Focus on what’s important

focusOver the past few weeks almost every colleague that I am close to at work has come and shared how frustrated or disappointed they are at how things are going at work. Often it ends up being a big list of what is wrong at the place mostly directly towards a select few people in the management.

I am a good listener and often a great comforter and I empathize with them but sometimes listening to too much negative talk can suck the energy out of you and turn you into the same whining person too. And I hate being that. I hate being the person who complains.

It is easy to complain, it is easy to point fingers and blame others. How about for a change, instead of complaining about what’s wrong at work or people at work, we focus on what we can do to make it better. You and I may not have the power to turn the whole workplace into a rosy town but we do have the power to improve how we feel about work.

You can start by working on your own self. To begin with, identify what is making you miserable, have you talked about it to the right person (perhaps your boss)? Also, think about what you are doing today – is it taking you closer to where you want to be few years down the line? And lastly, think about what can you do to make yourself better.

Forget others, forget work, first focus on improving your problems and everything else will fall on it’s place. People often spend lot of time and energy focusing on the wrong problems, most of which don’t concern them. Focus on what matters, ignore what is not your control and you will find yourself being much happier than before.

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Getting out of the comfort zone

comfort zoneWe all love our comfort zone, it’s a safe place and we do our best there. But getting out of that comfort zone is very important for one’s growth. For some more than the other, it is difficult to make this big leap. It is a scary place for us and we often fear of making mistakes or running into failures.

But then what is success without a failure? If your life is a big list of success stories then you have not really learnt anything. Believe it or not, failure is a stepping stone for success.

I have failed many times in my life, even when I am at my peak or doing my best. And I am not immune to failures, it hurts me, it makes me feel low but I also take it as an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience. And the best way to recover from failure is to overcome it and convert it into a success.

Coming back to comfort zone, as you grow in life you will face several situations where you are asked to step out of your comfort zone and do things, especially in your professional life. And no matter how hard it looks, it only takes a little bit of practice and effort to make that leap. It doesn’t have to be a big leap at all times, you could do it in small steps but the key is to keep moving forward in your journey to step out.

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I am back

relaxAfter a 2 month hiatus, I am back and I promise to write more for the rest of the year. There was a lot going on at work lately, mostly good but it also kept me busy. I like being busy, it is my comfort zone, in fact I left my last job because there wasn’t much for me to do anymore. I started to get bored which is why I was enjoying all the chaos and deadlines we were chasing in my current role. It got to a point where I woke up at 6am and the first thing I would do is check my mails and start working till 8am; get ready, take the dog for walk and head to work; come back at 5pm take a pause for a couple hours and then continue working till I fell asleep. That could be 10pm, midnight, 1am or even 4.30am one day.

It gets worse, I generally sleep well, free of dreams but I found myself thinking or subconsciously dreaming about work yesterday. I knew it was getting bad when I found myself reaching for a mini croissant (my 3rd one for the day) at midnight and justifying it by saying it’s technically the next day so it doesn’t count. For better or for worse, I watch my food intake a lot; I rarely cut corners and when I found myself indulging on snacks way more than real food, I knew I had to get things back in control.

The first step towards achieving that is eating well. I had a proper lunch today and it made a lot of difference on how my rest of the day turned out. I wasn’t stressed or felt like my head is exploding by 3pm. I was calmer than usual. I managed to get a lot more done. I watered my plants who desperately needed it and my dog was happy because I took her for an early evening walk today.

Needless to say my rest of the evening was better than usual. I had a painting project that I wanted to finish and was able to get to it. I spoke to mom without getting distracted doing other things and on top of all of this I also got some work done and was able to write this blog. This is turning out to be my most productive day of the week and it’s just Tuesday. Oh and did I mention I also painted my nails? Who would have thought a small lunch would make such a difference?

Don’t underestimate what a good meal can do to you, stay healthy, eat well!!

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What type of traveler are you?

travelI love how travel bug has caught up with everyone. I’ve always been an advocate of traveling. My husband and I almost never gift each other anything for birthdays or anniversary, instead we explore a new place for each birthday or anniversary or during holidays or just about any other day, we don’t need a reason.

There are essentially 4 types of travelers:
– those who travel for work
– those who travel for pleasure
– those who travel for obligations (like attending family gatherings, weddings, graduation etc.)
– those who travel because everyone seems to be traveling

Lets talk about the last type, these are the type of people who travel to cross a checklist, I also call them the selfie traveller. They don’t have any real interest in traveling, just landing in the city and spending a night there is enough for them. All they care about is a filtered picture on instagram to show to their social community that they’ve been somewhere. More than exploring the local culture and place, their focus is to get the right picture so that the world can see and like their post. May be this makes them happy and if so, good for them.

