Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Become Water



By: "Chitra Jha"

When I say "become water" I mean become a flow; don't remain stagnant. Move, and move like water. Lao Tzu says: The way of the Tao is a watercourse way. It moves like water. What is the movement of water? or of a river? The movement has a few beautiful things about it. One, it always moves towards the depth, it always searches for the lowest ground. It is non-ambitious; it never hankers to be the first, it wants to be the last.

Remember, Jesus says: Those who are the last here will be the first in my kingdom of God. He is talking about the watercourse way of Tao--not mentioning it, but talking about it. Be the last, be non-ambitious. Ambition means going uphill. Water goes down, it searches for the lowest ground, it wants to be a nonentity. It does not want to declare itself unique, exceptional, extraordinary. It has no ego idea.

*Osho Take it Easy, Volume 1 Chapter 14*

When we are completely relaxed and at ease, life takes us where it will. When we have mastered the art of being passive and receptive; without being dull or sleepy, we become available to the currents of life, without saying "I don't like that," or "I prefer to go the other way."

Every moment in life we have a choice whether to enter life's waters and float, or try to swim upstream.

Today, remember to float, trusting that life will support you in your relaxation and take you exactly where it wants you to go. Allow this feeling of trust and relaxation to grow more and more; everything is
happening exactly as it should.

*"Achieve Your Highest Potential: Be the Best You Can Be"*

Monday, May 28, 2012

How to Learn from your Mistakes


Nobody likes to make mistakes. But as the age-old saying goes: “to err is human”.

Unless, you want to live as a recluse all throughout your life, you are bound to make mistakes almost every other day. Some can be small trifling errors and some can be unpardonable blunders. But they'll come to you for sure. While you can't do away with them completely, you can surely minimise them and learn from them. If you learn from mistakes correctly, they can propel you forward in the right direction.

Mistakes are an essential part of self-improvement. Don't be overwhelmed with guilt and remorse, rather you should analyze how you can learn from them and be a better human being.

Here's how you should do that:
Apologising Like a Gentleman
If your mistake has been a source of grief or harm to the people (directly or indirectly), it's important to offer a dignified apology. You must clarify that it was an unfortunate incident and you will take care that it is not repeated. If you refrain from apologizing, out of embarrassment or reluctance, the offended person will continue to hold it against you. This may also make a dent in your trustworthiness and your overall image.

If your apology is sincere, the other person is likely to forgive you. Don't go overboard with it. Apologise once, but sincerely. A good apology can help in restoring other people's trust in you.
Don't be a Perfectionist
Come to terms to this reality that it is impossible for us ordinary mortals to be perfectionists. If you spend your life being scared of making mistakes, you'll hardly be able to do anything in life. Mistakes are often not made, they just happen to people. If you think that you have to steer away from mistakes all throughout your life, you'll be imposing psychological restrictions on yourself.

Don't Waste Time Trying to Justify your Actions

It is our natural disposition to keep justifying our actions. Many times, we blame others for the mistake. Sometimes we say that it was not in my capacity to prevent so-and-so thing from happening. We say things like, “Yes I couldn't score well in the test but then the teacher didn't really teach anything in the class” and easily forget about the numerous classes skipped during the last session.

More often than not, we justify mistakes to massage our fragile egos. Others aren't really interested in our justifications. There's no harm in accepting your faults and apologizing and then moving on.
Understanding Why Mistakes Happen and Then Not Repeating Them
One can err to several reasons. To avoid repeating them, you have to understand and analyze the core causes. For example, you may have spoken rudely to someone in anger and haste. You must think what caused you to get enraged. Why should an innocent person becoming a victim of your anger? Ask questions. You may also be regularly making mistakes due to fatigue, sleeplessness, bad habits, and other health-related (physical and mental) issues. It this is the case, then rush to a doctor ASAP.

Now this self-analysis should not drown you in an ocean of guilt. Rather, it should reinforce your resolution to learn from mistakes. Careful consideration and sustained effort can help you free yourself of many errors, if not all.

