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!

An IDIOTS Guide To Success!

Yes, you heard that!  I am and have been called on numerous occasions an idiot. 

Should I call them perceptions, judgments, or facts as evidenced by my actions?

Hmm… I don’t know.

What I know for sure is that as an established idiot, I can help you in many ways.

Ways to be highly successful in life.

Ways you would have never ever thought of or imagined.

Ways, if not guaranteeing success will surely help you avoid pitfalls which could come your way in life’s journey.

Hello there, this is your host Sree Kumar with #thecriticaldialogue series “An Idiots Guide To Success”, where I share with you my secrets to success which you could never possibly learn from successful people.

An IDIOTS Guide To Success! THE CRITICAL DIALOGUE – LIFE AT WORK

In this episode we explore how NOT taking responsibility and blaming is the IDIOTS way to Success!

Today, I tell you how? It is absolutely fine to NOT take any responsibility for your life!

I always believed that I was entitled to a great life – that there is someone, somewhere (certainly not me) who is responsible for guiding my life.  A higher power which already knows my story and has written about it in detail.  That no matter how much I try, I cannot change the script.  Mind you, it is copyrighted. 

It is that power which is completely responsible for the quality of life I lead.  It is responsible for my happiness, my career, my family and my personal relationships.  So much so that it also manages all my financial resources.

I trust that power very much and have been brought up and conditioned to believe in it.  It’s such a wonderful feeling to have believed in that power all my life you see.  I don’t have to lift a finger to get things accomplished in my life. 

All I need to do is to pray and believe in my destiny and let that power take care of me.

So today’s lesson from the ‘idiots guide’ is that in order to be successful, you don’t have to take any responsibility for everything you experience in your life. 

Remember, you are not responsible for your achievements as it is already preordained.

You are not responsible for the quality of relationships as no matter what you do, others have their script too.

You are not responsible for the results you produce as they have already been defined and delivered into your book called life.

You are not responsible for the state of your health and physical fitness as no matter what you do or how much you try – death is inevitable and that is the only truth.

You are not responsible for your income and debts as it is entirely dependent on those who pay or lend you the money.  I say that once again, they too have their script to follow.

And lastly you are not responsible for your feelings as they are always guided by the happenings around you.

It’s so easy! Isn’t it?

You have been given the power to blame!

Please use that for your own well-being. 

I have led all my life using this unique gift of blame which the supreme power has armed me with.  It was comforting to blame my parents for the lack of a comfortable upbringing;

Blame my bosses for not knowing my worth

Blame my friends for not being there when I needed them

Blame the media for all the negativity in this world

Blame my clients for not being intelligent enough to understand the utility of my products and services

Blame my spouse for not being understanding

Blame the weather for staying indoors

Blame the economy for my financial state

Blame the astrological chart for the way my life has turned out to be.

Go ahead and pin the blame on anything and everything which bothers you.

Externalize.

Remember, the script has already been written.

I hope you have by now got the first lesson from my “Idiots Guide To Success”?

In the next episode, we will explore this idiosyncrasy in a little more detail

By the way, if you didn’t like this first episode, I blame you for not getting the hang of what I am trying to tell you.

Ciao.

Emotional Abuse – Important things to know

Do you feel emotionally drained in your Relationship?

Feel like talking to someone about it?

Yes, of course, that would be great. Let’s connect for 10 min. over a cup of coffee.

Mentally abusive relationships cause enormous emotional damage to the loving partner who tries, against all odds, to hold the relationship together and, ultimately, can’t do it, because her partner is working against her.

Whether you are currently in a mentally abusive relationship, have left one recently, or years later are still struggling with the anxieties and low self-worth, and lack of confidence caused by mental abuse, it is never too late to heal.

But you do need to work with a person or a program specifically geared to mental abuse recovery. Women who have suffered mental abuse expect a radical change in themselves, and they expect it right away. This is why they often struggle and, not uncommonly, take up with another abusive partner.

