Leadership And Compassion

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.

How Close Are You To Your “Ideal Self”

Photo Credits : Lalita Raman

Photo Credits : Lalita Raman

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.

Live more in discovery and less in judgment about yourself and the world around you.

For Coaching, Facilitating and Speaking Connect. About Lalita Raman

The Strength Based Resonant Team Leader

Two weeks back, I conducted a workshop on Tips and Tricks To Engage Employees. The focus of this workshop was employee engagement using a neuroscience perspective.

While discussing the neuroscience aspects, one of the points I highlighted was the importance of leaders and managers recognizing the strengths of the people who work with them in their teams or organizations. Strength is the key binding factor in providing certainty, feeling that we have the power of choice in what we do and also being recognized for our talents because we operate from our area of strength. It provides the endorphin to help our brain move towards an engaged and reward state.

One of the participants had a view that in some industries only command and control works and there is no time, especially given the deadlines, for recognizing strengths or working on creating an environment of Certainty, Recognition, Choices or Connection. An interesting discussion ensued in the workshop once this comment was made.

One of my coaching clients during one of her earlier sessions was sharing her challenges at her work place. She has been with her organization for eight years and she was describing how the head of the business was a very tough person, difficult to approach and someone who was curt. She finds her relationship with him much better currently, though there are times she still feels overwhelmed when she is in a meeting with him. Although he is not her boss, she has to have regular meetings with him since she is the CFO. She also narrated another story to me about how she had to contact some experienced people in the field of psychology for one of her assignments on a diploma course she was doing. She shared with me her experience of how she went about doing this.  Listening to her, I shared with her some of her strengths that I had observed.  She was amazed at seeing herself from this perspective that I had mentioned to her.  She had never seen herself nor had anyone mentioned to her that she was persistent, determined and was always ready to face a challenge.  Here was a lady who has faced life with open arms no matter the challenge but was not confident and was not aware about her strength. She is much more confident today with herself having learnt to recognize her strengths and work around her strengths.

  • How many of us have been in organizations where the manager or boss harp on our weakness?
  • How many of you focus on developing your weakness instead of growing and working on your strengths? 
  • How many job interviews seek to understand what motivates you and determine whether that matches the requirement of a job and vision of the company?

Each of us exhibit a number of characteristics including empathy, communication with clarity, a sense of humor, negotiation skills, analyzer, ability to delegate.

  • How many of you have been hired to a job that matched your talents?
  • How many organizations can pride themselves in getting the right talent

Refer my post on Marcus Buckingham Alert: Hiring For Talent 

Each of us has our unique strengths, that, if seeded and nurtured well, has an amazing power to develop and grow. If you promote an environment where each of your team members are empowered and encouraged to grow by using their strengths and talents, you will see your team and the organization grow towards its vision.

Yes, command and control may work well in some situations, but have you given thought to what would be the result if in this kind of environment, the leaders and managers took time to recognize the strengths of their team members and utilized them in achieving the overall vision of the company.

How do you recognize strengths of those who works with you and build on that?

  1. Identify your natural talents (recurring patterns of thought, behavior or feeling)
  2. Refine your talents with knowledge and skill
  3. Apply it in your work and daily life.

What are the most common strengths ? The following is an extract from the book Now, Discover your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham

He has identified 34 strengths which are Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief (living out your values), Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness (bridge builder), Consistency, Context (understanding the blueprints), Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Empathy, Focus, Futuristic, Harmony, Ideation, Includer, Individualization (appreciate the uniqueness n each and don’t like generalizations), Input (inquisitive), Intellection (like to think and introspect), learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator (seek genuine relationships), Responsibility, Restorative, Self-assurance, Significance (want to be significant in the eyes of other people), Strategic, and Woo (Winning Over Others).

Leaders in their organizations can start to build a culture which recognizes and promotes strengths and have the recruitment process match the strengths of the individuals to what is required in a job. The job search should start off with describing the dominant talents that is required of a role be it a programmer or an accountant or marketer or a business head. Once these dominant talents in the role is identified, the advertisement or the interview process should challenge the potential candidates to claim these talents. As an ongoing process it is important for leaders to identify what are each individual’s strongest themes or strengths that they display?  How do these relate to the job that needs to be performed and are they getting enough knowledge and skill for further development? How does this relate to how they are managed?

Other questions you can ask:

What is the vision of your company? Why do you what you do?

What are the career aspirations of your team ?

