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.


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.


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.


What’s your Blueprint for 2018?

Wish you all a very Happy New Year 2018! On this occasion, I desire, that you achieve all your goals this year. This is my first post of the year, and I wanted to start with a wish that has the potential to come true, when YOU put your thoughts into it and pursue it wholeheartedly, giving your 100%.

So, how did you celebrate the New Year? Was it by going to a party and dancing away to glory? Or you stayed back home, called a few friends, and rejoiced their company? Or you were out of town holidaying, and rang in the New Year in your favorite destination, in the presence of your friends and/or family? Or you feel, the hoopla around New Year’s celebration is too overrated, it just fizzes away too quickly? So you don’t see it as a special time and refrain from celebrating it.

Stock photos1

I believe the New Year is the pretext to start afresh. It is the reason to look at things from a different perspective, a time to reconcile with the past and look forward to the future. I spend the last day of the fading year and the first day of the new year in solitude. This is the time I invest in introspection. I look back at the year which went by, the decisions I had made, what went right and bask in the glory of my achievements. I also look at what went wrong, analyze those mistakes, learn from them, and work on what I can do better next time. It is the time I give to myself to chalk out how I want my coming year to be. Work out what I want to achieve in the new year and create my BLUEPRINT for the new year.

I also spend some time with my personal coaching clients around this time. I was having one such deep conversation with a client a couple of days before the New Year’s Eve. I asked him normally, So how was your 2017? To which he answered IT WAS TERRIBLE! Immediately, I saw trouble, so I probed further…

What followed was a 2 hour long mind-boggling conversation where we discussed in detail why he felt like this. I was intrigued by the fact that he summed up the entire year with just one sentence, the year was terrible! After our discussion, he came to a conclusion that the year was not completely terrible after all. It was more of a roller-coaster ride.


On the positive side, he had traveled to places he thought he would never travel, started new investments, enhanced his bond with his family, learned new skills, accomplished so much in the professional font, got a promotion, completed his travel goals in 2017.

On the hindsight, he lost his father to heart attack, he lost some money in the new investments he had bet on, he didn’t take care of his health, he felt he didn’t spend enough time with his family and he could’ve done better as an individual in 2017.

When I asked him, “tell me 10 awesome things and 10 really bad things that happened to you in 2017”, he took much longer to complete the list for 10 bad things against the list for good things! How fascinating is that?

This reinforced that as human beings we love to amplify our sufferings and underplay our achievements. We love to believe that we are struck by misfortune, and look for empathy from others to feel better. The problem is, most often we stay in the comfort of our uncomfortable pain, just because we get empathy from others. It’s like that drug which makes us feel great for a while, then throws us back to that zone again! We just refuse to come out of it and the worst part is that we deny the fact that we like to stay in that zone!

When I asked him, “have you created your Blueprint for 2018?” He asked “what is that? No, I have not. I have nothing specific to achieve this year!” Ta da da… there you go, if you have nothing awesome to look forward, how will you shrug off yourself from that sympathy zone to an action zone? Fortunately, he saw the problem and took step to fix it. By 5th Jan he shared his Blueprint with me. I must admit, he has worked on himself and come up with some brilliant things that he wants to do this year. Which will for sure transform him to be a much better version of him.


If you are curious, what is this Blueprint, and how does this work; then let me explain this to you. Human beings achieve better when they have their eyes set on clearly defined goals; and they chalk out action plan to achieve these goals systematically and repeatedly. That’s what is a blueprint. Your blueprint is like the direction you follow to achieve your goals. It’s like the Google maps for your destination. Like Google maps, your blueprint helps you choose the quickest, most effective and least traffic (read obstacles) prone path for you.

Have you created your Blueprint for 2018? If yes, sending you more power to achieve them! If not, I would love to help you create it. All you have to do is register for Connect To Success Preview on 21st Jan. Find below the registration details.

Would you take your life to the next level this year?


PS: This post was first published on

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


#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.”


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

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


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 vibhawomen

The author is an Executive Coach and Social Entrepreneur


Rembrandt van Rijn has been known for his versatility in art and his creative depictions of history through visual media.


He never traveled outside the Netherlands ( then called the Dutch Republic ), but he was influenced in a big way by Old Masters like Lastman for instance.
In today’s day and age, Old Masters come in the form of Patrons, and patrons don’t have to be fragmented or compartmentalized when it comes to who they are what roles they play in your life too.
– Even the most menial job you might be given or doing can be your great source for developing a skill you think might help you in your line of work.
– Your boss, your mentor, your senior ( maybe all 3 in 1 as well ) can be a rich pool of learning for you to learn from, ask questions and also gain insight into their journeys too.

– Do you have a role model in your field ? Someone you can study and learn from. They may no0t even be a part of the living anymore, but their story and their journeys live on , for you to trace back, to undersatnd patterns, to deeply and consciously get in touch with what worked and what didn’t. And then to explore those principles in your own time and space.

Can you think of other ways to leverage on what has been to spring board you on your way, give you a boost of confidence and also gain insight into what was done earlier ?

For more information on Vibha Women and what we do for women entrepreneurs look us up on:

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The author is a Social Entrepreneur and Executive Coach

twitter: CarolineVibha