Mistakes Give Opportunities to Learn, Grab Them

Just like failures, you can “seize mistakes” and learn from them. Don't let these opportunities go wasted. You can gain wisdom from your mistakes and fast-track the process of self-improvement. The important thing is to view mistakes as gateways to improvements in life.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How to be a Damn Good Developmental Manager

Have you ever worked for a manager that consistently helped you learn new skills and develop? A manager that took an interest in your career, challenged you to be your best, and believed in your potential to grow?

That’s the kind of manager that most employees want to work for. And if you’re manager, that’s the kind of reputation you should aspire to have.

Why? From a purely selfish perspective, when you develop your employees, they get smarter, more productive, improve their performance, and ultimately, make you look like a genius. It helps with recruiting and retaining the best employees, allows you to delegate so you can focus on what you’re being paid to do, or even take a vacation now and then. 

Most importantly, it’s rewarding. It’s what leadership is all about – making a difference in the lives of others. 

Most managers have good intentions – they want to be known as a developmental manager – but there’s often a huge gap between the “should do” and the “do”. In many cases, managers just don’t know how. 

Here’s how:

1. Start with yourself.
Before you can credibly and effectively development others, you should develop yourself first. Otherwise, you’ll come across as an arrogant hypocrite who looks at development as being needed for everyone else, but not yourself. Shaping behavior starts with role modeling – and it also helps you learn how to get damn good at development. 

2. Establish a foundation of trust and mutual respect.
OK, so when are we going to get to the pragmatic “hows”? We will, but the rest of the tips won’t work as well if your employees don’t trust that you have their backs or you’re not using development as a hammer. See how to inspire trust and 20 signs you can't be trusted as a leader.

3. Treat every day as a development day.

Development isn’t a once or twice a year event, or something you send your employees to HR or a training class for. Every time an employee comes to you with a problem, decision, or question, it’s an opportunity to develop. How do you do that? You …..

4. Ask questions.
Lots and lots of really good questions. Open-ended questions that force the employee to think and figure it out for themselves. Questions can also be used after an assignment or event, as a way to reflect back on lessons learned and cement the new knowledge or skills. 

5. Let go.
I was reminded of this recently by Scott Eblin, executive coach and author of the bestseller "The Next Level". Most managers are doing stuff that they are good at and/or like to do, but really shouldn’t be doing. When told they should delegate, they’re willing to dump the mundane stuff they don’t like doing, but unwilling to let go of the good stuff. Letting go of these responsibilities and using them as a way to develop your employees is a win-win. 

Just don’t expect your employee to do things the same way you did them. Remember, chances are, when you learned to do it, no one was holding your hand every step of the way with detailed instructions. Sure, they may fall and skin their knees know and then, but that’s how we learn.

6. Strrrrretch assignments.
Other than a job change, stretch assignments are hands down the best way to learn and development. As a manager, you’re in a position to look for opportunities to offer to your employees that are aligned with their development needs and career aspirations. It’s not about picking the most qualified person for the assignment – it’s about picking the right developmental assignment for the person. 

7. Make connections.

Wow, it’s all about networking these days, isn't it? Managers are often in a position to make introductions, open doors, and connect employees to role models, subject matter experts, and mentors. What if you’re not already well connected? Then see #1, start with yourself.

8. Feedback.
We all have behavioral blind spots. If you don’t think you do, then you've got a big self-awareness blind spot. 
 A manager is often the person who can tactfully help an employee see a weakness that’s getting in the way of their effectiveness or advancement. 

9. Help navigate organizational politics and culture.
Help your employees learn that “politics” isn’t a dirty word; it’s the way things get done in organizations. Shadowing and role playing are two ways to teach the ins and outs of being political savvy.

10. Show me the money, Jerry!
Last, but not least, support your employee’s developmental goals with training, conferences, coaches, and other tangible resources. A good training program, while not a substitute for all of the above, can include many of the items above and turbocharge your efforts.

How about you? What do you think of when you think of a damn good development manager? Please leave a comment starting with “Someone who…….”.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Letter written by a wife after her husband's death in an accident

By: "Chitra Jha" 

"Few things I learnt after my husband's death:-

We always believe we will live forever. Bad things always happen to others.

