Where Are you?

Your eyes show the glimpses of your true dazzle,
but you tell me its not there…
what do you hide? why do you hide?
You say it is madness,
it is insane to even explore that side,
you say its not real…what is real? this mediocrity?
You speak verses so powerful,
that they heal one and all,
but you say you are not sure…
sure of what? the acceptance of your glory by self or others?
You slouch in a corner and hide in the shadows…
Remember, all light you can hide from but yours…
Your light will burn inside you all the while…
Are you trying to douse it? ha! try in vain…
It will burn more with every breath you take…
It will create a longing and show in your eyes…
when you lie cold in your Bed…
Feel the fire of your light warm your heart…
Tune into the beat and sway to the breeze…
Pulsate with the Sun’s rays and allow play
While you live now…in this space…

Dilemma of Expression

I open my mouth to say a word,
I pick my brush to paint a picture,
I move my lips to sing a song,
I tap my feet to do my dance,
But then I hear a voice say to me…
Think!…Do you need that expression?
What will people say? Think Think
And lo! the expression is gone…
It left a niggling feeling of void,
I wonder if this feeling I could avoid…
This niggling, turns to anguish sometimes,
The anguish to anger, then I say things,
I shouldn’t and do what doesn’t resonate…

I wish for a genuine self expression,
I wish it for me, I wish it for you,
An expression that defines me,
An expression that defines you…
I wish for a genuine connect…
A connect that refines me…
A connect that refines you…
You ask me the meaning and
you give me your Judgement,
A Judgement that defiles me.
A Judgement that defiles you…
I put on my mask and you put yours,
I won’t touch mine and you too don’t.

Lets be polite, let us all say yes…
The “Yes”sometimes I abhor…
I know in my heart i can take no more.
I can feel the words restraining me.
Then I restrain myself, in the mediums,
I restrain myself, in my thoughts…
I allow clouds of Judgement on my self,
I get tired and allow myself to be swayed,
Then I wonder what would’ve happened
If I had stood my ground and stayed.
I could have brought my uniqueness
I could have brought my genuine expression
To this world I could have given more…

Being Wuman

I have always wondered about, what is it for me to be a Woman?
I have as a youngster felt ashamed for being a girl… boys seemed to have a different kind of freedom, which I couldn’t. My family was not prudish but that was the way of the society. No girls would be seen on streets after dusk, and if they were, there would be judgement around that. As a girl I have always felt judged, what kind of clothes was I wearing? How was I laughing? How did I looking? How did I talk? Was I walking proper? Was I aggressive? As if I was constantly appraised. Growing up was tough as I started to become more aware of my being a Woman. Everything seemed hushed up, girls would talk about their experiences only in private and very trusting company, so friends became essential. If you didn’t have friends it was emotionally traumatic, as there was no sharing of growing up experiences. I could thankfully make a few good friends and hang around them for motivation.
Ours was a government colony, supposed to be safe, yet there was not a single time that you went out and eve teasing wouldn’t happen. It was so much a norm that it became a way of society’s approval of you being a girl. It was almost like if you weren’t eve teased you had to find the reason for it; it usually meant working on your looks. The society’s thought process seemed warped when it came to women. Women had to be a certain way to fit into the Society, they being in large numbers did not matter, They just had to fit in to a certain standard to be good women. Most of these standards were set by women themselves. So She couldn’t be seen with a boy, without being scrutinized, She couldn’t laugh loudly, She couldn’t be too intelligent and challenging, She had to be this sweet doll who was just appropriately intelligent. Then once she had achieved this she had to seek approval from everyone in the family, society and school, consistently. There couldn’t be one wrong move.
I saw this everywhere I went, and this went on to become a cause of my metamorphosis into an aggressive, slyly rebellious teenager. I was just wanting to compete with boys, and be like them. I would fist fight with them, rebuke them and undermine them at whatever opportunity that I got. There was no point, no objective other than trying to put down men in general. I grew up with simmering loathing towards men, this kept on being fueled by the news reports of rape, dowry and other abuse that women were being subjected to.
At a certain point in time I started to hate my country where this duality of Rape and Sita went hand in hand. People who worshipped Durga ill-treated their girls, this was beyond my understanding. What penance were they talking about when they walked miles to a Goddess temple to fulfill their wishes of a son. Common sense was something that seemed completely missing in the system. Praying, doing rituals, fasting, wearing traditional clothes and jewellery that hurt was important if you were a married woman. All superstitions had to do with your son or husband’s death. Everything about God was about fear, and a woman had to exist for the wellbeing of the men in her life.
In many families men had to be served food first and women in the family would eat later. They had god men who would not allow women to come near their vision. During sat-sang women would get last seats away from the stage, where the so-called pious god men would take their positions.
We still have temples where women are barred from coming, there a mosques where women can’t enter, we have churches where women can’t be a priest.

