lean

This month I had a new insight that I want to share with all my entrepreneur friends – especially the solo-preneurs!  If you have ever had a job and worked as part of a larger organisation as I have, this will sound familiar.  Whenever I got too busy or stuck with some project, I would either get help from a colleague or escalate to my manager.  Easy!  Over the last 11 years as an entrepreneur, I had completely forgotten that I still had that option of asking for help.  I had become used to being the coach and the sales person, technical support, admin & hr, purchase manager and site maintenance expert!  No wonder my idea book is bulging at the seams and yet it takes me so long to roll out new services or products.

Last weekend I was facilitating a retreat in Banaras and I said to the group:  Seek expert help – don’t attempt to do everything on your own!  And bingo – the light went on inside.  This is something I needed to really hear and implement.  So in the last 8 days, here are some of the changes I have made:

  1.  putting a very capable handyman on retainership – this person will now be responsible to come by twice a week, fix the small things that need fixing, purchase office supplies and keep the office humming
  2. hiring a personal trainer – i am actively looking for someone who will adjust to my schedule and work out with me 3 a week.  right now, i am juggling many other things because my workout sessions are at fixed times
  3. follow a brand & social media strategy built by an expert – rather than winging it myself, I am implementing a brand & content strategy that has been developed by an expert.  this is a webinar I attended a year ago and I have the material with me already.  this makes it more structured and automated – it frees up time and makes me feel relaxed!

The results of this “unburdening” will unfold in weeks to come – I can tell you I already feel lighter and happier.  I will keep you posted on how it goes…feel free to share your thoughts or comments on the Essence Facebook page or here!

patience

Hah…easy for Basho to say!  Right? How often are you told that patience is a virtue, good things come to those who wait or let the ball come to you?  As a coach, I often use these expressions especially with my Type A clients who want to see results yesterday.  And the common lament is as follows:  yes I am waiting BUT for how long?  When will things move for me?  When will I finally get what I want?  My answer is always the same:  being patient has no end date!  By definition, patience has no deadline, no limit.  The idea is that you are just patient – you wait till your wait is over.  And you wait like you are not waiting at all.

The real challenge with patience then becomes what do you do while you wait?  These days I am waiting…waiting to respond to life, waiting for my spring to arrive – and here is what I have learned so far.  While I have been waiting, my phone and petrol bills have dropped considerably.  Since I am not “making things happen”, I make few calls or client visits and fewer “sales” pitches.  So waiting can be cost-effective for you!

Waiting also frees up a lot of time and energy – all the effort I used to spend on worrying about things that were not happening, chasing people and ideas is now suddenly available to me, for me.  I have time for creating new content, my personal wellness and hobbies.  Time spent with friends is also easy because I am not seeking or fixing anything – I am just there.  This makes waiting quite relaxing!  There is literally nothing to do till there is something to do.

Too good to be true you say?  Well, there is one worm in this proverbial apple – doubt.  Imagine it:  I am waiting to respond, when something comes up I flow into action and else I wait.  It is easy and flowy and relaxing – all is well.  Suddenly doubt strikes – is this all?  Am I being too laid back, even lazy?  Look at all those people on Facebook just hustling and making it happen.  Surely this cannot be enough…and off I go.  I fall off the wait wagon and start running again.  The treadmill is on and I am the hamster on the run!

Sometimes a week, a day or even hours later, I find a moment to catch myself and breathe.  And then I see my madness…and aah I feel my body relaxing.  My shoulders drop, my breath deepens and all my nervous tics settle a bit.  Back in the flow, I brew a cup of tea and bring out my colouring book.  A delicious monsoon afternoon awaits me…

 

 

 

 

odetodisc

Have you ever decided to start a new eating or exercise regimen from Monday? Or promised yourself that this week is the last week you will use swear words in public? Well I have…I have made these “contracts” with myself over and over again! And with mixed results…I did some mental mathematics and can say that I have a 50-50 success-failure ratio.

So, you might ask: what contributes to the success? And what causes failure? Osho provides the answer very elegantly when he says

Willing something is the opposite of enjoying it! The easiest way to stop doing something, stop enjoying it…is to will it.

And this has been my experience too! For 2 years now, I have had a morning routine that I did not like. Mostly, I would get up and straight away make breakfast – then would read the newspaper or check message as I ate it. This morning routine was too rushed for me. I felt that my day got started without me taking care of myself. I made many attempts to do something different and they did not work. It was because I was willing it! “I have to work out in the morning”, “It is good for me”, “I should do something healthier” – this is how the self-talk sounded inside my head. I had built up expectations, piled on judgment and there was blame & shame. I had even made myself a victim in my story and become angry with others for stopping me from doing what was “good” for me.

