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What is your IKIGAI?

I came across this term called “IKIGAI’ during a seminar and found it really interesting. IKIGAI, pronounced as “eye-ka-guy”, is a Japanese terminology which means “reason for living” or “life purpose” or “life mission”. You may ask yourself – what is the reason for your getting up from bed every morning that motivates you to go to work? What work can you do that you really enjoy doing and gives you self-satisfaction? The key is to finding the right balance between your Mission, Passion and Profession.

The 4 Questions you could ask

 According to IKIGAI, you ask yourself the below four questions:

 What do you love to do? ……..Mission

What are you good at, that you enjoy doing? …….. Passion

What does the world need? …..Vocation

What can you get paid for? …….Profession

The balance is found when your Mission converges with your Passion, map this to what other people need, and then, find a way to get Paid for it. Take a look at this diagram. Your IKIGAI lies in the centre of the four interconnecting circles.

The IKIGAI Diagram

When you work with a deep sense of purpose, then the commitment and quality of your work is high, and above all, you enjoy it. This is because a strong purpose involves having a wider perspective of how you could impact the larger community, so then, work down towards your goals.

Being a career success coach, I meet clients who are looking to transition to other career streams and often, a question that they have is, “What would be a suitable career that I could take up?”. Some even ask “What’s the purpose of my life?” and so on. I beleive, it’s for each of us to find out what is our purpose in life and then align our career accordingly.

I asked myself these questions, and got my answers. I enjoy coaching people, and nothing gives me greater satisfaction than when my clients tell me how the sessions changed things in their lives. 

I have found my IKIGAI !!

So, what’s your IKIGAI? Think about it. Would love to hear your comments about how you feel about this.

Midlife Career Change After 40;

Career Change After 40? SIX Conscious Thoughts to Help You Make A Midlife Career Change

A midlife career change can be very daunting and requires careful assessment. After the age of 40, many people working in service, go through those times wondering whether they are really enjoying their work. It can be the same for you.

At the beginning of their career, perhaps you were excited about the job, meeting new people, working with new technologies, working in a big organization. Over time, the work seemed monotonous or you just didn’t get the satisfaction that was expected. It’s also possible that you discovered new interests, were looking at flexible work hours, or just simply, earning more money.

Under such circumstances going for a career change is a great idea. However, before taking such a decision, it is necessary to evaluate the present scenario. For that, here are my 6 conscious thoughts that might help you in making a midlife career change:

1 – Why do you want to change your career?

There are two primary reasons for you to be motivated to change careers. One, you are motivated to move away from something that’s not working for you (like the work environment, the company culture, the nature of work, or just extreme work-pressure). Second, you are motivated to pursue specific interests and activities that you always wanted to do but could not due to other compulsions. Hence, it’s important for you to understand why you are looking for a change. What do you expect in your new career that you are not getting here?

Looking to have a fulfilling career - Ask yourself these 5 key questions
Why do you want to change your career?

2 – Are you clear on what you want to do in your alternate career?

Before planning any change, assess well what would be different when you do change the career. How would you like your new career to be? How will the change affect the people around you, especially your family members and your social circle? Brainstorm with your family and a few close friends. Consider your strengths, carry out some research and evaluate the new career options. Discuss with people who will support you, but at the same time also discuss with those who critique you. This is the best way to find out the pros and cons of the decision. 

3 – Consider working in the same industry

Look at work opportunities where you can utilize your existing skills. For instance, with whatever skills and work experience you have gathered over the years in your industry, would teaching professionals or recruiting people in the same industry be an option?

Look at work opportunities where you can utilize your existing skills.

4 – Value alignment and skills

It is important to align your core values with the demands of the work that you do, that will help you to stay positive irrespective of what career or job you seek. So, spend some time and understand what is important to you in your new avatar. Also, evaluate whether your current skill-set is sufficient for your new career, or will you require a different skill-set? If the new carer is a different industry, then it’s also possible that you may have to unlearn a few things. Estimate how much time you would take to learn this new set of skills.

5 – Understand the pitfalls of a midlife career change

The best way to understand the snares and dangers is to speak with multiple people who have traversed the same journey are now in the profession that you are looking for. What worked for them, and what didn’t! Learn from their experience. Put down all the possible challenges you could face but more importantly, for each of them, write down how you plan to overcome them.

Understand the snares and dangers in career change so that those can be addressed

6 – The Decision must be always yours

After considering all the parameters, the final decision for change should be only yours to make. Take complete responsibility for that decision. Also, it’s always a good practice to write down your ‘changed’ resume, meaning, what your resume would look like when you have taken it up with your new clients or companies.

