The Vulnerability In Relationships

I was watching some Ted Talk Videos over the weekend and one of them was on The Power Of Vulnerability. 
This got me thinking about relationships. Relationships are made or marred many times on vulnerability.
There have been numerous cases of abuse, bullying, domestic violence and all this is evidence of putting someone in a vulnerable state or taking advantage of them.
Yet, at other times when we are in a crisis, may be stranded on account of bad weather conditions or losing a job in a close down or merger situation, some of the best relationships are formed during such situations. “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences according to Brené Brown in her book How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.
Vulnerability here does not mean being submissive or weak. It involves uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure which is well articulated by Brené Browne in her book.
When we see read or hear stories, see videos, hear presentations or empathize with the events in our daily life it is the vulnerability and authenticity which enables us to make that connection. Connection which is an important part of relationships is what gives meaning and purpose to our daily life.
Relationship is about:
1.Respect - you can shine your light but it is not necessary to knock down someone else or dim another’s light. Even if the relationship is not something that you favor, respect is an important element. Respect yourself enough to avoid being taken advantage of. Surround yourself with positivity and compassion for yourself and others.
2.Empathy - the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others is an important element in any relationship.
3.Love – the most profound emotion that is an essential part of any relationship.
4.Appreciation – in the world we live today, we forget to appreciate ourselves, our relationships and the moments of life. Appreciation is unconditional and does not contain words like “But”, “However”.
5.Trust – establishing rapport is the start of good relationships. Trust is the pillar of any relationship be it with spouse, parents, siblings, shop keeper, colleagues.
6.Integrity – To me it is the Congruence of I Believe, I Value, I Think, I Feel, I Say, I Do.
7.Obedience – is a matter of the heart. It is about what you feel from within and to be accountable and responsible in a relationship.
8.Nurture – to do and be all that is necessary to grow and enrich the relationship.
9.Space – the little space we allow and create in each of our relationships, be it a friend, spouse, sister, brother or parents, keeps it healthy and allows the relationship to nurture and grow.
10.Honesty – truthfulness, sincerity and frankness in who you are.
11.Interesting – compassion and appreciation for ourselves and others keeps the relationship interesting. Compassion is born of awareness of the choices we are making and the impact of each of these actions on others.
12.Power of Communication – know when to be silent and when to speak up. Not communicating breaks the best of relationships. Conflicts, differences of opinions arise in every relationship. The intent is to disagree agreeably and keep the relationship healthy.  Listening is important to build relationships, because that is where you show empathy and that you truly care.
13.Support – strength in a relationship lies in the support you give to that relationship and that you receive. The ebb and flow of relationship requires mental toughness and support.
Relationship is not about opportunities and using it for those opportunities. Relationships to me means someone with whom you can share your completeness, be it a friend, a life partner, sister, brother, mother or father. A relationship should be one that recognizes you for what you are, challenges you, and allows you to grow.
Let your relationships be one in which you
Let yourselves be seen
Practice gratitude and be joyful
Love with your hearts
Are kind and compassionate to yourselves and others
Your willingness to be vulnerable and accept vulnerability establishes and maintains the connection and the authenticity in relationships.
What are some of the ways you have been courageous to be vulnerable and made a connection?
For Individual or Group Coaching, Speaking, Workshops and or Training please connect with Me
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On This Father’s Day, a small note of “Thank you”

Lalita Raman

Lalita Raman

I’ve had the great fortune of growing up with a friend, a mentor who is none else than my Dad. My dad is special to me and my appreciation of him has grown over the years. There is not a moment, I hesitate to share what I have to say with my dad and I think this has been possible only because of the space he has always given in our relationship.

He has always lived his values of integrity, discipline, hard work, empathy and love. He has always encouraged my sister and I to be independent, follow our dreams and to believe in ourself.

Life lessons I have learnt from my dad

1.You are your word and always honor your word.
2.If in doubt, ask questions. Communicate and clarify even in situations of conflict.
3.No matter how bad the situation may be, there is a learning from each of those.
4.Treat people with respect and love.
5.Learn, unlearn, relearn and share.
6.Your inner conscience is your guide and to take the journey within is something I have learnt from my parents.
7.Emotions is an essential part of my life and I need to be emotionally aware and express myself.
8. I have grown up in an environment of healthy discussions, debates and analysis be it of books, movies, TV shows or an incident in our daily lives.
9. Family is very important and always make time for your family.
10. Never be in debt and never borrow.
11. I have the power of choice and I have to face the music of my choices.
12. To live within my means and that my behavior and actions needs to reflect my values.
13. To be ambitious but in chasing my dreams and passion, I should not forget to be gratuitous.
14. To be confident of myself, proud of my achievements but never to un-friend humility.
15. To derive strength in every challenge that I face in life and to be an optimist.

