Do You Have A Unique MAP For BRAND-i

Standard

Explorers don’t need a map. They are adventurous. They love taking risk. However, most of us are navigators. For us, life is a journey. And most of us don’t have a map for it. We work with vague sense of direction.

We keep defining the destination and the road that will lead us there. We have untested ideas. We brilliantly follow other’s template; including the professional Institute, we join. We are happy waiting for failure before we take action.

Life is far too complex and fluid for us to have a complete map. We appreciate it and hence enjoy the milestone-to-milestone approach to life.

We are highly adaptive and flexible. Minor aberrations and failures do not affect us. However, we are impacted by society approach of materialistic success. House, car, vacation and lifestyle become a surrogate of status.

Is that the real success? Both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ are acceptable answers. What matters is what you have been looking for. It’s your race, your journey, and hence you define and decide the benchmarks.

At the risk of offending a few; I push for the need of a more holistic success, where emotions and relationships are also importance. To appreciate, you must stop measuring success with the lens of a societal telescope and use the internalised microscope to explore what real happiness and success means to you.

BRANDI

Once you buy into this philosophy and approach, you are ready to attempt creating a framework of your MAP. It will be a good indicator to tell whether you are moving in the right direction.

MAP has standard points of references like origin, destination, alternative paths, mode of transport, travel accessories, a compass and identifiable milestones. MAP is a waste unless you know how to read it. Hence I believe the traveller must draw his own MAP.

START. WHERE WE STAND.

The origin is your current status. It is about you. In your map, you are always at the starting point. Your name, age, professional assignment, role is just a factual statement with no fire. It will never do justice to your potential and capabilities, while it may identify you.

It is not easy to deep dive inside and understands self. Are your values and belief system strong enough to withstand a debate? Maybe the best way to make a beginning is to define the five most memorable; not necessarily happy or sad moments of your journey called life. Evaluate your behaviour from a third person’s point of view. Maybe you will not recognize yourself.

The starting coordinate in your map has all the elements that create the inner you and the societal experience in day-to-day interactions. Your knowledge, talent, acquired skill and reflex actions define you. Today is a result of the choices we made. Tomorrow will be the result of the choices we will now make.

Do take a simple test. Answer these questions. What is your stance on gay marriage or love jihad or khap panchayat? Write it down as clearly as possible. Now put a dear one in that situation, does your approach changes? What is your view on cow slaughter or Gau Rakshak? How secular are you? Do you believe that women with short skirt got nothing to do with the increasing cases of sexual offences? Who do you really serve? And to whom do you pray? Does it have a form? Does it have to manifest itself in different ways? What is perfection for you? What is your definition of a good brother, son, mother, daughter, husband and wife? What does success mean to you? Are you prepared for success? What are you willing to sacrifice or pledge to be successful?

These are the framework and position on the grid that defines your Brand-i-MAP.

END. THE DESTINATION.

To start the journey, you need an idea of the destination. There is no guarantee if you ever reach there. Maybe like Christopher, you may discover something new. Note it down; life is about shifting target and values. They change as you evolve, as your needs, desire, ambitions reshape continuously.

You can define the destination in many ways. You could start the journey with a vague hint of direction to take. Remember, you have answered this question many times. Where do you see yourself after 15 years? What is the reason for your existence? What do you want to achieve in this life?

Do you answer in form of designation and materialistic ownership? Do you have another way to define success? Is your life all about earning status by flaunting materialistic items? Is it about making people smile with joy?

Don’t be surprised if the questions stump you for a moment. Most of us (including me) will fail to answers them with complete confidence and honesty. To finish the argument, we are capable of answering. We will defend it knowing it is not the truth. We, can lie to everyone, but not lie to ourselves.

The destination you chase in real life is multidimensional like you. It can be measured across mental, social, emotional, physical, monetary, sexual satisfaction, hunger and desire … and many more dimensions. Our life is all about balancing our numerous roles and emotions, no doubt that the destination is a series of complex equations. An equation that only we can see, solve and resolve. Only if we understand self.

ROUTE . THE PATH WE TAKE.

Even in the physical and metaphysical there are alternative routes to reach the same destination. There are possibilities in every interaction we make. For your life goals, we need to be a bit more cautious in defining the route.

To be a successful entrepreneur, we could take the IIM- earn- invest- plunge route of take the plunge right away. Only time will have the answer, if we succeed as per our definition and yardstick.

The route to success requires clarity, confidence, passion, dedication, flexibility and openness to new ideas.

VEHICLE. MISSION WE RIDE.

Having an MAP and being able to read it is not enough. It shows us the start and the destination, the alternative routes and the chosen path but not the pace.

