Refuse to accept

whatever-course-you-decide-upon-there-is-always-someone-to-tell-you-that-you-are-wrong-ralph-waldo-emersonOver the last decade, I have had an opportunity to closely observe many family customs, rituals and practices. I feel blessed having been raised in a family that had a democratic set up. There are certain practices that my parents followed and while we were always encouraged to participate and contribute in whatever way I could, there was really no compulsion to do anything especially if it did not resonate with us.

Over time, this practice has become so deeply ingrained in me that I find it to be an extremely empowering way of dealing with situations in which people around me ‘expect’ me to do some things. Of course some people frown when I question them with the intent of helping them break free from age-old customs that they resentfully follow without questioning their rationale.

Your child turned one? Great! What would happen if you don’t splurge the money on inviting people who really have no reason to feel thrilled and instead, open a bank account for securing your child’s future? A baby boy was born in your family (very Indian :)) ? Congratulations! How would buying clothes and jewellery for relatives help you or the baby boy? What else could you do with that money? You just bought a new house? Yeeaah! It is time for celebration! You would need more money to settle in so why not celebrate modestly. Sure everyone likes to share happiness but it is important to remember the point. Share happiness. Why does money have to play a critical role in that?

Most times we tend to fall into this trap of ‘people will expect’ or ‘people will think’..when what we forget is..we are those people too! By doing exactly what has been done and what
other people expect, you are saying ‘Yes, I agree. That’s the right thing to do’. If you genuinely believe that, go right ahead. But, if even for a moment, you find your energy draining at the thought of doing that task, know that it is a signal your body is giving you to rethink your actions.

Refuse to accept things as they are. Make your own decisions about what works for you. You can do whatever you want to. The only person who stops you from doing that, is mostly, you.

Advertisements

Shape up

keep-calm-and-prepare-yourself-1Imagine that every relationship you are in, presents itself in a 3-D shape. Choose your favorite shape – a sphere or a cuboid or whatever.  Imagine you are in it, with the person with whom you share this relationship. And this could be any relationship – of any kind. Could be with someone from the family or a friend or an employer perhaps. The point being, that when we are in a relationship, we try and sustain the shape we are in. We try our best to let the cuboid remain a cuboid and not transform itself into a sphere lest it create discomfort for us. We hence, also try and play it safe with our relationships and fear experimentation.

As and when we find the nature of our relationships (viz.  the shape we are in), changing, from what we originally thought it might be, we start feeling uncomfortable and do take a while to get accustomed to the ‘newness’ it presents to us. No wonder then, we take time to ‘settle’ into a new relationship..are unsure..need time..and all of that. We are really trying to figure out what shape we are in and how to keep it from distorting.

The birth of a child does, in most cases I know of, unsettle relationships. Could it be because we forget that with the addition of one more person, it is time for a new shape and we perhaps are still trying to force fit ourselves and everyone else into the old one? A parent moving in with his / her children or a child moving out once he / she grows up; a spouse who has started to work or another who has given it up – all present us with an opportunity to recreate the shape of the space we are in so that it becomes a comfortable setting for all.

So, why would we, then, want to be fixated with something that is old and want to retain it, knowing that it has the potential to make everyone uncomfortable?

Welcome change. It is an opportunity to create life all over again.

So, what shape are you in?

Choose to have fun!