Having done a successful career transition myself, I now enjoy coaching people to help them achieve theirs. Do reach out for any questions and I would be happy to help. Midlife career change doesn’t have to be that daunting.

Waiting at the airport for time to pass

Time Management – Can you take control of YOUR time?

In a day and age where Time Management has become a dire need, do you find yourself always looking to catch a breath? Before you demand time management tips let’s see if you can control Time. And the answer is…Yes!

Einstein’s theory of relativity states that time and space are not as constant as everyday life would suggest. He suggested that the only true constant, the speed of light, meant that time can run faster or slower depending on how high you are, and how fast you are traveling.

Now, consider this.

Imagine you are waiting for your flight departure at the airport, and there is an announcement made that the flight is delayed by 3 hours. You obviously are very annoyed to hear this, and you don’t know how to pass the time. So you move around and do some window-shopping, and take a bite, look at the airplanes taking off, and time passes ever so slowly.

The 3 hours appear like 10 hours! Hourglass with red sand and a monk in it. Time management. Time management tips.
The 3 hours appear like 10 hours!

The 3 hours appear like 10 hours!

Meanwhile, there is a co-passenger sitting near you who was also taking the same flight. When he hears the announcement, he promptly pulls out his 330-page novel and starts reading. He is oblivious of the surroundings and the time just flies past, for him. And before long, the 3 hours are up and he is ready to go.

So you have a case here, where time seemed to move very slowly for 1 person, whereas, it flew past for the other, and the time delay of 3 hours was the same. Did you ever think why? It’s because Time is relative. Now, if that is indeed true, can there not be a way to change your mental thoughts at that moment which will make you feel that the time flew past very fast? 

Similarly, if you have to complete some work in a short period of time and time is pressing, can you not make those changes that will make the time go slow and you can complete more work in the given time?

Yes, indeed you can do that with some really simple mental techniques. If you’re tired of applying the various time management tips that are relayed to you, and in case you want to know how to apply these techniques, please write to me and I will be glad to send you the process to get instant results.

Time is relative; its only worth depends upon what we do as it is passing.

Albert Einstein

Also check out my latest blog: Chandrayan-2 Mission: Five Key Takeaways in Life and Leadership

Dealing with Change in a new Role

Dealing with Change in a new Role

You frequently need to make changes This means that employees should be ready to adapt to different situations and responsibilities that they are given. Although change programs may focus on providing strategies, technologies, and trainings, these really are not enough. Changing behaviour at the individual level becomes a very important part of the change programs.

This article explores typical situations that you come across, the challenges you face, and how these could be handled.

Consider the following situations –

1. You have been promoted to a new role, and given additional responsibilities. You have all the good wishes of your well-wishers, and you are confident to handle the role. You feel that you have the skills to take this on. But when you actually start working in that role, you find managing it, quite different than what you thought it would be, for instance, the people do not respond to the way you thought they would, you are not able to convince the management on some of the decisions you took, you suddenly feel more ‘negativity’ around whereas everything seemed to be going well earlier, etc.

So what has changed here? How would you deal with it now? With whom do you discuss this?

2. You have tasted a lot of success in your organisation having reached your targets, being able to drive your people effectively, being able to convince the management of the decisions you take, etc. And then, you decide to move on, and join a smaller-sized organization at very senior level (say a CIO position). Since you performed so well in your past, you want to take that confidence into this new role that you have now. You decide to use similar strategies of dealing with people, and other success strategies that have worked so well for you. However, you suddenly find that things are not working the way you expected, for instance, there is lot of intervention from the company promoters, the quality of the people is quite different, major attrition issues, lot of conflicts between people, a few people find it hard to accept you as their boss, etc.

You wonder how you handle this now, and you keep trying harder.

3. You have been working as a successful executive in senior roles in well established organisations. You decide to leave the current organisation and start your own business. You have been doing all the planning meticulously, and finally take the plunge. When you actually start working in your business, you find that all is not going as per plan. You have to deal with the monetary pressure, you need to look into every little aspect in the business, a lot more interactions with people you hire is required, then there is the family pressure, and many other ‘hidden’; challenges that you did not envisage earlier.

If you study the above situations, the one thing that is common is that, although you have been successful till now, the change in the role brings in different kind of challenges that you have to deal with, and the success formula that got you here, doesn’t necessarily work in the new role. So what has to change?

Let us analyse this, and look at ourselves more closely.

