Secret Sauce To Success

 


Howdy, Friends.

A study was conducted in 2010 by Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. 

The objective of this study was to determine the 1 top trait that made successful CEOs successful. This study examined 72 executives at public and private companies with revenues from $50 million to $5 billion.

The outcome of this study revealed that self-awareness was the most significant trait associated with leadership success. In fact, the higher level of self-awareness, the higher level of leadership success.

And why just CEOs, becoming self-aware could make every one of us successful.

Now the question is how can you become more self aware? You can do so by developing the habit of daily journaling and reflecting. 

It was like any other day on the 13th of March. I was sitting in front my laptop, when I suddenly heard a loud thud. What followed was the scream of my mother, and wife and me and my children running out to the door. Dad had had a fall, and to make it worse, he was just lying down there, looking disoriented, and speechless.

It seemed like time had come to a standstill. I felt ashamed of conveniently ignoring Dad’s complains since weeks about “feeling weak”.

I didn’t even have the time to think and we somehow managed to pick him up, rushed him to the hospital, and a long and difficult road to his diagnosis and treatment began.

One night, in the hospital as I was trying to get some rest, I recalled that my next Toastmasters project is “Focus on the Positive“. It was extremely ironical because by now I was full of negativity – What is going to happen next?, Is this it, Is he ever going to recover.

All the fears, anxieties and worries were bringing me down. But the project’s objectives were to write down my thoughts on a journal for at least two weeks – including me feelings, both positive and negative, record my successes and efforts and be grateful for three things every single day.

It is said that when the going gets tough the tough get going. I decided to take this Toastmasters’ project as a challenge.

The diagnostic tests were quite a pain moth mentally and physically, and what came out was what swept the ground from beneath our feet.

The doctors advised a therapy which is more famous for it’s horrendous side effects than it’s positive main effects.

I continued my journey of writing my journal – small wins, efforts, plans, gratitude and feelings.

One day I wrote down that although the therapy was tough, but the fact that three different doctors had given a consistent advice, was something to be grateful to God for.

This Wednesday was finally the day to get started with the first session of therapy for Dad. Despite staying positive till now, I did feel weak in my knees – were we doing the right thing? Is his body going to be able to take this therapy?

I looked at the pages of my journal that I had been writing for last 14 days and realized that most of those in the know – the doctors, and the ones who had gone through something similar, were giving us hope and confidence.

It dawned on me that we were following the right steps, and as someone has said, if you follow all the right steps, there is no way you will get a wrong result. My gratitude notes reminded me how blessed I was with so many people on our side genuinely helping us through this difficult time.

All that gave me courage to go ahead as we had planned. We went to the hospital, got him the treatment, and kept the focus right.

It’s been four days since Dad’s first therapy session. None of our worst fears have come true so far. Fingers crossed. We’re able to hang in there and look forward to better days ahead for him.

Negativity can come in anytime uninvited, but it is still important for us to focus on the positive. After all, what we focus on grows.

Tara Leigh Cobble has expressed that beautifully in this poem:

Two natures beat within my breast. The one is foul, the one is blessed. The one I love, the one I hate. The one I feed will dominate.” ― Tara Leigh Cobble

Friends, when life seems tough, when uncertainty looms large, when it looks like the end of the road, I urge you to use this secret sauce and write down your anxiety inducing thoughts and stay focused on the positive.

PS: This speech / script was used to deliver my Focus On The Positive Elective project from Toastmasters – Engaging Humor path.

Are You Driving Your Days Or Are The Days Driving You?

I

t was a colleague (Minal’s) last day at work last week. The Project Manager, Gemma, put together a fun “online” farewell meeting. It was meant to be a little break from work for all the team, fun and of course wishing the best to our outgoing colleague.

To make it fun, Gemma had come prepared with the idea of playing Pictionary. It was really fun and although I thought I had played almost every possible online game since the Pandemic hit last year, but I hadn’t played online Pictionary.

It was a simple format. The person who would be given a word would share their MS Paint and draw on it while everyone else guessed. The one who guessed the exact word first would win. Each person would be given two minutes to draw and get others to guess the word.

