Ask… and you shall receive

When I moved to India four years ago, I came with a suitcase full of hopes, dreams and aspirations – in addition to the boxes and cartons that we transported to move home. Fifteen years in the corporate world had brought a sense of accomplishment that egged me on to take the next step and set up ‘my own thing‘ as I often found myself saying. I was brimming with ideas, color schemes of my own place, the people I would serve, the work I would do, the sense of fulfillment I would go to bed with…

My own thing… (wistful sigh)

I knew what the picture looked like, the visionary that I am, but when it got down to the basics, haha!! I was flummoxed with the what-to and how-to in a country that had so many nooks and crevices in terms of laws, legalities and schemes. And then there was the trust factor – but let’s leave that for another day because this post, honestly, is about the foremost and simplest task, but also the hardest one to break out from for most pre-entrepreneurs.

It is about asking.

ask

Learning to identify my dominant working / leadership / entrepreneurship style meant I had to dig deep and look at what I did best, what made me feel good about myself and what drained me. I figured out through trial and error that I was good at big-picture space-holding, and generating impact and vision. So my business looked good on my creative and visionary canvas.

But as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t know what to do with the germ of an idea and how to go about it. I didn’t even know how to take the first step – because…

I didn’t even know what the next step was!

Honestly, it could have been fairly easy, if I allowed it to be, because I was surrounded by women entrepreneurs who were enjoying their experience (or so I perceived). I guess I just felt a bit small and shy to put myself in the novice’s place (and I say this with complete humility too). It was embarrassing for me to publicly acknowledge my lack of knowledge on the system – even though I blamed the system for having such confusing and hard-to-decipher channels of information.

I was living in my make-believe world of ‘what-if‘s & assumed mis-information. I assumed that the cost of setting up my business would be too high and I assumed that CAs and lawyers came too expensive. My list of assumptions were slowly turning into my reality.

I have no idea when I started taking on these assumptions as permission to avoid stepping into my power and instead choosing to succumb to the incapacitating bliss of ignorance.

It wasn’t long before the frustration of stagnation started to shake me up. It was something like a festering abscess – this inertia of sitting in ignorance when the only thing stopping me were all sorts of misplaced and unheard of fears.

So I did the best thing I could ever do for myself.

I took charge – and I asked for help.

ask

It started with little things – but my heart and pride were fluttering about like I was about to be slaughtered with a massive ‘NO’. It started with asking for help in finding a venue. In five minutes, I had a 5-star business hotel as a lead! I went on to ask them for a special price – they were so impressed by the work I was doing, they offered to host all my future events!

I walked out of the meeting really wondering if things were actually supposed to be so easy? I was aware that this was not indicative of how much effort I would have to put into the work itself, but I was even more aware of another critical piece of the puzzle.

While my work would always be mine, I realized that I didn’t always have to do everything by myself. I had to learn to ask. I had to learn that asking for help and information was not a sign of weakness but more so a sign of self-awareness and strength. To recognize your forte and to acknowledge that you don’t have to be an expert at everything is a big thing. To recognize the expertise that other partners bring to the table is an even bigger act of collaborative power.

So there you have it – my nugget for today – ask… and you shall receive!


 

Luvena Rangel is the founder of The Curvy Yogi and a core team member of Vibha Women Empowerment for Entrepreneurship. She is a Holistic Health, Yoga, Ayurveda & Meditation educator and Co-Active Life Coach. She enjoys writing, reading and reaching out to women, helping them overcome crises and shine in life and business.

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We totally enjoyed speaking to this lady in leadership. Success in Inclusion especially at the top. With the MD, ANZ, Bangalore, Pankajam Sridevi.

#cheriankuruvila and I thought that this time of the year might be just the right time to venture towards Manyata tech park, considering most people are in shut down mode, with the holidays.

We were right.

We discovered Pankajam was there while many were already enjoying the holidays. Pankajam Sridevi, my first impressions being that she has this inner strength that comes with experience, many opportunities to reflect and high amount of self awareness.

She is vibrant and energetic, and has a genuine smile that reaches her eyes. Her stance and presence have a rock solid feel especially when she makes eye contact to take you in. We spent over an hour with this Woman in Leadership, and found the conversation to be practical, insightful and deeply reflective of the ups and downs, the humility and the great mindset this lady carries within her.

