Infographic | Words that get shared most on Social Media

[Src: https://steintutors.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/07922d9b967eaf24c6fdb3c1e438b566.jpg%5D
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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost India | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes 20 Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Mention in | “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Mention in | “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in | “Are entrepreneurs born or made?

Infographic | Do’s and Don’t of Content Marketing

Every one wants to know if there are specific DO’s and DONT’s of content marketing. Some we learn by trial-and-error, some by experience.. and some we never learn.

Sharing below an infographic

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost India | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes 20 Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Infographic | 5 core elements of online content marketing

Though dated 2012, I found the below infographic a good resource on what are the core elements of online content marketing.

[Src: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/222294931583090603/ ]

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost India | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes 20 Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Star Moment | My 1st Newspaper Interview “Twittering Heights”

The print newspaper and me go a long way back spanning many many many decades. We’ve always had an interesting relationship.
Sometimes, I consider it my best friend and read it fully.
Many times, I consider it to be an acquaintance and steal a glance (to see if there is anything interesting  in the images)
Sometimes, I ignore it.
And many times, I look at a picture / read an article and dream “I wish it was me“.

I’m excited and happy to say that my dream came true :) My “Star Moment” and my 1st newspaper interview is below on Deccan Chronicles (Bengaluru Edition) – which is the largest circulated English daily in South India

Deccan Chronicle 1Nischala 2

 

 

How it came to be?

It was a pleasant surprise when I received a message a few weeks ago from the Features Editor of Deccan Chronicles that they wanted to feature me in their paper as they regularly feature ‘inspirational women / women entrepreneurs’. I really wasn’t sure “What I had done to feature here?“. Out of curiosity, I responded saying that I’m open to discuss. What followed next was a couple of connects, interactions and conversations. And I was interviewed for a couple of questions which the editorial team were keen on knowing about me. Again, honestly – I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I thought it was for a small feature that they’ll publish. But, I was in for a very pleasant surprise when I saw a full page photo of me, and a wonderfully crafted story about me.

Wow! That is a dream come true“, and surely my “Star Moment“. And yes, I will save the paper as something I’ll show my grandchildren some day :). Special thanks to Nuvena Rajendran for making this happen.It is indeed wonderful to be acknowledged and appreciated for your efforts.

Nischala 3

And since I was interviewed on a lot more than what they newspaper finally printed, so I’m sharing some of my other responses here on the blog.

Give us a brief about your growing up years in Bangalore? How has the city changed over the years?

I spent my childhood and formative years in Bangalore and will probably always be a “Banglorean by heart” (If you live in Bangalore, you will know what I mean!) . They were truly memorable, fun and exciting years which revolved around school, friends, games, studies, books, art and idleness. And I’m really glad for those times and years which were instrumental in shaping / molding my personality and outlook to life. The joy and freedom of playing outdoors, running / cycling fearlessly, playing pranks on / with friends, barking at your neighbors dogs, cat-fights and dog-fights over evening games, bon-fires in winters is unparalleled. You have to live those wonder years to know what they were like. But alas! Those were the good old days.

The city has transformed over past decade primarily due to the IT boom. What followed was increased employment opportunities, increased disposable income, increased inflow of immigrants from other parts of India / world, increased overall industrial / economic development, but with public infrastructure always playing catch-up. Need I say anything about the traffic woes of the city?

In spite of it all, I still love the city because of the familiarity, the memories, the emotional connect, the opportunities, the cultural diversity and for all that it has given me  – After all my best memories of life are associated with Bangalore – and no one can take that.

Have you always wanted to be part of the corporate world? Any other ambitions as a child?

Looking back, I’ve always wanted to work. If I had to connect the dots, I think a lot of it can be attributed to the importance my parents associated with our education and the value we (my sibling and me) associated with that education. So after I completed my engineering and management degree, I went on to take up a corporate job and there’s been no looking back.

My ambitions as a child took me from being a doctor, to a genetics engineer, to an entrepreneur, to a lawyer, to a sportsperson, to a police officer, to an artist, to a designer, to a global best-selling author, to a private detective, to the show business, to a motivational speaker! If you’ve read my debut Huffington post article, I’ve written about exactly this..

Who were your inspirations when you were growing up?

I think I’ve had several inspirations – and very many from people I meet as a part of everyday life. They change based on the phase of life I am in and the state of mind / heart. All time inspiration was of course from my parents. Beyond that, there have been moments when I have felt inspired from teachers, friends, family, celebrities, art, movies, culture, genius, creativity, intelligence, wit, et al.

You have explained how you have had multiple passions as a child. Do you think it is the same energy that pushes you to juggle passions even now?

