Life as we know it…..


There are times in our life when things go wrong go drastically wrong. We may be at the top of our game and at the pinnacle of our art but then  sometimes due to no fault of ours, things seem to be going downhill.it seems whatever you have built is either coming crashing down or brick by brick is falling apart. It’s almost like you are in a highway driving at cruise speed and then you hit a barrier that was not meant to be there and your car swirls out of control. When you finally are in control, you realize that your car is a wreck, and sometimes depending on how bad the accident you may have a scar or an injury.

Life is tough and there will be times when things are out of our control. It’s frustrating at times coz no matter what you do the outcome is always perceived negatively. No matter how hard you work, you are always hit below the belt. You start feeling that you are dealt a poor hand. Everyone else is better off and don’t seem to have the same problem as me.

You may be having a life, where everything has been good and the grass is green and then something happens and then you are no longer in control and you seem to be sinking in quicksand.

There will be circumstances in life, when everything and everyone seems to be going against you. During this time it’s easy to be negative and say why me? We tend to get critical of others as well as ourselves. If the situation still continues it may push you to a corner where you may start doubting your own confidence & decisions. That is where persistence and resilience is so important.

Sometimes it’s not about fighting back. The situation is like a perfect storm, where you don’t fight it, at times its best you lay low and let the storm pass rather than paddle against the storm. Paddling against the storm may only tire you out and the storm will engulf you completely. If you stay low and just stay focused on what you need to do, after sometime the storm will pass and you will be able to paddle away on a beautiful day.

At times there are battlefields in the mind, where you literally play out what’s happening and what needs to happen as a result it drains you out further. We need to focus on what we can do and the rest leave to God, we cannot control everything.

Below are some tips that can help you tide during such situations:

  1. Gratitude Journal – Focus on the positive, we would like to have a lot more, but we could also have alot less. Be thankful for the people and things in your life. A Gratitude Journal is a good way to be thankful on a daily basis for all the goodness experienced during the day. As a result of the negativity we tend to focus only on what’s wrong or broken. The journal is good reminder of all the goodness that’s still in our life.
  2. Spirituality – it’s important that you have some kind of belief and practice some kind of belief in God. This life and our existence is supernatural and understanding that connection can be very soothing.
  3. Be Gentle towards yourself. – You need to be gentle towards yourself there’s a lot going on and our circumstances may be forcing us to a corner. People, our friends and family may not be speaking highly of us. But you need to make peace with yourself and let yourself know that you are doing everting in your power to do the right thing and pat your back and tell yourself that you will get through this and you are a good person. There is no shortage of critics and you don’t need to be a self-critic as you will be with yourself at all times your soul needs to be at peace with your mind. It’s not your fault that someone died, their time was up and they had to go. It’s not your fault that something went wrong, it’s not your fault that there is no food in your fridge. Give yourself some slack and focus on what needs to be done. You can’t blame yourself for everything.
  4. No Self Pity – While you need to be gentle towards yourself, you can’t afford to have self-pity. You can cry if needed if it helps calm your nerves. Having a pity party with yourself will pull you down and if this is at a regular interval it may lead you to depression. It’s ok to be depressed once a while but don’t stay there. Pity party will only dampen your spirts further. There is a lot more to live for and life is not over yet.
  5. Reduce Negativity – cut down on negative relationships, thoughts or anything that influences negativity. This is the most important aspect, if you surround yourself with negativity than no matter what you do, you will always focus on negativity and you will be more and more negative to everything including yourself. Any sign of positive progress can be brought down by surrounding ourselves with negative or toxic people. Negative people may further magnify a negative situation and over power the good in your life.
  6. Surround yourself with positivity- Positive people will build you and reinforce hope and positivity in your life. Seeing the glass half full is a very important aspect especially when you are struggling in a situation. You will enjoy positive aspects even in a worst case scenario. Be surrounded by a positive environment, if there is someplace that brings down your energy its best you avoid it now or at least until you are strong enough to face it again.
  7. This too shall pass – know that everything is not constant, everything good or bad will pass away with time. You need to be resilient but remind yourself that this is a temporary phase. Having this attitude helps you overcome the most difficult life changing events.
  8. Get creative – Do something you love, get a passion that helps you overcome your emotions. Find a hobby or alternate passion like painting, cooking, hiking, music anything that soothes you.
  9. Stay Fit – Both mentally and physical, start exercising on a regular basis, this emits positivity in the body as well you will get some balance. If nothing at all, it help you in taking out your frustration in a very creative way.
  10. Drink Water – Don’t underestimate the humble drink.it is a fluid which reaches every part of the body and supplying essentials to our different body part. Drinking water keeps us hydrated, this a wonderful remedy with no hangover.
  11. Eating Healthy – Nutrition is key to how we feel, what we eat is what we feel, identify what foods make you irritated or happy. However binge eating is not an answer neither is eating chocolate at all times. Rather focus on nutritious & natural food. Consider your current health and include, proteins, carbo hydrates and the necessary fat. Avoid fast food and anything that is unhealthy.
  12. Circle of Influence – Focus on what is within your control. You have an important meeting, stuck in traffic, what’s in your control – no point cursing and trying to drive like a maniac. Inform the participants you will be late, can you reschedule. Best is if you can plan in advance in anticipation of the traffic. Focus on what’s in your control, the more you get irritated and frustrated, the more it will impact your mental well-being.
  13. Self-Talk – Sometimes a pep talk is needed, positive self-talk is needed as your soul needs to hear the words. At times emotions are high when we are angry or frustrated, sometimes it almost feels like a lost situation or people may make you feel like a loser. It is during those times that you need to talk to yourself and let yourself know that you are worthy and there is a purpose to your life there is a calling and this phase is temporary. It’s important that you self-talk in present tense. Eg. I am good in singing, not I will be good in singing. This too shall pass not this will pass. The tense of the sentence should be present tense so your senses can accept this view point and slowly you will see the positive change.
  14. Talk to someone – Sometimes just talking out your feelings, thoughts or situation with someone you trust, unleashes the pent up negative energy. But don’t continue on a negative ongoing rant as it will hamper your further. It’s ok to vent but not get into a victim mode.
  15. Help others – Helping others can sometime help create a sense of positivity.
  16. Get Help if needed – Seek help from friends and family there is no share in asking for help. Sometimes it’s best to seek a professional help it’s not wrong. We are living in stressful times where the pressures of life is high. It’s completely acceptable to seek professional counselling, mentoring, coaching or medical help as needed.