What defines our pace is the vehicle you ride. A vehicle is the means to reach the destination. We call it vision, or mission in life. And our current co-ordinates, self-awareness defines it. Many of us start with a hint of a vision, and later change it due to circumstances. There is nothing wrong in it. Nevertheless, if we change it too often, it may be better to re-examine our starting points, destination and the chosen route.

BAGGAGE. ACCESSORIES WE CARRY.

The journey is a long one. What come handy are the experience, knowledge, passion, dedication, skills, attitude, aptitude, talent and a fire to keep learning. These are interlinked as comes as part of our upbringing and outlook. It’s tough to be yourself by separating, replacing or modifying them. They are because you are.

In our journey, we pick things, modify and even discard them. We pack according to the journey. Hence, before formally starting, we need to understand the requirements and the things we will need. At times, staying a bit longer at the starting coordinates and acquiring more accessories (knowledge and experience) before embarking on to the journey may be the best choice.

MARKERS. OUR GUIDES.

In our journey, we need markers to help monitor progress. Our achieving them define how true to the path we have been traveling. The journey of life is too long and the far too complex. Moreover, we never have the complete map; we discover the new piece at every milestone. Hence define the journey and break it down in measurable SMART segments, which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.

BARRIERS AND FACILITATORS.

The MAP is simple. We can trace the path without any problem. We need to identify our facilitator and barriers. There are speedways and potholes. There are places where bridges need to be created and places where you need to take a detour. No one has really seen the path. No one understands it. Each one of us takes a path that is newly discovered and unique to us. Every experience, failure and success is unique too. There is no one to blame.

WRITE THE STORY.

We must learn to enjoy smallest of happy moments. We must be strong to leave behind bad experiences and move ahead with the learning’s. The journey and the map are unique. Every moment we are writing a new story. The past is gone as I write this. We can’t change the characters, the incidents or the results. However, we have the option of changing the story that is being written with every choice we make for our future. What is the next chapter? It is something that we only can define.

First published in MXMINDIA.com under KotMartial 

…………………………………………

Single lane swimming not good for your career

Standard

Organisations are complex entities. They thrive on templates and constrained experimentation. There is a discipline defined by department, position and work responsibilities. Each of them has their own agenda, objectives and SOPs. They are supposed to magically merge for the organisation to attain its goal.

You are one of the units there. You have been given a lane to swim in. You keep focusing on it. And you are excellent in what you do. However, the results are not as per expectations. It takes time to realise that in this weird game, success is not defined solely by how fast you swim in your lane but a lot depend upon the other swimmers in their lanes to reach the end point in a synchronised beat. It is a different kind of synchronised swimming.

FI ALBERT IP butterflyswimming.jpg

Your lane is smooth for you. You know these waters. What you forget is the way it is interconnected with other lanes / departments. Each one of them, have their processes and policies. You are so much busy in your arena that you have no idea of what the life is in other lanes.

The bigger the organisation, the higher is the number of lanes and their inter-connectivity, more are the chances of a swimmer being completely unaware of what is happening in the next lane.

Nevertheless, you were hired to swim in one lane. A solo race. You were told so, and you had no reason to doubt. Now, organisations are designed for a complex multi-lane race. You and your progress is dependent on many variables that you cannot control. You have to encourage other lane swimmers to keep pace with you.

In spite of empowered horizontal flat structures, In most organisations, the vertical processes are largely interdependent. The top line and the bottom line move only when there is some action in the middle line. For it, the participants must depend upon communication process and tools cutting through the hierarchical power structure. This leads to informal communication, which only ensure connection and is no guarantee of action.

However, in the best intended and defined structure too, the inefficiencies creeps in and the cost of growth exponentially gets amplified. And we have not even discussed the turf war, that is ever simmering under the conference room carpet.

If you’re happy swimming in your lane, you may find your efforts not generating the right results. I know you can point fingers to the pockets of resistance and inefficiencies. You know the lane and the swimmer dragging the organisation. The potential inefficiencies are quite evident to you.

The only options are, to chill in your lane or wait for time to take its own course.
Why should you react? You are not responsible for events outside your lane.
This is precisely the defeatist attitude that creates the turf wars and insecurities.

In today’s world, you need to work transparently with an attitude of co-creation. The organisations need each swimmer to align with the stated and unstated objective and culture. We all are aware of it.

The organisation management hopes for every person to working towards the same objective. They bank too much on the systems and processes that were designed by consultants. They expect to work like a synchronised machine.
Surprised, they don’t know that an idealistic situation like this does not exist. We do not see the swimmer in one lane helping the swimmer in other lanes or the one in front, productively using the resources and time to help others. Never ever does a swimmer willingly reaches out to help solve a problem or issues in the other lanes.
I expect; you are much more than the narrowly defined expertise in your area of operation. At higher level in organisations, you need to have a diving board view and a willingness to change the style of swimming as per requirement.

