Sunday, 28 December 2014

Holiday Time...Is it causing stress ? How to Keep Calm and Avoid Fighting with Your Kids

Holidays bring in togetherness, joy and happiness. So why do you end up feeling so stressed, exhausted and overwhelmed. I just noticed this while sitting in the coffee shop at the Taj a while ago. Witnessing a young couple getting so hassled with their kid's behaviour. This made me ponder over and here I am penning down few tips.

The stress is caused by this innate desire that we have that our children should look good and behave well—and when this doesn’t happen, we can start to feel like we’re somehow failing as parents.

We all believe that holidays are supposed to be happy, peaceful, loving times. But we also know that the “supposed to’s”–in other words, all the expectations that go along with this—carry a lot of pressure with them. Anxiety follows and reacting to our anxiety leads to “reactivity.” That's when we lose it all and yell at our kids. It's then natural for us to feel overwhelmed.

Parents often ask me, “How can I manage to enjoy the holidays when I have so much to do and my kids are acting out in front of relatives?”  I tell them to ask themselves an entirely different question, and that question is, “How might I contribute—not cause, but contribute—to my child’s acting out behavior?”
Do I buy into expectations and take too much responsibility, and not ask for enough help, inadvertently causing stress?

Do I tend to become over-controlling when stressed?

The  most important question to ask yourself is, “What do I need to get control over my own behavior at these times?
What do I need to change in myself that will create more calm and peace inside of me?”
The truth is, if you can get yourself under control and take responsibility for your anxiety levels, that feeling will spread to your family members—and you'll probably experience less anger and defiance from your kids, as well.

So what can you do to achieve this calm? Here are some steps to follow this holiday season.

1. Stop trying to manage your child’s misbehaviour, they won’t be so busy resisting your efforts. Hold them accountable for their behaviour.

2. Try to keep to normal routines as much as possible.

3. Ask family members for help in planning and preparing.

4. Make your children feel like they’re an integral part of the events taking place. Giving them responsibilities help.
5. Learn to say “no.” Don’t let other people’s expectations push you to extremes or into doing too much or too little.

6. Have some encouraging one liners up your mind to say to yourself to help you get through the stress. You might say, “Just let it go,” or “This too will pass,” or “It’s not too difficult." Try to swap negative thoughts that may come up with one of these one liners.

7.  Be clear about what you expect from family members. You should also be clear about what you are and aren’t responsible for.

8. Remember if we carry stress it spills onto our kids who already may have behavior problems and gives magnitude to the problem.

9. Do not keep thinking in your in mind, again, that your child is necessarily a reflection of you.

10. The bottom line is that there will be much more positive family togetherness on each holiday season if you pause and think about how you want to respond to your child.

Never start feeling that we are somehow failing as parents. Think about new ways, keep experimenting and think what you can do best in the particular situation.
Happy Parenting ! Enjoy the year end holidays and Have a sparkling New Year ! 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Time For New Year Resolutions !

In about a week plus it will be New Year's Day. Traditionally we all set new goals on New Year's Day - what we usually call New Year's Resolutions. But unfortunately it is also traditional to break those resolutions. New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies: They’re fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain. A study in 2002 found that a much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later.

I tried too, for years. I kept asking myself why I could not stick to my new year’s goals. I for sure wanted them. They seemed important to me but clearly not so important to achieve them. It seemed to be a never ending story, year after year. Does that sound familiar?  

Well, then I focused & started brainstorming all the choices I had been making both consciously and through pure habit. I studied my patterns. I finally realised the cause,discovered the reason why I was failing

I was failing because what I lacked was the Change experience. I did not know that there was a process for change, a system that I could use that will guarantee my success in keeping up the resolution. A process to examine my New Year’s resolution or any goal for that matter. There was a need to to think and what to do …to make the much required real change.

It's hard to keep up the enthusiasm months after you've swept up the confetti, but it's not impossible. Let’s not restrict ourselves to the “negatives” that most of us associate with the New Year’s Resolutions like eating, smoking etc. Why not have really exciting, positive goals that you would love to achieve. Think for a moment! 

What goals would you you set? What difference would they make? How would you grade your Happiness on a scale of 1-10 by the end of 2015 on achieving those Goals.

Our society is a very results-driven one, so we are quick to focus on the outcome winning a competition as opposed to a process goal ,that is staying focussed on the process. The problem lies here ..we have very little control over the outcome goals but we can do a lot on the process bit.
What if this coming year you were to set yourself some goals that are exciting and would make a real difference to your life, and then were able to keep them too?

Now that you know you are focussed on achieving this, what’s stopping you ?
Perhaps you don’t have a system that you can utilise or may be you require a partner to give you that nudge or an accountability partner. HIRE A COACH! The coach would help you along the way to create your own basic short term goals and help you build a system to reach them and then those little wins will turn into more noticeable achievements. And before you would know you would be half way through and setting and meeting your New Year Resolutions. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “the only constant is change itself” and I could not agree more.
Life is about CHANGE. But the question is, are you happy with the changes you are making?

