9 Ways To Combat Fear

Fear gets to the best of us, whether it is fear of failure, fear of success, or even fear of fear. All of us have experienced fear at some point in our lives and it can be a real stumbling block that holds us back from being truly successful.

9 WAYS TO COMBAT FEAR

Fear can’t hold you back forever if you don’t let it. There are several ways to overcome fear, here are my top 9:

1. SEPARATE REALITY FROM PERCEPTION

Ask yourself what is really going on, locate the facts and place them over your feelings.

2. IDENTIFY THE TRIGGER

Figure out what it is in a situation that triggers you. Learning to identify it will help you learn to combat it.

3. KNOW WHERE FEAR LIVES IN YOUR BODY

A lot of times, fear takes over physically. It affects different people in different ways. Identify if/how it affects your physical body and do the work to take care of your body. Ex: if you hold stress in your back, you can learn stretches, foam rolling, etc. to avoid the pain.

4. PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Every day, list out 1-3 things you are thankful for. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is, gratitude helps shift the mind into a positive light, which over time, overcomes fear.

5. LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE

Monitor your inner conversations. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. Speak positively to yourself and remind yourself of your strengths.

6. CREATE A NEW ASSOCIATION

Remind yourself that the feeling and the moment will pass. Focus on the positive outcome of the situation, rather than the scary in-between.

7. LOOK AT THE GLASS HALF FULL

Perception is a very powerful thing, and how you feel about your situation dictates how you respond. So think positively and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of success. This won’t happen overnight; practice with just one thought. What is one recurring negative/fearful thought you have? Work on reversing this one thought. Over time, this will become a habit.

8. PRACTICE BREATHING EXERCISES

Breathing helps center your body; when you stop breathing, your heart stops beating. You can do a grounding exercise, or even just take 5 deep, long breaths at any point to calm and center yourself. It is best to start your day with this, but feel free to practice all day long.

9. CREATE A SAFE SPACE

When you feel safe and secure, there is no room for fear. Find somewhere safe you can retreat to when ill feelings begin- whether this is a real place such as your bedroom, or a place in your mind such as the beach. This sense of comfort will soothe you and allow you to face your fear.

Please keep in mind, these are just 9 strategies, not everything works for everyone. But this is a place to start. Start implementing these techniques into your life and don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your goals and your highest potential this year!

IF YOU WISH TO WORK ON “OVERCOMING YOUR FEARS”?

DIALOGIC BIBLIOTHERAPY COULD WELL BE YOUR ANSWER!

CONTACT for a FREE 1:1 Consultation 👇🏼

Perfectionism – STOPS you from achieving GOALS!

Don’t Let Perfectionism Affect Your LifePART 1

Perfectionism becomes a problem when it leads to unhappiness or interferes with your day-to-day functioning. While trying to do things well is all good, setting excessively high standards can affect almost any area of life, including health, your diet, work, relationships, and interests.

Some of the main areas that often get impaired by perfectionism are work, home and school, relationships, and leisure.

Answer the following questions (Y/N) and find out if you are afflicted with excessive levels of perfectionism.

  1. I often end up feeling, I could have done better
  2. I fear failing when working on some major assignment
  3. I strive to maintain control of my emotions at all times
  4. I get upset when things don’t go as planned
  5. I am often disappointed at the quality of other people’s work
  6. I firmly believe that there is a time and place for everything
  7. I don’t start anything unless I am sure I have all the resources needed to do the task
  8. I am unhappy if anything I do is considered to be average
  9. I am afraid of what others will think of me if I fail
  10. I need absolute clarity before undertaking anything in life

If you have answered ‘Yes’ to 5 or more to the above questions, then it indicates a potential problem with perfectionism.

Most people define themselves, at least in part, by the work they do. Therefore, it generally becomes important for them to do a good job.

Don’t Let Perfectionism Affect Your Life - PART 1

As a salesperson, I used to experience a high and sense of satisfaction after securing a large contract. Similarly, a student feels good after receiving an outstanding grade in an exam or assignment. However, perfectionism may get in the way of your performance at School, Home, or Work. Perfectionism potentially may reduce your ability to enjoy your work or may influence the ways in which you treat others at work.

Let me give a few examples to put this in context.

When I started my career as a corporate trainer, I was overly concerned about doing a perfect job and expected to bring about change or impact everyone in the class.  Even if one participant said that he somehow is not able to relate to what I was teaching, I used to get extremely stressed.  If that happened sometime during the course of the program, I used to put so much effort to satisfy that one person that I used to neglect the others present in the class.  While my ratings were good and always 4.7 and above out of 5, I used to leave the class with a sense of dissatisfaction.  This eventually led to anxiety and panic attacks before and after every session.

I had a friend of mine who was so concerned about doing well at his job that he felt very uncomfortable doing just about anything else other than work. Although his workload was not especially heavy, he tended to avoid co-workers who wanted to engage in small talk during work hours, and he avoided taking breaks (including lunch with colleagues, mostly having a quick bite at his desk). He was also the first person to arrive at work and put a high price on reaching on time every day 365 days a year. Although his intention was to make a good impression at work, his obsessive behavior had the effect of alienating his co-workers, including at times his supervisor. In his case, excessively high standards for himself affected the impression that he made on others at work.

I worked with a manager in a large corporation who had similar very high standards for his staff. He was completely intolerant of anyone arriving late for work, making small mistakes, or completing their work after a deadline—with no exceptions. He tended to respond to these behaviors with anger and had a reputation for being overly critical when completing performance reviews of his team members. As a result, team members stayed away from him as much as possible and tried their best to avoid engaging in any conversation with him. They were apprehensive, tentative, and afraid of interactions with him. People who worked with him were unmotivated in their work because they knew that he could never be satisfied, no matter how well they performed.

Another example was of a student I was counseling who was terrified of getting anything less than a ‘A’ in any of his exams. Months before the exams he would start studying putting else aside, including friends, family, sleep, and even food. He ate irregularly and stayed up all night before the exams.   On the days of his exam, he was too tired, and no amount of coffee could help him stay alert.  His grades suffered though he knew the material well.  He used to go through long periods of depressive thoughts as he was frustrated that he didn’t perform well in the exam though he knew all the answers.

I am sure you are able to relate to some of the examples above that you would have observed in others or experienced yourself.  Let’s look at a few types of perfectionism that afflict people.

Time, Space, and Resources

This is the most common type of perfectionism that reduces the number of situations in which a person will act. Exercising is a great example to explain how those who are perfectionists.  They are the ones who have clearly designated places where one must exercise, the time of the day when it should be done, and the complete list of resources that must be available before exercising.  For example, you must go to a gym to exercise, must be ideally before 8 AM in the morning and not later than 6 PM in the evening and you must have the perfect clothing to exercise.  They are also people who consider weight training to be done using heavy equipment. 

But we all know that the only exercise equipment that you need is your body unless you are a perfectionist.

