My Top 26 Lessons from 2018
1. Fitness like that of a professional athlete is a necessary input for top performance in business and in all other areas of life.
2. What you eat is what you become. Eat super healthy like a super star. Indian food can be fully whole grain, plant based, oil-free and yet delicious.
3. Age-related weakening of eye-sight can be reversed through yoga and healthy diet. I no longer need reading glasses for reading.
4. It is never too late to build strength and stamina. I used to feel exhausted after playing 9 holes and would lay the blame on being 45. Now, even after playing 18 holes at the golf course, I still have energy to do a rigorous workout.
5. Dreams have power. They can bring purpose, focus and committed action even in a 13-year old bogged down by the lure of internet, the trap of peer pressure and the temptation of living an easy life.
6. You grow old the day you stop learning new things. I am looking for a music teacher for my 73 old parents.
7. Your clients are not paying you for the number of hours you spend with them but the output you help them create. My new program run over 66 hours creates far more impact and value for my clients than my earlier program run over 288 hours. This shift is a direct outcome of investing massively in my personal growth and development.
8. Meditation spurs creativity and productivity besides reducing the number of hours to sleep to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
9. Spending time on making a massive difference to your current clients is the biggest marketing initiative you can run.
10. Time invested in mastering your craft is more effective over the long term than spending time in networking and social media to grow your business because it helps you to create a high-value pull business instead of setting-up a push business in which you spend your time chasing customers instead of making a dent in the Universe.
11. 20% of what you do creates 80% of your outcomes. Figuring out your 20% and putting your ultra-focus there is the secret of creating abundance of time to do all that you want to do but never found time for.
12. Doing all that you always wanted to do but never found the time for unlocks your hidden reservoir of massive energy.
13. Shifting who you are as a human being is the single most powerful way of shifting what outcomes your business creates.
14. Having a coach to be on a journey of discovering one’s blind spots ongoingly gets one to take powerful effective action to create breakthrough outcomes in life, professionally and personally.
15. Learning a sport like a pro teaches more about personal leadership and personal excellence than all the classroom sessions you will ever attend.
16. It is in giving that we receive. Giving 10% of your income to charity and social welfare grows your business in unexpected ways.
17. Owning your own culture, heritage and language gives your children deeper roots, stability and self-esteem to joyfully express their inherent genius.
18. Love, respect and relating to everyone as equals wins all battles.
19. Listening deeply is the single most important leadership skill which is missing. Learn to listen deeply by learning the art of conversation using the power of silence, questions and commitment to coach people to discover their inner light.
20. You can’t win by being a Fighter, fighting with circumstances and people in your life at work and at home. The only way to win is by being a Peaceful Warrior fighting your battles within, which is the source of all that is not working in the world outside.
21. Daily reviewing your personal inner commitment, strengths, values, Top 5 Annual Outcome Goals and Top 10 Annual Process (/Input) Goals releases energy to take daily action to make your annual outcome goals a reality by the end of the year. Create your 1-pager for 2019, if you haven’t as yet.
22. Multiple intentions across different areas of your life can be fulfilled with a single action. Write your intentions across all the areas of your wheel of life - deeply fulfilling successful career, happy responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed, nurturing and nourishing me-time, making a difference - to identify actions that will fulfil multiple intentions. That’s being effective, productive, creative and innovative.
23. Read more than you think you can. Read every free minute you have to stand on the shoulders of masters to see further than anyone else has ever seen in your industry, your domain, your craft to innovate and contribute powerfully to your customer and employee communities. Business growth is a logical outcome of this.
24. Cut down on technology and rev-up on self-awareness.
25. Saying a prayer before eating increases the taste and nutrition of the food that you eat. Use the prayer before a meal to reset and recharge yourself emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
26. Be love, gratitude and reverence. Be childlike trust and faith. Be in the present moment by keeping your attention on your breath as it comes out and as it goes in. Be fun.
Why I Won’t Advise My Clients?
My job is to mess up with my clients’ thinking, not tell them what to do. My clients are experts and top leaders in their fields, they probably know much more in their industry than anyone else. They already have everything figured out. Advising them and telling them what to do will not give them a breakthrough in their creativity, productivity, performance and innovativeness.
What gives them ideas they hadn’t thought of before, emotions they hadn’t felt before, actions they hadn’t considered before that takes them to the next level that they didn’t even think was possible or available is getting challenged in the way they think, how they think and what they think. Which is what I call messing up with their minds, totally turning their thinking around upside down, inside out. This is what gives them a new way of thinking, a new way of feeling, a new way of being which raises the bar in every area of their life - career, relationships, kids, nurturing and nourishing themselves, making a difference in the various communities that they are a part of and most importantly, creating an abundance of time within the same 24 hours for things that they are deeply passionate and committed about.
I got a call from a client today for an urgent advice. I told him I don’t do that. Though, I would be happy to coach him if that’s what he wanted. The coaching call didn’t go in the direction he expected. I told him that’s the problem seeking someone's advice. We have already made up our mind and all we want is someone’s agreement on that. Since we are on a coaching call, I will not give you what you want but what you need to see, hear and feel; and you would resist that though that’s what would support you the most in creating a breakthrough for yourself.
My clients have enough yes men and women in their lives and I am about tough love. I love and care so much for my clients that I don’t really care that they love me back. In fact, if my clients don’t hate me for sometime during their engagement with me, I know I need to serve them more powerfully.
The same is with my kids. If I don’t hear I hate you often enough, it’s a signal for me to parent them more powerfully instead of easing myself into winning a popularity contest with them. They understand the value of that just as my clients do. So much so, that my 12-year old has taken me on as her coach to fulfil on her greatest dream. This is the toughest assignment that I have taken up so far because when you coach someone, you step into a relationship of equals and you take on being coachable yourself. I no longer can use the line when she asks the question ‘Why do I have to do that?’ - Because I am your mom. I also have a constant watchdog observing whether I am living my personal inner commitment and my values, which is totally tough though serves me very powerfully to grow. So, in a way, she is running the toughest coach training program for me.
Parenting, leading and coaching are intertwined. Each of the roles have to play the other two roles equally effectively and powerfully to do justice to their specific role.