Let your Coach help you take control of the changes you make this year and beyond. Know what a resolution really mean. 
What are the pitfalls that cause most of us to abandon our resolutions?
How to turn your resolutions into tangible goals? 
How to determine the best strategies for reaching your goals?
How to set your larger life based goals that determine your course of action   towards a newer you?

If you want to experience CHANGE you must become a student of CHANGE and have a detailed planning system that you can use to map out your major objectives for the year and begin tracking your progress monthly, weekly and even daily to ensure long term success along with your coach who gently help you chalk out your overall Vision, Yearly Goals, Monthly Goals, Weekly Goals and Daily Goals….and much MUCH more. The Time is NOW!!!

Take control of your destiny once and for all. 
Signing off with a excitement to meeting the NEW YOU! Cheers!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Live the Life you Dream of- Now!

We all seem to learn to prepare ourselves for the future. All learnings seem to be directed towards having a better future and it is so easy to get caught in up in this future whirlpool that one loses the ability live the life you’re living right now.

Realizing the Power Of The Present…

The first action towards a better life is to realize the power that the present moment holds. Each one of us have different ways to truly come to this realization. Here a coach will be able to help you get the clarity about where you are in life ..your present status, help you look within. This personal reflection time will allow you to sort out your inner thoughts.

Enjoying The Journey that you take….

Your journey is yours. Your goals are important, but it's the path you take toward your goals that yield the much needed results. The coach walks the path with you here too, helping you decide on your goals and the route that you take. You must be willing to enjoy your life and live consciously, even if you haven't yet reached your goals. But to remain motivated have short term goals and once you achieve them celebrate the little successes and mov towards the next goal towards success.

One can remain happy by concentrating on the present and enjoying the journey. As you make positive progress towards your goal, enjoy the feel that you're always one step closer.

Envisioning Your Future…
While you should spend a great deal of time enjoying the present moment, enhance your happiness by envisioning your future. The coach helps you envision the happy life that lies ahead once you chalk out the strategy and achieve the goals. A coach helps you know that there actually exists a system whereby you can create and design your life the way YOU want to.

Reflect on the feelings associated with the successful completion of your goals. Think about the traits you'll exhibit when you have the life you desire. Now bring those traits into your present. What you're learning now will shape your future, so you might as well approach today with joyful gratitude!

Live your ideal life Now!
It's important to live the life you desire right now and that too passionately.

Follow simple rules:

• Adopt a "glass is half full" mentality

• Even on the busiest of days, spend some time on yourself.

• Don't waste your time on people who don't believe in you and your abilities

Most importantly, We need to believe in ourselves and not get lost in the self limiting beliefs. Most of us are afraid of taking risks. We put off action towards our dreams indefinitely because we fear stepping out of our comfort zones.

Do not het trapped in the negative patterns.

Don't waste your time on dead ends. Instead, take action, learn your lessons, and enjoy the journey! Let your coach help you create the life you want!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Converse to Lead others to converse !!

We all at some point or the other have felt and noticed how some people just use their charm and charisma, or their ability to think and handle with ease when their guests say something unexpected. Perhaps it’s their genuine interest in the people which helps them deal with such situations with utmost ease.These are all great traits. However, for me, the characteristic that come to my mind is that they all have the ability to guide the conversation so that the other person takes centre-stage or, at least most of the time. It’s all about how you converse. 

Do you ask questions like :
Are you ok?
Shall we have a meeting about the project?
Did you finish the project report ?
Would you do this for me? 
or Do you say?
How are you getting on with that project? 
What are you feeling like at the moment?
Why did you choose to do it that way?

The four questions on top are closed questions. They would get answers in monosyllables of a “Yes”or a “No.” Where as the open questions that start with a Who…? What…? Why…? When…? How…? The open questions encourage a longer answer eliciting more than a short, sharp response that a closed question offer. They get the other person to think and reflect on their thoughts, opinions, and feelings and express them.

Open questions help you:
- Learn more about a situation.
- Develop a great conversation.
- Show people that you’re interested in them.
- Get someone’s opinion.
- Avoid any kind of misunderstanding.
- Help people come up with their own solutions to problems.
Here I am reminded of some questions that I recently asked my client who was trying to lose weight and during one of conversations, I wanted to tell him not to eat junk food rather carry lunch to work. So had I asked him “why don't you bring your lunch to work?” it may have caused resistance. If the clients feel they are being told what to do or feel they ‘re being shamed, they tend to feel anxious. Asking the same question using the word “how” or “what” changes the tone. The questions like : "What keeps you from carrying lunch to work?” or “How would things have to change for you to prepare your lunch for work?” imply that a situation can be changed and not making the client feel that he/she is at fault. 

Asking open questions move clients forward instead of those that seek to justify what went wrong? For example asking “What can you try next time you’re hungry at 10 pm?” may prompt a solution, while “Tell me what you were thinking when you ate those cookies” focuses on what the client did wrong. We could also land up with suggestions posing as questions, like “Could you keep a water bottle at your desk?” These might not be good for the client .The more open the question is, the more opportunity the client has tothink of a way that will work for him or her. Instead I asked, “How can you remind yourself to drink water more often?” This left the solution wide open for the client to decide.