Quality

This is something we encounter every day and know of.  Those who have this kind of perfectionist tendencies are driven mad by their incessant desire for flawless execution.  They cannot tolerate anything less-than-perfect.  This is most often seen in our workplace but for some, it can be part of their family life as well.  Expecting nothing less than a perfect score or grade from their kid at school, perfectly clean rooms with not even a speck of dust particle in any corner.  They are the ones who go around after a cleaning session rubbing their palms over nooks and corners to see if there is even a little particle, they would have missed cleaning.  The worst, if they find even one such corner, they start all over again looking at all rooms to just ensure that they have done a perfect job.

Quantity and Measurements

Those who are obsessively driven by quantity and measurements are never satisfied with action if it falls below a number threshold or benchmark they have in mind. There are over 90% and more people in the world who struggled with the perfectionism of this kind.  It’s probably because social norms have set definitions of success in any job and those benchmarks are always big size and nothing less than perfect.

This type of perfectionism is mostly in the sense of quality: getting your hair done perfectly, having a perfect dinner table, and keeping your desk spotless and does more than quality or that of time, space, and resources.  The problem of this type gets accentuated especially when working with “GOALS”.

Most of us are inadvertently conditioned to be perfectionists by mimicking the goals of people around us. You will notice that every single “normal” goal is perfectionistic in nature.  They are expressed in terms of quantity and metrics, and almost all people have such goals.

For example, our “New Year Goals and Resolutions”.   I must lose 40 pounds in six months, publish a book this year, start earning six figures this year, read one book per week, and so on. You will notice these aren’t impossible goals, but they are somehow perfectionistic in nature as they implicitly indicate that small progress isn’t good enough. For me, when I go to the gym, for my workouts, I had to increase the weights for my squats by at least 6 pounds every week; anything less wasn’t good enough progress.

For me a goal was always about a “podium finish” and it had to be Gold.  No matter how much progress I have made, my goals were always like a high jump, either you are over it or under.  This extremely binary view of our goals worsens the problem for a perfectionist.

I think the biggest mistake a perfectionist would make is often redefining partial success as a “complete failure”.  They end up feeling humiliated and embarrassed if it is anything less than the whole.

It is not just harmful to our progress and mental well-being but borders on being irrational.  Not accepting or putting a value on small progress and wanting only big and perfect wins can be frustrating and paralyze action.

When you set goals like these, it triggers in us emotions such as guilt and shame, and we relapse into our old selves.  That is probably the reason why most people give up on their new year goals every year – year-on-year.

For a more comprehensive assessment and analysis, please ask me by filling in the form below👇🏼

TCDLive Weekend Lounge Talk Show

The TCDLive Weekend Lounge talk show aims to bring forth dialogue that often do not get the attention or people find it difficult to engage in. With the talk show as a medium guest and attendees explore a wide range of topics that could help them fully realize and reach their potential.

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the TCDLive Weekend Lounge show/series are solely those of the individuals, authors, guest speakers who come on the show and do not necessarily represent those of The Critical Dialogue, its constituents, and partners, and its employees and clients.  The Critical Dialogue and its constituent partners are not responsible for any harm physical and/or psychological arising out of carrying out / following the views expressed and/or advice on this show.  This show is also not a substitute for any professional medical/non-medical advice.  Viewer discretion is advised.

S1E1: The Color of your SKIN doesn’t matter

Date: 25th September 2021
Host: Sree Kumar, Founder & CEO, The Critical Dialogue
Guest: Nageen Riffat (Nyn), Founder, Nyn’s Dreams

It was such an engaging session with our guest Nyn, on the TCDLive Weekend Lounge talk show.  The icing on the cake was so many turned up in support of the cause.

We’ve just scratched the surface

As the conversation moved along with Nyn’s story of her journey, her struggles, moments of vulnerability, withdrawal, emotional upheavals, to her transformation, and success; the show not just had its share of insightful moments, but had our attendees joining in with their own perspectives that were profound.
Women of color end up facing a wide range of micro-aggression

What was interesting yet painful to note was that despite so many years of discussing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion DEI, women of color face a significant amount of discrimination, bias, and harassment at the workplace.

  1. Being judged
  2. Questions on their ability
  3. Exclusion
  4. Suspecting their decision-making
  5. Questioning their commitment to the job, especially after motherhood
  6. Performance-related biases

Are some of the experiences that seem to take a heavy toll on women and are three times more for the women of color, who are victims of micro-aggressions.

Nyn shared with us briefly how she was able to overcome not just a wide range of micro-aggressive behavior at the workplace but go on to become resilient and successful.  In a world that was far away from her homeland, completely alien was something to really learn from.  She provided us with some ways in which that could be achieved.

  1. Believing in herself
  2. Continual improvement and upskilling
  3. Building a strong network of allies at the workplace
  4. Always looking to add value (focusing on what she can do to make a difference)
  5. Her willingness to seek help
  6. Developing high levels of self-awareness leading to,
  7. Enhanced self-worth and high-level of confidence

While the focus was on the challenges faced by women of color, this episode was all about the journey of an Asian Woman.

The next episode is to continue the dialogue on the challenges because of micro-aggressions faced by black women at the workplace. 

“It is harder for Black employees to advance organically from entry-level to managerial jobs; their attrition rates are higher, and many report a trust deficit and a lack of sponsorship and allyship.”

S1E2: Workplace harassment and bullying

Date: 2nd October 2021
Host: Sree Kumar, Founder & CEO, The Critical Dialogue
Co-host: Nageen Riffat, Founder Nyn’s Dreams
Special Guest: Oluwafemi aka (FEMI) Omotola, CEO, Owner, and Lead-HR Consultant, Shalom Shalom Consulting inc. ca.

It was such an engaging session with our guest Femi, on the TCDLive Weekend Lounge show.  The icing on the cake was like always so many turned up in support of the cause.

We continued from where we left last time..

This time the discussion on workplace harassment and bullying focused on black women of color and especially those who migrated to their host country with dreams in their eyes.

It was our special guest Femi who shared her journey in her own inimitable style that was not just engaging but came straight from the heart.  

“I had a spring in my walk when I migrated to Canada, with two master’s degrees, one in sociology and the other in industrial relations.  I didn’t think that I will encounter what I encountered when I got to the shores of my host country. The first thing that hits me was okay. My skin is black. I never thought about that before, when I was back home because everybody is the same, the same complexion basically.”

With her husband job-hunting and three children in tow, the start was not the ideal that I had expected.  She went on to share how she had to face up to harassment and bullying as she tried to settle in and take off on her journey.  Her story provided deep insights into her struggles, moments of vulnerability, withdrawal, emotional upheavals, to her transformation, and success; the show not just had its share of insightful moments, but had our attendees joining in with their own perspectives that were profound and a great learning experience.

Women of color end up facing a wide range of micro-aggression

What was interesting yet painful to note was that despite so many years of discussing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion DEI, women of color face a significant amount of discrimination, bias, and harassment at the workplace.