I’ve had very many diverse interests since childhood and have always enjoyed learning new things. It is no wonder that the list of things that I’ve done in life is really really really long. From sports (which includes sprint / marathon running, cycling, skipping, basketball, billiards, snooker, to the Indian street games like Lagori, Elastic, Hop scotch, etc.) to arts (pencil sketching, painting, calligraphy, Ikebana,etc.) to cooking to yoga to (creative) writing – I’ve done it all and much more!

The energy was to learn new things back then. But now I think the energy comes from a different place within. Life’s unpredictable and in the last few years I’ve lost a lot of people dear to me, so you have this inner voice which tells you to make it count while you are around. And since I became a mother I also reflect on deeper questions around life and legacy – I think it comes from there.

One thing that B-school never trained you for?

3 M’s – Marriage, Motherhood and dealing with Medical issues (of self / others). Life experiences are the best teachers / training ground. You reach the tipping point, and encounter make-or-break life moments.  From there, you can rise or fall.

You are one of the very few women who blog about out-of-the-box stuff. Did you ever think that your writing would take you places? How does it feel to be featured on the lists of top blogs to follow?

Thank you for that comment. It is the first time someone has mentioned “Out of the box”  for my blogs. Looking back, I don’t think I ever thought my writing would take me anywhere. See here’s the thing. I was not much of a reader or writer in my growing up years. I was more an “outdoor” person, and my school books are probably all that I managed to read those days.

Marriage made me a ‘reader’ and motherhood brought out the ‘writer’ in me. I actually started seriously blogging on my journey to motherhood. In a few months my writings were published as guest blogs by some globally reputed brands like Problogger, TheChangeBlog, etc., and the blog was featured on Alltop under many sections.

I was also featured among many bests – like the Top 10 most influential bloggers in India (which included Chetan Bhagat, Shekar Kapur, etc.), then in the directory of Best Indian Blogs (which included veteran bloggers / writers / CEO’s / celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shoba De, Rashmi Bansal, etc.), among 50 indian women to follow on Twitter (which includes women like Kiran Bedi, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Shabana Azmi‏, Barkha Dutt‏, Rujuta Diweka, etc.). All the recognition and accolades feels wonderful. Who does not like to be recognized for their work, especially if it is something you love to do.  And yes, I have grown and evolved significantly as a writer in the past few years, and I think that has also helped me grow and evolve as an individual.

Your advice to women who are thinking of taking the plunge into the corporate world.

Firstly, congrats on that thought and good luck on your corporate career. I’d have lots to tell them based on my corporate experience of more than a decade – which is why I started a separate section on my blog for Women At Work. I’d ask them to head over to my blog and read all that I’ve shared.

Here are 15 points I’d like to call out:
1) The word CAREER starts with CARE. So take full responsibility to CARE for yourself, your professional growth and success
2) Take the time and effort to know and understand yourself – your strengths, weakness, your desires, your values. Acknowledge it, Accept it, Celebrate it.
3)  Believe in yourself. If you don’t there’s a chance that others also won’t
4)   Invest in personal and professional networks. They will hold you in good stead on the rainy days.
5)   Invest in your physical health and wellness – This will be one of the most important variables if you are serious about a long term career
6)   Stay relevant in your field – read, take examinations / certifications, participate in community discussions, etc.
7)    Learn to use technology for your benefit. Make an effort to know what you need, understand the power of technology and find ways to make technology work for you.
8)    Choose your battles wisely – at work and at home. You have finite energy and time, and not every battle is worth a fight
9)    Understand that while emotions define most women, control on your emotions will define your career path and its longevity
10)   While earning is important, managing your finances and investments is even more critical. Save regularly, invest wisely and review your personal finances periodically. If you can’t / don’t have the time, hire professionals to do it. It is a worthwhile investment. Again, a lot of women are guilty of being clueless about where all their money wen
11)   One of the most important career choices you make as a woman is the choice of your life partner. Understand its depth and accept its reality
12)   Find a mentor. Having one early on in your career can sometimes be the only factor in determining how long your career will span, and how far you will go
13)   No matter how complex, formidable, complicated and unique you think your situation is / maybe, remember that there is at least one other woman in the world who has faced a similar situation and found a way out of the adversity. So it is possible. Believe in it
14)  Age and Karma almost always catch up on you – no preferential treatment for women here
15)   Your happiness is in your hands. You are the “Chief Happiness Officer” of your life. Play the part, and play it well

What are your other passions? How do you find the time for it?

These days I get limited time for other passions – With a full time corporate job, 2 kids – being a working mother is most of what I do. But the 3R’s which make my world go round are Reading, Running and Writing.

