I had met Victoria recently who had hired me as a coach. Victoria is a highly motivated, energetic, determined and passionate woman in that she is driven by her purpose and vision in life. She is a senior executive with a multi-national firm and she has progressed very well in her career. She is one of the youngest managing directors within her firm and somebody whom people within the firm envied and looked up to. Victoria is a caring and compassionate individual but at the same time very goal oriented and at times in that drive may seem to appear as impersonal.
Victoria normally is prompt and punctual. However on this day, she arrived to my office 10 minutes late. She profusely apologized. I observed that she seemed agitated and particularly stressed about something. I accepted her apology, smiled and requested her to take a seat. I allowed her to calm down and I did this by being silent for several minutes. That helped her to calm her nerves and regain her composure. She had a glass of water and she started narrating how her day was, what caused her to be stressed out and the reason for her delay and agitation. She appeared back to normal calm and composed self after I listened to her story.
Her desired outcome from this session was to stay in the PEA during moments when her inner critique seemed to be taking control, especially when she had to present in front of the board or any other senior executive team.
Victoria was coaching with me on aspects of Executive Presence especially given her new role and larger responsibility associated with her recent promotion.
I focused the entire session on Coaching With Compassion. This enables a person to speak about their ideal life, their vision and be positive and powerful.
How does compassion help the work environment and boost the confidence and engagement of employees?
1. Enables people to see their strengths, and get them into a positive emotional state. This allows them to think and be creative.
2. Your Positive Emotional Attractor (PEA) is aroused and that facilitates you to think about possibilities and dreams with optimism and hope.
3. You think about the resonant relationships that support and believe in you.
4. You are confident and you believe in yourself.
5. The more you are in your PEA state, the more you are motivated and driven by your purpose.
Victoria had forgotten about her tough day and some agonizing moments that had led her to an agitated state when she had entered my office. It was almost like a ray of sunlight had entered the room.
The best part was when we had about 5 minutes left to the end of the session, she said my questions had evoked some insights for her on how she could deal with being in the PEA in moments where she feels her inner gremlin takes over. She mentioned that she is going to put some thoughts into the aha moments that these questions had given her and share with me on email and in our next coaching session as to how she had put to use some of these learnings to overcome her executive presence.
I could tell she enjoyed her coaching session and despite being a vivacious person the coaching with compassion had taken to her a different level of achievement in her own mind and how she saw her life.
Within organizations, as a leader if you can set clear goals, and treat everyone as a partner for progress you facilitate growth, fulfillment and development. Good communication, a key to purpose and problem solving should never be underestimated. When you give people in your team or organizations role in defining their values and tying it with the vision of the company, you encourage interaction and cooperation.
Let us not forget that success is built-in valuing the Human potential and providing an environment that allows the positivity to grow and nourish.
Ask questions which raise their awareness of the wider context of their action.
To arouse the PEA, studies are suggesting that we need to: (1) be social; and (2) engage the person in positive, hopeful contemplation of a desired future.
The latter might also be stimulated when discussing core values and the purpose of the organization or project.
Extracted from NEUROSCIENCE AND LEADERSHIP: THE PROMISE OF INSIGHTS by Richard Boyatzis
The power of positive imaging and visioning is that it catches your dreams and engages your passion. You cannot inspire this passion in others without engaging in it yourself.
For Coaching, Speaking or Training please connect with Lalita Raman.
I was at a lobby of a hotel last week waiting for a business meeting and I happened to hear a rather interesting conversation between a young lady and the guest relations manager of the hotel. As the lady was getting up to see something that the guest relations manager was showing, she collected her belongings at which point the manager mentioned to her, “Ma’am don’t worry about your belongings. They are safe.” The lady smiled, thanked him and said “I understand sir, but I rather be responsible for my belongings and what happens to it instead of entrusting them to someone else.”
Responsibility, I thought, was well-defined by this lady.
→Is taking care of your thoughts, actions and duties and
→Is answering for your words and actions.
No matter whether you are at work, walking on the road, at the gym, on holiday or interacting on social media.
Responsibility is a word that equals Respons(e) + (A)bility. Each of us have the ability to make a choice. “A choice” for the response we give to each situation or events that take place in the journey called life.
Choose to take the actions that create the results that you will desire if they were applied on you.
