As the year winds down, I hope you’re getting the chance to unwind a little too. As for me, I managed to welcome November with a little break to get my thoughts in order and enjoy some time with my family. So rejuvenated, I look forward to embracing this month with a fresh mind and renewed spirits.
With an eventful October behind me, there are a lot of events and updates I’m excited to tell you about. So without further ado, here’s your November issue of Victory Vitamin. Hope you enjoy it!
1. Announcement: Spin-a-Story Contest Winners
Remember the National level Spin-a-Story contest I hosted last month? This is where I announce the winners. Interestingly, of all the entries I received, the stories submitted by school-going children far outnumbered the rest! I am thrilled to see this engagement from my young readers, and am excited to name two of them as winners:
a) Mohsina Rahman from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Goalpara, Assam
b) Pardha Saradhi from Nalanda Vidyaniketan, Vijayawada
Congratulations to the winners and a huge thank you to all the other participants! The winning entries are up on my https://www.authorvenkat.com/spin-a-story/ now, so do go and have a look.
2.We’ve hit 2000!
It feels like just yesterday that I was setting up my author page on Facebook — and now, I am connected with 2000 of you on the page! Thank you all for your support and love. I am already thinking of ways to make my page even more engaging and entertaining for all of you.
What’s coming up?
1.Lights, camera, action!
If you have not subscribed to my YouTube channel, now might be a great time to do so. Here’s why — I have 6 exciting and inspiring videos coming up over the next few weeks. I’ll not reveal much yet but I’ll give you a little teaser. One of the videos is going to be a stage play from my book ‘Father of Your Team’! So subscribe right away and catch the videos hot!
What did I do differently?
1.Teaching is just one thing teachers do!
Teachers build skills, they build the future. This teacher went one step ahead and built a house for a student! Murali Kadekar was the headmaster at Nittur High School in Udupi, Karnataka. As he retired this month, he wanted to help out Nayana, a young girl of Class 9. He used some of his retirement benefits to get a small house constructed for her and her family! I was astounded to read this news and it got me thinking about how we give back to our teachers. Do we really do enough ?
As I went for a walk that morning, I ran into my school junior who also happened to be my favourite teacher’s son. In my conversation with him, I learnt that he needed to switch jobs. Inspired by the story I read earlier, I knew I wanted to do everything in my power to help. I spoke to him in detail to understand where he needed help. I gave him some new course material to read, polished up his CV and conducted a mock interview. I also helped him with some tips and negotiation strategies, which he found really valuable. I am very grateful to have found this quick opportunity to give back something to my teacher, and helping his son brought me a tremendous sense of satisfaction indeed.
Events that touched me
1. A transformative o-caw-rrence
Both events that touched me this month are things that I experienced in my own life. The first one happened early one Saturday morning. I was taking advantage of the peace and quiet of this time of the day to write my blogs — when I heard a sudden loud ‘Bang’. It was the transformer in the next street, announcing its absence loudly.
Immediately all the lights went off and it was only the bluish glow from my laptop screen lighting up the room. I got up to investigate. It turned out that a crow had perched on the transformer — the ‘Bang’ was the transformer’s way of yelling at the crow and refusing to work in anger.
The power back-up at home lasted 3 hours, after which I got up again and went around the house, turning the fans off in different rooms. I woke up my older daughter saying, “Dear, go to your grandma’s room if you want to sleep a little longer. I have to turn this fan off. There’s no power in the house — the transformer blew out when a crow sat on it.”
She immediately sprang up and asked, “What happened to the crow? Is it ok?”
2. Memories, sweet and salty
Sometimes, the little things we encounter leave us with lessons that last so much longer. This month, I travelled to a village that has historical significance dating back to the Indian independence. That’s where I learned a valuable lesson in generosity from a perfect stranger. I wrote about my experiencehere — do give it a read.
My take on leadership this month
Bad leaders try to pretend this doesn’t exist. Good leaders acknowledge that it does, and take necessary steps to counteract it. Yes, I’m talking about office politics.
From bad-mouthing to credit stealing to outright sabotage, office politics comes in many shapes and forms — and it can quickly take your office culture from terrific to toxic. So how can you as a leader, help your team minimise its impact? Here’s a good start.
2.The dreaded A-word and what to do about it
Automation. Will it take your job? Will it breach your privacy? Will it take over the world? Today, many of us have come to fear automation and the fallouts associated with it. But why not try understanding it instead, and making it work for you? Here’s how you can do that.
My reading list
Articles I loved:
1.How two college students overcame challenges to build a Rs 7.5 crore bike rental start-up
While in college, many people dream about setting up a wildly successful company with their best friends. These two boys were serious about making that dream come true. So serious in fact, that they never even went for any campus placement opportunities, choosing instead to devote their energies to their venture. Read about their inspirational entrepreneurship journey — you’ll love their drive!
2.Storytelling can make or break your leadership
‘Internal paradigm shift’.
‘New goal-setting framework’.
To you, such phrases may symbolise an exciting new direction that your company is taking. But to your team, they may set the alarm bells ringing. Will there be layoffs? Will their past work be acknowledged? Will they still get that promotion they worked so hard for? This is a great article about how to frame your messages as a leader, to ensure that your whole team understands the decision and are on board with it.
1.Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Sure, you make the occasional impulse purchase. But you’re generally logical and unemotional when it comes to making decisions, right? Are you sure about that? This book reveals how often we react emotionally — and it’s way more frequent than you think! All I will say is this — read this book before you go for your next shopping trip.
2.Employees First, Customer Second by Vineet Nayar
Traditional business philosophy dictates that you always put your customer first. HCL’s CEO Vineet Nayar begs to differ.
In this book, he walks us through his unique leadership style of making employees the top priority of an organisation. If you’re looking to explore a human-centric approach to leading a team, this book is a must-read.
1. Shedding light
The festival of lights makes its mark in November. Most people celebrate by decorating their homes with diyas and lights. But as exemplary leaders of today and of the future, can you do something more? Here’s an idea. As we enjoy our electric lights, we think of Thomas Edison who invented the light bulb. But hardly any of us know about the others who played a significant role in the invention. Watch my video here to know about them.
And then, throw light on those people who were behind your own success. Share your story on social media and tell the world about their help, support and sacrifice that helped you get where you are today. Happy Diwali!