Some more questions that helped my client to plan ahead, including strategies to circumvent roadblocks were,“What will you do if you get hungry after lunch?” or “When will you fit the two-mile walk into your schedule?” will ensure the client leaves with a solid plan, including strategies to circumvent roadblocks.

Learn the art of great conversation and an effective way to learn how to ask more open questions is to reflect upon the conversations that you have with people.What questions did you ask? How could you have rephrased a closed question so that it was an open question?Then aim to improve your questioning skills, one conversation at a time.

Over to you: Be a charmer all the way !

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Determine your Learning style

Sharing what I used often as a teacher!
Every one has preferences for learning. It’s all about what works best for you. If you understand how you learn best, how you comprehend any new information coming across you, studying for exams or acquiring new skills on a new job, you can save on your time. Do you see more or hear more or do more? That helps you know your style of learning. The most common learning style are visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. We can have more than one style working for us !
Think back on a class in which you received a good grade. How did the teacher teach? How did you study for the tests?
Let me give you and example of a simple task of remembering a phone number(though these days you don't need to ). 
Do you see, in your mind’s eye, how the numbers look on the phone? Or can you ‘see’ the number on a piece of paper, picturing it exactly as you wrote it down? You might be a visual learner
Or, perhaps you can ‘hear’ the number in the way that someone recited it to you, breaking into 3 digits. In this case, you might be an auditory learner
If you ‘let your fingers do the walking’ on the phone, i.e., your fingers dial the number without looking at the phone, you may be a tactile/kinesthetic learner.”

So go ahead explore your style of learning and move closure to your goals!!!

Friday, 31 October 2014



1) Uncover the "Why"
Many times, when teachers are asked why they are teaching a certain lesson they respond with, “Because it’s in the curriculum”. If you are one of these teachers, then you already know the reason why you are having problems making your lessons livelier.
Just sit down, think hard and list all your personal reasons for teaching a particular lesson and use this reason to be creative in your class.
Ask yourself :
Am I teaching students about natural sciences to give them appreciation for nature and everything around them?
Am I helping them learn about mathematical operations so they can understand Algebra better in a few years’ time?
2) Evaluate Your Performance
After the school year ends, stop and think about everything that had transpired.
Did you reach your goals for the year?
Were there activities that you could improve on?
Did your students appreciate you style of teaching?
What worked and what didn’t work?
Asking yourself these questions can help you evaluate and revise your teaching style for the year to come.
Gather everything you can about what happened to better prepare you for what will happen next. Reflect on how you want to move forward with teaching the next time you step into a classroom.
3) Let Your Curiosity Lead You
Oftentimes, inspiration can hit you while travelling or reading an interesting article in a magazine or when you’re strolling around on a jungle trail. Be observant . Collect everything that catches your eye. A nice photograph for a writing exercise, or a handful of interesting rocks to help explain erosion are all potential classroom activities waiting to be explored. Stay inspired and be creative.
4) Create Your Own Assessment Tools
If you’re starting the New Year with a brand new curriculum, then you have the opportunity to create your own assessment tools. Spend the summer holidays coming up with these. Start with creating a general overview of your year or term and take time creating really in-depth assessments.
5) Step Back A Little, take a breather
Stressing about the coming year will only burn you out before you even starting up!
Relax and take a week or two away from the pressure of creating lesson plans and activities.
Do something that interests you and recharge yourself! Be a sparkling fresh teacher!
If you give yourself space to decompress, de-stress, you’ll be fresh and ready to tackle the work that needs to be done in the year ahead.
6) Learn About Your School’s new Evaluation Tools for teachers
There are new form of evaluation for teachers coming in these days, you should take it upon yourself to learn about it. Take note of the highest ranking and understand what makes an exemplary teacher in the eyes of this evaluation.
7) Meet up with Fellow Teachers
One can get inspired by meeting up with another teacher. Grab the opportunity to meet with a group of teachers, either form your school or from another. You’ll never know what you might learn from spending the day with fellow teachers. You can all exchange tips and experiences.
You can try out new methods of teaching that have worked for others or you can model your lesson plan against that of another person who has a similar load.
These 7 steps, may help you to start the new-year or new term as a better teacher. Work on your teaching skills and you’ll see a vast improvement in your students’ participation as well.
Happy teaching !

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Angels on Earth

Delhi,August 2011… Packing..moving…leaving it all behind once again….we moved to Jabalpur. It was an obvious change after Delhi….no pollution no traffic chaos and with a lot of greenery around I was even breathing well. The greatest joy was yet to come…….

