promotionPromotion is a tricky subject for many of us. Believe it or not, a lot of the high performing people fail to get promoted at the right time. Contrary to what one may believe, promotion is not just about working well. In today’s corporate world, it also has to do with how much effort you put into getting it. I was in a leadership training last year and was amazed at how many leaders thought that not all high performers want promotion. They said – that unless they want it and ask for it, we don’t give them. Often the employee thinks that doing a good job is enough to climb higher in the ladder and their part of the job is done, however what no one mentions is that you won’t get it unless you ask.

I have experienced this first hand myself several times in my career of 13 years so far. I often used to think that if you have to ask then someone up there doesn’t think you are worthy enough to get it. If I am doing everything expected out of me and much more, shouldn’t I be getting it without asking for it? This question lingers in my mind long enough to realize that I won’t get it unless I ask and then I eventually ask for it and get it right away in the next few months. Although, getting a promotion this way never makes me happy.

I failed to understand how some people are able to get it right away without doing much work while most hard working people are the last ones to get it. And then I realized, there are essentially two kinds of people – one whose main motto is to get the promotion or the desired title and they put in all their effort and energy to get it right from day 1. The second category of people believe in learning new things, doing a great job, getting things done and promotion is usually an afterthought for them. They don’t begin doing things with promotion in mind. Often the second category of people get their promotions at a later time than the former.

There is nothing wrong in either category of people. Things get wrong when you are in category 2 and expect promotion at the timeline of category 1. This often leads to disappointment. What one needs to understand is that if you are not seeking it from day 1 then it is probably not as important for you as for others. Perhaps the most important thing for you is learning new things, becoming the master of whatever skills you are learning, or it could be something that you are achieving outside of work. The point is, don’t validate yourself based on your title or one milestone at work and especially don’t validate it based on how quickly someone else achieves it.

You probably have achieved a lot more in several different areas of life than the person who go promoted ahead of you. The moment getting that promotion becomes important for you, you will do everything you can to achieve it and you will achieve it just like you achieve whatever else you have set your eyes on.

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Take the time to do things that you love

writeEvery Sunday morning my iPhone reminds me how much time I spent looking at my phone and this week it told me that my activity reduced by 30%. I have been following advice from the book The 4-Hour Workweek that I’ve been reading currently and as part of being productive I decided not to check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Nextdoor and News apps during the week. I am already off Facebook for years now checking only occasionally but I am guilty of the rest. So, I decided to keep off them Monday through Friday and check it only once a week. I am still guilty of reading quora everyday but that’s a story for another day.

Turns out you can survive even after shutting down these things. I don’t use social media much but I am guilty of reading news a lot and I felt that not reading the news multiple times everyday won’t harm me in anyway. It is sometime ok to not know whats going around the world.

Now, with all the new time that I got, I was able to sleep more (I have been sleep deprived for a long time). I am able to focus better at work and may be it’s not related but I am also eating healthy.

In addition to this, I have more time to write blogs which I truly love doing. It’s only 2 weeks in 2019 and I have already written more blogs this month than I have in any month since July 2016. I used to be a daily blogger back when I started this blog in 2011 and then slowly turned to a weekend blogger, then bi-monthly and finally monthly even skipping some months. I felt sad that I couldn’t find time out of my busy schedule to write blogs.

I really needed this reset. Sometimes, busy schedules can make us happy because we feel like we are important and needed but it never hurts to stop and ask yourself whether everything that you are doing is really essential or can it wait?

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Are you anxious?

figdet-spinnerI want to talk about anxiety today. This is something I have been dealing with a lot all my life. It baffles me how much the fear of unknown can make a person restless. It can turn a confident person into a nervous wreck in a matter of minutes.

Anxiety for me is accompanied by several more bouts of anxiousness about everything that’s pending in my life. Even as a child, after each of my exams, even when I had done my exams well, I always felt anxious when it’s time to see the result. And while I am wait for it, I think about several other things that could go wrong and it immediately puts me in a state of confusion, sadness and stress.

Anxieties are not specific to humans. I have a dog who gets anxious every time I leave the room. It surprises me that she doesn’t feel the need to pee for hours when I am at home with her but the moment I lock the door and leave the house, she almost immediately pees. The thought of not knowing when I would return back makes her uncomfortable and anxious.

Good news is anxiety can be controlled. After all it comes back to the old saying – “it is all in your mind” and rightly so. Anxiousness is a result of the activity of your mind and it can be controlled by letting your mind know that it’s ok to be uncertain, that there can be certain things that are not in your control and most importantly you cannot change the outcome by being anxious. The key is to train your mind to be comfortable to the state of uncertainty – the same way you would train your dog to be comfortable being at home alone for a few hours.

Focus your mind into things that are in your control and you will notice how much of a difference it makes in your state of mind.