My sensitivities around the subject increased upon my daughter’s birth and I started to voice my opinions, she became a strong reason for me to change status quo around me. The mediocrity, “its ok” and the duality once again came crashing at me and I stood at a point of choice every time I spoke or I did not. Because my girl was watching me closely, I was becoming a role model for my daughter. I wanted my daughter to live, live a more wholesome life filled with exploration, magic and love. I couldn’t make that available to her if she saw me chained by my own dichotomy.
In my daughter’s birth, I was born again. I was born now to challenge patriarchy and question every statement that challenged my ‘Being Woman’. It was strange but my transformation started changing the world around me, suddenly I had a constellation of friends who had similar thought processes. I started working closely with Women’s Leadership and their relationship to self. I was able to forgive much more, understand much more in my new birth. I could let go of friendships and relationships that sapped my energy. I could free myself and be more of who I really was. I could see how my own patriarchy and warpedness was affecting me. I began to see my daughter as biggest challenge to my soul’s journey and its growth, she became the Divine voice of a Woman. Her questions created new awareness and new confusion, her questions shook the core of my being and they still do.
My second birthing happened when my Son was born, Sometimes I saw myself being torn between my two children. Both being apple of my eyes how could I give them a balanced parenting, where they learn to respect each other as equals? This was not an easy question to answer and I continue to struggle with it. There are days when I find my centre and days when I am completely caught in the typhoon of their arguments. I have realized, that the only way I can ‘be’ with my children is by constantly expanding my awareness. I can see the school, society and family affecting my children’s relationship with each other as well as the opposite sex in general.
To get more informed I started reading about countries which have worked on this equality and have been able to do something about it. The most impressive came out to be the Scandinavian countries. I started harboring a desire  to live in such a country, where equality of sexes was a norm. The Delhi rape case and the other rape news reports had started getting me scared for my Children’s safety in the country. I was becoming aware of the simmering sexual suppression that was harboring in the Society. At this point I wrote my article – ‘Double X and rape’, which talked about the two Indias that exist. I wandered in my internal world endlessly with questions that remained un-answered.
How do I create a system that supports growth of children without emotional suppression? How do they see both girls and boys as equals? I was constantly in my typhoon.
During my course of work with Initiatives of Change, I met a Woman Change Agent from Norway, Gudrun Brovig Silde. She and her family were staying at Panchgani for past one year. Interestingly she had three daughters who had done most of their schooling in Norway but were now studying at a Local school near the Asia Plateau. My curiosity about instilling sexes equality in culture brought me into a discussion with her. Her daughter Joannah who studies in the eighth grade also joined us in the discussion. It was interesting to get her perspective on difference in both the cultures as she experiences it. She told about how in India she feels watched all the time and would like to dress in clothes that cover her. In Norway she would dress anyway she felt like and would feel comfortable. Also in school in India a girl and boy can’t be friends, it is taken as a taboo and hence creates an uncomfortable environment. In Norway the Society and the Government takes utmost care not to differentiate between Girls and boys from a very young age. They encourage friendship amongst girls and boys, which creates a healthy and respectful environment. The thirty minutes or so spent with Gudrun and Joannah talking about how they feel as women in India, added to my insights. I am not sure what needs to be done, or what needs to happen. I don’t know if the change will be radical or gradual. All I know is we all need to feel safe in our own country and be friends with our brothers and sisters.
Seeing a woman without full clothes on road should not make it a valid reason for her to be raped or even gaped at. A laughing woman cannot be labeled loose. A woman walking with a man doesn’t make them a couple having sex. The judgements that we make of ourselves as women and others have arisen from a plagued patriarchy. This will have to go if we have to sow seeds of ancient wisdom, which existed before time, where there was only one sense prevalent, the common sense.

