[5-Bullet Tuesday] Have You Found Your Purpose?

Hi All,

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

How I found my purpose–

While we’re all busy doing things – at work , in communities and in our personal lives, how often do we keep our purpose at the center of it all?

In fact, how often do we even know what our purpose in doing these things really is?

Thank you District 41 District Director, Ranjit Acharya, DTM for having a 20 minutes 1:1 ice breaker cum mentoring session with me.  This is where you shared  with me your own dream of helping other leaders identify their purpose and then support them in achieving it.

Here’s what we were able to frame as my purpose at least for this one year.

Have you framed your purpose yet?

If not, work with your mentor and do it now. Once it’s ready, place it strategically so that it serves as a reminder for you to do only those things that will take you closer to achieving it.

Training I loved:

District Officers Training Program (22-25th July 2021) organized by District 41, Toastmasters International. While there were loads of learning to share, here are some communication tips to share from session with Shivpriya Gauri, DTM:

  1. Respect the chair in all written communication- Hi Nimish Joseph, DTM, and not Hey Nimish 
  2. Remember the Organization Communication flow: For Toastmasters, it goes from club to Area Director to Division Director to District and the other way round.
  3. When calling upon someone, say Distinguished Toastmaster followed by the name such as Let me call upon the stage Distinguished Toastmaster Ankur Yadav. 
  4. If you’re inviting leaders from outside of District 41, make sure Area Director and Division Director are aware. This will allow the District leadership to make arrangements accordingly to uphold the name of District 41.

The daily yoga I’m loving–

Attending daily online Yoga for over 2 months now. I feel changed – no more aches, pains and complains. And not just me, my wife, children, in laws, nieces and many other relatives join these sessions. (Side benefit: It’s a good way to meet and greet each other without risking spreading any infections.)

Hats off to the dedication of the भारतीय योग संस्थान. These experts conduct three one hour sessions daily (5:45 AM, 7:15 AM and 5:00 PM IST) and provide personalized guidance. No strings attached.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect. Now, do yourself a favor and join (email or comment and I’ll be happy to share the latest virtual class link.)

What I figured—

Confused about when to use Email and when to drop a message on Social Media – Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram et al?

Here’s what Shivpriya Gauri, DTM had to say:

Email is the Primary Communication Mode while Social Media is  useful for a follow-up, to expedite or to reiterate the message.

What I learnt about decision making –

You have any upcoming school or college reunion. Will you attend or not?

Well, if there is no conflict it’s easy to decide. Of course you will attend. But what if you had already signed up to a 3 days training program that you’ll have to miss if you attended the reunion?

Ranjit Acharya, DTM, District 41 Director reminded the attendees that those are the times when the following quote from Mahabharata would come in useful to make decisions:

“अनुकूलस्य संकल्प: प्रतिकूलस्य वर्जनम् |

प्रभु की शरण प्राप्ति में जो बातें अनुकूल हों उसकी प्रतिज्ञा करना और प्रतिकूल का त्याग करना |

One must consider attainment of one’s purpose as attainment of God, and hence anything that takes you closer to achieving your purpose should be done, and anything that takes you away from it should be rejected.

Now I know that college reunion will have to be next time without any FOMO or guilt of not attending it.


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Be Limitless by Learning to Delegate

W

ho at your home is best at the art of delegation?

If you ask me, I have all varieties present:

  • Those who keep defaulting but never delegate: They have work, don’t know how to do it, and yet they keep defaulting and consider it a crime to ask for help. That, even when others would be happy to extend their helping hand – That’s my dear son, Tanav and perhaps me too!
  • Who work themselves to death but don’t delegate: They’re overworked, and yet keep taking on more responsibilities eventually burning themselves out. – That’s my better half, Dinky she’s sincere to the core, always asking to gimme more.

My candle burns at both the ends, it won’t last the night; But Oh my God and hey my friends, it gives a wonderful light.

  • Delegate. Delegate. Delegate: They delegate almost everything on their plate – they’re relaxed and always look in control. All they spend time doing is checking the status of the last task they delegated. – That’s my darling daughter, Sohana. Can you please search the charger for me, Papa?

Of course, we all love all our family members to the moon and back. And those examples are just meant to understand the Spectrum of Delegation

The real question is:

Why Should We Delegate? And if we should, How to Learn the ABCs of this Art?

Batman has famously said:

“All men have limits. They learn what they are and learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine.” – Batman

Can you and I ignore our limits too?

Yes we can. Become limitless. Achieve BIG things. And the way to do so is through learning the Art of Delegation. 

Delegation Myths You Must Overcome First: 

  1. They will not be able to do it as well as I will (Lack of trust)
  2. I’ll not be able to communicate what’s needed and by when (Self-doubt)
  3. It’ll be faster for me to do it myself (Excuse)
  4. Person I delegate to will get all the glory (Insecurity)
  5. I will lose control in the process (another form of Insecurity)

Tips To Learn the Art of Delegation: 

  1. Clarify the why of the task in your own mind

    When the why is clear, the how appears

  2. Delegate to the right person at best, a motivated person at least
  3. Explain ‘What is in it for them?’  
  4. Set deadlines and progress reporting upfront. Keep enough buffer. 