What are their hobbies outside of work ? 

When you make it a priority to sow the seeds for collaborative and collective success, you create and nurture an environment for each of the individuals to thrive and flourish.

How are you helping people become resonant leaders?

The Power Of Reframing

Lalita Raman

Have you been in meetings where you interpret something that has been said by your boss very differently from what one of your colleagues may have interpreted?
Have you had moments or days when you feel everything is going wrong, until you see someone else having a worse time which pales yours in comparison?
Have you observed situations where two people could have faced the same situation, yet one considers it as a challenge to be overcome whereas the other person dwells on it, complains about it and their body language and facial expression conveys that they are having one a nerve wrecking experience?
How many times have you for any small mistakes made, stated that “I have messed up” instead of “I made a mistake”?
When I coach leaders, executives and professionals, I hear negative statements about who they are or what they are not good at or what they cannot do. The cues is not only verbal but also in their body language and facial expressions.
When I listen to what is being said, the way it is being said and sense the cues, I ask of my clients to reframe the thought, the feeling, the fear in a positive way.

Reframing is the art of changing your thoughts, your inner talk and finding alternate ways to express an idea, a situation, a challenges or your inner fear.
Each of us have our challenges, our inner gremlin sitting on our shoulder and pulling us down and possibly teasing us. The idea of reframing a negative thought is not to shut out the fear but to change the mindset and approach the challenge with positive emotions. Reframing helps to approach a situation with a “positive” and “can do” approach rather than I’m no good at it.

“When we are positive, we become more motivated, engaged, creative, energetic, resilient and productive.” Positivity breeds positivity and vice versa. Reframing not only helps us with our emotions but also in the way our thoughts and words land on others. Reframing is useful in every part of the organization, be it you are a CEO, sales person, Human Resources, CFO, or any other representative of the firm.

Take a case where you are trying to determine with which securities firm you need to open an account with. In your first meeting with the person servicing you, all you get to hear is what their firm is good at, the range of products they have, the markets that they have a presence in, their market share. You sit there wondering how is any of this useful to you!? You have not been asked as to what you are looking for, what is your risk comfort level, what are you familiar with, what is your risk versus return profile. You decide that it was a waste of time and decide not to deal with the broker.
Now may be all that was presented to you had all of that information. However the way it was framed seemed to land on you as if they were pushing their own agenda. Reframing the same information that they had presented to you in a way that created a lens through which you felt you are the client and your needs are being understood would have made you want to deal with them.
Leaders can take a mundane idea and get people to buy in into their idea by reframing.
Before I start off with tips on reframing, I would like to share my story when I started my coaching journey. One of my strengths is Direct Communication. I’m known among my friends to be candid and someone who doesn’t mince her words. When I started my coaching journey, I realized that this strength of mine may not come across to the recipient as gentle and caring and my style could possibly be misconstrued. My intention in being direct is not to hurt someone and I realized that without compromising my value of being candid, I could convey the message by reframing.

How to reframe?

1. Make yourself aware of your thoughts – before you react to a situation, step back and figure out your inner thoughts or the feelings that created the thoughts. If those thoughts are arousing negative emotions, ask yourself what if I reframe it. What happens when you reframe your thoughts ? Learn to observe your thinking patterns and reflect.

2. Challenge – every time you feel like reacting to a situation, ask what is in that situation that aggravates you or puts you into a negative mode? How can you get over that? Is there a truth to the way you feel and how you feel?

3. Clarify – if you are in a meeting and you think you may have interpreted something differently from others, clarify before running away with your assumptions and jumping to a conclusion.

4. Mindfulness – being mindful in the moment of choice is many times easier said than done. However, as with anything new where our discomfort is high, first make yourself aware and then practice the art of being mindful consciously.

How has reframing helped you in your life so far?

What have you learnt from reframing?

Nothing can stop the person with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal. Nothing on earth can help the person with the wrong attitude.” Thomas Jefferson

For Coaching, Facilitating and Speaking Connect. About Lalita Raman

The Pitfalls Of Willful Blindness

I’m not a fan of watching soap operas. One day when I was changing channels to watch a program on CNBC, my attention was caught by a snap-shot of a scene in Star Plus, where a girl was asking questions to her grandma. I started watching this Indian soap opera called Veera. What got me interested in this soap opera was the girl’s never-ending quest to learn, to challenge, to explore, to question and not to take things for granted.

