LIfe

How do I know what is true?

What might I learn at a workshop that is called Conversations at the Growing Edge?

I have been trying to tame my curiosity and hunger for learning ever since I can remember. Just like the caterpillar who is always searching for more, I seem to always be pondering about what I may be missing.

And I sure was missing this!!!

Imagine landing amongst a gang of the most extraordinary people, where our goal was to tip into our pots of compassion so we could learn how to listen to our partners to understand how they make sense of their world.

These were three days that slowed me down as I pondered on my own way of making meaning of what is happening in my life, the choices I have made and the desires I nurture about what I want to be doing.

I discovered yet again how blessed I am to have worked with so many fabulous leaders, to have learnt from so many people – my parents, my children, my friend and partner, colleagues, friends and the many many brilliant minds who put their work on paper, who teach and work tirelessly to find ways to help us be the best we can be.

Our needs and desires are the only thing that matters when we come into the world. It is a precious world, when it is just me and the whole universe revolves around me!!!! We quickly realise though that it is not really true and start to notice important others that we learn to become loyal to and follow. Until our voice starts to emerge and we become the authors of our lives. These are the various meaning making systems that work like lenses through which we make sense of our world. The demands made on us require that we develop increasingly sophisticated and expansive ways to see the world.

So what does this mean for leaders and those of us who work with leaders to help build inclusive, spacious workplaces where people thrive and grow?

At a very very simple level, it means that we can slow down and listen with compassion. We can learn to notice our own thoughts and feelings as well as those of the people we are with. When we open ourselves to these, we may just get a glimpse into what is important to us and find a different way of looking at the world that may just lead us to new possibilities.

If you are looking for creative, inclusive ways to stimulate personal and organisation growth, get in touch!

 

from-above1

Standard
LIfe

What happens when you slow down?

sam_0838

174,000,000

This is the number of hits on Google when you ask this question.

And I am spending three days in Paekakariki a beautiful seaside village in New Zealand attending a conference that is called Conversations at the Growth Edge.

It is where I will dive into a world where I hope to experience listening as a powerful transformational tool and use it to slow right down.

As executives, we are trained to act on what presents and be decisive. Clarity of thought is sought and needed.

What if we were able to drop all that we know and just listen to what is presenting? It seems that this being in the present moment and listening to see what emerges with unfettered curiosity can lead to solutions that we may not have imagined. If we can let go of what we know to experience what emerges in the moment, we may just find ways to solve problems that will endure the test of time.

So after many many years being an advocate of leadership development, creating cultures where people can do their best work, I will learn to shut up and listen.

I know many of my colleagues will be very very grateful.

 

Standard
Inspiration, LIfe

The Power of Listening

We live in disruptive times. In a few years half the workforce is predicted to be between the age of 20 and 30 and the other half is a rich medley of ages. Healthy, smart and switched on. Also very hyper-connected!!!

So here we are, in this very complex milieu, trying to make sense of what is presenting to us as we juggle the demands of our work and personal lives.

Imagine if some of this complexity is presenting because each of us is making sense of what is happening in a very different, unique way? And what if we became curious about how we are making sense of what is in front of us?

What if a leader is able to still their mind and pay attention to the person who is talking until they completely understand their view of the world? It may just be the ultimate weapon.

Imagine then, you are leading a meeting to discuss a complex issue and every one at the table has a different view. What might emerge if each person was allowed to speak until every one at the table understood their perspective?

If we were to believe what Robert Kegan has to say, it is the pathway to developing a a more sophisticated and nuanced perspective that emerges when we are able to listen to diverse ideas and thinking. It creates in us the ability to respond adaptively to complex challenges.

It is a simple idea. Listen. Deeply. And with compassion.

Standard
Inspiration, LIfe, Social Agenda, Travel

Of stereotypes and other delusions

This is a picture I took last year when we were visiting our parents and took a little detour to a town called Jodhpur.

I have lived in India for 35 years before moving to Australia in 2000. I love travelling, so have voraciously gone after several experiences in Australia, India and luckily, during my work travel to Europe, New Zealand, Taiwan….

I consider myself reasonably culturally sensitive having moved a fair bit, growing up in India and of course, settling in Australia and working at a fairly senior level with executive teams.

