My 5th Attempt over 25 Years
It is my 5th attempt over 25 years at learning Hindustani Classical vocal. I went to my teacher in June because when I had gone to her 1.5 years ago, which was my 4th failed attempt, to re-start the journey, she had told me if you are serious about re-starting, then plan to re-start before you are 50 because with age, vocal chords become rigid. With one month break on my side and only 5 months before I hit half a century, I immediately dialled her and fixed our first class to get re-started. After our class, she said it is strange that your voice has become melodious with age while voice actually loses its melody as people grow older because vocal chords age. That is music to my ears. I am joyously grateful especially because 10 years ago, she had told me my voice had an unpleasant harshness and I will have to work very hard at learning to sing. Even 1.5 years ago, when I had gone to re-start and she did my voice test, her comment was that you really need to work hard on your notes.
What happened in the last 1.5 years that vocal chords opened up without any practise, the notes are in harmony and there is melody where there was tunelessness? I believe the heart became gentler and the soul embraced greater abiding, unwavering childlike trust and faith in the face of increasing emotional blows on the personal side. When you break, you discover the unbreakable gentleness inside. Though you have to allow what wants to happen to happen by embracing what is happening.
For a coach, it is absolutely critical to do their own inner work to continuously clean-up their Space within to be Nothing, to be an Empty Space because only in being Nothingness, in being an Empty Space can their Coachees experience their undeniable greatness. It's not so much the technique as much as it is the consciousness of the coach that holds space for the coachees' transformational journey of raising their own human consciousness enabling them to joyously lead themselves and their work from good to great, realize their greatest dreams in deepest communion with their highest self and have it all with ease and grace; while having lots of fun along the way.
What that means is that the coach has to regularly go on a trek to the dark scary places within to shine the light of awareness and embrace the unembraceable. In doing that, they create the space for their coachees to do the same. This is mirror neurons at work. That's the only way transformation really happens.
Each one of us has an Inner Light and it is our explicit purpose to dissolve the thick black curtains of unconsciousness for our Inner Light to light up the world to make a massive difference through our work. When we dissolve the thick black curtains of unconsciousness and ignorance through Transformative Practises (RYD Habits in our language), our Inner Light connects with the Universal Light, Universal Consciousness. That is what it means to be enlightened.
Light rises towards light and light comes down upon light. and it is light upon light.
- Najin al-din Kubra, Sufi Master
That is what it means to awaken and raise our human consciousness for it to find a connection with the Universal Consciousness. When we do that, we unleash our highest potential, become the greatest versions of ourselves, masters of our craft and lead our business to realize it's highest potential by living our purpose through our work to make a massive difference. We become a channel of impact, a light that removes the darkness in the world.
There aren't too many examples of business leaders living like this and yet they have built successful businesses. But our dream is much bigger. Our dream and our commitment is to build great businesses that make a massive difference, realize our greatest dreams in deepest communion with our highest self and have it all with ease and grace while having lots of fun along the way where Having it All means to have:
i. Deeply fulfilling, successful, profitable business supporting us to live our purpose of life; gifting us with impact, contribution and financial freedom
ii. Loving, harmonious, positive, uplifting relationships at work and at home
iii. Happy, healthy, responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed
iv. Nourishing, nurturing ourselves to the highest level of health, fitness and joyous well-being - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual
v. Making a massive difference through the work we do
Not one, at the cost of the other.
We choose the simple though the difficult path of mastery, the way of the Peaceful Warrior committed to climbing the summit of our Mount Everest inside ourselves and outside on the playground of business using the 3 growth levers because it supports us to have it all. Any High Performer can build a profitable business but it takes a Super Performer to build a great sustainable profitable business that lasts beyond his / her lifetime, while having it all with ease and grace. And, we want to transform ourselves to be that kind of a Super Performer, that kind of a Peaceful Warrior. It's a tough climb up and what it makes available makes the climb-up worthwhile.
