Category : Leadership

Misconceptions around Work-Life balance

Misconceptions start from very description of popular term “Work-Life balance”. Work is actually part of life. The mistake is to treat Work and Life (i.e. personal life) as 2 separate entities and then, talk of balancing.
Most successful people have lot of work, less of free time; but they are mostly healthy and rarely talk of missing on work-life balance. Why? They might be auto-balancing, which very few can see!

Misconceptions galore

  1. Treating Work and Life as 2 separate compartments.
    These are actually 2 aspects of one Whole – Life; or you can say 2 sides of same coin.
  2.  Assumption that how and what you do in your personal life would not impact professional life or vice versa is wholly misplaced.
  3. Exaggerated notions
  • Dedication at work means over-working.
  • Ownership inevitably means stress and worry.
  • Getting fatigued and tired is alright, week-end is there to recharge.
  • At last, I have time for my family.
  • Oh! Now that I am retired from work, I can do what I always wanted to do.

    4. Split behavior

  • Hands-on at work, hands-off at home
  • Bull at work, bear at home or vice versa
  • Involved at work, indulge at home
  • Conscious at work, crazy at home
  • Pressure at work, release at home

These misconceptions also bring you morning or Monday blues.

Drawing a parallel
What you do in personal life, are directly relevant to your professional life. Look at these parallels:

  1. Correct way of treating employees is how you treat your family – respectful and reasonable, considerate and caring.
  2. Best example of ownership on your team or project is how you parent (especially a mother) your children.
  3. Your loyalty to Company should be no less than your loyalty to Spouse.
  4. You can’t do without courage and calm to manage a conflict at work and that’s what you need also at home.
  5. What drives you for decisions on your personal investments should also drive you for business decisions at work.

What can auto-balance your “Work-Life”

  1. Believe that work is never a burden or liability. It is meant to be enjoyed as much as you enjoy while at home or holidays.
    At one stroke, you would develop your dedication, dynamism and diligence.
  2. What you like to do, do not postpone it to another day. Find a way to do little of all what you like or have to; but incrementally and without compromising your duties.
    If you have a desire to find a way, you would surely get it! Our dogma – we do not believe this works. Factually, it does!!
  3. If you want to be a horse of long race, you ought to be healthy and happy.
  4. Forget that “over work or excess stress” can be off-set by “over rest or excess relaxation”. Both are bad!
  5. Eliminate 2 Big blunders, most commit – to ignore “qualitative development of self” and “securing future”.
    On Qualitative Development, you normally think –
  • It is a separate subject.
  • It would happen, as you gain experience.
  • It would come, when you get training.
  • It is not meaningful to your work and meaningless for your vacation.
    Human race is most fortunate to learn what is good and what is not, what is right and wrong, from childhood through academia to now. Hence, you know these already! Experience would only consolidate, training would polish and some medium would help you to change for better.
    Make it integral to your work and life and drive your qualitative development.
    Securing Future is the best “stress relieving dose” –
  • When you earn, you spend and when you spend, think to save.
  • Save and invest to secure your/family’s future. Many think it is not importance today; they regret tomorrow.

Here is “What You Should Do”

  1. Set your definition right on “Work-Life balance”.
  2. See the parallels in Professional and Personal life.
  3. Seek joy in everything you do and blend it with qualitative aspects.
  4. Stop over-doings in name of passion or vacation.
  5. Slice your time, when you are not sleeping, into –
    40 to 45% at Work
    40 to 45% not at Work (for family, socializing, travel…)
    10 to 20% for your health, self-development and securing future.
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When your confidence starts to shake..……

Often you may find your confidence level going down or shaking. This can dent your efficiency and effectiveness, comfort and composure. If you can find the reasons, it is then possible for you to address. You would discover that some of these could be very trivial and some are terrible!

Look at what can tamper your confidence:

1. Conflict of thoughts

  • Is my belief right or wrong?
  • Will it work or will it not?
  • Shall I do or shall I drop?
  • What is it, if I go wrong?
  • Standing at cross roads; unable to decide which direction to go.

Though you believe in decisions; but you become indecisive!