Parenting is about parenting (unconditional love and acceptance) and leading (doing 10X what you tell your kids to do) and coaching (supporting your kids to realise their greatest dreams in deepest communion with their highest self, supporting them to be happy and fulfilled with their genius joyfully expressed).
Coaching is about parenting (unconditional love and acceptance) and leading (doing 10X what you tell your clients to do) and coaching (supporting your clients to realise their greatest dreams in deepest communion with their highest self, supporting them to be happy and fulfilled with their genius joyfully expressed).
Leading is about parenting (unconditional love and acceptance) and leading (doing 10X what you tell your team to do) and coaching (supporting your team to realise their greatest dreams in deepest communion with their highest self, supporting them to be happy and fulfilled with their genius joyfully expressed).
Wishing you the joy of being a deeply fulfilled leader, parent and a coach creating breakthrough outcomes in all areas of your life.
What is your Personal Inner Commitment? I have known it to give as much focus, purpose, direction, joy of living, fulfilment to a 10-year old as to a 73-year old and to all ages in between. It has changed the life trajectory of all my clients by connecting them to their centre, which they did not even know existed. From angry negativity to fulfilling work excellence; from lack of self-esteem to building a business to impact the world; from down and out corporate professional to joy, gratitude and a successful business; from burnout to a successful corporate career; from on-the-verge of divorce, cynicism, resignation to re-kindling of fun, friendship and companionship. All this is the magic of having a Personal Inner Commitment (PIC).
Do you have one?
If you don’t, it is time to stop and create one because it is your Rock of Gibraltar in the stormy weather of Life.
Here’s how to create and live your Personal Inner Commitment. Begin with asking yourself the following questions:
1. Who am I?
2. What legacy do I want to leave behind?
3. What impact I would have wanted to make, if today were my last day of my life?
4. What do I want to be the world’s best in?
5. What is my Personal Inner Commitment?
You could be in one of the four stages of Life as you read the above questions:
1. You are down and out. You are ready to hold on to anything that can pull you out of this current abyss. It is a great idea to use PIC to step into your zone of genius.
2. You are so caught up in fulfilling the basic needs of life that these questions don’t make any sense. You just don’t have the bandwidth to look beyond the obvious, to dive deeper inside for meaning and purpose. Know that PIC is the place to start from to create abundance in your life - of money, of time, of everything else; to go beyond lack, scarcity, neediness, yearning to abundance and prosperity.
3. Already are successful and have abundance. So, the above questions don’t make sense. Life is fun, why take it seriously? Yeah, sure. You can choose to stay at this point till the shine wears off. And, it will because you are meant for something bigger.
4. Life is good, you have everything to fulfil your needs, success makes life comfortable and yet you are seeking greater fulfilment, you are seeking greater expression of your creative self, you are seeking to go beyond who you are and make a difference, make an impact. Yes, begin with PIC as the link to take you there.
Whichever stage you are in, your personal inner commitment is your commitment between yourself and yourself. The only other being you would share your PIC with would be your coach and that is it. Why only your coach? Because your coach holds the space for your greatness. Why not anyone else? Otherwise, it loses its power by either becoming a way for self-aggrandisement or a way for other people's cynicism to get you to lose your belief. Both ways, you lose your energy and you lose your personal power to create.
This is how you define your Personal Inner Commitment - I am the world’s best _____________.
Go ahead and fill in the blank above.
This is now your inner commitment to the God inside of you. Believe in it as your inner truth. Make it the source of your every thought, every feeling, every word, every action and watch the magic unfold.
Write to me at email@example.com to share your experience.
Why Does a Coach Need a Coach?
One of the entrepreneurs in the session I was leading yesterday was curious to know why I have a coach, though I am a coach and for how long would I work with a coach. I loved the questions, so taking time to reflect on them more deeply than the brief discussion we had during the session.
First, lets define a coach. Just like a railway coach, the job of a human coach is to be the vehicle for transporting the passengers / coachees from point A to point B in their life journey. Sure, you can travel on foot instead of catching a train or taking some other transport; just that the velocity with which you will reach your destination will vary.
Here’s my personal definition of a coach. A coach’s job is to support their clients to realise their greatest, unimaginable, impossible dreams in deepest communion with their highest self while having it all - a deeply fulfilling successful career / business, loving harmonious relationships, happy responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed, lots of nourishing nurturing me-time and making a huge difference in the world through living their purpose this lifetime.
The way a coach delivers on the above is by coaching their clients to be in perfect health and well-being across the four bodies of their Being - physical, emotional, intellectual / mental, spiritual. Without the highest level of fitness across the four bodies, we don’t have enough inner strength to embark on the journey to fulfil on our purpose this lifetime to realise our dreams and have it all.
The job of a coach isn’t to motivate but to connect their clients to their inner inspiration that brings stars to their eyes, dance in their feet, a song on their lips, a smile in their heart and joyous stillness in their mind so that their clients are unstoppable in taking powerful effective actions to realise their greatest dreams; however unimaginable, however impossible, however scary.
The job of a coach isn’t to give solutions but to lead their clients from their present questions to even bigger questions because it is the quality of our questions that determines whether we will ever throw off the lampshade to let our inner Light shine brightly. We may waste our entire life solving the wrong questions. A coach leads us to the right questions and our inner wisdom that truly guides us forward on our path.
A coach’s job is to show the mirror to their clients so that they can discover their own blind spots, their inner barriers that they are blind to that give them limited or no results in different areas of their wheel of life. Our only access to dropping our inner barriers is by self-discovering them instead of being told. It is the skill of a coach that aids this self-discovery.
A coach also coaches through modelling the behaviour, thoughts, skills, emotions, attitudes, mindset, heartset, healthset, soulset they know would serve their clients. That, in fact, is the way humans learn; not through information but by seeing others taking action because of what are known as mirror neurons.
Therefore, if I want my clients to be coachable; I have to be coachable. If I want to support my clients to realize their unimaginable, impossible dreams by going to places inside that scare them, by facing their deepest fears, darkest secrets and embracing their resistances; I have to be on the journey to realise my unimaginable, impossible dreams by going to places inside that scare me, by ongoingly facing my deepest fears, darkest secrets and embracing my resistances by doing exactly what I fear, what I resist and sharing my darkest secrets with another being so that those fears, resistances, secrets no longer have a hold on me.
