Jan to Mar | Round-up of events to note, and attend ?

As I mentioned in my previous post – In 2016, I decided to attend more real-world events (face-2-face) – Be it industry, art, networking, technology, startups, academia  – It was a personal resolve to just get out there, hear / see / read to what’s happening in spaces outside of my world.. My only preference was that the event had to be in Delhi (or nearby) or Bengaluru which I travel for work.

In the process, I did manage to attend a couple of events so far, but what I also discovered was that there are a host of amazing events. In this post, I am sharing a list of events that I have come across in the past 3 months:



Marketing / Leadership / Business / Industry / Technology

Great Indian IT Marketing Summit and Awards

Brand Partnership Meet


Jaipur Literature Festival

Indian Art Fair

Dastkar Design Fair



Marketing / Leadership / Business / Industry / Technology


Surge (Web Summit)


Surajkund Crafts Mela

Auto Expo



Marketing / Leadership / Business / Industry / Technology

The Coalition


Lets Ignite (Startup event)



Bhasha (Indian Language Festival)

World Culture Festival


Did I miss any interesting event? Leave a comment to let me know



Columnist / Byline In:  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo |  Finextra | Inc42  |  Business2Community | ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen|Nasscom | SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters |  YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | Parentous | The Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays

Blog:  Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [ Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian BloggersDirectory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]

Twitter:  @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014), 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

 Industry Associations / Mentorships: SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – An IIT Mumbai initiative) | TLabs | Inc42 | SheroesIndia | BackToTheFront  

Interviews and Media Mentions:
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle)
Featured in | #PowerWomenAtWork – the drivers of change
Featured in | 101 inspiring women aka rockstars
Featured in | Passionate Bloggers you should follow
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?”

Speaker Sessions, Panel Discussions and Events (Real and Virtual): 
Career Investments that every women at work should make” ; Speaker session at Intel
Navigating careers in large organizations” ; Tweetchat hosted by Wipro
Making your network your net-worth” ; Panel Discussion hosted by BTTF (Back To The Front)
MyDigitalStory” ; Tweetchat hosted by SheThePeopleTV
The Art and Craft of Content” ; Speaker session at Wipro
“Importance of Mentorship for women” ; Sheroes Summit

Other events / conferences that I’ve graced : Bhasha Shakti (Mar 2016),Surge , IAMAI (Feb 2016), TIE – Women Entrepreneurship (2015), EuroFinance Cash Management Conference (2014), Sheroes Summit(2014), PaulWriter -The Futurist CMO (2013)


Wiser after 4M’s – An MBA, Marriage, Motherhood and Medical Issues?

First published on WomenInspiringWednesdays

How does anyone summarize more than 3 decades of life experiences to capture the essence, lessons and spirit of all that it entailed?

How does anyone share multi-facets of the 4M madness (an MBA from IIMB, Marriage, Medical issues (of self and in the family) and Motherhood) – many of which are relevant to very many women?

How do anyone summarize the ~15 years of corporate work experiences which encompass diverse aspects of business, process, domain, technology, team-work, customers, partners, travel, culture, leadership, mentor-ship and everything that define your career trajectory and make you what you are?

How does one say all that is to be said, read, understood and feel inspired in one blog post?

Well, here’s an attempt… Read on..

I’m Nischala Murthy Kaushik, and like to describe myself as a working mother, marketer, digital artisan, content crafter and blogger / writer / columnist. The penchant for ‘new’ and ‘novel’ experiences has fueled my life and career taking me across diverse life-stories. Most of these stories had a good dose of action, drama, villainy, emotion, humor and romance – just that the supporting cast changed every time based on the context, but I continued to play my part – which was obviously the lead role! And I still continue to play the lead role. This is my story!

As I crafted this piece, I wondered what story I should share here? One which was simple, powerful and universal to the trajectory of any / every woman’s life and career. Going down memory lane, each of the 4M’s has been a defining moment in my life; and has been a great experience of self-discovery, learning, strength, resilience, growth with its share of highs and lows. I’d love to share some of the key lessons which stayed with me at every point in this journey – with the hope that it compels you to ponder, wonder or meander in your mind or heart!

M1 – MBA from IIMB

I gave myIIM MBA entrance exam with very little preparation, and was sure I’d not get through. But I cleared the written exam, and sailed through the interview process. I also almost didn’t enroll in to IIMB because I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. I had my reasons, or so I thought! Fortunately, my mother influenced my decision, and I did enroll into the MBA course. MBA from IIMB was defining for me because it exposed me to some of the best and brightest brains in India (both in terms of teaching faculty and student interaction) – Not to mention the learning was phenomenal.