My dad has always loved, cared and looked out for me. He has always understood me, listened, empathized and no amount of words will ever be able to articulate the wonderful Dad that I have.

Top 5 Leadership Lessons From YOGA

Lalita Raman


Are you wondering what yoga has to do with leadership?

I have done yoga for almost 10 years and I still continue to learn not only the yoga poses but what yoga can teach about myself, life and leadership. When I started yoga 10 years back, it was purely as an exercise and to improve my flexibility. Most of the yoga instructors will tell you that yoga is a connection between mind, body and soul and the common link is through your breath. I used to hear this but never quite understood the real essence.
My journey with yoga in the first two-three years, was one of hate and love. However, where I stand today with yoga is one of love, where I have learnt to overcome some of my frustrations of inflexibility. This is where yoga is like leadership, in that a leader doesn’t take credit only when the going is good but stands through tough times and journeys through them.

For the full post please click on the LINK

Have You Befriended “The Gremlin”

Belonging starts with self-acceptance … Believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic. – Brene Brown, research professor in social work

Who do you give more airtime to; your “Inner Champion” or your “Inner Critic”

A client of mine, let’s call her Jane had this struggle with her inner village. A pompous voice that always kept telling her that she will fail miserably when speaking in front of crowds.

If you look at Jane, she is an individual who exudes confidence in whatever she does in her other aspects of life. She has ventured out into many challenges in her work and personal life. However, in whatever she does she feels she is an underachiever and she can do better. She expects herself to always do better.

As far as public speaking was concerned, her inner critic dominated her and controlled her actions to her detriment.

As we engage with the world, many times we internalize the voices of our significant others, voices that encourage, voices that criticize, empowering voices, supportive voices, cautious voices, loving voices. And there is our voice of our own inner village that encourages and champions us in our endeavors and other times criticizes us and undermines our potential. The voice of the inner critique is one that loves to break us, stroke us and doubt ourselves. She falsifies your ego by justifying why you don’t want to do something.

When I asked Jane how long she has dealt with her critical inner village, she said “12 years.” And she was giving attention to it for 12 years.

She mentioned that her inner village always liked to bully her, tease her, remind her of all things that could go wrong if she had to speak in front of a crowd, how bad she was when she spoke, how her body language, facial expressions, and the way she spoke was improper. This inner village was almost always with her and spoke to her loud to discourage her. When she was dominated by her inner critic, if she happened to hear anything from her personal relationships, she found herself further vulnerable and in a flight or fight mode, though she never displayed it.

She came to me at a time when she realized that a strategy of trying to shut herself from this voice of the inner critic didn’t work. She realized that the situation was becoming worse. She couldn’t run away from herself. She had to face her inner demons, deal with them and overcome them.

So how does one recognize their inner critic, accept it, learn to deal with it and move on with life without this demon stopping you from living your life.

Questions you need to ask yourself – READ ON... FOR FULL POST PLEASE CLICK LINK

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5 Steps To Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs

Did you know that our self-limiting beliefs are one of the worst obstacles to moving forward in whatever we seek to achieve.  Self limiting belief is that inner thought in our head of doubting oneself and not trusting ourselves.

What are some of these self-limiting beliefs that sabotage our career, our development and our life

Could it be

  • I’m no good at public speaking
  • I’m no good at keeping time

We allow our negative thoughts and frustrations to deter our ability to adapt, to learn, to unlearn, relearn, and to try out new challenges.  The motivation to change has to come from within.  How does one do this?

For the 5 Steps to Overcome Self Limiting Beliefs please click on Link

Coaching can help you reinvent yourself, discover possibilities, and break through to confidence and maintain the new you.

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15 Things That Matter in Being You

The two words we probably hear most often in the form of quotes and statements on Twitter, Pinterest & other forms of Social Media is ‘Be You’, ‘Just Be Yourself’.  What does “Be You’ mean?

Is it an excuse to use your personality as an excuse for bad behavior? I hear people saying hey ‘Just deal with it, this is who I am’. ‘I don’t believe in saying sorry or Thank you’. ‘I just can’t be bothered to change’.  There are yet others who insult others under the garb of humor and sarcasm.

‘ Being you’ I think, is a perfect defense for an egoistic person who has no respect for others and believes they are infallible ?

Of course each of us have our personality traits and inborn temperament which is unique to us and some of this is adapted to suit the environment that we live in and the circumstances that we face. However, the way we perceive and react to our day-to-day journey in life is a choice we can make and one that is within our control.