DChitwoodWhenYouHaveFunAs we recover from the aftermath of the festivities around us and gear up to deal with more, it is perhaps, an opportune time for us to reflect on the feelings and emotions that we go through as we celebrate. Many of us find ourselves in a situation where we believe we have to attend a party, even though we know it is really not going to be fun. These might be parties at work or social gatherings with the relatives whom we don’t really connect with much at all. Let us dwell on these for a bit, keeping in mind my interpretation of the fundamental principle of life, which says that, in every situation, we have a choice. If we do decide that being somewhere would be an utter waste of our time and effort and we would rather spend time doing something else, perhaps it might be wiser to politely decline and to be done with it. What a great opportunity that opens up for us – we can plan to do something we have wanted to do for ages and get really creative with that time. Should we, however, lose the reasoning battle with ourselves and the people around us who matter, we might need to consider engaging in some self-talk. Back to the principle – we do have a choice. We can go to the party wallowing in self-pity, feeling a misfit and not end up happy (just like we had known and hence, planned) or, we can decide to have a great time even before we land up there. Visualization is a great tool in helping sportsmen gear up for victory and it does apply really well in day-to-day life too. Here’s how: Imagine that you will have a great time and start from there. Work your way backwards – to have a great time, what do I need to do? Look good, for sure. Go on, indulge yourself – get creative with what you wear. What about who I take along? Pick someone who will ensure you will have fun. You can always seek permission to bring a friend along – try it. Think about how you would want to engage with people, what would you want to talk about? Has there been something on your mind you want to know more about or is there something you are dying to tell someone? Is there someone you know who might be in the least bit interesting, whom you could consider talking to? And really, this does not imply planning for a flirtation but it could really just be a simple act of thoughtful networking. Find out more about what a couple of women whom you can connect with might be up to. Find out more about the recipes of the food you like. The point being – do whatever it takes – but make it a fun time for yourself. You can decide to have fun, even before you land up somewhere. Give it a shot! Cheers! This blogpost is a reproduction of my column ‘Her Point of You’ published in SHE section of The Goan (http://thegoan.net). If you are going through change or have been planning some kind of change in your life, coaching can help you. A coach works with you to help you move from point A to point B, ensuring that you hold yourself accountable for your progress. If you would like to know more about coaching and experience a trial coaching session, contact me via my website (http://growth-cube.com). Coaching works. Try it.

Let’s Pretend!

main-pane-rpPretense..what is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear this word? Acting? Play? Something else? (Do post a comment to share what came to your mind when you read this).

Being a single child, my daughter tends to try and make friends. Since she is just 4 and a bit shy, I noticed that she is not sure about how to approach people and initiate conversations. I decided to put my expertise of 14 years of learning and development to practice.

One of the most effective tools to teach anyone how to do something, esp. related to saying something and helping them practice a situation, is the use of role plays. I pretended to be her and she pretended to be her friend and we spoke about how we would initiate a conversation, what are some ways it could evolve etc. We did this a few times as she loved the concept of pretend play as do many children.

Later, as I was reflecting on how this was such an interesting way of teaching a child a different way to respond rather than using instructions, I figured it is, in fact, a very powerful way for adults to change their responses too.

I have tried it a few times myself. Sometimes, in the past, when I have found myself at a point when you just don’t know what to do, I have thought about someone I look up to and thought about what they might have done and attempted to do that. Eventually, I might have handled the situation differently than they might have but in that moment, I was able to get past my own block and move ahead with a response.

I think this might be an interesting way to try and address anger. If you are angry at someone for something (which you in all likelihood, know was not really done intentionally) and want to just lash out, think of yourself being in a role play. Imagine that you are lashing out at a funny bunny or that you are wearing an angel’s costume and are supposed to reprimand someone on stage. What would you say then? If you are able to control your laughter, you might end up smiling. That itself might change what follows. If you do this a few times and succeed in breaking your pattern of behavior, soon you would be able to develop your own unique way of dealing with the situation without having to resort to pretend play.

Choose to try new ways. Pretend. Let me know how that works for you.

If there is something you have been trying to resolve for a while and have not been able to get much headway, coaching can help you. To book a trial session with me, email me at namrata.arora@growth-cube.com. Do visit my website for more details. Cheers to a life that is ours to choose 🙂

Your turn to live

5bbfef83c149036a5d8c93e60f58874bDo you feel that sometimes, you are stuck with doing some things because there is general agreement that you are good at it? Many times, we do some things so often that we might even not think about the fact that there just might be a possibility that we might not like doing those things anymore or perhaps, we would do well with a break from them once in a while.

There are many such examples which come to mind.  Say, cooking – the clichéd role that most women end up with by default, not always by choice. Of course you would get up early from bed and get home early from wherever you might be and do whatever it takes to fulfill this very essential duty, every day, day after day. It might have crossed your mind a couple of times that it would be great to experience what it might be to not cook one day and then it is possible you might have quickly dismissed the thought as being silly or juvenile.