The Gifts of Depression

I have always believed depression to be a powerful experience that can transform us into a more empathic human being, a more humble leader, and a patient listener.  The scale of the depression that we experience may range from occasional bouts of sadness, fear, hopelessness to a more severe long term experience of some deep sorrow or prolonged anxiety. Sometimes the long term hopelessness, anxiety and sorrow may need clinical intervention through therapy.

In my work as a leadership facilitator and as a coach I have seen that almost all people are inflicted by sadness and fear as they are by joy. One of my observations has been that people in general do not want to accept their sadness or fears as much as they are open about sharing their joy, of course it may vary upon personality of people. Most often Sadness and fear are labelled as a negative emotions, whereas Joy is labelled as positive. This labelling forces us to get away from sadness and focus only on joy, it is like I want only light and no shadow. But one cannot exist without the other. Accepting my hopelessness and sadness allows me to express it and heal myself, but if I shun it and do not allow its full acceptance or expression, then I create a space of corrosion in my mind and body. Whenever I am not aligned to how I feel a little part of me corrodes. To be in full acceptance of sorrow is a difficult preposition, as every morning we are expected to rise and shine and project happier parts of ourselves to be accepted by others. However if this pushing away of self emotions continues, we fall into unaware depression and we don’t know what has hit us. To become awareness of triggers of sorrow holds several gifts for us.

In this article I am sharing three gifts that depression brings. They are not always in order but just for ease of understanding I am giving a certain order to them.

One Gift that Depression brings is alignment  and awareness of our Needs and Values, What are we needing that we do not have in our life and how can I make that available to myself. What Values of mine are not in alignment? How can I relook at them and create my spaces with conscious choice?

The second gift is the gift of ‘Self love’. How can I love my own company? Who am I? What energises me? What are the ways in which I like to express myself? How much do I love myself? Can I live without external validation? If so, then do I need self validation and how do I get that? What are the gifts in me that I want to share with the world or not? How does the universe, the trinity reside in me? How am I my own creator, destroyer and sustainer?

The last gift of depression is the ability to expand. You are in process of physical and mental expansion, your body and mind feels like its going to burst, but all it is breaking is your comfort zone, your old beliefs, your ideas of self and world, your identity of who you believe you are. It is time of destruction that is causing you all the pain, the Shiva in you is dancing the dance of destruction, a Tandav happening inside of you. Remember when all this is happening the seed of your new reality is ready to sprout, in your destruction you are entering your new consciousness, new understanding of “Self” and through “Self” your understanding of world has expanded.

To allow the destruction and mourning of that death to happen and to be open to observe and accept it creates humility and an urge to learn more and grow more. It energises the younger student and child parts of us, that are so keen, detached and observant. These parts are bereft of conditioning and judgement that ties us down and becomes an interference in our learning and growth.

Narratives- Scripts that run in our DNA

Basic understanding of Narratives

 

Our life is a function of the narratives that we weave and leave behind. Every narrative has a emotion and energy. The narrative continues to live till it holds energy. All narratives have a charge that connects with ppls energy. There is an exchange of energy that happens between the person and the narrative. Sometimes the narrative takes the energy away, this is called disempowering narrative and some narratives empower. The seduction of the disempowering narrative allows us to be in a certain zone of lull where action is not required and there is no responsibility. It makes us feel like a victim. Both types of narratives can continue for decades. The narratives that are used as we are growing up the most affect our being

Narratives evolve can over time and are impacted by the teller and the listener. If a narrative it touched by awareness and deep consciousness both in telling and listening it starts holding a magical mythical energy. Just like the Mahabharata and Ramayana and the Vedic  or other religious ancient texts hold the power of these narratives. These narratives shape the cultures and consciousness of the region, country and planet. For anything to transform or change in the way the planet functions the narratives should change.