How I get the time? I rarely watch TV. I set goals for myself. I make plans. I follow the plan. I work hard. I’m disciplined and I’m blessed to have a supportive family who supports me to find the rhythm in the madness.

Something about Nischala that we do not know.

Planning is one of my greatest strengths, and I’m one of those people who can make a plan for anything in the world. I would have created zillions of plans in my life, and think there is a science, skill and art to making comprehensive and realistic plans.

Also, I’m a big advocate of efficiency in the kitchen and have devised a process for maximum output with optimum time / effort . There was one phase when I used to enter the kitchen with a stop watch. When the time is up, I step out. Honestly, just think about how much time, energy (physical, emotional, mental) resources are consumed every single day in any Indian house in the kitchen? If that time is reduced even by half, I think overall business / economic / personal growth and development will increase phenomenally because people think and do less “food related” activities. Worth a thought, right?

And yes, if and when there is an affordable personal robot for home maintenance work (which reduces / eliminates “dependency” on the Indian house-help) I’ll be one of the first to buy it

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist : Huffingtonpost India | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes 20 Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

12 months in 2014 taught me 12+ lessons as a Working Mother

As I look back on my career journey in 2014, I recognize that this year has been significant for me in very many ways. Firstly, I worked for one more year, so “+1” in my resume for number of years of work experience :). While there were some highs in this duration, this year was filled with rocky patches at work and my quest to find that elusive ‘work-life resonance’. What I realized along the way is this:

  • The ‘rocky patches’ at work will continue to exist , just that their dimensions and nature will change – but what matters the most is how you deal with it and how you let it affect your life– especially your self-confidence, self-worth and family / personal relationships.
  • There is no universal definition of ‘Work life resonance’. It is simply what works for you and what trade-offs are you willing to make for those choices. There is no right or wrong. You should be able to go to bed at night in-spite / despite your choices, and that’s what counts.

But beyond this, every month of 2014 taught me something which inspired a specific writing piece. In this post, I’m putting it all together to share my Reflections and Lessons as a Women at Work

January : It is the start of the New year. New beginnings. New possibilities. This year I did not start with goals or resolutions, but with questions . Asking yourself the right questions at the start of the year or at a critical phase in life compels you to think, ponder, understand – and many times burst your bubble so you can see things clearly. Click-over to this post on “Questions to Ask and answer for yourself”. As we end 2014, and enter into a new year 2015 – I strongly recommend you answer to yourself these questions too

February : This is the month of love, and as clichéd as it sounds “Self-Love is the best love”. And learning something new / interesting / exciting is a great way to love yourself. Click over to this post “Love thyself: Learn something new” to get inspired on learning something new

March: I realized that self-belief is key to keep and succeed in your career and life as a working mother. That inspired my post on “I believe in you, Do you?”. So the big question is Do you believe in yourself?

It was also the month when I truly realized the power of “Only Women” Social networks which inspired the post on women communities can be powerful peer-group support networks – which act as friends, guides, advisors or just punching bags to release all that is within your heart or mind

The other big take-away was about the importance of Saying NO and why women find it so hard to say No went into this post on “Women – When did you last say NO?” If you can’t recall when you said No to someone, try it today!

The other topic I felt strongly about is the need and importance for mentorship among women professionals, which went into a post called “Mentors for working women – Essential, but do they exist?”

April: As a working mother, I realized that I could not function without taking help – both at work and at home. But there is some science, skill and art in asking for help which inspired my post on “Asking for help : Are you an A+ or D-“

May : This was the month that I realized that as working mothers 3F’s were important for long term career continuity and growth. Focus on what is important, Flexibility at critical life phases and Flow to keep your work and life going. These insights went into my post “A Working Mother’ Career Continuum : Focus, Flex. Flow

June: This was a time when I realized that for more women to continue meaningful careers and to flourish at work, we need systemic multi-dimensional change and those thoughts went into my post titled “Do we need a Lean In movement in India?”

July: This was the month which marked the “rocky patch” at work for me. And I was unable to write. I did let it affect me in more ways than one. However, over the next few months, I found ways to deal with it

August : It was the month when I wondered about the need and importance for women to work. That inspired one of my most popular posts “ Why women should work? – Here are 30 good reasons” .Do read and feel free to add to the list with your comment

September : This was a defining month for me personally when I realized that so much needs to said and done for the case and cause of Indian Women At Work. Since I had already a significant body of writings on this topic, and felt strongly about it – I launched a new section on my blog for Women At Work. Do read, and if want me to write anything in specific, please leave a comment. I do plan to write more on this subject in 2015

I also tried to find mantras to live by as a working mother, and those thoughts came together on my post titled “Working Women : Mantras to Live By”. This was shared generously in several networks.