That also means I need someone to show me the mirror so that I can discover my blind spots for me to go beyond. I need someone to model for me growth habits so that I can inculcate them in me because our mirror neurons support us to learn with speed by mirroring others. That is why a wise advice is to choose your company carefully because we become the average of five people we hang around the most with. I need someone to lead me to greater questions and connect me to my inner wisdom through what is known as a socratic discussion or a conversation where you are lead with questions to facilitate self-inquiry. I need someone who holds the space for my inner Light to shine brightly.
That is why I have not one but five coaches - karate, yoga, fitness, golf, and a coach supporting me to realise my greatest dreams in deepest communion with my highest self while having it all.
And, I am on a lookout for more coaches because I want to live more each moment, create more than what would have been possible otherwise, love and give so much more beyond the paper-ghost fears that hold me back.
When will I no longer need a coach? When I don’t want to grow anymore. I hope I have the wisdom never to end up in that spot.
Am I dependent on my coaches? Is that not dependency, neediness? I and my coaches have a relationship of equals, just as I and my clients have a relationship of equals. To the degree I grow, to the same degree they grow. To the same degree they grow, to the same degree I grow. That is mirror neurons at play. So, when my clients connect back with me many years later thanking me with gratitude for the difference I made in their lives; I turn towards them with loving joyous gratitude in my heart and thank them deeply for the difference they made to my life by being coachable and choosing me as their coach because I am privy to the secret that I am going to share with you now.
There was a time nothing was working for me and then, I had a moment of epiphany as I was lit up with the realisation that the only way I will get what I want is to give it to others. I knew this intellectually before but in that moment, it was a visceral experience. The knowing came from deep within. As I have helped my clients build their businesses, discover and connect to their authentic selves, nurture loving harmonious relationships, raise happy responsible kids, realise their greatest dreams, create health and well-being across the four bodies of their Being, find time to nurture and nourish themselves while contributing to their customer & employee communities and people in their lives, experience fun, fulfilment, freedom; I found the very same things come alive in my own life. To the degree I gave, to that exact degree it became alive in my life.
It is interesting that great people from two very different fields arrived at the same truth and shared it with the world in their words:
Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law - Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
St Francis of Assisi in a prayer that I love and connect so deeply with - It’s in giving that we receive.
Should you have a coach? The answer to that lies within you. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. I have experienced the truth of that. When you are ready, the coach right for you will show up. How do you know the coach is right for you? It just feels right.
Wishing you the joy of the journey.
Mirror Neurons - The most powerful learning tool
How to Deal with Stress?
A client's friend died of heart-attack at 40 years of age. A fellow golfer mentioned the other day that his colleague in Australia, inspite of being a vegetarian and enthusiastically following his rigourous fitness routine, had cancer and died at 45. A friend's sister was advised a heart bypass surgery at 42. My sister was diagnosed with Diabetes at 35. What do you think is happening here?
Each of the above diseases is referred to as a 'Lifestyle' disease. Our species, it seems, has self-created these diseases because of our modern past-paced, high-stress Lifestyle.
What is Stress? The dictionary defines stress as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
Sure, one can blame the corporate world for creating stressful work environments with long hours and high pressure targets, causing so many young people to succumb to loss of productivity and creativity, or diseases, or death; depending upon the severity of stress. Though, that would be giving away one's power to the environment; as if to say we have no choice in the process.
If we were to have a choice, if we were to be responsible for our own health and well-being; what would that mean? How do we deal with stress powerfully so that it does not lead us into dis-ease? Is there something else we would need to deal with, besides stress; so that right till we breathe our last, we have a great quality of life, high fitness levels without having to manage any age-related or any other diseases, our mental faculties are in top order and we continue to contribute through our work that we are passionate about. Or, is it that whatever we may do, we will still fall prey to diseases because that is the natural cycle for our species? If that were the case, should we then simply saunter along life with unhealthy habits just because it is easy to live with unhealthy habits instead of working hard to embrace growth habits?
Let us walk together to find answers to some of these questions.
Fundamentally, it is important to understand that if our intention is health and wellness, then we have to consider four bodies instead of the one that we see - physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Working on only the physical body is not a sustainable way to create health and well-being because the physical body houses the other three bodies. Any dis-ease in the other three bodies will show symptoms at the level of the physical body.
Therefore, to be effective in creating long-term health and fitness, it is wise to not only work inwards from physical to emotional to mental to spiritual body, but also to work outwards from spiritual to mental to emotional to physical body while also working simultaneously at all levels. Let us walk further to explore how.
1. The physical body is directly impacted by what we eat, how we eat, when we eat, what fitness regimen we have to ensure that the physical body is fit, agile, flexible till our very last moment. Yes, it is possible. My karate coach's super coach is a young 73 years black belt Dan 10, which is the highest level of recognised expertise. He is as yet actively coaching students from across the world to mastery in Karate.
The physical body is indirectly impacted by the fitness levels of the other three bodies. If they are not healthy, dis-ease shows up as symptoms at the level of the physical body.
Should it not be our business to determine what kind of diet, exercise routines and fitness regimens for the other three bodies would keep us at the highest levels of energy, giving us an elite athlete's fitness instead of creaking joints and cracking organs as we add days to our life?
2. The emotional body holds, at the level of cellular memories, all the emotions that we have ever experienced and did not process because it was too painful. It was so painful that it seemed easy to push them under the carpet and our emotions ran away like little kids to hide in different parts of our body.
Creating fitness at this body requires you to connect with your deepest emotions and find ways to access emotions lying hidden to finally face them, embrace them, viscerally forgive all the actors in that memory including yourself and find inner peace, that now allows you to connect authentically with yourself and all beings.
I have worked with clients who had relationship issues because they never experienced their mother or father's love and appreciation as they were growing up, clients who had abundance issues because they did not experience themselves worthy in response to a humiliating incident in childhood which the conscious mind does not remember but the unconscious mind is still burning up with that emotion of 'not being good enough', clients who had self-esteem issues inspite of being super successful but all that money and success does nothing to fill the emptiness inside because the emptiness is way back from the past, clients who are leaders in their industry but are lonely and know not how to love or receive love because they did not receive love as they were growing up.