Came in February and  I joined Army Asha SchoolJabalpur as a Principal. It was the greatest gift of God, giving me an opportunity to work with special kids.  I was anxious the first day, doubtful about my abilities to handle them …about the way they would react… will they accept me or not? It was a test I had to pass. :)

ImageThe much awaited D-day arrived and I trotted into the school with my heart beat going up, adrenaline rushing in the blood. The moment I stepped in, I felt the purity of the place…the sanctity touched my heart. I went to each section and met each child, was introduced by the special educators and I found each  kid responding with love and expectation. They are the most innocent beings that I have ever come across in my life. Their genuine appreciation of whatever I did, their thoughtful gestures filled me with wonder. On my very first day, I fell in love with what I was doing! :)
 So within a week’s time I was part of their daily routine and their faces lit up on seeing me. It made my belief stronger than ever that happiness cannot be solely from external sources, it comes from within, by doing something that gives you a soulful experience and this was it. One experiences the purest form of love when working with these kids who are in a world of their own!
I am always reminded of the philosophy of Socrates: firstly KNOW THYSELF. This may be an old Greek aphorism, but its relevance is eternal. A little bit of introspection will take you a long way on the road of self discovery. Once the process starts ,you will start finding the answers to most of your problems, instead of feeling persecuted. On working on ourselves we soon discover the term happiness and also know what causes it. I think for me the happiness was to be with these angels. Day after day they filled my days with gratitude.
 The most fulfilling experience was to get them home for a picnic. The thought of an outing and that too to at ma'ams house got a smile to every face and gave me immense pleasure. So one day two buses full of kids, teachers and care takers reached home and we all had a whale of a time.. playing around, gathering amla fruit, dancing and of course enjoying the picnic lunch. It was a day to relish all my life!
 Gradually facing the challenges in everyday working, the realization dawned on me that being a parent of a child with special needs, undoubtedly have bigger challenges to overcome than you can ever think of ! So next on list was the Herculean task of counseling the parents to consider their child as differently abled and not as disabled. Faced with challenges and emotions …its a journey to tred on.When a new born arrives,it brings lots of emotions – happiness,excitement,amazement ,joy. But when your baby is born with a physical or mental disabilty … emotions often turn into shock, sadness, anger, bewilderment or anxiety.What do you do with the swell of these emotions? Its easy said than done to work through the pain and sorrow and rediscovering joy.Your baby is alive and you truly are thankful. Still, there are things that have died: your dreams, expectations, hopes, wishes….I’ve lived through the pain with the parents. I would pat myself in helping them accept their child’s handicap and making them believe in themselves and in their child, to focus on what is and not on what is not took the utmost effort…making them see that ..Is the glass half empty …or half full? The truth is its both in this case. Got to recognize and admit the “half empty” part, purposefully choose to focus on what the child can do :this is the :“half full” part.
I have learnt to appreciate them and see the world through their eyes. The special child, unaware of the challenges that are lined up by society, lives each day as it comes, enjoying the present moment. He is unhappy when in pain, aggressive when things go wrong and claps his hands with joy on seeing his smallest achievement. They have a spirited soul trapped in a dysfunctional body; that desire to move ahead in life.
I wish each child here to be another Malini Chib- a woman who defied all odds to emerge victorious in spite of a crippling disability and indifferent society, who dragged herself out of the limits of her condition. Her autobiography “One Little Finger” is a story of Malini’s search for independence and identity, and her zeal to live a full meaningful life despite lifelong disability. She seemed to have found the strength to salute life and live it with laughter and humor. That’s the message I wish to put across.
It is often said by people who mean well that working with children with special needs “require the patience of a saint”. Let me tell you it’s not true what it does require is human compassion, something most of us have more than we seem ready to acknowledge. Elevating the status of someone who works with a child with special needs to that of a saint is not-so-subtle a way of saying that the work is challenging that it requires extra human effort. At the same time, it establishes the justification for not even considering such work. After all, if one is only human, let the saints among us help the physically disabled, lead the blind, comfort the emotionally disturbed and tend the sick. It’s the “I’m no saint” defence.
So come forward and be a part of their life! Its so fulfilling, it’s amazing to help these children and build a trusting, working relationship with them.After one year of working here I feel so enriched and have a sense of satisfaction least I have brought a smile on their faces!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The spirit to try new things ...synonymous with the spirit of self-improvement.


We all can differ in how we feel about trying new things. Some resist and often fear it, while others positively crave for it. I’ve heard people saying, “I haven’t even liked trying new foods, preferring instead to eat what I already know I like.” Some, in contrast, almost never order the same thing twice. In fact, some do not even go to the same restaurant twice. Some of us thrive on routine, finding ourselves for the most part perfectly happy to do the same things day after day (never getting tired of them because we love doing them). They say when you keep doing the same thing ,you keep getting the same thing, you can't expect different results. 
Routine sets in a kind of discipline for sure. Still, despite these benefits, the real reason we resist trying new things and prefer routine is fear (what else?)—fear of the unknown. Studies suggest we fear an unknown outcome more than we do a known bad one. What if I don’t like this new dish? What if that foreign country is dangerous? What if it doesn’t work out?
But trying something new opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new. Entire careers, entire life paths, are carved out by people dipping their baby toes into small ponds and suddenly discovering a love for something they had no idea would capture their imagination.
Trying something new keeps you from getting bored of things you do so often, you might lose the spark! I become bored if I’m not continually challenged in some way. And it’s not the new challenges I’m eager to take on that represent my greatest opportunities for growth—it’s the ones I’m not.
Trying something new forces us to grow. We don’t ever grow from taking action we’ve always taken (the growth that enabled us to be able to take it has already occurred). Growth seems to require we take new action first, whether it’s adopting a new attitude or a new way of thinking, or literally taking new action. Thrusting yourself into new situations and leaving yourself there alone, so to speak, often forces beneficial and a good change. A spirit of constant self-challenge keeps you humble and open to new ideas that very well may be better than the ones you currently hold dear (this happens to me all the time).
Which is why it’s usually this last point that wins me over. For me, trying new things isn’t about just enjoying a new activity or food, for example. I really am content enjoying all the things I already enjoy. It’s about venturing into something entirely different. And as painful as that is, nothing, I believe, contributes to our happiness more than shattering the delusions to which we cling, unable as we often are to distinguish between beliefs that are true and beliefs that are false (especially beliefs about ourselves). And for better or worse, we simply seem unable, most of the time, to identify a belief as delusional unless some experience shows us.