October: This was a busy festive month / season and as I tried to navigate through expectations of work and personal-front, I needed some guide to help me focus and prioritize on things which I need to do regularly. These thoughts came together in one of my first infographic titled “Sheroes Must Do’s : Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly”. I find it a useful reminder every now and then

November : If there a prize for the FAQ(Frequently Asked Question) that I was asked in 2014 by women in my network, it was this. I’m on a career break and want to resume work. What options, possibilities, opportunities exist? It is to answer this question that I put in significant effort in one of my most shared post “Know a woman (in India) on a career break and looking to resume work? You must read this post

It was also the month that the team at SheroesIndia invited me for their Delhi Summit. It was a wonderful experience, and I wrote about my lessons, insights and experiences here.

December: 2014 was also the year I finished 14 years of work experience, and so in the spirit of sharing what I learned all these years, I wrote a post “14 cherished lessons from 14 years of corporate work experience.

So that sums up my lessons as a working mother in 2014. What did 2014 teach you? Leave a comment to let me know.

First published here

Blogging for Business / Run a corporate blog? – Here are a list of topics for 1 year (for FREE!)

Are you blogging for your business / run a corporate blog to gain mind-share, market-share or profit-share?

And you don’t know what to blog about?

If I had to create a Blogging FAQ( Frequently Asked Questions) on what I get asked most of the time, the top questions would be
1) Why blog?
2) What to blog about?

If I had to answer Why should a business / corporate blog? – The answers are manifold :

(i) To share their views / voice

(ii) To engage / nurture your industry ecosystem by connecting with customers,partners, suppliers, analysts, solution providers, etc.

(iii) To learn yourself and stay updated with market / industry trends

(iv) To generate leads and

(v) To create a brand!

The next question is What to blog about?. In this post, I’m listing blog post ideas for a business blog which can last you for 1 year – if you publish at least 1 post a week.. The key to success is consistency over a long period.For that, focus, plan and a commitment to invest in your blog is most important.

I usually recommend a healthy mix of different content formats on a corporate blog – including blogs, pictures, infographics, video content, etc.

So choose a topic from the list below, decide on the format, and publish publish publish away :)

1) Why did your business / corporate start? What was the idea and how it came to be?

2) The initial phase – Challenges and Lessons. What you learned from setting up your business?

3) The founding team – Who they were and How they came to be? A fun or lesser known facts about the team. It always makes an interesting read if a reader knows a “personal / human” side to you.

4) A timeline which highlights key dates / milestones since inception.

5) What are your offerings (services / products)?

6) Recent innovations in your business / which affect your business – This could be done once in 3 months, so you can have at least 4 posts / year

7) What is unique about your offerings?

8) What difference will your offering make to a customer?

11) An industry timeline – Infographic (How the industry came to be?)

12) Less known facts about your business / industry – – With interesting trivia, facts and figures (well researched and data accuracy is important)

13) Industry survey / trends – Infographic (What all the latest market surveys are saying – for your industry as a whole).

14) Video from your CEO on any topic he is passionate about

15) A blog post on the current trending topic (technology / business / process) and your view on it – Even you do this once in 2 months, you’ll have 6 posts for a year

16) A success story for your business | Who was the client? What was the problem? How you solved it? This could be done at least 2 times / year

17) Lessons learned from a not-so-successful customer project | What was the problem? What did you learn? This could be done at least 2 times / year

18) A Must-Read monthly round-up of 8 – 10 interesting industry articles, news, views, opinions, perspectives – from your customer, partners, competitors | as an online curated resource which anyone can refer to (With 1 / month, this adds up to 12 posts for the year)

19) A Must-Read monthly round-up of 8 – 10 interesting articles, news, views, opinions, perspectives – on life hacks, productivity, getting better at work, general inspiration | as an online curated resource which anyone can refer to (With 1 / month, this adds up to 12 posts for the year)

20) Interviews with Experts – What your industry experts are saying about the future? Even if you do 1 / quarter, you will have 4 posts in a year

21) Choose any topic that is currently trending and get the 3 or more alternate views on the subject. for e.g.: if the topic you are currently interested in is around next generation analytics solutions, write a post with the views of a customer, technology provider, product vendor and analyst. Just bringing together voice from different perspectives can make a truly unique and compelling read

22) A note of CSR initiatives (Corporate Social Responsibility) and what your company is doing towards specific causes

23) 10 reasons why anyone should join your company

24) A post on Marketing – Its relevance and importance for your business

25)  A post on Digital – Its relevance and importance for your business

26)  A post on Social – Its relevance and importance for your business

27) A post on Big Data – Its relevance and importance for your business

28) A post on Analytics – Its relevance and importance for your business

29)  A post on Cloud – Its relevance and importance for your business

30) Your company’s view on “The Next Big Thing that can change the world”

31) Your company’s view on Innovation

32) Your company’s view on changing role of Leadership

33) 10 Must-Read books – for your business / industry, and Why?