Would it not be worthwhile to explore how to heal the emotional body to the highest levels of happiness because your blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart-disease etc. is likely to have its source at this level; besides the dis-ease at the emotional level making it difficult for you to create success and prosperity in the material world.
3. Mental / Intellectual Body: We are rational, logical beings. Without engaging the intellect in the whole game of creating the highest level of health and fitness, we will find the journey an arduous one because of the nature of the mind. Its default state holds limiting thought patterns, has a tendency of either lamenting about the past or worrying about the future, has deep aversions and cravings, and runs in million directions simultaneously. This default state creates continual upheaval in the emotional body and comes in the way of accessing the power to fulfil one's intentions.
Health and well-being at the level of the mental body means purifying the mind so that there's stillness, tranquility, equanimity, clarity, purposeful focus, acceptance and non-judgement within. This unleashes the unlimited creative power of the mind to give us enhanced productivity, performance, effectiveness, creativity and innovation. As the mind purifies within, we begin to effortlessly create success and prosperity in the world outside.
How would it be to be on such an adventure to cross the frontiers within to create a whole new reality in alignment with our deepest desires?
4. Spiritual Body: The spiritual body seeks purpose, growth to our highest self and transformation from evolutionary fear to compassionate love for oneself and for all beings.The health and wellbeing at the level of the spiritual body means living with purposeful passion making a difference through our work; living with a visceral experience of love, gratitude, reverence, integrity, mastery consciousness, joy, abundance; with a full-blown access to our inner Power to Create to fulfil our highest intentions and realise our greatest dreams which may have seemed scary, unimaginable, impossible before.
What would being on such a journey make available for you?
Love and reverence,
My American Boss at Amex told us a very interesting story from his life, that I still remember. I am so deeply impacted by the profoundness of it, even after 10 years, that have probably narrated it 100 times to my clients and even to my kids. I am going to share this story with you today because in it lies the answer to the question - How to Be Happy?
In all my years of coaching and being coached, the only answer that I found to the question - How to be happy? - is in being able to love. I have discovered that the real question isn't what can I do to be happy. The real question is what can I do to love more expansively - love myself; love my work; increase the depth of my love for my spouse, kids, parents, sisters, friends; feel loving kindness towards all fellow beings at home, at work, everywhere. In strengthening our hearts and increasing our capacity to love gives us the only access to happiness that there is. There is no other way to find happiness. Find love within yourself and you will experience happiness in that moment.
So, how do you love? That's where Brian's story comes in. He belongs to a family of devout Christians. At 16 years of age, he goes to the community church to spend his summer vacation to serve under the Father he adores and admires. He gets to share his room with another 16-year old, John. Brian is most displeased with John and complains to Father - "Father, John is the dirtiest boy that I have ever met. He smells because he doesn't take a bath, neither does he change his clothes. He throws the banana peels on the floor, doesn't make his bed, keeps chewing gum the whole day and sticks them to his bed after he is done chewing. Please, can I have another room-mate?"
Father gives a long kindly look to the 16-year old Brian and replies - "Brian, will you do what I tell you?"
"Of course, Father"
"Will you make John's bed everyday and throw the peels in the dustbin?"
Brian hesitates but his love and reverence for the Father wins over his distaste for what he was asking him to do. "Yes, Father. I will do it, if you say so."
After a week, Father comes looking around for Brian and asks him - "How are things with John, Brian?"
"A little better, perhaps. I would still love it if you would change my room-mate, Father. I can't sleep because he smells so bad. He doesn't even brush his teeth. The old chewed gums have nearly covered the whole bed side."
"Will you do what I ask you to do, Brian?"
"Will you ensure John brushes his teeth and takes a bath every day? Would you remove the old chewed gums from his bedside and wash his clothes daily, Brian?"
A long silence but love and admiration for Father is so strong that Brian acquiesces, though half-heartedly.
Three weeks later, Father comes around looking for Brian to find him happier than he ever has seen him since the month started. "How are things with John, Brian?"
Brian beams, "Oh Father, we have become such good friends."
You may have discovered the answer to the question. Yes, the only access to experience love is to be of service.
In all her wisdom, Nature created babies to be helpless beings; unable to take care of themselves. Parents have to feed them, bathe them, clean them when they mess-up their nappies, teach them and so much more. That is why parents love their babies so immensely. That is why it is important for the father as well as the mother to be fully engaged in taking care of the baby because the baby needs love from both parents. Have you noticed that as the kids become more self-sufficient and we are less of service to them, the quality of our love is not as powerfully deep as when they were helpless little babies, totally dependent on us to take care of them? It takes all our leadership depth to keep the love going strong and keep the anger, resentment, irritation, upset at bay :-)
You must have figured the answer to the questions we raised in the beginning of our conversation:
What can I do to love more expansively?
a. Love myself - be of service to yourself by nurturing and nourishing yourself.
b. Love my work - be of service to your customer community.
c. Increase the depth of my love for my spouse, kids, parents, sisters, friends - be of greater service to them.
d. Feel loving kindness towards all fellow beings at home, at work, everywhere - In our culture, we have 2 powerful words - Daan and Seva. Daan means to give away part of your wealth for the well-being of the communities you are a part of. Seva means to be of service to the communities that you belong to. Interestingly, various cultures around the world have the spiritual practice of tithing - which is giving away one-tenth of your income as an offering to God or for the works of mercy.
How beautiful it is that we have no dependency on anyone or anything outside of ourselves to be happy. All we need is to be in the act of being of service and in that very instant, love spreads through our body and we experience happiness.
It is a well-researched fact that being happy expands our mind while being in the grip of negative emotions (anger, upset, frustration, irritation, resentment, hopelessness, resignation, cynicism, sadness, boredom, lethargic etc.) shuts down our mind. When would you be more effective? When would you have greater access to your inner creativity and ability to innovate solutions that make a difference? When would you be more productive? When would you deliver better performance? When your mind expands or when it is shut down?
Wishing you the joy of the journey to connect to your Higher Purpose, to live from there and making the choice to be happy moment-by-moment.