Yet, this cheeky woman on the right had me. She was hanging out in the shade with her partner and on my approach, asked me if I can find her a “good man”.

I chatted. Explaining my view of the world and how I came to marry my husband, who was a friend… blah blah. Until she burst out laughing and said, “I have a husband. I love him. We have been married for xx years”

There are lessons to be learnt in every moment. If we can listen. Truly listen. Then we can see the world as it is. Without our own filters, beliefs or assumptions.jodhpur4

Standard
Inspiration, LIfe, Social Agenda, Travel

The Caterpillar & the Butterfly

it is getting dull

So does anybody here know how many times the caterpillar hangs upside down waiting to turn into a butterfly?

It was 16 years ago that my then boss’s boss gave me this book “Hope for the Flowers” when I told him that I am going away to Australia. He also thought I should get my head checked. Why would I leave a career in HR with Larsen & Toubro Limited to go to a foreign land where Indians were not respected?

Or something similar. Maybe not exactly that. It is true though, that it was unlikely that any Australian hirer would recognise XLRI or L&T. Someone did. And some other.

It is a bit irrelevant though. Because this, really is the story of my life. How many times have I hung upside down, waiting to become the butterfly.

First, though, I must acknowledge what prompted me to leave my glass of wine to come here and write.

I am reading “The Adversity Advantage” and I stopped when I read ” I’ve always had a restless voice inside me, which seemed to speak loudest when my life felt a bit stagnant”

Chapter 1: Growing up, my mum said I must study. “why can’t you come first” she laments. “If you study, you will”. And I retort, “why mum? is it so you can talk about it in your kitty parties?” “no” was my answer. I did study more than I cared to. Only because I thought it is important to get into where I want to, so I can do what I want to. I got the marks I needed in Year 10 ( Mount Carmel, Ahmedabad) to get into the best High School, St.Xavier’s High School. And then enough there to get into the best Commerce College in Ahmedabad. Though of course, I could have gone to New Delhi perhaps. And then, it was not about marks any more. Well, of course you needed to be close enough to a Distinction. Mainly though, it was about a test of your Math & Logical abilities….. ngbbs4c14b82adb40c

Chapter 2: Working: The first job. I hated it. It was my first interview on campus at XLRI and I took it. Oberoi Hotels. We were a bunch of 6 MBAs and were training with the Hotel Management Grads. So learning to make Moussaka, chop chicken “properly” handle the front office, know all the wines in all the regions of the world. Three months in, I knew it was wrong. So I quit. Especially after within the first month at the Head Office, the VP HR expected that I “escort” the HR folks visiting us from our Egypt Office to shopping Delhi. Hmmm. And I was “told” to be “more appropriate” when we dined with Mr. Oberoi.

OK.

Chapter 3: That first “campus” recruitment lasted four months and I found myself in Baroda. Where my sweetheart was. The one who was a friend and became a sweetheart 8 years on. No one knew what XLRI was. So from being coveted by multi-nationals, I went a beggin for a job! I landed and quit about 6 different jobs in about 2 years. I quit again when we were expecting our first baby. And a year or so later landed a job with IPCL, a large petrochemicals business in India. 5 years there and then, thankfully, there was an opening with Larsen & Toubro who was setting up in Vadodara at the time. Those 10 years were fabulous experience, where I was very lucky to be inspired by a few brilliant leaders. Until I got restless again. What am I missing?

Chapter 4: Australia. My boy was 10 & girl 6. We decided to pack a bag and move. If we got a job that recognised our experience & qualifications, we would stay. If not, go back. That was in 2000. 13 years later. I was starting to get bored. I am most proud of engaging senior leaders and securing their commitment to investing in their own development and creating enduring processes that create the environment for people to do their best work. What am I missing out on though by coming in and out of work everyday? What about travelling? What about doing something different? Every time I went to India, there was a tug. I feel disturbed about the fact that some women don’t get to have a shower in private. That people are displaced from their homes in villages and don’t get a decent quality of life when they migrate into cities for work. I quit work. That was 2013.