34) Open Letter to anyone joining your company

35) 5 – 10 Blogs you suggest anyone to follow to stay updated / relevant in your business / industry

36) 10 – 20 Twitter thinkers / influencers you recommend others to follow and Why?

NOTE: Some of the above may already be part of most company websites, but a blog post is usually more informal and can be written by the CEO / founder/ core team in an anectodal / story-telling fashion.

 

Suggested Readings

Understanding the Hype Cycle of a Blog

Why you should were the 6 Thinking Hats on your blog

Focus on Diversity on your blog

Why will a reader remember your blog?

Importance of an editorial calendar

How to be the most organized person in this world?

So I’ve set a milestone of sorts on this blog.. From consistently posting at least 1 post / week for 32 weeks, I DID NOT publish a post last week.. As I look back to connect the dots on why I skipped the post, I came up with a zillion excuses.. No time, busy at work, too tired, .. etc.. All lame I agree, because I did find the time to do what I wanted to (both professional and personal).. On deeper introspection, I recognized that I had become a tad bit disorganized for my own good.. Just when I wondered what I could / should do, I came across this comprehensive solution.. I am yet to apply fully, but felt it was timely and appropriate to share on my blog for the benefit of all my readers..

MORAL of the STORY – Stay Organized, Stay Organized, Stay Organized….

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

Blogs come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime

When I entered the blog-o-sphere years ago, I had no idea where that would take me. Suffice to say, I just took the plunge – There were no real expectations, no real agenda, no real goals. Just some time at hand, an open mind, curiosity, an interest in reading, a laptop, an internet connection and The English language :)

I started reading blogs for a reason. Somehow somewhere I continued reading blogs through the seasons. And today, reading blogs is an integral part of my life, and I guess it will continue for my lifetime (If I have it my way!). Reading a blog enables me to learn, travel, get answers, ask questions, grow, watch others evolve / bloom / blossom, see the world with a new lens, make me feel that I’m not alone, give me clarity of perspective and most importantly, experience life through others experiences

After about 2 years of reading others blogs, I started writing my own blogs. Again, for a reason. Somehow somewhere they extended to a season. And then many seasons. Today, my blogs area an integral part of my life, and I guess it will continue for my lifetime (If I have it my way!). Writing a blog enables me to learn, express myself, get answers, ask questions, emote, connect, grow, share, see the world with a new lens, gain diverse perspectives, truly comprehend things and possibly leave a social media legacy

And I strongly believe that Blogs comes into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime..
When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each blog.

When a blog comes into your life for a REASON . . . It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. A blog can assist you through a difficulty, provide you with guidance and support, aid you emotionally, socially, intellectually, financially or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be.Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, you lose interest in the blogs. Sometimes it is forever, sometimes it is a hiatus. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, and the work is done. And now it is time to move on.

When a blog comes into your life for a SEASON . . . Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.A blog brings you a purpose, phenomenal clarity of thought, an experience of peace, platonic connection(s), sometimes financial benefits too or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done or even thought of. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season. And then the bond is severed. You take the lessons and move on.

LIFETIME blogs and bloggers teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid foundation for life. Your job is to accept the blog , love the blog from your heart, have an open mind without judgment and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and experiences of your life.

All the blog-o-sphere is a stage
And all blogs and bloggers merely players
They have their exists and entrances
And each in their time play many parts

Inspired and based on the original words
“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . It is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be.Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON . . .Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

What about you? Have blogs come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime.. Leave a comment to let me know

The “Only Women” Social Networks – I started with an “Oh!”, and ended with “Whoa!”

I studied in an all-girls school for a good part of my early formal education. Like any school kid of the 1980’s and 1990’s era in India, I had my share of learning, studies, sports, co-curricular activities, mischief, memorable moments, childhood / school experiences, life lessons and fun in equal measure – just that it did not involve “the boys”, and that did not really make a difference. Honestly, I did not know it any other way :). Consequently, my “good / best friends” were mostly girls (And some of them are my best friends even to this date. Yes! Our friendship dates to another era!). Of course, I did interact with boys / men in the family and friends network, but then there is an implicit line drawn somewhere (like an invisible “Lakshman Rekha”), and so those experiences are usually somewhat pleasant and civil. When I passed out of school, I enrolled into a co-education school. That started my “real journey” with the “multifaceted opposite sex”. Looking back, my life has never really been the same again!! :) :( . Ah! I miss those “girlie school days”, and I also realized the importance and power of the “bonds of sisterhood” much much later.