    People don’t do what you expect. They do what you (Leaders) inspect with respect.

  5. Don’t just delegate Responsibility. Delegate Authority too. – Authority helps them grow as leaders.
  6. Give Praise, Feedback and Elevate them for Higher Opportunities
  7. Don’t be a Perfectionist. – Be empathic. Take baby steps.

Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Yet, you can achieve anything you set your eyes on.

You don’t have to do everything. Even Batman had Robin.

Well, now take a moment and ask yourself this question: What stops you from delegating and what are some of the things you’ll do now to overcome it?


PS: This post is inspired by the keynote I attended by Suganthi Periasamy, DTM, Region 13 Advisor – at DOTP, District 41, Toastmasters International on 23rd July 2021. #Gratitude


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WHAT IS BEAUTY?

Attended the farewell of Mrs Amita Mulla Wattal, Principal – Springdales Pusa, today. Zoom Zindabad.
Hysterical moment- Those who know Mrs. Wattal know her as a woman of substance, one who always practiced what she preached.
I particularly loved the lines of Urdu Shayari she recited at the end of her speech. I later googled the full version and translated it for myself and you 🙂
A little longish – read it when you have some peaceful time – I’m sure you will find it inspiring. (I’ll look forward to your feedback on my amateurish translating abilities.)
WHAT IS BEAUTY?
ḳhizāñ kī rut meñ gulāb lahja banā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai,
havā kī zad pe diyā jalānā jalā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !

(During difficult times (autumn), maintaining a positive tone like a rose - that is beauty,
When the wind is blowing hard, to light up a lamp, and keep it lit - that is beauty!)
zarā sī laġhzish pe toḌ dete haiñ sab ta.alluq zamāne vaale ,
so aise vaisoñ se bhī ta.alluq banā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !


(At the slightest mistake, people break the relationships,
but to keep up with hundreds of such relations - that is beauty!)
kisī ko denā ye mashvara ki vo dukh bichhaḌne kā bhuul jaa.e ,
aur aise lamhe meñ apne aañsū chhupā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !


(Advising someone that they should forget the pain of separation,
and in times like these, hiding ones own tears - that is beauty!)
ḳhayāl apnā mizāj apnā pasand apnī kamāl kyā hai ,
jo yaar chāhe vo haal apnā banā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !

(Ones own thought, ones own temperament, ones own taste, what is the beauty in this?
whatever the beloved wants, to mould oneself like that- that is beauty!)
kisī kī rah se ḳhudā kī ḳhātir uThā ke kāñTe haTā ke patthar ,
phir us ke aage nigāh apnī jhukā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !

(From someone's path, for God's sake, picking thorns and removing rocks,
and on top of that, staying humble with eyes downcast- that is beauty!)
vo jis ko dekhe to dukh kā lashkar bhī laḌkhaḌā.e shikast khaa.e ,
laboñ pe apne vo muskurāhaT sajā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !

(Seeing which, an army of sorrow also trembles down to defeat,
decorating that smile forever on your face - that is beauty!)


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[5-Bullet Tuesday] 15 Minute Family Ritual

Hi All,

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

What I’m reading –

I recently read an article which claimed using 15 minutes daily in a certain way can change the course of your life over time.

I can’t agree more to that and have gained from that for several years. There are various things one could do in those 15 minutes, such as exercise, meditation, reflection or journaling.

However, I have often wondered that these are all best done alone and if there was something similar we could do together as a family that would be equally rewarding?

What family ritual are we following —

So, in addition to these 15 minutes alone, I now know a daily 15 minute ritual as a family that’s equally or perhaps even more rewarding.

I call it the Family Scrum Meeting – An informal way to understand what we’re all focusing on, what would make us happy or if there is somewhere we can help each other.

How do we spice up our 15 minute meetings –

Add some food for thought such as today. we started with sharing the origin of the idiom “Throw the baby with the bath water“. It brought many giggles and smiles as I explained the picture we see below.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." | Medieval, European history, History

Quote I’m pondering — Sohana, my eight year old daughter, shared a simple yet powerful quote in today’s Family Scrum Meeting:

Peace begins with a smile

What I learnt —

Tanav, my twelve year old son, shared that it would make him really happy if he studied with Mom or Dad. It was a pleasant surprise to know that he actually enjoys reading with us because he would hardly admit it otherwise.

PS: In the same meeting, Dinky, my dear wife, shared a beautiful idea – #LookForABook drive- Each one of us will identify a book that we’d like to read and then we would gift it to each other. That’s something nice to look forward to. If you have any book ideas for me, please let me know.

PPS: All the above was covered in less than 15 minutes. It was fun. Created memories. And most importantly, it brought us a little closer together as a family.

That is us, what about you.. What do you think about that idea? What other family rituals you follow that you think help strengthen your family bond?

