Category Archives: Coaching

Goa Institute of Management offers Certificate Workshop on Integrated Digital Marketing

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Workshop Highlights:

– Interact with leading industry experts and academicians in interactive sessions with Live case studies.
– Understand the digital channels landscape and strategise online marketing, branding and PR.
– Obtain a practical toolkit on digital marketing to help you plan, roll out and measure digital campaigns.
– Get exposure to latest and most relevant digital marketing trends that leading corporates adopt today
– Accelerate your career with industry-led, Digital marketing workshop
– Work on a live digital marketing project

Duration: 25-27 April, 2014

Venue: Pune

For more details and enrolment see this.

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Good Music. Bad Noise

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The mobile alarm screeches and screams. Despite the extent of evolution of the acoustics in mobile phones, the alarm always manages to sound like a terrible assault on the olfactory nerves. Bad noise. You wake up noticing vaguely a strange bird on your balcony singing its heart out. Good music. The songs are drowned in the noise of the traffic which scares the bird away. Bad noise. You are met on the breakfast table by an angry spouse who has a few curt words for coming in late yesterday evening- it was your anniversary. Bad noise. Which obliterates the little chap eager to talk to you. Good usic. You tune in to the television to be assaulted with a series of breaking news on violent crimes from the night that was. Bad noise. Ignore the radio playing Rafi classics in the background. Good music. As you move through the day, the pattern continues. The heated debate with the boss on the raise drowns out the thump on the backs by the colleagues for brilliantly executing a project. The deluge of perfunctory emails eclipses that one text message from the spouse saying he/ she is sorry about the morning tiff and suggesting a romantic dinner. The overwhelming desire to keep abreast with all your connections on social media shuts out the good-natured neighbour offering you juicy mangoes from his hometown. The bad noise shutting out the good music. Ensuring you are home after a long day feeling excitable, irritated and unhinged. With a swarm of noises in your head fighting to assert their importance. While the good guys – the little bird, the child, the neighbour all walk around on the periphery trying to make themselves heard. And failing miserably.
Ofcourse you are not to blame. Each of the bad noises is too powerful to be ignored. They scream, they shout, they assert themselves till they crowd out all the melodies you could have filled in. All of them require urgent attention. You are almost tuned in to respond to some of them for example emails inexplicably marked with the ‘urgent’ sign. Or even the facebook messages though they maybe from friends you barely know in real life. The information-hungry world conditions you to be alert to all these stimuli, constantly reminding you of the necessity to stay plugged in to absorb the last packet of communication or information thrown at you. Helped on by a hyperactive set of invisible elves which create a humongous amount of data that unobtrusively creeps into your life. Along with the angry boss, the indignant spouse and the noisy traffic. Ofcourse the sources of noise do not always wear angry faces as in the example of Facebook solidarity I talked about. The relentless emphasis on networking make you concentrate on building huge lists of superficial relationships which have to be sustained by less than meaningful interactions throughout the day. We live in a pseudo social world where we choose chatter over meaningful interactions, measure our social worth in terms of breadth rather than depth. No wonder when we are home we gloss over dinner table conversations and skip over the playtime with the child. We are saturated by the time in terms of conversations and information to be further bothered with parent-teacher meetings and anniversary plans. With the inadvertent effect of straining the more meaningful interactions we could have had. Worse all the bad noises also crowd out the moments of solitude, the few seconds of introspection to compose your own notes from the snatches of tunes being played around you. Ensuring you live your life as a hyperactive social animal going through the motions of the day without pondering on whether any of it makes sense. Where you involuntarily prioritize noise over music. Can this pattern be changed?

I have been conditioning myself recently to spend several minutes of silence everyday. I spend the minutes in the local park which has a secluded bench among a bushy thicket. The birds chirp in the background. There is a small stream which gurgles and gushes in a hypnotic rhythm helping me focus my thoughts, aligning them into symphonic waves. I then go onto accentuate the moments of harmony in my life. The dinner table conversations with my husband, the sessions of stories with children of an NGO, positive interactions with friends I cultivate with care. I am moving away from hunting connections to farming bonds. I also refuse to be drawn into the information vortex by creating a neat list of what I need to read and what I have to respond to. Does not stop the spontaneous outburst but does enough to preserve my sanity. So I have less clutter and chatter yet more powerful interactions which make me feel more enriched at the end of the day. I also literally add music to my life by creating a composition of the most soothing melodies loaded on to my personal music devices. By far the most powerful change I have brought into my life is to create a music within. A repository of happy sounds: my favourite songs, laughter, happy chatter; which I delve into when I need to obliterate particularly harmful noises. I manage to, for example, block out chunks of defeatist interactions by delving into my inbuilt library.