See here’s the thing | When girls and boys connect, communicate, interact and (try to) co-exist, it is a whole new world. Things which were ignored suddenly come to limelight, things which were irrelevant suddenly become relevant, things which you were never conscious about suddenly become the center of your universe, things which never needed to be “filtered” need to be “filtered”, things which were never really important become critical to your existence, and things which never defined you become your defining moments.

Anyways, coming back to my own life – The next few years revolved around education, career, family, marriage and motherhood. And like most average people, I’ve had my share of good, bad and ugly in all of this. And as with most women who go through all these life experiences, I let-go of many of my girlfriends along the way. It was not intentional, purely incidental / circumstantial. Career, work life balance, travel, people residing in all parts of the world, lack of time, conflicting interests, changing priorities, etc. etc. etc. So before I knew it I found myself in my 30’s and wondering who my friends really are!

Thanks to technology and the Social Media revolution, I was able to re-connect with many of my girlfriends from the past. The good thing is that you have a foundation and base to build on, and you can take off from where you left. But the not-so-good thing is that you have all changed, and there may be a fundamental difference in your thoughts, perspectives and outlook to life. The other not-so-good thing is that you are almost always worried if she will judge you, and how much you can trust her. Anyways girls / women are (in)famous for keeping secrets right?

Sometime in 2010 on my journey to motherhood, I also started my journey as a writer and blogger – Simply because I needed a canvas to express myself. A canvas for my words – Words which stemmed from dreams, thoughts, observations, analysis, learning’s, conversations, view-points, outlook, views, emotions, perspectives, achievements, mistakes, failures, lessons learned, comprehensions, experiences and conclusions. Along the way, I realized that I enjoyed blogging as it was a creative outlet for my thoughts, emotions and energies, and continued to blog more. As any blogger did / does, I stressed and fretted about readership, reach, pageviews, etc. and as a solution, I embraced Twitter and FaceBook to promote my blogs. Nothing really significant, but just figuring out the tricks of the trade. And of course the usual lingering around (which by the way takes a whole lot of precious time!). A “hello” here, “You look fabulous” there. And of course, those moments which social media leaves you with. Sometimes moments of wonder at how much people have changed. Sometimes moments of awe at how far others have come. Sometimes moments of admiration at how successful and powerful some of my buddies are. Sometimes moments of joy to see and share a slice of someone else’s life. Sometimes moments of jealousy at how happy some people appear to be! And sometimes just to flow through the passage time and make the moment count (or not!?). I go through the whole range of human emotions over a span of few minutes. The unanticipated benefit of all my Twitter / FaceBook activity is that it connected to several like-minded, intelligent, interesting and diverse woman who were slowly and surely creating an impact and making a difference in their sphere of influence.

Sometime in 2013, I got invited to be part of some FaceBook groups / communities. I accepted the invitation. Honestly I did not know what to expect. It took me a while to understand the protocols of interaction, the reach, the impact and the power of these communities. I don’t know why and how, but what followed were invitations to some elite and exclusive “women only” social communities. Many of these are “secret / closed groups” where the membership is “by invitation only”. They typically include women who have common interests / beliefs or experiences (for e.g.: motherhood in general, working mothers, women in business, mompreneurs, etc.).  And that opened a whole new world for me, changed my perspective of life and has been a transformational life experience.

Here’s what I learned | A woman speaking in public is one thing, and a woman speaking behind closed doors is something else. You have to experience it to know what I mean.

To be honest when I first joined some of these communities, I was pleasantly shocked! Shocked to see the honesty with which women spoke up, shocked at how freely women shared deeply private and personal stories of strength, courage, conviction and trials, shocked to see the support women extended to each other in times of lows / crisis, shocked at the positivity and energy amidst the community, shocked at the way the owners nurtured / propelled the group towards specific causes, shocked at the larger good many of these groups were doing / further aimed to do, shocked at how unknown names and faces stood up for each other to assist and guide women through all that life threw at them.

Being a member of these communities has been an invaluable learning experience for me. Over time, I realized that I enjoyed the interactions, the learning, the friendships and bonds that were fostered and also the intellectual stimulation that these communities provided.

See here’s the next thing | There is that special something about an “all-girls network”. If you’re / you’ve ever been part of one, you’ll know what I mean. Suffice to say, today I swear by the “bonds of womanhood”. I know that the “old boys clubs / bad boys gangs / dirty old men groups” have been around from time immemorial. But as of today, I’d bet that the “Only Woman” social networks are here to stay. This is where the power lies. This is where ideas are exchanged. This is where inspiration is drawn from . This is where the thoughts are influenced. This is where it all comes together!

