• Goats blocking the street : Image by Dennis Larsen from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  Self-leadership

    Career Satisfaction: What Is In Your Way?

    “Not enough time,” “Not enough support from others,” “Lack of ideas” topped the list for my survey question: “What is in your way of a more satisfying career?”  It would have been great if somehow these external factors of time and support were resolved so you and I could flourish. But alas, as said by the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “We cannot (always) choose our external circumstances…”. In algebra, we learned that we need to work on the variable part if something is constant. Epictetus added, “…but we can always choose how we respond to them.”  Our choice to respond is the variable part! You may wonder what makes Epictetus the…

  • Happiness,  Success Strategy

    Optimize Yourself With a Mind-Body Connection

    It was the summer of 2009 when I started my coach training class; the instructor started the session with a guided meditation. The purpose was to be ready and present for the session. However, as someone from the high-paced, left-brained,  hardcore technology field, I could not appreciate it much. Noticing my breathing and the body parts seemed totally nonintellectual! Then, to make things even worse, she asked us to imagine forming a circle with our ancestors and dance with them – I totally checked out and waited impatiently till she came back to reality! Later, as a coach and a workshop facilitator, I have now learned to appreciate the value of…

  • Authenticity, a bird showing its colors - Image by wasi1370 from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Communication,  Executive Presence,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Self-leadership

    Is “Authenticity” Backfiring On You? Here Is Why

    Theresa, a senior developer in a tech firm, said that their management encouraged them to be authentic. It prompted her to be passionately sharing some of her opinions. There was only one problem: others saw it as negativity bias, resulting in some stern feedback from his manager. Prakash, a senior Director, was frustrated with his team’s progress and didn’t hide it during the team meeting. It cost him a promotion. Jim, a business development manager, said that he felt lonely to be constantly fighting for the right thing when others were too comfortable tolerating the mediocre decisions the team was making. All three stories have one thing in common. They…

  • A Resting Dog - Image by Pitsch from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  productivity,  Self-leadership,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    Want To Be Productive? Start With Doing Nothing (Guest post)

    “I am busy all day, trying to complete my to-do list before calling it a day. Yet, some things always remain undone, and, worse still, new things pop up. I go to bed tired, with the dissatisfaction that I couldn’t do what I set out to during the day.” These were Sami’s words as I listened to him in a quiet coffee shop. I am sure it rings a bell with many of you, especially those working at large corporates and juggling family and work. Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 movie “Modern Times” is all about Sami. And perhaps you, too. In this movie, the protagonist was working hard at an ever-accelerating…

  • Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Reactivity To Thoughtfulness – A Corporate Leader’s Journey

    “He doesn’t work well with others.” “He has issues dealing with bad news.” “He is a star performer, but he is lacking executive presence.”  These are some of the typical “pain points” in organizations. Leaders often spend a lot of time, energy, and money on these symptoms, throw expensive training with minimal sustainable impact. My experience says these are mostly symptoms; a coach approach can help uncover and address the underlying issues to create a long-lasting positive change. Here is the story of a mid-level manager at a large tech organization. Let’s call him Peter. Peter’s issue was poor conflict management. He had a hard time letting go. Hearing the story…

  • EQ,  Happiness,  Stress Management

    “Why Does It Bother Me?” Why We React So Much By Other’s Opinions

    It was the Spring of 2011, I was volunteering as a treasurer for a non-profit organization. My motivation was to hone my accounting skills while expanding my network. It was going well for the most part except for one small problem. One of the old members started giving me unsolicited advice on how to do my job. At first, I tried to ignore her, but eventually, it pushed me over the edge.  Being relatively new to the team, I decided to talk to someone I trusted. Fortunately, this trusted member was a coach. She empathized with me that the other member wasn’t being respectful. Then she asked, “Why does it bother…

  • A cat is being pampered- Photo by Yerlin Matu on Unsplash
    Happiness,  Self-leadership,  Stress Management,  Work Culture

    What Gets in the Way of Guilt Free Self-Care?

    “Finish your homework before you play “ – Our parents’ well-meaning advice worked well in our early days, but as adults, it is backfiring. These days, most of our work is a continuous process and hardly is completed on a given workday. We tend to postpone all the play (self-care) until we finish the work. We mistakenly think that the completion of the work and the recognition will be enough to keep us going. But the truth is quite the opposite.  Regular play (self-care) helps us be at our optimal condition; it builds the muscles for us to face the challenges of work and other areas of life. In the…

  • Children, foster greater understanding
    Communication,  EQ,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Self-leadership

    Conversations To Foster Greater Understanding

    Recently this post by organizational psychologists at Wharton, Adam Grant, went viral on LinkedIn. He said: The clearest sign of intellectual chemistry isn’t agreeing with someone. It’s enjoying your disagreements with them. Harmony is the pleasing arrangement of different tones, voices, or instruments, not the combination of identical sounds. Creative tension makes beautiful music. I commented there, which became most popular on that post (80+ likes and 20 comments). I would add, keeping the intention of understanding as the purpose, and not so much of agreement or disagreement. That way, it becomes less subjective. For example:  instead of “I disagree,” one can say, “Can you give me an example where it is…

  • Image by alan9187 from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  Personal Brand,  Self-leadership

    Know your Strengths, Capitalize on Them

    Too often, we send employees to training to fix the areas of weaknesses. We expect people to be well-rounded to be successful. The fact is, excellent performers, are rarely “well rounded”; they are sharp. The difference between an excellent performer and an average performer is that the former is aware of their strengths and regularly cultivates them. In contrast, the latter one spends time and energy in a scattered way. What I Mean by Strength 1. An activity is your strength when you can do it consistently, repeatedly, happily, and successfully. 2. You don’t have to have strength in every aspect of your role to excel. 3. You will excel by…

  • A Cat Image by Heinz Hummel from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Coaching,  Executive Presence,  Happiness,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy,  Time Management,  WorkLife balance

    Are You Sabotaged By Your Inner Hyper-Achiever?

    A high-tech leader, let’s call him Jason, said, “I can’t relax; I always have to do something useful. Nobody makes me do so; it’s me. This is how I am”. Jason is not alone. Many of us have such hyper achievers in us, pushing us to do more. This trait may have helped us be where we are, yet its overuse cause more harm than good. Growing up, we all developed traits that kept us safe, got us what we needed, and helped us achieve success. Other than hyper-achiever, pleaser, perfectionist, victim, are to name a few. My top two are hyper-achiever and pleaser.  Psychologists Hal and Sidra Stone call…