Happy Mother’s Day!!

Mother's Day
Google’s Image : Happy Mother’s Day

It’s been fantastic to celebrate Mother’s day every year. Especially when you are a mother and the family treats you special (at least) for a day. This day is special to all mothers. Though, I don’t remember celebrating it as a child. Such things didn’t exist back then. What was so great about being a mother?! Everyone had a mother and they all did the same stuff? There were hardly enough reasons to celebrate. To be honest, it feels bit awkward to wish my mother on this day. It wasn’t a thing while I was growing up. I wonder why Hindutva group didn’t make a fuss about “mother’s day”, like how they do for “Valentine’s day”? Anyways,  that’s a different convo altogether.

I did wish her. She shyly replied, “Thank You”. Her words left me teary. I wanted to say much more and thank her for the wonderful life, I am living. Thank both parents for all the efforts they put in to give us a better life. Remembering it all in one day is not enough. One has to be ‘grateful’ every single day. Somebody has rightly said, “Mother is the messenger of god because he can’t be everywhere”.

Let’s talk about remembering it. On the day itself, people post wonderful messages on Social Media about how much they appreciate their mothers. But should we really restrict ourselves to posting messages just on one day? Instead, should we not call them every day to check on them (if you are staying away from your parents)? One call won’t cost much but it may be the world to your parents who remember and worry about you every single day.

Coming back to my being a ‘mother’. My kids are still young to understand this day. It took me 30 years and 2 kids to understand what a mother means? Earlier she was just a mother. But now every time my kids throw tantrums, don’t eat, cry endlessly and do everything that I don’t like them to do, I remember her (my mother) and recall every nasty thing I did to her. I was not an easy child for sure. Your child is a reflection of you. Trust me it’s like nature’s cycle of karma. If I could change one thing in past then that would be, being grateful to my mother for everything she did. She had a career on top of taking care of us. I had an amazing childhood even though my parents had to go through immense struggles and I saw them conquering each one of them. They were much stronger than I am today. Hats off to them really!

Being a new mother, you tend to be excited about ‘Mother’s day’. I ended up sending Mother’s day message to all my friends who are wonderful mothers. I wanted to take this opportunity to connect with people who I have not been in touch with for numbers of reasons. It’s a terrific way to check on each other. Everyone is busy in their lives. Though we are always connected through technology, I feel we are more disconnected now. The worse is that people have time to send forwarded messages on WhatsApp but their fingers pain to type a personalized message. How could you reply a personal message with a forwarded one?! Someone is taking an effort to write to you, at least have that respect and respond to them wholeheartedly. Just because you can, you shouldn’t reply immediately. Take your time to think through and then respond. I guess many people are missing handheld etiquettes. Probably we are unable to catch up with the advancement of technology and produce enough handheld literates. So, next time if someone is messaging you, please take note of following things:

1) Read but don’t reply immediately

2) Think through and then reply when you have time.

3) If the message is urgent and you can’t pick up, let them know briefly you will get back.

4) Don’t reply forwarded message to a personal one.

5) Don’t intrude into someone’s space by sending too many forwarded messages.

6) And please for god sake’s, if someone wishes you, please don’t just end at “same to you”

There may be another side to this, which I can’t see so help me see that by commenting below. Happy to hear your thoughts.

Don’t try to fit in!

Guys, I have to apologize for being away for so long. I joined back my full -time job. It is taking a bit of time to settle down. Even though I was not writing, words were murmuring into my ears. I was very tempted to go back to writing. Without getting into the further details of the reasons for being away, let’s dive into today’s topic.

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We moved into the new house earlier this year and now I moved into a new job. Over the years, there were several changes in our life. Because of those changes, I strongly feel about this topic. Never try to fit in. Whether it’s personal or professional life, don’t compromise. Really! If you feel that the universe is not in tandem with your deep inner- feelings then you know something is not right. Instead of suppressing those feelings, take action! Think how and what can you change to bring back that positive momentum.

Last few months, I have been talking to many companies. And while you are talking to interviewers, it is not difficult to guesstimate whether you like the people and culture. Even if you had the best of the interviews, even if the role is closer to your dream role and even if you are getting a dream package, at the end of the day what matters is happiness and contentment. Your office impacts your everyday life. Office colleagues are part of daily routine. So, if you force yourself then you may be fundamentally misaligned for a long time. For some, it leaves a lasting impact and changes them as a person. The first three months is the best time to understand this. At the end of the work day, you should feel happy and hopeful. And if you are not, trust me, take a plunge, find something you love. I can guarantee that people have survived even after quitting their dream company.