2. Conflict of interests

  • Your stakes are high; but you suspect setback!
  • Your image is high; but you worry for it getting impaired.
  • People have high expectations from you; but you fear failure.
3. Conflict of actions
  • Gap in what you believe and what you do.
  • Using duel yard sticks – one for self and another for others.
  • You initiate action; but lack conviction in pursuing.
  • Attempts to gain at the cost of others.
4. Overly Concerned
  • What would others think of you?
  • Getting nervous with size of audience or position of person/s, with whom you need to communicate.
  • Fear of unknown.
  • Desire to please all, though not possible.
  • Envy those, whom you perceive as better performers, rather than learning from them.
5. Contradictory results
  • Putting-in what you think as your best efforts; but success eludes you.
  • Driving for a change; but you are driven to wall.
  • People take your sincerity and sanctity as granted and they do not hesitate to manipulate.
  • You discover your trusted or dear ones digging under your feet.

6.     Facing Crisis

  • Setback to your image, status or career.
  • Your actions triggering a controversy or raking up an issue.
  • Your beliefs prove to be wrong or exaggerated, arousing your reaction or ego.
  • Fingers being raised on your character or your credibility being doubted.
  • Your health is not helping.

7.     Getting Criticism

  • Dressing-down by your boss or spouse.
  • You are put down by your peers.
  • Not being recognized for what you perceive as good work.
  • When others feel hurt by your doings.

So, what you need to do?

Just 2 things –

A. Be aware of (1) to (4) and abandon or reject these outright!

Heaven would not fall on earth, if you still go wrong. But, if you don’t do that, chances of heaven falling down would only improve. After all, you need not be right every time and “wrong would only make you right”. So, get it going; do not hold.

B. Evaluate (5) to (7); somewhere you would be wrong and elsewhere you may be right. Hold the Right and correct the Wrong!

Here is the key to real confidence:

Sticking to own beliefs and views, regardless these are right or wrong, is over- confidence. It would kill you one day.

Under-confidence is an ailment, which would trouble you every day.

Having own beliefs and views, with room for change and correction whenever necessary, is the only Real Confidence! It would be difficult to get shaken!!

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Secrets behind Chefs’ dishes and Mothers’ recipes

This is the next step to create understanding towards “Science behind Your Life”. Wonder; what it has got to do with such topic? That is the secret, you need to know.

Did you observe why we like bread crumbs in soup? Why many people like crunchy chocolates?

Bread crumbs are crispy, soft but solid and gives a good taste with soup, which is liquid. Chocolates are soft; but additional flavor is created by making its surface or inside layers crunchy or by adding nuts. Even, crunchy sound creates add on in the taste, you enjoy!

What is at work in both of above cases? Taste of each constituent in soup or chocolate does matter; but what makes a real difference is feeling or flavor created by substances of contrasts – solid and liquid in case of soup, crispy and creamy in crunchy chocolates! The most of famous and popular chefs plan and prepare their dishes with one of the most critical criteria of creating a Feeling of Contrast. I am not sure whether chefs themselves are conscious of this fact; but they seem to practice it and this is what makes their dishes different, tasty and awesome.

You can look at several popular dishes or drinks – crème brulee, Irish coffee, cocktails or chef’s Italian or Indian or other dishes. One of the most salient features would be to create a contrast not only in tastes; but also how these are presented or decorated. The combinations could be:

  • Hot and cold
  • Hard and soft
  • Solid and liquid
  • Sweet and sour
  • Crunchy and creamy
  • Coarse and fine
  • Thick and thin
  • Froth and liquid
  • Bitter and mild/sweet
  • Spongy and sticky
  • Colors in contrast – green, yellow, beige, maroon, white, brown or black etc.

Mothers’ recipes are normally around creating varieties and could also have above combinations.

Note, all of such dishes with great taste trigger all or most of your senses – sight, smell (aroma), taste, touch and hearing (like crunchy bites), and these get accentuated because of contrasts!

So, essentially man likes contrast, variation, variety and these are nothing but synonyms of “Change”. Often, we are not conscious of our natural likes. A change is man’s obvious choice. Often, we would resist or react against a change and hence spoil its beauty. Do not repel; but relish “A Change”.  Sign of real taste is when all of your senses are triggered. You are then ecstatic. You are alive, because there are changes going on all time within your body. You would be dead otherwise. Hence, a Change is inherent to Life.

Real leaders drive or bring “Change”. If you cannot do that, embrace the “Change” now; you would then have a chance one day to learn how to drive it! If you reject it, you would most probably be in peril.

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Myths, which you have been living with!

As 2nd step to understand what is behind or inside your life, read and evaluate this.