There was of course some playful cheating as well – most of us just couldn’t keep our mouths shuts and kept giving verbal hints.

Best Games Kids Can Play on Zoom Virtually with Friends | MommyPoppins - Things to do with Kids

The word I got was “zombie”. I was somehow able to draw something and give some hints to get someone to guess the word. All well there, but the kind of person I am, I would think and analyze quite a bit – why did this word come to me, is there a sign from up above. 

Was this because I’m, off late, living my life like a zombie?

I do see my self floating around aimlessly sometimes. I’d jump from one task to another without finishing the previous one off. I’d feel unaccomplished at the end of the day, unsure whether I achieved anything worthwhile. I’d have strong feeling of FOMO through the day. I’d keep switching between personal and professional commitments being anxious about whether I was doing justice to both.

Have you also ever felt that way? 

If you have, then I’d like to tell you that the one thing that can surely help you is journaling.

And while there are endless formats, apps and diaries that you can pick, but the one that works best for me is a One Pager Template.

I have used this to do things which I thought were impossible for a person like me. Seriously. And I am reminded of this template every time I feel I’m going slightly off track.

Pin on Suicide/Please don't til you read Riverboat of truth/Greg Calise and Wes Penre papers

I have curated this template through my years of experience, training and reading scores of books on personal development.

This time around, I converted this into a MS WORD format to make it handy reference for myself and my friends. All you have to do it take a print of this. It is already in A4 print ready format.

It is so simple that you may not believe how powerful it could be. However, don’t ever underestimate the power of simplicity.

Here’s it for you. One Pager Template – Mohit Sawhney

Fill it in the morning (during your Holy Hour) and keep it in your pocket through the day. Pen things on it as you pass through the day, and just before you close the day.

Few days down the line, you may be surprised at your achievements. You will see your zombi-ness shift to intentionality, and most of all, you will see yourself contented and happy. That’s when you can come back here and drop me a “thank you” message.

Until then, enjoy driving your days.


References:

  1. The connection, contribution and vitality heads come from Jonathan Fields, “Good Life Project” book.
    • Your Vitality Bucket is about optimizing your state of mind and body. Things such as attending theatre, playing soccer, going to a place of worship or exercising are some examples.
    • Your Connection Bucket is about cultivating deep and meaningful relationships. Calling up a dear one, listening closely to what they’re saying, being empathetic with your customers are some examples.
    • And, your Contribution Bucket is about the way you contribute to the world. A good life happens when all three are full. Writing a blog others would find useful, doing a task, teaching students at your alma mater are some examples.
  2. If you’re confused why Challenges are clubbed with opportunities, well that’s because opportunities come disguised as challenges. The great people ask, WTOH, or “What’s the opportunity here?”, and then gradually the opportunity unfolds. Robin Sharma says – “a problem is only a problem when viewed as a problem.” Start looking at your challenges as opportunities and see how it changes your life.

If you like this post, then show the love by sharing it with friends and family. The best part of writing a blog is the discussion that follows, so do register your thoughts and views below.

 

What Good Are Your Generic Management Skill?

D

ad is unwell. He was discharged from hospital just last Thursday after 9 nights 10 days at the hospital.

As he has extreme weakness and breathing issues, we are having to set up the ground floor room to make it more convenient for him during this difficult time. We otherwise are at the 1st floor but there isn’t an elevator in our old ancestral house.

There were two people who were here to help us today in this mission-  both well know- one for electric connections, Sanju, and Ram for general help for moving things around and arranging / overseeing resources.

Where as the electrician, Sanju, has a specific skill, Ram does not have any specific skill – his skills are more generic: Arranging or leveraging available resources, managing the resources etc.

Ram could quickly arrange a rickshaw at a reasonable price, get the traction on the seemingly mammoth task of moving the fridge from a distant location to where it was needed. He also offered a helping little hand to the electrician to pass the drill machine for example, to the rickshaw puller to move the fridge around.

He also provided some experiential advise across all these broad range of areas. While both are valued individuals, but if I were forced to choose one among the two, I would go for the general manager.

