Sunday, 20 December 2015
Many of my clients have this common expression about feeling choked with work occupying on their mind all the time. The most common symptoms described are neglecting health, negativity, low self-esteem, caught up in comparison, relationship and loss of purpose.
Many of us tend to trivialize our most loved pursuits that they have been passionate or happy about, eventually learn to live without them, while pursuing the worldly, yet undesired. Over years, we develop comfort with chaos and ‘noise’, and begin ‘labeling’ it as ‘lifestyle’, till it begins to hurt and we stray on innate, latent life goals. What begins as excitement, dithers over time and rational prevails. The void pushes one to high levels of anxiety, fear, uncertainty and conflicts. ‘Glorification’ of ‘busy’ becomes unproductive.
Work and Life can’t exist in isolation, at least over long time. The justification of not ‘living’ holistically may be self-defeating. By ‘Life’, I mean having fewer or many friends, great family life, sufficient recreation, prudent lifestyle and responsibility for actions, high awareness of self and environment, a happy being, positive influences, well balanced priorities and time for everything. It not just about life, it is about being alive, being excited for things beyond the obvious. Sounds like little too much?
This isn’t esoteric or utopian at all, though fewer people achieve this over time with conscious effort and mindfulness, crossing short term blocks of cynicism, doubt, fear or overconfidence. I, for one, know some real life heroes, a successful senior executive who has time for health, relationships, and spirituality and he goes out of the way to attain this balance. Another entrepreneur that I work with, is actively managing business, yet practicing detachment, and building succession over time, breaking barriers, and detaching from past. A doctor, who has ambitious goals in philanthropy after 23 years of successful professional success, and has committed time to it every day. If real life heroes fail to inspire, consider Liam Neeson, the lead in French blockbuster ‘Taken’, who signed up this movie only for his passion to live and see France, and learn Karate for three months.
Work and Life are not metaphors of conflicting facets of life, they co-exist, and complement each other. After all, a happy life is all about being holistic.
Thursday, 3 December 2015
Raj (Name changed) started his career more than two decades ago as a trainee with a large company. Having achieved above average growth with his hard work and performance, he climbed up the ladder up to a leadership role with a large corporate house.
This is where the headwinds and tailwinds started, and a fairly decent performer in Raj began to shake up. Having been comfortable with organic growth, and being at right place at right time never germinated an urge to fortify his skills, or to learn/develop a few other genres that have been his latent talents, and, above all, his longing passion that remained subdued under his material pursuits. When I first met up with him, he was neck deep in frustration and negativity, poor emotional quotient and sensitivity towards people around him.
It did not surprise me when I heard from him about high attrition in his team, lack of trust with supervisors, and insecurity that kept him cocooned for a while. He had issues with irregular/stressed lifestyle, health and finances. One thing that I could see as his strength was his determination to come out of this cobweb, by accepting accountability for his actions. It was about 8-10 sessions later that he regained control, and has already begun preparing for his next big pursuit.
It does feel very lonely on top, but with a supportive coach under an accountable relationship, it is possible to create much more life than we live, break barriers of limitations, fears or perceptual blocks. As I write this, Raj heads operations of a pharmaceutical company.
Jatin (Name changed) is an entrepreneur who began his business with hopes and dreams more than a decade ago. Having seen upswings and downturns of the market and business, he was in delirium on many issues relating to work life balance, business scale, efficiencies, business structuring, mitigation, playing to, or, contra to markets. His education that culminated long ago hardly helped as he was in business poles apart from what he was qualified for. In the midst of uncertainty; he struggled for a while to pursue his business goals.
Having worked with him over last six months, there is some visibility on the way forward, and we are closely working to build a strong succession plan, his personal efficiency and holistic lifestyle, competencies and diversity in business. He does acknowledge that the risks with entrepreneurs is very high, and success depends on his ability to cognitively build on his journey, adapt to environmental changes and operate with deep sense of balance and detachment.
It is for a variety of reasons, people ignore early signals, or keep procrastinating till the point of no return. As experiences become dysfunctional, creating patterns or limiting behaviours, it may be a good idea to deal with them head on, and achieve fulfilment in one’s life pursuits.
Tuesday, 1 December 2015
We are born alike, but each one of us is different. We have inherited legacies of social, educational, family, cultural and racial diversity, while the other part is developed over time and experience. As a part of my coaching practice, I get a chance to meet individuals with megalomania of financial, professional, and material success, and on the other hand, depression from social, health, spiritual, family and efficiency failures.
Having had intense, deep conversations with my clients around the subject, I realized that each one of us has his own version and scale of equilibrium, and all of us explore it dynamically with many moving parts around our lives. The tailwinds of Influences, stereotypes, cloning, group-think and conflicts distract and push people off-track from their life pursuits.
Learning and practicing mindfulness keeps us from drifting away from our state of homeostasis. It is about being in the moment, and living through not just external, but even internal distractors. Those who master it, are more likely to stay on course, successfully reaching self-defined destinations. It is this homeostasis that helps fearlessly pursuing dreams and goals, and living a life to the fullest potential. A coach is what it takes to discover, explore and reinvent, a new you.