To succeed, forget the core area competencies. You should determine business areas beyond it and demonstrate some degree of expertise and involvement in it. Decide and chose between the strategic, functional or operational lane. Always be in a lane, where you will be visibly contributing and be noticed for your work.

The best is to scan the lanes within the organisation and working with a swimmer not afraid of your intervention. One who does not see your attempt as undermining his or her clout. There is nothing official about swimming in more than one lane. And there is no penalty for helping others without neglecting your lane. You must be visibly noticed and appreciated for your presence and contribution in multiple lanes.

Trust me, such swimmers don’t go un-noticed. They may get ignored once or twice. They may not get credit where it is due, but sooner or later, a point comes where they cannot but be acknowledged. They expand the scope of their Brandi.

There is a secret to all this. Do it because you want to and not because you want to be credited for it. Trust me, that acknowledgement and returns are bonuses; they will happen.

Ok, to start, work with the swimmers in the lanes of maximum interdependence. Where even your performance gets enhanced, and a fair degree of mutual trust is needed. Where you and the other swimmer will together fail or succeed.

Now, if someone else is helping you in your arena, don’t get protective about your turf. Be equally open to such inputs. And don’t forget to acknowledge their contribution. Remember, change always start’s at the basic unit, and that’s you.

If you do this, you will be contributing towards building a transparent, health, co-creation based work environment. Maybe at some stage, you will swim in a pool with no lanes. Maybe your Brand-i will be that much more powerful and evolved.

……………………………………………………………………..

First published in MXMINDIA.COM under the wednesday column KOTMARTIAL
……………………………………………………………………..
Sanjeev Kotnala with 28 years of corporate experience is the founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory that focusses in Ideation, Innovation and design thinking. Email sanjeev@intradia.in tweet @s_kotnala web: www.intradia.in www.sanjeevkotnala.com.
……………………………………………………………………..

Don’t Kill Yourself Overworking?

Standard

‘If you don’t have hypertension, kidney problem, sleeping disorder or heart problem, even after working 5 years in advertising, you have not been working hard enough’.

Don’t know who said it first, but have heard it repeated many times in the advertising and marketing. industry. Many of us laughed as we shared it with the new trainees. We never saw the irony in the statement. It is time you sincerely evaluate the lifestyle and think about the stress that is getting absorbed.

Indian advertising and marketing firms seem immune to the work stress-related problems. It exists, but the excessive working is a tradition, a norm that remains unquestioned. No one is really bothered about the work stress. Moreover, it is not yet a legal issue in India.

Everyone looks the other way. It is like ragging. The seniors must make the juniors go through it to earn their spurs.

Employees themselves take pride and boast of the hours they put at work.

We haven’t moved away from the old concept of face time and visible hard working. The art of smart working remains a subject of symposiums, conclaves and training hours.

Unfortunately, unlike some of the countries, India is far from imposing compensation for injuries resulting from continued stress on the job.Medical research has proven, there exist a strong correlation between workplace stress and diseases like heart, hypertension, respiratory infections, ulcers, migraines, depression, and suicidal tendencies. Such continued stress can even lead to emotional distress and major psychological impact. Still, we don’t take the cause or the symptoms seriously.

THE WORLD WE WORK IN.

We work in a surreal hypersensitive challenging cut-throat work culture and expectation. It is the world of KRA, KPI and inflamed ambitions. Stress is considered a natural by-product. Employees are aware of it and willingly subject themselves to the torture.

They suffer from the big Indian psychological disorder that makes them believe. They are immune to dangerous situation. A firm belief, it will not happen to them.

The culture of adjusting and a case of helplessness with the ‘It’s like that only’ does not help. We defend the reality with a new set of question. Is the ideal stress-free workplace not just a thought?

You are dealing with your life. The results will be for you to suffer. Even so, I don’t expect you to take the precautionary step and even check to realign your work style and hours.

In May 2014, 24-year-old ad Li Yuan at Ogilvy & Mather Beijing, died of a sudden heart attack at the office. The organisation refutes that it was due to overwork. However, it is known that Li Yuvan worked overtime the whole month and was not leaving the office before 11p.m.

Check and if you have any of the symptoms, please take immediate action. Like difficulty in concentrating, frequent tearfulness and mood swings, disorientation, difficulty in making simple decisions, sudden changes in behaviour, drop in patience level and quickly getting irritated, avoiding work, not feeling like going to work, frequent temper flare-ups, feeling or decreased libido not related to ageing. Even chronic back pain, neck pain, chest pain, rashes, breathing problems, constipation and diarrhoea is classic symptoms of work-related stress.