  1. Being judged
  2. Questions on their ability
  3. Exclusion
  4. Suspecting their decision-making
  5. Questioning their commitment to the job,
  6. Performance-related biases
  7. Receiving undue flak
  8. Not getting due credit for their success,

Some of the consistent themes we could hear while Femi went on to share her journey, that had their fair share of ups and downs.  From starting as a self-confident woman to losing it and regaining it as she navigated the emotional roller-coaster.  What she said was that not many are able to see what is going in inside the mind of a person who has to endure harassment and bullying on a daily basis.

She shared how the state of her mind and in her office was starting to take a heavy toll on her family, who had to take the brunt of it all.

When asked about how she was able to overcome the challenges and what is her advice to high-potential young black women who aspire to reach leadership levels in the organization, she had these few things to say.

Ways to stay on top of your game

  1. You must always invest in yourself, try and keep learning, developing your skill-sets and competencies so that you do not just match up but can be better than anyone in that role
  2. Find out what you are passionate about and invest some time taking it up, even if it is a side-hustle.  That can boost your confidence to new levels.
  3. Do not be afraid to speak up.  Bring difficult conversations to the table sooner than you do, so that you do not have to lose your sleep over it daily.
  4. Identify the early signs that you are becoming a victim of harassment and bullying, by listening to your body.  If you are not sleeping well, that could be one of the first signs.
  5. Build strong allyship.  Have someone who you trust and can share what you are going through.  It can act as a catalyst in overcoming the myriad problems you face.  That someone or people can act as your personal advisory board.
  6. Learn to make use of the employee assistance programs.  Do not be afraid of reprisal.
  7. Stop wearing masks and be your authentic self
  8. Whatever it is you love to do or take up – just start.  No matter how big or small the initiative is.  Start strong and stay the course.

Femi shared, how she not just started her entrepreneurial journey, setting up a consulting firm that would focus on creating an organizational culture that is truly inclusive, she also started a side-hustle by setting up a separate project, that of selling African fashion accessories and cultural artifacts.  That really gives her immense satisfaction and joy.

Insights from a few of our fellow attendees

Veronique

“I believe that you need to build allyship and be the strong person and voice of reason! As a leader in my organization, we have developed Employee Resource Groups where we build up and embed DEI”
“it’s time to have a courageous conversation..  I insert myself professionally no matter what”
“I’m blessed to be in a global organization where DEI is embedded in all our people, product, and services daily”
“It’s vital to find an organization whose values align with both your personal and professional values.”
Zarine
“instances of bullying are on the rise when cos are either performing badly or during crisis situations like covid? Its a means of trying to get people to leave”
“Most stem from the fact that the leadership is not committed to implementing safe workspace policies that already exist in organizations.  It must start at the top”
Angela Gala
“There are times, leadership resorts to means that are intentionally designed to force employees to leave”
“Most of the time the problem is at the top, and it will prevail as long as the leadership remains the same.”
“I quit my full-time job and started my own practice.  No more harassment and no more bullying”
Vikas Singh
Bullying and discrimination happen because:
1. Poor leadership – 
2. Poor team coordination and poor peer support.
3. Lobbying and voluntary ignorance from management (low to high, including HR, etc) and colleagues 

What can we do?

  1. We can grow stronger – awareness and preparation (somehow talking about it actively and passively)
  2. Focus on wellbeing 
  3. Maybe sometimes empathy for the bully (maybe he/she had a challenging background of being bullied self also). And try not to take things personally.

What are the positive outcomes:

  1. We can ask openly in the interview about the company’s discrimination policy and bullying policy. Ethical behavior etc.
  2. Talk to other employees working there and listen to their feedback. 
  1. Identifying bullies and confronting the situation with respect and acknowledgment. Sometimes the bulky do not know about his/her behavior. 
  2. Focus on self-wellbeing and self-preservation

Judith Carmody
“It’s imperative that we start to sensitize people early in their life and career.  Maybe it’s time we looked at teaching at schools and colleges and even parents about the negative effects of bullying and harassment.  Teach them how to deal with it effectively when they grow up and have to face it in the corporate world”

While the focus was on the challenges faced by women of color, this episode was all about the journey of an African woman of color.  Femi’s journey is an eye-opener and definitely a small step in furthering the cause of making our workspaces safe and free from harassment and bullying.

The next episode is to continue the dialogue on the challenges because of micro-aggressions faced by employees at the workplace.

S1E3: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

S1E3: Organizations Must Stop Shouting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Date: 9th October 2021

Host: Sree Kumar, Founder & CEO, The Critical Dialogue
Co-host: Nageen Riffat, Founder, Nyn’s Dreams
Special Guest: Torrey Davis, I/O Psychology, Organizational Strategist, Founder, Davis IOP Consulting


Disclaimer:the views, information, or opinions expressed during the TCDLive Weekend Lounge show / series are solely those of the individuals, authors, guest speakers who come on the show and do not necessarily represent those of The Critical Dialogue, its constituents and partners, and its employees and clients.The Critical Dialogue and its constituent partners are not responsible for any harm physical and/or psychological arising out of carrying out / following the views expressed and/or advise on this show.  This show is also not a substitute for any professional medical/non-medical advice.  Viewer discretion is advised.

It was such an engaging session with our guest, Torrey, on the TCDLive Weekend Lounge show.  The icing on the cake was so many turned up in support of the cause.

Behind the scenes

I was having a conversation with Torrey about the topic of workplace harassment and bullying and how people of color need to stop complaining and playing the victim all the time and start learning ways to “navigate” the rough and tumble of the corporate world; he had this to ask me….

“Sree, by navigating, are you suggesting that I need to become more white in order for me to survive?”

Why can’t I be comfortable in my skin – me being just me, and still be able to level up, succeed and reach top positions in organizations?

His questions got me thinking and our discussions veered towards the DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) policies in organizations that suffer from poor implementation.  He went on to say that the policies exist for a reason and are indicative of the fact that incidences of workplace harassment and bullying have occurred in the past that necessitated them in the first place.  

As it turns out, globally, these policy documents have become more of a medium of defending the corporations than those it was originally meant to protect. 

I find it insulting to those who are hired by companies that repeatedly shout diversity and inclusion, only to find it to be the exact opposite.  It is not just about color, race, gender, harassment, and bullying in its subtle form keeps occurring all the time, the so-called micro-aggression. 

Bullying and harassment happen at all levels and can be directed to your age, experience, skillset,  the way you speak, your attitude, and many such dimensions. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusivity in the workplace don’t mean you merely use it as a showcase – a splash here and a dash there.

Most organizations feel satisfied that they are meeting the bare minimum needs of diversity and inclusion numbers.  People at the receiving end of micro-aggressive behavior start to feel increasingly alienated and are constantly reminded that they are different and don’t belong.  

He said “As a man of color, I had to work harder, just to get equal respect all the while suppressing my personality to dispel the stereotype of a rebellious, non-conformist.

In #thecriticaldialogue #TCDLiveWeekendLounge show this weekend, we spoke to Torrey asking him to throw some light on his journey and how he not just saved his skin but saved his sanity to be successful in life?  

We asked him how to identify the signs of micro-aggression at work and ways to deal with it.

Let’s talk DE&I!