So win over your self limiting beliefs! Create new opportunities, grab them and get going!

Friday, 10 October 2014

It Isn't Easy Being a Parent...

Parenting can be wonderful and rewarding, but it can also be difficult and unpleasant. Parenting today has become a difficult, complex and often exhausting “business”. The demands of juggling personal, professional and family obligations combined with a changing world have made parenting a challenge today.
What has happened to today’s parents? Are we worse parents than the parents of previous generations?  Are we to blame for our children’s deteriorating behaviour?
 Our answer is unequivocally – No! Then who is to be blamed?
Let’s look around and pick up few changes that have sneaked into our way of life. Drastic changes in society have led to an increased feeling of detachment, both from extended family members and from our community that includes our neighbours. The current situation has led to a significant loss of support for parents and their necessity to act alone and isolated in the face of great parenting challenges. The role of grandparents is becoming a thing of past.
Can we really expect parents to spend more “quality time” with their family when the demands and expectations of their employment require extra work hours (with emails, mobiles intervention)?  Is it realistic or even fair to ask mothers to sacrifice their careers or father’s to risk their employment for more “family time”? But isn’t it a basic requirement to spend time with kids. Are we even trying to listen what the child is trying to say? Are you paying attention to the body language or other cues that might indicate there’s more to a story? Try and spend time together in ways that fit your lifestyle. Try to make time for regular meals together, go for walks, and talk in the car. You need not strive to live up to a stereotype or an ideal of parenting; just do what works for you.
Are we justified in placing blame on parents for their children behaviour?  When we witness the misbehaviour of a child, rarely do we consider the parents’ difficulties or acknowledge the challenges they face. It is unfortunate that people are unlikely to take into account the child’s temperament or the many trials and tribulations that parents must cope with. This climate of blame and reproach often leads parents to blame themselves, which increases their frustration as well as their isolation. 
We, as parents need to empower ourselves and as such improve our relationship with our children and that will significantly decrease children’s behaviour problems. Staying calm is one of the most effective parenting strategies. Yelling or “losing it” sends the message, “I need you to behave so that I can feel calmer; I don’t know how to be calm and in control of myself unless you are behaving the way I need you to.”
Be the dad who is approachable. Be the mom who asks a lot of questions about school, interests, and activities. You don’t have to be nosy to get to know your children’s friends, but you do have to be the one to set the tone of kind, friendly interaction. Your kids might think it’s a little weird at first, but in the long run they’ll appreciate it
This one is simple, but definitely not easy: Be the kind of person you want your child to be.
Know your values and act on them, treat others the way you would like to be treated, follow your dreams, cut yourself some slack when appropriate, and feel good knowing you’re building the assets your kids need to succeed.
In reality, there are no guaranteed methods for ensuring we and our children will be happy, healthy, and successful in life. It really is still a systemic oppression that falls on parents – that we are expected to be perfect parents along with our long work hours and the myriad of household chores that need handling, in addition to tending to our primary relationships with partner and friends. All of which requires care and time to nurture. The mantra of modern parenting is communication Good luck to all you lovely parents ..Happy Parenting !

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Are we role models for our kids?