1. Our Beliefs impact our Potential, and our Potential gives rise to Actions which in turn, produces the Results. Hence, our positive beliefs produce successful results and this in turn, reinforces our beliefs to produce better results. From this, we assume that so long as we continue to behave this way, we will continue to experience success. So we say to ourselves “I am successful because I behave this way”. We believe that our behaviour is fine and does not require any change.

2. We like to hear what we want to hear, i.e. we tend to accept feedback from others that is consistent with the way we see ourselves. We like to hear wonderful things about ourselves and this reinforces our beliefs. But, we reject or deny feedback from others that is inconsistent with what we think and feel. So our self-image makes it very hard for us to accept the need for a change.

3. We tend to over-estimate the contribution to our projects. We like to credit ourselves more than we actually deserve. This infact, can be a major obstacle when behavioural change is required. Have we really analysed ourselves carefully on this front?

4. We like to believe that our behavioural and managerial skills are sufficient to get us through this new role. We might even have an elevated opinion of our skills as compared to our peers. Hence, we are comfortable with the way we are managing and do not believe that a change is required. This can, infact, go against us. For instance, based on our past success, suddenly more responsibilities are thrust on us expecting us to do the same, in the new role. Since we believe that we can pull it off because of our past success, it is hard to say ‘No’. If we are not careful, then this can actually pull us down very badly.

Handling the Change

1. Nothing happens without a readiness to change: An eminent change management expert once said “People don’t change a minute before they are ready”. One cannot force people to change – one can only help them if they want to. Hence, the desire, the motivation and the commitment to make the change has to come from within us.

2. Adapting to the Environment: The environment around us plays a crucial role for our success. This includes the people we deal with, the policies, and our knowledge. Any new role brings in change in our environment but the general tendency is to blame the environment for our struggle. Hence, how we adapt to this environment, becomes a very important factor.

3. Change in Attitude and Behaviour: A lot of importance is given to talent and ability in a person’s career and we feel that without these, success cannot be achieved. However, having the right attitude and behaviour are far more important than talent or ability, because beyond a point, it is our attitude and behaviour that matters most. Talent breeds ego, and it is this ego that can pull us down. When we let go of the ego, we are open to better listening to others, open to more learning, accepting feedback from others, and willing to change our behaviour.

4. Changing Habits: It is important to replace old habits with new ones. This is more easily said than done. A senior manager of a company once mentioned to me that he had a big problem in managing his time at work. While speaking to him, it became clear that he spent a lot of time writing long emails to his subordinates and expected them to take action. The outcome was that his subordinates soon started to ignore the emails or missed some of the actions because of the length and the frequency of the emails, and so not all the tasks would be completed.

Apparently, previously this manager had handled not more than 3 to 4 subordinates and this habit worked well for him at that time, but now the team had increased to 7 people. The habit of writing long emails needed to be changed. So, this habit was replaced by a 20 minute stand-up meeting every morning with the team, where an action tracker was maintained. The impact of this was, (i) it freed up his time to carry out other activities, (ii)  subordinates were clear what was needed to be done, and (iii) personal rapport with them increased, which overall increased the efficiency.

5. Put them in Action: Make a list of the changes you wish to make, and inform key people around you of your plans. Plan this out in such a way that you work on just one behavioural change at a time. Get a frank feedback from them at a periodic basis.


How can Coaching help you ?

Engaging a qualified coach, will you help in:

  • Getting completely different perspectives from an independent entity (the coach), i.e. deeper learning about yourself and how you are perceived
  • Understanding your strengths and areas of improvement based on inputs from your stakeholders that the coach would have obtained
  • Getting the coach to lean on for emotional support, empathy, and encouragement, and discuss in confidence
  • Getting unstuck from your dilemmas and providing new learning for yourself
  • Identifying and implementing the areas of improvement in a structured and systematic manner, and getting regular feedback from the coach
  • Improving on specific skills such as communication, delegation, conflict management, team
    building, persuasion, etc.

Dear Zindagi – let me know how to get there

Dear Zindagi – let me know how to get there

The movie ‘Dear Zindagi’ very beautifully portrays the challenges of the dramatically changing times in today’s fast paced world. People all around us lack a confidante or a guide in our lives, and a Life Coach (called ‘Dimaag ka doctor’ in the movie) is just what we need in these circumstances. The movie shows that going to a ‘dimaagka doctor’ does not require a person to be mentally unstable, and there is nothing to be ashamed of or be apologetic about it. Kaira (Alia Bhat) is grappling with breakups, loneliness, being single, relationship issues with parents, career choices, dating choices, a bad past, and aspires to reach the peak of success at a young age. It’s up to Dr Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) to bring in some calm into her life and make her face her worst fears. Dr Khan never gives her solutions although she seeks answers, but always asks probing questions, and uses stories and metaphorical examples to explain, and then, it is entirely Kaira’s responsibility to act on them. That’s exactly what life coaching is all about!