Ofcourse none of it is easy. The persistently ringing mobile or the ping announcing a new email on your smatphone will obstinately interrupt romantic dinners. Switching off or ignoring the urgent interruptions take powerful self-control. However unless you do that, the music will continue eluding you.

That thing called Love

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She was fiery, cunning, in love with another man. He was the regular ‘bad guy.’ Yet they were attracted to each other inexplicably and came together to alternately destroy and fulfil each other.
Scarlet O’Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone with the wind. Judged on a scale of conventional morality, they are not nice, agreeable people. Yet judge them on sheer passion, and they are two extraordinary individuals who dared to love, to lust, to defy and to live.

Love is such a strange thing. Illogical, incorrigible and indomitable. Love destroys and love builds. The only thing worth having. The only thing worth dying for. Be it the love for a woman or the country it is the only emotion that makes men push his limits. Be it the love of a man or the love for a cause it is the only thing that makes the woman cross the boundaries. Love is magic. Love is powerful. And Love is bold

As Mort Sahl said – The bravest thing a man does is love woman

Why did I choose to speak about something which has already been dissected, eulogized, analyzed and criticized to death. There is by the way an unsettling dichotomy between love and death which I will blog about some other time. For now let me explain the reason. Yes ofcourse it is the season. The run up to the valentine day with the profusion of red. The nip in the air, the bright woolens, the parties with the hottest singles. There’s no better time to fall in love. Or rise in it.
There’s another reason why I chose to speak about love. It is the sheer power behind it. There are a million self-help books out in the market with umpteen formulae for reaching the top. They talk about personal effectiveness tools, decision making frameworks, and motivational tips for the mind and so on. I say trash them all. There is only one simple force that will take you to your goal. There is only one truth that will shape your life. Yes ofcourse that is love. Love what you do. And do what you love. You cannot become a brilliant engineer if you are in love with the Himalayas. You cannot two-time your way to the top. Nevertheless you can lead a reasonably prosperous and contended life with this deceit. Force your heart to compromise with the mediocrity. And let a pony-tailed guru tell you how to package the compromise to sell to a balanced world.

Yes love is not about balance or the calm. It’s the intensity that threatens to break you. Yet it is that intensity that has inspired everything worth reckoning that has occurred in this world. Like as a blackberry ad says is weak. A very convenient option in a Facebook world. Monalisa was not born out of a mere liking . Or the poetry where Tagore celebrated the joys of love. I remember visiting Nandan – the cauldron of culthood and romanticism in Calcutta. It was the season of the rains. And the courtyard was reverberating with the rants of a mad man. The unkempt man told me he had lost everything he ever loved. Yet he searched for it again. ‘The pain is ameliorating’, he said. ‘And I will have it no other way’.

Yes love hurts. The pains of separation, the fangs of jealousy, the wounds of loss. A Virginia Wolfe or an Albert Einsstein or a Subhas Bose have all been singed by pain in shaping their extraordinary lives, in living their passion. Majnu was stoned. Anarkali was buried. The fakir lost in divine love is branded a madman. Yet they lived their convictions, loved, lost and loved again unapologetically.

So this Valentine day rise in love. If it’s a conviction you have compromised with, go back to it. If it’s a person you have dared not approach, bedazzle him or her. Life’s too short for wishy-washy like stories. Etch your love story. And see the power of we transform your life.

In the words of that perennial romantic, John Lenon, executed by a man who professed to love him
Love is You
You and me
Love is knowing
We can be

Neo in wonderland: De-constructing the matrix world

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Long ago, on a perfect summer afternoon Alice had the misfortune of falling through a rabbit hole. What followed was an extraordinary adventure including a mad tea-party, a tyrannical queen, a giant cat and a maze of surrealist characters which tested Alice’s ingenuity. Fortunately for Alice she just had to wake up. Neo’s problem was less simple. He had to cut through the maze of a software program which controlled the earth subverting humans to mere programmed zombies in a computer game. Neo prevailed. Ofcourse as long as the rabbit hole and the matrix exist in fictionland, they remain little more than allegorical objects. However the concepts seem to transcend with ease into relatively real world. To trap the unsuspecting Alice. To delude a Neo. Create an extraordinarily complicated web of dreams and surrealism, allegories and illusion, deceit and delusion. A maze more complex than a fictional video game can be. Where human beings are pawned and truth is but a programmed memory. The version of truth depends on who has access to my brain and is programming it. Yes the invisible who’s. The matrix makers. The masters of illusion. The power-brokers. The puppeteers. And the story tellers. Who manufacture the invisible chips inserted into the unsuspecting mass of humanity. Who slavishly do their bidding. The beauty of the arrangement is the slaves do not carry any visible signs of subjugation. So there is no rebellion, no resistance. Only an occasional awakening which again can be corrected by another chip. The perfect plot.

