• 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…

  • 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…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness

    Career Change – 4 Things Helped Me Make the Move

    Last week I saw two relevant posts on this topic, one in the Forbes magazine and the other in the TEDx talk. I have been wondering where these article/talks were a few years back when I was in this dilemma! I am sure there were many, only that those somehow didn’t come into my radar. I had to do it the harder way. What helped me to make the decision were these few basic points. 1. When I was convinced, I deserve to have more fulfillment It took me a while to realize, I am not here to “do” a lot of things, and I am not here to be a “superwoman” either.…

  • Happiness,  Success Strategy

    There is always more than one solution!

    We are having a record amount of snowfall here in Seattle. My little girl is having the fun of her lifetime, snowball fight, making snowman, sledding, you name it! Though I was a little lazy initially, now I am enjoying it too. Even shoveling seems to be fun. This afternoon when I was trying to clean up the driveway my daughter wanted to do it too. With having only one shovel, taking turns seemed to be the only choice we had. But I was getting a little impatient as it would be hard to finish the work before evening. At first, I thought I will just be the parent and…

  • Happiness,  Success Strategy

    Empowering Language – Change the Word to Change the Outcome

      Language is power.  When we speak, we exercise the power of language to transform reality. —Julia PenelopeWhat, we say and how we say it impacts our own experience and the experience we have of other people in our life.  Our communication has an impact not only on a conscious, mental level but also on many subtle levels.  Words convey underlying messages to our subconscious mind, evoking physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual meaning for others and us. Some words and phrases are less empowering (or useful) than others.  For example, say the following words to yourself: “I have to stop at the bank on my way home”.  Pay particular attention to…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness

    Where IS my passion?

    Too often I hear, “I know I hate my job, but I don’t know either what else I would do- I don’t know where my passion is”. I don’t find it surprising at all! As a matter of fact, I have had the same question a while ago; it took me months and years to find out where my passion is. According to Wikipedia, Passion can be expressed as a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion towards a subject, idea, person, or object. A person is said to have a passion for something when they have a strong positive affinity for it. In my personal definition passion is…