Get ready ladies. It’s showtime !

get-ready-for-the-next-shot-its-showtime-100172087What does it take to be a resounding success at an event? Whether it’s a presentation at work or an important social event that you have to host/be a part of, there are several things that get us worried. More often than not, we get through them smoothly. There are, however, a few things we can do to ease the pressure.

Before the show, gather information about the people expected to be there. What do we know about them, what could they be thinking or feeling or expecting? What do we know about their likes, etc. Think about how you would like to present yourself. This is not just about what you would wear or how you would look, but more about how you would want to be perceived. Would you want to be confident and happy or tense and uptight? What can you do to prepare so that you present yourself in the manner you have chosen? Plan for what you have to say or do. Run through the event over and over in your mind and think about what you would want to leave the people with. A message or a feeling or a thought, perhaps?

Wear a black hat. Think about everything that could go wrong and how you would respond to such situations. If you are unable to find answers yourself, talk to others who might be able to offer you their perspective. After you have prepared for everything that could go wrong, it is time to get positive. Talk to people who believe in you, who would be good for your confidence, watch an inspiring movie clip. Basically, do something that makes you feel good.

Visualise success. This is one of the most powerful techniques used by players and performers around the world. While you have a plan for everything that you think can go wrong, imagine that at the end of the event, you get a resounding applause. And you will. On the day of the show, arrive at the venue/office early because being early gives you an edge. You can get familiar with the environment, get some feelers about the people and what they are thinking.

And finally, be ready to change. No matter how well you might have thought through the situation, you cannot predict the future. Be prepared to follow cues and change your plan. If you need time to figure out what to do, excuse yourself for a break and get back in with a plan. Good luck!

This post is a reproduction of my weekly column  written for The Goan (http://thegoan.net).

Advertisements

Taking the clique to the top

Woman among menAround the world, there are talks about women empowerment and how women are taking over critical roles, making a visible difference at their workplace. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that women have many battles to fight to get to the place they finally reach.

Notwithstanding the field of work, one of the most critical challenges women face today is that of ‘belonging’ to the ‘right’ groups. How much time one spends during non-work hours and with whom, might be about as critical as to how much time one spends at work. So, how does one decide how to network with the right people and eventually, how to choose a clique? Some try and fit into the ‘guys’ cliques’ – some may take to smoking to join the guys and catch up on the gossip during the smoke breaks, while some take to drinking to get into the circles that hang out in the evenings post work and find a way of getting through to the influencers. It is a known fact that smoking and drinking are both detrimental to health and adversely impact a woman’s child-bearing capacity. Irrespective, some of us choose this path.

Then there are some who join the ‘women’s’ cliques’. They fall into the circle of women who hang around with the women even during office gatherings, insist in engaging in girly talk even when there are men around. No judging either of these categories but none of these are really geared towards reaching the top.

There is also another category, though. It is that of the ‘non cliques’. Almost as if by resolution, some of us cite our personal circumstances as reasons (and there might be some really genuine cases too), to avoid belonging to any cliques. We would conveniently avoid any gatherings and find creative ways to say ‘No, I can’t make it’. Needless to say, getting to the top is a distant possibility for those of us who belong to this group.

There is hope. There is a fourth type. Women in this category do not feel the need to belong to an existing clique. They create a need around them for a group of people to want to belong to them and for what they stand for. Usually, they attract a group that is cross-gender and diverse. They stand up for a vision, for their values and their beliefs. They garner support towards their vision and draw like-minded people who are looking to belong to some clique. It takes a strong woman to stand apart from the cliques, to choose to not fall into the trap of ‘choose from what you see’ and to create her own clique. It takes someone with a solid self-belief to be invited as a ‘guest’ to existing groups and yet not feel compelled to follow existing clique norms and practices. It requires thoughtfulness and diplomacy to deal with temptations. Is your clique taking you to the top, yet?

This post is a reproduction of my weekly column  written for The Goan (http://thegoan.net).

Stop stressing and start adapting

Stress - business person stressed at office. Business woman holdA woman is key to the culture of a house and its level of happiness. Many times, owing to the transitions we women go through, we might feel unsettled but still choose to continue life in a limbo, without making a conscious effort to adapt to the change and reinvent ourselves appropriately.

Let’s say we move to another city. How much time do we spend in consciously planning how to settle in to the culture, how to get to know the life of the locals and most of all, how to really settle in. We tend to believe we are now in a foreign land, complain about how things are different and then expect for a magic fairy (usually the man in our lives) to make us happy in the new land. The same applies to other key transitions; say motherhood. While we do read books on pregnancy and are all geared up to have a baby, how many of us consider getting coached or counselled by maternity coaches or become part of support groups for new mothers? How many of us wallow in self-pity?

