Be yourself!

Are you losing yourself trying to please others?

Stay true to who you are.

““You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” – Dita Von Teese

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Leading through the pandemic

As a leader, here are a few basic things you can do in this time of crisis.

1) Send an email or a message reassuring employees that you are there for them. Please do this immediately if you haven’t sent one already. Do not underestimate the power of this.

2) If you are not planning to do job or pay cuts, convey that explicitly. It will be very reassuring.

3) Allow employees to work from home. Do not compel them to come to office, unless the nature of their work demands it.

4) Reduce the number and duration of calls/meetings to what is absolutely essential.

5) Do not penalize employees for Covid leaves taken for themselves or for their family members.

6) If possible, offer financial assistance in the form of salary advance.

Please feel free to add to this list in the comments.

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Helping handle grief

This is a very difficult time for many of us. One of the companies I consult with has a majority of their employees in Delhi and is taking a hard hit. As I was going through past research, I came across this HBR article “Helping your team heal” by grief expert David Kessler. Here is a short summary that may be helpful to many:

Every individual may need help with his or her grief. The support needed is different and depends on which of the following groups they belong to.

1) The worried well are healthy but concerned. About loss of normalcy. About all the news coming in. About what the future holds. Work may help distract them from their worries.

2) The affected have either been sick themselves or experienced trauma first hand. Accommodation and validation will help them. Some may need counseling.

3) The bereaved have lost a loved one. They need time and space to be able to eventually move towards acceptance.

Please keep the above in mind as you help yourself and your employees deal with this painful time.

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What’s your viewpoint in any situation?

1. Looking at your own needs

2. Empathizing with the needs of others

3. Detached and looking at it from a larger/wider context

Which of these viewpoints do you find yourself the most in?

Wake up!

Once upon a time, a chicken farmer found an eagle’s egg. He placed it with his chickens. The egg hatched. The young eagle grew up with the chickens and did what the chickens did. The chickens could fly for a short distance. So the eagle learnt to fly a short distance too. He thought that was all he could do. So that was all he was able to do.

One day the eagle saw a bird flying in the sky gliding majestically with its wings. “Who is that?” he asked. The chickens replied “That’s the eagle, the king of the birds. Eagles belong to the sky. Chickens belong to the earth”.

The eagle believed he was a chicken and continued to live like one.

Did you grow up with chickens? Are you surrounded by chickens? Are you truly a chicken? Do you have a limited understanding of your potential?

Wake up! Be what you are meant to be. Don’t live like a chicken if you are an eagle.


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Mind as a tool

A couple of years back, we had to fix some issues with the electric wiring in our apartment building. One of the electricians who came had only a tester cum screwdriver with him. He said it is the only tool he needed. He could screw, unscrew, cut, tap and hit with just that one tool.

I met him a few weeks back. This time he was carrying a bag with many tools. When I asked, he said he had changed his opinion. He realized how using different tools helped him be more productive and do a better job. It also helped him get more sophisticated work that brought him more income.

We often end up using either one thing or a small set of things in our own life. For example, we use/overuse a small set of strengths at work without checking what the situation demands. We try to solve radically new challenges using existing skills.

At the being level, the tool many of us end up using a lot is our mind. So much that we identify ourselves with it.

Remember. The mind is just one of the instruments we have. Not the only instrument.

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It’s a Freeday!

It’s Sunday again. A day on which we are usually freer than we are on other days.

This Sunday, let us free ourselves from the addiction to thinking.

When we identify ourselves too much with our thinking, we are either in the past or in the future. We are reliving our past moments. Or trying to find ways to fulfill ourselves in the future (Ex. When this happens, I will be happy). The present moment hardly exists for us in such a case. We do not experience things as they are unfolding.

Thinking is a part of our life. Let us not make it our life.

Happy Sunday!

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Help and love

“I love my team at work and my family back home. I do so much for them. But I don’t get back much from them. People are thankless. So I decided I won’t do anything for them henceforth” said a coachee recently.

The love that he described is egoic love.

You help me, I help you.

I help you, you thank me.

You make me happy, I make you happy.

And when that doesn’t happen, I will cut off.

This also manifests in different other forms like something is wrong with the world. Or something is missing in my life. Or (s)he is conspiring against me. There is egoic insufficiency.

True love goes beyond all this. It is much deeper. It happens when the attachment to others goes. You do stuff because you love doing it. You help because you love doing so. Not because you expect anything in return.

It’s magical. Try it out, if you haven’t.

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Bicycle or car?

There is this coachee who recently gave up going to work in expensive cars. He said he had attended a training on how attachment and ego causes suffering. He said his attachment was to his expensive cars. He identified with this egoic image of his as a person who traveled in them. He said this was a cause of bloated ego and suffering.

He started riding to his office in a bicycle. A great choice for his health and for the environment. He thought this will rid him of worries and suffering. But soon he developed another image of his. Of someone who is superior to those driving around in expensive cars. He gave up one attachment for the other.

When I try to detach myself from one external thing or form using another, my mind starts identifying more with the other form. When I try to get rid of one attachment, another one may slip in without my knowing.

The trick is to not derive my sense of identity from any of the forms. And connect to something deep within me that is formless.

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Do you have FOMO? Fear of missing out?

Fear that you are missing out on something? Something that others are experiencing now? Fear of lost opportunities?

For example, you see an ad. Say for a course on coding. You fear your kid is missing out on something important. You fear other kids will be at an advantage. The ad plays into your fear to get you to enroll.

You are at work. You have this urge to check social media. You see photos of some of your friends. You fear that you are missing out on all the fun they are having.

You see posts of fellow artists or peers or competitors on social media. You fear you are missing out on the opportunities they are getting.

FOMO is a big cause of stress and anxiety. Do not fall for it.

Convert FOMO to JOMO – Joy of missing out. Enjoy what you have in the moment. See what you can do in the moment to be happy. Do what you like. Work towards your life purpose.

“What’s meant for you will reach you even if it’s beneath two mountains, and what’s not meant for you won’t reach you even if it’s between your two lips” – Etaf Rum

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What does a coach do?

“What does a coach do?” asked a friend yesterday.

I was reminded of this parable that Eckhart Tolle once narrated:

A beggar had been sitting in a place for many decades. One day he saw a stranger and asked him for some money. The stranger said he had nothing to give but asked him what he was sitting on. The beggar replied that it was just an old box that he had been using as his seat for as long as he could remember. The stranger asked him if he had ever looked inside the box. The beggar said nothing would be there. When the stranger asked him to look into the box again, he took the effort to open the lid and found that it was filled with gold.

A coach is like this stranger. (S)he may have nothing to give. But (s)he is helping the coachee to look within. (S)he is helping the coachee discover hidden treasures. Discover true potential.

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“The pandemic has intensified again. My friend goes to office on alternate days. I doubt if he does any work. I go to office every day and slog it out” said a coachee in a coaching session a few weeks back. He also added that he was getting severe headaches in the past few months.

This coachee is a very strong advocate of working from office. He believes that people who work from home are “vetti” (Tamil word for “idle” or “jobless”).

One thing usually happens in coaching sessions. The beliefs/ preconceived notions we have get exposed. Once exposed, they are found to be either true or false. In either case, doubts that arise from the belief get dissolved. This is at the mind level.

At the body level, beliefs cause certain feelings or patterns of behavior. What happens to them when the beliefs get exposed? They dissolve in due course of time, since they no longer get their nourishment from the beliefs.

In the coaching sessions, the coachee and I worked on this and a few other beliefs of his. The headaches were gone in a few days.

What are the beliefs that are holding you back? Giving you headaches or other physical/mental/emotional trouble?

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