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
image source

How Are You Connecting With People?

Lalita Raman

Businesses and organizations run because of the people, the relationships and the connections between people. When we network with people we look for common interests or topics to break the ice, strike a conversation and thereafter get into a discussion. In a business scenario, during interviews, a set of questions is asked by different people in an organization of a potential candidate. In each of these situations, be it at work (or in daily life), there is  judgment being made based on skills, qualifications, the ability to make an elevator speech, the way a person talks or present themselves, all of which are external factors.  Also, in today’s age of social media, there is an eagerness to strike a conversation with people who have large number of followers, or if they are famous. Again these are extrinsic factors. However, part of the judgment rests with our own gut feel or our intuition.

In today’s world there seems to be a lot of communication and modes of communication but is real connection happening? Leaders connect because they are human and understand that trust and rapport can’t be built without real connection. Meaningful communication is possible only with real connection.

How do you connect? Do you judge based on peripheral factors or do you take a look at the person intrinsically?

Ten Key Questions that enable you to make a connection with a person.

1. Do you take time to understand the person, their values?

2. Does their behavior and actions reflect their values?

3. How do they treat people who have no titles, or may be a waiter at a restaurant or a receptionist or a security guard?

4. How do they behave in situations of vulnerability ? Do they stand up for a good cause and speak up or tend to adopt a herd mentality?

5. Do they seem eager to prove their authenticity? Are they being too ostentatious in a large social gathering?

6. Do they carry a narcissistic attitude? One that can be observed from their talk to listen ratio.

7. In social media, there are several people who talk about engaging and sharing content. There are also many people in real life who have the gift of gab? Key here is, do they really walk their talk? Is their audio and video congruent?

8. Do they demonstrate empathy or are they too self-centered? Do they carry a positive energy in the way they behave?

9. Do they tend to be solution focused or just a naysayer?

10. How self-aware is this person? How do they react to feedback?

Listening and Observing, both in real life and in the virtual world, is important in connecting, building and maintaining relationships with people.  Skills, qualifications can be stated whereas character & attitude can only be observed and helps you to determine who a person is?

If you aspire to connect and grow as a leader, you need to understand yourself and others better. When you know people care about you and understand you, it makes a lasting connection.

How well are you connecting with people?

What are the Choices you make while connecting with people?

“The Silence” – 5 Do’s and Dont’s

IMG_3014

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

How many times have you wished silence from a person sitting opposite you or in a meeting room ?

How many times have you been in an awkward moment when you realized that you should have kept silent after spitting out words in anger?

 In Silence it is important to listen and it is a communication skill in that one needs to know when not to talk or interrupt.

  1. In sales pitches, the inability to remain silent can cost the deal and many times the client relationship. Have you and your team members who are presenting to the client given an opportunity to the client to speak? Have you listened what they need?  A good sales person listens far more than they talk.
  2. You call on your friend to share a difficulty that you are going through. When you meet this friend, he starts talking about his day and how he would have handled or has handled difficulties in his life. He has barely heard you, leave alone listen. You sit there listening to his nonstop babble, when all you wanted him to do was listen – Listen silently without interruptions or judgment. Many times in life all we need is to vent out what we are going through and a person to listen.  There is a time for silence, time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.
  3. Most of us have met this person who endlessly brags about their deal striking ability or the number of places they have been or the people whom they have met. A lot of this happens without context and some of these nonstop banter may endanger the privy of confidential data.
  4. Being extremely negative about competition just to get your company to win the bid. Many times these conversations take place over a drink or dinner and damages the reputation of the company and the person.
  5. Dropping names just to show how influential you are.

There is a time and place for everything and silence in all the above situations is appropriate and necessary. It is better to use the art of silence rather than blurting out on an impulse, just to say something.

Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence – Leonardo Da Vinci

 Is Silence good or warranted in all situations ? No, absolutely not.

  1.  Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. You are the lonely one who can be the lead in your life.
  2. Never be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering, violence in any form and humiliation. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented and being neutral and silent is not the solution. The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people. Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. Never be silent when you are aware about acts of wrong doing within a company or in any other day-to-day situations.
  4. Never be silent in situations where silence may mean acceptance or consent or grant of approval.
  5. Do not be silent in the face of misunderstandings.

Silence is about mastering the art of timing. During public speaking, silence is good for the audience to think, for you to create emphasis around a new idea that you may be presenting.  Even on Social Media, you need to know that not everything needs to be shared and there is no necessity to have an opinion on every single matter or a status update on whether you are thinking, swimming, having dinner or wish to talk or doing many other things. If you need to express all of that, best to journal it or talk to yourself.

Silence is one of the great arts of communication as long as you know when and where.

It is tact that is golden, not silence. Samuel Butler

Which word or set of words will you choose to use every time you speak?