Similarly, in personal life, you meet endless people every day. With some, you connect, with some you don’t. And there may be chances that you are not connecting with 80% of the people and that is ‘absolutely’ fine. Most of the people don’t care about you, they care about themselves. So, in case you are successful in life or doing well, there are high chances that people will despise you. You may be surrounded by sycophants who don’t truly appreciates your success. Just hanging around for their own selfish motives. If ever you feel in life that people are just against you or you put off a lot of people, you should take it positively. People are jealous and can’t stand your success. That should be a success milestone. Successful people are generally lonely. They should make a little extra effort to go out and make friends. But make sure you don’t force yourself. That will only lower down self-esteem and that is not good for your emotional health.

I will get back to you with more topics like this soon. If you like this point, don’t forget to like, share and comment.

Why don’t women play sports?

I was sitting with a large group of people in a business meeting. There was the client, vendors and us. Since there were new people in the group, we decided to introduce ourselves. Almost 50% of them were women, and they had hobbies either related to cooking, internet surfing, shopping or sleeping. I think only one woman liked yoga. Though the sample size is small, it got me thinking! Why don’t women pick up any sports?

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Sports Gear

Playing sports not only keeps the body fit and healthy but it also keeps your mind active and healthy. Most of the women would say they don’t find time after work. Then I would say, people, always find time for their priorities. But more than that the problem if to find a company to play. Even if you want to play, there are few women who are keen to play. One is not asking you to play soccer or wrestling, you can pick up games like badminton, ping pong, swimming, cycling or tennis. These are some of the common games which people around you may find some interest.

Sports is so much fun. When a group of people plays together, it can get competitive and fun. When we join the workforce post college or let’s say when we get into life post college, it gets complex with every passing year. There is so much to take care of. But during all this, we shouldn’t quit sports.

During childhood days, I had the same problem. None of the girls played cricket but I used  to play with boys. And they were more than happy to get an additional player for fielding, bowling or batting. The games are such, the more the merrier. We played badminton too. That used to be a favourite game during winter nights.

I studied in girls’ convent and we used to have martial arts class and basketball games. But other than that, there were not many sports played. Most of the girls were busy studying. Studies used to be ‘the focus’ at school as well as at home. My father was a sports teacher then. He understood the importance of playing games. He always encouraged me and my brother to play and watch games. One of the reasons why I liked to watch games.

When you are adults, finding friends become difficult. Sports is a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and mingle with them. So, in case you aren’t playing any sports, try to find some time once a week and see remarkable changes in life.

Drop me a note if you do notice the change and since when.

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Why women should give firm handshake?

There are growing discussions around bringing more women to executive roles. Women should continue to work on making little improvements. Little steps would have a ripple effect in improving the overall (working) environment for women. One cannot ask for a position without showing the right attitude and skill to hold that position.

To begin with, can we ask women to give a firm handshake during business meetings? In most meetings, men in the room would shake hands with everyone and women will either restrict themselves to wishing “Hi” with a hesitant, withdrawn handshake or just a wish.

Why there is hesitation? One of the possible reasons could be that most of us grew up in a patriarchal society. Inferiority complex is seeded in our mind. Deep down we think men are better than us. Or even if they are not better, we are afraid of breaking the yesteryear rules. As if, it would be a ‘Crime‘. Having said it has been noticed that the change is happening fast. In last 2 years, there are more women executives announced compared to previous years.

As we become more confident and take up more responsibility, we would be eventually breaking the mold. The next step would be to let the world know about this new-found confidence.

One should have a firm handshake and have a proper eye contact during the shake. Eye contact is important too. Body language conveys a lot about your confidence and shows how promising you are! If you are not confident about yourself and your ideas, how do you expect other people to believe in you?

Lean In, the book by Sherly Sandberg, discusses this topic practically. She talks about her personal experiences – how she went into an executive meeting in client’s office and there was no women toilet on that floor. Apparently, the company never felt the need to have a women toilet on the floor. That’s just a glimpse of women representation at the executive level. One could count the number of female leaders in leadership positions. And those who are, half of them comes from a strong economic background.

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Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

I am not saying that one should be biased towards women during hiring. The only ask is that there shouldn’t be any biases at all. A job should be given based on merit and not based on certain prejudices.