How can we be responsible?
1. Not to shine your own light by dimming someone else’s. This applies to every aspect of your life.
2. For every stimulus, you respond to, you have the power to choose how you want to live your life and behave in every moment in the space that you occupy.
3. You are the only person who is responsible for your thoughts and decisions. Integrity, compassion, empathy, attitude control are important elements of responsibility and it doesn’t matter what role you play in your life. Attitude control is part of your responsibility.
4. When you hire people hold them accountable for their actions or inactions.
5. Do not assume and do not make generalizations and resort to stereotyping.
Life goes on…. And you must take personal responsibility because that is within your control.
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of- Jim Rohn.
Rapport is one of the first steps in building trust in a relationship. Talking in terms of other person’s interests, being a good listener and encouraging others to talk about themselves enables us to make that connection to others and build a rapport.
We have our ideal self, the self we want out of life – the motivational core that focuses our hopes, aspirations, dreams, purpose, and calling.
It is our source of positive affect that helps the drive for intentional change. This is the self we want to be.
How many of us are close to our ideal self?
We have our actual self or real self and there is our ought self.
Our ought self is our understanding of what others want us to be and do. Actual self is who we are and what we do. The actual self over time, right from childhood, changes.
What happens when our actual self doesn’t match the ideal self? That is when the process of reflection and retrospection begins.
New Year is a formal step to grow, develop and continue the path of learning and an improvement on our-self versus where we were.Yes, this should be a continuous process but I think New Year is a good time to take stock. A time to ask ourselves how close are we to our ideal self. No, this is not about New Year Resolutions.
So how do we get there? 5 key questions to ask
1. What are you grateful for in life?
Be compassionate to yourself. You don’t need to be perfect. Be grateful for what you have achieved and where you are. Cut yourself some slack and strive towards excellence.
2. What do you need to change ?
Is the change that you feel you need or because others around you want you to change ? How enthused are you to make this change ? How much do you believe in this change ? What is the worst that can happen if you don’t change?
The path of Intentional change is not a linear one. It is about making small improvements and something that is sustainable.
3. Whose support and encouragement do you need?
Whom can you rely on to help you on this path of development and growth? How can you surround yourself with positive people and those who believe in you ?
4. How can you change your thoughts and emotions to be more aware?
Your thoughts dominate your emotions and words. How can you control your thoughts and encourage yourself to be positive on a day-to-day basis?
How can you face fear? What is the worst that can happen? Once you have determined that, ask yourself is there a way to improve from there and how can you get there?
Emotional Intelligence is one of the toughest in times of challenge and adversities. What is the thought or word that will inspire you ?
5. What are you passionate about ? What are you driven to do and how do you get there?
In answering this, it is important to let go. Let go of people who have hurt you, things that quite didn’t work the way you wanted. Forget the excess baggage and de-clutter your mind. Your mind is not a dumping ground. Take a break and lead from your heart.
Our brains are geared for rewards along the way. Reflect, renew and reward yourself. The journey of getting to your ideal self should not be an ordeal but a path of learning, and growing. It should not be filled with regrets and not feel like a burden on your shoulder.
Another year has almost gone by. I normally feel sad when a year goes by. While that feeling has not changed completely, I decided to put some of my reflections in writing.
What has the year been like? A mix, and most of all I’m grateful:
1. I was able to overcome some challenges. The journey is still on but my confidence level has gone up.
2. Despite taking on a new journey in terms of my career, I was able to travel and see some new places and revisit some old places.
3. I didn’t get overwhelmed on many things that I chose to do out of my comfort zone. I didn’t allow my inner gremlin to take the better of me.
4.My parents health had many moments of scare but I’m thankful for their never-ending optimism.
5.For my health, my family and overall the resilience, growth, and learning I had.
What do I expect in the year 2014? No, these are not resolutions?
1. To continue to grow, learn and share
2. To continue on my journey to follow my purpose in life with which I associate myself at this point in time.
3.To continue to touch people’ life positively and lead from within.
4. To explore new challenges and complete those which are work in progress.
5. To live in the moment and have continued resilience to deal with life’s surprises.
What are you thankful for in the current year?
What are you proud of?
What memories would you like to carry forward?
What would you want the year 2014 to be?