What stayed with me?

  • As women, investing in formal (higher) professional education is always a worthwhile investment. If you get any opportunity to enhance your knowledge, skills or professional networks – don’t let it pass. If you are serious about a long term career, a portfolio of diverse formal degrees / qualifications always works in your favor
  • Mother’s always know what’s best for the kids. Listen to your mother with open ears and an open mind – especially after you turn 30.
  • Networks and bonds which you form with people as part of your education / learning journey are usually stronger and tend to stay for life. And these networks usually help you through many a rainy / stormy day – So invest in them, nurture them and treasure them.


Marriage is an important event in any woman’s life. It is defining because the man, themother-in-law and the maid become important influencers in your career / life choices after that!I’m no different. Also in my case, that also involved a move abroad.So finding my feet in a new environment took its time, but with a “can do” mind-set and a willingness to walk the extra-mile, things fell in place.

I was also clear that I would continue to pursue an active career. Fortunately for me, there was a job opportunity abroad which I gladly accepted. In addition, I also enrolled into a local university and earned study credits for subjects of interest, along with a foreign language (German).

What stayed with me?

  • As a woman, it is important to be clear on your personal career objectives and share it up-front before you get into matrimony. If you don’t say it out loud, chances are they’ll never know.
  • Marriage, as with any life relationship involves give and take. You have to be prepared to do both – in your marriage and career. The sooner you accept your reality, acknowledge your circumstances and unique constraints and find creative solutions to keep going, the better off for you are in the long run. The more time you keep looking at closed doors, the longer it will take for you to open new windows and possibilities.
  • As women, it is important to explore ways to expand your knowledge and skills – no matter where you are. This is especially true for many women who have to re-locate to a new city / country after marriage. Once you settle into marriage, explore ways to enhance your knowledge, skills and professional profile. Get a certification, organize an event, learn about a culture, hone your culinary skills – Key is to find ways to stay relevant for today and prepare for what tomorrow can bring your way

M3 – Medical issues (of self and in the family)

I’ve experienced up close and personal going through rough patches with my health, and going through medical crisis / emergency in the family for extended periods of time. Both are extremely trying – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, professionally and socially. Key is to be able to find ways to address current issues at hand, but also look into the future.

What stayed with me?

  • Health is wealth – There is only so far you can go – if health does not favor you or your loved ones. So make health a priority in life – when the going is good.
  • When you have good health, try to make as much wealth – Wealth can buy you (access to) good health – to some extent, and a lot of other things.
  • Life’s too short and unpredictable. So for the people who matter, spend time, say what you have to say and make it count while they’re around.

M4 – Motherhood (Not once, but twice)

Here’s the thing about becoming a mother – You’ll never be fully prepared for it. And no matter who you are / what you do, it will transform your life, thoughts, emotions, priorities, interests, lifestyle, actions, needs, … everything! No life experience can be as intense as that of being a mother, and the journey taught me a lot about myself, people and the world.

But looking back, I started writing during my maternity leave. It wouldn’t be wrong to say while I gave birth to my baby, she gave birth to the writer in me. Simply during those days when I was confined to the 4-walls of the house, I had to find creative ways to keep myself intellectually stimulated and relevant, and blogging gave me an excellent canvas to do it. There’s been no looking back after that.

What stayed with me?

  • Career choices after motherhood are very unique and personal to every woman. So accept your reality, get clarity on what you really want and slowly but steadily find ways to make it happen.
  • Work life balance or Work life integration or work life resonance or work is life or life is work – All mean different things to you and me, especially as women at work. So find your mantra for your context
  • Too many times, the biggest issue for working mothers is around (inflated) expectations and (continuous) judgment. Both are unnecessary – including self-judgment every day and unrealistic expectations every day! Accept that you are not a super-mom, and honestly I don’t even want to be one. I’m okay making reasonable choices and trade-offs – at work, at home and as a mother. As long as things are within boundaries, it’s all good!
  • Once you are a mother, there will be phases when you need to take career breaks / apply the career brake. That is true for most women. In my experience, what really makes a difference are a few things
    1. Being clear on whether you want to work or not
    2. If you want to get back to work, set a timeline for when. Plan the how?
    3. And while you are on a break (for whatever reason), find ways to stay relevant to your subject and connected to your industry / people who matter!
  • As mothers, we tend to be too accepting of everything. While acceptance is good, it can make your too comfortable – which is not good. Key is to push yourself out of the comfort zone by not accepting things.
  • Lastly, remember that focus on your priorities, flexibility in how you can operate and going with the flow are really what takes you to the destination – as a working mother. No short-cuts here!