Emotional Abuse

4 SIGNS THAT YOU ARE IN A EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP

  1. You are always told that it’s your fault– Somehow, whatever happens, however it starts, the ultimate blame is always yours. Notice that we are talking ultimate blame here. The blaming partner will always tell you that their behavior was caused by what you said or did. In fact, their argument runs along the lines that you can’t possibly blame them for anything because if you hadn’t said what you said, or done what you did it would never have happened.
  2. You’re more inclined to believe your partner than you are to believe yourself– Have you ever reeled with a sense of hurt and injustice, or seethed with anger at the way you’ve been treated? Have you found yourself asking: Is it reasonable to feel like this? Am I misinterpreting things? If this is you, what it means is that you have become so brainwashed you’ve stopped trusting in your own judgment. Your mind keeps throwing up the observations and questions because, deep down, you know that what is happening is utterly wrong. But right now you canít feel the strength of your own convictions.
  3. Your partner blows hot and cold– He can be very loving but is often highly critical of you. He may tell you how much he loves you, yet he is short on care or consideration towards you. In fact, some of the time, maybe even a lot of the time, he treats you as if you were someone he truly dislikes.
  4. You feel as if you are constantly walking on eggshells– There is a real degree of fear in the relationship. You have come to dread his outbursts, the hurtful things that he will find to say to you. (Maybe the same anxiety and need to please spill over into your other relationships also.) Fear is not part of a loving relationship, but it is a vital part of a mentally abusive relationship. It enables the abuser to maintain control over you.

You CAN heal!

Mental abuse recovery is a gradual process. Low self-worth and limiting beliefs about what kind of future the abuse sufferer can ever hope for are the blocks that can stop women from moving on. But they are blocks that you can clear very effectively.

Just as language was once used to harm you, you can now learn how language can heal you. You can overcome past mental abuse and keep yourself safe from it in the future. You can also learn to feel strong, believe in yourself, and create the life and the relationships you truly want.

Leadership – From Good to Great

As a leader,

Have you started feeling lonely at the top?

Feel like talking to someone about it?

Hey, that would be great. Let’s connect for 10 min. over a cup of coffee.

Are you someone who enjoys the ‘spotlight’?

Have you started feeling ‘lonely’ at the top?

Are you still feeling ‘a lack’, despite achieving a lot of success?

Then, it’s time to take a long hard look at what you have to offer to ‘life’.  It is time to start looking inwards and reconcile the dissonance that is embedded deeply in you.

Leadership Qualities – From ‘Good’ to ‘Great’

Leaders are susceptible to an overblown sense of their own importance.  They are so full of themselves that they are unable to fulfill their purpose.

Humility: Being grounded

In success, the spotlight is always on the leader.  They will be surrounded by cheerleaders who may sing praises in their honor that could potentially feed into their ‘ego’.  Leaders may start to think that it is all about them, especially so when their team or organization is winning.

The greater the accomplishment, the greater the need to check their egos. That’s why it’s so important that they remain grounded. The most important quality of a leader is humility.  Unlike leaders who hog all the credit for the success of their team and organization, true leaders are those who are honest about their own vulnerability and are able to acknowledge the contribution of others to their success.

Leaders who are humble have a great level of self-awareness and are comfortable in their own skin.  They never feel the need to draw attention to themselves.  They rejoice in the success of others and empower others to succeed and shine.  They are people who have the right perspective.

The story of Prof. Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space program and his leadership is legendary and has often been quoted by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President and father of India’s missile program.  He said, and I quote “When the first rocket was successfully fired from the Thumba Space Station, the whole nation celebrated and congratulatory messages started pouring in from all quarters.  It was during the press meeting that Prof. Sarabhai gave the entire credit to the team and acknowledged the contribution of young scientists like me.  It was so motivating.  He could have so easily hogged all the limelight but chose to push us to the front.  That really was not just a lesson in leadership and humility but set the foundation for the success of all space programs in India.” 

A humble leader is willing to remain in the background, willing to take risks, and comfortable in giving up power and losing a degree of autonomy.  That’s something to be.  Not many leaders are capable of being that.  That is what separates the ‘Great’ from the ‘Good’.

Authentic leadership

Authenticity

Leaders who are successful are often put on a high pedestal by the people.  In order to remain grounded, the leaders need to get off that pedestal and be part of the crowd or team they lead.

It is possible by being honest and authentic.  Authentic leaders are comfortable in their own skin.  Their goal is always to lift up the people they lead and not have the people lift them up.