Narratives are carried in our bodies, our body is a store house of our narratives and our mind a meaning making machine. The body and mind interact to create a meaning of a narrative.  Also there is a sacred time for each narrative as the energy that a narrative holds interacts with time space and people.

Narratives serve as an instrument of transmuting the energy. When a narrative can’t be integrated into a being it keeps narrating itself almost like a stuck record. Completion with a narrative helps in releasing the narrative.

Integrating the narratives is a deep process which helps release our inner Saraswati river. This mythical river Saraswati is the one which has disappeared.

 

Narratives run in three streams Conscious, Subconcious and unconscious

 

Tapping into this Saraswati will transform the being and the world

Comparing Narratives is an interesting process. When we compare against another persons life or success we are compare two narratives. To understand how two journeys are different the narratives which run the journeys become the key. This key opens the mysteries of the two journeys.

When this happens the journey’s balance and the comparison fades. The narratives in the journeys are like small waves in the sea, which create the bigger waves and narratives. Thoughts are the drops in this ocean.

In this world empowering narratives will emerge naturally, which allow the being to expand in its full potential. The value of breath is understood only inside the ocean. Souls journey is to go deep into the ocean without being pushed by the waves onto the comfortable shore. Diving deep will take us to a world full of life, curiosity and amazement.

 

Cultures across countries have Narratives running into their system, e.g.

 

The Indian culture promotes sacrifice of the young for the old. You see this narrative in Ramayan when for Dushrath’s promise, a newly wed Ram has to go for Vanyaprasth for 14years. Similarly in Mahabharata Bhishm has to vow celibacy so that his father can marry his loved one. These narratives run deep in the Indian culture. So sacrificing for parents or other elders of the family gets you the ultimate approval of society. Hindu rituals are designed to put the elders on a pedestal and the young have to bow. Obedience is a virtue rather than reason. Blind following of rituals by elders without finding the reason and passing the logic down the generations has thus not happened. There is not enough questioning in the system. Questioning is considered to be challenging as it pulls the elders out of their comfort zones and pushes them for answers. Some questions thus cannot be asked especially when it comes to why a ritual is being followed.

To become conscious of our narratives is a work of lifetime and it needs being fully present to self and listening to the churn.

 

Wounded worlds of Survival

When I look at the title I wonder, if I could have a more appropriate one to catch a readers imagination, but then I decide to let it be. The ‘Wounded worlds of survival’ evokes pain and fear in me, that I wish for the reader to connect with. In this article I wish to bring the importance of being able to see our individual and collective wounds. To be able to accept layers of wounds hidden in our psyche that manifest in our behaviors in a way that it seems like we a plugged into a system that runs us without our knowing. We have unconsciously created survival mechanisms to continue living our lives in our own small bubbles, always playing small, scared to disturb our equilibrium and praying hard that nothing goes wrong in this tiny bubble. We wake up to realities only when they hit us hard on our faces and we have no clue, what to do? and where to go? And sometimes feeling stranded in a lonely Island. There is a numbness that has creeped into us that keeps us moving on, oblivious to the pain and emptiness that exists within and outside of us. Sometimes we do get a glimpse of it, but we have learnt to ignore it. It feels like we are on some sort of anesthesia. Anesthesia that allows us to keep our eyes open, without really seeing, it allows us to keep our mouth talking without making sense and keep our ears hearing without listening.  We all live in a world that seeks connection at a deeper level but our condition doesn’t allow us to create space for it. We see ourselves sad and we immediately want to fix it, we see our excitement and we want to curb it. We all have a desire to laugh out aloud at the edge of our insanity but when we see someone actually do it, it can scare the shit out of us. We have disconnected ourselves from self and others for the fear of, who we might become if we allow humanity to show in its complete form in us. Will we be judged, ostracized, or even killed?

We have so many wounds around being who we are, that we have learnt to numb it all and just carry on with our survival. We have become insensitive to the happenings around us and the world.  When we move towards becoming alive to our part in what is happening around us, it will make us more human and more connected. Rather than blaming people, situations and systems.