As I sign off, I hope you find your way through the madness in your life..


Aiming for C-suite? The many avatars that exist…



Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in :  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Wipro NewsCred | Marketo|  FinextraInc42 Business2Community | ProBloggerFamous Bloggers | TheNextWomen |NasscomPaulWriter WomensWeb | Sheroes PeopleMattersYoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous | The Change Blog
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian Bloggers,Directory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among 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?”

The Power of Networking and why you should do more of it?

A few days ago, I was an invited speaker for a session on “Making your NETWORK your NETWORTH“. It was a pleasure and honor to be on the stage, interact with an esteemed panel and connect with an interesting and diverse audience – at different stages and phases of their career trajectory.

The event will be memorable for me for a few reasons:

  • It was one of the opportunities which came my way purely due to my writing / social media connections!
  • It was interesting to hear the narratives of many diverse individuals and what they endure on a daily basis to keep their life and career going!
  • It was one of the times when I have taken online relationships to the real-world!

Everyone will agree that Networking is important, is powerful and can be a real game-changer as one navigates their career and life. Some of the key points I made at the event are below:

  1. Be clear on why you want to network – Simply because in today’s day and age, it is so easy to connect with a zillion people  – especially on social media. If you don’t know why you are forming connections, there is only so much value you can derive from those connections
  2. Plan and Prioritize based on your context and circumstances – The value you can get from networking relationships varies based on the phase of life / career you are in and the workplace environment you belong to (startup, corporate, etc.). So plan and prioritize on the networks you’d like to build based on your context
  3. Invest your time and energy – Any networking relationship is like a sapling. It needs to be nurtured.  You need to give them time and energy – in terms of ideas, inputs, conversations, comments, experiences, thoughts, connections, solutions, catalysts, face-time, etc. The strength of networks is almost always linked to how much you invest in them. More the investments, more the returns!
  4. Be prepared to Give  – All networking relationships are based on ‘Give and Take’. If you expect to leverage your networks for personal / professional interests, be prepared to also be leveraged by others. So you get as much as you give!

As I sign off, I leave you with the many ways in which networking can help any individual.



Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in :  Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Wipro NewsCred | Marketo|  FinextraInc42 Business2Community | ProBloggerFamous Bloggers | TheNextWomen |NasscomPaulWriter WomensWeb | Sheroes PeopleMattersYoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous | The Change Blog
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian Bloggers,Directory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among 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?”

My 1st Economic Time article | The Women At Work Manifesto

According to the World Fact Book, the 2014 gender sex ratio is India was 892 females per 1000 males. So she is born, then what?

According to the latest Indian census, literacy rate among Indian women is 65.46%. According to the District Information System for Education (DISE) (2011-12) report, girl’s enrolment at the primary level (Class I-V) stands at 48.35%. At higher education level, 45% of female are enrolled in under graduate and post graduate courses. So she managed to study, then what?

According to ILO (International Labor Organization) 2015 World Economic Social Outlook Report (WESO), the female labor force participation rate in India was 31.2%. Also, India ranks among the bottom 20 countries in a list of 131 in female labour force participation (FLFP). So she got a job, then what? Did she keep the job? How long?

 According to 2014 Sheroes India Women At Work report , 5% of women are at senior/ leadership levels. That number speaks a lot

Bottom-line | From birth till the last breath – she struggles to survive, chooses to endure and strives to succeed.

While the numbers look dismal in an absolute sense, every day I come across real stories and narratives of real women at work who are trying and striving to make it all work – with grand dreams, grit, hard-work, passion, confidence, determination, perseverance, ecosystem support and divine grace. So there is hope and inspiration.

With about 15 years of corporate work experience during which I have experienced the highs and lows of a corporate career, and also experienced the 3M madness – Marriage and Motherhood twice – I can confidently say that it has been a mixed bag of experiences. On the positive side, it has been a truly enriching, evolving and exciting journey this far.

And so the topic of women at work is close to my heart. One, I am a woman. Two, I’m a working mother. Three, I honestly believe that gender diversity at the workplace is critical for balanced growth and continued success of an organization, the economy, the society and world at large.