I have nothing personal against boys / men really; after all I am what I am partly because of all the men in my life. Just that with time I’ve come to acknowledge, appreciate and accept that men and women are wired differently. So,
(1) There are some things which only girls / women will listen to
(2) There are some things which only girls / women will acknowledge
(3) There are some things which only girls / women will understand
(4) There are some things which only girls / women will know
(5) There are some things which only girls / women will accept
(6) There are some things which only girls / women will embrace
(7) There are some things which only girls / women will counsel on
(8) There are some things which only girls / women can sympathize with
(9) There are some things which only girls / women can empathize with

And because there will almost always be those some things which are exclusive to women, therein lies the need for “Only Women” Social Networks. And these social networks are important because they provide a forum for women to
* Share what they are really thinking – However good, bad or ugly! It is the real deal!
* Share what they are really feeling deep down
* Share a real-life personal context / situation and ask for advice / suggestions / inputs
* Just express the highs and lows of what life throws at you and get a quick hug, snug, nag or niggle here and now; Real-time interaction is the key
* Share to a group of women who make you feel that you are not alone
* Share with a group of spirited woman and hear the words “It is OK. This too shall pass”
* Just get it all out and in some ways feel free and liberated!

It warms my heart to see women sharing, collaborating, nurturing, supporting, advising, mentoring and just being there for each other through the journey of life.

In all that I’ve seen as a part of my own life, I strongly believe that for any one person to blossom, flower and flourish (man / woman), there has to be (somewhere in the generational family tree) at least ONE resilient woman who nurtured / supported / guided and believed in him / her. (Of course a lot more things play their part too – divine grace, luck, hard work, passion, focus, ecosystem support, timing,. but that one woman would have made all the difference)

And for any woman to be that “resilient woman” she needs support. Not every time, every day. But during that one vulnerable moment which can break / make her. And it is in that one vulnerable moment that the “Only Women” Social Networks help a woman cross the chasm. And for only that one reason, I conclude by saying that these “Only Women” Social Networks are powerful networks. These networks are definitely a harbinger of positive change and have the potential for global transformation. They are real, and here to say!!!

That’s what I had to say. Would love to hear your views. Leave a comment to let me know

Open Letter to Prospective IT Employers in India

More than a year and half ago (23 May 2012), an article in New York Times titledAn Open Letter to India’s Graduating Class went viral. The post was written from a prospective employer; and was addressed to Graduates and Post-Graduates. When I first read the article, I nodded at every single point listed.

In the past 1+ year, I have had the opportunity to interact with several fresh graduates / post-graduates (unemployed / employed and waiting to start off their careers / employed with organizations for less than 2 years). And as a part of these interactions, I acknowledged and learned their side of the story.

In this post, I present the collective views and sentiments of this group.

 Dear Prospective IT Employer,

This is your potential employee. We are a graduate / post-graduate looking for employment. We are potentially the future assets of your organization (assuming you consider employees as assets), the key contributors to your top-line and bottom-line growth in the years to come (assuming you continue to charge your customers for employee services, i.e., Billing Rate / Hour) and the keepers of your “brand name” (assuming you have a brand name). All of these will influence and shape your organization growth, your competitive differentiation and your longevity in the times of come.

Millions of us have recently graduated or will graduate in the near future. We are filled with a sense of excitement and eagerness as we complete our formal education, and start a new phase of our lives as “working professionals” and “officially” become part of the corporate workforce. Some of us have already landed our first job, and are ready to contribute.

In theory, life appears to be good – except that it’s probably not all-so-good. We look, speak and interact with our seniors and friends who are currently employed in IT jobs, and are filled with apprehensions and questions on how the future will turn out when we start working for you!

So why this letter, and why should you read on? Well, because based on collective “sentiments and opinions” of fresh graduates or post-graduates / newly hired employees, some truths have become apparent. Read on to understand what your future employees really want and how we can work together to create a “Win-Win” situation.

Before we get into specifics, we humbly acknowledge the following:

(1)   In your assessment, we are “spoiled” because of the “India growth story”. We agree that we may be “spoiled” in your eyes. So let us just ask you a few questions:

Who is to blame for the times / era one is born to?” – We? Did any of us specifically write a wish 100 years back that we’d like to graduate in 2011 / 2012 / 2013?

Who is to blame for the kind of upbringing that we’ve had?” – We? Many of you must be having children, cousins, nephews, niece and other relatives who are in the same phase as us. What did you do as responsible adults to influence our upbringing?