In 2014, Joey Tocnang, the hard stressed work schedule of the 27-year-old trainee at a casting company in central Japan died resulted in his heart failure at the firm’s dormitory.

Stress leads to sleep deprivation. This prevents the body and mind to have the desired time for everyday recovery, resulting into further stress and the cycle continues. At some stage, it gets out of control. It’s important to get the right amount of sleep.

Some time back, Matsuri Takahashi, a 24-year-old employee of the advertising giant Dentsu, was driven to commit suicide due to stress brought on by long working hours. She regularly worked more than 100 hours of overtime a month, including at weekends, in the firm’s Internet advertising division.

HOW MANY HOURS ARE ENOUGH TO KILL?

It is believed that in China, some 6,00,000 people die from causes linked to work-related stress. Japan believes 20% of the entire workforce is at risk of death from overwork. They even have a name for it ‘karoshi’. The figure for India is unknown, but the problem is very visible before the eyes.

The people in advertising and marketing know the reality.
Japan is worried that its 21.3% employees work 49 plus hours a week.

It is believed that 80 hours of overtime a month is a real trap; it is like a suicide mission; it is walking towards serious stress related issues, problems and maybe death.

Most in advertising and marketing in India would be happily punching above this level.

Let me simplify the equation. Working 3 hours extra for 5 days during the week and putting another 7 working hours during the weekend is equivalent to 88-hour overtime. ! This is without buffering for the traffic led anxiety and additional stress that is affecting your life.

YOU CAN ACT.

Give yourself some time. Learn and implement time management. Check if you are biting more than you can chew. Address the causes and maybe speak with the HR and seniors at work. Invest into a hobby and even take some time out with friends and family that is not necessarily about partying and drinking.

I hope you do not suffer from the phobia of missing a message or notification.Realise that your work style is a lot dependent on computer and mobiles. You are almost married to these screens. You log on to Facebook, whatsapp or whatever is your solution, and you browse for long stretch. It can affect your mental and emotional health?

You do not suffer from anxiety attacks about not replying to another update.

There is no fear of missing out, and you are yet not an emotional loner. All your life answers are not on the screen. You are not addicted to it. You do not hear unending silent notifications that never were.

Truth is that these repeated innocent interruptions eat into the time available for other things. The result; enhanced time pressure.

Stop constant staring at the screen. Stop keeping your phone and notification switched on, all the time. Maybe you could start with defining your own mobile-visiting hours. Do not keep the email open all the time. Yes, answer the call, if you have to. Or plan to answer them when you take a break from your work.

ORGANISATIONS CAN ALSO ACT.

Organisations that promote the culture of extra time in their attempt to increase productivity and efficiency are living a false dream. Excessive long hours do not increase productivity or efficiency. In fact, they cause more issues, problems, lead to more error, flared-up relationship, insubordination, lack of creativity and damage the organisational fabric.

It is your role to check the processes and culture. What are you promoting? Are there sections and people who can be a potential victim of work stress? How can your policies, Manpower management, expectations, reviews and systems bring it under control?

Remember It Is Your Life. Your Loved Ones Takes The Brunt Of Work-Related Stress. Organisation is immune to Such Issues. Think Again. What Are You Doing? Is The Cost Or The Outcome Justified?

………………………………………

Sanjeev Kotnala with 28 years of corporate experience is the founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. His focus area includes Ideation and Innovation; he also conducts specializsed workshops like IDEAHarvest, Liberate and InNoWait. Email sanjeev@intradia.in tweet @s_kotnala web: www.intradia.in www.sanjeevkotnala.com.

……………………………………….

REFERENCE: (1) Who is liable for stress on job : https://goo.gl/0AAKma (2) The alarming long term consequences of workplace stress : https://goo.gl/xmjBM3 (3) Seven ways stress harm your body: https://goo.gl/pJtPX7 (4) Can’t tear yourself away from the computer? Too much time online can lead to stress, sleeping disorders and depression: https://goo.gl/pU2V2 (5) Death from overwork Japan’s ‘karoshi’ culture blamed for young man’s heart failure: https://goo.gl/gDlPMx (6) Yet another reason to avoid stress- sudden death https://goo.gl/fH980x

NEVER TOO LATE TO DEVELOP BRAND-I

Standard

Every action of yours, voluntary or involuntary, conscious or unconscious is being absorbed by your surrounding ecosystem. Each element in the ecosystem is distorting, deleting and generalising to make the impressions acceptable to their belief system and experience. ‘BRAND-i’, is the real net residual impression or perception of you the other person carries in mind.