If your honest answer to all of following points is “Yes, I have been believing and living with these”, you are a “Normal Being”. If some of these are indeed “Myths” for you and you do not actually live with those, you are “Above Normal”. And, if you live with none of these, you are “Meta-Normal”.

  1. You bring your fortune or misfortune with your birth and its timing.
  2. Your talents and/or traits are gifts from your birth or from God and therefore, cannot be changed.
  3. There are people with negative vibes, whose presence affect you and your environments negatively.
  4. What you cannot enjoy now, you can enjoy later or tomorrow.
  5. You are clever enough to hide your inner self – love or hate, disappointment or enchantment, pleasure or pain, frustration or satisfaction, inclination or repulsion – to reflect on your body language.
  6. Quality in everything that you do costs you extra time, efforts, energy or money.
  7. Your instincts, gut feelings or inner voices are governed by meta physics; something that you are unable to explain.
  8. Selection range for your role model/s comes from –
    1. People with power play – Your boss, CEO, head of your country….
    2. People with popularity – Sports person, actor, entertainer, leader of popular movement
    3. People with courage – Military  commander or one, who can damage or dismantle camp of your adversary
  9. Best way to gain knowledge is to do it myself, without seeking involvement, advice or guidance from others.
  10. For best career growth (or at least to keep it safe), play safe, toe boss’ line and not challenge him/her, even if necessary.
  11. Best method to gain popularity and attention is to flaunt, taunt, comment and criticize.
  12. Best strategy to get visibility is to take a dip into crisis, cry for help and secure sympathy.
  13. You can do more than one thing or multitasking at the same moment – work on your laptop or in kitchen, listen to music and talk on cell phone.
  14. Free lunches and freebies come really free, do not have a price tag and hence, cost you nothing.
  15. Your failures or short comings are easily attributable to –
    “Inputs”, “Reasons beyond control”, “Coincidences”….. if nothing else, you would find luck, forefathers, genes or God always handy!

And, there are many more! If anyone of you believe that a particular point is not a myth, please identify same in comments space below. I plan to come back to explain why all of above are myths in real.

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An interesting campaign for anti-corruption and support for Lokpal in my Housing Society

When Anna Hazare’s movement was at peak few months back, one fine evening, I saw a notice on my Society’s board requesting residents to join “candle march” coming Saturday. When that Saturday evening I heard loudest possible slogans “Mee Anna Hazare”, “Annaji, go forward, we are behind you” and so on, I could not hold back my curiosity and went down to see the march.

It was a group about 30 male and female residents in middle to old age group (out of 500 families, who live in our Society) holding candles and some wearing white cap painted with slogan “Mee Anna”. I saw that highest pitch among participants was that of an ex-government official, who seems to be having assets disproportionate to the position he had held. There were few sober residents, who normally like to follow others. There were few sober residents, who normally like to follow others. Then, there were some, who have known liking to hear their own voice, paying little attention to what they actually speak. Others were those, who like to create obstacles in good work, our Society would propose.

I felt pity on an old lady, who was not able to walk properly and raise her voice. I could not resist asking her why she is troubling herself. Brightness came into her eyes and she explained enthusiastically “I want to teach lesson to our society’s security supervisor, because he is corrupt and takes money from contract labor working in society’s premises. That is what I have heard from other residents; but managing committee is not doing anything about it. When Annaji would be successful, I would drag this fellow to Lokpal”! Next day, one of my friends told me that his driver wants to take leave and go to New Delhi to strengthen hands of Anna and his team to get billions of dollars of black money from foreign accounts back in India. He believes that when such money comes in, he would get some being backward class and would lead richer life.

I felt this candle march with its participants is a true image (at micro level) of anti-corruption movement at large! It left me wondering can Gandhinian ways of protest be applied to solve an issue, which is so deeply ingrained in our system and enact legislation with threats?

It is tempting for some to raise public frenzy and fury through brinkmanship. But then, expectations of people are also raised sky high and if these are not managed properly, such movement or strategy is destined to fizzle out! This is what seems to have dawned recently in Mumbai and enthusiasts of candle march in my society now!

Corruption in all walks of life needs to be tackled with strong will and for that, realism and foresight should descend on our leaders. Corruption is an ailment, which not only requires treatment through well thought out laws and honest practices; but it would also need preventive measures like teaching Ethics in every school, college, institution and enterprise and implanting same in the minds of people like a Faith.

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