• Happiness,  Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Uncategorized

    Courage From Within – How Conviction And Trust Can Help

    Growing up I didn’t think I had much courage. One day I saw this quote saying: Courage is not the absence of fear it is acting despite — because something is important to us. That made perfect sense! Fear will always be there and that might be a good thing as it enforces us to prepare well by doing the due diligence. Conviction is an important part of courage. I am able to bring courage because my conviction about the matter is stronger than the fear. 22 years ago, when I first came to the US for my grad school, it was the very first time for me to be in a foreign…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  Uncategorized

    Don’t Focus on the Problem – Focus on your Ultimate Vision

    Last year, an engineer, let me call him Tom, came to me. He looked very tired and unhappy. “Sharmin, I am working long days, late nights, still my manager wants me to do more, have more impact, show more leadership…where is the time…why can’t he see my contribution already! With changes going around all the time it is so hard to get anything done on time. I even wanted to change this job, but in this economy it is so hard to get an interview even!” – Tom gave me a quite a vivid picture of his life. I felt compassionate for him. Not too long ago I experienced this…

  • Leadership,  Success Strategy,  Uncategorized

    Procrastination – How to Manage this Common Vice

    [Summary: Don’t get too hard on yourself- find the root cause and handle it in a smarter way.] If you are reading this you might be like many of us who suffer from procrastination. But don’t stop there – this is just the tip of the iceberg, the symptom of something bigger underneath. Pay attention and address the root cause. For my case I procrastinate for different reasons. For example, when the task: Needs deep attention (e.g. creative thinking) Is hard – something I am not naturally good at (e.g. accounting). Is boring (organizing, paper work, chores) My strategy depends on the reason for the procrastination. For the high energy…

  • Success Strategy,  Time Management,  Uncategorized

    The Myth of Multitasking

    Too many times I hear that you can’t survive without multitasking. Checking emails during a meeting, responding to a door knock while trying focus on your work seem to be a common scenario at the workplace. While many times it pays off to be able to take care of multiple things at once, it would be useful to take a look at our brain to see when it is NOT the best strategy. Any kind of task that needs a little amount of analyzing or decision making is processed in the Pre-frontal cortex (PFC) of the brain. The PFC is very small and very much energy hungry part that sits…

  • Uncategorized

    Feeling overwhelmed? You might be overloading your PFC

    Do you often feel overwhelmed? Do you wonder why it happens? Understanding a bit of how our brain works might give you some idea. The part of the brain behind our forehead is called the prefrontal cortex(PFC). PFC is a very small part compared to the rest of the brain (where permanent memory resides, in the form of patterns). PFC mainly performs the executive functions (processing, analysis, decision making etc.). PFC needs lots of energy to function, not only that, at a time it can handle only a few pieces of information, e.g. three numbers at a time. For example, think about a 10 digit phone number, when you have it like 4258234417 VS 425-821-4417, notice,…

  • Uncategorized

    The Happiness Quadrant

    Have you ever wondered if there is a mathematical representation for Happiness? The answer is Yes! Tal Ben-Shahar, a renowned researcher in positive psychology and a popular lecturer at Harvard represented happiness in terms of X-Y quadrant. Considering X being the present happiness and Y the future happiness, he said we need to have both of them positive to be happy. Imagine you are having a family trip to the Yellowstone National Park. You have got the time off from work, you got the money for the trip, made all the reservations and now you and your family have started the journey. It is a 12- hours’ drive, and you are…

  • Uncategorized

    Feeling- A vital part missing from the thinker’s head

    “What do you feel now?” I ask my client Tom in the middle of our session. “I think it is, …”, he replies. “What do you feel”, I ask persistently. “Well, I think it could be …”; little baffled, Tom reiterates his thoughts. In Tom’s mind “feeling” is a synonym of “thinking”, he(who is an engineer) lives and breathes in his head, the rest of the body underneath merely serves as a pedestal for his head! Tom is not alone. When I first came for my coach training I had hard time with these “feeling’ questions. I didn’t know much about it other than, feeling good or bad. Then when…

  • Uncategorized

    Too many to-dos… Not enough time…Cause or Symptom?

    My friend Amy calls herself lazy as she is always running behind her infinitely long to-dos. Even when she is sitting down she feels guilty that she was supposed to do something useful.  She says sorry a zillion times as she frequently cancels our coffee/phone chats at the last moment. Seeing her hyperactivity makes me feel underperformed:). I have been wondering why is that we are always behind despite all the hard work? Why she feels compelled to say “Yes” to every request? Recently found some answer from this article. Saying “Yes” 1. Avoids conflicts 2. Takes less time than pausing to decide whether or not the request is truly important 3.…

  • Uncategorized

    A Baby step isn’t just for the Babies

    In my 1:1 coaching and group classes I have been teaching this concept from TED on how to create your own vision (what do you want) and design baby steps to take you closer to that vision.  A baby step is not just the execution; the idea, the planning, even as simple as carving out a solid 30 min from your busy day to think about your vision could be a baby step. A baby step gives you more clarity about your vision; it gives you added experience and learning. Even when you fail, a conscious baby step always takes you closer to realizing your vision. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said…

  • Uncategorized

    Overnight success- How realistic is that assumption?

    I sometimes wished one fine morning I will get the results I always wanted; I will get the solution of my problems. But alas it never happened that easily!  My grandma used to say, our luck is buried under a rock, and it requires lots of effort to get it out; whereas “others” have it under a leaf, a wind blows and they find their fortune! For many years I felt less fortunate as nothing came easy for me. As I grew older and learned a thing or two, I realized many of the cases of those “fortunate others” actually took a great deal of failures, sacrifices and extra efforts to get to where…