Once a friend asked,” How does one build passion and commitment in the child?" Is it something you are born with? Are role models important for kids? When asked, most of us would agree that kids learn from role models and imitate behaviours of those they admire. The question then is not, “Do kids imitate adults?”…."But,” which behaviour do they imitate?”…….There is no dearth of negative role models around…so I think parents are the best role models.
Children are more likely to imitate parents if parents spend time with them.  In addition, parents need be very intentional about what they role model for their children. In some families, parents spend or hand out “guilt money” in order to make up for the time they aren’t spending with their kids. Many kids lack the basic social skills needed to foster healthy friendships because they spend so much time interacting with “things.” The “Things” do build their self esteem, make them feel good and gets them friends!!! These days, their identity and social status are defined by what and how much they own. Thus we land up spoiling them and making them selfish. On a societal level, this surely broadens the chasm between the parents who can afford to buy what their kids want and those who can’t. And with so much of the popular culture working against parents; it can be a tough task. Professional marketers have produced industry articles such as “The Nag Factor” and “The Art of Fine Whining” that instruct advertisers on how to manipulate kids into demanding their products from parents. And parents get suckered into the frenzy.
The starkest example of the over-growing, insatiable, desire for material goods is when I ask children what they want to do when they grow up. They all they say they want to make money. Researchers have proved that people who are highly focused on materialistic values are less satisfied with life, seem less happy, have higher incidence of unsatisfactory interpersonal relationships. So that makes us parents more aware in making sure we give the right guidance.
I think parents can use the same three-step sales strategy that marketers use, but with a different message and for a very different purpose.
      First, parents should acknowledge that children’s needs are important: Kids need to have friends and feel that they fit in. They need to find their own unique identity and gradually accept responsibility and gain independence as they grow. Kids should know that you see those as valid goals for them, too.
      Second, parents need to reassure kids that they can be successful at reaching those goals: Parents can show children that their path to happiness depends on relationships with other people and not with the acquisition of things. Kids may not realize it, but having resposibilities is good for them. Each one of us need to know they are valued and valuable. Parents can show their kids that they are valued at home by giving them responsibilities.
      And finally, parents can say, follow us, we’ll teach you the skills you need to make friends, earn the respect of others, and be happy in life.”
As children grow, they need guidance on increasingly complex arrays of issues. Today’s children are the first day-care generation; the first generation defined by computers and television; the first generation to grow up in desegregated schools; and the first generation in which both parents usually are employed. As a result, because of their expanded knowledge and wider experiences as children, teenagers think they need adults less. By displaying moral and ethical behavior, parents can also impart values which can counter the negative influences children may receive from their peers or media. The responsibility of being a role model can also encourage parents to better themselves. Parents need to intentionally role model honesty, integrity, compassion, dependabilty, high standards and values.
Because children seem to be more world wise than in the past, we are more likely to assume that they can take care of themselves. One often find kids telling their Mom and Dad what to buy for themselves and the family – what clothes are “in” and what cars or mobiles are “cool”. :)
Think about the kind of person you’d like your child to be or become. I hope you want your child to be: Someone who genuinely cares about other people, values others for who they are and not what they look like or own, and shows love for family and friends. Someone who demonstrates responsibility and can set and work towards long-term goals! Someone who is willing to share with and give to others . Children don’t just naturally acquire these virtues. They need to be taught, primarily by parents.
        And with so much of the popular culture working against parents; it can be a tough task. Parenting today is a difficult, complex and often exhausting "bussiness". The demands of juggling personal, professional and family obligations combined with the changing face of the world and increased isolation have made parenting a Hurculean task.
         To be a role model is simple, but definitely not easy: Be the kind of person you want your child to be. Know your values and act on them, treat others the way you would like to be treated, follow your dreams, cut yourself some slack when required, and feel good knowing you're building the assets that your kids need to succeed!! :)

Monday, 6 October 2014



When mistrust comes in, love goes out. – Irish saying
The Trust is instinctive and is always nurtured with faith. And just a step away is what we would never want in life ...betrayal, one of the most painful things one person can inflict on another. And once released, betrayal can wear down faith with relentless pain. Although the pain is unbearable, one can restore the damaged foundation of the relationship by rebuilding the trust.
Here are few steps to rebuild trust, each focused on forgiveness. The first and foremost being -Listening intently: It is the first step to reconciliation . Its all about you putting their feelings first, showing that you value not only what they have to say, but how they feel.
Magic starts to begin when you express Earnest Intentions. There could be nothing better than to restore their confidence in your intentions.
Lots happen when you Respect their feelings. The natural response to pain and hurt is to shut down. Respect their feelings and demonstrate remorse by acknowledging your role in how they feel. Convince that you understand and respect how you made them feel.
Make an effort to Expel Deceit: Hidden lies hurt more than recognized lies. A betrayal of trust already cuts deep to where there is no margin for deceit. . Open yourself to honesty and avoid the contours of concealed intrigue. By being straightforward you no longer hide your faults where they can inflict pain. You are showing yourself ready to reconcile.
Last but not the least- Reconcile. Without reconciliation, the relationship becomes a fraudulent thing dressed in the tatters of torn friendship. And so you must resolve and reconcile your breach of trust on their terms because it is their decision whether they believe the chance of another betrayal is worth the sum parts of your relationship. You are in this way placing the bond of trust into their hands. They cannot trust you until you trust them. Whether the path is easy or difficult it is the only route leading to the reclamation of your relationship.
Share your inspiration , If you enjoyed reading this !

Parenting a Child with Special Needs...What do you want me to do now?

