• Happiness

    Focus on Your Vision: A Positive Approach to Life’s Challenges

    [Key point: I have described  how vision focus works as a great parenting tool for me. It not only helps to manage the current situation more gracefully, it gives a greater clarity and builds a more sustainable foundation for the future.] I am preparing for the seminar next week on this topic for a tech company. No matter how professionally savvy audience I address, I always get a few parenting questions (specially from the Moms). A typical one: “How can I teach my 8 year old to be responsible enough to keep his room clean”?  I candidly admit that it is a work in progress for me as well. I…

  • 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 put others needs ahead of me, am I not supposed to do that way”? Awareness around renowned development psychologist Robert Kegan’s Human Maturity Stages might shed some light on this. 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,  Happiness,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    Fulfilling Achievements are Good, Experiences are Even Better

    I often ask this question to my clients and class participants: Describe some occasions from the recent past when you felt excited and fulfilled. The common responses I get are, “when I graduated college”, “got my dream job”, “had my last promotion”, “had my baby”…. Interesting to note, the “recent past” part gets ignored easily. Another observation, all those listed are mostly focused on achievements and not on the activity or the experience of doing something. You can ask me why this is a problem. The problem is when we are only focusing on achievements, we need to wait (sometimes long) for those to happen again for us to be…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    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 quite a vivid picture of his life. I felt compassion for him. Not too long ago I experienced this first…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness

    Find an Enjoyable Career : It is Easier than you Think

    The other day I was talking to an engineer from a big brand name company. I asked her, what is that she likes most in her job. She said when she knows what needs to be done and she can finish it on time. Also, she likes the pay and the benefits. Do you see a problem here? Curious me asked, “What else do you like, what do you like about the work?”. “Nothing much, I do this because I have a college degree for this, I can’t afford to change my career”, she answered candidly with zero enthusiasm in her voice. I am sure she is not alone; there…

  • The author on a spring afternoon in Seattle

    What life stage are you in – Survival, Success or Significance?

    Found this recently: Everyone lives at one of three levels in life: Survival, Success, and Significance.  Survival– You are living from week to week, looking forward to the weekends, vacations, and finally the retirement. In my words, this is life in “Autopilot mode“. Success – Eating out, Driving a nice car, looking good, feeling good, having goods. At this level when people grow further (in maturity) they start thinking – If I am so successful why I don’t feel satisfied! Significance– You know your life matters. You know why you are alive and you have a purpose. You live the life of “fun and purpose“. As a coach, I have seen anyone…

  • Living from inside out
    Happiness,  Leadership,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    How are you setting your goals, Inside-out or Outside-in?

    Last week I was describing the concept of “Living from inside-out” to my class participants in a high tech company. The example I gave – If you target to become a VP of a company that is an “outside-in” way of seeing your goal. The “inside-out” approach could be – I want to innovate, drive a product (what kind?) that I care (fill in here with why you care…) and I am willing to take risks, sacrifice my comfort to make it a success (define it using your values). Basically you are defining your intention qualitatively; you are not attached to a certain form of it. There is a good…

  • Fall color
    Happiness,  Success Strategy

    Happiness theory and my Exercise routine

    The other day at the end of my class, people got quite hyped up to make time to do something for themselves. Few of them made a commitment to start going to the gym. Sounded like a great idea! But experience tells me that, by the next class more than half will report that they didn’t have time or motivation. So what would help to be more successful? I found this answer for myself and surprisingly enough that aligns with happiness theory! Find an activity(exercise or something else) that You enjoy; the reward is instantaneous as well as comes with a long term positive impact. It is a small stretch for you…

  • Barren backyard
    Happiness,  Time Management

    Work-life balance in my own backyard

    Among so many articles about work-life balance, this one in HBR, the Imperfect balance between work and life caught my attention today. The main idea is 1. Pick a few things that really need your focus 2. Delegate or let go of others, and 3. Most importantly, embrace imperfection. The author found that one major hurdle for achieving work-life balance is artificial images of perfection. She also points to the fact that sometimes what is assumed to constitute perfection can be counter-productive. For example, keeping babies always in a sterile environment would make them less adaptable to the real world or delaying a product release would risk losing the market…

  • Image by Gillian Callison from Pixabay
    Happiness,  Success Strategy

    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 to 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 plenty of failures, sacrifices, and extra efforts to get to where they are…