your armour and embrace what is. Fully own it and accept it. Receive it with gratitude as a gift from the Universe to support you to be bigger than who you are at this moment so that you can create much bigger outcomes than you have ever created. I call this leadership ability - Childlike Trust and Faith. Childlike trust and faith in the Universe, childlike trust and faith in the process of Life, childlike trust and faith in Life as it unfolds.
It requires leadership depth to live in the experience of this childlike trust and faith. Without this ability, nothing of life may make sense; sucking away energy from the onward march on the path that we feel most connected to. Once we stop struggling in the ocean of Life, we realize we already know how to float and that more we struggle to not drown, greater our chances of drowning. Its when we trust the Universe (which includes all of Life, all Beings and ourselves) and become still, we will find ourselves floating.
Why is it a leadership ability? What has childlike trust and faith got to do with Leadership or Business? Everything because the mind is then fully available to finding creative solutions. There is unleashing of undiscovered creativity, locked-in productivity and high level of performance. All of this put together creates effortless customer creation, operational excellence and extraordinary service delighting customers; resulting in greater profitability in a Business ecosystem.
The next question is how to build this childlike trust and faith in ourselves and our team members. Leadership development is inner work, requires growth on the inside instead of something that can be hammered in from the outside. Therefore, you cannot train people to become leaders. You can only coach them to be on the inner journey of personal transformation to grow in leadership depth. And, that journey begins 2 stages before:
Stage 1 of Leadership - Gear 1 - Coaching your people to discover what their fears are, what they resist the most and supporting them to step outside their comfort zone to fully experience themselves as whole, complete and perfect.
Stage 2 of Leadership - Gear 2 - Coaching your people to relate to others as whole, complete and perfect. Coaching them to viscerally experience what it means to be grateful and stay immersed in that experience.
Stage 3 of Leadership - Gear 3 - Coaching your people to step up from Gratitude to Childlike Trust and Faith in the Universe, in Grace, in Life or any other word you want to use.
All these shifts require shifts across all the 4 bodies of the Being - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual; dropping of limiting habits and taking on Growth Habits at each of the 4 bodies.
Before you can coach others, you have to model it yourself. That is why coaching is effective because it is not about Telling, it is about Being.
The above journey is a strategic long-term growth path to be the kind of person who remains motivated through the ups and downs of building a business, through the inevitable vicissitudes of Life.
More tactically, here’s what you can do to deepen yourself in the Leadership ability of Childlike Trust and Faith:
1. Be a part of a mastermind group of positive people on their journey to their inner genius. We become who we most spend our time with.
2. Build a structure for yourself to be continually growing, to be continuously on the Leadership path to your highest self - from Gear 1 to 2 to 3 and onwards. Having your own coach is a critical component of this structure.
3. This should have been the first, actually because the above 2 make sense only if you have this - a purpose, a dream, a personal inner commitment to be so much bigger than who you are right now to create so much more than you are creating right now.
4. The ritual of daily prayer, which I am finding slowly eroding, is a powerful way to immerse yourself in childlike trust and faith. The process of a heartfelt prayer allows us to unmask to commune authentically with our own self through the Universe. A prayer is not when you beg the creator for something, it is when you seek nothing and open yourself to the Grace of God. The true meaning of prayer became alive for me when I read about a doctor whose wife was delivering a baby with both the mother and baby at high risk. He didn’t pray for the well-being of his loved ones. Instead, he prayed to God to give him strength to accept with Grace whatever He decided as the outcome.
5. Praying before eating is another ritual that is powerful in shifting the Being. The act of praying before eating helps us to become more mindful, connects us to our inner self which not only increases the nutritional value of what we are eating but also helps to still our mind and empty us of limiting emotions and thoughts, if the prayer is heartfully offered; resulting in better decision making ability, greater creativity in problem solving and better communication. This way, every meal is an opportunity to get in touch with our Source of productivity, performance, creativity and innovation.
Here’s a variation that I did on St Francis of Assisi’s prayer that powerfully reminds me every meal of what my personal inner commitment is, what my values are, what my promise is to be, the place I want to come back to every time I fall off my path. I end the prayer with Gayatri mantra, which is a prayer in Sanskrit for strength to transform the mind from darkness to light. Create your own version of the mealtime prayer and include your whole family in the process to support your children to start their leadership journey to their highest self as early as possible.
Grace, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me be love.
Where there is injury, let me be forgiveness.
Where there is doubt, let me be childlike trust and faith.
Where there is despair, let me be optimism.
Where there is darkness, let me be light.
Where there is sadness, let me be joy.
Where there is negativity, let me be soothing joyful positivity.
Where there is chaos, let me be peaceful order.
Where there is confusion, let me be clarity.
Where there is struggle, let me be joyful effortless creation.
Where there is lack, scarcity, yearning; let me be abundance and prosperity.
Where there is lethargy, boredom, inaction; let me be enthusiasm, passion and powerful, effective action.
Where there is judgement, let me be deep understanding and reverence for all points of view.
Where there is anger and hurt, let me be loving tenderness.
Where there is arrogance, let be me grateful humility.
Where there is treachery and betrayal; let me be childlike trust & faith, integrity, unconditional love & acceptance.
Where there is bitterness and resentment; let me be forgiveness, gratitude and joy.
Where there is indifference, let me be love.
Where there is fear, let me be loving embrace of all of my fears and joyous effective action.
Where there is humiliation and rejection; let me be love and grace.
Oh, Divine Grace, grant that I seek to console than to be consoled.
I seek to understand that to be understood.
I seek to love than to be loved.
For, it is in giving that we receive.
It is in forgiving that we are forgiven.
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
is a sanskrit prayer to transform one’s default small limiting mind sourced in fear and darkness to our Big Mind sourced in Love and Light.
ओम भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः ।
भर्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि ।
धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त् ॥
om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ
bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
dhíyo yó naḥ prachodáyāt
Wishing that you break free from your inner and outer shackles to come home to yourself to create success, fulfilment and joy on the inside and the outside.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.