Only when things hit us bang on your head you realise... Life is so unpredictable....

My husband was an IT guy.all techie.And I am a chartered accountant.Awesome combination you may think.

Techie guy so everything is on his laptop.his to do list. his e-bill and his bank statements in his email. . He even maintained a folder which said IMPWDS.wherein he stored all login id and passwords for all his online accounts.And even his laptop had a password. Techie guy so all the passwords were alpha-numeric with a special character not an easy one to crack.Office policy said passwords needed to be changed every 30 days.So every time I accessed his laptop I would realise it's a new password again. I would simply opt for asking him 'What's the latest password' instead of taking the strain to memorise it.

You may think me being a Chartered Accountant would means everything is documented and filed properly. Alas many of my chartered accountant friends would agree that the precision we follow with our office documents and papers do not flow in to day to day home life. At office you have be
epitome of Reliability / Competent / Diligent etc but. at home front there is always a tomorrow.

One fine morning my hubby expired in a bike accident on his way home from office.. He was just 33.His laptop with all his data crashed.everything on his hard disk wiped off.No folder of IMPWDS to refer back to.His mobile with all the numbers on it was smashed.But that was just the beginning. I
realised I had lot to learn.

9 years married to one of the best human beings.with no kids.just the two of us to fall back on..but now I stood all alone and lost.

Being chartered accountant helped in more ways than one but it was not enough. I needed help.His saving bank accounts, his salary bank accounts had no nominee.On his insurance his mom was the nominee and it was almost 2 years back she had expired. but this was just a start.. I didn't know the
password to his email account where all his e-bill came.I didn't know which expenses he paid by standing instructions.

His office front too was not easy. His department had changed recently.I didn't know his reporting boss name to start with.when had he last claimed his shift allowance.his mobile reimbursement.

The house we bought with all the excitement.on a loan.thought with our joint salary we could afford the EMI.when the home loans guys suggested insurance on the loan.we decided the instead of paying the premium the difference in the EMI on account of the insurance could be used pay towards
prepayment of the loan and get the tenure down.We never thought what we would do if we have to live on a single salary.So now there was huge EMI to look into .

I realised I was in for a long haul.

Road accident case. so everywhere I needed a Death certificate, FIR report, Post Mortem report. For everything there were forms running into pages.indemnity bonds.notary.surety to stand up for you.No objections certificates from your co-heirs..

I learnt other than your house, your land . your car, your bike are also your property... So what if you are the joint owner of the don't become the owner just because your hubby is no more. So what if your hubby expired in the bike accident.and you are the nominee but if the bike is in a repairable condition .you have to get the bike transferred in your name to claim the insurance.And that was again not easy. the bike or car cannot be transferred in your name without going through a set of legal documents. Getting a Succession Certificate is another battle all together.

Then came the time you realise now you have to start changing all the bills, assets in your name.Your gas connection, electricity meter, your own house, your car, your investments and all sundries. And then change all the nominations where your own investments are concerned.And again a start of a new set of paperwork.

To say I was whole life had just turned upside down was an understatement.You realise you don't have time to morn and grieve for the person with whom you spend the best years of your life. because you are busy sorting all the paper work.

I realised then how much I took life for granted.I thought being a chartered accountant I am undergoing so many difficulties.what would have happened to someone who was house maker who wouldn't understand this legal hotchpotch.

A sweet friend then told me dear this was not an have no kids.your assets will be for all who stand to claim.after my hubby's sudden death.I realised it was time I took life more seriously. I now needed to make a Will. I would have laughed if a few months back if he had asked me to make one.But now life had taken a twist.

Lessons learnt this hard way were meant to be shared.After all why should the people whom we love the most suffer after we are no more.Sorting some paperwork before we go will at least ease some of their grief.