Love and reverence,
You are looking to increase your profitability or build a great business or create fame and fortune or raise extraordinary kids living in the expression of their innate genius or be in perfect physical, emotional, mental, spiritual health & well-being or have loving harmonious relationships at home and at work or have a super successful career or make a huge impact through your work or be happy.
What if I invite you to replace each ’or' in the previous sentence with 'and'?
To create even one of the above feels like a struggle, leave alone create all of the above simultaneously. Why? And, how to access the power to create all of the above outcomes with grace and ease?
The reason it feels like a struggle is because we don't understand the science of creating outcomes and most often than not, do the opposite of what is required. To give you an analogy - the door opens on the inside and what we are doing is pushing it to open outwards. We work so hard to push the door to open, struggle with the resistance that the door is offering in return; feel exhausted, tired, frustrated, angry, upset, stressed at not seeing the result of the door opening inspite of all the effort we have put in. The energy, effort, struggle was not needed if only we had known that the door opened on the inside and had to be pulled instead of pushed.
Here's the process of creating outcomes effortlessly with the lightness of Being instead of the heaviness of Doing (when the doing is not originating in the Being):
1. To fulfil our intentions, we want to pull the door of Life instead of pushing it when it can only be pulled by not coming in the way of what’s naturally occurring. When we resist what is, we lose our energy in the resistance rather than using it for the process of creation. When we use Agility of Mind to joyously and gratefully receive what is naturally occurring as a gift, we open the door of creativity to create elegant, time and energy efficient solutions to fulfil our intentions by simply using what is.
In my previous business, the product had more features and hence, more price than what the target audience wanted. Instead of struggling in the earlier business model, I chose instead to reposition the product to another customer segment where needs, features and price are matched. If I had become frustrated like many of my peer entrepreneurs, I could not have broken my business model to evolve to the next one, which is professionally, personally and financially more fulfilling for me.
2. Have intentions instead of goals. An intention is a place to come from; while a goal is a place to go to.
When you are chasing a goal, your attention is on that point in the future when your goal is achieved. The gap between where I am and where I want to go creates in us a sense of lack, yearning, scarcity for what we don't have right now.
When fulfilling an intention, the attention is placed right here right now so that our energy is concentrated in the present moment, instead of being dissipated and dispersed. The attention is on our commitment to fulfil our intentions. From that concentrated attention and commitment to fulfil the intention (come what may), our actions are fired.
In the world of goals, there’s always somewhere else to reach. How can we be centred and grounded if we are racing to be somewhere else than where we are? Also, in that race, there is stress. The creative mind works best in a no-stress environment, where it experiences being still and centred. Then only the most effective, innovative ideas are generated to fulfil our intentions.
Goals are externally thrust upon, while intentions are internally inspired. Intentions focus on the right inputs and the joy of the journey, while goals focus on the output and short-lived excitement in the moment the goal is achieved. Goals require external sheen, charisma and motivation; while intentions require mindfulness, inner tranquility and inspiration.
My clients usually come to me with a goal to build a bigger business and increase their profitability. I coach them to shift their perspective to translate that goal into an intention of making a bigger difference to their employees, customers and family. They are always pleasantly surprised to find that their original goal gets fulfilled as a by-product of working on their intentions.
3. Articulate your intentions and make them SMART - Specific, Measurable, something that you believe is Achievable, something you believe is Realistic, Time-bound. The key here is your belief. Like Henry Ford said - Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are right!
Without a smartly articulated intention, we have no pole star to guide us. Without the pole star, we are a rudderless boat being aimlessly thrown around in the direction the waves of circumstance push us.
What are your intentions this Lifetime? What are your impossible, unimaginable dreams this Lifetime; the idea of fulfilling them itself leaves you refreshed, rejuvenated, energized? Do you have a Dream Lifestyle that you are playing to create? Do you have this year’s articulated intentions to support you to create physical, emotional, intellectual / mental, spiritual health and well-being? What do you want to create through your Life, through your work? If today were your last day, creating what so far would fulfil you the most and leave you with no pain of leaving the earthly abode?
4. The sacred scripture from my culture, Bhagavad Gita, mentors us to be detached from the outcomes. Let us dig deeper into the logic behind it. When I am needy for the outcomes, I shut myself from different kind of outcomes which may be more effective than what is stuck in my head. I also become risk averse because I am so tied to the outcomes I am desperately seeking. In this desperation and neediness, we don’t make the highest choices to create impossible magical outcomes. Instead, we choose safe, tried and tested options which will only lead us on the path of mediocrity.
When our focus and attention is on the input side and our emotional state does not sway like a pendulum based on the output of our actions or reactions of people around us, our input is of higher quality resulting in a higher quality output. We are also able to enjoy the process of learning and creation.
If I were attached to making my previous business successful, I would not have had the courage to hibernate it to start another business from scratch after 7 years of building my previous business. I thank Grace for the detachment because now I am building a business which is much more closely connected to my purpose this Lifetime, which fills me up with greater joy and passion, which challenges me infinitely more and hence creates a pathway for me to grow that much more than what was possible before.
5. When we are attached to the outcome, to what we are seeking to create; not having it right now creates scarcity, lack, yearning, impatience to create, choosing short-cuts instead of increasing leadership depth to evolve from evolutionary fear to compassionate love for ourselves and for all beings, deepening craft mastery to be the world’s best in what we do, creating business excellence to make a dent in the Universe through the work we do.
I chose to extend myself globally in search of my tribe, my community who I would be inspired to coach, focus on being a master of my craft, deepen myself as a leader, as a human being, build my business through making a huge difference to my current clients instead of spending time on marketing, promoting, networking for quicker returns.
Wishing you the joy of the journey this Lifetime and celebrations every moment along the way.
If you cut the roots of a tree, the tree will die not only because it will have no foundation to stand on but also because it no longer will receive any nourishment. Similarly, we human beings will die emotionally, intellectually / mentally, spiritually and as a result of that physically (much before we were meant to) if we deny our cultural heritage because it is the foundation, the roots of the tree of our very existence.
Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions, language, literature, values, scriptures and wisdom in all different forms.
If I don't accept, love and revere who I am as a human being, I will not have the understanding and wisdom to accept, love and revere the cultural heritage I am born into. If I don't accept, love and revere my own heritage that I am born into, I will not have the understanding and wisdom to accept, love and revere other communities and their heritage. How can there be love, peace and joy in such a world?