Your actions pass through thousands of filters you have no control of. All you can do is to be very cautious and clear about sending the right signals and messages, hoping that they will be decoded well and not be misunderstood.

In real life, that is asking for something impossible. Think of yourself. Think how do you react and act. People are no different. We make our impressions based on consistency of experiences. So, do others. Like us, they are busy creating a polarised perceptional matrix. None of us likes ambiguity. Our mind is comfortable with patterns and needs to slot everything. We take our pick within the paired associations and brand everyone.

SRILANKA BRAND-i 161022 T.JPG

SANJEEV KOTNALA CONDUCTING BRAND-I WORKSHOP

You are an extrovert or introvert, Proactive or reactive, Leader or follower, team player or individualistic, organised or disorganised, punctual or late, dependable or not, approachable or not, fair or biased, aggressive or soft, aware or unaware. I would presume you will not like to be branded by default. I am sure you have not taken conscious steps to ensure being tagged with right associations.

There are many elements in your personal capacity stopping you from taking the right choices and actions. It is ultimately about the belief system. You will do something only if you believe you need to do it.

Many of these beliefs hold us back and impact multiple parts of our life, behaviour, reactions, impulses and the signals that others pick up from them. This damage, our life and our capability to exploit the potential we have.

Many of us believe ‘It’s too late, or we are too old’. Oh, yes, age seems to be a definitive barrier for few things in life. However, we all have read, shared and admired examples of people getting into new sphere or restarting their lives at an age we would consider impossible. Take the example of Colonel Sanders who had his magic chicken recipe at 49.

On the other side, most of us have learnt to be realistic in our approach, desire and ambition. And there is nothing wrong about it. I know I am most likely not going to take that Bunge plunge from Macau tower, and it does not make me less adventurous then the time in my late forties when I took my first sky jump.

It is up to us to decide, if we need to take specific actions to create our ‘BRAND-i’ .

SRILANKA BRAND-i 161022 O LOW RES.jpg

BRAND-I WORKSHOP IN PROGRESS AT COLOMBO

If you do not have any further ambition and passion or a need, or in case you are fully satisfied by the image you think people have of you, you may not consider taking any steps toward creating your brand. And that is understandable. It is your decision. However, I believe that there are elements that you wish to control and reshape in your life. I have no hesitation in saying that complacency with the current state is like death. I am sure, that you are not the one who has no desire to create or further sharpen the ‘Brand-i.’

There is no compulsion to do so, there never will be, whatever you will do, will be done, because you want to do it, you want to reshape and redesign perceptions of yourself.

‘BRAND-i’ is always work-in-progress. It is like perfection; you never reach the ultimate destination. Your desires, ambitions and needs get redefined with every fresh set of successes or failure.

There is no magic wand for creating ‘BRAND-I’. We have a process that is available for learners, and we keep tweaking that for individual needs. ‘BRAND-I’ is customised for individuals.

One of the integral parts of life is – failure. All of us know that from our first-hand experience. The trick always is to learn from our failure, making something much more out of the undesired results by learning from them. Take the setbacks and reorient our efforts to create the ‘BRAND-i’.

Every effort you make, should be aimed to create the right desired perception. To give that extra impetus to the ‘BRAND-i’ you wish to own. There is no way you will ever fail in a long haul.

The past does not equal future. It never did. Past is not even directional representation of future success or failure. The only way to negate the negatives or failures is to create huge impressions of positives and success.

What is your ‘BRAND-i’ today? It is the residual impression of your past impressions. That is like the story you have read. It is over. You have no power to change anything. Nevertheless, the future remains on your hand. Future is the playground, a canvas you are yet to fill with the colours you want and create a picture. Just keep on making one stroke at a time. Keep at validating, strengthening or destroying the impressions of the last experiences.

It will be completely foolish to believe that we can choose to drop our past. We cannot. However, we can leverage it or blur it by our future acts. And a lot of what we do, comes from the learning’s from the past.

I will be surprised if you have never suffered a silly question like; What will people say? What will happen if when you suddenly press pedal on your strategic actions to create a desired brand image? I have personally experienced it, and it held me back, until came a stage where I learnt my lesson. People will say not just something, but a lot more and everything- anything they want to. It is referred as freedom of expressions. And in the process, they delete and distort their experiences. It is natural. It is again up to you how you react. I am sure; you would not want to be seen as a person who is affected or discouraged by such acts.

I think you will always want to write your own destiny. You internally know; you can only control the message you send out and not the impressions created. Nevertheless, with quick steps, you can always tweak them. Moreover, the magic of consistency will help aligned reactions to make the synergistic impact you wish for.

