• Will Smith hits Chris Rock on Oscar Stage
    EQ,  Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Self-leadership

    What Can We Learn From Will Smith’s Oscar Debacle

    Since Sunday, my newsfeed has been flooding with the news and commentary about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage when he made a rather insensitive joke about Will’s wife, Jada. Smith later apologized to Rock. “I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness… I am a work in progress.” While this is a piece of celebrity news, we can relate to such incidents in our lives. Maybe not every one of us gets out of control like Will, but…

  • Patterns and Tools: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  Coaching,  Personal Brand,  productivity,  Self-leadership,  Stress Management,  Time Management

    A Workshop Emerged from the Themes of Coaching Tech Clients

    After 12 years of coaching software engineers to VPs in the tech industry, I found this common theme: feeling fulfilled about our work and contribution is challenging. Managing a thriving relationship with the boss, peers, and other stakeholders is not easy. They would always want more from us; our passion would be interpreted as aggressiveness, our analytical thinking style would be seen as a lack of executive presence. And the list goes long. In addition, managing a family, kids, along full-time demanding work becomes a losing battle at times. No wonder 55% of the adult population feels Languishing, a lack of zest. As high-performing, high-achieving leaders and individual contributors, all of my…

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit
    Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Self-leadership,  Success Strategy

    Entrepreneurial Spirit : Build The Product YOU

    “All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.” – Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. If you are itching to create something and share it with the world, you must be thinking about the product and possible funding. While those are crucial, we often ignore that we need to work on ourselves, the mindset, learn, and improve how we operate  – the product, YOU. To start, ask yourself these three questions – WHY, WHAT, and HOW. The Why Why do you want to do this? Some of the answers I heard before are:  “Everyone else I know is…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Executive Presence,  Leadership,  Self-leadership,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution

    Conflict is a common issue my clients face in their workplace. I found this talk, A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution by Diane Musho Hamilton, insightful to manage such situations.  Here are my takeaways from it. Our primitive brain sees conflict as a threat. When the stake is high, we get stressed, the Amygdala hijacks the higher brain, our body gets ready for a fight, flight, or becomes frozen. Some of the usual body signals are elevated heartbeat, stiff neck, tight jaw, etc.  In such a situation, pause the thinking brain (usually negative spiral of thoughts) and spend some time noticing the body sensation and be with it.  Some mindful breathing,…

  • 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…

  • 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…