If I, even for a second sit and think about my day to day working as a Head at the school for special children, it would be debatable to say if its all easy. I, if not on all days but somedays feel overwhelmed by emotions of anger, sadness and a definite zest to do something for the lovely children. Anger towards the people who do not wish to understand what goes on in the world of these children and their small desire to be a part of the society and not otherwise. Sadness for unreached goals of the people trying to make a difference in the lives of these children but are blocked and looked down upon by a certain percentage of the society.  I could still somewhere hold my outburst of emotions about what the ignorant part of the world thinks or reacts towards the special children but I cannot let my feelings slide for the parents of these children. The parents undoubtedly have greater challenges to overcome than one can pen down and beyond.images (2)It’s easy to say that God never gives you more than you can handle. We try and tell the parents that God chose you because He feels you are the blessed one or have the strength to take care of a special kid. Some of this might be true, depending on how much you've  put up with. Did anyone turn up to help you? Did you get enough sleep? And then of course you love your kid, but  there is this huge cloud that just rains on you all the time!images Parenting is already an exhausting endeavour; raising a child with various physical, developmental or emotional challenges can be a Herculean task. Faced with unexpected challenges and emotions it’s a journey to tread on. Raising a child with any disorder, condition or special need, is both a blessing and a challenge. A challenge for the obvious reasons, and a blessing because you don't know the depths of victory and joy until you see your child overcoming some of those challenges (sometimes while smiling like a goofy bear). images (5)The birth of a baby brings lots of emotion — most would assume emotions of happiness, excitement, amazement and joy. But when your baby is born with a physical or mental disability — emotions often turn to shock, sadness, anger, bewilderment or anxiety. What do you do with this swell of emotion? It’s easy said than done to work through the pain and sorrow and rediscovering joy. Your baby is alive and you truly are thankful. Still, there are things that have died: dreams, expectations, hopes, wishes. Allow yourself to grieve. There will be shock, denial, anger, bargaining with God, depression, acceptance. The question of “Why God?” will haunt you. Go ahead; wrestle with that question. At some point you will need to rephrase your question from "Why?" to "What do You want me to do now?" Focus on what is, rather not on what is not. Is the glass half empty … or half full? glass-half-full1The truth is it's both. Recognize and admit the "half empty" part. Yes, your newborn may never get to ______ (finish the sentence as applicable). You must also purposefully choose to focus on what your child can do and what are the attainable goals and dreams for this new family member. This is the “half full” part. images (4)Take one day at a time…literally. This is not a cliché; it’s a healthy way of life. Two important forces shall be active:  The actual life of your child will help you deal with the losses because he or she will capture your heart and pull you into life in healing ways and the busyness of being the parent of a special needs child will demand more of your time and energy making it harder to take the personal time to grieve. There may be days where you feel all alone in your struggle. From my own experience and talking to the parents I know that parents tend to be left out and forgotten. And unfortunately the “feelings of crisis” or “grief” keeps coming back. Parent Group Therapy is a great help here as it gives the parents an opportunity to seek encouragement from those who have trekked on a similar road.
imagesEach day is a new day when we can see tiny achievements accomplished. Let’s make it our aim to make these children happy. Be patient with your child, yourself, your spouse and the process, and you may find yourself laughing and enjoying life more than you ever remembered.
Another challenge faced by these parents is the dilemma of raising a normal sibling along with a special oneimages (1). You try to love your children equally, but you can't possibly provide for them all in the same way. Some children simply need more of your time, energy and resources. Still, it's important to help your other children feel you love them as much as the ones who need you more. You need to be as fair as possible. If I could change one thing about the society it would be our non-acceptance of these children. I would like to confess that sometimes I start doubting as to “who is more disabled...these kids or we?” who are unable to adjust with them. They are superb human beings who respond with warmth and love. If given the opportunity and exposure they are quick learners too. Good exposure helps them uptake the simple miracles of life and encourages them to feel as normal as others. I've grown tremendously as a person, and developed a soft heart and empathy for others in a way I never would have without working for them. Kudos to you parents! No one dreams of one day parenting a child who needs you to feed him, diaper him, speak for him, advocate for him, play with him, soothe him, cry for him. images (8)Despite the prevalence of Chicken Soup stories and television specials, parenting a child with special needs is not a particularly rosy experience. It not a lifetime movie, or a very special episode of an otherwise humorous show, it's a whole-life commitment, and generally no one really asks you if you're interested before you sign up. Believe that you can constantly improve your child’s functioning—and you will discover ways to improve it. AND IT WILL IMPROVE. Good Luck and Happy Parenting!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Road to constant growth

Do you know that if you're not successful, happy or wealthy, then probably there is something you are missing on?

Do you feel that your bad circumstances are purely a result of other people and bad luck. Then probably there is something you don’t know?
All that is required is to change, evolve and learn and to be the one in control!
For example, if you are not rich, it’s most likely because you don’t know the “money game” inside out. And if you do, you’re not taking action or employing the right strategies.
Success in anything is a learnable skill. It may not be easy, and it may not happen overnight, but you can learn it. You simply have to be aware of what you want and be willing to learn how to do it!
BE the successful person from within. This drives you to DO the right things and therefore HAVE what you want, whether happiness, wealth or an acting skill!
The best thing to do is to learn from people who are already “ahead” of you, or even better, are masters of their skill. You need to learn the things you need to know. Many a times we feel we know it all.
But unless you’re willing to change that attitude, then your life is unlikely to change for the better. Only you know which you prefer…so make your choices !
Be a winner !