Chapter 5: 2016 Feb. Here I am. What happened in the last two years? Can’t quite account for it except to say that there hasn’t been a single day that I got bored. I cannot say either exactly what I have achieved? I had no goals. No plans. I have woken up each morning and done what my heart desires. I have studied. Read books. Written a few blogs. Or not. I fell into making soaps. And learnt how to do Facebook 🙂 I learnt marketing. And whilst I was doing that, I kept nursing my desire to bring EI education into schools. To make sure every woman has a private place to shower. And late last year, I decided I also want to keep consulting in the area of my expertise.

Because in the end, I am a catalyst. I thrive on change. I absolutely, utterly love any chance to make a difference. However small. Hence why, perhaps for me, turning upside down, slowing down, waiting for what’s to emerge is best. No ambition needed.

Except, I absolutely want to do the Masters in Science Coaching Psychology. I wonder where that might take me 🙂

img_7882

Standard
LIfe, Natural, Travel

Hangin’ Out

  
We are in Queenstown. The four of us – being lazy. Annoying each other and just hanging out. 

 Each of us is so different. We like eating different food. Like doing different things. Even our taste in music is different. 

And then, we still find a way to gather. 

Bike riding across 5 bridges from the picturesque Arrowtown in sweltering heat. And not being able to walk without groaning next day 🙂

  Walking around the beautiful paths. Talking. Eating. Sharing stories. Being quiet. Playing with our phones.    

   
And that will be a Christmas I will remember. And hold in my heart. 

Xx

Standard
Uncategorized

Stories to warm your heart

jodhpur9

These stories are from my recent visit to what seemed to me & my hubby a magical place.

We were visiting India to see my parents & his. I have been nursing a desire to go to Rajasthan. A place we have never visited during our 35 years living in India. It holds a promise of romance. I don’t know quite why I think that way.

I want a month or so to truly explore Rajasthan and know it is going to be a while before I am able to do that. So I decided to sneak in a couple of days to see Jodhpur.

We stayed at Bal Samand Palace Hotel that is owned by Hh Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji Jodhpur

My cousin runs a travel business GeTS India so we knew we were in good hands! We were received at the Railway Station by his team and taken to the hotel. We were escorted to our room and in a few moments eagerly opened the door that led into the garden. My hubby visibly sighed as he sank into the chair on the verandah. “Wow” he said. We both sat there quietly soaking in the tranquillity. It is as though we were transported into a different world and everything slowed right down.

jodhpur 11jodhpur1

Our driver was Prem Singh, a very well informed and philosophical guy. He was our self appointed guide and had many stories. These stories warmed my heart and is the reason for this blog. I would like to share them.

I hear that Maharaja Gaj Singh is a very generous man. In the days when kings ruled, villagers were required to pay “lagan” – a form of tax. This tax was intended to work as a social security; i.e., in times of drought, the money would be distributed to the farmers that would help when the income was not enough to sustain their families. Lagan obviously no longer exists. However in a recent drought, a bunch of farmers got together and approached the Maharaja. He spent his own money and got 40 water pumps installed so the farmers could water their fields and save the crops.

Today, this beautiful palace has been converted into a hotel. It truly is a magnificent creation that has been built with a lot of respect for the surrounding land.

jodhpur2jodhpur3

This is only one of the properties that has been converted into a hotel. The Maharaja is committed to develop tourism as a way to create opportunities for income generation for the people of Rajasthan. Jodhpur in particular, seems to stand apart. I did not notice any beggars on the street. I shared this observation with our driver. I had some left overs packed from our breakfast that I thought I may have been able to give to someone on the streets. There was none!!! It appears as though no one goes hungry in Jodhpur. People who have plenty to eat, will go and feed the few who don’t … they sit by the wall of the Railway Station. There is no need for them to go begging. They get fed!!!

We visited the Mehrangarh Fort which has a stunning collection of artefacts, paintings & collectibles from a long time ago. We enjoyed roaming the rooms and equally, loved the vibe. This gorgeous woman is a police constable. We met a few women – a couple of them were studying for a promotion. It was such a delight to see women who were ambitious for themselves. And other women, employed at the Palace Hotel, who were on a small wage and talked about their ambitions for their daughters, wanting to give them the best education.

jodhpur7 jodhpur6 jodhpur5

We left Jodhpur in a couple days. Our hearts full of hope. And joy. I am a dreamer, after all! I feel privileged to have met some other people who are too!

Standard