Personal Excellence

Analyze your thoughts

Thoughts are like those different seashells. The way the seashells gets pushed to the seashore, thoughts occur the same way in our life. Most of them again gets pulled in by the waves. The one’s you catch can be grouped together to make great products. Do you know, a common man can make minimum 39 different varieties of products from a seashell. The reference to thoughts as seashell carries value. Let’s understand about seashell and relate to thoughts.

Seashells generally grow bottom up. They are like the exoskeleton. Every seashell carries unique patterns. These shells acts as protective homes for the soft inhabitants. The visually striking patterns are used toย attract a mate or provide camouflage.

Shell patterns carry the complete history. They represent as what had happened at the shells’ growing edge. They are like a diary.

Like the seashell, our thoughts are by those nerve sparks that creates it. Each thought has its own origin. Mostly at the initial stage of formation, they are not so stable. They can be easily destroyed similar to the wave current for the seashells, for us it’s the situation current. The time at which the thoughts gets formed.

The Seashell life can be related to 3 stages of our thougths.

  1. The formation stage
  2. The dead stage
  3. The life stage.

Formation Stage of Seashell can be related to the future stage of thoughts. When the conditions of formation are not suitable for seashell, they don’t get formed. These can be due to the varying nature of of the wave beds where are they getting formed, the wave currents and the wave heat as well as pressure or the hijacking hunters of the ocean.

Similarly when your thoughts are focussed on to future, you are living in an environment in your mind that’s so fragile. The thoughts hallucinates you, of realism, of aspirations, or in most cases related to stress induced fear, anxiety etc. Though the thoughts of future are not concrete, they can get shattered immediately once your current environment changes. Simple correlation would be, when you are on a vacation on Mauritius beach, you live in a scenic environment. Most of the time, you would visualize your life being beautiful and even planning as to how it would it be, when you plan to live by a beautiful seashore. The moment your vacation gets over, you come back to reality. With in few days, you totally forget about the future lifestyle that you were building as pack of cards at Mauritius. The future thoughts when captured and held properly can turnout to become beautiful seashells. But mostly we leave those to fall and they vanish with time.

The dead stage of seashell are the one’s where they get pushed into the seashore. These are scattered all over on the seashore. In this stage, the mussels or the oyster or the clam have died either full-filling their journey or failing along its course. They become the remnants of the past. Similarly the thoughts of the past are the dead stage. The reason is, in no way we can go and correct the course. The one that happened as good, are to be rejoiced while the bad ones are just a scar, an experience. But never to dwell in those for long, because they don’t drive you forward. They just hold you.

Formation of a pearl. Referrence Natgeo Wild.

The life stage is where the pearls are made. Pearls are formed naturally when an irritant – in general a parasite – gets into an oyster, mussel, or clam. In order to protect similar to a defense mechanism, a fluid coats the irritant. It’s called as ‘nacre’ as it is coated layer upon layer. It’s deposited once a shining pearl is formed. Your present thoughts are similar to those. The irritants are like your hardships. The more you focus on the current one in hand, you will gain results. The results can be simple work completion, to a happy dinner with family or a time by yourself in the evening watching the sunset.

Life is a mixture of all these stages. All these thoughts. You cannot do away with one another. They are here to stay. The present thought in the current moments keeps you in the moment. The future when aligned with the present, helps you to work your way up. Grab your steps in a planned way to reach your goal. The past can be just a guiding force, when its an experience. The more the present, it keeps you at the peace and with a percentage of future should act as a guiding force to reach your goal. The past has to be minimalistic. When you forget about your past, you are bound to repeat your mistakes again.

Above all, the only thing you have to heal is the present thought. Get that right and the whole picture will change into one of harmony and joy.

Eckhart Tolle

Professional Growth

Plan, Organize, Integrate, Motivate & Measure – Part 1

The topic is a valuable statement from the management thought leader Peter F Drucker. This can be looked both from the management parlance as well as from a personal mastery perspective.

Planning

Planning is all about the steps to be taken towards achieving a vision. Vision is future imprint that an organization or a team or an individual visualized as a goal. Thus planning considers the current conditions in which the team operates or the individuals execution capabilities. The planning takes into account different factors. For an organization it considers,

  1. The market in which they operate.
  2. The economic conditions of the market.
  3. The competitors and their competitors.
  4. Their customers.
  5. Forecasts.
  6. Critical contingencies.