Know that everything has a reason, you will only learn with time why you had to endure this difficult situation. Life is a best teacher, you don’t need to know the answers to everything in life. You need to know that you are unique you are blessed and God has a plan for you. Life is a journey not a destination we are travelers so let’s make most of this life. We will hit some rough patches, lean in on others as needed but make sure that you make some memories while in dirt. We will reach out destination in all crowning glory.

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F1 or Cntrl + Alt+ Del


We live for each other, in fact humans cannot live in isolation and need each other. It is only when we live for each other when we can make this world a beautiful place.

Recently during my recent travels to New York, I realized how disconnected the society was. The neighbors didn’t necessarily know each other. There was little energy and it was each to his own. Nothing wrong about it, back home too it’s very similar, everyone busy with themselves. But there were a few things that got me thinking.

We were making our way towards the subway station in a predominantly what would be considered as a black society. We were climbing down the stairs and just a little ahead was a black mom who was pushing a pram with a baby towards the end of the stairway. Before I knew it, another white lady who also had a baby in her pram was coming up, she was talking to her friend. She left her pram with her friend, walked up the stairs, and without saying a word, helped the black woman carry the pram down. I was stumped, I had heard stories of black and white not getting along, furthermore I asked myself, what stopped me or my friends from helping the woman. It took another mother to know the pain of this mother and she helped her out. There was no words exchanged, no permission taken, no thank you said. The act was completed and each went their way.

We live in a life so fast paced that we forget that each of us have needs and if were more giving this world will be happier place to live in.

I read somewhere that, nothing in nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water, Trees don’t eat their own fruit. The Sun doesn’t shine for itself. A flowers true fragrance is not for itself. Living for each other is the rule of nature.

So look around and see if you can make a positive difference in someone’s life today.

Rainy Night


Its 7:30 and there’s no Sun

It’s raining so I couldn’t go for my run.

It’s been raining all night

telling me its monsoon time all-right.