Macro does not create the micro. Micro creates the macro. Who I am and who you are, what I do and what you do, is all that is needed to start a quiet revolution in the world to transform a business, a nation and, ultimately, what it means to be a human being; leading humanity to its next level of evolution and consciousness. Try complaining about and fighting with the macro instead of working on the micro (the person you see in the mirror), all you will get is frustration, angst and a lot of wasted time & effort because you will find that nothing much has changed.
Wait, the malaise doesn't end here. If I don't accept, love and revere who I am as a human being and the culture I am born into; it also impacts my self-esteem and as an outcome of that, my productivity, efficiency, creativity and innovation. I get stuck in the monotony of Life with no access to unleash my inner greatness to make that big impact in the world for joyous fulfilling success and prosperity.
You want to lead your business from good to great and make a huge difference in the world? The first, unfortunately invisible, step is to embrace who you are and that includes your cultural heritage and identity. In your owning yourself fully and coming home to yourself, you free your people to own themselves and come home to themselves. As you and your people stand tall in the joy of who each one of you is, your customers will find the freedom to own themselves and come home to themselves. In that way, you not only create greater profitability because of increased productivity and innovation because of the courage found only in truly owning who you are, you start a ripple effect to make a difference to your people, your country and the world.
You may say, there are religious and national fanatics who are causing destruction. They seem to have pride in their cultural heritage and use that as an excuse to create a havoc. The equation doesn't seem to fit in with the above logic. Let us dig deeper. The dictionary defines a fanatic as a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause. I would add the following to this definition - "without excessive and single-minded zeal for one's own physical, emotional, intellectual / mental and spiritual growth". As long as the focus is changing the macro (the world outside) without transforming the micro (self); all we will get are fanatics and the mess that only the fanatics can cause.
You may ask - Does that mean I need to follow all the customs, rituals and traditions that don't make sense to me? I will say understand the underlying science and if it doesn't connect with you, please don't do it because that spreads inauthenticity in the world. In the end, if what you are doing doesn't have you experience love, gratitude and reverence for yourself and for all beings, it is something that needs to be challenged. Not in others, but in your own self. Growth is an outcome of transforming who I am and not forcing others to change to fit into my world-view.
Isaac Newton said that - If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulder of giants. Each generation progresses by standing on the achievements of the previous generation. How can India progress if we born in India don't own and embrace the achievements of Rabindranath Tagore, JRD Tata, Sri Aurobindo, Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Guru Nanak, Buddha, C V Raman, Homi J Bhabha, Ramanujan, Salim Ali, Deepak Chopra, Kiran Mazumdar, Sarojini Naidu, Amrita Sher-Gil, Kalpana Chawla, Robin Sharma, Deepak Parekh, Premchand and million others who have transformed our lives, in small or big measure? And, so it is for every other country in the world.
In a country where there is love, gratitude and reverence for its cultural heritage instead of starry-eyed admiration for the glitter in other countries (without that for one's own), let my people awake. In a planet where there is love, gratitude and reverence for oneself and for all living beings, let my fellow beings awake.
May you and I awaken to the inner Light that each one of us is born with to live the purpose of our journey this Lifetime through the businesses we run; families, communities and countries that we are a part of.
How Fear Made me Grow?
I had to prioritize to pick up one task to do out of three on the list. I chose the one which was the toughest because I have seen what I resist the most gives me my greatest growth. Review your top 20% to see if you have chosen those tasks on the list that are uncomfortable and difficult. Chances are if they are not, your 80% impact may not come about; irrespective of Pareto's promise
If you are willing to have uncomfortable conversations, willing to be uncomfortable, willing to step out of your comfort zone, willing to go against your grain; the growth and freedom you will experience would be worth it. I travelled to USA for a training program to deepen my coaching skills. My usual style is to take copious notes, sit in the front row and ask the maximum questions. I took my coach's recommendation and dropped my usual style. In spite of having invested heavily for being at the program; I took no notes, managed to remain shut and sat somewhere in the middle. I came away with greater confidence in what I do instead of a notebook full of information, the secret joy of hearing my own voice and experiencing being significant. The self-awareness that I experienced as an outcome of choosing to act against my grain was the biggest gift of all, giving me 10 times the return on my investment.
Growth happens only outside the comfort zone. In the comfort zone, we have been lulled to sleep by routines and habits that the brain creates to be energy efficient. That is surely a gift because we use less energy to go about our life, though it has a dark side to it. When we are reacting and responding to life in an automatic fashion because of energy efficient routines and habits, we lose self-awareness and opportunity to grow further. Awareness and present momentness is heightened when the environment (outside and inside us) is different from the usual. In response to the change in the environment, the 'biologically trained for survival' brain shifts into super-alert mode which brings about deep self-awareness and present momentness creating a space for INSIGHTS.
Insights involves gaining sudden knowledge of a possible solution to a problem without trial and error. They are also called Aha or Eureka Moments. They can also be experienced as a reflective 'That's funny'. Access to insights accelerates learning, growth and evolution. We access insights by integrating new knowledge, acquired through continual learning, with what we already know and through inquiry & reflection.
As I sat there in the program, forcing myself to sit in the middle and not distract myself from getting present to what was within by taking notes or asking questions, I got present to so many fears hiding inside and insights that had me go 'Hmmm / That's funny / Aha / That's interesting / OMG'. Fear of being looked down upon. Needing people to look up to me. Needing people to admire me and give me attention to have me experience I am loved and wanted. Fear of being ignored. Fear of being rejected for not being good enough. That is why the neediness to be the best in whatever I did, that is why the yearning to be unconditional Love. Those are my dark truths I discovered in those few days, as I left the crutch of losing myself on the outside to hide from myself what was inside.