I am describing here the 3 growth levers, even at the risk of repeating it the nth time as repeating it a million times is also not enough because I want this to erase any other meaning of leadership, business and being a key person of influence (thought leader) in the world:
i. Leadership Depth: The inner journey of personal transformation from our default Fear Consciousness to Love Consciousness, from our default Scarcity Consciousness to Abundance Consciousness, from our default Surviving Consciousness to Thriving Consciousness, from being a Fighter or a Victim or a Rescuer to a Peaceful Warrior, from darkness to Light, embracing and dissolving our default fears to become Whole and Complete by stepping into Pure Consciousness and Transcendent Love for greater impact in the world by living our Purpose of Life through our work.
ii. Craft Mastery: The journey of playing to be the World's best, a Master of our Craft, in service of our customers' said and unsaid needs by becoming a Thought Leader and being at the source of Transformation of our industry globally. Craft Mastery not for the sake of ambition, but as an outcome of being purpose-inspired to contribute and make a difference.
iii. Business Excellence: The outer journey of professional success by living our purpose through our work, leading our business from good to great, generating a healthy Triple Bottom Line (3P - Profit, People, Planet); creating a legacy by making a massive difference to our employees, customer communities, business partners, investors and all other stakeholders.
RYD Habits are transformative practises. They transform our consciousness just as Business Excellence (Rockefeller) habits transform the consciousness of our Business. Though only if they are practised daily and consistently for mastery instead of as a tick-mark activity. When the habits are tick-mark activities, then we get burnt out, resent the habits, drop off for a long time and end up becoming dabblers. Not much shift in the consciousness really happens. It's when we play the game of mastery through the habits, transformation happens within creating transformation on the outside. I did yoga, morning pages and 2 hours meditation daily irrespective of my personal world tumbling all around me, inspite of the fact that nothing seemed to transform on the outside. Something did transform. Though not so much my situation with my spouse and kids, transformation and grace showed up instead in my vocal chords.
For me, Karate, Yoga, Vipassana, Business, Golf, Music are my journeys of mastery. More I journey within, greater ease and grace shows up though not in the area where I am fighting and struggling for transformation but in every area where I am in acceptance of what there is and willing to practise consistently inspite of seemingly no progress, trusting the process of life. When I get upset with myself, the situation and the people in the situation because of seemingly no progress, everything tightens and I am left struggling and gasping for breath.
I went back to my Piano teacher as well for my 4th attempt over 13 years to learn western classical music. Interestingly, I practise hindustani classical vocal more diligently, attend those classes with greater commitment because my connect with my singing teacher is stronger and she is more invested in my growth as a singer. It is a strong reminder to me how important the teacher-student connect, personal investment and interest of the teacher in the student's progress, and purpose alignment between the teacher and student is for the student to progress with velocity. I want the RYD Coaches reading this to always remember that your success is a function of you bringing your heart and soul to nurture your coachees. Your intellect will only take you so far. So, it is for the leaders reading this article because your people will bring their heart and soul to work if you are a Nurturing, Loving, Realize Your Dreams (RYD) Coach to your people and without your people bringing their heart and soul to work, you have no access to leading your business from good to great.
I struggled in progressing in golf with the country's best golf coach because he wasn't invested in my growth and because golf was an identity goal for me. So, I brought all my struggle and Fighter instinct to the golf course. And the golf course fought back. Inspite of being a coach, I didn't realize that for a long time. Even a coach needs someone to hold a mirror to them. Days I meditate and do yoga before my golf game, there is ease and grace on the golf course because for some time after yoga and Vipassana, the Fighter in me has been lulled to sleep and has lost some bit of its power on me. I also changed my golf coach to someone who is more invested in me now and fearlessly holds the mirror to me. I see my golf game finally turning around.
For mastery, a coach is critical. I don't want to be a dabbler, so I have a coach for every journey I am on. Though I know how tough it is to have a coach and I understand what you all go through 💜
I had reached a certain level of competence in golf though with an ineffective technique. As my coach makes tiny shifts in my technique in our weekly sessions, I drop below my original competence level as I try to inculcate the tiny new shifts and then there is an exponential rise in my performance as the shift becomes a part of my muscle memory. As I become comfortable with a particular shift, I am gifted with a new shift in the next weekly session. Then, back to the discomfort of the new and the hard work of practising till I move from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence to unconscious competence. And, the process continues ad infinitum week on week on week. That's the path of mastery - most of the time is spent on the plateau doing daily practise interspersed with exponential spikes upwards, though far apart.