Do you need to speak every time you have an urge to say something?

Please refer my blog post on Power Of Listening – Shut Up and Listen Will Ya ?

Images : Lalita Raman

The Power Of “MINDFULNESS”

You must have had manic days where you have no time to drink water or take a deep breadth, when you have a million things to do and yet get pulled in different directions.  Some of the moments on these days can be those of elation, anger, sadness, exasperation, exuberance and sheer exhaustion.

Life throws many a challenge and it is entirely up to each of us on the choices we make. In today’s rat race, we forget many times that success linked to external factors creates a vacuum and our soul is restless.

With all the pressures we face in our day-to-day lives, we find it difficult to find the right equilibrium between our short-term financial goals and long-term calling.  Many of us become human doers rather than a human being.

Many of you have heard of mindfulness and probably practice it.  What is mindfulness? Is there some magic formula? Does one have to attain the state of nirvana? Is it about sitting in meditation on a daily basis?

Key to mindfulness is be aware and conscious of what you are doing and give your fullest to that moment in heart and soul.  If you can stay grounded and authentic, face new challenges daringly and with humility and be at peace with the present, that is mindfulness.

10 Keys To Mindfulness

  1. Is it just about sitting in a corner and meditating I think not. It is anything you choose to do with clarity and a deeper understanding. It is about being present in whatever you are doing and being aware of your presence and ways every action of yours would impact others.
  2. Being conscious of your values no matter what you do, you lead with your values and from your inner self.
  3. Are you giving the attention of your time ? Give your full focus in whatever you are doing be it working out, having a dialogue with somebody, or listening to someone.  Staying focused without allowing your thoughts to wander.
  4. What is my inner talk ? to journal and reflect on one’s day while walking or hiking or even whilst just being, enables clarity.
  5. Am I whole-hearted about in every thing I do? being involved in mind, body and soul in whatever we are engaged in at that moment in time? The ability to give our whole and undivided attention to those that I care about.
  6. Can I go on a journey inside ? Ability to be silent and quiet in the frenetic lives that most of us lead. To be comfortable with the silence within you where there is serenity and nothing awkward or nothing to fight or argue about. A place where your mind is at rest and you are comfortable with the silence and the solitude and one that gives you clarity and peace.
  7. Am I Being in the now to me this does not mean forgetting the past. I look at it as using experiences in the past and leveraging on the strength that it has given me to deal with the now. We are what we are today as a result of our life experiences and we should take a leaf of every experience that has made us who we are today and leverage of it to deal with what life has to offer us.
  8. Am I planting a seed for my future  every moment is a choice and each of these choices paves the next moment and several such moments in our journey of life.
  9. Am I human ? In that I am grateful for what I have, gratuitous to others, realistically optimistic, not do unto others what I would not to self
  10. Am I courageous and willing to try? Belief in self and not have the inner critique and fears pull me down.

Various studies and research have shown that mindfulness meditation significantly improves the effects on brain and immune function. It has positive effects on physical health, emotional control, sleep control, coping styles, anxiety and concentration.

Research and studies have also shown that we’re often happiest when we’re lost in “The Moment”. The more we allow our mind to wander and control us the more lost we are and chances of being less happy.

There is always peace and serenity within us and it is only a matter of finding it in our solace.

References

LINK 1

LINK 2

LINK 3

How To Take Charge Of Your Personal Growth : 10 Essentials

“We want a world where life is preserved, and the quality of life is enriched for everybody, not only for the privileged.” ~ Isabel Allende

Personal Growth is one which I find it difficult to define because it encompasses a lot of things. When we are born, most of us are given a suitcase full of standards, acceptable behavior, things to learn,values & a whole load of do’s and don’ts. As we grow and progress in life we keep adding or throwing away some contents of this suitcase. Each of us thus become a product of the choices we have made or that we have consciously decided not to make.

How many times in your day-to-day life have you been told right from childhood, ” you can’t do this” or “you need to follow this”, or “the deadline for this project is 20 days from now”, “you need to get married by 25″ or as a woman you hear “you need to behave lady like” or something similar.

We may choose to follow some of these instructions, advise or suggestions and yet others we ignore because we feel it is just gender stereotyping. However respect, being ethical and being human is something I would like to think that most of us are ingrained with while growing up. This value is further enhanced when we observe our parents, and the behavior of our community in which we socialize.

In today’s day and age I find many who have lost the basic etiquette of courtesy, and being polite.  Take the case of social media where you try to make new connections and most people love to get more and more followers. Whilst it is good to make new connections, I find it strange and disrespectful when some of them don’t even bother to acknowledge you when you RT them or react to something on their timeline (I’m not referring to trolls here). Why are we so keen to make new connections and being part of every form of social media when we can’t spend quality time on existing relationships, we don’t have time to acknowledge and ask how one is doing?