Torrey began his conversation by discussing, what he coined, “the roots” of his experience of DE&I. His journey began with his family and how he fit into his family’s nucleus because his parents and brothers respected each other’s differences. He discussed being exposed to his parents struggles within the workplace – his mother being bullied due to not engaging with cliques and workplace gossip. His father started out in the mailroom, even though he had personnel and  account experience due to spending 22-years in the Military. 

Torrey’s DE&I journey changed as he entered college and the working environment, where being a man of color brought about new unwanted experiences. Ultimately, the attendees gravitated to how Torrey defined DE&I: Diversity – “Other than me or different than me”. Equity – “Fairness, but fairness must be agreed upon by the parties involved.” Inclusion – “to actually be inclusive…thought process and perspectives, culture, communication, family status, working styles…must be considered.”

What is interesting about Torrey’s discussion is how it complemented Nageen Riffat’s (Nyn) conversation during Episode 1 of this season. 

However, Torrey’s focus was on organizations and how DE&I relate to men of color, and DE&I in the organization in general. Focal points of Torrey’s discussion were: 

  1. DEI – What’s wrong and why is it not having the necessary impact?
  2. Microaggressions
  3. DEI – implementation, what can organizational leadership do?
  4. Do you think having a DEI policy has become more a tool to defend the organization than those it is intended to protect?
  5. Employee assistance programs – are they truly helping promote DEI?
  6. Is a mandated independent external audit of DEI of organizations needed?

Are some of the experiences that seem to take a heavy toll on women and are three times more for the women of color, who are victims of microaggressions.

Torrey shared several different perspectives about DE&I in the organization that can assist leaders, managers, and employees with discussing the necessary elements needed within their companies to promote and exhibit diversity, equity, and inclusion:

  1. Not defining DE&I in a manner that is relatable to the masses.
  2. Speaking from my I/O Psychology and consulting lens, not defining good measures for DE&I is problematic.
  3. DE&I is more than what’s listed under Affirmative action. 
  4. Microaggression in the workplace
  5. Implicit bias.
  6. The four dimensions of DE&I – organizational, external, internal, personal.
  7. Employee assistance programs and mistrust.

While the focus was on the challenges faced by men of color in relation to DE&I, this episode focused on many organization concerns and DE&I. 

S1E4: Recovery and Resilience in the aftermath of domestic violence

Date: 16th October 2021

Host: Sree Kumar, Founder & CEO, The Critical Dialogue

Guest: Nageen Riffat, Founder, Nyn’s Dreams

Disclaimer: the views, information, or opinions expressed during the TCDLive Weekend Lounge show / series are solely those of the individuals, authors, guest speakers who come on the show and do not necessarily represent those of The Critical Dialogue, its constituents and partners, and its employees and clients.  The Critical Dialogue and its constituent partners are not responsible for any harm physical and/or psychological arising out of carrying out / following the views expressed and/or advice on this show.  This show is also not a substitute for any professional medical/non-medical advice.  Viewer discretion is advised.

It was such an engaging and deeply moving and emotional session with our guest, Nageen, on the TCDLive Weekend Lounge show.  We were blessed to have so many turned up and also registered their support of the cause.

Behind the scenes

I was talking to Nageen Riffat, Founder, Nyn’s Dreams and Award-Winning Speaker on Women’s Empowerment and Author of the best seller #HerRhythm – You are more than your survival story”

Her story literally shook me to the core, and I couldn’t get myself to even imagine the trauma this powerful lady had to endure, two young boys in tow, with no guarantee of what was in store.  I said to her “How could GOD be so unkind to such a wonderful woman? – Why was he a mute spectator, watching his creation being battered and bruised and left to fend for herself all alone?

“Sree, GOD helps those who help themselves, was her spontaneous response”.

“I tell you it was the worst experience in my life, a bad dream but it was also the best experience in my life . . . It made me a stronger person, and I feel like what I have gone through,  I can pass along to others, and I feel like I have this intuition when I’m around  people that are in those situations, and I try to make it evident but not obvious, that  I’m there for them if they need anything.”

Globally there are so many women who have been silently suffering or have been victims of domestic violence.  And a limited few who have not just recovered from the aftermath of domestic violence but who went on to rebuild and rebirth their lives.

When it comes to DV the victims/survivors inevitably experience trials and tribulations of recovery.  They are forced to contend with so much stress in the aftermath of domestic violence that may include recurring symptoms of trauma (like depression, anxiety) but also of the perpetrators who make persistent attempts to control them.  Controlling by stalking, breaking into their homes, harassing and threatening their employers, friends and family.

This has a deep impact on their ability to make decisions, concentrate and remain focused, and process their emotions. 

But there are also women who not just survived but gone on to define their own path, find meaning and purpose in their life and have now become a beacon of hope to several thousand worldwide.

While not much data exists in terms of how they were able to win back their life, leaving an abusive relationship and working toward recovery, those who have shared their journey are really making a difference.

Their stories are filled with how their road to recovery took a tremendous amount of personal strength, self-awareness, resilience, emotional intelligence and self-control.  The common theme is that they stopped playing victim and waiting for someone to come save them and started taking charge of their life.

In The Critical Dialogue #TCDLiveWeekendLounge show this weekend, we spoke to Nageen Riffat on the topic “Recovery and Resilience in the aftermath of domestic violence”

We asked her to share her story of not just how she rid herself of the traumatic relationship but also about her road to recovery through resilience.

God helps those who help themselves

Nageen began the show by sharing her story from early days of her childhood, about what shaped her dreams, the influence of her dad and how growing up as his adorable princess she dreamt of living a life truly made of those dreams.  

She said, little did I realize that those very dreams were going to be shattered post her marriage.

Her deeply moving tale of woes, inner-conflicts, domestic abuse of both the physical and the emotional kind and her slow and painful road to recovery, resilience and transformation is what made the show invaluable.  There were lessons to be learnt at every stage, at times as a host I felt that I just let her be and continue, but honestly there is so much to her story than mere survival, as she wrote in her book #herRhythm – you are more than your survival story.

I tried to keep the focus around topics that I thought would really be beneficial for fellow women around the world.  Those included:

  1. How living in denial doesn’t help your cause?
  2. Reclaiming yourself – need to invest in self-care
  3. The power of belief
  4. Repurpose your life – start dreaming again
  5. Decisions and choices that EMPOWER
  6. Forgiveness – how that helps in recovery
  7. Stand up for your rights
  8. Re-birthing – find renewed purpose, meaning, and energy to succeed

Honestly, as much as I thought it would remain focused on these topics, we veered towards some more basic and pertinent ones that deserved attention.  As is always the case with the TCDLiveWeekend Lounge experience, we always remain open to bring to table that which matters even if it demands of us at times moving away from pre-fixed agenda.

The idea of “Dialogue” is just that after all, isn’t it.