Remember, even at the peak of it, there will always be people who will have an undesired impression. There will never be a time, when all supports you. You should be happy with the set that does support you and the set of people who do not see the life like you do. Thank them, as they help you in cross-examine your beliefs and impression. They help you create a route map to implement the desired actions.

SRILANKA BRAND-i 161022 W.JPG

SANJEEV KOTNALA IN CONVERSATION WITH ONE OF THE BRAND-I PARTICIPANTS

Many of us have a perpetual self-defeating attitude of considering ourselves not good enough. This hinders us further when we speak about creating a Brand of our own. ‘BRAND-i’. I will again say, you want or not; the brand is being created. I am sure; you are a not the kind of person who will allow it to get out of control.

You are good, and you can be great at whatever field you choose. You can learn the desired skills and hone your talent. Remember, everyone started not being the expert in the filed. A successful actor, speaker, cricketer painter was always a bad actor, speaker and cricketer at some stage.

Successful people are often surprisingly ordinary, until they make up, their mind and are clear about what they want to do and achieve.

There may be many toxic self-beliefs holding you back? None of us would want to be branded by default. We have wishes, dreams, behaviors and ambitions colorings our unique brand. I invite you to re-examine everything. There is no compulsion to act. However, I know; you are a person with a vision and tonnes of ambition. You will explore the power of ‘BRAND-i’ to catalyze your lives. I invite you to take this step. Don’t let destiny brand you by default.

For spectacular results in ‘BRAND-i’, you do not have to do anything really spectacular. However, you need clarity of thoughts and consistency of actions and experiences. Cultivating the desired ‘BRAND-i’ is essentially an act of selfishness. It is deliberate and planned. It is a must.

Because of the self-imposed biases, it is impossible to work on ‘BRAND-i’ in isolation. You need a coach, a mentor or a programme to push the right triggers. You need someone external to help you see your life from a differential point of view. Push you to raise questions and find hard answers. To accelerate your thinking and decision making. To shape up your mind to create a desired path of action.

Is Emotional Infidelity worth the risk?

Standard

It is so exciting, the adrenaline pumping through the body giving you another high, that ‘Emotional infidelity’ seems worth the unstated risk you may be taking.

It has been always the space for brave hearts. Not something that a balanced simpleton can manage. Off course, it is so much fun trying to dodge the known, sneaking around, living in the truth of false security and creating that lovely award worthy parallel stories with rich ingredient of beautiful lies, not to forget the trick of learning the non-existent threads.

infidelity-379565_1280

Once you are into it, post rationalisation is no longer tough. You smartly lie to yourself at every stage. So much that you start believing it. You base your deviant behaviour ( as per other non- understanding morons) on the imaginary non-working relationship with spouse. How can you be blamed for it? I understand. We understand. The best part of it is that you are alive and conscious of the potential results, and you understand it.

So, how many years back did you get married? Did you at that stage not promise to love each other until eternity? Until death. You visualised and saw the beautiful future unfolding in the warm love of togetherness. Dedicated, uncorrupted, passionate, you wanted to work together for the children’s future. The relationship was grand. That was the way life was supposed to be. Blissfully warm until you slipped. Oh! No, you do not see it like that. Until something happened that was not in your control. Accidental, I understand.

What went wrong? Can you rewind life and reach for that exact moment when you decided to ignore the promises made and the future that was yours to claim? Why and when did you start thinking in terms of I and not we and us? When did ‘what you wanted’ became the most important thing in your life?

Oh, I know; suddenly, there was another soul in your space, and your spouse and children changed from premier life assests to liabilities. You no longer find it interesting to think of their future; it has partially stopped mattering, what will happen to them? You are flowing with the dynamism that has just rejuvenated your life with new highs of the virtual game of ‘emotional infidelity’. You are impervious to the stage, when life catches with all the beautiful lies.

Admittedly, there is that sudden high with anything dangerous. How can emotional infidelity be any different? Life has been about adapting, and here you are able to provide a new definition. No longer, the boundaries concern you. The focus has shifted without your knowledge.

Emotional Infidelity is addictive and by the time you realise it, the trap is set.

You created stories in your mind. Then slowly you gained expertise and now; they come naturally out of your poker face. You believe you were getting away from it. You feel proud n the newly acquired expertise.

In truth, it is more likely that your changed behaviour has already been noticed, and it could be just you fooling yourself. There is a delayed guilt associated with such act, which most probably without your realising it has made you irritable and distant in the demonstration of love and care.

Nothing is same. Everything is coloured with a completely alien brush and hue.

Everything, after all is the fault of your spouse. The new love of your life does nothing wrong. Your views and your lookout are all biased and coloured. The canvas maybe the same but the signature has changed.