They are careful not to allow others to put them on a pedestal.  This can potentially create a gap – a distance between them and those who are less successful.  Those who are inauthentic enjoy this gap, and do all they can to protect that image, always trying to stay above the crowd.  This does nothing more than make the gap even bigger and larger.

Authentic leaders work hard to bridge that gap. They are open about their failures and shortcomings. They have a good laugh at themselves. When they are asked to speak, they keep introductions very short and simple.  They rather prefer to talk about the work their team does and the contributions of others.   They walk among the people and connect with them before and after their time on the stage. They do all they can to be who they are without pretense.

Higher calling: born to do

Another quality of great leaders is that they don’t just work towards a purpose but have a ‘calling’ that wakes them up every day and charges their batteries.  That ‘higher-calling’ is what makes them tireless in the pursuit of their dreams.  It is their ‘calling’ that not just drives them but ‘compels’ them to do what they do.  It is something they feel they were ‘born to do’.  It is who they are, what they know, and what they love to do.

When you work to your higher calling you are not really looking at your benefit but the benefit of others.  They are the people who lead a life that they are not trying to ‘escape’ from.

There is no greater joy than doing what you were ‘Created’ for.

You would never want to become a leader so full of yourself that you are unable to fulfill your purpose. Leaders who are not grounded become unstable.

You must always check to make sure that you remain grounded. If you maintain humility, display authenticity, and remain true to your calling, the chances are good that you’ll be able to keep your feet on the ground and move from ‘good’ to ‘great’.

Dealing with disappointment

Finding it difficult to deal with disappointments?

Sign-up for my FREE resources on
“Ways to Deal With Disappointments and Build Resilience”

YES. Please send me the free resources.

Have you found it difficult to overcome disappointment?

Do you sense a loss of power when faced with disappointment?

Do you find it difficult to think clearly when confronted with failure?

When we are trying to recover from disappointing news or life events, we can do certain things that could provide us with a sense of resilience based on our past experiences.

Dealing with disappointment

Since all of us at some point during our life will face disappointment, some things you can do will help you prepare to handle it and ensure that it doesn’t derail your ultimate success.

How you manage your reaction to disappointment is an important skill. Every one of us will face some sort of disappointment in our career and life. However, how one reacts may separate those who eventually reach their goals and succeed from those who do not.

For example, when we are faced with career disappointment at work, how we react is often noted, labeled, or judged.

If someone who doesn’t get what he/she wants reacts by getting angry, shouting, sulking, or withdrawing his/her performance, they could incur a costly label that will stick to them for long.  As a result, he/she may be passed over for the next raise or promotion.

However, if we react to disappointments or failures with resilience, this attribute will likely help us in the long run. You will also benefit from the inner strength that you will use in times of disappointment.

Gaining Emotional intelligence requires us to gain perspective on life’s disappointments.

Of course, all failures or disappointments are not equal. A bad traffic day is not as bad as a day on which one learns of some terminal illness. Building a perspective helps us face and measure the next disappointment or challenge life may bring to our doorsteps.

The competency of resilience will help us in all aspects of our lives; both personal and professional.

Here are some points for you to consider.

  1. Time –  You would have experienced generally time lessens the intensity of our disappointments.  That is the reason for the phrase “time heals”.  However, there may be an occasional exception. For example, perhaps when you were in high school you wouldn’t have applied yourself and worked hard and didn’t care at that time. Today when you look back, you wish you had worked harder so that you could have gone on to become an engineer or anything that you regret now.
  2. Focus – The more we focus on our failure or disappointments, the stronger it becomes. Replacing our thoughts about it with positive aspects of our lives helps us temper down our emotional reactions to the disappointing events.
  3. ThoughtsChanging one’s thoughts is an important strategy for improving our emotional responses to negative life events and can go a long way in contributing to our resilience. It is the key to building emotional intelligence.
  4. Control  – It is important to look at how rational we are while dealing with our disappointments.  About what is healthy and that which is not.  While examining our failures or disappointments, it would be meaningless to keep trying hard to change external circumstances that are not under our control.  However, it would definitely help if we can start looking at those which are under our control; that about which we can do something.  This would help in getting a different outcome the next time around.  You would have found that most of us get into the habit of ‘externalizing’ all that happens in our lives.  That only leads us to feelings of frustration.  Start by looking at what is under your control and that you can influence.
  5. Learning  – Spending some time learning from the mistakes can help us avoid facing the same disappointments in the future.  The easy way to do that is to ask “What can I learn from this?” or “What is this event trying to teach me?”.