We started talking about how;

  1. Cases of domestic violence go unreported – Nageen shared that over 90% of the domestic violence cases go unreported, not just because at times victim/survivors themselves are unaware that they have been subjected to abuse but also because of the cultural stigma that is attached to it.
  1. What stops victims/survivors from reporting cases of domestic violence – She said that many do not report because they don’t want their family name to be dragged to courts or litigations.  They do not want their own kith and kin, friends and colleagues to end up facing the wrath of the abusers.  This is particularly the case when the perpetrator is a person of high influence, both in terms of money, muscle and connections.  The problem she said was at times the victim/survivors family themselves are to blame as they don’t want to get involved and invest their energies in pushing the victim back into the fire.  Instead of trying to stand up and fight for their kin, they at times can be perceived to be more siding with the perpetrators and their families.  That is the sad part, she said.  This really has a deep psychological impact on the victim as they become highly untrusting of others and withdraw into a cocoon to suffer in silence. As Nageen said, it starts to impact so much that it goes on to impair the thinking and decision making faculties of the victim/survivor.
  1. It’s not just physical, the psychological abuse goes unnoticed – Nageen spoke about how it was not just about the physical abuse victims/survivors are subjected to but the intense  emotional/psychological abuse they are subjected to that often goes unnoticed.  She said while the scars from physical abuse are visible and are a grim reminder of what she had gone through each time she goes in front of the mirror, it is the emotional trauma that is hard to overcome.  Especially when you have no one to talk to and are alone, it comes to bite you again and again, not allowing you to forget your past.  She said, physical scars may heal over time but the emotional ones take a long long time.  You can never completely heal from them though you can work towards reducing the negative effects of those on your psyche and on your life ahead.
  1. Why are married women with children less likely to report against the perpetrators of violence? – When you have innocent lives who are dependent on you and expect you to be the protective blanket around them, you cannot afford at times to be seen as vulnerable.  Your instincts naturally are to bear with the abuse, lest it start touching your children’s life.  The perpetrators of domestic violence can emotionally manipulate children, physically threaten them to get their custody.  For them, not being able to get custody of their kids is the first and a great sign of their failure, which they would not like a bit.  They would go to any extent to ensure that the victim/survivor is physically and emotionally isolated.  They can threaten, use coercive force, and even be prepared to kill, just so that they win.  The fear they instill in the victim is just enough for them to remain silent.  

    The other interesting point she raised was that when you have kids and you want them to grow up in a good family environment, you keep trying your best to make up with the perpetrator with the hope that this is just a passing phase and one day things will turn out to be good.  What she said was profound and very important – you cannot afford to live in denial.  You have to accept that you have failed in your efforts to make this work.  It’s time to move on.  When you are faced with the choice of either ‘giving up’ or ‘standing up’, she said make the choice of standing up to fight another day.  That is what made her to be what she is today – A true woman of substance.
  1. If the abusers would have grown up in a family which condoned such acts – to this question, she was not wanting to sound like she is empathetic to the perpetrator.  She said, it is sad that it does happen most of the time that women in the family of the abuser, do not even realize that another woman like them is getting violated.  They either are mute spectators or contribute to the problem.  She said, such women fail to even realize that they are mothers, sisters, daughters themselves.  It is so damn difficult to fathom that they could become party to domestic violence.  She went on to say that unless women in the violator’s family, his kith or kin don’t take a stance, this kind of violation is not going away any time soon.
  1. The effects and impact of covid-19 pandemic in an increase of domestic violence – Nageen spoke about women and especially working women, who have been victims of subtle forms of abuse, the psychological kind, which has been on the rise post pandemic and work-from-home scenario.  The only time a victim/survivor used to get to be with themselves was either in the shower or during their commute to and fro office.  With work-from-home, that luxury has also been taken away.  There is very little time for self-care which these women get with expectations of them being super-woman who could work almost 18-20 hrs. A day, supporting family, children, parents, work and much much more.  The exhausted mind has no time to think of rejuvenating for self-care.  She said, she had to wear a mask throughout the day, at office – to show up as a confident and decisive person, with children – as a strong and powerful lady, with husband – as a caring and affectionate partner, with in-law – as a devoted daughter in law, with parents as a loving caring child, with friends as a – bubbly enthusiastic person, Phew!  You never really are you!
  1. The need to sensitize and build awareness. Nageen spoke at length about how women must invest in their self-care and build their self-worth.  They must work hard to develop competencies that could help them not just take up jobs but also become self-reliant in the face of adversity.  She said, the very fact that she was well educated and had a successful career helped her to escape from the clutches of an abusive relationship and gave her the confidence to make a life of her own in an alien land.  Today, she goes about conducting sensitization programs, workshops and skill builders and works with NGOs and community centers to empower women to stand up and be noticed.  She kept repeating throughout the show that self-care was the key.
  2. How organizations the world over can support She talked about how organizations can support the victim/survivor of domestic violence by not just being sensitive to their needs but also to provide them with the time, space and necessary resources to not just recover but get a life of their own making. She highlighted that while she was fortunate to have colleagues and an organization that supported her through that face of trials and tribulations, often she comes across women who have been let down by the very company or colleagues with whom she would have spent years working.  Organizations must come forward to employ and promote more women in the workplace.  Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the true sense.

The show definitely highlighted, and did not miss the fact that there is a great need for women to come out in support of women, if we want to see any significant change – whether in families or in the workplace.

The key takeaways

Support, Educate, Empower, Develop (SEED) as I would like to call it, is important in helping women fight against abuse and violence.  This needs to be backed by creating a fertile ground that has Social and Institutional support, Community support, and more importantly a cultural revolution of sorts.  One small step at a time.


TCDLive Weekend Lounge show is committed to bringing to dialogue all such topics that deserve our attention.  

May the world become truly inclusive!

S1E5: Mental Wellness Recovery – an active change of ideas and attitudes.

S1E5:  Mental Wellness Recovery – An active change of ideas and attitudes

‘Recover’, ‘Reignite’ and ‘Rejuvenate’ Your Life

Date: 23rd October 2021

Host: Sree Kumar, Founder & CEO, The Critical Dialogue

Co-hosts: Torrey Davis and Nageen Riffat

Guest: Karl Berry

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the TCDLive Weekend Lounge show / series are solely those of the individuals, authors, guest speakers who come on the show and do not necessarily represent those of The Critical Dialogue, its constituents, and partners, and its employees and clients.  The Critical Dialogue and its constituent partners are not responsible for any harm physical and/or psychological arising out of carrying out / following the views expressed and/or advice on this show.  This show is also not a substitute for any professional medical/non-medical advice.  Viewer discretion is advised.

It was such an engaging session with our guest, Karl, on the TCDLive Weekend Lounge show.  As always the critical dialogue went long and was so engaging, with attendees providing their insights and observations towards the end of the show.

Behind the scenes

I was talking to Karly Berry, founder and CEO of the Community Care and Resource Council, Dallas, Texas, USA and the conversation veered towards mental health, mental wellness, and post-traumatic recovery.

It was #thecriticaldialogue I thought highly relevant with scores of people reporting problems with mental wellness post-pandemic of now over 18 months.

The trauma has not spared anyone, young and old alike, business and working professionals, gender, race, culture, nationalities, the whole world.