About six months back when Libyans were baying for the blood of Gaddafi, I happened to read an article by an African journalist. Who raised a lone, bold voice chronicling an alternative view of the revolt. And traced much of the Arab Spring to a war to control the richest oil reserves. When a romantic picture of a people movement against a tyrannical despot in silken robes was being played out distinctively over world media, believing this lone voice was difficult. Honestly I am not informed enough to make a judgement either way but I have taught myself to look at the obvious truth with a degree of scepticism.Stories for example of spontaneous people movement with hours of supporting footage on sponsored media. The rise and fall of Anna Hazare for example. A media darling. A messiah. A saviour. Thousands rallied behind a diminutive man supporting a bill which most of the followers had little knowledge about. Six months down the line media killed the hero. A series of amazing conversations I had with people close to the movement ‘revealed’ that Anna was always a manufactured face. A ‘Neo’ caught in a matrix of political compulsions. Just as the supporters who stood behind him. The men and women who bribed, lied, cheated in daily life. But who manufactured their own cocoon of honesty and vindication by siding with Hazare. A deceit of a scale the mind struggles to grasp. Ofcourse I am again conscious of the fact I am presenting someone else’s story. And that perhaps the sums up the only universal truth. That truth is but the story I choose to believe in. The chip I choose to accept. At any given point of time I have a torrent of stories being pumped on me. Guised in the garb of truth. Backed by facts. Can I rise above the hypnotic set of webs to see a clearer version of the truth. Which at some plane is still relative. But which is not planted into me exploiting my gullibility. Exercise the power of judgement, to take decisions, to rationalize. Which is when Alice wakes up to realize it is but a dream. Neo cuts through the web to salvage humanity. And the matrix lies broken.

Paratha Rage – The insanity of winning

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I had just returned from my morning jog and my daily bonding with the pensioners who run a laughter club in the locality. Scanning through the morning newspaper, I stopped short. A 27 year old MBA grad has been murdered at a Delhi Dhaba by a computer engineer and his friend over who will be served a paratha first. I recoiled as I read the details of the gory attack. Sympathetized with the hapless father who, only a few hours back, had met his son who had told him that he intended to make the city his home. And felt extremely angry about the pointlessness of it all. A brawl over who would get the first paratha. In any other context, this would have been hilarious. Here it was tragic.

The most disturbing aspect of the incident is it is not an isolated one. Not a freak murder you can pass off as the doing of a psychopath. These are well-to-do kids with foreign education and ‘good’ upbringing. Yet they run over pedestrians in trying to outrace a car, sabotage their friend’s work to come first, cheat, lie, bribe and even kill their way to the top. Blame it on a fiercely competitive nation of a billion plus people. Blame it on parents who scare you saying you either top your class or the new bicycle will be given to your brother. Blame it on a society which plays an unnaturally high premium on winning and a correspondingly high penalty on losing. And worst of all a messy system of justice which lets you get away with a ‘hook or a crook’. The result is a generation high on competiveness but not on the spirit of fair play that a competition has to come with. A generation which will rather cheat than fail, or hit rather than fall.

Long back I had read Abraham Lincoln’s letters to his son’s tutor where he asked the gentleman to teach his son that it is far more honourable to fail than to cheat. That it is more important to stop and help a fellow-runner who has fallen down than to win the race. I have seldom come across more profound thoughts on personal integrity and leadership. That humanity scores over all podium finishes. Yes it is important to win and it is what you should strive for. Two points of caution however. Winning on a less than clear conscience is a heavier burden than a loss. And second, pick your battles. Stop this madness of winning every race. If you have to race your way to the toilet and be the first to relieve yourself, your next stop should be with a counselor. Aggression is best left to the boxing ring and there too you have to play by the rules of the game.

A few words of advice for the parents as well. Stop eulogizing the champ culture. Punish instances of bullying and cheating. Tell your kids, assure them that it is absolutely ok to be not finish at the top of every race. The real race after all is only with the self.