If you observe a child, you will notice that a child never stops to ask questions. Most questions asked by a child arise from curiosity and to determine the Why? However, as we grow older, we stop asking relevant questions. We take things for granted and are happy to accept the beliefs, the processes, the archaic methods.

When people ask me what is Coaching, I explain that a Coach facilitates listening in an adult environment by asking relevant and contextual questions. As your coach, I create an environment of evoking you to explore your maximum potential be it in tactical – sales, communication or leadership or transformational coaching.

How many times have you faced situations in your organization or in a community voluntary service, where you observe situations of conformity just to be seen in the group, despite situations which defy logic? A person who asks questions, despite being logical and rational is often seen as rocking the boat.

Take the case of Community Service. Community service is important because it gives people a sense of belonging and being helpful to others. However, many times in an NGO or in voluntary service organizations, you will observe that people have failed to ask:

  • Why have we come together?
  • What is the common purpose?
  • How can the community or those who claim to lead it engage others in what they are passionate about?
  • What are your different perspectives and interests?
  • How well do you know the group?
  • Is each one being utilized for what they feel worthy of ?

The meetings get wound up in processes and never-ending complicated procedures. The above is true within many organizations as well.

In many organizations, several policies and procedures are carried out because they have just existed. No one has dared to question them or find out if they serve the purpose. Even if someone has bothered to question them, many times they give up because it affects their career path within the organization.

An American academic study into organizational silence found that 85 percent of executives had issues or concerns at work that they had never articulated. The chief reason was fear of retribution.

More often than not, silence results not only from fear or discomfort associated with standing out like a sore thumb but also from futility. We see this within organizations among the senior management, in the political arena, in the non-profit world and in day-to-day matters of life be it child abuse, violence against women and other social matters.

What is this indifference or turning a blind eye called?

Willful Blindness is a dangerous panacea that spreads and harms not only yourself but the organization you possibly lead or the team you manage.

In her book, Margaret Heffernan argues that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don’t see – not because they’re secret or invisible, but because we’re willfully blind. She examines the phenomenon and traces its imprint in our private and working lives, and within governments and organizations, and asks: What makes us prefer ignorance? What are we so afraid of? Why do some people see more than others? And how can we change?

This Ted Video by Margaret Heffernan is worth watching.

Leaders need to ask questions, critique things, challenge the obvious, get out of their comfort zone. Renewal and success happens only when we refuse to lead our life and those whom we inspire, with apathy.

Be curious for the right reasons, curiosity is a wonderful leadership trait. It will enable you to be the change and explore new paths.

Curiosity is a desire to learn, to instigate change, to know, to care, one that you nor I can shy away from.

Reflective Questions

How are you paving the way forward to create a path of staying away from willful blindness?

As a leader what are you doing to take responsibility?

How willing are you to question and challenge the status quo?

For Coaching, Facilitating, Speaking and Workshops Connect. About Lalita Raman

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Five Leadership Lessons From Cirque Du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil shows have been my favorite ever since I saw their first show in Asia, about 15 years back.  Their shows always have something magical and theatrical about them and invokes your senses.

Quick Facts on Cirque Du Soleil 

A clip of Zarkana

I recently watched their Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour Show and on my way home, as I was thinking about their various shows that I have watched and enjoyed, I realized that each of us have a lot to learn from the artists, as individuals and collectively.

Key Lessons

1. Synergy – each of their performers are in sync be it in team acrobatics or on the trapeze or performing on the ropes or balancing on each other. The synchronization of their movements and acts makes the entire show captivating.

This synergy is not possible if they weren’t sure about themselves and if they didn’t practice for hours to perform the way they perform.

2. Trust – When the performers jump from one pole to another or on the ropes, they place their trust in their co-performer.  Watching them jump and perform the acrobatics hanging onto a rope or their co-performers hands is an exhilarating and palpable moment. Trust is well articulated in each of their acrobatic acts. The cast and the performers have respect for each other. Without trust and respect, the literally death-defying acts is not possible.

3. Talents – each of the performers are multi-talented, creative and skilled and able to display the same. Each of their talents is unique and they give an impeccable performance individually and as a team. However, at no stage do they allow their ego to take over.

4. Focus – the crowd is cheering, applauding yet the mindfulness and focus they display is spectacular. How do they manage to excel? Passion, practice, taking guidance from a mentor or coach and an unending desire to excel.

