2020 got over too fast, much like the fleeting 20-20 cricket match. It was truly a year of surprises. Now let 2021 be the year when you take everyone by surprise! With holistic goals, some effective New Year’s resolutions and a whole lot of determination, you can make it possible.
As for me, apart from work and family, I’m also focussing a little more on my health this year. I’ve got a brand new bike and the time I spend cycling every morning has really been putting me in a great mind space for the rest of the day!
So let’s do this together. Before 2022 arrives, let us meet our goals and show the world what we’re made of. This issue of Victory Vitamin contains motivation, tips and even some simple techniques to stick to your resolutions.
Cheers to a new year!
1. Nothing says ‘new beginnings’ like a bookstore
And ‘Father of Your Team’ is now enjoying new beginnings in two premium bookstores in Chennai. Any booklover in the city would most certainly have spent some joyful hours in Odyssey and Imen Connexions — and I’m honored that you will now come across ‘Father of Your Team’ too, as you browse through their amazing collections.
2.‘Sweeten your work life the story way’ hits Sweet 16
I have been hosting my weekly Facebook Live sessions, ‘Sweeten your worklife the storyway’, every Saturday at 8 pm for a few months now. As of last count, I have completed 16 episodes!
Through these sessions, I have covered stories of Olympic medalists, cricket stars, saints and world leaders. The stories have even touched ancient China and Poland! But though they were all so different, they had one thing in common — each came with a lesson or a takeaway to solve your workplace problems and accelerate your growth. I look forward to hosting many more of these sessions and I thank all of you who have followed along!
What’s coming up?
1. ‘Sweeten your worklife the storyway’ is getting a classical touch
I am delighted to know that so many viewers are deriving benefits from the stories. In fact, some people have requested for these sessions to be conducted in Tamil as well.
So for the next 2 weeks, I will give this a try. I’ll host a Tamil version of ‘Sweeten your worklife the storyway’, right after the English version at 8 pm. Do follow me on Facebook to receive notifications about these events.
What did I do differently?
1.Graduated in Humorology!
What’s the quality that adds to the charisma of a speaker and grabs viewers’ interest? Humor. You cannot help but admire people with a funny bone!
While you can sharpen your communication skills from Toastmasters International, Wizdo and many other organization’s, who will teach you the art of wisecracks and wordplay? When I recently wanted to hone my skills, I turned to a professional humorist — the popular anchor, commentator and stand-up comedian Bossley. The engaging sessions by him really teach you to think on your feet and tap into your humorous side. I am proud to say I graduated with honor’s (check out my brand new degree!). Boss key has another session on 16 January — and this is something I would highly recommend for those of you whose work requires public speaking, addressing large crowds or hosting sessions. More details here.
2.Reviewed a Tamil book
Who do you look up to for inspiration and motivation? Robin Sharma? Kamala Harris? Bruce Lee? These are the public figures with vast fan followings after all.
But why not seek inspiration in a maid who brings up her child despite a low income, an alcoholic husband and an unsupportive family? Why not find motivation in a woman who, despite being overweight and well past her 40s, ignores all the jibes and starts learning how to ride a two-wheeler?
I recently reviewed a book written by a popular Tamil debater, which deals in inspiring women from different walks of life. Facilitated by Empowerment Talks, an international book review forum, this book gave me deep insights into the daily struggles women face. While it was difficult for me to get into the soul of the author and present this book to an International audience, it was a rewarding experience to be able to look at the world from a woman’s perspective.
Events that touched me
1. Hospitality for a hospital
Mala (name changed) is a lady in her 30s who used to work with me till about a year ago. When I called to wish her on New Year’s Eve, I was shocked to learn that she had just lost her father to an unknown disease in November. She supported him through his last days in the hospital amidst the increased COVID-19 restrictions — but in the days following his demise, she started getting fatigued as she tried to balance work, parenting and consoling her grieving family.