The reason is simple – The general manager can help arrange an electrician in no time, where as the other way round is unlikely.

I gave 320 bucks to the electrician and two old wallets I don’t use. He was happy with that and quickly moved on to the next gig elsewhere.

I gave my old suit (the one I wore at my wedding) to Ram, the general manager, three nice shirts I don’t wear any more, and offered him a job once he returns from his village. He’s visiting his village for a wedding where he could look the smartest wearing this suit. He was immensely happy, and so was I.

A lot of us are into generic project management or operations.  Some of us feel miserable with the fact that we don’t have a specific skill. Well, don’t.

You might be undermining your unique ability of management.

Management: simply means “manage men tactfully”

Well, don’t get me wrong or think that I’m sexist. That’s just an easy way to remember what “management” means. In fact, it’s not just managing people, its about leveraging and managing all resources.

As the resources are always scarce, if you have this ability and are constantly honing it, there is no way you will be redundant, irrelevant or out of a job. In fact, you’re better placed than many of those who are skilled in depth in a specific area.

Few other points to ponder:

  • Hard skills are relatively easier to replace but soft skills are not.
  • Soft skills are more human, where as hard skills can be automated.
  • Soft skills can make you stand apart from competitors.
  • Soft skills are harder to find or even identify but once confirmed, the employer wouldn’t let you go.
Skills approach
You will need more and more of Human (generic/ soft) skills as you rise the management ladder.

Now say cheese and get back to doing what you do best. Until next time, this is Mohit signing off.

If Your Life Was An Airplane

I

magine, the pandemic is over. You’ve got yourself vaccinated as well. Now, you are finally ready to use your savings from last year. You decide to go to your dream destination. Well, yes, what ever it may be for you.

You have got the flight bookings and hotel reservations done. Now, you’re at the airport with your family. Waiting for the boarding to start. The announcement is made, and the boarding starts. You are walking towards the plane…

..But what’s that. Something doesn’t seem right. The plane in front of you has a HUGE body, and the wings are too small. You notice that the fuel is leaking from behind.

Would you get on that flight?

May be not.

That’s because you know that the teeny weeny wings would not be able to lift the weight of the plane. Moreover, the fuel needed to keep the engines running would run out any moment in the air.

But, now consider your own life, your relationships and work. Compare your life to an airplane.

The body represents the tensions, worries, liabilities – all the baggage you carry with you.

The wings are the skills and capabilities you have. They provide the thrust to lift your life upward.

The fuel is the cashflow which is absolutely needed to keep your engines running.

And the engines? The engines are the sales and marketing needed to keep your like going be it business or even personal.

They say that time flies, but the good news is that you’re the pilot. So, when you sit in the cockpit – be clear where you’d want to land, and then keep moving in that direction.

You will be off course like most airplanes are 90% of the time, But as the pilot, you have to keep correcting your course.

Happy journey.

You Can Win, Without Taking it on the Chin

C

lose your eyes and think about your life..

What are the elements that make it happy, peaceful or successful?

Now, think about that one thing that is absolutely essential to your life, and yet you struggle to do it day after day.

Yes, the one that makes you scream, shout, and despair. The one that you must get done before getting on to other important things in your life.

It’s something that you think about almost all the time. It could be anything. You can’t get it out of your head.

For Amy Porterfield, the successful podcast host of Online Marketing Made Easy, it is her podcasting itself. She used to call everyday as the podcast day. Scrambling over the topic, recording, copy, editing and on went the list ..every single day!

For me, it is the cleanliness drive. I just can’t get on to anything worthwhile without seeing my house in order – the work desk, the bookshelf, the room, the other room, the fans, the looking glass, and my list goes on and on.

For you, it may be something else. But you get the point. You just can’t seem to finish it and yet can’t get it out of your head. How frustrating. Most of the time, you have to get on with other things anyway, but that’s excruciatingly painful.

That’s where this idea of Mega Batching comes in. I heard this from Amy herself and she transformed her life applying it to her podcasting.