Along the way, I have recognized that for women at work to have a fair chance at a long term career and a possibility to reach the top, some early investments are critical and make all the difference. And sooner they are made, the better for her career.

In this post I’m sharing the 9 investments I believe all women should make at the start of their careers.

ET - Women At Work

Knowledge Capital

We live in the knowledge era. Where knowledge is a source of competitive advantage, where knowledge is critical for you to get a job, keep your job, perform your work and also get paid for it. Education of the girl child is the first step to build a strong foundation of knowledge. But beyond that, a lot of knowledge is critical to stay relevant at the workplace. The good news is that in today’s era, knowledge is easily accessible and free – thanks to technology. In the long run, the knowledge which truly makes a difference is specialist knowledge (depth), applied knowledge (experience) or multi-disciplinary knowledge (combination of two / three knowledge areas).

Many women tend to stop learning consciously once they start their formal careers; and not investing in upgrading one’s knowledge can cost any professional dearly in the long run. Hence, it is important for women to consciously and continuously invest in building, enriching and enhancing their knowledge base.

Good-Health Capital

The number of health-related issues is only increasing by the day, and this impacts woman too. It is common knowledge that a vast majority of women tend to put their health and well-being as the last priority. Consequently, the number of women who give up on their careers simply because health does not permit them to work beyond an age or stage or phase of their life is increasing by the day. Physical heath, emotional heath and intellectual health all play a part in one’s overall good-health; and good health can sometimes be the only key factor which determines a woman’s career longevity.

So if you are a woman at work and serious about a long term career, make it a priority to invest in your overall health and well-being. In the long run, that will hold you in good stead.

 Work Performance Capital

There is no substitute for excellence in year-on-year work performance. This is true for everyone, and applies for women too. Hence it is important to ensure you deliver at work what you signed-up for.

Good-will Capital

Almost all women who had long careers will vouch that if there was one thing that helped them navigate through the lows / fluid-phases of their careers, it was purely good-will of the employers, managers and teams they were a part of.

As a case in point, marriage and motherhood are important milestones in the career journey of any women at work. And both almost always make her vulnerable, and compel her to make tough career choices. In such situations, the only grace which enables women to keep their careers afloat can be good-will.

The thing about good-will is that it has to be earned – With time, with your work performance and with your attitude. Good-will can be earned in many ways – By going the extra mile when a team needs it, or stepping up when there is a crisis, or making a difference when it truly matters. So as women at work, make it count when you can; and earn the good-will capital.

 Network / Social Capital

After a point in anyone’s career ‘professional networks’ play a key role in providing career opportunities, growth possibilities and new paradigms of work. This is true for anyone, but more important for women as they are not naturally wired to invest in building their professional networks – both in the real and virtual world. Especially in the context of women, personal networks and support systems also go a long way in providing the elusive work life resonance.

As women at work, it is important to take the time and effort to invest, nurture and build professional and personal networks and relationships beyond your immediate line of work. Agreed it takes time, effort and energy. But what if by that one social connection you invested in, you land your dream job? Or you get the next career break you’d always wanted? So make an effort to build your network / social capital. In the long run, it will see you in good stead.

Skill Capital

A long term career is about having the right skills to take and make the next step in the career ladder. There are some skills that you are born with. But in the long run, self-acquired and personality development skills make all the difference.

In the context of women at work, the following skills are key to survive and thrive – Career Planning, Business Communication (Oral / Written), (Salary) Negotiation, Creative Thinking, Political Savviness, Complex problem solving and Decision Making. It is important for women to understand lacunas in their current skill matrix and to consciously find ways to build and enhance these skills over time.

Technology Capital

You think it, technology can do it. There is a technology solution for almost everything that needs to be done on a daily basis. There is a mobile app for just about everything you’d want to do. You just need to search for it, install it and make it work in your context.

Especially for women at work, knowing and embracing technology and mobile apps for making everyday life simpler, faster and efficient is critical for long term career sustenance and growth. Be it grocery shopping, meal planning, bill-payouts, child safety, education or whatever your need is, ensure you invest in finding the technology solution relevant to your context and circumstance. And use it. The power of technology is in the application.

Financial Capital

This hardly needs any explanation as money does make the world go round. While the highs of financial earning and freedom tend to cloud one’s thoughts, emotions and spending patterns during the initial career years; it is important for women to understand that true long term financial freedom comes from making an effort to understand how personal finances work, to invest money wisely, spend judiciously and review your finances periodically. In the long run, it all adds up to building your financial capital.