It is up to each of us to recognize our emotions, regulate our thoughts and frame the right mindset to respond in a manner that is appropriate to the situation at hand.

So what does Being You mean ?

I Believe

1. Whilst there is nothing wrong in being direct and honest, by no means the delivery of the statements or the tone in which it is delivered need be rude.

2. We are a result of our choices and we need to deal with the choices we have made. Negativity and emotional trauma arises when we get into the blaming game for all our misfortunes.

3. That sometimes when we are angry we have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give us the right to be cruel.

4. That each of us need to value ourselves and should not allow ourselves to be trampled on.

5. Each of us have our own strengths and we should build and use them to lead with integrity, trust and character

6. Each of us have our own weaknesses and we should marginalize our limitations to move forward

7. That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences we have had and what we have learned from them and how each of us choose to use them.

8. That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but, we are responsible for who we become.

9. That either we control our attitude or it controls us. Choose the right one.

10. That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

11.  We are human and love to be acknowledged, encouraged and appreciated. Being an introvert or shy is no excuse for not telling someone ‘You Matter’.

12. Each of us have to value and believe in ourselves.

13. None of us are perfect and can teach and learn something each day.

14. That just because you think you are successful you have no right to put out someone else’s light and efforts.

15. You are you and will be valued only if you treat others just like the way you would like to be treated.

Bottom-line, our personality is not an excuse to criticize, condemn and poke fun at somebody. Live and let live and encourage others to do the best. Each of us are unique and life is about learning from each other and making a difference in this world which we live in. Are you ‘Being You’ or ‘Being Brash’ ?

10 Hurdles To Emotional Learning

When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity ~ Dale Carnegie

When I say Emotions, you almost immediately associate ‘Anger’ and ‘Sad’ as the synonyms.  Emotion is the mental state and this could be positive or negative.

There are seven major positive emotions : desire, faith, sex, enthusiasm, hope, love, romance.  And the seven major negative emotions are : anger, fear, jealousy, hatred, revenge, greed, superstition.

Our brains harbor a lot of emotions and it is the negative emotions that is worrying.  The amygdala  is most commonly associated with fear and anxiety.  Each of us have a chronic or habitual emotional level that determines the overall well-being or satisfaction.  If a threat is perceived,  the amygdala tends to hijack the reasoned response process.  We have certain triggers-things that cause us to have an emotional reaction and elicit our innate ‘fight of flight’ response.  This limits our capacity to think clearly and causes us to move to default behaviors that may not be skillful or effective.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the cognitive ability involving traits and social skills that facilitate interpersonal behavior.  The four main components of EI are : Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Management.

Our emotional level, thus is the manifested frequency level of everything and anything that is real (perceivable) to us in our world and actual life’s experiences.

Have you wondered as to Why are these negative emotions triggered?

1. Change  results in discomfort and stress – a lot of us expect life to be easy and when challenges and hurdles come along, it overwhelms us and may cause negative reactions.

2. Human Being rather than Human Doing - we forget many times that what really matters in each of our lives is what we are, what we build and what we share.  Living life with a passion and being your true self is the most important.

3. Relationships – many times we tend to chase people though they may have shown no interest in building and maintaining relationships. In our busy lives we ever so often forget to make time for those who matter the most.  We allow our pride and ego to be the mainstay of relationships and taking those, who have been with us through thick and thin,  for granted.  This leads to disappointments and triggers a lot of negative emotions.

4. Allowing our mind to control us – life is not perfect and sometimes we allow a bad moment, or a bad day to take control of our state of mind and the reactions to other unrelated events of the day.

5. Help – not asking for help when you need it desperately.  Each of us need help and cannot survive in isolation.

6. Know when to walk away and when not to give up - many times we hold onto things without asking ourselves the utility value in the same.

7. Surrounding ourselves with people who make us unhappy and drain our energy out – ignore those who hassle you, stalk you, embarrass you and step beyond the boundaries of decent behavior on social media and in real life.

8. Not being accountable & responsible - not walking the talk which leads to distrust and guilt. We loose our identity by not learning to say,  ‘No’ resulting in over committing and under delivery.

9. Not taking a break- many of us get into the rigmarole of  doing too much without pausing. In that we live without enjoying the simple pleasures that life has to offer. We are stressed out, irritable and a vicious circle ensues.

10. Focusing on past – allowing our past to continue to dominate us to such an extent that we become victims of it.  We focus on the negatives, loosing ourselves in the problem.  More often than not,  we repeatedly point to our unhappy circumstances to rationalize our negative feelings. This is the easy way out. It takes, after all, very little effort to feel victimized.   But the negative thinking and behavior hurts only one person the most and that is “You”.