Dealing with difficult people

Struggling to deal with difficult people at work?

Sign-up for my FREE resources on
“Ways to Deal With People Problems”

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Dealing with difficult people at work and in life will not be easy if you merely do your own thing with whomever you meet.   It demands ‘‘Different strokes for different folks’’.

I was having a conversation with my friend who is an HR Manager in a global IT organization.  Let’s call her Susan.

Susan had had an excellent working relationship with her supervisor for over three years. Then he was transferred. Susan didn’t hit it off nearly as well with Floyd, her new manager. It wasn’t that Floyd was unreasonable; he was well-liked by the board and his colleagues in the global office.

dealing with difficult people

Susan was puzzled. Why wasn’t she able to work as effectively with Floyd as she had with her earlier supervisor? Susan was a hardworking manager who believed strongly in teamwork, collaboration, and trust.  She made sure her employees felt respected and brought a high level of engagement due to her relational style of leadership.  Her team would stretch the extra mile to help her in achieving the team and business goals.  She operated from a position of ‘trust’ and ‘openness’ that endeared her to her colleagues.

Because Susan valued trust and openness in communication, and herself desisted micro-management,  she filled Floyd in on only those points that she felt needed his attention. Before long, Susan noted that in their weekly meetings Floyd would often tense up and increasingly edgy. When Susan reported on a project, Floyd often asked for more and more details, to the extent that he wanted her to report all the activities and tasks that she did in the last week.   He started passing snide remarks at Susan, that she is not diligent, doesn’t know her priorities, is difficult to work with, and can’t be trusted. 

So much so that he would sit beside her and ask her to show all that she was working on her laptop. Clearly, Floyd was frustrated by something Susan was doing. But what?

At times, Floyd said, ‘‘Just give me all that you have, to the last detail. I like to get a daily report on the task you are working on and send a mail before you close business”

Susan, though, was uncomfortable providing what she thought would be an overload of information that Floyd in his position shouldn’t be bothered with.

So she continued giving only what she felt was necessary. After all, that’s what she would have wanted if she were in Floyd’s shoes. The problem, of course, was that Susan wasn’t in Floyd’s shoes. Floyd was.

And Floyd’s working style was very different from Susan’s. Even when Susan saw that her way of working and reporting was disconcerting to Floyd, she stuck rigidly to her way of interacting.  She hated micro-managing her team members and didn’t expect to be micro-managed.  She felt that employees are mature to understand what they are accountable for and don’t need to be monitored so closely.  She felt that approach was so industrial age.

Because neither person adapted to the other, their working relationship continues to deteriorate.

Obviously, differences between people aren’t the only sources of interpersonal tension. However, they are a major factor in much misunderstanding and conflict. Susan is learning this the hard way. 

Most of us are limited in our ability to relate to another person’s uniqueness

It’s not just our differences, each one of us is unique, from one another in so many different ways.   It’s almost like a genetic makeup that makes us distinct from the genes of every other person.  Almost like our IRIS.

We are endowed at birth with an individuality that can never be replicated.

 ‘‘It is never possible to completely understand any other human being, the complexity is too great’’ Edward Hall.

That only means that you cannot go through your work and life merely doing your own thing with whomever you meet.   It demands ‘‘Different strokes for different folks’’.

You may however when trying different strokes find that it is extremely difficult as the number of differences between people who interact with them is simply overwhelming. It seems humanly impossible to fully adapt to everyone’s idiosyncrasies.

Does that mean that we stop trying?

Well, a good place to start with is to understand oneself better.  Know what makes us tick and what ‘ticks us off’?

You will find that those highly adept at dealing with difficult people and their differences are the ones who are completely self-aware; accepting who they are in the first place.  It then helps them to respect others for who they are – their differences included.

Perfectionism – The Un-Live-Able GOAL!

Do you often find yourself finding it difficult to get past an idea?

Do you wait until everything is ‘PERFECT’ before telling or doing anything?

Do you often find yourself ‘UNHAPPY’ with the outcome and feel that you could have done better?

Many of us experience such emotions that cause immense ‘STRESS’ not just to ourselves but also to those who interact with us – family, friends, and co-workers.

