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A WEEK before last Christmas I was in the middle of a training session in Mumbai, India when my silent phone lit up with an incoming call. During the break I noted that it was from an unknown number from the Philippines. Instead of asking an impolite “Who is this please?” I sent an SMS saying, “I am in the middle of a meeting — how can I help?”
INFLUENCE is not a bad word. Even the most benign things or thoughts can be twisted to create negative outcomes. Influence is not impact. Impact is just that -- a loud noise, a loud bang or something that blows your mind away. Influence is also not inspiration. Inspiration, etymologically, means to light a fire, a spark within someone else. Impact and inspiration are both extremely important and have a place and a time of their own in this world.
IT HAS TAKEN me a while to gather up courage to put down the first few words for this article. I was afraid that people may find it too philosophical, too New Age wisdom or the stuff that Pop Psychology is made up of. The thing that made me get off the fence of indecision was the realization that it was not just the fact that I was fearful of writing about fear but also, to a much larger extent, exposing my own fears; exposing my own vulnerabilities and my softer underbelly. Anyway, now that I have jumped off, let’s fly and hope I land safely.
THOUGH this habit has impacted me several times and through multiple avenues, I can’t seem to be impressed any lesser every time it happens. The habit of assessing any situation through a proactive stance and doing something concrete about all challenges most often than not generates happy and constructive outcomes.
SHE WAS all bent up and her bones screamed with pain every time she hobbled from one room to another, but her cheeks were always rosy and up in a smile. When kids and family approached her, they saw happiness, and felt truly loved and cared just by the look of her eyes. Whenever I watched her from a distance the song, “Close to You” would be playing in my head.
THOUSANDS of executives across the world strive to get a large audience moving, talking, laughing and learning is like King Sisyphus wanting to roll up a rock onto a hill. It is hard, it is tough and like the proverbial rock, the audience can come tumbling down. Yet, there are many who appear to have been born with the abilities to rouse up audiences and work the room naturally. The truth be told no matter how skilled and natural certain speakers appear, they all drill themselves mad through scores of techniques and tricks to rack up engagement and learning transfer.
MANY A TIMES in my workshops on public speaking, sales, negotiations and other soft skills, I have stressed the importance of acutely aligning our internal resources like our mood, our state of mind and most importantly our authentic agenda behind the conversation.
WE are hitting week two since the year turned and the rigmarole of life catching up. The waking up to a yearning of coffee, the shoving of self into some fitness regimen, the pulling up of the socks to march into the day and the constant flicking through the beeps, the tweets and the pings from our soul and solace stealing smartphones. Life begins to coil around us like Kaa from Mowgli and take us for a spin while we strive and struggle to keep the train of our lives on track.
I KNOW, I know! Many of you will be a bit taken aback by the comparison and then there will be some who will say, “Oh, yeah!” The chances are those that will be taken aback may be the ones who do not know your dogs and do not know your entrepreneurs. Then there may be some who will go into a state of shock at the mention of the word, pit bull. Well, for those of you who do get taken aback or, worse, go into a state of shock, you have my apologies and my compassion. You also have my invitation to come and stroll through these stories and allow me to help you discover a world of clarity, creativity, conscientiousness and a raging passion towards achievement, self-fulfillment and self-designed excellence. You will see and learn how many of the wonderful traits that make one species ferocious and wonderful make the other rugged and ragingly successful.
AFTER years of reading, writing, researching, teaching and working with businesses at enhancing creative thinking in workplaces, I have come to one happy conclusion. The conclusion is that at the core of all efforts at coming up with creative ideas, and innovating products and processes, lies the fact that “action speaks louder than words!”
MANY years ago, I failed at two attempts at starting and running my own business. The first time, I failed at putting up a trading business with a partner from the Middle East. The second time I failed at making success of a small retail business with my spouse as a partner. Sometime in the late 1980, I started and began to nurture a third enterprise. For this third time, before I ventured into it, I spent years understanding and experiencing the trade. I spent years in knowing the supply side and the demand side in the industry. I spent years saving up money and building up other resources and connections in the industry. I’d also spent years in learning the rights skills and competencies to help me become a self-dependent, and a complete entrepreneur.
SO I have had hundreds, if not thousands, of one-on-one conversations with senior expatriates who move into and, sometimes, out of our beautiful seven thousand, seven hundred islands. One of the topics that pops up is how the spirit of Christmas, in the Philippines, starts to sneak up on us as early as September and doesn’t leave us till, almost, the month of love.
TALK about being authentic and, often you will hear this quote from Paulo Coelho: “We are in such a hurry to grow up, and then we long for our lost childhood. We make ourselves ill earning money, and then spend all our money on getting well again. We think so much about the future that we neglect the present, and thus experience neither the present nor the future. We live as if we were never going to die, and die as if we had never lived.”