5. Bond - Their artists display a wonderful bond amongst them despite their different backgrounds and cultures and make the several seemingly impossible feats possible. They have created a special bond through their work, with their clientele, who watch their shows year after year in the countries they perform.

I’ve not been fond of circuses, not because of the performance but because of the way the animals and people are treated in many of these Circus Companies.

I’m not sure how Cirque Du Soleil is run but it seems that they have taken care of their people and their people have grown their business.

A leader is no different from the performers at Cirque Du Soleil. As a leader, you need to combine your skills into a single repertoire from which you trust, lead and inspire your team and people around you.  As a leader, you need to push beyond your comfort level, believe in yourself and your team and pave the way forward.

Reflective Questions

Are you ready to lead the way?

What are you doing to create an environment of trust, synergy, mindfulness and grace? 

How do you bring your creativity out?

What do you do when you feel stuck and in a rut? 

What do you do to excel in what you are talented in?

For Coaching, Facilitating, Speaking and Workshops Connect.  About Lalita Raman

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Resilience And You

“Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, then it’s not the end.” Unknown
For me this quote is a gentle reminder of building resiliency.  Resiliency and character is built through tough time and adversities.
Resilience draws from strength of character, from a core set of values that motivates you to make efforts to achieve your vision. It helps you to overcome setbacks and bounce back on the path of success. You need to be self-aware, have self-control and acknowledge there is a set back and be willing to persist.
In an organizational capacity, resilience is the ability to pick yourself up despite the hurdles because you are responsible for others and see yourself as a support to others.
In several organizations and in the political arena of many countries, you hear statements like the growth will be maintained amidst numbers consistently proving otherwise. You continue to hear positive futuristic statements and that it is “business as usual”. However, reality is that no effort is being made to review, examine, critique and change the path to achieve the goals or work towards promoting the economy of the country or the growth of the Company. The internal structures and policies of some companies are designed to stagnate the growth and development. The propellers of change are the biggest hurdles to the very change they claim to want.
Resilience is not about:
→Resistance
→Denial of reality
→Creating a culture resisting change and questioning the archaic methods and beliefs
→Continuing to hope things will change for better without making any effort to rectify the means
→Crumbling under the pressure of challenges along the way
→Being blindsided by competition, mishaps along the way and giving up
→Putting out fires
→Complacency, arrogance, greed or narcissism.
“When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test of each of us is to stay on that brink and not concretize.” Pema Chodron
Resilience is manifested in actions towards achieving the goal, re-examining, renewing, unlearning and re-learning.
Leaders are resilient in the way they bounce back from setbacks. Disruptions and pitfalls happens to the best of us. Resilience is finding the courage to bounce back and figure out how to achieve your purpose.
How can resilience help you and your organization to progress ahead despite problems?
Problems are not the end but symptoms. If you are falling sick very often, it is up to you to figure out what is wrong. Is it your diet, your lifestyle, stress or something else? You need to figure out the symptoms to be able to rectify it. You need to figure this out and also possibly consulting a  doctor.  Similarly in organizations, low morale, high employee turnover, sluggish sales may be some of the symptoms. Resiliency is about figuring out what is the cause and figuring out ways to bounce back. Problems are opportunities. It enables you to make corrections, and go to the depth of why things are not working out as expected. It is amidst the chaos and uncertainty that we clarify and display our character and values to others and most importantly to ourselves.
The real test of your leadership lies in identifying the issue and addressing it.  Your leadership skills are tested in times of adversities and in the attitude you take to face them and bounce back. How you face these challenges is an embodiment of and a testament to your leadership. You lead by example and this empowers and motivates your team.
Why Resilience? Resilience is required for
→Higher engagement with your colleagues, clients, friends and within the overall environment that you are working in
→A positive attitude which enables you to become more engaged, creative and productive
→Creating a vicious circle of Consistency, humility and integrity
→Leveraging your skills and talents
→Source of inspiration from your own stories and lessons learnt from each of life’s situational challenges.
Resiliency is well summarized by Pema Chodron in her book “When Things Fall Apart” and I quote “Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it.  Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.”
What are you doing today to be resilient?
How can you find ways to be resilient?
Are you going on the journey within and looking inside to create the necessary shift to rethink and renew?
How do you build Resilience? For Coaching, Facilitating, Speaking and Workshops Connect
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How Do You “LET GO”

Life is the best teacher, a friend, a soul mate. She teaches you what none others can teach and it is in living life through the challenges she throws at us is what makes life.