I crumbled when a mom, a local fellow participant, shouted at me as I stepped in closer to smile at her baby - Don't touch my baby! In that crumbling, I found my ugly truth. It wasn't racism in her but the racism in me that I got present to. I recognised how my nose-in-the-air and uber pride in my Indian heritage attracted the very thing to me that I was dumping on everything I saw in this foreign land. I remembered how I made everyone wash their hands before touching my first-born; stressfully paranoid about her well-being that made me insensitive about people around me, that I ended up hurting even people who loved me and I loved. The Universe always gives you back exactly what you give to the world. What you give is what you'll always receive. Newton did discover this secret when he declared his third law that every action has equal and opposite reaction. In our philosophy, we call it the law of the Karma. What you sow is exactly what you'll reap. And yet, in that instant, all I could experience was deep hurt and an almost unconscious reaction of making her wrong.
I ran away from my AirBnB in Los Angeles, where I was attending the training, at 10:30 pm on tip-toes because I had a visceral experience of fear in my body as I opened the door to step in to find the owner with 3 other men partying loudly in the lounge upstairs. I experienced fear in my body, though my stand for the world is Love. Some years before, I wouldn't have had the wisdom to honour what my body felt. That day I honoured the fear coursing through my body, I didn't stuff it under the carpet and pretend to be strong and brave when I didn't really feel strong and brave. I swallowed my pride and walked back to the hotel where I was attending the seminar to stay the night there. I knew fear attracts what fear fears. In that moment, I didn't have the strength to be Love and Childlike Trust and Faith. I was ashamed of it and yet that was the truth.
I knew that I had to have a conversation with the gentleman from whose AirBnB I ran away from and tell him the truth. The very thought of that conversation killed me with painful embarrassment. Though I knew I had done the right thing by honouring what I felt viscerally and yet I knew I had wronged the gentleman by not trusting and I needed to own that up. Finally, from the airport on the way to San Francisco, I called him and apologised for running away and for not trusting him. All he said was he was sorry he didn't create a safe space for me to be comfortable. I felt complete and I sensed he felt complete too.
That is what I always find - freedom beyond every uncomfortable conversation I am willing to have, freedom beyond every action I take to do what I resist and fear. In that trip, the wall disconnecting me from other human beings crumbled a bit more because I had done everything that was uncomfortable - borrowed money from dad at 44 when I had sworn at 16 years old never to take support from dad or from anyone else, hibernated a business that wasn't going in the direction I was inspired to take it to focus on the new business that filled me with passion, joyous inspiration and deep connection to my purpose of life, travelled alone beyond the cosy comfort of my home country, stayed in an AirBnB when staying at the hotel felt more safe, sat quietly instead of asking the most intelligent questions and taking copious notes.
Back home, saw the limiting patterns I was caught up with my spouse and challenged them. Good wasn't good enough anymore. I wanted an even deeper relationship, I wanted the relationship to live up to the original promise of physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual growth instead of the insipidness and monotony of daily existence. It took enormous courage to challenge the most fundamental of my relationships without knowing where this would land me. So much of unsaid hurt and upset had got collected under the carpet that I was scared of calling it out in the fear of upsetting the boat, in the paper-ghost fear of 'I am not good enough, I am not worthy' hiding in the basement of my psyche. In that standing up to embrace the truth of my being; the wall between me and myself finally sighed, crumbled and fell apart. The wheels of our relationship are beginning to turn a little differently. I have known the Universe to fulfil all our intentions and realise all our dreams only if we are willing to fully trust and accept with gratitude all that she gives us as her gifts for our growth because almost all the times, we have to become bigger than who we are to have the strength to fulfil our intentions and realise our greatest dreams in deepest communion with our highest self.
I acknowledge the shame of all my fears, neediness and yearning; and in that acknowledgement, embrace all of them. The embrace has finally started to feel authentic. I am willing to hold the embrace for as long as I feel the resistance. I have driven at night number of times in Delhi and Gurgaon on account of volunteering my time to assist in various programs and seminars that have contributed to me. I was always present to the fear lurking inside of what may go wrong. I drove fighting that fear, gulping it down. The other day I drove at night to meet my sister who had flown on a last minute decision to Delhi from Calcutta to attend an Army conference. I drove in such freedom that I had never known before, with an experience of a deep connection with fellow human beings. I knew in that moment that the wall inside me had fully crumbled and vanished. And, it was my task to do all that it took to stop that wall from building ever again and in that create a space for fellow beings to walk the path to come home to themselves.
A great business, personal mastery, a life that impacts all of humanity, loving harmonious relationships, happy responsible kids with their inner genius fully expressed are the outcomes built on the foundation of coming home to oneself. Have I reached? All I can say is that I am a work-in-progress, totally inspired by the ideals I talk and write about, hoping to live all of these ideals by the time my work is done this lifetime.
Wishing you the joy, fulfilment and freedom of the journey.
There's an outrage whenever an injustice shows its head in the public domain. Media - print, television, social - add fuel to the fire and suddenly everywhere we have indignation, anger, upset, sadness, righteousness in all of us. Experiments have proven that when the body has negative emotions, then the brain shuts down. That means, we have no access to innovation, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to solve something which is obviously a problem, at the time we need it the most.
Let me define what a solution is - It is a construct which
a. increases love, compassion and reverence in the environment
b. starts the work to solve the issue at the source, not at the surface
c. makes people more connected with each other
Look at a social problem as a business problem and suddenly, we have access. When we have a business problem that reduces productivity, performance and effectiveness; what do we do. We put on our creative, thinking hats and do process innovation. Do we wait for the CEO to do the process innovation?
Maybe that is where the problem is that we keep waiting for the government or someone else to solve the problem instead of experiencing any power within to solve the condition we spend hours complaining about or completely ignoring.
If you are in a developing country, running away to a developed nation is not the solution as the problems of your mother country still remain in your consciousness. You heal the problems in your consciousness only by being a part of the solution.
If you are in a developed country, putting your head in the sand as the proverbial ostrich doesn't serve you either because what ails your country ails you too, even though it may not seem to at the surface.
Making ourselves unconscious of what limitations and negativity surrounds us, unconsciously limits us and drains our power to live at the highest level of who we are meant to be. Complaining about what is not working around us only increases what does not work within us; and can only lead to disharmony and lack of joyous fulfilment.
I came across this poem that hit hard:
My Dying Conscience by Rashmi Trivedi
Sometimes in the dark of the night
I visit my conscience
To see if it is still breathing
For its dying a slow death
When I pay for a meal in a fancy place
An amount which is perhaps the monthly income
Of the guard who holds the door open
And quickly I shrug away that thought
It dies a little.