A month later, her mother developed a medical complication. The private hospitals she visited gave her a shocking estimate for the treatment — and Mala, being from a modest financial background, could not afford it. Apprehensively, she decided to admit her mother in a government hospital. To her surprise, the facilities and standard of care in the government hospital at Chennai surpassed her expectations and her mother was discharged in a week. Mala actually ended up saving Rs. 4 lakhs in treatment costs! She was greatly relieved, and this actually helped her deal with her subconscious sense of guilt at not being able to help her father.
Filled with gratitude, she wanted to give something back to this hospital that serves so many financially vulnerable people every day. She went to the doctor and said, ‘I want to do something for this hospital. Can I donate a few more cots?’
The doctor replied, ‘Take care of your mother. You can donate when you find yourself in a better position.’
2. A funeral for a python
“What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The truth of this statement was recently reiterated on a remote highway, on 19th December. There on the highway, a majestic, 12-ft long python lay dead. It seemed that a truck had run over the python in the early morning hours, killing it instantly. A lot of people remained unmoved by the motionless animal. In fact, soon people started touching it, taking photos of it, clicking selfies with it, and so on.
But a group of villagers set themselves apart from these other travellers. They bathed the dead python and applied turmeric powder on its head and body. They quickly stitched together a few dhotis, wrapped the python in it and cremated it with honours, just as they would for a fellow villager. The kindness, compassion and humanity of these villagers from Nadar Kottai in Bargur, Tamil Nadu, goes beyond everything I had seen in the recent past.
My take on leadership this month:
1. Winning the webinar world
2020 was the year of webinars. Most leaders, organisations and entrepreneurs had to learn to take their thought leadership presence online if they wanted to remain visible. Now, there are too many webinars out there. So how do you ensure that yours stands out from the crowd as one of the best? Here’s a handy guide/checklist.
My reading list
Articles I loved
1. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Our relationships with teachers can graduate from one level to the next, even after we graduate from school or college. Tuesdays with Morrie is based on one such real-life relationship and it is packed with practical and philosophical wisdom about managing health, relationships, and priorities. It’s a handbook for life, if you will.
Here’s one of my favourite quotes from the book — “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” Although I have read this book several times before, I am always up for a reread, and it leaves me with a full heart every time.
2.Retrain your Business Brain by Donalee Markus
Ever wondered why movie stars and CEOs make so much money? If you analyse the habits of any high earner, you’ll see there’s one common thread. They solve a problem. The bigger the problem they solve, the higher they are paid. Everyone gets bored of leading a templatised life, seeing the same people, undergoing the same situations. Movie stars offer a temporary break from this monotony — and so they make a lot of money. CEOs solve the biggest challenges a company faces — and so they are paid so well.
Problem solving at work is a skill that you can develop too — and it is a sureshot way to accelerate growth. This book is filled with exercises, challenges and puzzles that hone the very problem-solving skills that can help you in business. I have solved the exercises in this book and could notice a significant increase in how fast I can generate ideas and come up with alternatives.
1.Set yourself up for success — with a little help from your friends
Have you ever seen people blaming others when they fail in something? That’s quite common. But if others’ actions have the power to contribute to our failures, can’t they have the power to help us succeed as well? In 2021, you can let your friends, family and the other people in your network help you reach the goals you set for yourself. Watch this 9-minute video to learn this practical tip.
2.Personalise your wish
How many wishes did you receive this New Year? Too many to keep track of, I’ll bet. But can you remember any of those wishes right now? Fact is, that a generic forwarded image just doesn’t evoke a feeling of joy and excitement among recipients. They just do not convey the feeling of being thought of by someone.
This year, why not personalise your greetings? Actually type out a message, addressing your friend or colleague by name and telling them something that could only come from you. Sure, it will take longer than forwarding an image — but it will make your recipient feel special. Try it out this Lohri, and tell me how you felt on firstname.lastname@example.org