The movie demonstrates the typical problems each one of us faces, and it is natural to get professional help from a Coach. A qualified Coach is trained to help the client establish the goal, remove limiting beliefs that come in the way, and motivate the client towards achievement of the goal. The Coach does not give advice as is the general myth, but instead engages the client in a collaborative dialog that stimulates the client’s thought process to find their own solutions. When Kaira falls off her bicycle and Dr Khan doesn’t help her up as the Coaching Session time is up, he playfully peddles away, and Kaira is left to help herself. The Coach encourages the clients to pick themselves up and get on with their lives, thus shifting the responsibility back on them.

Kaira was fortunate to come across Dr Khan, so she could take his help, but what about the millions who are in this situation and have not realized where the answer lies? We require a better job, a change of career, better finances, mend a broken relationship, improve our business, want to be healthy, and many more. The personal pressures are many, and each one of us needs a Coach, a guiding hand, an independent entity that can hold a mirror to us to reflect on what is happening in our lives,so that we are able to tide over those obstacles.

Fortunately, there is help at hand, and a good Coach can truly make a difference to the life of an individual.

However, how would it be if you had the opportunity to learn some coaching skills that would help you or your colleagues and friends to deal with their issues?

Why do Goals Fail

Why do Goals Fail

Most people look for success in their careers, relationships, health, and finances. They work extremely hard, and struggle for a major part of their lives trying to make it work. They develop the necessary skills and competencies, set up the infrastructure and purchase the machinery and tools that are required, but inspite of all this, many of them fail to meet their goals. Positive thinking and affirmations are good and work only to a point, and yet people find a whole lot of ‘problems’ and ‘obstacles’ that come in their way of achieving what they want. Have you ever wondered why?

There are two aspects to a person’s being – the Outer Being, which includes the external behavior, the skills that you need, and the tools and the environment which is obviously very important. This is the visible aspect of the personality.

And then, there is the Inner Being, which includes your thoughts and emotions that create the beliefs that you hold inside, so for instance, do you really believe that you can achieve that goal? What is it that you are thinking or communicating to yourself? Is there a voice inside you that is telling you that you can’t achieve it, or it’s difficult to achieve, or it’s impossible? Your behaviour and actions are driven by your Beliefs (do you really believe you can achieve the goal?), your Values (how important is this goal for you?), and your Identity (what do you need to become in your heart to be successful?). It is like a soldier who has undergone all the military training required to get ready for war, but when he actually enters the war-front, he finds out that the Identity and Values that he holds, do not support the outcome that he has set out to achieve, which is, to kill the enemy.

I remember a lady who came to me saying that she was facing marital issues with her spouse. She was desperately trying to save the marriage which was her ultimate goal. She felt that there was lack of compatibility between her and her husband for even the simplest of things. For instance, her husband and she did not agree on the style of living. She felt that since they both earned well, they should live a better lifestyle. Whenever they went out to a restaurant or a vacation, he was very particular about the cost, and preferred a simpler place, never wanted to do up the house fearing more expenses, and so on. On further questioning, I found that she came from an affluent background and lived well before marriage, whereas, her husband and in-laws came from a conservative and middle-class background. Here, very clearly there was a clash of Identity and Values between them. She carried an Identity of a person who always lived comfortably and her Values dictated that it was alright to do that now, whereas, her husband believed in simple living and (perhaps) saving enough money for the future. So, the adjustment had to be done at this Identity level and Values level, but instead, it was being done ‘…only for the sake of the other person’, which meant that she did not really believe this to be true.

Similarly, a person, who decides to change her career, needs to decide the Identity that she would like to carry for herself for achieving her goal. What are the values and beliefs that she has – are these in line with her goal, if not, what does she need to do change those beliefs?

The way you think determines the choices that you make, and drives your behaviour and action which has the ultimate impact on your goals. So when people’s Identity, Beliefs and Values are not aligned with their outcome, then there is a general lack of purpose and motivation towards the goal, and the fear of failure, procrastination, and sometimes even the feeling of unworthiness sets it. Hence, it is so very important to focus on the Inner being to drive you to perform the tasks with greater commitment and velocity towards your goals.