When I buy vegetables from the vendor
And his son "chhotu" smilingly weighs the potatoes
Chhotu, a small child, who should be studying at school
I look the other way
It dies a little.
When I am decked up in a designer dress
A dress that cost a bomb
And I see a woman at the crossing
In tatters, trying unsuccessfully to save her dignity
And I immediately roll up my window
It dies a little.
When I buy expensive gifts for my children
On return, I see half clad children
With empty stomach and hungry eyes
Selling toys at red light
I try to salve my conscience by buying some, yet
It dies a little.
When my sick maid sends her daughter to work
Making her bunk school
I know I should tell her to go back
But I look at the loaded sink and dirty dishes
And I tell myself that is just for a couple of days
It dies a little.
When I hear about a rape
or a murder of a child,
I feel sad, yet a little thankful that it's not my child
I can not look at myself in the mirror
It dies a little.
When people fight over caste, creed and religion
I feel hurt and helpless
I tell myself that my country is going to the dogs
I blame the corrupt politicians
Absolving myself of all responsibilities
It dies a little.
When my city is choked
Breathing is dangerous in the smog ridden metropolis
I take my car to work daily
Not taking the metro, not trying car pool
One car won't make a difference, I think
It dies a little.
So when in the dark of the night
I visit my conscience
And find it still breathing
I am surprised
For, with my own hands
Daily, bit by bit, I kill it, I bury it.
Ignoring the problems around us kills us slowly from the inside. Complaining about the problems reduce our power to fulfil our intentions and realise our dreams. And, yet there's another way, the way of a Peaceful Warrior.
Here's what you and I can do:
1. Shift our Energy State:
Based on Dr Hawkins’ research of 29 years as published in The Power of Intention by Dr Wayne Dyer -
a. One individual who lives and vibrates to the energy of optimism and a willingness to be non-judgmental of others will counter-balance the negativity of 90,000 individuals who calibrate at the lower weakening levels.
b. One individual who lives and vibrates to the energy of pure love and reverence for all of life will counter-balance the negativity of 750,000 individuals who calibrate at the lower weakening levels.
A negative energy state shuts down our creativity and innovativeness. In such a state, we cannot create powerful, effective solutions. Counter-intuitively, what helps in a limiting situation that upsets us is not to get upset and instead create tranquility, equanimity, love and reverence within.
Yes, I hear you when you say easier said than done. It is easier said than done because this requires a massive shift in our consciousness by dropping limiting habits across the 4 bodies (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) of our Being and adopting growth habits. I call this Leadership Depth. This is how you become a great leader, at work and at home.
Funny thing is we all know what are the limiting habits that we allow to reside in us and what are the growth habits that will speed us forward to the fulfilment of our purpose of life. Though, we are not inspired to take action. Let the knowledge, that when we shift on the inside, the world outside will shift, give us the inspiration. The world outside begins with our children. What limiting habits we are not able to drop, our children will inherit in terms of lethargy of the body, limiting thoughts and emotions and the consequent diseases. Why would we want to pass that on to our children?
The wealth that we are speeding to create for them will not stop the diseases, limiting thoughts and emotions from being transmitted to them. If we really love our children, let us leave a legacy of world class habits by inculcating them in ourselves that will transform the environment around us. Our kids will benefit not only by inheriting world class habits but also by a much more joyous environment around them.
Here are some growth habits we can consider adopting:
a. Stopping to give way to the pedestrians, accepting that the roads belong to them and not to the cars that are zooming past. I learnt this habit from Dubai, where to my happy surprise, a car stopped for me to cross the street though there was no traffic signal and it was the only car. The driver needn't have stopped for me but it did and warmed my heart as the driver smilingly waved at me to cross.
b. Smile genuinely at everyone, even at strangers. It was scary, at first, because of the instinctual fear at the core of who we are. Though, this habit fills my heart like nothing else to see the face of another human being transform dramatically and light up with a beautiful giving and receiving of authentic human connection. I especially love wishing, looking into the eyes and smiling at those who are habituated to being ignored - waiters at the restaurants, guards at our condominiums and malls, helpers at cinema halls and airports, housekeeping staff.
Having been a coach and a student of what creates greatness in a human being, my observation is that there is such a strong wall of resentment and fear between men and women in the world. Though, if you scratch the surface, all you will really find is fear of not being loved, not being worthy and a deep yearning to make a difference.
c. Give away 10% of your salary or 1% of your income to charity. Even in the lean years of my business, I followed this principle. It left me with such a peaceful sense of abundance that I hardly felt the scarcity or lack.
Yes, there are tons of more habits to make yourself beautiful and feel centred. Study the people who inspire you, people who contributed massively through their work and their lives and you will unearth a treasure trove of growth habits that will make your heart sing and feet dance all the way to what is the highest in you.
2. Find the Source Within
For every ill outside, I find it effective to find the source within by looking in the mirror and working on that.
Nobody follows traffic rules in the country. I ensure I wait at every red signal even if there is no traffic and it's pretty late in the night. I wear my seat belt. I don't use my mobile while driving. My children are watching me, even if nobody else is. I am watching myself even if kids are not in the car.
There is so much poverty all around. I support my 12 hours home support staff to find a job as I need someone for 24 hours. I use my day off to help her get a bank account even though she will not be working with me anymore.
There is so much pollution around. I get the children to walk back home instead of picking them up in the car.
3. Action on a Daily Basis
I was unconscious before. I worked on myself to become conscious of the fact that I am responsible for all that happens in my space. I continue the work on myself to take one tiny action at a time. It may not cause a revolution in the world but I know it makes a difference. It makes a difference to me. I come home to myself with every tiny action that I take. It feels good, I feel rested and embraced in the love and joy that is all around me.
Wishing you the joy of pulling the thick dark curtain down between you and your light.
Acknowledgements: Rashmi Trivedi, author from India and Chief Manager with Indian Oil Corporation. Thank you for beautifully capturing our collective conscience through your poem, Rashmi. More power to you to keep making a difference.
Hat Tip to: Akash Gandhi who shared the poem with us in our college whatsapp group. Thank you, Akash for providing inspiration for this article.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.