Personal Brand Capital

Personal branding is really about you and your work shining through among the crowd. Key to this is to own up your work, speak up when it matters and ‘stand out’ where it counts – so you can positively influence and manage others perceptions of you.

A key pre-requisite for personal branding is to have clarity on what you’d like your personal brand to stand for, and to find compelling ways to make your work and brand stand-out. This is even more important in the context of women at work because very many women are naturally wired to shy away from the spotlight or find comfort, solace and satisfaction to play a supporting role. One effective medium which women can use effectively is the power of social media and (real / virtual) communities to make your views, voice and work sparkle.

“As you sow, so you shall reap” – This is true for money, for careers and for life. What career investments did you make today? What investments do you plan to make tomorrow?

Leave a comment to let us know.

First published on Economic Times


Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | 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 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 | Meeting Meetings Meetings – Are they worth your time?

If you have a corporate job, you’ll agree that meetings are a core part of your everyday work routine. And yet, I can count on my fingers the number of times I stepped out of a meeting feeling that it was a completely productive use of time. The thing about meetings is that they are a ‘necessary evil’, You need to discuss, interact with people you work with to get things done, but how effective are you when you meet your team is what truly counts

In my experience, a few things really are critical to the success of a meeting

  • 1) Creating an Agenda with clear objectives on what you want to achieve / decide by the end of it
  • 2) Sticking to the Agenda and moderating the meeting effectively
  • 3) Managing ‘meeting time’ effectively  – Starting on time, Ending on time
  • 4) Having the right audience for the meeting
  • 5) Leaving ’emotions / ego’ before entering a meeting
  • 6) Keeping it professional; and not personal views / differences come in between

When I chair a meeting at work, I try to follow the above best practices.

So when I came across this interesting infographic on all about Meetings, I could not help but share it here on my blog.

What are your experiences with work related meetings? Leave a comment to let me know


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
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?”

How to fuel your creativity? – Here are 20 ways..

Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” – Charles Mingus

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” – Steve Jobs

Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw

The “creative genius” is in different states for each of us
For some it is perpetually active 🙂
For some it is seldom active
For some it is dormant
And for some it is asleep 😦

In this post I am listing 20 easy ways to fuel / spark / re-kindle your creativity. I have personally tried all of these and they work!

  1. Do nothing for 30 minutes a day. Just lie / laze around and let your thoughts flow. You will be surprised at the impact this has over a 1 week period!
  2. Dream – Yes! Day-dream :). There is something about dreaming which sparks better creativity
  3. Take a walk “ALONE”
  4. Disconnect for 15 minutes with the electronic world (including mobiles, TV, internet, Google, Twitter, Facebook) – Refreshingly liberating and aids significantly in “creativity”
  5. Listen to music
  6. Talk to someone you love (parents, friends, siblings, children, spouse)
  7. Look at the sky for 10 minutes (especially early morning or evening) – I don’t know why! But this always helps
  8. If you’re a right handed person, use you left hand for 15 minutes a day. In 1 week, you will experience the difference
  9. Indulge in physical exercise – Run, Dance, play a game, do whatever to get your heart pumping and hormones flowing!
  10. Meditate
  11. Read something you’d never usually read
  12. Watch a program you’d never usually watch
  13. Learn something new (For e.g.: Cooking, A new language, Art, Ikebana, Puppet making, make-up, yoga, photography, etc.)
  14. Laugh – Indulge in anything which makes you smile
  15. Sleep – Sleep is the best medicine for so many things, and can solve many a problem (no matter how complex or complicated)
  16. Think about the HAPPIEST moment(s) of your life – There’s something about a good memory which sometimes sparks the best creativity
  17. Look at old photographs
  18. Re-live the “good old days” in any way you can 
  19. Take a shower
  20. Your turn. And be CREATIVE 🙂

Have you tried any of these? Did they work for you.. Leave a comment to let me know

I BELIEVE in you, do you?