My take aways from today’s meeting with Pankajam Sridevi, the MD, ANZ Bangalore;
1. Her ability to identify herself as an equal, and push herself forward, amidst very difficult times along her career journey
2. She boldly voiced her opinion about respect for women, when a comment was passed during a conference, by the moderator commoditizing women. And aims to continue to create a culture that’s inclusive.
3. She shared her experiences on being vulnerable, and how as a Leader, that continues to be a strength. It draws people in and increases engagement.
4. She makes a conscious effort to identify the roles of drama ( how we as women sometimes play the victim role ) and how she calls it out, time & again.
5. She spoke of how Power and ego go hand in hand, and it’s tough, but necessary to play a role beyond the egos hold on self.
6. She has led teams, which have had peers as direct reports. And shared experiences on how she reached out to dissolve unspoken tension, to ensure mature and open conversations can lead to stronger collaboration.
7. She talked of the many times she pushed herself into newer territories, beyond her comfort zone. Her child, her family, the expressed & unexpressed expectations of her. And how support helps. And how taking tough decisions are tough but must be taken.
8. She spoke of how authenticity and genuineness are deal breakers where strengthening relationships are concerned at work and at home.
She pays attention.
She’s kind and strong.
She’s vulnerable. She leads and she follows.

 

The author is an Executive Coach, works with people who want to see Positive Lasting changes in their lives

#carolinefernandes

#iamvibha #vibhawomen #womeninleadership #womeninentrepreneurship #startups #womenincorporate

Are you leading a team of Millennials? Four ways you can rewire yourself to lead effectively.

Millennials is the buzz words today, at least everywhere that I go all I hear about is how Gen X and Baby boomers just can’t seem to grasp what a Millennial is.

So, before I even embark on this crucial journey of unlearning, especially when you have to lead a team of Millennials. Let us first understand the term “Millennial”.

“Millennials, also known as Generation Y or the Net Generation, are the demographic cohort that directly follows Generation X.

The term Millennials is usually considered to apply to individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. The precise delineation varies from one source to another, however. Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of the 1991 book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, are often credited with coining the term. Howe and Strauss define the Millennial cohort as consisting of individuals born between 1982 and 2004. According to Iconoclast, a consumer research firm, the first Millennials were born in 1978.”

(Source: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennials-millennial-generation)

There are certain generalizations about Millennials, although like all generalizations there are always exceptions to the rule based on their demographics, culture, gender and upbringing. So, here goes…

1.   Millennials have grown up in world full of electronics and a strong social media presence.

2.   This is a generation that has received the most marketing attention.

3.   Due to all the exposure they get from such a young age, Millennials tend to be a lot more confident than their predecessors Gen X, however, often this confidence tends to spill over into a sense of strong entitlement.

4.   Millennials can no more be lured by the carrot and stick approach, monetary benefit is not motivation enough, and a strong work-life balance is a non-negotiable.

5.   Millennials tend to have different life goals than their predecessors, who focused on job security, buying a home, saving for a rainy day.

Now, let us say you have an opportunity to lead a team of Millennials, you are obviously excited and at the same time flummoxed. You are asking yourself these critical questions that can make or break your relationship with the team.

“How will they relate to me?”

“How will I relate to them?”

“Are we going to fall prey to ageism?”

“What motivates them?”

“How can I make my team respect me?”

In this article, I may not be able to answer all the questions, but I can definitely throw light on things that we need to change to be able to lead the Millennials, especially the ones in the demographic between the ages of 24 to 32.

1.   Learn to say “No”…

…Now more than ever, because with a Millennial just being their boss, their manager, does not automatically entitle you to their respect. You have got to earn it. And one way of earning their respect is by learning to say “No” to your manager or client, especially when you see that your team is stretched in terms of bandwidth.

During my fifteen years of taking behavioral and leadership training programs, across industries I often come across managers who find it extremely difficult to say “No” to their superiors. Instead they expect their teams to work weekends, work over time or to work from home and complete the deliverables.

Know this, that your team of Millennials will deeply resent this, especially if such projects are not an exception anymore, but the rule.

2.   Learn to take a “No”…

…Because no more does the term “Boss is always right” holds true. Recently, in an Assertiveness workshop a young lady spoke of an incident with her manager, a new manager. She had requested for a month long annual leave, she had accumulated leaves all year long and planned a holiday abroad during the lean period in their BU. She had even prepared a back up for the time she would be gone.