The Dabbler drops off because of boredom of being on the plateau, bored of the daily practise without the high of increase in performance; while the Master loves the plateau because they bring in love and purpose-inspiration to the rhythm of their Daily Practise. The Master knows that the journey of mastery is over a lifetime and the journey itself is the destination. Mastery is merely a by-product of the journey. Instead of the aggression of Discipline, the masters bring in the gentleness of Blissipline which is Discipline sourced in the bliss of purpose-inspiration and the love of the craft that they are mastering. A true master remains a student till their last breath, while the Dabbler wasn't even a student in the first place because Dabblers are looking for highs to feel good about themselves.
Reference: Mastery by George Leonard
The 3rd Learning Expedition
The 3rd Learning Expedition I began in June was to begin a 5 year journey to become a Yoga Acharya (Teacher of Yoga) and Yoga Vaidya (Healing through Yoga). Anju, COO of our Mums At Work Channel of Impact is already 3 years into this journey.
Why would someone whose work is about enabling creation of great businesses want to commit to a 5 years of rigourous study about Yoga? At the first glance, it seems odd. Yet, if you consider it for long enough, you will begin to find how that piece fits into the jigsaw puzzle. Our work is about maximizing human potential. I would study anything that gives me a deeper understanding to enable that. But, I won't dabble. I will study only for mastery because how you do anything is how you do everything. Yoga is coming and moving together of mind, body, breath and being. Yoga is about being fully present in the moment. Yoga is also about finding a quiet place within to engage with the world outside. Alignment of mind, body and breath is also yoga. Good health and joyous well-being - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually - is also yoga. Truly getting in touch with the experience in the moment is also yoga. Yoga is also being in touch with the pain in the moment and moving to another place of joy.
Yoga is a transformative practice and is an RYD Habit in Gear 2. I have been doing yoga since 1999 though falling off regularly and getting back. I was practising the standard factory-fitted model of asanas and pranayam that is commonly available. Only when I came across Saraswathi Vasudevan that I discovered a new tradition of yoga (Shri T Krishnamacharya), where the practise is custom tailored to your special physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. Most of you have met Saras, founder of YogaVahini, dedicated to specialised yoga training, therapy and research. She had come to one of our EXPAND Events as a Guest Mentor.
Yoga is about raising human consciousness which is what Leadership Depth journey is about. Therefore, it's another transformative practise that will get integrated even more deeply with the RYD structure of success over a period of time just as Psychodrama will, which is another Learning Expedition I am on. How it will get integrated will be the way it will benefit our coachees the most. They decide as it is with everything that RYD is about.
I begin my day with Morning Pages which empties my conscious and subconscious mind. I follow that up with my personal practise of Yoga tweaked week on week by Uttara, my Yoga mentor, which stills the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies; aligning them together by aligning my mind, body and breath. Now, I am ready for Vipassana which works all the way down to the level of the unconscious mind, purifying it of impurities (also known as fears of the mind).
Verne in India
As a scaling-up Coach, every year we have continual training. I didn't want to travel to the US for that because I probably couldn't till some time back as I had chosen not to get Covid vaccinated. I got Covid 3 times, healed through homeopathy and didn't need to take a day off from work even when I was sick with Covid. I wanted to deepen my skills without travelling to another country. My intention is also to accelerate the adoption of scaling-up methodology by my coachees for them to scale their business without drama and with greater velocity by implementing a globally tested framework. That means getting them and their Leadership Teams to get a deeper understanding of the framework. My intention is to also train the RYD Coaches on the Scaling-up methodology for their training, development and growth for them to make a much bigger difference to their coachees. My intention is also for the other Scaling-up Coaches in the country to get more scaling-up implementations so that more businesses get a tested framework to scale. My intention is also to increase the number of Scaling-up Coaches in India because that would accelerate the growth of the Indian entrepreneurial eco-system. 5 Intentions.