There are things in life you can’t hold on for ever and life isn’t for ever either. Life from the day you are born, moment by moment, tells you to let go. Nothing lasts forever, you are at this stage in your life because you have let go of your childhood, your youth, some of your age-old habits and idiosyncrasies. Through the years of your life to date, you may have different ways of doing things, you may have changed your job, your career or possibly even some of your relationships that were not working for you.

In each of the transitions in life be it natural, by accident or by choice, you have been able to move forward because you have let go of something. Yet, there are modes in your lives where you continue to grip on some things that you expect to last forever. You refuse to Let Go.

This could apply to your relationships, projects that you have put your heart and soul and yet don’t see the desired results, business venture that you are passionate about but ROI tells you otherwise, your behavior at work or socially, and may be aspects of your overall being.

What is the emotion you undergo when you refuse to let go?

  • Fear of the unknown
  • uncertainty
  • perspective of failure in your mind
  • discomfort
  • denial to see the benefits
  • negativity
  • love the perceived sense of control

Destiny isn’t always good and be it in some paths chosen in relationships or with respect to our professional life, you have to let go and consider the people and the opportunities in those paths as lessons learnt for better things in future. You may say easier said than done.

♠Letting Go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.♠

I’ve found that the more I cling to outcomes and things, the more I create an anchor that drains my energy and in turn I discourage myself.

So how can you help yourself Let Go?

1. Internal conversations – each of us have a conversation that we have with ourselves. This could be self talk or negative talk. Your thoughts control your feelings and these feelings translates into your internal conversations. Your brain drives your behavior from your internal conversations.

What are you telling yourself when you hold back from letting go ?

2. Labeling Emotion – each time you struggle with the idea of letting go, stop to reflect. Do you understand your emotions and beliefs? Why do you think that way? Try to label the emotion (could be fear, anxiety, uncertainty, failure) associated with the struggle of letting go – this helps to calm your brain and focus on action forward.

♣Do you tend to dwell on what used to be that is distracting you from taking the necessary action to move you forward?
♣Do you tend to complain and take no action to see what can be done differently to achieve desired outcomes?

Our brains are geared to rewards and thus expecting desired outcomes from our efforts is but natural. However, consuming yourself with the negative outcome only results in frustration and negative emotions. Instead, when something doesn’t go as per your expectations, train your mind to view this circumstance as a chance to learn something you didn’t know. Every experience teaches you something and it a matter of consciously looking at it from a perspective that helps you to move forward.

♣Learning to understand your emotions, reflection on your actions and the experience sets the path for refocusing your energy and “letting go” less painful.

3. ReframeDo you reflect and once you reflect do you reframe the situation by finding out what’s really going on?

Our brains are constantly on the lookout to move towards what it perceives as a reward and away from what it perceives as a threat. And is five times more likely to perceive something unknown as a threat than a reward. This possibly explains many disquieting parts of our life. Certainty concerns being in the know. Being able to predict gives us that feeling of control and certainty. Without prediction our brain needs to use a lot more energy intensive PFC. In today’s fast paced global world, it is becoming more difficult to anticipate what’s next. To fuel this uncertainty is our own beliefs and biases as to how we perceive a situation. All this makes letting go more difficult.

♣Reframing a situation helps you to manage your beliefs, your perception and your feelings. It helps you to look at situations from a different context and not narrow yourself to your own bias.

4. Criticism – do you criticize yourself and everyone else, every time something doesn’t go as per your plan. Does this stop you from letting go of unfair expectations of yourself and others ? Life is a roller coaster and not perfect. Letting go eases your agony that you put yourself through by engaging in “blame game” and “know it all”. When you catch yourself thinking and behaving in a manner that signifies that you know everything and have little tolerance to any new ideas or methods, it is time to stop and reflect.

♣How flexible are you to expand your mind and go out of your comfort zone?

5. Control Freak – one of the common hurdles to letting go. Each of us are unique and have our contribution to make. We can control out behavior, our choices but how others act or behave is outside our control. Positive change occurs when you decide to let go of control over everything in your life and work.

Imagine you are on your way to an appointment at 3 pm. You leave well ahead of time. However you get caught in a nasty traffic jam. You try to change lanes, honk, curse, get agitated and yet nothing changes. Each time you succeed at changing lanes, your frustration increases because you realize that the new lane is no better. There are many situations similar to this which are beyond your control in your day-to-day life. You cannot have everything you want despite your efforts to make it a success. Let go or else you get caught in a negative vicious cycle.