And for the perfectionist in us, it is normal to feel this way.

perfectionism

When we have a thought or idea that we want to do or get across, we have to communicate to
other people. Many do not get past this stage of wanting to, for they decide that they will wait
until everything is perfect before they tell anyone or do anything.

I have heard people say that they’ll start when they have more money, and time, learn more,
practice more, when the kids are older, etc, etc, etc. The challenge with this is there is no perfect time.

The best time to get started is now. Yes, you may need to be selective at first with whom you talk to as there are negative people out there who may try to stop you or shut you down. Yet, I have found that most people shut themselves down by their fears and need to have everything just so.

I was talking to this lady who wanted to go to a job interview. She had spoken to her sister about the interview. Her sister replied, “make sure you do the interview perfectly because in this city people know each other and if you blow it, you can kiss your career goodbye”.

WOW, no pressure there. Going into an interview with that in your mind is a good way to blow it. You will probably be terrified, which can cause the mistakes you are trying to prevent. I have heard things like this before, yet most people are not sitting there just waiting to crush other people who come in. I have found that most are kind, generous, and helpful. What you need is encouragement and just to do your best. The world does not end with a bad interview.

Reality is much brighter when you look at the most successful people out there. They repeatedly said that they failed their way to the top, that they learned from their mistakes, and went on. There are millionaires that lost everything, brushed themselves off, and then created millions. They talked to people and connected with them. You can’t succeed by being a hermit.

We are not born with all knowledge of all things. We are not robots, calculating our every move. We are human beings that learn by what we do. We discover by how we interact. We learn when we communicate our thoughts and ideas.

Are there naysayers out there? Yes, run from them. Find the ones who are looking forward to hearing from you and wish to encourage you. You will always learn more and communicate more with positive and encouraging people.

I remember this one day I was sitting in the car, waiting for my partner while he ran into the store. The following just flowed out onto the paper.

ABOUT PERFECTION

It is in the trying and being that makes us human. It is the journey, not the end that tells us who we are and what we are made of. Perfection is not a means, it leaves no room for variation, creativity, and understanding of the process. It is through trial and error that we gain knowledge and wisdom. We remember and learn more through our mistakes than by what we do perfectly.

For if everything were perfect, done perfectly, there would be no journey, no life, no adventure,…only an end.

Do you wish to STOP! living the un-live-able GOAL! and get rid of the STRESS that it gives? Let’s talk.

Flexible honesty! – Dishonesty in ‘truth’

Is there something like “Flexible Honesty”? Why do people find it difficult to share significant bad news, when they know that it could lead to corrective action?

I don’t remember a time when tempers have not run high after I made the participants in my workshop play the prisoner’s dilemma. 

Powerful emotions rise up as post-exercise discussions veer around the idea of integrity and honesty.  Those who cheated, almost always get defensive and start to claim that in today’s competitive world, one must remain flexible in their level of honesty.  They insist and vehemently argue that if the business demands a certain level of flexibility, it is ok to overlook, and that one does not live in an ‘ideal’ world as I may be trying to suggest.

These incredulous arguments have at times been so intense that they turn into participants raising their voices in anger and moving menacingly towards those who make such a suggestion.

Flexible honesty
*Courtesy – Dilbert.com Copyright 2017. @ScottAdamsSays

You find often in organizations people get very angry whenever there is a discussion around ‘honesty and truth’.  The problem is that people find themselves lying to themselves and to each other.  They go through ‘cognitive dissonance’ as what they believe or value and what is expected from the role they play is often in conflict.  They are stressed as they are called upon to make such calls every day of their life. 

I remember the time when I started my career in the Software QA & Testing team, I was under tremendous pressure from the developers to let some of the bugs pass by as they had to meet the deadlines set by their bosses.  They used to try covert and overt means to persuade me in that direction.  Talking about how the release is important for the business and how we could not delay the launch of the product any longer as huge costs were involved.

Every day was painful as I had to fight the battle between honesty (the value I most dearly hold) vs. loyalty to the organization and its business goals.

Have you noticed that most of us are put in organizational structures where the need to be honest and loyal is in conflict?  The fact is that at some stage it turns into a battle of loyalties.  Do you remain loyal to your values or to your boss, team, or organization?