And, I, of course, applied it to my Safai Abhiyaan, my cleanliness drive. Given that we’re still continuing without a help at home, looking back, this is just what I had needed in the first place.

It’s a simple idea, but works wonders. At the heart of it, it is all about bundling (batching) similar things together. So, what ever it is that you are cringing about, break it down into sub-tasks that must be done in order to complete it.

For Amy’s podcasting, the sub-tasks were, her topics selection, outlining the podcast content, reviewing it, creating show notes, writing emails to her subscribers list, recording the podcast, editing it and final review.

For my cleanliness drive, it was my brooming, mopping, mosquito spraying, dusting, doors cleaning, cleaning the tops (fans, spiderwebs et al), mirrors, clothes arranging and books arranging.

Well, I never thought I’d be doing a job description for your house help 🙂

Anyway, you get the point. Make an exhaustive list of the work that must get done in order to call that overall task done – Podcast or cleanliness drive or what ever it may be for you. Spend good time in doing so because you could very easily miss out on something. If you do, it’s fine though, you can always add to the list.

The next step is to combine the similar things together. If all the sub-tasks look similar, well they aren’t.

Topic selection is very different from recording the podcast.

Brooming is way different from mopping.

So, Amy focuses on just topic selection on Day 1, just like I now focus on just brooming on Day 1. Basically, you batch the activities something like below.

  • Monday mops
  • Tuesday tops (fans, spiderwebs..)
  • Wednesday mosquito spray, books at bay, clothes away
  • Thursday broom (wrappers and papers)
  • Friday dusting Yay!
  • Saturday doors or shall I say Saturdoors 🙂
  • Sunday broom (small dust)

It was a huge mindset shift as I am used to seeing all of the above happening everyday since I was born. Perhaps so are you. But then, whoever said that all of this has to happen everyday. 🙂

Amy has something similar for her podcasts.

The real killer is the multi-tasking. This concept heavily relies on the principle that multi-tasking is the world’s greatest time-waster. It takes the brain a HUGE amount of time to switch from one activity to another. To add to that, it is very frustrating and stressful.

I can totally relate. The daily switch from broom to mop was killing me.

If you’re thinking some of this is not evenly placed in terms of time, then you could combine a few things but make sure they’re similar. I have two days for brooming as I think that works better for me.

This approach makes me walk out of this mindset after having done the decided sub-task for the day. Yesterday, was Tuesday Tops day, and I did the fans. When I saw clothes or wrappers on the floor, it frustrated me much less, because I looked at the sparkling fans and was reminded that the floor is for another day.

Try this out in whatever you do. You will of course need to make few adjustments and will learn in the process but I promise if would be far more enjoyable and satisfying.


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Where Did You Travel Last?

The most recent trip I took was to Egypt. The one before was to Arabia.

If you’re wondering how on Earth am I getting to travel so much despite the lockdown, well, then let me intrigue you a bit more.

I am getting to travel not despite the pandemic, but because of it. And I’m traveling not only in physical terms but also in terms of time.

Now that you think you get it, let me spill the beans for you. I’m traveling in these far away lands of hundreds of years ago, by reading about them in books.

I have realized that reading has to be thought through – intentional, just like everything else. I generally enjoy reading non-fiction more than fiction. But I read fiction too a bit and I have realized that reading fiction just before sleep time is magical.

A good story just before falling asleep gives me wings and makes my imagination stretch far and wide.  Even during the sleep. It makes me forget my worries and opens for me the doors of opportunities. It tells me that all the worries of today and the box in which they all exist (me) are both so small in the large scheme of things.

Read fiction before sleeping and non-fiction first thing in the morning.

I wake up the next day vivid and fresh with a renewed perspective to life. And, that’s the time for me to read something more tangible, and practical, so I pick non-fiction.

That’s something I had heard from someone, but it was only when I followed this as a practice did I realize the power of this schedule.

Now, I read for around fifteen minutes every night and similar time in the morning, and just love the magic that follows.

I’m reading – Folk Tales from Different Lands, my night buddy these days and The Daily Stoic, my morning pal.