The other point that Sherly discusses is that woman doesn’t ask questions. Whether it is meeting or conference, they would never raise hands. Again, why? Why don’t we ask questions? Asking right questions is more important than giving right answers. Because right questions lead people to relevant answers.

She also mentioned that during the meetings, women will always take back seats. Even if there are empty seats in the front, they won’t grab them. And that shows that they are not taking enough initiatives to progress. They are either happy or afraid of taking risks. If you want something you have to ask for it. One has to show the willingness.

It’s also important that women cheer up each other’s success. Support one another to be more confident and move up the corporate ladder. All can be done but I think, to begin with, start with a firm handshake with an eye contact. This slight change will make a huge difference in your personality and that is a promise!

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Why ‘Reading’ is important for everyone?

Book reading
Book Reading

With the advent of smartphones and Social Media, young people are losing interest in reading. They are mugging up course books and pass exams to get into next level. But are they really learning?!

I live in a city where we are privileged to have a public library in every corner. It is so much easier. We can go to the library, browse books, newspaper/ magazines or bring them home. Libraries are a knowledge powerhouse. A temple for book readers. Not everyone has access to such facilities but still, they can either buy or share books. One shouldn’t STOP reading. I think we are forgetting the reasons why we should read. And here, I am giving you reasons to read:

5 reasons why it is important to read

1) Gives you perspectives

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, our judgment is based on what we are being taught during childhood days. Later, our perspective is shaped based on the world around us. It teaches a lot. But still, the world around us could be limiting. One needs to know what happens beyond their own world. Many people prefer to travel for the same reasons – To know more, to understand more. Not everyone has the luxury to travel to places. You have a chance to escape through your books.

2) More knowledgeable than peers

Reading differentiates between literates and illiterates. By illiterates, I don’t mean those who cannot read or write. There is another kind of modern day illiterate who can read and write but have no knowledge. You discuss any topic related to women issues, international trade, sports or anything at all. They don’t know and they don’t care. I am sure you don’t want to be in that position.

3) Knowledge brings more wealth

This will capture your interest. Yes, it will! The more knowledge you acquire the more ideas you get your hands on to. Don’t you notice that all rich and successful people read and they read a lot! Reading helps open your mind. For example – if you are reading biographies, you know how other people have done in the past. It shows you new path or direction. There are many people who read just to get ideas on making more money.

4) Reading inspires you

It is evident that reading has changed many lives. Any topic that you strongly feel about, read about it. Get more knowledge on the same. It can inspire you to an extent that has no limits. You know sometimes we reach a stage when we start questioning everything around us. And that one ’cause’ could give you a strong reason to contribute to the world or humanity. Everyone needs an inspiration in life. And that inspiration won’t come from everyday chores. It comes from Reading.

5) Reading is fun

If you have not been exposed to this part of the fun then you should check with your “reader” friends? They will tell you “book reading” is the biggest addiction on earth. And there is no rehabilitation center to cure that. It is a good addiction. I know people who have taken a vacation just to go on an island with a box of books and never came out of their rooms. Books can be another quick and cheap getaway from a regular ordinary life. The success of books like Harry Porter series, Twilight or Sophie’s world explains the very same fact.

I am part of this amazing Book reader group. We meet once a month and discuss the book. The discussion is full of creative and intellectual juices. When you hear different point of views about the same subject, it opens your mind. I have been enjoying the group and now I am inviting you to join. The only catch is that you must finish the book in 4 weeks. Most of us are working and we still find time to read. We read all sorts of genres and at this point, we are trying to read one book from each genre. You can more than welcome to suggest your favorite and if your book wins maximum votes (from members) then we discuss the book in next meeting. Isn’t it exciting?! So, drop me a note if you want to be part of this.

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5 Reasons why you shouldn’t cancel appointments

The reason I felt the need to write this post is because I have noticed that people generally tend to cancel their appointment at last minute. And that is not good. Not only for a business meeting but even for a casual meeting, in case you have an appointment fixed, make sure you honor that.

For example – You have a fixed appointment for a deal. But just before the meeting you got to know that there are chances of getting a better deal. One generally tend to cancel this appointment to secure the other one. In business, this is justified because one goes for a better deal. But what I am trying to say– don’t cancel your scheduled appointment. Meet the person and let her know that you have a better offer and you would like to consider that. This way you would set their expectations. They may be disappointed but they will respect you for the gesture.