1. Check all your nominations...
It's a usual practice to put a name (i.e in the first place if you have mentioned it) and royally forget about it. Most of us have named our parent as a nominee for investments, bank accounts opened before marriage. We have not changed the same even years after they are no longer there with us.
Even your salary account usually has no nomination.. Kindly check all your
- Bank Accounts
- Fixed Deposits, NSC
- Bank Lockers
- Demat Accounts
- Insurance (Life, Bike or Car or Property)
- Investments
- PF & Pension Forms

2. Passwords..
We have passwords for practically everything. Email accounts, Bank accounts, even for the laptop you use. What happens when your next in kin cannot access any of these simply because they do not know your password... Put it down on a paper.

3. Investments.
Every year for tax purpose we do investments. Do we maintain a excel sheet about it. If so is it on the same laptop of which the password you had not shared. Where are those physical investments hard copy.

4. Will.
Make a Will. I know you will smile even I would.had I not gone through all what I did.It would have made my life lot easier.a lot less paperwork. I wouldn't had to provide an indemnity bond, get it notarised, ask surety to stand up, no objections certificates from others...

5. Liabilities.
When you take a loan say for your house or car.Check out on all the what ifs.what if I am not there tomorrow.what if I loose my job.Will the EMI still be within my range.If not get an insurance on the loan.The people left behind will not have to worry on something as basic as their own house.

My battles have just begun...But let us at least try and make few changes so that our loved ones would not suffer after we go.We do not know what will happen in the future.But as the Scout motto goes: “Be prepared "

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

God has plans

Once there was a sweeper in a well known temple and he was very sincere and devoted. Every time he saw thousands of devotees coming to take darshan of the Lord, he thought that the Lord is standing all the time and giving darshan and He must be feeling very tired.

So one day very innocently he asked the Lord whether he can take the place of the Lord for a day so that the Lord can have some relief and rest. The Deity of Temple replied, "I do not mind taking a break. I will transform  you like Myself, but you must do one thing. You must just stand here like
Me, smile at everyone and just give benedictions. Do not interfere with anything and do not say anything. Remember you are the deity and you just have faith that I have a master plan for everything." The sweeper agreed to this.

The next day the sweeper took the position of the deity and a rich man came and prayed to the Lord. He offered a nice donation and prayed that his business should be prosperous. While going, the rich man inadvertently left his wallet full of money right there. Now the sweeper in the form of deity
could not call him and so he decided to control himself and keep quiet.

Just then a poor man came and he put one coin in the Hundi and said that it was all he could afford and he prayed to the Lord that he should continue to be engaged in the Lord's service. He also said that his family was in dire need of some basic needs but he left it to the good hands of the Lord
to give some solution. When he opened his eyes, he saw the wallet left by the rich man. The poor man thanked the Lord for His kindness and took the wallet very innocently. The sweeper in the form of the Deity could not say anything and he had to just keep smiling.

At that point a sailor walked in. He prayed for his safe journey as he was going on a long trip. Just then the rich man came with the police and said that somebody has stolen his wallet and seeing the sailor there, he asked the police to arrest him thinking that he might have taken it. Now the
sweeper in the form of Deity wanted to say that the sailor is not the thief but he could not say so and he became greatly frustrated. The sailor looked at the Lord and asked why he, an innocent person, is being punished. The rich man looked at the Lord and thanked Him for finding the thief. The sweeper in the deity form could no more tolerate and he thought that even if the real Lord had been here, he would have definitely interfered and hence he started speaking and said that the sailor is not the thief but it was the poor man who took away the wallet. The rich man was very thankful as also the sailor.

In the night, the real Lord came and He asked the sweeper how the day was The sweeper said, "I thought it would be easy, but now I know that Your days are not easy, but I did one good thing." Then he explained the whole episode to the Lord. The Lord became very upset on hearing this whereas the sweeper thought the Lord would appreciate him for the good deed done.