There are few topics of genuine interest for people from the Indian male fraternity. Cricket, Bollywood (with special emphasis on the Katrina Kaif!), Politics, General Affairs (including the US, Japan, China, Pakistan et al), Cars, Gadgets and Technology (mobile and tablets included because I used this word fairly loosely and broadly!) and Women. Under the topic of women, a few sub categories get more interest than other’s. One of them is the topic of “a woman driving a car”. “They don’t know driving”, “They can’t drive”, “I bet it’s a girl driving that car”, “She can never get the parking right”, “Reverse parking and she? Pray for the owner of the other cars”. I heard all of these words (& more) for a large part of my growing up years (and continue to hear them even today!).  Somehow somewhere, I believed it to be true.  Consequently, I could not get myself to drive a car for several years.

One fine day, I decided I had to learn car driving. I can’t recall why, but this one burning desire consumed every waking moment of my life. And so I enrolled to a driving school. Unfortunately for me, during one of those learning sessions, I had a ‘head-on’ collision with a private bus. Fortunately for me, the car and I survived. Almost all the boys / men I knew said “I told you so! This is not meant for you.”. I listened to them and believed it. As a result, I stopped the lessons and driving.

After a few years, I mustered the courage to again enroll into a driving school. I completed the course and got my driving license. But the lack of confidence and fears persisted. So I rarely drove. After a few years, I got fed-up being dependent on others for ferrying me around. But I still lacked confidence, so I decided to refresh my driving lessons. Thanks to a friend who offered to risk putting his life at stake with my amateur driving, I lay my hands on the steering wheel.  I drove like an amateur. If I saw vehicles come near me, I’d steer away. If it was a big vehicle, I’d freeze and give way. If there was a junction in sight, I’d pray for it to be clear (along with a list of bribes to the Almighty!). If there appeared to be traffic ahead, I’d wish all the vehicles disappeared by the time I reached.

After a few patient days, my friend had THAT talk with me. He said “Why are you so scared? Rather, what are you so scared of? I’m the one who should be scared since you are driving. But I’m sitting here – happily next to you in spite / despite your driving skills. If you do drive, drive like a king. The road is yours to take. I BELIEVE in you, do you?”. That was the moment it all changed for me, and driving a car has never been the same again.

As I look back to connect the dots of my life, I have been fortunate that I’ve had people who believed in me at the most vulnerable and decisive moments of my life.  From my family, friends, teachers, colleagues and managers at work – they all had their way of saying this to me “I BELIEVE in you, do you?”.  6 simple words, but truly powerful and truly transformational. I speak from experience here!

Coming to women at the workplace, it is no different. Almost every working woman I’ve come across (irrespective of age, irrespective of ethnicity, irrespective of seniority, irrespective of past successes) has a lot these moments in her career. Moments of self-doubt, uncertainty, questions and fears around her capability, competency and value. Not once, not twice, but very many times. And to help her cross the chasm during these moments, many times all she needs to hear is “I BELIEVE in you, do you?”. Trust me, it can shape, influence and steer her career in unimaginable ways.

Pause and Reflect

When did someone last tell you ““I BELIEVE in you, do you?”

When did you tell someone “I BELIEVE in you, do you?”

When did you tell a woman “I BELIEVE in you, do you?”

When did you tell a working woman “I BELIEVE in you, do you?”

You have a chance today..

“I BELIEVE in you, do you?”


Originally published here


To Recognize, Respect and Reward “THE Coach”

A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.” BY Tom Landry

A few days back, I was watching the presentation ceremony of the CNN IBN Indian Of the Year Award for 2013. To those of you who don’t know, the CNN IBN Indian of the Year Awardrecognizes the Indian(s) whose contribution to the country in a calendar year has strengthened the foundation of our society and has helped build Brand India in the process.”For more details, click here

To be honest, none of the winners really surprised me. They were all achievers in their own sphere of work and had made a mark. Until I heard the announcement of the Winners of the Outstanding Achievement Awards. Cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar has been declared as the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year 2013, in the Outstanding Achievement category. The reason isHe has coached many young cricketers at Shivaji Park in Dadar, Mumbai. He is the man who first spotted the exceptional talent of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin came to Achrekar as a young student and it was under his keen supervision that Tendulkar’s ability was nurtured. Achrekar was always a hard taskmaster who ensured that his star pupil would make rapid strides in the game. Indian cricket owes Achrekar a debt of gratitude.”