Yesterday’s lesson from Egpyt, seeking justice was not easy few hundred years ago (just like today actually) and the poor peasant earned justice through a long and tiring road. What eventually helped was his practice, eloquence and determination to seek justice. You can read the full story here, if you want a refreshing read.

And my morning pal, The Stoic’s lesson was to avoid feeling the responsibility for everything that is happening around you. Keep doing your best but then don’t be burdened by the pressure of it. That’s because after a while, no one remembers it anyway. The chapter is called “On Being Remembered” and this quote by Marcus Aurelius summarizes it well: “Everything lasts for a day, the one who remembers and the remembered.” 

I have etched these two times in my nightly and morning rituals, and doing so is transforming me, taking me from a state of worries and threats of everyday life, to a serene and peaceful state of calm and possibilities.

That’s me, and what about you? Do you have a reading ritual and if so what does it look like? Would love to hear from you.

Until next time, this is Mohit signing off.

What To Do When You’re Thrown Under The Bus?

E

ver felt like you were at the receiving end of a conversation? You feel pressurized, short of breath, and at the end of your words. In other words, you felt like you were thrown under the proverbial bus. Somewhere deep down you know you were being wronged. However, as you were still aghast at the turn of events, that you weren’t able to gather yourself to respond.

I’ve sure you’ve been there one way or the other – when your business partner blames you, out of the blue, for the losses in the last ten years, when your boss shares in the appraisal that all you did was just meeting expectations, when your spouse thinks you haven never supported him/ her.

You know the feeling. Right?

Today, you’ll find out how to respond while you see yourself standing between the metaphorical mountain and the deep blue sea. On the one hand you don’t want to spoil the relationship with the person accusing you, but at the same time you want to save yourself from the disgrace.

See the source image

When I thought my training business was finally getting back on track after the long lockdown period nd my family’s COVID-19 survival journey, when I thought we had left misfortunes behind us, when I was finally looking forward to the light visible from the end of the tunnel, … something unexpected happened.

My very own business partner, who I trusted like a family member, left me shocked when he, out of the blue, claimed that he was liable to get a larger share of our business profits. It came completely out of  whack.

Of course, I can only share my side of the story and it felt like greed had taken over my otherwise rational business partner. Or may be he was led astray.

In any case, his unreasonable demand left me feeling cheated, insulted but more than anything else, shocked. Shocked, as I didn’t see it coming, not from him anyway.

But as they say – sh*t happens.

And it had happened. The BIG question somewhere deep down for me was – Can I save our relationship while at the same time asserting myself for what was right?

I’m not sure how I reacted or responded in that situation but looking back I think here’s what would work best:

  1. Don’t Be Defensive: The other person is probably doing that in order to negotiate a better deal for themselves. But, all that is just in words right now. It is likely not legit. If it was, they would come through legal channel or with the documentation to prove their point. Right now, its likely just a tactic to shake your confidence. Don’t give in to the bait. Stay confident. And staying confident doesn’t mean shouting back or arguing. Instead, it means the opposite – it means staying calm and composed. There is no better retribution than a calm and composed self amidst a storm.
  2. Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right: In such a situation you may be tempted to say something to hurt the other party back. What better feeling than hitting below the belt in revenge. Well, don’t. That would lead to a vicious circle of accusations and counter accusations and eventually a communication breakdown. Unless you want that as the outcome (which may be ideal in certain cases), don’t give it back in the same coin. Moreover, they could be in a temporary state of mind to vent out their feelings. Your fuel to that fire could make a whimper become a forest fire of sorts – One that would take forever to put out or would cause a lot of collateral damage. Hence, choose your words wisely to keep the channels open.