(2)   In your assessment, our “English Language” skills are sub-standard. Again,

Who is to blame for the quality of English education that we received?” We?

“Who is to take responsibility for the English proficiency of the teachers who taught us in different schools and colleges across India?” We?

(3)   There is a gap between what we learn at college; and what we are expected to deliver at the workplace

We are cognizant of the fact that there is a “great divide” on what we learn at school / college (however much / little this is!) and what you expect us to deliver at work

Who is to take responsibility for this “GAP”?” We? OR “The systems, people and processes who run these educational institutes and who run these corporate organizations?”

So, without any further ado – We’d like to share with you our side of the coin, and what we’d like as prospective employees in your organization:

(1)   You accept us for what we are

The first and most important point for us to be productive and you to get the best of us is for you to “ACCEPT” us for what we are. Yes, we are not perfect. Yes, we have limitations. Yes, we are not the “ideal employees”. Yes, we want things to be easy. Yes, We are the iPad / iPhone / Twitter / FaceBook generation. And we cannot change overnight just to “fit-in” to your view of the ideal employees

So for a start, would it not be EASIER if you ACCEPTED us for what we ARE?

 (2)   You give us work to do

The second point is that we’ve seen and heard so many of our seniors and friends join your organizations to “work”. Sadly on joining, they find that there is NO WORK to do. And many of us spend weeks / months / years (in some instances) on the “bench / beach” – As you call it. We did not join your companies to sit on “benches / beaches” – though we’d like to vacation and party in benches and on beaches!

So please give us WORK. Only if we work, can we learn and grow. Please give us these work opportunities

 (3)   You answer our questions, even the most basic ones

We agree that we may not have the “average intelligence” of your generation. So we request you to provide basic guidance as we make our first steps into the big BAD corporate world.

Yes! We acknowledge that we need to learn (a LOT), and are willing to learn. Provided your employees with all their “intelligence and industry experience” make the time and effort to answer our questions, even the basic ones.

In many instances, you’re employees don’t like being asked questions. And in several cases the ground reality is that they don’t know the answers to our questions!

So please give answers our questions. And if you don’t know the answers, please find them out! But, please provide basic guidance

 (4)   You collaborate with us to build our English language skills

There’s a lot of hue and cry on our sub-standard English language skills. Agreed, that our English skills are sub-standard. But did you not check that when you interviewed us? And if you did still hire us (because of the demand as you call it), then that’s the choice you made.

And the reality is that every choice comes with a price. In this case, the price is probably that we work together to build and enhance our “English language” skills.

So let’s collaborate on enhancing our English Skills

 (5)   You give us problems to solve; and let us “solve them”

We admit that our “problem solving” skills may be limited, and probably not in par with yours. Part of the reason could be that most of the important problems (of the world or country) were “solved” by the time it was our turn; Thanks to the collective genius of your generation, and the previous generations. So we got limited “hands-on” problem solving experience, as you’d call it.

Now, the way we see it – You are expecting us to “solve problems” – be it business, technology, process or customer experience. And we are willing to give it a try. So please let us try. We will probably struggle, and solve problems in the way “we know”; and not the way “you want”. So please be open to new ways of solving problems. After all with your expansive wisdom, we are sure you will agree that every problem can be solved in umpteen different ways!

So, give us problems to solve; and let us “solve them”

 (6)   You show us the long-term picture

As a group, we like to have a long term view of things. We are curious, inquisitive and futuristic, though we personally like everything “instantly”; in the here and now. So do share a view of where you’re headed, what you’re plans are and how the strategy will fall into place.

Unfortunately, most of the people we interact with in your organizations don’t seem to have a clue on the long term view of things. Agreed that they know their technologies and their projects, but there’s more to the IT world than that one customer project, right?

So please show us the long term picture!

 (7)   You lead by example – Especially on “being professional and ethical”

Our grandparents often said “When you point one finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back to you.” May be there is some wisdom in this statement.

When we join your organizations, we are at a fairly impressionable phase of our careers and lives. “Professionalism, Ethics and Values” are words which seem ‘high and lofty’ and many of us don’t really get what it translates to; in theory.

But we observe, and we see, and we speak, and we hear! – From the environment. So if you’ve already built an organization culture which is strong on “professionalism, values and ethics” – We’d be sure to follow!

But if you’re expecting us to build and create that environment for you, then maybe we need more guidance, mentoring, role models, some expectation management or you need a reality check!

So do lead by example. And we’re more likely to follow!

 That’s the initial list. Hope it’s given you some food for thought, as you start on-boarding your new employees (or fresher’s) into your world!!

You’re prospective Employee