We live in a world that has been wounded by our human race. We in our quest to discover ourselves and survive, have made grievous mistakes. These mistakes need acceptance and forgiveness. We have let ourselves believe that we are the greatest race on this universe and also created differentiation in the human race itself. We have plundered lands to gather and hoard more for ourselves and our children, while we took away from the others, their lives and their rights to dignified lives. Our fear of death took us to war and created more of death. Our fear of scarcity took us to building dams on every free flowing abundant river and cultivating every fertile piece of land to fill our coffers. Yet there are deaths around the world due to lack of nutrition and food.

If today you decide to pause for a moment and become aware of how we play a part in creating a world full of differences, I think that will be all. We don’t really have to “do” anything, we just have to become fully and bodily aware of how I am responsible for creating the world that I live in. Our world, of course has its light side but also to find courage to stay in the shadows, without complaining and blaming the government, powerful people or world. Just staying and seeing ourselves in relation to what is happening around us, experience the pulse and the throb of the wounds that exist and notice its impact on us. I think that is all the seeing and honoring that the wounds need.

Knowing that all is well and we have to move away from just trying to hoard and survive, will start making our lives more fulfilled and connected. The self absorption that lures us to be smaller than who we are. It keeps us away from seeing the abundance that is still there in spite of all the wounding, and that will naturally help us move towards the light from our Shadows. Shunning our collective wounded shadows will keep us numb and lifeless, creating more of wounding without awareness.

Simple questions of ; What are you doing today? Where are you working? For who are you working? Towards what are you working? How is your work playing a part in the bigger scheme of things? How does it impact Earth and Communities? What are the similarities between hunting and hoarding and your work? How do you survive? What are you ready to forgive in you around you? What are you ready to live with? These are questions that will help us come out of our “zombied” working bodies and to become more aware and reflective beings on consciousness. It will help us see our patterns that come from how we have experienced wounding of self, our families, our ancestors, our nation and our world. It is time we honored all the wounding, see it for what it really did, in all its darkness and move towards purposeful lives, that really matter to us. Play a bigger role that is our Dharma, towards self and the future of humanity. I dream that we co-create spaces of respect and honoring polarities that we exist in, and not shun that is uncomfortable to us. Accept all parts of ourselves and not exile parts that are tender, soft, outrageous and wanting connection inside of us. And when we push them to the brink they will show up in our society and will be staring at our faces wanting acceptance.

Power toxicity

My body feels tired and sore, I am aware of a strong feeling of hopelessness about the world we co-exist in. The hierarchical, power thirsty systems that are ingrained in our DNA and drenched in our visceral realities sometimes look like endless black holes. I have a sickening body reaction when I notice the behaviours of dehumanising self or others. It is time we started to notice and understand the toxicity of Power differential. “I am right, you are wrong”  “My beliefs are truths and you need to look at yourself” are classic scripts that run in our system that creates the rifts, dehumanises and closes all channels of communication. It creates power structures, where A is higher than B. Where B is supposed to strive to become A and is never satisfied with being B. A on the contrary has to continue to maintain its position. Both are chained into the system, and both are constantly involved in power struggle. This struggle shows up in our families, societies and between countries. Our world is constantly engaged in struggles of power all the time, causing domestic violence, social injustice and war. However I don’t think we need to go that far, even if we observe interactions between our fellow human beings, we will notice the power differential. Systems are designed for the more powerful to grow and gain, while the less powerful keep the struggle on until someone in power gives them a hand. Hence everyone runs behind power based on who has more information power, decision making power, Financial power,  network power ( who knows who?) etc.

Definition of an Individual’s Power:

Individual Power can be defined as an individual’s ability and freedom to believe in his/her own resourcefulness and wholeness as a human being. To have freedom in creating an identity, which an individual wishes to create.

Factors impacting individual power:

One of the major factor is individual’s own belief and relationship with Power. This belief is nurtured by prior conditioning of where the individual is coming from and how has this individual being impacted by power. Other factors that influence are the spaces that the individual co-exists in and how these spaces either allow individual power or oppress it.