The lightening & thundering has me scared

And I am sleeping in fright under my bed.

I ask God to take it away

And he reminds me that it’s not the month of May.

 

Please I say, I am scared of thunder & lightening

The thunderous sound has me freighting.

God smiled and said,

Come out from under the bed.

It needs to rain as per plan

Just breathe and you will be fine in ten.

 

Just then the dark sky is lit up with light followed by a clap of thunder.

My heart flutters and I creep back under.

God, I say is this your way of a joke

I am scared and you mock and poke.

God says, no child, be brave and trust me

This thunder & lightening by morning will flee.

 

I sleep not throughout the night

And wait for the first ray of light.

I am welcomed by the monsoon sights

I am relieved that I lived through the night,

 

God says, child, life is a roller coaster ride

Yes I say, and many times I have cried.

He smiles, it’s filled with peaks & valleys

You will experience rainy & sunny days.

As you live your life, I will show you different ways.

If you endure the rains you will be able to enjoy the sun

And then you can go for your run.

So it is with life, if you endure the rains and pains

You will reap the joy & gains

 

Sometimes life pushes us to a wall,

Just remember it’s not the end of it all.

You will be relieved that you lived through the night

And with the first ray of light comes the sun

And I can now go for my Run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destiny – Do I have a Choice


“Do you believe in destiny” my friend asked. I looked at her and then replied yes I do.. She thought about it and then asked “what is destiny according to you”?  A fair question I though because her understanding of destiny is likely to different than mine.

While have always believed that we all have a destiny I never thought about it the way my friend was asking me. I told her the first thing that came to my head that our destiny is already decided, everything happens for a reason, and we have a destination, an end point that we all are headed to. What is my destination? while I understand I don’t really know the end point yet? She was not convinced with my answer and obviously her understanding of destiny was different. We never got to complete the conversation, but that led me to introspect a few things about destiny and destination.

What really is destiny, what is my destiny, do I have any say in the destiny. I thought about it, I looked up the meaning, below were the 2 that I could find.

  1. The events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.
  2. The hidden power believed to control future events; fate.

I am more of a believer of the second definition that there is a supernatural power, a God who is in control of our destiny with the aspect that everything happens for a reason. But then I thought if everything is pre-defined then do I have a choice, if not then what is the point of taking efforts & struggling in this life, when something is not going to change.

I thought about it, I realized that in life while God wants nothing but the best for us, the Free Will is with us humans. Remember the movie Bruce Almighty, this dialogue in the movie has stayed with me,  There are only 2 rules. You can’t tell anybody you’re God, believe me you don’t want that kind of attention, and you can’t mess with free will. Basically God does not interfere with the Free Will of us humans and we have the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.

No matter what situation we are in good, bad or ugly we always have choices. The choices & decisions we make either lead us closer or further away from the destination. The Bible says: I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you, life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

The GPS analogy is good way to describe destiny and final destination. So think about it this way, you are going on a vacation and you are using your GPS. As you drive down the road you decided to use the fastest route to the destination as displayed by the GPS. We always do that, but sometimes as we know, roads sometimes in the interiors of a location are not mapped accurately and then we may end up taking a wrong turn. This then leads to a detour and the GPS then suggests another path to the destination. Assuming how off path you would have got, you will need travel that extra distance in order to reach the final destination. At times the GPS suggest multiple options and you make a choice which route to drive. So primarily we always have options, no matter what kind of a dire situation we are in.

If I am destined to be on stage or to be a personality figure, than no matter what choice I make, like getting a profession which does not lead me to the destination. I will go further away from my destination. I have the power to make the choices. There may be times that I am evading my destiny and make choices which are in opposite of where my destiny lies. There will come a point in time where you will have to make a detour, if you don’t, you will make a destiny which is very different than the one that God planned for you.

God will only be supportive and try to provide us options and choices at all times so we can make the right choices and get back on track and move closer to our destiny.

Another movie that I remember is dangerous minds a quote that hit me home was, “Hey, listen. Nobody’s forcing you to be here. You have a choice. You can stay, or you can leave…. There are no victims in this classroom” another dialogue is “Because I make a choice to care. And honey, the money ain’t that good.”