So, it is time to play the 1FOR5 distinction. What could be that 1 Action that would fulfil all my 5 Intentions above?
Host Verne in India through a Scaling-up Event. That would give an opportunity for my coachees, their leadership teams, my staff coaches and me to learn directly from the master himself. The other scaling-up coaches in the country would use the Scaling-up Event as an opportunity to market themselves to get more clients to sign-up with them as it happens in other countries. The marketing of the event would create more awareness about Scaling-up in the country getting more businesses and business coaches to become aware of the framework. One Action fulfils 5 Intentions.
The intention is set in Sep 2022 and I send out an email to Verne. No movement except that Verne checks out my Linkedin Profile. So, in December 2022, I reach out to 2 other Scaling-up Coaches in the Country to form a Cohort of India Scaling-up Coaches with the purpose of Scaling-up India. Another email and action begins to follow. And, the stage is now set for the Scaling-up Event on 12-Oct-23 in Mumbai. Verne will lead the Event in the first half. In the 2nd half, while the other Scaling-up Coaches will run a workshop for the participants to inspire them to start their Scaling-up journey, the RYD community along with their leadership teams will move to another room for an in-person RYD EXPAND Event to reflect on our learnings from Verne's session and build the next phase of the implementation plan to increase the speed of implementation for greater profitability and scale. The 2nd half of the event would be a special RYD EXPAND Event with the theme - Birthing of Indian Giants, because that's the intention for all Business Athletes who walk the RYD Way.
So, this time I hadn't really totally switched off from work except for the last week because of the weekly meeting with Scaling-up Coaches to co-create the 12-Oct-23 Event. It's been an interesting experience and a lot of learnings working with the world outside of RYD. In one meeting, 2 of the coaches were very upset with me. I heard them out fully and took responsibility for their experience. With that, we moved to the next agenda item of the meeting which was to choose a leader for the initiative amongst ourselves. Each one of us chose who we thought would be best to lead us on this initiative. Interestingly, the very 2 people who were most upset with me came out and chose me as their leader. That is how committed listening works.
Dream Lifestyle and One-Pager
My hole in the soul is - 'I am all alone. No one loves me.' This fear kept me in a dysfunctional, emotionally and physically abusive relationship for 19 years and after a separation of 1.5 years, pulled me right back only for us to separate again after 1.5 years because the limiting patterns came right back.
My previous Dream Lifestyle finished in June 2022 and I could not get myself to write my next Dream Lifestyle and my One-Pager for 2023. I didn't find the time is always the surface reason. Underneath is always resistance. The resistance was that I did not know what to create for my relationship with my spouse. Should I create an intention of Divorce because the scare of that had kept me a prisoner in a relationship that was no longer serving him or me, or should I create an intention for yet another recreation of the relationship? My soul said - Recreation, my mind said - Divorce and my heart only cried.
He fractured my hand in Oct 2019 in a fit of rage just days before our 19th wedding anniversary. That pushed me into the darkest dungeons of despair which took me 9 months to crawl out of, and another 12 months to forgive myself and forgive him. I faced everything that I was terrified of - loneliness because I finally gathered the courage to walk out. Kids chose to stay with him which broke my heart into a trillion pieces. That's how it became gentler and found its way to Love. Of course, I was silly to not have managed my finances. So, I had no penny in my bank account when I walked out and at 47, I found myself living off my parents' retirement funds because the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical trauma had shut-down my business. I also found myself sharing an apartment with 2 other flatmates. I would crawl out of bed because of 2 coachees I still had. They don't even know that they saved my life. If it wasn't for them, I would have had no reason to get out of bed. The Universe came together to help me crawl out of my hell-hole to joyous freedom. Total strangers came into my life as my mentors, guides and coaches who pulled me through. I was tempted to get back to my corporate job after 9 years of building my business breaking 10 Business Models along the way. I nearly gave away my professional freedom by signing up with a global HR firm who were willing to give me better financial terms that they gave to their best empaneled coaches. I chose to remain true to my purpose through thick and thin, and massive business breakthrough finally happened. Everything began to come together. It seems as if the business breakthrough happened in 2020 but it was only possible because of the work done in 12 years before the breakthrough. And, I can clearly see how my fractured hand was instrumental in creating the breakthrough in business. My business grew massively with ease and grace from pre-fracture to post-fracture when I rebuilt my business. I know why that happened. It happened because the fracture and the subsequent massive inner work I did to heal myself raised my consciousness to the level I had not experienced before.