Coaches and Leaders

Research shows that organizations that effectively coach employees have higher levels of employee productivity, employee engagement, and financial performance. In fact all leaders  can be good coaches.
One comes across people wanting to reach the top! There are successful people, there are not so successful ones! It got me thinking. Are all bosses good leaders? What is leadership? What makes a good leader? Can leadership even be taught? Are leaders born or made? If leadership style is unique to a person, where does Coaching fit in? How can coaches help bring more leaders into the world?
Let's start with looking at some best leadership qualities – and then think about how as coaches we can help to develop those.

The Best Leaders:
HAVE A GREAT VISION : they can’t help but share this vision with others. While thinking strategically, they operate in the present, letting go of the past.
How can a coach help: Help your client identify their life vision or career vision – and more importantly really connect with it. How will they convey that vision to others? Who needs to know? What kind of goals will they set and what actions will they take to get there? What needs doing now to move them closer to their vision?

ARE VERY COURAGEOUS. They innovate and dare to be different, challenge the status quo, make unpopular decisions, take calculated risks, might tread on the road not taken. They always stand up for others.
How can a coach help: Hear him out, be a sounding board that helps your clients fully explore the challenges they face. Be a mirror to reflect successes back to them. Support your client in taking calculated risks, making difficult decisions.

HAVE IMMENSE INTEGRITY. They are open and honest to the core, but also understand the political game – and play it ethically. They deal with problems – and the elephant in the room with ease. They are reliable and stick to their words. They understand accountability and take responsibility for results – the good and bad.
How can a coach help: Help them review and strategise how they handle their failures and successes. Hold your clients accountable and challenge any blame game. Ask them who needs to be on their side for them to succeed? What needs to change?

ARE AUTHENTIC: They have strong intuition or gut instincts – and follow them. They walk their talk. They know and show who they truly are. They have a leadership style – all of their own.
How can a coach help: Self-discovery! Help your client explore who they are, what matters to them. Help them explore their values? How are your client’s values different at work and in life? Are they congruent, in other words are they living their values? Are they listening to their inner voice?

ARE RESULT ORIENTED: They are determined self-starters, result-oriented, using their initiative and not waiting to be asked or told. They FIND a way. In short, they deliver.
How can a coach help: Support the client to create goals and action plans. Track and review them regularly, changing course as necessary. Hold them accountable. Help your clients manage their time more effectively, by prioritising. Brainstorm and ask questions like, “Where could you go above and beyond?", “What haven’t you thought of yet?”, “What needs to happen for you to get the results you want?” and “If you were to look back having achieved your goal, how did you get there?”

ARE GOOD LISTENERS: They know when to speak and when to listen, when to take action, when to lead and when to follow, when to hold on and when to let go. Keeping the bigger picture in mind they choose their battles wisely. They have great judgement.
How can a coach help: Ask questions that help your client consider various angles of a situation and think ahead. Help them make informed and reflective, not reactive, decisions. Ask them what they notice, what they heard, what is unseen but still present? Ask them to take the helicopter view. Role model level 3 listening for them.

KNOW IT IS ALWAYS A TEAM EFFORT:  They understand it’s all about people and relationships and taking everyone along. They delegate, they appreciate and give credit where credit is due. They think win-win. They say “Thank-you” and “Sorry”. They are sociable & understand the value of social time. They do not suffer from “Mr Know-all Syndrome”
How can a coach help: Help them explore their strengths and weaknesses, help them identify what they love doing, and what they don’t – and delegate accordingly. Ask questions like, “What help do you need?”, “Who/what could you delegate?”, “Who needs to be appreciated and how?”, “What needs to be celebrated?” and “What needs to be done to make this situation right?” . Encourage them to network and manage upwards and sideways, as well as downwards. What can they do to team-build?

They COMMUNICATE: They don't assume but check for understanding. They love clarity, keep everyone up-to-date and are transparent in their communications. They negotiate and handle conflicts pro-actively.
How can a coach help: Support your client in communication skills. Ask questions to clarify their understanding (so they practice being clear). Observe their language – limiting beliefs, assumptions, cognitive distortions & notice their perception. Support your client in identifying training needs in areas like conflict management, mediation, negotiation, meeting management, public speaking etc.

ARE PASSIONATE AND ENTHUSIASTIC: Their enthusiasm is infectious – and they usually have a good sense of humour.
How can a coach help: Help your clients figure out what really matters to them and why, help them create a mission statement (whether work or life) that ties up with their vision. Help them live their values. Help them see the funny side of life and situations (only with good rapport). Ask questions like, “How does this fit with your mission and vision?”, “What gets you fired up?”, “What would it take for you to get really excited about this?”CHelp your clients to celebrate their successes.

VALUE THEMSELVES. They don’t wait to reach certain goals before they esteem themselves, they accept they are imperfect and value themselves now, even as they learn and grow. They are open to feedback and suggestions . They are confident – and humble.

How you can help: Help your client face the hard truths – and grow from them. What do others think of them? Consider a 360 Feedback process. Help them understand what life balance and self-care means for them, create time for self-reflection. Challenge their inner critic.

Article in the news paper