The same applies to working women and how we sometimes fail to reinvent ourselves to suit our changed roles as we move up the ladder. How many of us purposefully think about a promotion as an opportunity to rethink the way we dress or how we conduct ourselves? Suddenly, we find ourselves amidst a different audience, are required to manage teams, etc. All this requires is some proactive thinking and planning on our part. While the organisation would send us for training programs, most certainly getting one-on-one guidance by hiring an executive coach would yield far better results.

The point being that one of the things we as women often fail to do is to reach out to others for help. Even if it is garnering sponsorship or mentorship, we wait for someone to assign a person to us. Nothing stops us from identifying a suitable person we feel most comfortable with and requesting them to handhold us through a transition. Sheryl Sandberg, in her book, ‘Lean In’, talks about how women tend to hold themselves back and in the process, give up critical opportunities to their male counterparts. On deeper thinking, we would find that this happens not just at work but in everyday life. All we need to do is acknowledge the upcoming change and seek active support to cope with it. Smart women do!

This post is a reproduction of my weekly column  written for The Goan (http://thegoan.net).

Spiderman!

blog-3My 4 year old daughter loves Spiderman (she loves Barbie too, so I am not worried, really ;)). I was watching Spiderman 2 with her the other day and I realized that, well, each of us, is like Spiderman (minus the web..let me explain).

In one scene, Spiderman was utterly and totally frustrated with his evening sojourns and in that moment, he received advice from his dead uncle’s spirit. He said to Spiderman – ‘You have a choice’. The next day, Spiderman decided to take a break from being Spiderman for somedays to get back to being himself. He dumped his costume in a garbage bin and walked away…and he was happy!

Of course there is a longer story to it else what would the kids watch, right? But let’s hold the story at that point when he dumps his suit.

Isn’t that so much like each of us? Each day, we try to be something – something that is superlative, something that we believe the world expects of us, something like Spiderman. Sometimes, carrying the weight of being that somebody seems like a burden to us. It might be the weight of being a dutiful son or daughter when all you want to do is to go out on a date..it might be the weight of being a mother when all you want is to travel away to a quiet place..away from the madness..it might be the weight of being a star employee when all you want is to just say ‘that’s enough..let me be’ or some other weight…we all tend to carry some weight at some point of time.

All it takes is letting go of that weight. I know we might believe that we are not in a position to let go of the weight and we don’t have a choice. But, well, we do. Imagine that you are wearing a costume of that responsibility and imagine dumping it into the garbage bin, just like Spiderman! Now imagine that you are free and are living the life you want to. What costume do you imagine wearing now? Once you have visualized it, imagine placing it in your wardrobe forever. You can wear it any time you want. You can get really creative with this and let your designer instincts come to the fore.

The point being..you can choose to not wear the weight that you feel is wearing you down..let go of it. Even if it is for a while, you can let go of it. Wear something else instead…which makes you look better and makes you feel happier. You could wear the costume of a lovely princess instead of a dutiful daughter or wear the costume of a highly successful and dynamic woman instead of a full time mom…or anything else you might. Be who you want to be. There’s no stopping Spiderman..is there?

Note to my readers: This is how the Belief Closet methodology works. It is an extremely powerful technique to help you change your beliefs. It was introduced to me by a practitioner of this methodology and I can totally vouch for its results. 

Forward. Rewind. Replay.

122/365 || ResetAs I was sharing my life story with a fabulous story coach of international repute today, who is creating a pool of inspiring life stories across the globe, I discovered a pattern about the way I have been making decisions in life.

Making a decision, almost always, is about weighing the options one has and then thinking about the pros and cons before weighing in on one of the options. I use ‘almost always’ because there are times when accepting what comes our way and making peace with it, is sometimes, the only good choice to make when not many options are available to us, other than denial, of course.

So let’s say, something happens, which you were not expecting to happen. You now need to deal with it and make a decision. How do you decide? Try this. Take each option and fast forward your life post making that decision. e.g. If I take up this job now, then this might happen..and then that might happen…then…and you arrive at a certain set of things that might or might not seem appealing. The further you are able to fast forward, the better you might be able to choose. Hold these thoughts and start focusing on the option which seems the most appealing to you. Make that a ‘wannabe’ goal for yourself. Now move into a rewind mode..get back to where you are today. An then start playing your life afresh. So, if that is what I might end up with, then this is what I need to do now – to get to it. It works. This is really nothing but using your intuition for making decisions. The decisions you might end up making as a result of this would be better accepted by you and hence by people around you and are likely to leave you a much happier person.