At this point, let me make a disclaimer. I am NOT a cricket fan, nor do I worship / idolize any cricketer. I RARELY watch cricket matches (Like once in a year maybe!). Neither have I ever really played cricket. Oh wait! I did play cricket. Twice. The first time when I was a kid of about 10 years and I was bowled out on a duck :(. The bowler was mighty pleased. No prizes for guessing why? And the second time was when I played a corporate cricket tournament (in my early 20’s) in which as per company policy every team was supposed to have 1 woman employee and 1 employee above the age of 40 years. My friend was the captain of the Cricket team, and begged / pleaded / coaxed / bribed / bullied me into playing the match on his side. We closed the deal with these terms and conditions – No matter what the outcome was – I would be treated to an ice-cream, and we would continue to be friends! Thanks to my stars, I was last in the batting order. Unfortunately for me, my batting turn did come 😦 and we needed 2 runs to win, 1 run for a draw and 2 balls were left. Sigh! The nail biting finish. After some last minute “coaching” (grilling and quick and dirty practice sessions from my captain friend) I was on the crease. As the ball came towards me, I became numb. Everything blurred. And the ball went straight to the wicket. Clean bowled for a duck.. Again! And that ended my cricketing career. I was certain that I did not want a hat-trick. True to his word, my captain friend treated me to an ice-cream and we are friends even today. I had to endure his somber and morose expression at the ice-cream parlor when I was digging into the ice-cream. Honestly, I couldn’t care any less.

The other thing that I do know about cricket rather well is this. To shut up and flee when there are any “cricket related” discussions or banters in my vicinity.  And to let the “men in my life” have the TV remote and the “last word” as far as cricket is concerned! You’d think I’m wise, right? yes, I think so too 🙂

Sorry to digress, but coming back to my post. My interest piqued when I heard the announcement citing the award to Ramakant Achrekar. Simply because I HAVE NEVER REALLY SEEN or HEARD an AWARD being given to a COACH.

Why NOT?” I wondered…”Did it actually take the God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar to retire from his glorious cricketing career to honor his coach?

My thoughts took me to the recent Bollywood movie “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”. The one thing that really stood out for me in the movie was the role of the coach in the success of Milkha’s journey and life. It was a coach who identified the “running talent” in a young boy. It was the coach who provided the required guidance, the required technique, the tricks, the tools, and the support (moral, emotional, mental, physical) – especially in those vulnerable moments. It was the coach who believed in him. It was the coach who gave the much needed inspiration and motivation at those critical moments. It was the coach who pushed him to frontiers which he never knew existed. It was the coach who never ever gave up on him. And it was the focus, efforts and dedication of the coach (along with his own efforts) which took Milkha to the victory stand.

And yet, in real life

Why do we fail to RECOGNIZE the efforts and contribution of the people who “COACH” others?

Why do we fail to RESPECT the the efforts and contribution of the people who “COACH” others?

Why do we fail to REWARD the the efforts and contribution of the people who “COACH” others?

After all,

It is the RIGHT COACHING which transforms an individual / team from good to GREAT

It is the RIGHT COACHING which takes an individual / team to the pinnacles of SUCCESS

It is the RIGHT COACHING which truly makes a DIFFERENCE

Now, let’s get personal?

Can you go down memory lane and think of all the people who coached you? The coach(es) who believed in you even when you gave up? The coach(es) who nudged you and pushed you till the finish? The coach(es) who were “hard” on your for your own benefit? The coach(es) who guided you, who molded you, who made you give your very best…

Pause and Reflect

Did you say THANK YOU to those who coached you?

Did you give REGARDS and RESPECT to those who coached you?

Did you push for you coach(es) to be REWARDED for all that they did for you?

If not, you can do it today..

The video of Ramakant Achrekar’s moment of glory is below

2014 : What I’ll be blogging here?

So its a new year! The time when everyone embarks on all new things
New Year Resolutions
New Year Wishes
New Year Changes

Well, as I mulled over what I’ll be doing here on my blog, the one thing that I was clear that I would continue to write..

So, how frequently will I post?
Once a week

And when will I publish a post?
Every Thursday at 3 PM IST

So what will I be blogging about?
Well.. The focus will continue to be on areas of professional interest which range from Marketing, Social Media, Leadership, Innovation, Strategy and Business.

So is there a specific plan for the postings?
Well yes!
Week 1 of the month – A post on Social Media
Week 2 of the month – A post on Marketing
Week 3 of the month – A post on Leadership
Week 4 of the month – A post on Innovation / Strategy / Business

Will I do anything different this year on my blog?
Well, there will be a few surprises along the way. So wait and watch.. And do follow my blog to know what these surprises are!

Till then, continue reading..
Its one life to LIVE

Happy New Year 2014…