What is Life..

if we don’t share our emotions and beliefs with those around us?

It’s great if to be professional, cool and calculated but the effect of a laugh (a proper one!)on a serious conference call or that of an emotional story is one that can’t be described in words.

For, at the end of the day, that’s what true leadership is, isn’t it?

It’s not about a wonderfully created spreadsheet or Gantt chart, or about the most logical business plan or argument. No, true leadership is about emotions and belief – it’s crafted in the trenches, in hopeless situations where a sense of purpose creates hope and excites.

Logic can never do that. Emotions can.

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As the value of single minded flawless execution goes up in this world, so will the ability to truly inspire. The days of the hierarchy are beginning to disappear and are fast being replaced by the days of inspiration, of charisma.

Luckily, being ourselves – truly just being ourselves is real inspiration and charisma. Research over time has tried to nail the look of an inspiration leader and the common image that comes to mind is a Steve Jobs – a tremendous communicator who led from the front. But, let’s not forget his soft spoken, geek competitor – a man who conquered the world of technology and then went on to try and solve problems around the developing world’s healthcare. When Bill Gates spoke, we listened. We knew he meant well, we knew he had taken responsibility for what he was doing, we knew he was saying what he felt and probably most importantly, we knew he cared.

We are our own first follower. Professionalism is overrated. Great relationships are not built in a conference room – they are built in the trenches, over coffee, in play and in conversation. Logic won’t help, understanding human irrationality and laughing lots will.

Be yourself. Laugh. Cry. Hug. Celebrate. Lead.


Work Hacks Wednesday: Being Directive by Being Positive and Nice

I was in conversation with a much wiser colleague yesterday. He said something which struck me as very insightful. (Paraphrased)

“You often have to deal with lots of disgruntled and grumpy people to get stuff done. And being positive and smiling lots means you get to be a lot more directive because your team knows you are a good person and mean well.’’

Most of us are often in positions where we need to get stuff done without necessarily having any fancy title or vested authority. We need to influence, cajole, push/pull where needed and make sure work gets done. And this can get especially hard when dealing with people who may not want to do what you need to get done.

But, as this wise colleague observed, we have hope.

Being positive, nice and pushy when necessary means we can get away with it. And I don’t mean get away with it by burning any bridges – I mean getting things done with our team on our side.

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Of course, developing a sense of humor helps greatly though nothing is probably as important as taking ourselves lightly enough to be able to see the funny side of what we are doing.

So, if you are on the fence as to whether to take up a new project because you aren’t sure you will be able to drive work, take up the challenge and give it a shot. Just don’t take yourself too seriously, laugh lots and have fun along the way and it will work out just fine.

‘Many people struggle at work because they want more authority. It turns out you can get a lot done if you just take more responsibility instead. It’s often offered, rarely taken.’ | Seth Godin

Live Music Performance – A First

A few weeks ago, Drue, my guitar teacher pitched an idea. He conducted an ‘Open Mic’ night at a bar in South London near his place where musicians popped by and sung a few songs. Would I like to try?

In an all honesty, I baulked at the idea. Regulars here know I bought my guitar around mid January and have been learning over the past 4 months. I’ve learnt a few songs but performing is a different cup of tea. So, I just muttered I’d be busy with work and would think about it once my current project was done.

I joked about the idea to my mom that evening and her response was ‘Do it when I’m in London. C’mon!’. So, before I knew it, I was at Gigalum waiting for my turn. Drue would sing and I would play and I could pick any 2 songs.

I picked the 2nd and 3rd songs I learnt – Way Back Into Love from Music and Lyrics and Fix You by Coldplay. Fix You is special because listening to Boyce Avenue and Tyler Ward play Fix You live in November was what inspired me to finally learn the guitar, something I’d always wanted to do.

I was very nervous and my fingers were shivering, sweaty and slipping off the guitar! I had never made so many mistakes in these songs (small ones here and there), I never dared to look up even once during the performance and I also went back to what I call ‘nervous strumming’ i.e. when my hand moves up and down robotically vs flicking the wrist.

But, what the hell.. it was my first time and it was one heck of an experience.

And here’s the video! (Due apologies for the sound quality! Just put together the video from the iPhone with no editing)

And a photo when I dared to look up in the end..


I’ve learnt many things from the performance but probably the most important thing is the importance of taking the plunge and trying out something new every once a while. If we really put our heart and soul into what we do, there’s no limit to what we can learn and achieve. I generally put in 20 minutes of practice 5-6 days a week and absolutely love it. It’s teaching me so much and the journey has only begun.

It never ceases to amaze me how much a dash of dedication and persistence with a sizeable dose of deliberate practice can do for you.

A note of thanks to my teacher, Drue James for being an amazing teacher and vocalist. There’s no way I would have imagined doing something like this.. but it was great fun and made for a wonderful memory. If you are ever looking for a guitar lesson in London, check out Drue on his website and on his YouTube channel.

Thanks Drue. You did good.