What can you offer to the coming year?
Thank you for being on this journey with me.
I wish you all the best for the year ahead. May your journey be filled with joy, continued strength and success.
The sun shines brightly, the sky is blue, the wind blows gently on your face and November – March is the best time to have several dates with nature. I enjoy hiking and being up, close and personal with nature.
I went on a hike on Sunday and it was up one of the shortest but steepest peaks in Hong Kong. The path was gravelly with the downhill more challenging than the uphill.
With each of these hikes along a gravelly downhill path, I can’t help but think about life and the challenging moments she throws at us.
I tread the path downhill with care, caution yet overcoming the fear that I will go tumbling down. That is where focus, mindfulness and believing in myself helps a lot. How similar is this to life in the down and out moments?
I have also observed that people whom I meet in these hikes are friendly, smiling, willing to help and appear more relaxed and filled with eagerness to reach the top of the hill and explore their own fitness or new routes or adventures. You’ll most likely have an exactly opposite experience in the hum drum of the city if you were to bump into the same person on a week day near the office.
How can we bring this human touch to a manic day ?
How do we live life and enjoy the moments that she blesses us with ?
What has each reconnection with nature taught me ?
- Saying “please”, “thank you”, “sorry” honestly, sincerely and spontaneously. Smile because you don’t need a reason.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation to people whom you work with and to your near and dear ones.
- Replying to emails or returning phone calls because you care and you can show you care.
- Walking away when a negative emotion arises and not falling prey to that vulnerable moment.
- Forgive even when someone has hurt you not for them but for you to heal.
- Challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone, grow and develop but learn to be compassionate with yourself.
- When you are alone watch your thoughts and when you are with others watch your words.
- Being committed to your word to others because you care for your character.
- Recognizing your ideal self and invoking essence of hope and compassion.
- Doing a random act of kindness to another human being or creature.
- Reading a good book as a regular habit.
- Spending time with Nature in the form of hikes, treks, swimming, rafting, sky diving and various other outdoor activities.
- Spending quality time with family and friends and doing it often.
- Lighting aromatic candles in your home and decorating your home with bright colors.
- Listening to understand and not to respond.
Each downturn or challenging moment in work or life although similar to the gravelly narrow path downhill seems to be more stressful. Whilst what life throws at us is not entirely within our control the attitude we take is entirely within our control.
I remind myself of some of the 15 points that I have mentioned, in my down and vulnerable moments.
→Resonant leaders are those who are emotionally self-aware, socially intelligent and have the cognitive intelligence.
→What do you do to not fall a victim to your moment of stress ?
→How are you becoming resonant leaders?
Last week on Wednesday, I was attending a meeting and one of the conversations was about organizing events where we could bring out the best in Women and show diversity of women by getting those who practice it to share their experiences. Along with this, some of us were of the view that we should combine this talk with some fun, food and frolic. While this conversation was going on, I suggested that maybe we should consider a theme party and before I could finish my statement, I heard a woman who was dominating the meeting till then, cut me off by laughing and saying “oh God, no, I hate fancy dress parties”.
For a second or two I was upset but decided to smile. I smiled, because at that moment I had a flash of this particular extract from Pema Chodron’s quotes that I had read the day before.
“It’s not life that causes suffering, says Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön, it’s our story about life—our interpretation—that causes so much distress. When we practice interrupting the story we’re telling ourselves, and learn to ride the wave of emotions that inevitably come up in life, we can find a new freedom and flexibility in the face of uncertainty and change.”
I shy away from networking meetings, especially those over drinks or lunch without a talk or event. One of the main reasons I’m uncomfortable with these type of networking events is that I find most people not wanting to have a proper conversation. Most, whom I encounter at such events are those who give you a fleeting glance whilst making an effort to talk to you. They are either too busy with their smart phones or scouting the room whilst pretending to talk to you or anyone else they meet in the room.
Last Thursday, I made a conscious effort to go to one of the Alumni networking events and whilst I was almost on my way out, I met a person with whom I had a long and meaningful conversation. This person appealed to me because he did not flash his ego or titles or business cards or his position in his company. We spoke about values, state of the world, differences and similarities in culture and how important it is to get fulfillment on a daily basis and how we can explore this path on a daily basis. When I suddenly looked at the watch, I realized that it was well past the time I had planned to leave. We started and ended on a high note.