Childcare, is another of my favorite examples.  Of course you need to be there to take the child out for a movie with his / her friends and of course you need to remember to buy a bigger size of shoes soon and of course you need to think about and plan his / her upcoming birthday and the list is never ending.

And on and on and we go and life passes by, bit by bit, day by day. At some point, though, it might hit us hard – the moments we let go, the choices we make choosing the tasks we believe are non-negotiable and allowing our life and so many of our dreams, pass by.

If you catch yourself thinking ‘how did I ever land up here?’, think back to the choices you made or chose to not make. You chose this path for yourself and the things you do everyday. Unfortunately, some of us believe that we are in a fix and we are somehow caught in a trap that we are unable to get out of.

The good news is, that this is not true and in fact, there is a way out of every situation if you are really committed to finding that way, you can find your happiness and live your life just way you wanted to…well, almost.

All you need to remember is to make time to do the things you have always wanted to do. Choose to live. Live well.

Bring home some love

Quotation-Billy-Graham-home-security-love-sense-Meetville-Quotes-128566Living in today’s world where pretty much everything is about money and what money can buy, we do sometimes tend to lose perspective of life and we have to offer to the world, especially to the people whom we value in our lives.

Many of us work, work very hard to do that extra bit, to get to that next milestone – a bigger house, a bigger car, more investments, more goodies to flaunt in front of those friends who are stressed out themselves. What that does is puts us under a lot of pressure. There is this constant nagging feeling in our head – there is this and that and that which I still need to do. We get home or turn our attention to the people around us and while that nagging feeling stays in our head, we want to shut down, get to bed, just get some rest or just let it out in ways we might feel horrible about later. We get up in the morning, the same feeling takes over and we go on and on and on.

At the end of the day, we choose to get home, to the people whom we value so much in our lives and give them our worries and our stress, which by the way, whether we would like to admit it or not, is something we have created for ourselves.

Where is the love? How often do we think about taking home some love to lighten up someone’s day and get a good feeling ourselves? No matter how the day has been, no matter how terrible we might be feeling, we can still choose to bring home some love.

That’s what your loved ones want – just you and your love. Think about it. That’s what you want too! So the next time you are out thinking of what to buy to make your loved ones feel special, think again! Just bring home some love! It works wonders! And what’s more, you can take love to work too! Spread the love and make the world around you a happy place -because you can!

What’s your PQ?

BMPI have not really heard of this term earlier so let me assume that I just coined it (if you find this being used somewhere already, please do share more with me else please know that I have a copy right on this 🙂 – I discovered someone used PPQ or Professional Presence Quotient though that was a very limited construct).

PQ, is what I refer to as Presence Quotient (can you tell I graduated in Math?). So what is presence quotient? It is, in my mind a ratio of how present you really are, in any context to how present people perceive you to be.  Let’s take, for instance, your home. Remember the conversation with your mom when she wanted you to be there at some random relative’s house as she thought they would expect you there and want to meet you and you, for your life, could not figure out why you should waste your time being there? ‘But what will I do there?’ or ‘But I don’t even know them!’ or ‘But what will I say to them?’ – well, if you ended up being there, in all likelihood, your PQ was abysmally low. You pretended to be there, laugh and chitter chatter and put up an act, but we all know how you really wanted to not be there.

Another instance – your work. Remember when you were invited for that random meeting – in person or on telephone does not matter – you knew you had little or no context and really did not want to say no lest people form some unwanted opinions about you? You might have chosen to be a silent participant or just said something to register your presence. Well, your PQ was low again.

The question is, what is the PQ you want to establish? And is this really about a score? Do you really want to be there and listen and contribute or do you want to do something just because you believe you are expected to?

The thing to note is that people know. No matter how brilliant you might think you are in putting up an act, while people might not say it, they can feel presence.

I believe each of us have PQ sensors, in our unconscious minds. We keep gauging the PQ of others in various ways – only sometimes, we forget, that more than anything, what is needed is for us to be present in the moment.

So what do you want your PQ to be? Or is it just the denominator, how present people perceive you to be, that matters to you? And what is, in your mind, your target PQ value? Is it 1, perception = reality or is it infinite, where you define the limit?