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!

 

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LIfe

What happens when you slow down?

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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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 🙂

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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

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Inspiration, LIfe

Leibster Award

The lovely, very young Lauren Geatches from loquacious. nominated me for the Leibster Award.

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Well not nominated, exactly. She asked and I volunteered on this very warm, welcoming & supportive group of bloggers hosted by Blog Society on FB.  You can check out their FB page and ask to become a member if you are into blogging.

A girl after my heart I have to say after reading her blog “Why New Years Resolutions Don’t Work”. 

Yep. And I have a “hate” relationship with running too 🙂

I had not heard of this award until now and more than happy to go with the rules that have been passed on!!!

The first one being, to find 11 other bloggers to nominate. I am supposed to check if they have less than 200 followers. That one, I break. I don’t know. These are the ones I enjoyed reading and am very likely to follow!

A very compelling title seduced me to the blog The Story of Telling and found myself purchasing the very accessible “Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to your Customers” by Bernadett Jiwa.

Tess Barlett who writes love letters that get into your soul.

Dhanya who seduces me into thinking I too can cook.

Mama Said who in a heartbeat took my back to my first days as a mum.

Starlight Mummy how can women do it all!!!

And another gorgeous working mum at Girl in the PJs

And I know why I go to Pilates because of a thousand times too short

Am envious of Andrea’s farm. Check out her travel stories at The Pineapple Cake

Why I am a little crazy with Natalie over at Our Parallel Connection

I wanna go road tripping with Julie and become a nomad-nester

Slow down with Bex and her breathtakingly poetic pictures at Cup of Tea & Bex

I am meant to reveal 11 random facts about myself, so here it goes…

  1. I was born in Chandigarh, just because my Mum went to her parents home for her first child!
  2. I am afraid of swimming in the ocean or those beautiful water pools in the wilderness
  3. I cannot cook to save my life. Or my pans
  4. I get bored easily
  5. When I quit my job in India to come to Australia, my boss gave me a book called “Hope for the Flowers” . I still read it.
  6. I like the idea of going on big long walks and camping. And am terrified of the creatures in the wild!
  7. I enjoy food and am a terrible cook
  8. I love gardening and can kill almost anything
  9. I love being surrounded by beauty but just CANNOT keep my clothes “neatly” folded. I pick up clothes from the floor only because I like being surrounded by beauty
  10. I enjoy pampering
  11. I am wickedly naughty and a rule breaker.

Here are the simple rules of the Leibster Award:

  • Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers. ( I broke that rule!!)
  • Acknowledge and link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions the person who nominated you has listed. Here are mine
  1. Where is your favourite place to write? In my studio, where I can look out into the gum trees and listen to the birds flying by.
  2. Which 3 people, alive or dead, would you want to invite to dinner? Pierce Brosnan. Meryl Streep. My Dad. They are all alive.
  3. How did you come up with the name of your blog and what does it mean to you? (double question – I’m sneaky!) Stuff from the heart. I think I was just being lazy. And being me.
  4. What are your personal or creative resolutions or goals for 2015? Balance. I want to be able to step onto the balcony and back into the dance, several times a day.
  5. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? Salted Caramel. With ice cream.
  6. Who or what inspires you? Nature
  7. What is your best piece of advice for life? Be yourself
  8. What are five words to best describe your blog? Honest. Real. Playful. Plenty said!
  9. If you could donate all your money to a single charity, which would it be? End Poverty
  10. What is an embarrassing fact about you or your most annoying habit? Farting at night
  11. If you had to say goodbye to your sight or your hearing, which would you choose to keep, and why? Hearing. I am an introvert anyway and I love to see things.
  • Ask 11 questions you would like your nominees to answer – here are mine:
  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What makes you sad?
  3. What makes you mad?
  4. What makes you afraid?
  5. What is your wildest dream?
  6. What is the one thing you cannot do without?
  7. If you knew today was the last day on earth, what would you do?
  8. What would be the naughtiest thing you would do?
  9. What rule do you want to break and have not?
  10. What is the one thing you regret not doing?
  11. What is the one thing you regret doing?

 

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