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Sweet or Salty?

sweet-saltyMost of us either have a sweet tooth or a salty one or perhaps we have both. I certainly thought I belonged to the latter category especially since I never say no to dessert or anything remotely closer to chocolate as well as I have spent a good chunk of my mid 20’s living on Pringles. It didn’t matter to me whether I liked sweet more or salty until a few months ago when I got myself tested through 23&me.

Not only did 23&me provide me with my ancestry data, it also provided my useful insights about health conditions that I might be prone to and some quirky things about my taste buds one of which was that I am more likely to like Salty food than Sweet. I have been trying to cut down sugar for a while now just to stay healthy but ever since I read the report it feels like my brain subconsciously trained itself to not like sweet anymore.

I no longer like desserts or chocolates. I can barely eat a piece occasionally. I crave more salty food now. I take it as a blessing in disguise since it helps me cut down on the unnecessary sugar but it amazes me just how easy it is to train your brain to like or not like something.

This reminds me of the book I read last year Mindset by Carol Dweck. The basic premise of the book is that one is not born with innate qualities and we can train ourselves to grow and achieve anything that we want as long as we have the mindset to grow. Anyway, without thinking much about it, the point is if you want to change or do something different, don’t limit yourself saying that you are built that way. You can always train yourself to do whatever you want. Give it a try, it will be fun.

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When is a good time to look for a job?

job-meetingA friend once told me that the best time to start prepping and looking for a new job is during the holidays. It is the time of the year when things slow down on the work front; as well as new projects, job listings etc. get approved during the new year. So, chances of finding a better opportunity is more right after the holidays. While not everyone who is working need to constantly look for a new job during holidays but here are some questions that can help you decide if it’s time-

– Are you still doing the same work that you did when you joined or 2years ago?
– Do you feel unmotivated or nothing to look forward to when you go work?
– Are you happy?

If you answered yes to either of the first two questions or no to the last one or if you are reading this article, you know it’s time. By staying at an unhappy job you are denying yourself opportunity to grow and be happy. Most of us born in the pre-millennial era have probably grown seeing our parents keep the same job for 40 years and somewhere in our mind we have it ingrained that one should keep their job unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave.

But times have changed, you no longer need to be in the same place where you started. Everyone deserves to grow and enjoy work and do what they love. While identifying and looking for a new job is a great first step, you should still remain grounded and stick to your duties until your last day. Be true to your commitments and do your best until your last day. It’s never a good idea to burn bridges and leave. Remember world is smaller than you think and there’s a high possibility that you’ll meet or need your former colleagues in the future.

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My 2019 reading list

booksReading everyday is on the top my list of things to continue doing this year and something that I consciously take time to do even if it for just 10-15 minutes. I feel that reading opens up a whole new level of wisdom for me, something that I can’t explain in words. And because I have very little time, I make sure that whatever I read adds value to me. A good chunk of my reading happens while I am traveling, I find it a good time to read when I am on long flights. It’s a good way to pass time rather than watching some random movie.

Here’s what I read in 2018 –
1. The things you can see only when you slow down – Haemin Sunim
2. Show your work – Austin Kleon
3. Social Intelligence – Daniel Goleman
4. Multipliers – Liz Wiseman
5. The Daily Stoic – Ryan Holiday (I re-read this again this year)
6. The Exceptional Presenter – Timothy J. Koegel
7. The Growth Mindset – Carol S. Dweck
8. Good to Great – James C. Collins
9. The Obstacle Is the Way – Ryan Holiday
10. Present – A Techie’s guide to public speaking – Karen Catlin, Poornima Vijayashanker
11. The Charisma Myth – Olivia Fox Cabane
12. The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss (Still in progress

And here’s my list for 2019, I might change as I proceed-
1. The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss (Finish reading this)
2. Rental Property Investing – Brandon Turner
3. Mindset – The new psychology of Success
4. Dying a memoir – Cory Taylor (From Obama’s reading list)
5. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ -Daniel Goleman
6. Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment
7. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence – Max Tegmark (Also from Obama’s list)

Happy Reading!!

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2018 Reflections

new yearEnd of the year is a good time to reflect on all the good, bad and ugly that you have gone through in your life in this past year as well as to buckle up and get ready for everything that’s coming in the new year.

New Year usually brings a lot of hope to everyone regardless of any changes that one may or may not plan to make to their lifestyle. It’s a way for the universe to hit the reset button for us every year. There’s just something about it that makes us all to do something different in the next year even if it lasts for just the day. The point is it gets us thinking at the very least.

I had a wonderful 2018, I travelled to 5 countries and 2 new states in the United States making my total state count that I have travelled to 30. I have a good list lined up for next year as well and I am very excited for it.

I also managed to read 1 book a month as I had hoped for and I am extremely proud about it. I will post my book list tomorrow for 2018 as well as what I hope to read in 2019.

Going into new year, I would like to manage my time better, making time to write more and also work out more.

Here’s to a wonderful new year ahead. Happy New Year 2019 everyone!

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