After our 2nd separation, Aditya said he couldn't deal with our relationship anymore, let's just divorce. I said that is not part of my plan because I am holding space for recreation. He said let's get back to Couple's Therapy and let Tania, our Couple's Therapist, either help us get back together again or help us get a mutual divorce. In the first session of our 2nd time journey with her, Tania told me - 'Jyoti, you are like a kid who wants to play in the sand pit but the other kid doesn't want to play. You can't force him to play.' That hit hard. I had a session with my Nutrition Coach few days later. She said if you love people, you let them go. That hit me even harder. I sat listening to 'जाने वो कैसे लोग थे जिनके प्यार को प्यार मिला, हमने तो जब कलियाँ माँगी, काँटों का हार मिला with wet hot tears tumbling out and I let them tumble out in honour of the pain my heart felt. For the first time perhaps, I did not make my pain or my tears wrong. I just sent love to myself and felt whole even as tears coursed down my cheeks. In one session with Nisha, my yoga teacher (who assists Uttara, my yoga mentor) based out of Pune, I just showed up in our Zoom session with tears tumbling out and did my personal yoga practise on the mat as she watched in silence because she understood that my pain was so deep that her words could not reach that place. By the end of my practise, my eyes dried-up, heart felt lighter and centred, body felt grounded, mind felt still, soul felt connected for me to be ready to lead my coaching sessions the next day starting with 5:01 Daily Huddle.
I accessed deep grief lying hidden below many layers in my session with Scottie, my therapist who is a professor of Psychodrama in a University in New Jersey. I touched raw grief of seeing my vision of a happy family break as I finally accepted Divorce as a reality in my life after spending 23 years avoiding it. I was attached to my Vision of a happy family which made me sit through the trials and tribulations of our married life inspite of physical abuse, emotional pain of infidelity and anger at feeling trapped. I was carrying the burden of my mother who kept suffering emotional abuse in her married life and never looked at Divorce as an option. On 1-Jan-2020, when I walked out of the relationship nursing my fractured hand, it was my first step of freeing myself and ensuring I don't pass on the burden to my kids. When I accepted Divorce, it was another step towards freeing myself from that burden. We were on a verge of Divorce with the date set with our lawyers as 23-July-23 to mutually agree on terms for out-of-court settlement and Divorce.
When you accept what is and stop struggling to create, grace steps in. I realized the reason the first recreation failed is because though I had forgiven myself and I had forgiven him, I did not hold him to account for taking responsibility for breaking my hand and taking some affirmative action as an expression of his taking responsibility. When old limiting patterns emerged again, this time I asked him to leave the house with the request for him to take up personal therapy and go to Vipassana as a way to do his own inner work because for a relationship to work, it is not enough that one person only does the inner work. My learnings have been:
1. A person on a personal transformational journey needs a supportive environment. That is why I grew massively when we were separated and struggled to grow in a critical, judgmental, bullying space that I experienced with him when we were together.
2. Both partners need to grow and become whole for the relationship to be whole and complete.
3. It's never that one person in a relationship is a devil and the other is an angel. It's the battle of the darkness in him with the darkness in me. My small mind and his small mind dancing together in a vicious traumatic cycle. My hole in the soul and his hole in the soul. Darkness upon darkness. That's the truth of the story. Both are equally traumatised. If he wrote an article, the pain that would come through would tear through each one of our hearts.
4. Even if I took on being the bigger person in the relationship, I needed an emotionally safe space to dissolve my small mind and hole-in-the-soul. Separation and staying alone created that space for me.