I’ll look forward to hear from you. Until next time, Ciao!


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[5-Bullet Thursday] Why It Pays To Lighten Up

Hi All,

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

Poem I loved reading – I even recited this one to my children. Great sense of imagination and funnily relatable in today’s tough COVID situation. Give it a read to lighten your load a bit:

A man standing at the bus stop
reading the newspaper is on fire
Flames are peeking out
from beneath his collar and cuffs
His shoes have begun to melt

The woman next to him
wants to mention it to him
that he is burning
but she is drowning
Water is everywhere
in her mouth and ears
in her eyes
A stream of water runs
steadily from her blouse

Another woman stands at the bus stop
freezing to death
She tries to stand near the man
who is on fire
to try to melt the icicles
that have formed on her eyelashes
and on her nostrils
to stop her teeth long enough
from chattering to say something
to the woman who is drowning
but the woman who is freezing to death
has trouble moving
with blocks of ice on her feet

It takes the three some time
to board the bus
what with the flames
and water and ice
But when they finally climb the stairs
and take their seats
the driver doesn’t even notice
that none of them has paid
because he is tortured
by visions and is wondering
if the man who got off at the last stop
was really being mauled to death
by wild dogs.

—Denver Butson (Source: link)

What brought me a smile —

Sohana, my eight year old daughter, made this drawing. I really felt and even told her if that was a virus? Little did I realize that it was World Earth Day today and she had drawn mother earth.

She didn’t like my feedback. Sorry honey, didn’t mean to be mean. HAPPY EARTH DAY.

Who I’m following — Dr. Peter Fuda, the leadership speaker. If you don’t know him, here’s a video clip that may be a good start. See it if you  have 2 minutes 19 seconds to spare.      

Book I’m reading— Have you laughed at work today? at least smiled? The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up, this book is a great insight into why is it super important to keep the atmosphere happy and light.

the levity effect book review

Tip of the week — How to know a person:

Don’t we all want to know the other people in our lives better – be it our love interests, our grandparents, the leaders around us and so on. Well, here are three things which will tell you a lot about any person:

  • their writing
  • the things they give their time to
  • the people with whom they surround themselves

(Credits link)


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Lessons on Stoic Way From Grandpa’s Diary!

A

s far back as I can remember, I have this memory of my Grandpa sitting down on a quaint chair with a fountain pen in hand and a diary on a brown mahogany table. Every afternoon.

A  lamp would lit up just his table in an otherwise dark room. While Granny would be ready to take an afternoon power nap, with curtains drawn or doors closed, Grandpa would be doing his afternoon writing.

Grandpa would write in the diary every day without fail.

I would usually be laying down with Granny playing a word finder game with her on her Hindi newspaper. I would be overjoyed in that simple game until I fell asleep.

I can’t imagine anything more comforting than the vivid memories of those times.

If you think you know your grandparents well enough, then you’re lucky because as far as my Grandpa was concerned, he always guarded his emotions like those were the jewel Kohinoor.

And not only back then when he was alive, even his diaries which he wrote every single day and I unquestionably inherited, are apparently sans any of his feelings.

Now, I have all the Grandpa’s diaries (yay! my treasure!), but to be  honest it’s a little disappointing because I have lost my last hope of knowing what went through Grandpa’s heart on a day to day basis. Well almost..

The Leo I am, I haven’t given up though. Every now and then, when life grapples me with a challenge, when most people would look for solace or answers in Bhagwat Geeta or other religious texts, I seek my answers in Grandpa’s diaries.

Call it divine intervention or luck, I get taken to a page from Grandpa’s diary, which has just the answer I needed at the time.

For example, I recently felt that despite my devotion and sincerity in keeping the collective best interest in mind for a project, the partner’s would interfere and directly or indirectly nitpick me for past decisions for no fault of mine. All this showing me that there was something else in their mind.

This letter from Grandpa’s diary has a clear answer for what he would do in such a situation. 

Sure, that would have been a tough decision for Grandpa. But not making a decision is sometimes the worst decision you will ever make.

The slow daily pain is worse than the pain of moving on. This is beautifully expressed in this quote from Sri Aurobindo:

Progress: To be ready, every minute, to give up all one is and all one has in order to advance on the way.

I realize that it’s not that Grandpa didn’t have any feelings or was unaware of them, it’s just that he chose to act a stoic.

Stoics don’t consider emotions as a good guide for behavior. Therefore, Grandpa trained his mind to not fan any emotional flames. He practiced this daily until it became second nature for him.

He, like all stoics, would treat emotions like the weather. Just like during a hard rain, you may need to grab an umbrella and drive slower, but you still need to get to work.

The same goes for emotional storms. Grandpa believed that we can still act well despite feeling a “bad emotion.”

Well, that’s about me and my Grandpa, how about you.. How do you handle your emotions every day?

Do you get all carried away and turn red and blue or do you act like stoics and get the emotions pass you without causing any harm.

Find this out so that next time when emotions come to wrap you, you are able to deal with it a different way – the stoic way!

All the best.


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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.

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