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

    This Holiday, Build Resilience Through Family Stories and Connections

    It’s the season. Despite the job losses, economic downturns, and everything else,  holidays are in the air. This season reminds us to connect with what is important that we often forget amidst our daily grinds. Every culture and religion celebrates holidays, some at different times of the year. Still, all those have a common theme – people reunite with their near and dear ones through food, festivities, stories, and other rituals. 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 well-being. In Nov 2017, after 20+ years, my geographically dispersed family  – my mom,…

  • Happiness,  productivity,  Stress Management

    Does Meditation, Journaling Feel Like a Burden? Try Micro habits

    A senior leader at a big tech, Tim, spent a week at a meditation retreat. When I asked how he was applying it, he said he didn’t have time. As an HR Director, Stephanie treated her journaling as an extra chore. Despite its good intention, this advice industry buzzwords often feel like another thing we “should” do. On top of our already overloaded, super-crammed life, such expectations create another counter-productive burden. I know these are well-researched, proven practices. The only problem is we use those as vitamin pills instead of customizing them to serve our unique style and needs. Recently a client, who completed a six months coaching program with…

  • Career satisfaction,  Happiness,  Personal Brand,  Stress Management

    Feeling Stuck? Look into Your Fears

    Are you feeling stuck in your job? Are you having a lack of motivation? Are you feeling like quiet quitting? It must be hard to carry on like that. On top of it, when someone asks you about your career vision – it could be even more frustrating. It happened during a seminar when I asked the audience to do a visioning exercise. A gentleman got frustrated and challenged me, saying, “none of these works; I tried everything, and it doesn’t work!” Though I felt a little awkward, I could sense his disappointment. But I also learned something from it. It is difficult to project into a future vision –…

  • EQ,  Happiness,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy,  Time Management

    Super Mom Katherine’s Time Management Dilemma

    On my way to walk this morning, I saw my neighbor Katherine in her signature pink sweatshirt. Both of us were glad to have company for the walk. The weather was exceptionally nice for a Seattle morning; the temperature was mild, and the sky was clear with the golden rays of sun sparkling on 84th avenue, my usual walking route. After a small talk, I asked Katherine how she was doing at the new job she had started recently. “I am not there yet; I need to start making some boundaries for all my responsibilities, my work, my children, my parents…” she started. My question just hit the center of…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • A Resting Dog - Image by Pitsch from Pixabay
    Career satisfaction,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Work-life integration,  WorkLife balance

    Feeling Stuck and Unmotivated? Invest in Your Emotional Vitality First

     Feeling stuck and unmotivated in your job? Not getting enough recognition or the upward mobility you deserve? Getting feedback that you are not doing enough? A software engineer in the mid-level in her career, let’s call her Veronica, came to me with this recently. She sounded pretty frustrated and depleted. As we spoke further, I realized that she had been feeling this for a few years; the pandemic only made it worse. The current job was no longer serving her; she needed to move out.  But the only reason for staying was her lack of energy to focus on a job search or interview preparation. It became a chicken and…

  • Applying Software Engineering Concepts in Coaching
    Leadership,  Neuroscience,  productivity,  Stress Management,  Success Strategy

    Applying Software Engineering Concepts in Professional Growth

    A client of mine has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and works on a cutting-edge research project for one of the top tech companies. He has been feeling overwhelmed with his task list, which keeps growing daily and has sophisticated interdependencies. I knew one way to reduce his “overwhelmed” state was to bring him to his strengths. I asked him to describe the tasks as a data structure (software developers store data in different data structures). It made him pause and think. I noticed his energy eventually shifted to a more focused state as he started talking about whether it should be a tree or something else. Finally, he said…

  • 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…