    Two wrong may not make a right but they make a nice excuse     

  3. Don’t Get Carried Away: You will have a feeling that you’re being conspired against, that your trust has been broken, or even that the entire world is a bad bad place. Well well well, let that thought come if it is coming. And then, let it go. Don’t get carried away with it. Because world is not such a terrible place after all. You know it. Refer to the pre-agreed agreements, contracts or emails if these are available. (This may not work with your spouse unless you document every support you provide each other. You could take it in your stride and in less stressful time agree with your spouse on some rules of this very important partnership. )
  4. Don’t Kill Rapport: You don’t want to appear sheepish and neither do you want to be seen as raging. Then, how should you carry yourself? Its in both parties interest to continue to maintain rapport, and you could you Mirroring technique to do so without making it obvious. Basically, mirror the other person’s breathing patterns, their posture, facial expressions, tempo and tone.

Those are all the Don’ts but what should you do then?

Most of the answer lies in these don’ts itself – Stay Calm, Choose words wisely, Maintain Rapport, Have faith.

That was me. What about you? How do you respond when you find yourself in such a situation? Are there any other ways you think could serve us well in those times?


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[5-Bullet Tuesday] How Can You Transform Anxiety into Growth?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

What I’m reading –

“You Can’t Know It All – Leading in the Age of Deep Expertise”, by Wanda Wallace. It’s an interesting take on handling the transition when leaders with deep expertise in one area (Expert leader) move into a completely different area in which they have little or no expertise (Spanning leader). 

 You Can't Know It All: Leading in the Age of Deep Expertise by [Wanda T. Wallace]

What Web series I’m watching —

Ek Jhoothi Love Story on ZEE5. If you loved Zindagi Gulzar Hai, you’ll like this Pakistani series too. It’s about love in today’s times of social media. Very realistic and subtle and one that has kept me hooked till now for over three episodes.    

Quote I’m pondering —

“Be at your best behavior when your children are at their worst”

-An advise worth millions for parents 🙂

The article I loved reading –

Dan Sullivan published this article called the ‘Scary Times’ Success Manual. He proposed 10 mind shifts, that I think are just as relevant today as they were twelve years ago at the height of the financial crisis when this article was written. Here’s a summary and read the full article here. :
1. Forget about yourself, focus on others.
2. Forget about your commodity, focus on your relationships.
3. Forget about the sale, focus on creating value.
4. Forget about your losses, focus on your opportunities.
5. Forget about your difficulties, focus on your progress.
6. Forget about the “future”, focus on your today.
7. Forget about who you were, focus on who you can be.
8. Forget about events, focus on your responses.
9. Forget about what’s missing, focus on what’s available.
10. Forget about your complaints, focus on your gratitude.

Concept I loved –

One thing that’ll determine your success in life and ability to bounce back, is your “Who Luck“. Yes, Who Luck.

Jim Collins talks about Who Luck in his book Great by Choice. Jim defines it as your luck of finding and associating with right people in your circle. These people will lift you up when your luck turns bad, and when luck is good, they’ll share unselfishly. So, how’s your Who Luck?   


If you like this post, then show the love by sharing it with friends and family. The best part of writing a blog is the discussion that follows, so do register your thoughts and views below.


                                                                                                                                    

[5 Bullet Tuesday] How To Create Your Own Calm?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

The app I loved –

I finally found a free app that lets us have one common place for the entire family’s time table. It’s called COZI and has some really cool features to keep the family calendar updated. Available on Android, iOS and on the web. Sawhney family’s loving it.


Social Media post I found useful –

This is a brilliant video that covers the essentials of personal finance, among other fun DIY activities for the family. link

 

The quote I’m pondering –

“Work is worship; Worship is not work.” – Khushwant Singh

 

Website I loved –

Loved the sheer beauty of the message wall it lets you create. Padlet.com Here’s how I used it to collate birthday messages from everyone for my son Tanav’s 12th birthday – My padlet

 

What excited me the most –

My eldest niece, Mehak, has started her first broadcast – “Create your own Calm”. Check it our here, all you itching for calmness souls (in her own words). Mehak has surprised me with her beautifully adorned style of writing. Subscribe to her on Sublist channel, and I guarantee you’ll love it. Okay, and let me share one of the ways she suggests to create your calm – Mandala art. Like the picture featured on this post, done by artist Mehak.


If you like this post, then show the love by sharing it with friends and family. The best part of writing a blog is the discussion that follows, so do register your thoughts and views below.