Power toxicity:

Power by itself is not toxic, it is quite energizing when we can stand in our power. But taking away someone’s power or giving away our power can lead to toxicity in relating with one another. For example; Gopal is Tim’s boss, in his organisation he is more powerful than Tim. He makes most decisions, including when can Tim go on a holiday. Tim on the other hand believes that this is the way the system works and that he has no power. So Tim continues to behave and take instructions from Gopal. Tim is frustrated as he senses oppression but sometimes may not be aware that this is oppression, he lives his life as a powerless cynic. Even though it may look like Gopal has a wonderful life, it is far from his experience. Gopal experiences more pressure to maintain his position of power. He can’t take risks and is constantly under anxiety, he feels hatred towards Tim and his inability to stand in his power and share the burden that Gopal carries on his shoulder. However it is interesting to note that both Tim and Gopal have become comfortable in their relationship with power and questioning it is useless activity for them. Thus this relationship continues to feed power toxicity drenched in hopelessness and can create internal violence, which is equivalent to oppression of a poorer nation by a more advanced one. The only difference is that one is oppressed internally and not visible, whereas the other is more in the face. We can easily dismiss smaller scales of visceral oppression present in the system and hide it under the umbrella of tolerance, often calling people who react to it as imbalanced or too sensitive for the system. We design psychometric tools to measure psychological deviations or reactions that oppressed people may have and then train them to fit into the system. I believe that more we hide power toxicity that is present in traces, the more it grows.

I have here tried to put down a few questions, which can help us become aware of power toxicity in and around us:

1. You exercise your authority to make sure that your employees speaks only when you feel it is necessary and in a manner that is appropriate

2. You make sure that everyone and all tasks are completed on time and targets achieved, even if it means that employees sacrifice their personal time

3. You leave no space for unnecessary personal excuses

4. There is no time for discussions and feedback for self

5. You always make sure that you are in power over the employee

6. You lose your temper when an employee can’t perform as per your expectations

7. You have Freedom of speech

8. You feel the freedom to be sad, joyous, angry, fearful and are able to name it.

9. Is there Freedom to be, without being constantly reprimanded or corrected?

10. Feedback in your system nurtures

11. Are you being subjected to depreciating comments by boss in humor or otherwise?

12. Are you aware of gas lighting, thus creating psychopathological confusion in you?

13. there a sense of smallness experienced by you?

Answering some of these questions helps us find where power toxicity exists.

Oppression that continues can create power toxicity that impacts mind and body and can have psychopathological ramifications in individuals. Over time it creates mutation in the system to heighten tolerance of oppression, thus impacting life choices of individuals. It saps individuals of their vitality as they start believing that system cannot be changed and there is a greater force holding the system. Whereas in reality the power differential system is held deep in our psyche. It’s code is held in the oppression that we impose on ourselves, thus feeding into an oppressive system. We are scared of naming the oppression to the oppressor as there is deep fear of being ostracised from the system. The system is designed to make us feel alone in the oppression, whereas the whole system experiences oppression without awareness. When we oppress parts of ourselves we also do not allow others to express those parts thus creating a pattern of oppression outside from inside. We oppress reactive and sensitive parts of ourselves, which yearn for voice and choice, but our current comfort zone keeps us in denial. So we keep increasing the levels of power toxicity within ourselves as we continue to remain and construct systems of oppression.

Detoxifying Power:

Power with awareness of equity of self and others, is pure power. This power comes from a deep space of respect for self and others irrespective of their caste, creed, race, gender, country, culture or religion. It comes from knowing that each human being is equal and everybody’s  power is connected. However this is easier said than applied. If we practice to develop our sensitivity to Power toxicity and are able to accept it and name it, I think that is where the edge of systemic transformation  exists. Ripples of power toxicity that begin from self have engulfed our world in toxic power dynamics that need observation, attention and transformation.

Coaching with Awareness

This article is for coaches as well as those who aspire to coach in future.

Coaching is a process of internal self discoveries that leads to natural transformation in people. In the process the person who is being coached is able to connect with a internal resourcefulness that nurtures and allows the person to see perspectives, which might have been unavailable previously. The person is then able to choose an action that is appropriate and self driven.