Why then do you think that ‘telling the truth’ is particularly difficult when you know that it will definitely lead to taking corrective action?

In the same prisoner’s dilemma exercise, I have seen that those who stick by their values and remain honest about their commitments made during their interactions with ‘so-called’ competing teams, get little support from their own team members.  Instead of looking at what the message is, people and organizations often choose to shoot the messenger.

All those who have ever raised significant bad news in organizations would easily relate to this one.  They never get much support from their own colleagues.  This forces the people who stand by their values to take the burden on their shoulders and try and solve the problem all by themselves.  That is an arduous task, to say the least.

When seeing and telling the truth is so integral to self-mastery, then why is it not encouraged, and bosses and organizations seem to only pay lip service?

Why do people face a lot of barriers to telling the truth?

What can you do to create conditions that reconcile loyalty and ‘truth’?

How can we ensure that people don’t get the idea that it is okay to be ‘flexible’ in their level of honesty?

Thoughts?…

*thought credit – The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge

If you are looking to build TRUST within your
teams and organizations?
GET IN TOUCH to learn about a framework that guarantees results! 👇🏽

Pursuit Of Happiness: 6 Keys To Finding True Happiness

The pursuit of happiness is one of the basic elements of human existence. We want to be happy. So why are so many people unhappy then? Most likely people are not happy because they are missing one of the Six keys to happiness. Here goes 👇🏽

6 Keys to Finding Happiness
  1. The most important key to your personal happiness is determining that you will be happy. For many people, their personal happiness is not a priority in their life. Too often, we put the happiness of others before our own. While this may please our children, spouse, or boss, this is not the path to happiness. This doesn’t mean you should make yourself happy at the expense of others, but you must remember that the reverse should also not be true — your happiness should not be sacrificed to make others happy.
  2. Once you have determined to make your pursuit of happiness a priority you need to determine just what it is that makes you happy. Spend some time reviewing the happy times in your life. Think about memories that make you smile or activities that make you joyful. Can you find a common element or theme? Then that is one of the keys to finding true happiness for you.
  3. Now that you have identified what makes you happy you need to engage in that activity. Perhaps you need a creative outlet? Join a writing group, take an art class, or learn an instrument. Do you need a physical activity? Then find a way to get back into a sport you love or start a new one. All that is necessary is that you find a way to reconnect with this key element.
  4. However true happiness for most of us is not dependent solely on finding that one key. Most of us, also require special people in our lives to be happy. Perhaps you have lost touch with someone important and can reach out to them? Or perhaps it is simply a time to plan some special time with family. It is important to our own pursuit of happiness to stay connected with those we love.
  5. Another essential to finding true happiness is to give of ourselves as well. Helping others in both small and large ways can help make you happier and more content. You might even be able to find a way to combine giving and engaging in an activity that makes you happy. For example, if you love to make people laugh you could organize a community talent show as a fundraiser for a local charity.
  6. Finally, make a list of all the aspects of your life that do make you happy. So many of us get down because we dwell on the negative, but usually, there is something about your life that makes you happy. Make a list of these items so you can have a quick mood enhancer when you feel down.

The pursuit of happiness does not have to be challenging or arduous. Finding true happiness can be as simple as determining, identifying, engaging, connecting, giving, and reminding yourself of the 6 keys to personal happiness.

Unable to decide? I can help you make that decision. Let’s talk 👇🏽

The Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude! I’m sure you have heard of this word before and you probably know that it simply means a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. The “attitude of gratitude”

Gratitude may be a mouthful to pronounce but the act of showing it is actually rather simple and effective to implement. Knowing the power and potential of showing gratitude and subsequently applying it accordingly can be the single most decisive factor in ensuring better degrees of success for yourself.

Attitude of Gratitude

Let’s dwell a little on exactly what gratitude can do for you and subsequently your success. Gratitude instills a positive feeling in you and the people you show it to. It alters your perspective of negative feelings, thoughts, or beliefs you may have of yourself or others by alerting these feelings, thoughts, and beliefs to the things you are grateful for. Gratitude raises your awareness and focus and it can inspire you to achieve better for yourself and the people around you.