Today many the world over are dealing with devastating losses of both the personal and the professional kind.  From losing dear ones to the loss of jobs and relationships to accumulating huge business losses.  People still seem to be reeling under the after-effects of a calamity of proportions they would have never ever imagined they would face in their lifetime.

I asked Karl to tell me about what he thinks is the way forward, the steps one can take to ‘recover’, ‘reignite’ and ‘rejuvenate’ one’s life when faced with such physical and emotional upheaval.

He said to me, Sree, “It simply boils down to making a choice between ‘bad thinking and ‘good thinking”

I wanted to explore further the critical dialogue as I asked him to tell me more, and who is better than Karl himself who is a great example of someone who lost it and fought – fought well to recover all that he lost.

In #thecriticaldialogue #TCDLiveWeekendLounge show this weekend, we spoke to Karl asking him to throw some light on his journey and how he made his mental health recovery possible by an active change of ideas and attitudes.  

We asked him how to identify the early warning signals of mental wellness issues, what can one do to overcome the problem.

The dialogue! – a context

The word impossible (IS) no longer part of the scientific community’s vocabulary” – Christopher Reeve

From being an established Hollywood star and playing Superman to an accident that left him as a quadriplegic to recovery and beyond, Christopher Reeve set an example of how your ability to tap into your inner courage, move forward with your life, and even reinvent yourself is possible. 

That’s what transformed him from being not just a start but going on to being a legend. 

“He toured the world to meet scientists, public representatives, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists. He became the voice, and above all the beacon of hope, of all those who live with paralysis”.

He found ‘new meaning’ and ‘purpose’ to his life.

His story is much talked about as he was a star, but there are many in this world who have been doing similar work and have gone through the process of ‘recovery’ and infused new meaning to their life and are providing hope and doing service to the community.

The Critical Dialogue revolved around the following topics

  1. Good Thinking/Bad Thinking
  2. Recovery
  3. Active change ideas and attitudes
  4. Getting back what was lost
  5. Karl’s lived experiences
  6. School/College
  7. Job
  8. Counsel from Minority Owned Businesses
  9. Logic to change you thoughts vs Acting to changes your thoughts
  10. Programming the subconscious mind – Spirituality – Honesty Open-mindedness and Willingness

It was a free-flowing unstructured discussion around these topics and Karl shared with us his own experiences of being a drug addict, doing it daily, every day, and how he had all but lost it, before taking the course of spirituality and transforming himself completely.

He shared with the audience how he then started to find meaning by helping others who faced similar mental health problems, through community outreach programs.

While no direct answers were available, as is the case with dialogue, we engage in conversations and let the audience pick for themselves parts that they relate to and find useful.  

In the lounge it’s you who decides what you need to be served – it’s always your choice.

You could listen to the TCDLive Weekend Lounge Podcast or watch the video to learn more.

TCDLive Weekend Lounge show is committed to bringing to dialogue all such topics that deserve our attention.  

May the world become truly inclusive!

TCDLive Weekend Lounge Talk Show
is committed to bringing to dialogue all such topics
that deserve attention.  

May the world become truly inclusive!

ARE YOU A VICTIM OF WORKPLACE HARRASSMENT?

The problem of consistently associating workplace harassment with sexual harassment at the workplace does not do justice to rid our workspaces of both. 

That most harassment has been linked to women at workspaces, ignores an important fact that workplace bullying and harassment is not gender-specific and encompasses the whole working class.  Bullying and harassment are often so underrated by most as the signs are very subtle and often look like you are dealing with work-related stress.

In fact, if you are feeling stressed at work and find it difficult to get yourself out of bed to go to work every day or the first day of every week, then it’s time you understood the underlying cause.  It could just be that your lack of motivation is an early warning signal.

Workplace harassment is real – it’s time for us to get real!

Most people want to believe that their workplace is free from bullying and harassment, but our own estimate is that at least one in five workers is dealing with workplace bullying.

To understand this in a bit more detail is to know for a fact that Workplace bullying and harassment is a pattern of persistent mistreatment that you experience in your workplace. It has its effects on emotional and/or physical well-being, and the mistreatment could range from physical abuse, verbal or nonverbal, and humiliation. This leaves a deep psychological scar on the people who are at the receiving end of such mistreatment.

The problem is that people do not realize that they are being mistreated or harassed.

WHAT THEN ARE THE SIGNS OF WORKPLACE BULLYING?

In a workplace, it becomes increasingly difficult for people to identify bullying as is often the case the boss is the perpetrator from which arose the cliché “people leave their bosses and not companies”.  This could be the case because of the authority they come to possess that at times even denies the managers themselves an opportunity to know when they are overstepping their boundaries with co-workers leading to bullying.  It does not mean that there are only bosses to worry about, even co-workers may turn into bullies usually when there exists an underlying conflict or some sort of jealousy or when they jostle for recognition and rewards.

How then can you identify that you are being bullied which is resulting in your anxiety and stress?

Given below are 9 signs that will be useful in identifying if you are a victim of workplace bullying.

EXCLUSION

When you find that you are consistently being excluded from crucial team meetings, discussions, conversations, decisions, or work-related activities. Or you find that your contributions are deliberately being ignored making you feel isolated or ignored.

RECEIVING UNDUE FLAK

When you are at the receiving end of unreasonable flak which imposes a feeling of guilt or shame then it is a sign that you are being bullied. You are made to feel that your output is not worthy enough despite you doing the best in your team. You will find this form of bullying is done by providing a low-performance appraisal rating in comparison to other members of the team.

NEVER GETTING CREDIT, ALWAYS RECEIVING BLAME

In the face of failure if you find that the blame is consistently falling in your lap, even when you are not directly responsible for the outcome, then it sure is time to take notice that you are being subtly bullied. It becomes more evident when the credit that you deserve is stolen from you and handed over on a platter to other members, right under your nose. If you always end up being a scapegoat during team failures, then you are bullied.

UNDERUTILIZATION

When you are constantly underutilized and end up getting the least favored responsibilities, tasks or jobs despite the fact that you have a high level of competency.

WITHHOLDING INFORMATION

When you are deliberately miss informed or information relevant to your work is being withheld or someone is providing you with false information then it is a sign that you are being bullied. Frequently being lied to is another indicator. Sometimes, providing false hope is also a form of deception or abuse of information to underplay your relevance to the team.

BLOCKING PROGRESS

When you find that your progress is being repeatedly and intentionally being blocked by providing flimsy reasons then it is definitely not a good sign. When promises made to you about your career path and growth are overlooked and promised roles and assignments are deliberately assigned to someone else.

CAUGHT IN CROSSFIRE

When you find yourselves being consistently caught in the crossfire of workplace conflict of which you have no idea. When rumors about you are circulated and you find yourselves being backstabbed by those who you trusted. When you become the victim of revenge just because you were found to be close to a colleague who was on the wrong side of your boss’s ire, or just that you were considered belonging to one of the warring factions.

UNREAL EXPECTATIONS

Bullying may also involve setting unrealistic expectations or hard-to-reach targets that at the outset are not possible to achieve. When it becomes far-fetched and much higher than your fellow co-workers and you are deceived into believing that you are being given such targets because of your competency.