The key is to stay focused on what would work for us in the future and the vision that we find compelling. That way, we would find our vision pulling us towards it and our chances of realizing it would be much higher.

We could, however, also use the converse of this technique to one’s benefit if our intent is to focus on something we have been neglecting for a long time, like health, for instance. Say, you want to lose weight but find that you are not able to exercise or follow a diet. In this kind of a situation, when we already have a pre-determined goal, if we focus on the things that can go wrong, we might be propelled towards action. So let’s say you have been advised to lower your cholesterol levels and you want to reduce your cholesterol by changing your eating habits. What could possibly happen if you don’t do something about it? And then..? And then..? And…is that what you really want? If not, then what should you do about it..now?

Every time you catch yourself slipping back into your comfort zone thinking you might want to take action some other time, fast forward to the worst possible outcome. Make that your driving force. You will do something about it because you don’t want to end up like that.

Have you tried this sometime? Would love to hear what your experience has been 🙂

Survival by Denial

denial1Living with the acceptance of everything that is going on around us can be a very painful thought for some of us. I was reflecting on a book I was reading recently and then on a recent clipping in the newspaper about how a mother chose to not acknowledge what was going on in her daughter’s life  and chose to live in denial.

Looking back in my past, thinking about the lives of people I know, I realized that so many of us have spent so many years living in denial. I know of women who have known their husbands are having an affair and chose to deny that as they just did not have the courage to deal with what might surface. I know of mothers who know their children are suffering from ADHD but choose to deny it because it really does take courage to be able to accept what might follow. I know of people who are growing old and refusing to accept that aging has set in. They find it unbelievable that their bodies are no longer supporting their desired schedules and they have a very hard time dealing with things. I know of friends and relatives who continue to follow very hectic schedules to sustain their careers when they know that from a health standpoint, they have become ‘ticking time bombs’ which could explode at any time. They choose to deny the fact that they their overall energy levels have reduced and that their bodies now need a different type and degree of nutrition.

This is not to say that those of us who have lived in denial or continue to live in denial are wrong. As I had shared in one of my earlier blogposts, I don’t judge people. Why would I, when I have been in denial so many times myself..The point is, some of us do not acknowledge the fact that we are in denial till we reach a point when it is very late anyways. You deny the fact that you are putting on weight by not doing anything about it. You deny the fact that your child might be suffering or getting bullied at school by choosing to not talk about it. Denying what is going on around you, usually does not help in solving problems. What helps is acknowledging that there is a problem and starting to think of ways in which you could resolve them.

Accepting things can sometimes be very tough. It is important to have someone around to help you look at things in an objective manner and not get caught in the emotions of what you might uncover.

Hiring a coach can help you come to terms with situations you might have been denying. There are many coaches available today. Look for someone you think might be able to help you and give it a shot.

Deny denial the right to take over your life. It can help you survive but will not help you live happily.

About Wants

thinking-girlWhen I was a child, I wanted to grow up. When I went to school, I wanted to get to college. When I got through college, I wanted to go to another city. When I went to college in another city, I could not wait to get back home.

When I finished college, I wanted a job. When I got a job, I wanted to earn more. When I wanted to buy a really great music system to listen to music, I could not afford one. When I could afford it, I no longer had time to listen to it. When I wanted to travel to all countries, I did not have the right company to travel with. When I found good company, the only travel that was possible was for business and was alone.

When I wanted a car, I could not buy one. When I finally bought one, I did not really need it. When I wanted to lose weight to look gorgeous in expensive designer clothes, nothing worked. When I lost weight, I wanted to buy a bicycle and not designer clothes.

When I wanted to quit my job, I could not afford to. Do you notice a pattern here? I did..just then…after all these years…of wanting and waiting and wanting and waiting. I realized that I was stuck in this never ending cycle and I just had to break it. I did. I decided to break free. I decided to just do what I wanted and when I wanted it and not wait for a moment to present itself to me in the future, when, who knows, I might no longer be able to appreciate what I wanted in the first place!

I am no longer governed by what I want and cannot have. I look at what I have and what I can do with it.

A completely different perspective…very liberating. Try it…only you can break the cycle..choose to be happy with what you have, now..wants never end..