The Lord asked, "Why did you not just stick to the plan? You had no faith in Me. Do you think that I do not understand the hearts of all those who come here? All the donation which the rich man gave was all stolen money and it is only a fraction of what he really has and he wants Me to reciprocate unlimitedly. The single coin offered by the poor man was the last coin he was having and he gave it to Me out of faith. The sailor might not have done anything wrong, but if the sailor were to go in the ship that night he was about to die because of bad weather and instead if he is arrested he would be in the jail and he would have been saved form a greater calamity. The wallet should go to the poor man because he will use it in My service. I was going to reduce the rich man's karma also by doing
this and save the sailor also. But you cancelled everything because you thought you know My plan and you made your own plans."

God has plans and justice for everyone....we just have to have patience!!!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Formula for Success

A  man  approached  JP Morgan,  held  up  an  envelope,  and said, “Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.” “Sir,” JP Morgan replied, “I do not know what  is  in  the  envelope, however  if  you  show me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman
that I  will  pay  you  what  you  ask.” The  man agreed to  the terms, and handed over the envelope. JP Morgan opened it, and extracted a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look, a mere glance, then handed the piece of paper back to the man and paid him the agreed-upon $25,000.

*The Paper:*

- *Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.*
- *Do them.*

Friday, May 18, 2012

Childhood Stories Are Clues To Your Next Career

When you were seven years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Believe it or not, taking this nostalgic journey back to a simpler time may be exactly what you need to begin the career defining or career transition process. Why? Because your instincts at that age while play acting, before the "should, would, coulds" began to impact your choices (hint – someone else's influence) are the first clues to our natural career interests and skills we must use to be happy.

When I was seven, like many of us, I wanted to be a teacher. I used to force my four year old brother to sit down at a "desk" while I doled out the assignments and used my precious blackboard to "teach" him the lesson for the day. My desire to become a teacher stuck with me through college. After I got my Bachelor's Degree I took another year to become a certified secondary education teacher (required in California). I was 25 at the time and once I completed my course began to look for teaching jobs. Like today, jobs were not plentiful, but I also learned, while I enjoyed teaching, I did not enjoy teaching high school students. They were too close to being my peers at the time. So I gave up on teaching until I entered the Vocational/Career Counseling field at 29.

My desire for teaching never left me, however. What I realized is teaching takes many forms and does not always take place in front of a classroom. I love to lead workshops, to give talks, to lead groups, and to teach through my counseling. From age seven, the teaching is a recurring theme in everything I do.

I challenge you to really examine what you enjoyed play acting as a child and see if there is a connection today to your work-related interests. It may seem like a stretch, but if you really examine it, there is a very good chance you will see a correlation. If you do not have Career Happiness, you may want to see how far you've strayed from your seven year old career dreams.

In the work I do, I ask my clients to write stories about a time at any point in their lives when they accomplished something they felt good about. It could be something as simple as learning to swim to researching and executing a project that impacted thousands of people. This is one of the exercises that Richard Bolles uses in What Color Is Your Parachute. It is a timeless exercise because it provides an organic way for clients to identify skills that they enjoy using in a work or career setting. One such story a client recently wrote was from age three. She and her family were vacationing in Greece. She was in the ocean in an inner tube. Her parents were close by, but her father was a little farther out in the water. She did not know how to swim, but she saw her father and knew that she had to find a way to get to him. She had a problem to solve. If she kicked her feet it would propel her to move forward toward her father. When she got in the water, she didn't have a clue how to make herself move.  But by solving the problem and seeing the end result of how to get to Dad, she accomplished her goal and was rewarded with a proud smile. Her next story was age four and the prominent skill was again problem-solving. In deciding what skills she MUST use in her next career, her choice of stories is clear – she must use problem-solving skills to love what she does in her work. Although she had always understood this to be a skill she enjoyed, writing the stories offered additional clarification, which increased her confidence in the process.