In fact, there are numerous other benefits of gratitude. Yet, many people still do not or refuse to shower themselves or the people around them with gratitude. Instead, they put themselves and others down by criticism and condemnation. To see if you fall under this category, take the next few seconds to ponder over the following questions:

  1.  What exactly are the obstacles that are holding you back from showing gratitude to yourself and to others?
  1. How can you overcome these obstacles?
  1. How can you unleash an onslaught of gratitude to yourself and to others?

The obstacles stated above are mainly negative thoughts, emotions, and beliefs that you may possess that are probably not only hindering you from showing gratitude but are most probably also hindering you from success. However, the chief aim of my article is to show you the importance of showing gratitude and how you can go about doing it. As such, I will not touch in-depth on how to overcome these negative thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. But if you would like to find out more, please refer to the resource box below.

Now that you are clearer about the benefits of gratitude, let’s first talk about how you can start showing gratitude to yourself.

To start doing this, you must first be appreciative of all your achievements – be it big or small – that you have experienced so far in your life. Ask yourself: when was the last time you actually rewarded yourself for those achievements? If you have constantly been doing so, then good for you, and keep it up. If not, then it’s about time you start indulging or pampering yourself with some simple or extravagant (whichever is appropriate) rewards for all your past achievements and future ones.

Next be appreciative of the things you have – your job, workplace, house, wealth, family, food, and surroundings. I know it can be rather impossible to directly show gratitude to these things but don’t fret. You can actually list down these things and write down thank you notes for each of them to express your gratitude. Keep referring to this list when you’re feeling sad or depressed and you can instantly feel a surge of happiness or positive emotions.

So far, I have covered how you can show gratitude to yourself and the things around you. Now I will touch on how you can show gratitude to the people around you. There are many ways you can express your gratitude to the people around you but I will only list down the few I feel are important and simple to perform. You are, however, free to find out or think of others of your own and implement them as you deem fit.

  1. Instead of putting down, insulting, and complaining about the people around or working under you, try complimenting, praising, and appreciating them for all they have done for your well-being and your achievements. By doing this, you gain their respect and trust and they are more likely to continually assist you to achieve better.
  1.  Make a thank you list of all the people you are grateful for and constantly refer to this list to give yourself a better and greater feeling.
  1. Give a simple verbal thank you, a note of appreciation, or even a thank-you e-mail to express your gratitude to the people who have assisted you in your achievements.
  1. Shower the people you are grateful for with small or big cards, gift presents, or rewards to clearly show them how much you appreciate them.
  1. Or simply provide the people around you with gifts that cannot be bought with cash like your valuable time, your sacrifice, or something that is of utmost importance to you.

Gratitude. The word may be a little complex to pronounce but there is actually nothing complex about performing the act of showing gratitude. Always bear in mind that when you show gratitude to yourself, the things, and the people around you, you will definitely hold the key to unlocking your personal growth and ultimately your success.

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Life and Relationships?

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CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT – Are you serious?

Up to 70 odd percent of people make new year’s resolutions to improve their lives. Some of the most common goals for people are fitness, diet and nutrition, quitting the smoking habit, and finances. A vast majority of people claim they are doing well with these resolutions – but how successful are you?

Even after a month, about 80 percent of people still say they are on track. Very few people can confidently say they succeeded in changing. It may be difficult, but it can be done. You need to know what to do and the right methods.

Changing people’s behavior is probably one of the most difficult and complex tasks that organizational leaders face the world over. Think about yourself. When was the last time you tried to change a behavior? What was it that you were wanting to change? Was it a big change or a simple one? Now be honest – were you successful?

Change management

If changing one’s own behavior is so difficult, imagine how challenging it will be to help change others’ behaviors. If you believe that it can be done, then you must look at the limitations of the tools and techniques you are using to bring about the change. Are they good enough?

The problem most organizational leaders encounter is despite providing the best resources and environment and spending big bucks on training people, they seldom change. It is just so frustrating. The question one needs to ask is whether you are willing to invest in the follow-through.

Any change requires consistent follow-up and support and cannot be achieved with a one-time pill of training or a shot of reward and recognition. If it has to be a sustainable change then you need someone who can effectively help support the follow-through efforts. A coach can play this role effectively.

A Rafael Nadal or a Roger Federer or for that matter Novak Djokovic would not have turned into great players and legends of the game without the support and guidance of a coach.