5. Challenges are gifts if you choose to use them to raise your consciousness. When you walk the journey to raise your consciousness, that's when joyous ease and grace comes along to decorate your life.
He said he did not feel ready for personal therapy or Vipassana. So if that's my pre-condition for us to get back, let's just divorce. That is where we were when we went back to Tania, our couple's therapist.
Few sessions with Tania, Aditya has now started his personal therapy. It is helping him understand his emotions better. And, he has shared his intention to get back to Isha meditation and yoga. This creates the space for me to invite him back into my life and rebuild our family together.
That freed me to create my next 5-years Dream Lifestyle. It is bigger, more scary, more audacious. It has Aditya and me joyously contributing to the world by co-leading Bliss Relationship Coaching program for married couples and Happy Families coaching program for families to become loving, nurturing spaces for children to joyously unleash their limitless potential to become the greatest versions of themselves to make a massive difference in the world by living their Purpose through their work, leading themselves and their work from good to great, realize their dreams and have it all with ease and grace; while having lots of fun along the way.
If Aditya and I can heal ourselves to transform our relationship and heal our family, we would know everything viscerally that is there to know to realize the above dream.
My outcome goals for 2023 are clear to me now:
1. Deeply fulfilling, successful, profitable business supporting us to live our purpose of life; gifting us with impact, contribution and financial freedom - Make a massive difference to my RYD Coaches and through them, their coachees
ii. Loving, harmonious, positive, uplifting relationships at work and at home - Heal my relationship with my spouse and recreate our friendship.
iii. Happy, healthy, responsible kids with their genius joyfully expressed - Heal my kids in partnership with Aditya and give them a nurturing, loving, happy home; with all of us staying together feeling deeply grateful for our healing and coming together.
iv. Nourishing, nurturing ourselves to the highest level of health, fitness and joyous well-being - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual - Get my golf handicap to 20.
v. Making a massive difference through the work we do - Make a massive difference to my 8 Brave Hearts and 2 Guardians of Light
One way to become a whole soul is to master our fear. Fear is an absence of Love. There are 2 types of fears - one in the Body and one in the Mind. We want to honour Fear that shows up in our Body because Wisdom is in the Body. And, we want to master fear in the Mind by -
a. Doing what we fear (fears of the mind)
b. Doing what we have an aversion for
c. Doing what we resist
d. Doing what we hate
e. Doing what we don't want to do
f. Dropping what we crave for
g. Doing what we are embarrassed about
So, I am constantly in search of what I am resisting. It is usually because it scares me at a deeper level. Travelling alone intensifies the feeling of being all alone. Solo vacation is a perfect way to embrace that fear. So, I went to Coorg for 4 days on my own for my first solo vacation. And, I loved it. Took a break from my daily rhythm and just did what I love the most - reading and writing, and came back totally refreshed, rejuvenated and re-energised. Solo vacations are now going to be an annual event for me.
Finished reading Mastery by George Leonard, a fellow martial artist. Brilliant book. It's going to be a resource for the RYD Wisdom Projects in September this year where all of you would choose one of these two themes to explore - Mastery or Creativity. The 2nd book I am still in the process of reading is A Shift in Being: The Art and Practices of Deep Transformational Coaching by Leon Vanderpol. Beautiful book. It's a book I could have written but don't need to write any more because Leon already wrote it. It is going to be a resource guide for RYD Coaches.
Redefining one of our Core Values - Roots
Our original definition of Roots was - Elevating India's status in the world.
I just uncovered another definition in June that resonates so much more with me than our original definition:
Roots - Contributing to the world through the wisdom of our ancient heritage
Will take it to the RYD Staff for us to reflect on it together and check for resonance with each one of them.
The metric I track myself on and report during our Daily Huddle is number of hours I write daily. With this article, I have already completed this week's writing hours :-)
May my learnings serve you to travel your own journey of personal and professional transformation with greater courage and velocity 💜
Keep playing to joyously lead yourself and your business from good to great, realise your dreams and have it all with ease and grace, while having lots of fun along the way,