When I heard Osho say those words, it stopped me in my tracks! I was squeezing the joy out of my morning routine in both scenarios: when I willed myself to a morning walk or practice, I was reluctant and hard on myself. And when I made the breakfast first, I was unable to enjoy it fully because I was guilty about missing a workout! There was no way to be successful here at all.

So I decided to just drop the very idea of a routine over summer and start at the beginning by observing what was joyful to me! When I wake up, I like to wake up without an alarm and then have a few minutes to stretch, savor the last bits of my sleep-wake feelings & thoughts and then I literally can spring into my day. Not having those few minutes makes me feel out of sorts all day. So these days, I begin my day with joy! And guess what: I am working out every morning. Can you believe it?  And moreover if I do miss a day, oh well, I just get back on track the next day.  Yes?

My first epiphany is truly seeing the joylessness of willing something “good” into your life. The second epiphany is that when you do something because it feels good and joyful, you just keep doing it. And when you keep doing something that makes you happy or healthy or both, it is a discipline.

What a beautiful way to kick off the second half of the year!  My incredible summer has left me with one last precious gift – an ode to discipline!

 

home

Staycation (noun, informal) 

  1. a holiday spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

Today is the last day of May and the last day of my annual summer break too! This is a time when I have no major client interactions, no business travel and no pressure to be accessible. In past years, I have enjoyed complete digital silence too – no smartphone or computer use at all! This year, I even let that bit of “rule” go – I stayed connected when I wanted to do so and then not 🙂

It has been one of my most special breaks to date and the primary reason is that for the first time, in my considerably gypsy adulthood, I stayed home. Since home is both a location and my boyfriend, we stayed home! This stay-cation became a wellness retreat and a spiritual milestone.

It is incredible to be on “vacation” and still sleep in your own bed, eat yummy nourishing home-cooked food and have access to all your stuff. Instead of finding inspiration & feeling awe at new experiences and sights, I found wonder at exploring what is around me all the time – with a leisurely eye and a still heart. The natural beauty that surrounds our 6th floor apartment is incredible – a flowing river, lush green tree tops, the chirping of birds through the morning and the mountains in the near distance. Equally nourishing to my soul is the community of friends that I have in my life – this became a time to connect, have intimate meals and share music, movement & meditation with each other. And if all this did not add up to a long wellness holiday, I discovered that my neighborhood offered world-class spa treatments that I will now enjoy all year around. Only a traveler knows the bliss of receiving a super massage or therapy session combined with the despair that there can be no more because you are leaving the next day!

My mother says that I was born with wheels on my feet because I have always moved from adventure to adventure. I moved home nearly every year for 15 years in search of the new thrill, the new learning – just the new. So this month of delving deeper to find adventure in the environs of our home has been an epiphany! I discovered that there is another way to find wonder, awe, thrills and a feeling of freshness – being still! So the metaphor of “staying home” got extended for me in many dimensions. I really got that at work, I do not need to find new clients, new products or services to remain fresh and not get bored. Instead, when I focused on what is inside me that needs to overflow and be shared, it is always fresh and it always keeps me refreshed. So my focus is not on the effect – how it looks from outside to others, it’s on the inside!

In my relating with my loved ones, I got that when things get messy, complex, and intense or completely effed up, the trick is not to dismiss, disregard and move on to new connections. There is such beauty in staying the course – dropping judgments, giving time & space to each other and replacing expectations with acceptance.  For my fitness & spiritual practice, I am gratefully experiencing the joys of staying committed after a long while! A daily practice feels COMPLETELY different from a thrice a week or a sporadic routine.

In the end, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Paraphrasing Chuang Tzu:

Easy is right & Happy is good

I feel so easy & happy that I have to invite you to share my ecstasy too!  Take time off this year and please do share your insights and joys with me too.

PS One last thing…I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be possible to live like this all year around! For starters, I am already home, aren’t I? What do you think?

lightuntoself

 

Our most common idea of a Leader is someone who stands higher than us, somehow directing our collective destinies with little or no regard for our opinion.   He or she is someone “special”, someone we have bestowed  with special powers and rights.

Learning and participating in Leadership work actually dispels that myth!  Leadership has nothing to do with managing, controlling or “playing god” to others.  It is all about growing and transforming ourselves so we can lead authentic lives – lives that reflect our inner truth.  And as we lead these authentic lives, our hard work, passion and compassion begins to inspire others too.  This inspiration, this magnetic pull – which is the by-product of our actions, thoughts and feelings – is Leadership.

So how can a true Leader not continuously invest in his or her own growth and transformation?  What do you think?

 

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