There are many who don’t give importance to loyalty and commitment to their word. People speak about change but refuse to change themselves and yet others who insult and abuse in the name of religion and ethics.

Isn’t Personal Growth about

  1. Achieving more love, belonging, better communication skills and relationships
  2. Accessing greater understanding and wisdom
  3. Aligning, anchoring and actualizing your goals
  4. Awakening the inner voice.
  5. Being a better communicator and listener and to relate to others feelings.
  6. Becoming an instrument of transformation for others
  7. Breaking through barriers, fears and limitations that hold you back. Learning how to create what you want
  8. Changing for the better. Maintain clarity and focus. Make shifts and change more quickly, with less pain. Draw out your own personal pathway to success. Know where you want to go. Know who you are and what you stand for
  9. Measuring, tracking and improving what is important
  10. Developing more self-trust and self-reliance.

Life is a journey where each of us face obstacles in pursuing goals, or in just living.   Some of us get overwhelmed with some of these hurdles and yet some of us work through these challenges and grow stronger. But isn’t life about learning, developing, growing and moving on to take new pursuits and face new challenges?

To me, personal growth is having integrity and being human.  Biggest value that any of us need to have and remember is to Be Human.   We are always one decision, one word, one reaction away from damaging what has taken us years to develop so don’t you think we need to be careful of our words and actions?

How To Listen – 7 Simple Tips

“You have to learn to listen and listen to learn” ~unknown

I was with a friend of mine, the other day, having a cup of coffee and when she asked me about my travel plans for the year, I started talking to her about some of my immediate travel plans. I suddenly realized she wasn’t paying attention. She was busy looking at her iPhone, typing away on Twitter. Though she kept an occasional eye contact with me, her mind was elsewhere. She was hearing but not listening.

We often face such situations in our daily life amongst friends, family and also at the work place in meetings and casual conversations.

One of the key elements of Communication  is to listen attentively so as to give expanding space for the talker’s expression and whenever possible validate the meaning conveyed by the talker. The act of not listening indicates a complete disinterest in and lack of focus in what the talker believes to be important.

Key in listening is Give out what you most want to come back.”

 ― Robin S. SharmaThe Greatness Guide: Powerful Secrets for Getting to World Class 

As a follow-up to my earlier post on “The Art of Listening, following are some of the tips that I use to be an effective listener.

1. Body language - When I’m sitting across listening to a person, I must listen with not only my ears but also 

my eyes and heart.  It is important to listen not only to the words but also the tone of the voice.  This will enable us to listen to the Why and not just the What. Listening with the eyes by observing the body language of the talker and listening with the heart to feel and empathize with the talker is necessary to make the connection.  Till you listen to the emotions that the other party is displaying, you cannot empathize.

2. Listen to understand – most of us listen to respond rather than to understand. Any conversation should facilitate leaving more than enough space and time for the other party to think, feel, formulate ideas, elaborate and discover a complete expression of his or her concerns or point of view.

3. Paraphrase – this is one of my favorites. Paraphrasing helps to demonstrate that you have heard what was said and also indicates that you are interested.  Paraphrasing can be done by way of questions or statements, depending on the situation. I find asking questions such as ” would you mind clarifying what you mean by that” or ” what could be your next step” useful.  Some of these questions helps to create the trust and holding environment in that relationship.

4. Silence - Attentive welcoming vacuum or silence.  Listening is not all about complete silence but using the

latter to provide a larger receptacle for the talker to unload, model and remodel volunteered personal thoughts, feelings and motivations.  The latter works well not only in coaching and counseling sessions but also in any situation of emotional outbursts.

5. Listen without filters and judgement -  many times when we are in a conversation many of us meander

away in our own thoughts and go on a journey of our own experiences.  I can only understand if I listen attentively without filtering through an intellectual, conceptual, emotional, personal, technical framework.

6. Listening and Looking – Making an eye contact is an integral part of any conversation.  There is absolutely

no point in engaging someone in a conversation if you are not going to be present both physically and mentally.  I have seen many people, instead of making an eye contact during a conversation, scanning the surroundings or the room to determine if they know someone else. The kind of attitude displayed during a conversation is again a key element of listening.

 7. Email communication – you may be wondering what has email got to do with listening. Have you been in situations where you have sent an email to someone and have been waiting for a response. In today’s world where communication has taken so many forms, I believe that for any relevant email that each of us receive, it is a courtesy to reply to that email immediately or at the bare minimum acknowledge, so that the sender knows that he or she has got your attention.

You don’t need to be leader to be an effective listener. Any human being who wants to be listened to will give another the same chance.

Would you like to add any other points to How To Listen Effectively. Please share in the Comments Section below. Thank you.

Image Source 1

Image Source 3

Image Source 4

India and Pakistan

Views from a Human Being and from the heart.