Her manager insisted that she take 15 days now and 15 days two months later. The reason was simple, how could he give her a month long leave in one stretch?

I urge you to analyze his reason, it was not that work would get impacted, neither was it a policy related concern. It was how can he, being her manager, allow a month long leave? Even though she deserved it.

Well, being the Millennial that she is, she skipped a level and went directly to her super boss, who seemed to have no issues with her taking a month long leave.

So, she did take her leave, however, her manager was not mature enough to look at this as a learning experience. He took this incident as a slight and went on to be distant and rude for the next six months. As a result, she brought this incident up at a skip level meeting and his behavior thereafter. In her meeting she made it plenty clear that she couldn’t wait to join another team.

All this because the manager’s ego could not take a “No” from his reportee.

3.   Arm yourself with information…

…I may have mentioned this right in the end; however, this is the cardinal learning for leading a team of Millennials. Respect is earned when you can assure your team that you are aware of the project priorities and have complete visibility.

As I write this, I have just finished a TNA (Training Needs Analysis) with a team of Millennials. As a part of the TNA, I was to observe one of their project update meetings, which was being conducted by their Manager. Beautifully done meeting, with ‘post its’ that said “Things going good – Delivered most of the committed stories”. And one of her team members couldn’t help but ask, “What is most? Does ‘most’ have a number?”

And the manager responded, typically, “How does that matter?” Which ensued an argument between the two justifying their points.

To be honest, I was glad she asked that question; because as a manager to Millennials, you have to expect questions, in fact expect to be bombarded by questions. And your armor would be knowledge. Focus on data, on numbers, make performance quantifiable, because only numbers are black and white.

And that is why “Manager” leading a team of Millennials, you need to learn to ask questions, not just to your team, but to your managers as well. Get complete information, be armed with data, and use your knowledge as a weapon to earn respect and your ability to respect a “No” as path to building better relationships.

4.   Invest time in your team…

…Learn to communicate, identify individual aspirations and align them with the company’s priorities, as much as possible. I am reminded of early in my career when a Millennial joined our team. She had finished her management degree from a highly reputed B-School and all our eyes were alight on her to bring in a wave of innovation into our team. However, in the first month post joining, she brought no process or policy changes, instead she asked anyone and everyone who would listen to her, what her prospects of growth in that company were? Now you need to understand that we were a support function, and lived under the common myth that growth is slow in “Support” since we are not revenue generating citizens of the company.

After weeks of asking around the block, her manager (my manager) finally got a whiff of her query and decided to meet the entire team and explain the growth process in our function and what can each of us do to move forward. Believe me, there were things I was completely oblivious to about my career path, until I attended that meeting.

Your team of Millennials also have such questions burning through their heads, and the best ways to quell the curiosity is to communicate, talk regularly, and understand aspirations, goals and priorities.

So, to recap, four ways you can rewire yourself to successfully lead a team of Millennials,

Learn to say “No”,

Learn to take a “No”

Arm yourself with knowledge

Invest time in your team

Strategy for Startups – An Upcoming and Insightful Mentoring Session

Is your product compelling enough to solve a real problem ?
Do you have enough users who care about what you have to offer ?
What problem are you solving for today’s users of your product
What in your product is truly differentiated in the market to solve this problem. Does it solve deep issues for your potential customers ?

– How is it different from what is already existing in the market ?

If one or more of these are part of what you are asking yourself OR you are looking for clarity, then join us
March 18th to triggert thought and have an insightful interactive discussion with one of our mentors Rakesh Mishra, Co- Founder and Director of Excubator

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Rakesh Mishra, Co-FOunder, Excubator

 

 

Rakesh Mishra is Co-Founder & Director at Excubator.org, an organisation that assists entrepreneurs and enterprises to multiply their business value and build world-class businesses. His area of specialisation are incubating advance technology based businesses, innovation portfolio management, technology research and delivery scale-up. Rakesh is also the co-founder of the PAN IIT nation building program ‘IIT Mentors’. He has been engaging with various IIT institutions and IIT alumni community as part of this program to develop the mentoring hubs across the country.

Rakesh brings 20+ years of industry experience that cuts across wide spectrum of industry verticals, technology platforms and geographies.
Rakesh is heading the HackSpace (AI-ML-IoT incubator) program at Excubator. He works very closely with Technology focused MNCs to help them evaluate and engage with innovative startups. Rakesh is advisor to SIDBI for their startup ecosystem development program and also leads SIDBIStartupMitra.in platform initiative to collaborate with various central and state government bodies and industry bodies.