These examples illustrate small pieces of the career design puzzle. They emphasize the need to do the inner work necessary to ultimately find a niche that will take you down the Career Happiness path.
Shell Mendelson, founder of NB Careers, specializes in guiding individuals with Career ADD and Career Paralysis to define an authentic career direction.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stunning Secrets to Getting Hired

Getting hired can be a difficult thing in today's economy and circumstances. There are a number of factors that lead to getting hired. Three main ones are:
  1. Finding real jobs.
  2. Getting the right things on the resume/job application.
  3. Getting past the automated systems and HR filters to the hiring manager.
Finding Real Jobs 

We've all seen the advertisements--Local Jobs (Hiring Now) Positions open in your area. Hiring immediately - Apply Here.. Once you get on the site, you may actually see many ads for jobs that look good, interesting, and enticing. These jobs may or may not be real. What I mean is that just because the jobs are advertised doesn't mean that those positions are really available to you at this time. Many of those ads are just place-holders meant to get a lot of applicants into the offering company's Applicant Tracking Database. But, why would anyone advertise just to get applicants into their database? It comes down to the automated systems that are used to acquire employees. It actually takes some time to set up ads, get them posted, and get applicants coming in. It is faster for the hiring company, if they already have a list of people to start looking at. This way they only have to consult the database when they are really ready to hire. 

Other jobs that you see out there are old and outdated-the positions that the companies once had, have already been filled. It just happens that it costs more in time and money to take down the ads, rather than leave them up. And to make matters worse, the big job conglomerates routinely spider those pages every month or so and pick up the dead job again and again. 

Some job listings are out there as a fishing expedition. Companies know that they need someone, but they aren't sure exactly what they need in a candidate. They put out an online ad anyway. As applications come in and as job requirements become more solidified, the company changes the ad to better fit their thinking. Sometimes this takes many months and many revisions, so the job openings appear, get stale, then disappears without ever creating a real new job. 

What all this means is that a lot of people apply online for a job, or multiple jobs, that they just aren't going to hear back from. Companies don't care about how much time, effort, and total frustration these systems cause the applicants, the systems save the company time and effort when hiring, and that is their only concern. 

If you don't want to be spinning your wheels, applying for dead or non-existent jobs, and pulling your hair out waiting for responses to your online job applications that you will never get, then you need to know how to spot the real jobs immediately. You need to know how to separate the time wasters from the real McCoys.

Getting the Right Things on Your Resume or Job Application 

Your resume and job application are the only tools you have to get in the door at a perspective company. These tools are the veritable keys that can get you in or keep you on the outside. Each and every resume and job application will need to be custom made for the specific job that you are applying for. The problem is, knowing what needs to be on that resume and job application. Get the resume and job application right, and you will get more interviews than you thought possible. Get it wrong, and you will hear the crickets chirping while you wait for the phone to ring. 

Getting Past the Automated Systems and HR Filters to Get to the Hiring Managers 

Ever get one of those form letter, rejection letter emails from one of your online job applications? You can tell that it is a form letter because of how poorly the content fits with the position that you applied for and their excuse for passing you up. 

Frankly, getting a rejection letter is a relief in some cases. Not because you didn't want the job, but because often you get no response at all from the company, and wonder for weeks if you just might still, by some miracle, get a surprise interview (which by the way never happens). At least with the rejection email, you aren't left wondering. 

However, I started investigating why people were getting the rejection letters, and I was floored at the answer. The rejection emails come out of the automated systems, the resumes and job applications were often never even looked at by a human being. The applicant tracking systems search for specific words and phrases. If those words or phrases are not found, then they move onto the next application. Interestingly enough, the same words and phrases are the ones that the HR personnel are looking for when they look at the application, after getting it out of the automated system. HR is often just another filter to make sure that only the most qualified applicants get through. Don't get nixed by the autobots, or filtered out by HR. Learn exactly what these filters need to see in your application to get through to the hiring managers.

- Dean Giles, Job Search Coach 

Twenty one years as a Project Manager gave me a lot of experience on the interviewing and hiring end of the job market. One company acquisition and a subsequent reduction-in-force, put me on the opposite end of that equation. I quickly found that the automated online job application mechanisms had pretty much high-jacked the hiring processes. I found that the hiring process for most people is completely broken and that what I had learned over 21 years had to be applied in new and creative ways. I documented how the new systems worked, why the old ones are failing most people right now, and exactly how to take advantage of the new systems and hierarchies. I have managed to help a number people get employed or change jobs even after they had lost all hope of finding a new job.