So how do we deal with our Emotions especially those that trigger a negative response.

Adaptability is all about recovering from the anxiety  & adversity that change initially brings & then having the flexibility to move ahead vigorously.

I find that one way to practice this idea is to write or think about a good experience. Not only does this remind me that there’s life beyond bad feelings, but it also serves as an emotional anchor.   I find my memory can become a positive emotional reference point, to remind me of the range of possibilities when I am at my worst feeling down and out.

Refer my post on Twelve Ways to Inspire Yourself When You Are Feeling Down and Out

The role emotions play in shaping thinking accounts for a large part of why we see a failure of good thinking in most leaders.  You are free to choose behaviors that are truly in your own best interests.

We all have so much to give. We just need to consciously choose to access and share it.  When we give good vibes, good thoughts,  and a smile, we generally get it back.  Recognizing emotions is the basis of self-knowledge and interaction. An emotion comes up to the conscious level when we are ready to manage it.  I like to think emotions as colors, some simple, and yet others are blends.

Emotional memory management enables us to manage our emotions in a way that will produce more positive outcomes.  It is the “habits of mind” that reveal intellectual character.  Please watch my video on “Emotional Blindspots‘.

The 3 core development steps for all Leaders are:  Knowing Yourself, Choosing Yourself and Giving Yourself.  What do you think ?

Twelve Ways to Inspire Yourself When You Are Feeling Down & Out

“None but ourselves can free our minds.” ― Bob Marley

In our life today we face an enduring issue of one too many negative things and few positives. Right from newspapers, TV and other forms of media be it political, economic, or social there is a lot of negative incidents, news, events, mishaps. On top of this if you are having an out of sorts day, it is difficult to keep the positive momentum because we could be so imprisoned by our state of mind, that we forget to step back and look at things with a fresh perspective.

There is a confusion of values among the youth which is aggravated by the wrong portrayal of fame and success that mass media and social media often tend to reflect. There seems to be an  increasing number of people who are beginning to feel negative in their outlook.

I met a woman entrepreneur the other day who seemed dejected and felt that she was being attacked by stress and negative emotions.  When she told me her story, the positive takeaways for me were that she had determination, passion and love for what she did and had managed to grow her revenues by 20% and most important she had touched the hearts of many a tourist and child through her works of art.

This woman runs her own business of arts and crafts and supplies to museums, souvenir shops, gift shops and several private establishments. Today she is at a stage where she wants to expand and grow and is making efforts to achieve that. But she is overwhelmed by her negative thoughts, apprehensions and feels her life is out of control.

She is however not alone.   In reality, she may just be a cynic and not a negative personality. But the forlornness of the big cities, where youngsters follow their dreams and passion becomes the breeding ground for negativism and depression to flourish.

Statements like I’m no good at writing, or I am a born loser or I can never get any job done on time are self-fulfilling and ultimately strangle the personality they feed on.

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.  The amygdala is most commonly associated with our emotions of fear and anxiety.  Negative thoughts trigger  electro-chemicals in our brains which in turn triggers our decisions and behavior. The more we keep getting such negative thoughts, the more our brain keeps getting hardwired to being receptive to such thoughts.

It is important to recognize these negative emotions but not allow them to control us. Here are 12 simple ways to break away from the Negative Emotional attractor

1. Reframe the Negative statements that you keep telling yourself. For e.g. Instead of saying I’m no good at writing, may be change your thought or statement to “I need to hone my writing skills and I’m working on it.”  I find positive self talk to be a great motivator.

2. Express gratitude. Make a conscious effort to do a kind deed.

3. Encourage someone. Make them realize that they matter and what they do matters.

4. Exercise – I find that exercise triggers the endorphins and releases the stress and flushes out the negative thoughts.

5. Focus on things within your control and things you are good at.  Feel good at doing those things first and then move on to new challenges.

6. Learn something new for which you have a passion for.

7. Talk to your dog, if you own a dog.. I find  dogs and puppies to be great stress busters. I feel a sense of joy, the moment I look at a cute dog picture or video.

8. Talking to a close friend or a family member or a Samaritan helps.  It’s imperative to have circle of positive friends who will inspire you.  “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you what you are … As goes the American saying.

9. Keep milestones and measure your progress against them. Checking off against an achieved milestone can be one of the most rewarding acts to keep moving forward.

10. Read a book or some inspiring quotes. These days there are several Self Motivation posts on various blogs which definitely would be a Positive Emotional Attractor.

11. Chin up - good posture and a smile always helps.

12. Listen to music. Music is to the Soul what words are to the mind.  ” I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” Billy Joel

Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live! Bob Marley