Travel for me is not about pictures. I almost never take any pictures of myself. I do take a few of the places I visit because my mom loves to explore these places through my eyes. I also take pictures of the food that I ate and this is mostly for yelp. I am an avid yelper and I feel this is a great way to contribute back to the online world.

Whenever I visit a place, there are few things that are always on my todo list-
1. Find one or more local eatery that serves great authentic food
2. Visit a church (I love exploring churches)
3. Must-do touristy things (if it’s not too crowded or if its my first time there)
4. Visit a library (I do this mostly when I travel solo, books amaze me)

And, of course, this is not a finite list. With each place I visit this changes a bit but it helps me organize my trip and also makes sure I get most of my vacation.

No matter what you travel for, it’s all about experience. You won’t love it unless you enjoy it fully. So no matter what you do, make sure to have fun.

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Expectations are the road to misery

soccerSometimes you have no expectations (from life, people or situations) and you receive great outcomes; even more than what you ever wanted. In most cases, this is a good thing but sometimes this can also throw you off. You start believing that things will happen on its own and then, you start having expectations only to end up in disappointment. Has that ever happened to you?

Why is it that when we have nothing, we don’t really care about getting anything more than what is required, but when we have a lot, we start hoping for more. Is it because we are greedy? Is it because the unexpected results make us develop expectations?

Having expectations from anyone other than yourself is a recipe for setting yourself up for a great deal of pain. You are essentially putting others in charge of your happiness. Rather than hoping others to do something for you, why not change it a bit such that you are in charge of your happiness? Have you ever thought about it?

Do not base your goals, ambitions, career path and most importantly happiness on others to provide you. Find your own path to achieve those things and walk towards that path. Hoping for others to tell you or taking you through that path is making yourself vulnerable to.

Let me give you an example that most people might be able relate to. Take for instance the soccer game that most of us have been invested in for a long time. When we don’t know much about the teams profile and just watch the game for entertainment, we get unexpected results. Often an underdog team wins or a new player shines. We become thrilled because something that no one expected happened. And then the same team continues to do better, we start to feel happy for the team but at the same time we also start building expectations from this team. And at some point when the team loses, we feel disappointed, cheated, lose interest in the sport. Instead of feeling happy for the team, we start to nick pick on small things. Instead of enjoying the game, anger, expectation and a great deal of analysis has taken over. Some might end up not loving the sport anymore.

I guess my point is, one should find happiness in things they have control over. Everything else is not yours to worry about.

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I’ll meet you at the rainbow bridge

This is for a pet that I adopted for my parents, although I didn’t spend much time with her, she will always be special. We lost her to a tumor today. Miss you Maxi.

Far from overseas came a girl,
Looking for a friend she can dearly love.
Feathers and tails, there were many,
But the one she liked, was not like any.

She brought her along and gave her a home,
It was time for her to go back long.
She grew up into a mighty lady,
And soon, gave birth to beautiful babies.

One by one, each of them left,
she was left again with no one but mom.

Many years later, she befriended a snake,
little did she know, that was a big mistake.
Her mom did everything she could to make her well,
But the snake came back with even more venom.
She knew it was time to let her go this time.

Oh beautiful baby, I hope you rest in peace,
I still remember the day I met you first.
Fear not of any, I will always be there,
Wait for me at the rainbow bridge,
And we’ll be together again.

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What is your 5year plan?

timeThe other day while I was talking with a senior colleague, she asked me out of blue – “What do you want to achieve in your professional life? Where do you see yourself in 5years.” Being in corporate world, it isn’t out of ordinary to ask such questions. I have come across this question several times during job interviews for which I always have a standard answer that sounds interesting but not necessarily true.

However, when faced with the question in a casual setting, it got me thinking. The intention of asking the question was to get me thinking and they were right, I had no clue. This may come as a surprise that someone who is in their mid 30’s does not know where they are headed or where they want to go.

I know what I want to achieve in life. I have this whole plan mapped out on when to retire, how much to save, what I want to do after I retire and so on. But I never planned on what I wanted to do until I retire.

I have always been a hard worker all my life, however much of that hard work goes into getting things done, going with the flow. Fortunately, I keep bumping into good things throughout my professional journey but even then, going on with no aim in mind seems pointless and not like me.

So, now I am out trying to figure out what I want to do and hopefully I can come up with a great plan to achieve it.

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