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Kavita Dadhe

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Life’s Lessons from a Septuagenarian

It is often at the dusk of our life that we seem to value the life we had and live. I turned to the elderly to sail through seemingly tough times. Here is what I have learned so far…

 

1. Trust only a person’s actions, not their words. Much can be promised; little of it gets done.

 

2. Surround yourself with people who will either help you grow as an individual or who keep you happy. You are better off alone than with false friends.

 

3. Always have a plan. Time passes swiftly and one day you will not realize when you turned 60. Set New Year resolutions; you may not follow them but you will at least know where you want to be.

 

4. Be happy or learn to be happy. Create your pockets of happy moments, like adventurous travels, risqué affairs, insurmountable challenges, etc. These will be the memories you will return to when in distress.

 

5. Don’t fight to change people or things. Change your perspective and everything around you will change itself. If there are people bothering you, discard them from your life and stay out of theirs.

 

6. Gain control over anger and emotions. Maintain silence and refrain from making any decisions when too excited, depressed or upset.

 

7. Do not envy or compare yourself with anyone else. Know that everyone has their own set of miseries to deal with.

 

8. Be good to your spouse, friends and children. Your treatment of them will decide how your old age is going to be.

 

9. Learn your finances well. Money has more value than everyone else advocates. Use it wisely.

 

10. Remember to never lose faith and instill ample patience. Everything has a way of working out in the end.

Dos and Don’ts of a competitive work environment PART 2

Yesterday we discussed 10 pointers to keep you on your A game at work. These are the final 10 tips to ensure your work life is harmonious and successful.

11. Switch off post work. Treat it like a part of your life. Not your life. This works as a deadline – it will help you effectively manage time, prioritize and concentrate better on work.

12. Set realistic goals, and leave a margin for mistakes. You are only human. Do not let anyone else forget that either.

13. Do not push people, and do not let people push you. Deadlines are excellent to out-perform other colleagues but they are catalysts in burning you out.

14. Dress according to the work atmosphere. Exude a vibe of no-nonsense attitude. If you take yourself seriously, your colleagues will take you seriously. Worry not: there will always be occasions to wear that backless red dress.

15. Appreciate every person for the good qualities they have. Your colleagues will not only respond to you as a person on priority but also their overall performance will be better.

16. Restrict criticism, instead start ‘critically appreciating’ your own and others work.

17. Know your job well, but also the periphery. Multitasking is the key today, but do not let it become a habit. Do not be tempted to interfere in your colleague’s task; you may become bait for all the work someone else did not show up to do. Have the knowledge, apply it only during crises.

18. If you want a different persona at work, decide your ‘character’ in advance and stick to it. If you choose the ‘silent, strong kind’ over ‘friendly, chirpy kind’ then you must imbibe it. Often a fluctuating persona and mood swings confuse people.

19. God is definitely in the details, but never compromise on the bigger picture for the details. No one appreciates the skill of a nitpicker, not even you.

20. Finally, assess your goals like the company asses the KRA. Are you heading in the right direction? If not, return and revisit your challenges and restructure your approach.

If you agree with these corporate environment dos and don’ts, it is important that you start practicing them. Do it as an experiment: change your attitude and note the experiences that you encounter at work. Modify these practices accordingly and formulate your own little guidebook to corporate success.

 

Dos and Don’ts of a competitive work environment PART 1

Every crisply-dressed career woman will tell you that corporate competition is not only about delivering more than you promise, but also about beating your deadlines and maintaining an impeccable code of conduct. All of the above are mandatory, and you can rest assured that your competitor is already doing this and more. Over the next two days, I will lay out the top 20 pointers to keep you on your A game.

1. Be professional. Professionals are honest to the act (work) and not the person behind the act. In order to achieve this, build a level of clarity within your personality.

2. Do not judge. Use the oldest and the wisest trick in the book: Watch and learn.

3. Do not forgive nastiness or jealousy. Do not encourage others to do what you would think twice about. Do not make scapegoats of others or become one. You won’t climb higher if you are habituated to pulling people down.

4. Do not compare and contrast. You may take longer initially to rise, but use the time to build the ladder.

5. Reserve your opinions and suggestions for friends and family. Remember, everyone seeks an alternative opinion – only to reconfirm their own. However, do not ignore a genuine need.

6. Appeal to the mind and not just the heart. Remember that ‘A bad decision made for a good cause is still a bad decision.’ Logic goes a long way.

7. Do not shoulder responsibilities or a colleague’s crisis. Listen and support, but do not let their ‘words’ colour your mind and outlook.

8. Start by treating your colleagues with silent respect. Let time decide your friendship.

9. Stay away from a gossiping colleague. And farther away from a ‘friendly’ colleague who warns you against others. Remember, you are there to work, not to get caught up in group politics.

10. Personal growth fosters professional growth. Irrespective of how you feel towards the organization, if you go disillusioned to work, your skills will suffer, and you may never deliver your best.

 

Women of the Week: Elizabeth Reynolds

“What is this life, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”

William Henry Davies’ poem elucidates that our constant urgency and multitasking have left us with fewer moments for solitude.

Elizabeth “Betty Lou” Reynolds champions the cause of helping people take a pause in their life through her Lifessence Wellness Workshops.

Being a teacher for 40 years, the most satisfying aspect of her job was seeing students succeed in achieving their academic goals. Using techniques such as visualization, meditation and journaling, she was able to help them overcome obstacles and reach for their goals.

Through her latest business venture, she now helps parents, working professionals and geriatrics that are looking to combat confusion or pressure to realize their objectives.

Reynolds leads by example and her interest in wellness was triggered after she met with a car accident and developed a long term chronic health condition. She fought through it and today is extremely empathetic to her participants. She has even tailored her wellness workshops to meet the specific needs of individuals. And it is not boring lectures: the class includes journaling cafes, as well as creativity seminars. The aim of the workshops is to de-stress and clarify the values and aims partakers have for their life. “Through group work, sharing, fun and interactive exercises, the participants gain greater insight into their ideal lifestyle and how they can achieve it.”

Her inspiration and lucidity comes from her teacher-training education, where she says, “I was taught to be open minded, optimistic and a critical thinker. My training for teachers taught me that big changes happen when one starts with small adjustments. It is very important to keep your eye on the eventual outcome, never losing sight of your long term vision.”

The consumer industry is booming with cosmetic quick-fixes to keep us looking younger; Reynolds’ aim is to improve people’s ideas about aging. She believes that it is possible to age while still being active, healthy and fit as we grow older.

What sets her apart from the many wellness centers mushrooming through the city is her holistic approach. Reynolds begins with the inner self, asking the most difficult questions: What is happening inside your head and your body? How do you feel about yourself and your health? How do you want to feel?

In spite of the alarming statistics in mental illness, she has experienced a visible shift in thinking. In her recent workshop of 45 teachers, about half of whom were men, she claims, “More men are starting to take their own health and wellness seriously. Many of them related that they practice meditation and yoga regularly and put their families as a priority, when considering work/life balance issues.”

Reynolds turned entrepreneur at a stage in life when people decide to throw in the towel, so for her the challenge to succeed is one level tougher. Her entrepreneurship advice to anyone moving careers is to have a lot of patience. “All those who plan on starting their business must take time to develop the connections and opportunities that will fit the best with their product or service.”

The year 2013 looks exciting, as Reynolds expands her Lifessence wellness workshops to Mississauga. She says the words of Julia Child keep her going: “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” And the same holds true in business.