• My cat and I
    Happiness,  Stress Management

    Life Lessons From Adopting A Pet

    A few months after the pandemic started, we decided to get a kitten. Even though my daughter had been asking about it for a while, I was not looking forward to the additional responsibility. I was afraid of the mess the cat would create around the house. And it did. You can imagine the stress and the fights we had during those early days. Fast forward 18 months, and the mess is still happening occasionally, but fortunately, I no longer am stressed about it as I was before. What has changed? Over the past 18 months, we taught ourselves about taking care of a cat and its behavior; we experimented…

  • EQ,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Caterpillars to Butterflies : Human Maturity Stages

    When I ask “What do YOU want” people sometimes get confused.  Common responses are: “Wouldn’t that be selfish”? “I always think about others, I want others to be happy; am I not supposed to do that way”? Awareness of renowned development psychologist Robert Kegan’s Human Maturity Stages may help understand the dilemma. Kegan said humans go through several major stages of maturity in their lifetime. And not everyone reaches all of them in their lifetime. Ego Centric Self (Stage 0-2) This is typically the stage from birth to adolescence. At this stage, the earth revolves around them. Others are there to fulfill their needs. They hardly have the capacity to feel…

  • Career satisfaction,  EQ,  Executive Presence,  Happiness,  Leadership,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    Organization Politics – How We See It Can Change the Meaning

    “I like doing my job, but I hate politics. Almost everyone says that they hate politics. If no one likes it, then who creates it in the first place”? My friend Barb sighed as she and I were catching up over coffee on a beautiful sunny spring afternoon. We commonly use the term “politics” to describe people’s actions to advance their self-interest at the cost of their coworkers’ interests. It is a win-lose game driven by the intention of gaining something for a selfish purpose. As someone who spent 20+ years inside organizations and then coaching organization leaders, I get curious about this. Barb’s comment made me ponder even more.…

  • 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 can cause more harm than good. Growing up, we all developed different traits that kept us safe, got us what we needed, and helped us achieve success. Other than the hyper-achiever, there are several other traits; pleaser, perfectionist, victim, are to name a few. My top two are hyper-achiever…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    “Never Looked Back” – Is a Myth

    Recently I was sharing the story of my career change and someone commented, “…and you never looked back”! I was caught by surprise. The fact is, I did look back, many times. The past 10 years of my new career was anything but easy and many times I doubted and regretted my original decision. That comment invoked a deeper insight in me though. “I never looked back”, gives us the impression that the person found their ultimate path and everything became better afterward. It is like those “lived happily ever after” fairy tales. This is far from reality and I am yet to meet someone with significant successes, who never…

  • Holiday, Gingerbread house
    Happiness,  Stress Management,  WorkLife balance

    This Holiday, Build Resilience Through Family Stories and Connections

    It’s the season. Despite the threat of Omicron and everything else,  holidays are in the air. Holidays are a reminder to connect with what is important that we often forget amidst our daily grinds. People worldwide observe them by reuniting and connecting with their near and dear ones through food, festivities, stories, and other rituals. The spirit is no less, even though the holidays had to be more virtual than in person since last year. A few years ago, in a rare family get-together,  I got another chance to remember how these connections and touchpoints help our resilience and overall wellbeing. In Nov 2017, after 20+ years, my geographically dispersed…

  • 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…