FREQUENT CHANGE IN ROLES

When your roles and responsibilities are frequently changed without giving valid reasons or when you are not allowed to settle in any one role then you are a victim of workplace bullying. When you are also put in roles for which you do not have the necessary skill sets, you must beware!

If you are experiencing any of the above, get in touch with us for a FREE 30 min. assessment and consultation – Write to us 👇

5 reasons indecision kills your growth

Have you ever had an idea that truly excited you, but you waited to act on it, only to find that when you did eventually take action it wasn’t all it seemed cracked up to be?

Or worse, you never acted on it at all because you never got around to it?

Throughout your life, how many inspired and worthy ideas ended up in the trash heap of discarded possibility?

How many of those ideas would you really liked to have acted upon?

What stopped you from taking action the moment you felt the excitement of possibility and that tingling sensation through your body?

For most of us, we fail to act on an idea for one of three following reasons:

  1. The timing is “not so convenient,” so we postpone by telling ourselves we will do it later.
  2. We believe we don’t have enough resources.
  3. We want to test waters. We want to be sure of the feasibility, before we do anything about acting on the idea.

Often, people want certainty that the idea will work, and they seem to bind themselves with rules and ideas about what and how anything needs to happen in order for anything to be successful.

We believe we may suffer a loss or think ‘what if’ we end up in failure often leading to a paralysis and failing to execute the idea at all. But at what cost?

When it comes to executing an idea, it’s sometimes worth doing it than not doing it at all. Even if it’s done poorly.

Now if you are high on conscientiousness and are a perfectionist by nature, you may rubbish this idea. You may even cringe. “If anything is worth doing then it better be done well” is the idealism so many of us were brought up with or conditioned to. If you cannot to things properly it’s better to not do it at all.

Imagine, how many things in our life don’t get done at all because of our concern for perfection wins over the practice of “just doing it?”

5 reasons that make you indecisive!

  1. Overanalyzing: Paralysis by analysis though cliched is very real. Overthinking is the bane of potential high achievers. Overanalyzing and overthinking leads is the death-knell for ideas, opportunities and in many cases, even relationships.
  1. Self-doubt: Will I be able to do it well? Will I do it perfectly? Do I really have the ability? Am I dreaming? are some of the questions we ask in self-doubt.  Remember, when you wait for conditions to be right before you act, there is always a reason not to act.
  2. Self-criticism: When you lead life with the belief that anything that is done has to be not just done well, you have to get it right the first time, then you tend to focus more why anything you do is not good enough. What is success? Who defines what constitutes success? Most of the time it is you and you are your own worst critic.  It is a vicious cycle which leads to high level of stress, frustration and depression.
  3. Procrastination: Have you ever felt like you could have done somethings much earlier than today, maybe even a year back? As someone said wisely, “A year from now you will wish you had started today.” While postponing certain decisions can sometimes be productive, often it is more destructive when it turns into a habit. Imagine, how many times in your life have you said “I will see later,” and that “later” eventually ended up being never.
  4. Indecisiveness: Indecision creeps up on you slowly and silently, killing your self-confidence, focus and creativity. Often those who are indecisive end up with anxiety, lack of concentration, and limited growth. A decision taken is far more worth than not taking it at all.  At least you know if your idea works, learn lessons and move forward.  Indecisiveness kills progression and effects your mental wellness as well.

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7 TELL-TALE SIGNS THAT SHOW YOU ARE TURNING INTO AN ONLINE NARCISSIST!

While social media has connected the world and made it boundaryless, virtually to say, it has had its fair share of toxicity that it has introduced into the world. 

That it has completely taken over the mind-space of its users and has turned them into demonstrating narcissistic behaviors online is scary, to say the least.  It has the ability to take control of your life so much so that it has turned most people into narcissists without them even realize that they have become one.

It is sparing no one, leaders, families, young and old alike.  All are afflicted with this toxic behavior of narcissism.  There is a pattern that says it all.  If you observe the way people present themselves and interact on social media will provide you with tell-tale signs of how deep this malaise has set in.  A final nail in the coffin on this bitter reality is that the very same people are also talking about narcissism and narcissistic behaviors as they self-indulge.

Let’s look at 7 tell-tale signs that you are slowly or already turned yourself into an online narcissist. 

Here is how you can measure? 👇👇👇

  1. Hypocrisy – If you find yourself starting to talk or present yourself like a politician during an electoral campaign, then you are surely showing signs.  For example, how a politician says he/she cares so much about his/her people and the nation at large.  Do you truly believe?  Same is the case with so many who project themselves as the most ideal people in this world.  Only those who are close to them know they truly are.  I am sure you would have come across posts from your friends, colleagues, managers and others, proclaiming that they believe in somethings only for you to cringe at their hypocrisy.

  2. Playing the victim – narcissists are known to play the victim card wonderfully well to appeal to the compassion and sympathy of others.  They portray themselves as innocent victims of other misdeeds and post vague, sympathy soliciting posts when they are upset with someone or do not get the attention which they strongly desire to have.

  3. Hollow words of praise – if you find yourselves liking and commenting on posts without really meaning it; that is exactly what a person with narcissistic tendencies does.  For example, when you like a post and comment “This is absolutely fantastic share” and don’t follow it up by your action of engaging a little further as to why you found it to be a great post, then….”  Aren’t you hurting the prospects of the person by liking or commenting without meaning it? By doing so aren’t you depriving the person of some real feedback?  Are you not pushing the person into a world of self-deception or delusion?

  4. Self-promotion and bragging – Alarm bells should ring when you start seeing people proclaiming that they have crossed 1M followers and all you find them doing online is copying and pasting various quotes picked up online.  Blatant plagiarism.  Authentic people do not need to self-proclaim or hard-sell their popularity.  These are signs of deceitful behaviour which entrap the audience in their web.

  5. Being empty cans – narcissists are the biggest empty cans of all.  They make a lot of noise about things and lead their lives wearing their phony halos all the while betraying, deceiving, using and abusing people and shifting the blame away from themselves on to others.

  6. Double standards – online narcissists are those who propagate theories which they themselves do not follow or seen to be doing exactly the opposite.  One such example is about all those who propagate to others about how “Money is not everything in life and people need to spend time looking inwards”.  These are the very people who will be basking in all the luxuries – in your face.  I saw many social media posts of celebrities, so-called leaders who were talking about how people should remain safe and wear masks and keep social distancing, only to find the very next moment they are flouting all what they were propounding a while ago.

  7. Abusive, defensive or violent behaviour – They become extremely defensive, abusive or violent in their social media interactions when you do not agree or provide them with a contrarian view.  As with all narcissists, they also have a strong fan following who literally ‘FAN’ their toxic behaviour by defending them on social media and other platforms.  All this while the narcissist would just make the initial statement and then sit back and enjoy the fun.

There could be many more, but it is important for us to understand that the toxicity of narcissistic behavior is known not just when you learn or hear about a violent outcome, it comes in subtle forms.