Imagine if they had just attended one or two programs on how to serve, volley, return, or rally – would they have become who they are today? probably yes, but that would have been lucky and you wouldn’t want to leave your life and business on lady luck, do you?

From my observation and conversation that I had with people who want to go the fitness route as to what stops them from hiring a personal coach, most are evasive in their answers or give excuses like they are expensive; they have not yet found a great coach, time does not permit and that remains endless.

Have you ever thought, that maybe it could be the FEAR that you would actually CHANGE?
Or you would be forced to?

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How To Develop A Motivated Mindset?

From time to time, each of us will find ourselves in a rut of boredom and disinterest. We seem to lose our zest for life and feel tired, irritable, and unmotivated. We want to hide under the covers rather than face the day. Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed by work, sad about the pain and suffering in the world, or just bored with the routine of your daily life.

Motivation

You are not alone.

We all go through periods like this at some point. The good news is that we can do something about it. Here are some tips to help break out of the rut and feel excited about life again:

  1. Take a “Time Out” – Prolonged stress can wear us down and zap any enthusiasm we once had. Before doing anything else, take a few minutes to breathe and just BE. Empty your mind of all stress and worry. This takes practice, but don’t give up! As thoughts come into your mind, gently push them back out and continue to keep your mind empty and calm. Take slow, deep breaths and let all of your muscles relax. Sit quietly and recharge your batteries. Try to do this daily, or even twice daily (morning and night). We need quiet time as much as we need anything else in life. Give yourself the gift of inner peace.
  1. Get Inspired – Read something motivational, inspirational, or uplifting. Look at some beautiful nature photos, or read something humorous. Consciously move your thoughts to a more positive place. Focusing on nothing but work and our daily tasks in life can leave us feeling pretty uninspired. It’s easy to turn it around if we want to. We just have to seek out things that will lift our spirits and our moods. Make it a point to laugh, be happy, joyful, and lighthearted each day. Don’t wait for inspiration to come knocking on your door, go out and find it, or create it. Conjure up some funny or touching memories. Write them in a journal so you can go back and read them when you’re feeling down.
  1. Get Excited – Think about the things you have planned for the day, and rekindle the enthusiasm you once felt for them. When we first begin a new project or start a new job, we are excited about the possibilities and eager to get moving! Over time, we can lose that enthusiasm for a variety of reasons. Travel back in time for a moment, and think about what got you so excited at the beginning. What made your heartbeat a little faster? Recapture that feeling and hang onto it! Even if your tasks aren’t anything to be really excited about, at least think of some positive benefits to doing them. For example, list the ways they will benefit your children, your spouse, yourself, your job, or your home. Identify the payoff, and focus on that. Even mundane tasks have some benefits. Sometimes it’s just a matter of switching our mindset to see the positive side.
  1. Baby Steps – Sometimes the hardest part is actually getting started. A project seems so monstrous that we cringe at the thought of all that time and energy we’ll have to expend. Instead of overwhelming yourself, start small. Set a timer for 15 minutes and just start working on it. Allow yourself to stop after 15 minutes if you really want to. But most often, once we actually start working on something, we won’t want to stop. Don’t focus on the big picture, look at the smaller details and take them on one at a time. Any large task seems manageable once we break it down into smaller steps.
  1. Care of the Body – Sometimes our feelings of fatigue are caused by physical deficiencies, not mental. Be sure you are getting enough rest, eating food that nourishes your body, drinking enough water, getting enough exercise, etc. Especially when we’re very busy, we tend to grab the quickest, easiest meals, which aren’t always the best choice for our bodies. Eating a lot of highly processed foods and sugar is like putting watered-down gasoline into our cars. In order for our cars to run smoothly, we need to maintain them properly, and so it is with our bodies also. Remember, the body is the vehicle for the mind and soul!

Finally, remember to reward yourself from time to time, and be gentle with yourself! There will always be things that “need” to be done. But some of us take on way more than we can handle, and our lives turn into a pit of drudgery because of it. Try to eliminate the things that truly don’t bring you joy, or at least minimize the time you spend on them.

Do what you can, and let the rest go. Or ask for help. Don’t feel you have to do everything yourself.

Remember that motivation, just like happiness, is something we CHOOSE.
We may need to give ourselves a little push at the beginning, but once we get into the right mindset, it’s simple to stay there if we choose to.

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