Similarly, you have fixed an appointment with a friend. You don’t want to go as you don’t feel like stepping out. That is not acceptable. And below are reasons why you shouldn’t just cancel your fixed meeting.

5 reasons you shouldn’t cancel an appointment:

1) Expectations from both sides:

Hard to predict what the other person is expecting out of this meeting. She could be excited to talk about her new project or any new thoughts. She could be going through a bad time and needs a friend. Or she has a proposal for you to consider. If you cancel the meeting last minute, you are losing an opportunity to hear her side of the story.

2) Disappointing & Hurtful:

If an appointment is fixed means the time has been booked in advance. Both sides are looking forward to it. Last minute, you hear about cancellations. This is disappointing. You have to weigh options, the urgent matter is more important than the meeting. In case it is unavoidable, make sure you call and apologize.

3) Time is wasted:

When an appointment is booked means that someone has allocated time for you. It is hard to rejig the calendar if the meeting gets canceled last minute. You will end up wasting someone else’s time. Time is important for everyone.

4) Mutual Respect:

Cancelling an appointment is a big blow to the mutual respect. Even though the other person says ‘ok’ for the reschedule, she is disappointed. She doesn’t look at you in same way as it was before. It gets worse if you don’t call to apologize and request for rescheduling. Canceling appointment should be last option.

5) Speaks a volume about you as “human being”:

Honouring appointments speak a lot about the kind of person you are. Your sensitivity and respect (for others) will earn you similar sensitivity and respect. People would like to be associated and you may end up benefitting in the long run.

I have had people who cancelled dinner appointments on the same day. We had started the preparations and last minute the person called to inform that he had prior engagements and he double-booked himself. Of course, the apology was accepted but the reason for cancelling the appointment did anger me. He is still not being invited for dinner.

Similarly, a friend requested for a lunch appointment. And on the same day, she canceled it. The time was being booked for about a week. Though I understand that she may have something important to attend but how many times it happens that we end up canceling appointments for no good reason.

I want people to realize that how bad it is to cancel appointments! Don’t do that unless it is necessary.

Do share with us if you had similar experiences.

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Wait for your ship to come in!

Ship
Wait for your ship to come

At a young age, I read somewhere “Don’t wait for your ship to come in, Row out to meet it”. Since then it lingered in my mind. It perfectly matched with my personality. I am always filled with energy and ready to act. That means that if I want something, I would always take an initiative to get that. One of the reasons why I traveled several miles away from my hometown to a big city was because I was searching for a new and different life. Since then, there is no stopping. Whatever I desired in life, I always jump on to find ways to get it. Most of the time I was successful. So, this teaching did work for me.

After gaining many years of experience, I realized that it is not always good to take that first step. One needs to assess whether it is worth going to the ship or wait for the ship at the shore. At times, virtues like patience and endurance bear sweeter fruits. In the end, if it doesn’t work out then probably, something better is waiting for you.

For example – If you want to go to good school, you would give your best to get in. Let’s change a situation – If you are keen to join a company, you would wait for the best offer.
Another example – If you want to make good friends, you would reach out to people. But if you are in a romantic relationship, you would wait for another person to respond your interest.

All I am saying is to evaluate a situation and strategise on how would you approach. Always being a go-getter doesn’t help. People may view you as an aggressor or an opportunist. The aggressor is not necessarily a terrible thing. There are situations that need you to have an aggressive attitude. Aggressors have better survival instincts too.

But it is not necessarily that aggressors will always get the best deal. If that would be the case, then the only people who are ever successful in life would be go-getters. And that’s not true. People, who are less aggressive but successful, give credit to luck/fate. According to them, they never thought or worked towards achieving the success. It happened along the way. They were only focussing on their work. And enjoyed what they were doing.

The challenge with go-getters is they don’t handle their disappointments very well. If they don’t achieve their goal, they get disheartened. They invest all their energy and focus on getting to the ship. At times their estimation of the time/effort isn’t correct. That leads them to the feeling of failure. Again failing is not a bad thing. People should learn from their failures and do better in life. Obsessing over a goal is not good.

Go-getters tend to overlook many good things in life including relationships due to their obsession towards goal.

To all young people out there, be more calculative on your life goals and decide on which strategy works best. So, you will not be just successful but satisfied at the same time. Success and satisfaction should go hand in hand for a happy life.

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