We have a choice in everything that happens to us, we can do it or not do it. Doing nothing about something at hand is also a choice. So really when we are in our journey of life we have plenty of options and choices. Choices & decisions that we take in life really make us who we are and this can either a good reflection of who we were either meant to be or someone that is unrecognizable. I am made in the image of God so I am destined to a lot more in life and will not settle for less. Being more choice full and decisive will help ensure that I reach my final destination.

So in closing I will exercise my free will the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.

 

The A Team


“Do you like working in a team”? they asked her. Rima said “yes”. “Give us an example of when you were working with a team what were the results and your role in the work”, the panelist asked her. Rima didn’t blink her eyes, her head was racing searching for an example. She was not sure of how to respond to the query.

Rima was in an interview and panelists were firing volley of questions at her and this one was the last volley at her her….She thought hard and blurted,,,”we had this massive project with a very tight timeline further accentuated by budget cuts and we managed to pull it off within timeline and slashed budgets”. “So what was your role”? Rima thought hard what had she done during the project, she was assigned legwork of the project. Coordination and compilation of the project. There were others who were leading the project, making decisions, some others system experts and others what you would call SMEs in the project. She tried to explain that she was one of the many who worked on the project to ensure that the team was able to deliver. Ms Rima can you explain what was your role in the project. Rima thought hard how can she explain what her role was. She was assigned certain work that she did very diligently, suggested some ideas to her seniors but at the end of the day just did her job.

Rima introspected did her participation in the team really count. What about the endless hours she spent at her laptop trying to complete her work. There were no weekends or any family time during that time, all she did wok. Was all that in vain, did it mean that the project could have been completed without her and her contribution was insignificant? What about that time when her colleague was unwell and there was an important milestone to be delivered she was a backup for her colleague. Did it not count to anything when her team members came to her when they were low or too stressed and needed someone to smile or crack a quick joke. Didn’t she help keep the entire team sane? Were her efforts of motivating or helping her team mates in vain? But this was not part of her job, she did it because she felt it was needed and she empathized and understood the team. She was the one person who team members would go to resolve conflicts on the team or if they just needed space.

“Ms. Rima it will be great if you can articulate clearly what was your role in this project”? Rima was quiet for some time and then simply answered, “Apart from doing the work that Is assigned to me. I maintain harmony and morale of the team”. The interview Panel were puzzled asked her to explain. Rima said, “the project lead and all other prestigious roles are taken and they have to lead a team, I am team member who is like a soldier in the infantry. I can work tirelessly and when others are tired I can bring a cheer to them. I don’t get paid for doing that but I think it’s is important to build a team culture and I help build it. Having a huge team can lead to conflicts, conflicts that even people don’t realize exits or accept. I help nip them in the bud. Overall I am not a quarter back, but I am someone who can help the quarter back gain ground and make a touchdown.

The panelist didn’t seem to understand. At that point Rima made a decision that this was not the place she would like to associate herself with. The interview ended, they were only interested in what her role was but didn’t understand the role she and many others played over and beyond their job. Many of us fail to recognize the need of such employees who bind the team together, they may not be star performers but are very important nucleus of an organization as they can change the way a team function.

So the next time you are in the interview panel, be clear of who you want to hire, the star performer, project leader, or just someone who sits at the corner cubicle but acts like glue for the team. You dont always need a star performer sometimes you need someone who help others excel in what they do.

The below link hosted by Performia Australia is a good representation.

Feedback – The Gift


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We all receive and give feedback continuously. We may not realize it but we do give feedback when our food has not arrived on time, we don’t like the way we are being treated or the service we receive. This may mostly be negative or constructive feedback. There are times when we give positive feedback but on very occasions. Feedback can be directed to unkown person – cab driver, the waiter in the restaurant, Laundry man, paper boy etc.

If you think of it we don’t necessarily pay attention to how we give feedback. Since we give and receive feedback so many times a day, we would do a world of difference if we could observe and improve on the way we give feedback especially to those who really matter.

I was introduced to the concept of OFNR (Observe, Feel, Need, and Request) during a training session and thought it was an interesting concept. The way it works is that whenever you want to give feedback you can frame your conversation without blaming the other person. Typically when we give feedback we tend to blame the other person, which is entirely incorrect.