For being a transformational coach it is important to move away from problem solving and fixing to exploring and engaging self, Both the ‘Self’ of the Coach and the person being coached.

“When a coach is able to create a container where self can engage, transformation occurs.”

Many times in various organisational coaching, coaches are in a performance role, in such cases, engagement with self can be difficult. The Organisation may want the Coach to remove a problem with an individual or a group of individuals in a very pathological way. Transformational coaches need to develop skill to overcome the default of pathological prescription and engage with the group or individual’s deeper, transformational agenda effectively. Only when that happens will the real gold be hit and real transformation occur.

Coaches need to be aware that they are able to differentiate between their ‘Self’ that initiates transformation and the ‘Part’ that seeks acceptance and performance rating from the client. Sometimes it is possible that the ‘Part’ plays out, in such a case the person being coached also remains in the ‘Part’ of performance, without connecting with internal resourcefulness. The coaching assignment is delivered but post that the transformational agenda of the organisation remains unfulfilled. Organisations will always need to remember that for transformation to occur the ‘Self’ or the Core essence of the individual has to be engaged, for that Coach needs to be in his/her own ‘Self’ and engage from that space.

Aware Coaching is what gets long term transformation and self driven actions, in any coaching intervention.

I am open to taking any questions or comments for further discussion on this topic.

Thanks and regards,

Rashmi

Leadership and Intimacy

When I first wrote the topic, I said to myself, “sounds weird” but “sounds interesting” I bet you may think the same. So what is with Leadership and intimacy? Leadership is associated with vision, achievement of goals, Leader is supposed to be this person who motivates teams to perform at their highest potential.

So what is with Intimacy and Leadership?

In my experience of coaching and connecting with leaders, I observed three types of behaviors in Leaders associated with self intimacy and having intimate conversations with others (By Intimate I mean ability to pick on things that are close to heart and matter the most). Let me enlist these three types;

  1. Some Leaders don’t believe that it can hurt- They are in complete denial that such parts existed in them and in others. They are happy with the top view. They push for results and also achieve them most of the times. Their vision is tunneled.
  2. Second type of Leaders know that they have parts that hurt and others have parts that hurt- They just ignore it, thinking “let’s move on”. They lack courage and competence to handle human discomfort and awkwardness. They talk about working collaboratively but unwittingly end up pushing self on others for results and feel guilty about it.
  3. Third type of Leaders are tuned in intimately with themselves and others emotions. They were not scared to show their tears and to look in the eye of the other and talk about things that are uncomfortable but important for the team and the business.

As you may have guessed by now, I am here to talk about the third type. Although the first and the second type form a majority in corporate scenarios, the third type is the one who creates authentic connection and intimate experience of inspiration. Also the third type is of particular interest to me as it is the New age Leadership consciousness.

What is special about the third type of Leader?

The third type of leader inherently possesses following traits:

  1. Courage to confront self and others – name what is present for self and the other.
  2. Deeper listening skills, genuine curiosity.
    • Listening to self talk
    • Listening to the other
    • Being fully present to the context
  3. Catching Self in time from putting things under the carpet.
  4. Fourth and last but not the least, this person has been on a journey to self awareness, and knows that, this journey is never reached. This person works on self all the time.

Let us understand, how this leader impacts a business?

This Leader possesses a quality of presence that allows people to “be”, and listens into their being without judgement. This Leader knows, the needs of self and of his people. He gathers this information and connection during his coffee table conversations. This leader will connect with you as a human and as an employee or co-worker. The questions that this leader would ask you would be like,

“What would you have, if you were able to achieve this target?”

“What do you think the management needs?”, ” What do you need?”,  “I wonder if there is connection between the two needs?”

“I am feeling a deep sense of failure as a Leader, when I see the results. I am wondering what is happening for you?”

“There are two people in our department whom I have handed over promotion letters. You have been in this department much longer, and haven’t received a letter this year. Is there something you feel we need to talk about?”

“I know your wife is in the hospital, and you still had to leave her side today and come here for the presentation, when I called. I am feeling sad and helpless about the situation, I just didn’t know what to do, you are the backbone of this project? Do you have a suggestion how we could have handled this better?”