There is no doubt at some stage the pain will peak when the reality bites. You will suddenly be marooned with the situation you did not want. It is that turn you wished you never had to take. The trust will be dead, and it will be all over. It will hurt more than anything you have ever experienced.

Is the painful expression and many unstated questions shadowing the faces you once loved acceptable to you? Are you ready for this eventuality? If not, then it may be the moment when you should seriously reconsider, take the call and stop what you may be doing or take it to its culmination.

I am no one to ask you to act against your beliefs.
It’s your life, spouse, children and parents.
Nevertheless, I know you are far more sensible than what your actions suggest.

Are you seriously ready for the ultimate end, breach of trust and logically separation or a divorce?
Is it ok for you to see your children needing to choose between parents?
What are these relationships worth to you?
Are you loved ones just for the weekend visit or a movie next week?
You can’t abscond from the responsibility of destroying lives in and around yourself?

Maybe, you are that brave heart, and you can bear the pain for the clandestine love you have tasted.
Perhaps, it is right for you is to go ahead with the affair brewing on the side waiting to blow with every passing moment. Hopefully, you are ready for the consequences.

You think that being selfish is ok. You think that you do not think about them.
MAYBE IT IS OK TO CAUSE EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOURSELF LOTS OF PAIN.

YES, I know you are waiting for the right moment. The moment when your spouse is least ready for it? The moment you believe will minimise unintended damage. You know; you are lying to yourself.

Are you seriously so confident of your life and your new-found life? Are you willing to break the bonds holding you back?

If the answer is yes, then stop waiting, Do it right now?
Don’t you think that lying to two most important person in your life is completely unacceptable?
Meanwhile, here is a small question, how much confident are you of the new love in your life?
What will happen to you if you were to find out that for the new-found love, you were a mere digression to rejuvenate life? No, that must not be happening to you. Have I touched the possible potential nightmare for you, something you never considered?

Trust me, ‘Emotional infidelity’ I far more dangerous than ‘Physical infidelity’

Irrespective of whatever is the reality, if there is a situation building up, then act now.
Nevertheless, before you act, ask yourself, is the adrenaline rush worth the pain.

…………………………..

The above is not a page from a diary or a note to self. 🙂

Take advantage of your fears.

Standard

Fear is one of the basic response systems. It is quite natural to have fear. In reality, there is no one who does not fear something. We do gain understanding of few things and overcome their fear. Many experiences install a new kind of insecurities and fear in us. Fear as a trigger keeps evolving with us. In childhood, a simple stranger face could trigger fear, while in the corporate system, one may fear interaction with seniors and even public speaking.

When we are born, we fear loud noise. It is something that we have been protected against. Something we may have not experienced pre-birth. Unknown, unexplained and uncertainties are the basic cause if fear. In reality, we learn all our fears. Fears don’t per exist.

Check-out, take a deep introspective look and see, what are the fears that you have learnt to be afraid of?

Fear is not necessarily a negative reaction or emotion. One can leverage own fear to advantage. Here is what you can do.

RECOGNISE WHAT YOU ARE AFRAID. Some fear like falling off the cliff and dying is natural and justified, if you are standing at the edge of the cliff. Otherwise if you have fears without triggers and in non-threatening situations, then they must be evaluated. Your fears are your decision and choice of what you are comfortable being afraid of. These are the boundaries and constraints that you have been imposing on yourself and is the cause of you being in your current situation.

REFRAME FEARS. Use your fear to your advantage. It’s a good thing, not something to be avoided. Embrace it. The sheer fact that you are anxious in a situation means that you do not have control of your thoughts. Train your mind to think positive and whenever you are anxious, consider that to be a sign of something good and positive to follow.

LIST ALL YOUR FEAR. Be completely honest and naked to yourself when you list down all your fears. Write the fear, what causes it, And then tries seeing a pattern. By understanding your own model framework of fears, you will be better prepared to face them. In the process, you will be able to eliminate few of your fears by acknowledging and addressing the core issue.

USE FEARS TO GET A HEAD START. To be successful it is essential that you overcome your fears. Most successful people have done that and found it as a necessary step in the process. Conquering fear makes you more capable. The next fear becomes that easier to defeat. Remember, defeating a small fear makes the more significant fears more manageable.

FEAR IS SELF INDUCED. It is you, your understanding, conviction and perception of an event and uncertainties associated with it, that creates fear. Fear is just a feeling. It may have associated physical manifestations like sweating, trembling, etc., but it remains a feeling. It’s for you to decide to feel bad or good, positive and negative. When your life is in danger, your fear, although justified is just a guess work and your perception about the possible outcome. All your feelings and fear, in particular, follow this rule.