The basic tenets of feedback is that it should:

  1. Never be personal, the feedback should be on the behavior or the action and not about the person.
  2. We should not blame the person.
  3. Ask if you can give feedback
  4. Give feedback 1 to 1 and not in public

The OFNR concepts work very well and is very effective at work and in relationships. The execution of OFNR is very simple.

Feedback covers the four aspects Observe, Feel, Need and Request. Assume you want to give feedback to someone. You should simply start by asking if you can give feedback, feedback should be given 1 to 1.

Once you and the person are in the room, you can introduce the topic by saying you want to give feedback.

Start with Observe – Let the person know your observation’s, these are facts, the persons actions, data points etc, then inform the person that as a result of this action how this has made you feel. Eg if there is someone who has been coming to office late, let them know the number of time they have been coming late, is there a patter etc. Then you can inform that, how this makes you feel that they don’t enjoy the work, they are not interested to maintain decorum, it hurt your or made you feel angry.

The next is letting the other person know your need – tell them that you need them to come on time as the decorum needs to be maintained or this can ensure that they don’t miss out important points discussed in the team meeting etc. You need them be more accountable and report to work on time etc.

Lastly make a request – Request the person to adhere to work timelines and work ethics.

Many a difficult conversations can be overcome by using the simple OFNR concept. It appears to be overtly simply but if the message can be got across to the other person than why not. During the conversation it is likely that you may get into a discussion where the person receiving feedback may want to justify, clarify or refute the observations, showing empathy and understanding the other person’s point of view is very helpful during such conversations. What is important in this feedback style is that while you do give feedback to the person you don’t blame them rather you let them know your feeling, needs and wants. Hence one has be willing to be vulnerable while having such conversations.

For those receiving a feedback it is a gift, so welcome it with open arms.

Power Play – Scales


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By Power Play I am not referring to a sporting terminology rather I am referring to positions people play or take in any relationship.

Knowingly or unknowingly many of us are emotional victims of power play. Let me explain the concept by simply putting it like this -if two or more people are in a relationship and if there is one or more persons dictating the terms of the relationship then this is what is called Power Play in relationship.

Power play can exists at work place in personal life and even among spouses married to each other for years. Many a relationship can be destroyed if the power play are skewed or the possibility is that one of the participant in the relationship can be emotionally challenged.

Power play exists in all types of relationship for those dating, when we meet, where we meet for how long, place of meeting etc is decided by the one more in power or in control. As children the power rests with the parents, they make the decisions for the kids early on in life. At school, teachers are in control of what the students should do.

As per Google one of the meanings of Power Play is tactics exhibiting or intended to increase a person’s power or influence. Sometimes this concentration Power can corrode the relationship as the recipient may be hurting and may not have the courage or heart to speak up for the fear of losing the other. Ultimately the relationship turns sour and is stale and no longer relevant to the parties in the relationship.

At times people may continue to be in the relationship oblivious to the power play, each one adopts the position of either being offensive or submissive. Over a period of time what would have been acceptable by the person being submissive is no longer acceptable as they may no longer be enjoying this position and they want to be more in control. The ones in control, may go about their decisions and way of life without understanding the other persons need and decision making in the relationship.

For people in power it is rare that they would like to control a relationship to the extent that they would want to hurt others in the relationship. Sometimes this power position arises becomes the other persons are in awe of this person and looks up to them or at times they may not be willing to take the decision or risks that the other person is willing to take. Hence by default these individuals are put in the power play position by others hence leaving no choice this person assumes this power position.

It’s important to bring about balance of this power play especially at work and in a relationship. While for some it may seem natural to be in control of the conversation or have a power position in a relationship.  This may be as a result of their personality which is shaped up by the experiences they have had in life. Similarly those lesser in power may be in that position because of their unique experiences.

The fact is that Power Play exists and it’s not right of wrong to be in either of the pedestal of high or low in power. It’s how to balance this power play, maintain the dignity and respect in a relationship is important. For others in lower end of the power position it’s important to recognize that they should be open and should communicate to those in power of how they are they feeling and if they want to be more in power or change the current power scale. For those in control or power – It simply means, have I considered what the other person is feeling, wanting and needed.

The more we communicate the more issues of power play their possible extremes can be avoided. In areas where these do exits open dialogue with the other can help create balance in the relationship.