“I heard that you are pregnant, It is good news, I want a party. But also a part of me is worried about our promos that are due in next six months. Would you like to rework the marketing schedule and travel as per your possible due dates and also suggest how the project continue to unfold smoothly until to come back from maternity leave? I would like you to have a healthy and pleasant time.”

With authentic and sensitive conversations like this the Leader is able to create a container in which the team flourishes and collaborates with the Leader on difficult situations. This Leader doesn’t think of a extraordinary strategy to ward off uncomfortable conversations in the cabin. He/ She is just living every minute and creating collaboratively the current reality based on what is present in the moment. Thus tapping into the current potential energy of the organisation fully, this creates a better future and a vision which is not distant but exists in the present moment.

The speed at which the transformation thus occurs should be phenomenal, I believe that this leader creates a organisation, which grows organically. In such organisations, Goals, Values and Visions are rooted and yet constantly evolving as they are alive. The Leader lives them and works with them.

To sum it all up, The third type of leader is intimate with self aliveness/ emotional energy every moment, this leader makes the others intimately touch what is alive in them and then creates a transformational energy circuit or network  through clear communication, that fuels the forward movement of the organisation.

 

 

Authentic Leadership

In this blog I am busting a few myths around authenticity and also how we become more aware of our own authenticity. Authenticity is usually taken as a given by most people. We always end up thinking of ourselves as living our authenticity. The myth of authenticity busts with me realizing my own inauthentic self. Here I would like to share a story from my life. A few years ago I came home from work very tired, my that days’ facilitation topic was for Top Leadership self awareness. As I entered my home I realized that my kids were in a bad mood and did not want to eat the food that my cook had put on the table. My husband was traveling and I was the one who at that point of time was in the receiving end for my kids tantrums. I was very tired and the negotiations with my children were sapping me of my energy. Just then the door bell rang and there was a young man standing on the door for donations. I am not sure what took over me, but I was furious, I told him this was not the right time and slammed the door. My daughter who was seven years old at that time was standing behind me. She looked at me with disgust and said, “Do you realize what you just did?” “You shouted at that man for no mistake of his, you were angry with us but you threw your tantrum on him.” She walked back to the dining table leaving me shocked. I apologized o her , she said”What about that man?”. I called the gate security but that man had already left. I sat quite, very quite, my breathing was loud in my ears. I was becoming aware of my own duality, also feeling the embarrassment of being caught red handed by my own daughter. This was a lesson for me in practice of authenticity. This incident triggered my sensitivity towards my authentic self.

Who am I? What are my thought processes? What are my choices? How do I use my power and position? Thinking one thing, Saying something, Doing another thing creates an incongruence within us, which makes us clearly inauthentic. It blurs all communication and leads to mistrust. Sometimes I may not be even aware of my own inauthenticity, it might be so well ingrained in my behaviour that I might be completely blind to it. In fact I may say, that is how life is or that is the only way to be. Inauthenticity becomes our comfort zone. However as a leader you cannot live in that comfort zone, because as a leader you will get enough signals and feedbacks and if you are open enough, these will become a trigger to your growth. A leader who wants to grow has to be a congruent and authentic being. Events of inauthenticity will occur but to become aware of the incongruence within self at that point in time is an important step towards honouring our authentic self.

Few principles of authenticity:

  1. Resonance produces ease
    • Say and do what you deeply resonate with, this produces a certain ease inside of you. There is less burden on the shoulders and a sense of peace in the body. It seems like the right thing to do.
  2. Dynamic reality
    • Important to realize that authenticity is in the moment, becoming aware of what is authentic and real for you in the moment is crucial. Every breath that we take in time of an action has to be noticed . Holding the awareness for choice in an action is what makes a leader great.
  3. Compassion for Self
    • Awareness of the inauthentic self can sometimes be a shocking realisation where the first response might be to blame self. How do we hold ourselves with compassion and create space for our growth determines our rooting into our Leadership.
  4. Courage
    • It is easy to brush inauthenticity under the carpet and give a strategic point of view. Finding courage to accept our own vulnerability to falter is a quality that will differentiate leaders of tomorrow.