6. Negativity – negativity breeds negativity and saps your energy. Your surroundings in terms of the people you are with matters to your overall being. There are some people in this world who are full of negative energy and drain you. There are others who provide soul food and are full of positivity and energy. Be with people who support you, challenge you but help you grow. Let go of relationships that jeopardize your being and don’t accept you for what you are.

♣What would you experience if you surround yourself with people who believe in you and help you get better in what you do? 

♣What would it be like if you spend more time with people who have positive vibes and make you feel valued?

Letting go is difficult when we allow ourselves to be overly attached to outcomes, when we have given our heart and soul to some relationships. My own journey of having to let go of things and relationships which weren’t working for me hasn’t been easy. What has helped me in the journey of life is to reflect, reframe and think about the way forward and believe in myself. Gearing my brain towards the rewards associated with the new path helps ease the pain that I associate with letting go.

I’ve learnt and am still learning to be willing to open up to possibility, learn new ways, grow in effectiveness by LETTING GO.

→If you “Let Go,” it does not mean you are giving up but you make a choice to take a different path to your ultimate vision.←

How do you Let Go?

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Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables..Do Your Habits Determine You?

Lalita Raman

Lalita Raman

A friend of mine, Jane, a senior manager with a FMCG company, manages six direct reports who in turn manage four to five people each. Jane to us, is one of the most enthusiastic, authentic and a gregarious person. When she started leading a team, about 4 years back, she faced issues of underperformance from her team. She did not realize that this underperformance was mainly from her leadership skills or rather from one of her age-old habits.

She initially attributed the reasons for underperformance to pressures of time and lack of resources. She decided to hire a coach after reflecting on the consistent underperformance of her team. It was only then that she realized that it was her habit of assuming that her team understood and bought into every change that was introduced, was the key reason for the disconnect.

We are all creatures of habit, good or bad. Some of these habits we are unaware of just like Jane, till we start reflecting, and making ourselves aware and then looking at the consequences.

We become what we repeatedly do. Did you know that our subconscious mind is much more powerful than our conscious mind?

It is our subconscious mind – the habitual mind that dictates most of our thoughts and actions. What does this mean?

Most of us spend our time on an autopilot mode in the way we behave and act. This could be unconsciously competent or unconsciously incompetent part of us. Take the example of someone who has been driving a car for years. This person is almost on an auto pilot mode whilst driving. Most people whilst driving are engaged in a conversation. When you think about this, it is scary.

Our subconscious mind is like a fertile soul that accepts any seed planted. Thus our habitual thoughts, feelings, and actions are a result of what we sow in our subconscious mind. So be it eating dessert after every meal, or acting like a bully in every situation of life, or making yourself loud and known no matter where you are, are habits and they result from our subconscious mind and what we have sown there.

Do we need to get rid of all our habits ? Absolutely not

We manifest good and bad habits and it is some of these bad habits that affects our health, our relationships, our behavior as a leader in day-to-day life or within organizations.

How do we get over bad habits? FOR THE FULL POST PLEASE CLICK ON LINK

 

Values Are Like Fingerprints… Are You Leading With Your Values?

Lalita Raman

Lalita Raman

It is Friday evening and you are looking forward to your long overdue vacation. You are working on the final touches of your proposal to get a new line of business approved. The proposal is almost ready barring some details on some legal challenges that you are awaiting from your legal department. You receive the legal opinion and when you read it, you realize that a key element is missing. Not considering this aspect might hurt the franchise of the business in the future. The only person aware about this is you and none else.
What would you do?
Would you rather let it go because you’ll never be found out or blamed or would you listen to your inner voice which tells you how important it is to highlight this specific legal risk.

What is this inner voice that whispers to you at various moments in your day and life. A whisper to the effect “There is no way you can do that. it’s not right”.

Each of us have core values whether we realize it or not. Core values is what is imbibed in us from the day we are born. Some values we instill in us as we are growing. Values sit within our memory and are deep-rooted. They are not written anywhere but are those which we live through our behavior and actions.

Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ‘em all over everything you do. ~Elvis Presley

You are your personal brand. Personal brand is not just about you being a CEO or CFO or Fashion designer but it is what you are in what you do and how you choose to show your values in your career and the various roles you perform.

Key questions on Values – For the full post refer LINK