CULTIVATE DISCIPLINE. Fear is the result of your mind trying to stop you from doing or experiencing something. This ends up making you uncomfortable. It results’s in your trying to escape the situation. When you repeat the behaviour, the mid recognises a pattern and then triggers fear even in anticipation of future patterns. Use these situations to discipline yourself and your thoughts.

Discipline is after all your abilities to do things that you may not want to do or stop doing what you want to do. It does not need discipline to have a coke or a Pepsi, but it is required to be on diet even after seeing the delicious Lava Cake. It also takes discipline to stop doing something you want.

One of your biggest weapons in killing fear is discipline. Cultivate the habit of discipline.

GET THE HELP YOU NEED. There may be some deep-rooted fears. If that is the cause, one can only say that there must be some really good reason for their manifestation and being deep-seeded. It may be just important and right for you to seek external help to overcome that. Leverage your fear and experiences associated with it as a motivation to get help. There is nothing wrong in getting help, it will only help you move forward in life and reap a new set of benefits.

Fear is not something to be avoided. Fear is a wonderful opportunity to learn about yourself. Leverage fears to give yourself a chance to grow on a personal and professional level.
It’s not ‘JOD DAAR GAYA WHO MAR GAYA’ but IF YOU’RE NOT AFRAID, YOU’RE NOT LIVING’.

Break The Rule. Talk To Strangers.

Standard

Are you one who is uncomfortable talking to strangers? Are you the one who as a rule in a restaurant chooses a seat facing the wall or are you the one who will usually sit in the front seat of a taxi- to avoid back seat conversations? In any official event if you do not find comfort with the known faces you are most likely to be brooding in a corner.

Well, you are not the only one to have this issue. This is our basic training from childhood, which forebode us from talking to strangers. Disciplined living was seen as silently obeying the orders and not raising any questions.

This ingrained coded behavior may be the one that is slowly but definitely harming your career prospects. Trust me small talk and free conversations can lead to a smarter, healthier, and happier life.

If we take the findings by researchers at University of Michigan researchers, then small talks with strangers or social conversations lead to enhanced problem-solving ability, lowered risk of heart attacks. As a side bonus, your travel and such engagement time become a lot more enjoyable, the good feelings last for hours. So, why wait.

Additionally, these talks can help you extend your network, which can result in expanding opportunities. As you surround yourself with mostly people from similar background and industry, it helps you extend beyond your comfort zone and induce new knowledge and fresh perspective. Talking allows you to get out of your pressing stressful ‘to do’ list and diverts your attention to the present moment.

For all, you know; it may lead to you finding the love and partner of your life- but that I suppose is not the main criteria.

Smart social small talk has three ingredients to it; invitation, breaking of ice and sustaining talk.

So to initiate- you need to scan the people around you and seek the most logical target. People who do not look stressed, smile and seek eye contacts are more willing to talk than the one sitting in the corner brooding or in the mid of an interesting conversation. Check people in front and back in the long lines at airport or the person sitting next to you on a non-red-eye flight.

You need to use a common harmless opening to find the common ground; weather, current non-controversial topic or even appreciation of the service.
See it from other person’s point of view. They may want to speak to you, so get that inviting smile on your face. In a restaurant or a lounge always chose the seat that faces people.

However, how do you sustain these conversations? The fact is that it is easier to listen and two the discussion finds its own flow. For you to participate actively, you need to listen attentively. Show others that you are really interested in listening to what they are sharing. You respect the time that they are investing with you in the conversation. Like they said- get the concept not necessarily the content- listen to the massage instead of thinking ahead your response.

Create your witty loaded elevator pitch, sprinkle that with stories, anecdotes that will create the hook to keep conversation going. Flip it; instead of talking- ask open-ended questions that need more than just a yes or no. Open up a bit more than you normally do. It works wonders for you but be cautious in how much you open up.

Appreciation brings smile and warms up the conversation. Positively comment on jokes and insights they share. Trust, just like you and me, people feel good about being liked.

Follow up with future possibilities. If everything is going right, do share visiting cards and coordinates. If you are more proactive and want to be sure, do share next meeting on a mutually beneficial subject. Do not pile up on the person. You want the stranger to now be a friend.

Reach out, and feel the difference a little small talk can make in your routine.

…………………………………………………….

Sanjeev Kotnala with 28 years of corporate experience is the founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. His focus area includes Ideation and Innovation; he also conducts specialized workshops like IDEAHarvest, Liberate and InNoWait. For soft skill training, he follows SHIFT (Specific High-Intensity Frequent training), a process of continuous training with frequent shorter sessions. Email sanjeev@intradia.in tweet @s_kotnala web: www.intradia.in www.sanjeevkotnala.com.