When it comes to individuals, the above factors do apply, but within their area of execution. For personal mastery seekers or budding entrepreneurs, the points that needs to be considered are

  1. The capability of the individual.
  2. The subject they are passionate about.
  3. The evolving opportunities and the influencers.
  4. The knowledge bearer.
  5. Their adoption window.
Personal mastery assessment framework

The main purpose of planning is to establish objectives. The goals that needs to be achieved and by when to be achieved. When planning, you would also need to take into consideration, what can be the alternative course of action, incase you face challenges. Planning should also have the steps or the task breakdown at a higher level.

Let’s assume that you would like to start blogging and to reach larger audience. Then you need to plan for the next fortnight, what would be the topic on which you would write the blogs, the frequency in which you would release the blogs and where these blogs fits in, with respect to your overall vision about you. Also, are there any backup blog drafts in place, incase for some reason, you are not able to focus on this blog.

Similarly, in an organization, a team has to plan for their task delivery. Let’s assume as case where in the team has to collect the the feedback from the employees related to CoVID situation. So, the team has to split and own, the following: The employees to be targeted across various departments, the channel in which the survey could be conducted, the time duration during which the survey is being planned, what is the end result the organization is looking from this survey and hence the kind of questions that needs to be framed, how the survey can be launched, if there is some system issues how would we mitigate.

The most important step about planning, is that at every progress stage you have to check, how much it is aligned with respect to the plan, what is needed to be tweaked or re-aligned, when its not aligned towards the original goal. Also, you need to do an impact analysis, What if, I leave halfway of my goal or what if the team fails to deliver.

The planning can be of different types depending upon the stage at which they happen.

Strategic Planning – This happens as an actionable item, once the vision is formulated. Strategic planning generally has long time window, generally from 3 years to 10 yrs. However for individuals, you can consider from anywhere 6 months to 2 years. Strategic planning be it for the organization or the individual can change their course of growth completely. When John F Kennedy announced in 1961, within a decade we will have a man on the moon – This is a vision statement. They were able to land successfully on the moon, as they started to plan for each and every step along with a fall back scenario. Two things that I would like to relate here are

  • JoAnn Morgan, the instrumentation controller in Launch Control at the Kennedy Space Center, recalls that there were 23 critical things that had to occur perfectly for the mission to be successful. That is a strategic plan to achieve a goal.
  • Collins who was part of the crew in the lunar mission, orbiting the moon in the mother ship, clearly know that if something happens to the crew which lands on the moon, ie to Neil Armstrong & Edwin Aldrin, he has to comeback leaving them on the moon. That’s the fallback option if a catastrophe occurs.
The view of Earth from the surface of the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Source: –https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2017/07/apollo-missions-nasa-lunar-moon-landing/

Tactical planningย – This for an organization is of intermediate range like one to three years. For personal mastery, it can be considered anywhere between 90 -180days. For example, you would like to publish a book of poems. Then you start writing minimum 2 poems per day for the next 90 to 180 days. That brings you to 180 or 360 poems. Now you have a collection of poems, which you can further be amended and corrected to be launched as a book

Operational planningย – This is short form of delivery towards the tactical milestones. In operational planning in an organization, you can generally find the department teams or the project units working on their day to day tasks aligned with the wider goal of half yearly or the annual goals. An individual should refer to this as his or her weekly or day to day tasks. Relating to the same example above, in order to write two poems every day, you need to identify the topics or category in which you would write poems for this week. Say for example the poems in week one relates to nature, week two relates to humanity etc. You are likely to spend everyday 2-3hrs to write couple of poems on this topic. This helps to design and develop steps that is aligned with the larger vision through the strategic and tactical plans.

As this being a 5 part series blog, you can follow up on this topic every thursday.

Personal Excellence

Manage Time not Time to Manage you.

Manage time not time to manage you

The important aspect for all of us is, how to manage time. Have you realized, when you donโ€™t plan your activities properly; you will always find you are running short of time. During that course, you will realize that with the limited time in hand, you had been forced to deliver your task. You would also realize, that when you have time in hand you could have delivered a better work. Hence, it leads to the fundamental aspect about planning. Plan well, so that you can manage time rather than time managing you.

Personal Excellence, Professional Growth

3P’ of Luck

3P's of luck

Most of the times, we think, luck is something that we need to be blessed with. The way luck work is good luck follows hard work around. So in order to be lucky you have 3Pโ€™s within you. The 3Pโ€™s are Practice, Perseverance, Patience. To reach your goal, you need toย  be skilled at it. That happens by practice. Then you follow your goal continuously. The same passion with which you started at the initial go. Thatโ€™s perseverance. During the perseverance stage, you might get diluted or distracted. Be patient enough, for you will achieve your goal.