You might have been already afflicted by it.

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How does isolation chip away at one’s health and mental wellness?

I was all 24 yrs. when I started my journey as an entrepreneur, and I felt so alone in facing the challenges in making my dreams become a reality.  I felt I had nowhere to go to share my struggles of which there were plenty.  No one to exchange ideas and to learn from those who had taken that path before I did and committed mistakes. 

I had no support from family or friends as they thought I was crazy to leave a well-paying job and risking everything to pursue something of which there were no guarantees. Well, I guess, that’s the case with anything in life, isn’t it?

With every misstep, self-doubt started to creep in and ate away at my confidence, my dreams, vision and eventually taking a toll on my health.

Well, they say entrepreneurship is a lonely profession and it felt like that to me at that time!

It was during one of my travels that I met a fellow traveler who had like me taken the leap of faith about 10 years ago.  He could relate to what I was going through and gave me a few tips on how he overcame the challenges which I was experiencing at the start.  I must confess they were pearls of wisdom that put me right back on track.  One suggestion he gave me was to be part of some peer group of like-minded entrepreneurs, which could be an effective antidote to my loneliness.

He quoted from the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, “No mind is complete by itself. It needs contact and association with other minds to grow and expand.”

He told me, “Sree don’t try to be like Atlas, carrying the burden of the whole world on your shoulders”, why don’t you find people who could share some of it and also support you in the process?  He referred me to a group he was part of, and that changed me completely.  It helped me readjust to my struggles and took a lot of weight off my shoulders.

I quickly realized that on my own, I could only have a limited amount of experience, education, and training. Being part of a Peer Advisory Group, I could tap into the experience, training, skills, knowledge, and resources of like-minded peers and mentors which could fast track my learning curve and provide me with the much-needed energy to pursue my goals.

I realized quickly and in the very first meeting that one could not separate personal and professional life in silos and how one’s personal life had a deep impact on our business decisions and how our decisions at work impacted our personal lives.

It’s now 26 years since I started this journey, and I can say with absolute confidence that being part of a Peer Advisory Group was the best thing that happened to me.  It helped me transcend the barriers of self-doubt, low confidence, anxiety, and poor health to being a more self-confident person.

Some benefits from a long list are worth a mention here;

  1. Helped improve mental wellness the peer group connect helped me to cope with the challenges of feeling isolated and lonely.
    1. Helped me leverage from the insights and experiences of people from diverse backgrounds.
    2. Learn critical skills of negotiating tough deals, having difficult conversations, managing finances and dealing with investors
    3. Broaden my knowledge to include aspects of entrepreneurship which you normally come to learn long after committing mistakes
    4. Diverse perspectives as I listened to the problems others shared and put my own challenges in context.
    5. Referral business as I always had someone who knew somebody else who could be my potential customer.  I must say, referrals to this date have kept my business engine growing by leaps and bounds.

Peer Advisory Groups enable not just learning about ourselves but is a good reminder of how far we have reached, what we overcame, and of our accomplishments.

So whether you are dreaming of starting something on your own, a startup entrepreneur, an aspiring ‘C’ Suite executive, being part of a Peer Advisory Group can definitely fast track you towards achieving your goals.  Not to forget contribute positively to your physical and mental wellness.

You don’t want to waste your precious time “Re-inventing the wheel” do you?

JOIN a Leadership Peer Advisory Group near you!  

10 compelling reasons to join a Peer Advisory Group

Being a business owner comes with so many wonderful things. However, it comes with its own set of challenges as well, such as a feeling that you cannot possibly share the challenges you are encountering with your friends, family, or team members lest you may come across as someone who is not up to the task of entrepreneurship.

You don’t want to be seen as someone who made the bad choice of starting your own business. You don’t want to be seen as vulnerable. It does at times become so lonely at the top.

It doesn’t have to be that way if you choose to join a peer advisory group which might be the perfect remedy for all the challenges that come with business ownership.

I want to list 10 compelling reasons for you to consider taking this most important leap.

  1. You deserve unique insights and support. As much as you as an individual is unique, so is your business. As a business owner the challenges and pressures you face may be unique as well. Having a well-established group of your peers to discuss problems with during a peer advisory group enabler meeting can truly be a game-changer for you and your business. The diversity of the group will provide you with a safe space for you to fully open up to possibilities. You can get unbiased advice from non-competing business owners, who would wish only the best for you.
  2. It offers more than just business value. While you may join a peer advisory group to bring more value to your company you get more than chasing just your business dreams. Like minded business owners can offer much needed support which then could have a positive rub-off on you personally, your family and bring with it a better work-life balance. It will be surely more than what you signed up for.
  3. The opportunity to share and care. Being part of a Peer Advisory Group is not just about getting advice, you will find opportunities to help other business owners in areas where you excel. It is reciprocal and goes a long way in building your personal brand and reputation as well.
  4. It helps you build your leadership capability. Learning and developing key business leadership skills is crucial for business owners. Your peer advisory group led by an experienced facilitator and your peers will push you to develop your leadership skills through peer-to-peer coaching and mentorship. It will act as a great resource pool of lived experiences, teaching leadership lessons which no training program can provide and is worth its weight in gold.
  5. Helps you avoid mistakes. As a business owner, learning by committing mistakes and failures may not always be ideal and can be demotivating as well. It could deplete you of energies which are much needed for you to focus on growing your business than learning costly lessons. Being part of a peer advisory group, you could well save yourself from the huge cost of such mistakes by learning from each other’s mistakes.
  6. Saves you the huge costs of hiring a personal group of advisors. Having your own personal board of advisors for business may cost you a lot and at times can be constraining giving you limited flexibility. Having joined a peer advisory group you not only save the costs of retainer fees but benefit from a diverse board which can help you upskill faster.
  7. Helps you harness the power of collective. The fact that you have other business owners and leaders, you already will have an existing resource pool, structure and tools to help you keep moving forward in your journey. The power of the collective helps you to be more proactive.
  8. You will overcome the tunnel vision effect. As business owners, unconsciously we surround ourselves with people who tend to agree with us more. Those who are willing to toe the line of our thoughts and ideas. It happens a lot with business owners.  Most small business owners will find teams who seem to show their agreement just so that they are in your good books. That however is not always productive. There is a need for us be open to alternative ideas, embrace different perspectives, be challenged, disagreed with and pushed to think outside our own little box. A peer advisory group can help with that as all in the group are there to learn and grow and have no other agenda. 
  9. Brings greater accountability. Peer pressure brings with it greater accountability. The fact that we will have to face up to our peer group regularly adds a positive peer pressure, pushing you into moving forward with your goals. It builds great ownership.
  10. Provides you with great opportunities and friendship. Being vulnerable and helping each other grow the business, peer advisory groups not just open up great opportunities for your business, but it also builds strong bonds with your peer group, who you can continue to rely upon in the long term. It builds friendship.

Peer Advisory Groups enable you to push yourself outside your comfort zones.  That’s where breakthroughs happen and you grow your business, take it to the next level.

Joining a Leadership Peer Advisory Group will be the smartest thing you did!