As a professional coach, Rakesh has touched lives many senior executives for assisting them with their personal development, job satisfaction challenges and corporate-to-startup transition readiness. Rakesh is recognized as one of the top Gamification experts in India. Rakesh is a graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

We are very happy to have Rakesh lead this discussion on March 18th, and open it up to you all to engage.

See you

To know more about what we do check us out on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/vibhawomen/

#iamvibha #vibhawomen #startegyforstartups

 

 

 

 

We all want to be happy. And science shows that happiness not only feels great but also predicts better physical health and even a higher paycheck.

Prioritizing Positivity:
 
A study led by Iris Mauss, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, found that people instructed to feel happier while watching a pleasant film clip ended up feeling worse than people instructed just to watch the clip. Findings like this are echoed in the popular press: Writer Ruth Whippman argued in a recent New York Times piece that the pursuit of happiness is a “recipe for neurosis.”
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– Can you think of someone who overdoes positivity ?
You might ask if it’s fake and unrealistic.
– What happens when we drag up experiences that were positive and negative for us from the past ? What does it do to you for that day ?
No emotion is built to last forever.
Under the study of “prioritizing Positivity’ – there’s a recognized process of
Current reality -> Appraisal -> Changes in oneself -> Response
 
This means that at every step of this above process, we can CHOOSE to prioritize and experience Positivity AND Nurture it too.
People who score high on Prioritization have
– a better life satisfaction
– more resources
– higher resilience
– better relationships
– better appreciation ability
– you choose to savor positivity
The point is, it can be DEVELOPED.
Today:
If you were to bring in youthful, playful attitude towards your life can you consciously check what happens through your day ?
How will this Prioritizing Positivity, choosing your attitude serve you ?
What will be some results of this conscious choice for you ?
Be Kind to yourself ❤
The author is an Executive Coach and Social Entrepreneur. #iamvibha #vibhawomen #carolinevibha
Caroline Fernandes

You know that feeling of uneasiness you get when you try something new, something different, something that you’ve never done before – that will lead you onward towards your goals ?

That fear ?
It’s OK to be scared and it’s OK to recognize that that feeling has been stopping you all this while.
This is our comfort zone.
It is the space we prefer taking because it reminds of of being safe and at ease.
Take time to understand that EVERYTIME you reach out to do something like this, you will feel this way. You will want to cower down and curl up and shy away from anything that causes disturbance to that comfort zone you live in.
But to really really get to that goal ?
That is, at some point, going to require YOUR conscious effort.
It is going to ask you to STEP UP.
To do things you have NEVER EVER done before.
To shed that shell and take that step to do what is burning deep inside of you.
It is scary. And those fear are honestly never going to go away.
Because once you have conquered it – you have the next level of fear and comfort- zone- breaking to breach.
So don’t you think it’s time to get comfortable with your fears ?
Even in the Gita, it is said to get LOST in the process. And that the effort is more important than the goal itself. leave it
This way, when we get lost it in it, we revel in the fact that we took that step.
This also helps bring down the stress we allow to build inside of us , that we use to beat ourselves down, when we haven’t yet reached our goal.
It’s OK.
It’s OK to not YET reach it.
And it’s OK to recognize that. Take all the time you need to do so
And then you keep going. And revel in the process, acknowledge the fears. And acknowledge your action DESPITE your fears.

Have an ambitious, fear- filling, process – pleasing 2017 people.
Loads of Love   

 

The author is an Executive Coach & Social Entrepreneur

Twitter: CarolineVibha

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I can’t tell you the number of times I’m rejected at work.

I meet so many different kinds if people whom I wish to explore to collaborate with, intend to offer our services to as well.
It’s ego breaking. When things don’t materialize.
I sit to reflect on why things happen the way they do.
I also question what was missing from my side and what more we could have done / do to learn and add value to our own processes.
I’m still learning.
And what’s always struck me as being helpful for our work is asking, listening, sometimes ( many times ) going back to the drawing board time and time again.
I used to feel terrible about it. Now I use that to keep me going.

#iamvibha #vibhawomen #stilllearning # womenentrepreneurs

For more information on Vibha Women

http://www.Facebook.com/ vibhawomen

The author is an Executive Coach and Social Entrepreneur

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