I smiled and at that moment realized how important it is to be present. I remembered a quote From Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chödrön, page 116, that made perfect sense to me, because I had experienced this whilst I was conversing with this person. “If we really want to communicate, we have to give up knowing what to do. When we come in with our agendas, they only block us from seeing the person in front of us. It’s best to drop our five-year plans and accept the awkward sinking feeling that we are entering a situation naked. We don’t know what will happen or what we’ll do.”
How many times do we enter a room and feel uncomfortable ?
What is the reason for this discomfort?
Yes, there are many times when many of us come into a conversation with pre conceived notions or agendas.
Some of these situations, where I am aware, yet find it difficult to go with a completely open mind is
- business development meetings
- networking drink or lunch meetings with no event attached
- a meeting where negotiation is part of the agenda
- meeting someone for the first time as a potential client
- meeting people ahead or after a workshop, training or presentation.
Over the years, I have become less conscious in some of the above situations because I have consciously told myself and re-engineered my brain to go with an open mind. I have also realized that the more I go with a preset notion or the more apprehensive I have been, the less effective the conversation has been.
Communication happens best when there are no agendas and you allow the space to be filled with the flow. The flow can be silence, laughter, conversation, emotions, body language, facial expressions and everything that allows you to be who you are. A space that allows your soul to shine and where you are not interrupted, judged, criticized or expected to act in a particular way.
Whilst not every conversation in our day-to-day life may quite meet the above, why don’t we create that flow in every opportunity that we communicate in?
How do leaders communicate in the know?
by being flexible and adaptable
by facilitating empowering and engaging conversations
by listening to understand and not to respond
listening without bias or prejudice
listen to connect emotionally and intellectually and with empathy
give undivided attention to the person with whom you are having a conversation with.
a conversation is never one way though many behave in that fashion as was the lady in the meeting I attended on Wednesday. If you are a good communicator, you will initiate the conversation by taking genuine interest in others and what they have to say.
you reinforce and clarify. You are concise and you encourage others to talk not only by the words you use but also by your body language and facial expressions.
When have you experienced communication at its best?
How are you creating the space for being a great communicator?
“That we close down is not a problem. In fact, to become aware of when we so is an important part of the training. The first step in cultivating loving-kindness is to see when we are erecting barriers between ourselves and others. Unless we understand-in a non-judgmental way-that we are hardening our hearts, there is no possibility of dissolving that armor. Without dissolving the armor, the loving-kindness of bodhisattva is always held back. We are always obstructing our innate capacity to love without an agenda.” ~Pema Chodron
How are you ready to play?
What has inspired you in those you consider good communicators and leaders?
- Doesn’t life present us with many situations similar to this ?
- What makes the difference in that moment of choice and decision?
- What can we do as leaders in daily life and in our organizations ?
- Do we buy into our negative thoughts, feelings and emotions? OR
- Do we run away from them and avoid them like a barge pole ? OR
- Do we recognize those emotions and make a conscious decision to overcome them?
What can you do as a leader?
- Structure - an essential discipline in every leader. You need to believe in yourself. Remember, your team draws on your confidence, ability and strength to lead the organization to its vision. Structure gives you the boundaries within which you know you have to operate but not necessarily restrict to.
- Independent – you need to think independently as to what will work for you, your team and your organization in that moment of choice. Of course you can’t be in the know about everything. Drawing the synergy of the necessary resources is something that should come naturally to you as a leader. Reflect and introspect so that you have your moments of insight to enable you to make sound decisions and judgments.
- Collaboration – as a leader you are not expected to know everything. Brainstorming ideas and collaborating with your team, will engage and enable them to use their strengths and talents to work towards the vision.
- Creativity – you test your limits in challenging situations. As a leader you need to go out of your comfort zone to grow, develop, welcome changes and face bumps on the road.
- Emotional self-awareness and emotional self-control – you need to be mentally strong to manage your thoughts, feelings, emotions and words. Being achievement oriented, having a positive outlook and a strong EI will enable you to reach your vision. As a leader, seek to look at the big picture but at the same time do not forget the short-term steps required to achieve your long-term vision. Have the mental agility and toughness to face uncertainties and learn from your mistakes,